It feels as though I blinked and an entire week flew by without me realizing it. It's almost the same with spring and summer collections these days. I could have sworn I just looked at the Spring Topaz collection from Estée Lauder and I was completely surprised to see the Summer Bronze Goddess collection at Macy's during my lunch break on Friday. (Summer in February?!) Continuing the trend with the Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelée, Estée Lauder has released another gorgeous embossed face highlighter this season called Shimmering Sands ($42 for .15 oz/4.5 g) which is a metallic bronzey pink. Topaz Chameleon ($40 for .17 oz/5 g) was from their Spring Topaz collection and I was lucky to find one in store this late after the collection launched. (It took me a while to decide to buy this one if you're interested, I suggest you act fast).
Both highlighters are highly metallic but easily layerable for a more subtle glow. Illuminating Powder Gelées have a very unique gel-powder-cream formula. It's not quite a cream like NARS Multiples but not quite a powder. Still, I wouldn't describe it as a cream to powder since the finish is slightly dewy (only very slightly). Shimmering Sands and Chameleon Topaz both come with a beautiful embossed texture. I found both extremely pigmented with multidimensional shimmers. The formula seems to adhere to the skin quite well but blends in without looking like it sits on top like some metallic highlighters do. Although these are called "highlighters" there is so much color I can't imagine wearing these over any other product (aside from powder and foundation). The tiny applicators pick up quite a bit of pigment but I prefer to use a full sized powder brush for a sheerer application over the cheeks. I love that the shimmers are not oversprays. Here are a few more photos side by side at different angles.
In direct sunlight with flash, here you can see the metallic flashes:
Topaz Chameleon is a warm golden copper. At first swipe I was intimidated by how warm and pigmented the color was and walked away. It wasn't until after seeing it on Karla Sugar, Temptalia and Makeup and Beauty Blog that I decided to revisit and try on the face. I thought it would look too orange/copper/yellow but it surprised me. It warms up the face to give a summery bronzed copper glow. I do recommend using with caution. One extra swipe could easily overdo it. Make sure your face is well prepped with a good base and foundation. Without it this can emphasize pores (at least in my experience, I like to use Koh Gen Do's Royal Massage Milk and NARS Tinted Moisturizer these days). This one is very limited in stores but can still be found online at a few places.
Shimmering Sands looks like a soft champagne bronze in the compact but goes on quite a bit darker than I expected - like a bronzed pink. On my skin the pink/brownish tones pull more strongly and gives me an almost brown-burnt look if applied too heavily. Finding the right balance might take a bit of work but this one is still lovely. The shimmer effect is more subdued compared to Modern Mercury (from fall 2011) and Topaz Chameleon. I find this to be more of a true bronzer rather than a highlight. Does this one pull brown/reddish on your skin or is it just me? Perhaps tan skinned or darker skin girls will find this less of a bronze and more of a highlight.
Here are all three Illuminating Powder Gelées from Estée Lauder: Modern Mercury (Fall 2011), Chameleon Topaz (Spring 2012), Shimmering Sands (Summer 2012).
Swatches, heavily on the skin. I recommend you check out the other blogs I linked above to see the sheer vs. heavy swatches. There is no way I would ever wear these this heavy on the face but sheered out it was hard to get photos of the arm-swatches. I think Temptalia's photos demonstrate how well these blend on the face. Also re-visit the reviews from Cafe Makeup on Modern Mercury to see the effect on Liz (see how it blends out on the cheeks versus swatched on the arm).
Modern Mercury is still my favorite. I wish it was a permanent product as I do think it is something I would like to repurchase when I hit pan (not that it will happen soon, but still). Topaz Chameleon is close second. I feel the latest Shimmering Sands is too dark for me right now, but when real summer arrives and I get my tan back I think this will work better for me. I'm all about dramatic bronzers but even this one is a bit too much for me.