This year designers have brought us some of the most beautiful bronzers and highlighters I've ever seen. For the summer releases we saw gorgeous bronzer palettes from Chanel, Dior & Guerlain with intricate embossed patterns woven with different shades. The trend has continued into the fall season with the release of new highlighters that have unique formulas & textures. When it comes to highlighters, I've traditionally been very open to all intensities of shimmer and frost. These days, my preferences have changed and I now look for powders that have a finely milled shimmer without the intense frost and that are also easy to apply with a single swipe on the cheeks or temples. The highlighters I tried this season include Dolce & Gabbana Illuminator in Shimmer, Chanel Ombres Tissées in Beiges, MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Semi Precious Crystal Pink, Chanel Pearl Glow Powder and Estée Lauder Pure Color in Modern Mercury.
My thoughts and close ups of each shimmer powder:
Dolce & Gabbana The Illuminator Powder in Shimmer ($47 at Saks, reviewed here and also on Makeup Magpie): I find this shade to be more of a contouring powder for my skin rather than an illuminator/highlighter. On the skin, the powder applies slightly darker than what you see in the compact. The texture is buttery smooth with a finely milled finish. It blends naturally with my skin and to give a gentle glow. It makes the perfect nude contour. This product doesn't really fit the bill as a highlighter, but as a nude blush or soft contour it's a winner.
Chanel Ombres Tissées in Beiges ($75 at Chanel.com, reviewed here): I personally adore this palette. The texture and blend of light pinks mix together beautifully to give a lovely glow. The texture is predominantly powdery but has a slight cream texture which I believe helps this adhere to the skin to last all day. In terms of uniqueness for the color payoff, I think you can achieve a similar effect with other pale highlighters. However, the design of the quilted texture is exquisite. (Note the sparkle is an overspray.)
MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Semi Precious Crystal Pink ($28 still at Maccosmetics.com, reviewed and swatched on Temptalia and Karla Sugar): This is described as having a pink champagne base with an inner circle having a fusion of pink, dirty green and bronze. It's almost impossible for me to pass up any Mineralize Skinfinish from MAC. The frost and shimmer is high, but they have the most beautiful multi-colored shimmers. At $28 the beautiful swirls of color are hard to resist. Semi Precious Crystal Pink goes on a nude pink frosty champagne (no glitter). Applying with a skunk brush in one sweep on the cheeks to temples over any blush or bronzer will give a beautiful glow. I tend to use a lighter hand as MSFs tend to have a high impact shimmer and are easy to overdo. It's versatile and easy to use on the eyes as well.
Chanel Pearl Glow Powder ($60 at Nordstrom, reviewed here and also on Cafe Makeup and Orange to LA): This is currently exclusive in limited quantities to Nordstrom. It's a subtle glowy highlighter that I find less pink and less frosty than Chanel Beiges. If you asked me to pick only 1 Chanel highlighter this year, it would be the Pearl Glow. The texture is sheer but I love the finish as it gives the most exquisite wash of shimmer that makes the skin simply glow. If you're looking for something sophisticated, subtle and refined, this is the highlighter for you.
Estée Lauder Pure Color in Modern Mercury ($40 on EsteeLauder.com, see it reviewed on Cafe Makeup): This is a unique powder + liquid + gel in one highlighter with a highly reflective peachy gold shimmer. Modern Mercury gives a highly pigmented glow without any glitter although it makes the skin glimmer like a crystal in sunlight. I highly recommend you read Cafe Makeup's review if you haven't already. She has a lovely set of comparisons as well as a few looks that are highly inspirational. The texture is slightly creamy with a highly metallic finish when applied with a heavy hand. The product blends beautifully and adheres to the skin well to melt into the natural texture of your skin. It makes the skin glow with or without direct light.
All lined up plus swatches on the arm:
I know many of you will want to know which highlighter I think is best. This is an impossible question for me to answer. All these highlighters have their own unique quality that makes them different for achieving different effects. The best highlighter will depend on what you're preferences are for price range and shimmer intensity. My recommendations:
- For the most subtle glow, I'd recommend Chanel Pearl Glow.
- For a contour nude suitable for even the fairest skintones, try the Dolce & Gabbana.
- For the most unique texture/finish, Estée Lauder Pure Color in Modern Mercury is a must have (this also lasts long on the cheeks).
- For the best price, MAC is your best bet.
Did you fall in love with any highlighters this season? Or did you find them to be duplicates of previous releases? What caught your eye this year? If you see any you like I recommend you purchase soon - most are limited edition!
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