Highlights: What the Fuss?

Hello everyone! Every so often, one of my non-makeup-addicted friends will ask me about highlighting powders. What do they do? Do I need one? What’s the point? For me, a face without highlights is like a vanilla dip donut with no sprinkles. Sure it still works, but sprinkles make it that much better!  When you do it right, highlighting brings light to the highest points of your face and helps with contouring and gives you an ethereal glow. When you do it wrong, you just look like a glittery crazy person (or greasy!)My first highlighting powder was the Poudre Signee de Chanel from Chanel Spring 2013. After that, I became hooked and have acquired many. This is not my entire collection (why didn’t I include the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow or the Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Powder in Candlelight, you may ask. They deserve posts all on their own!) Pictured here clockwise from the top left: Chanel Poudre Signee de Chanel (LE), Cle de Peau Luminizing Face Enhancer #13, TheBalm Mary Lou-manizer, Becca X Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfector in Champagne Pop (LE), Bobbi Brown High Light powder in Pink Glow (LE), It Cosmetics Hello Light Illuminating Powder, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette. But really, let’s get down to business. Can you guess which is which from the swatches?

Left to right: It Cosmetics, Chanel, Cle de Peau, TheBalm, Becca, and Bobbi Brown. I’m sure you can find better swatches of the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette online somewhere, but I swatched them anyway (L-R: Dim Light, Incandescent Light, Radiant Light). Now these are less shimmery than the average highlight and in that sense, this palette can actually be used for all over the face depending on your skin tone.

Some brief thoughts on all of these products:

Chanel Poudre Signee de Chanel (LE) – this will always have a special place in my heart. You can’t see the design anymore but when I first bought it, there were flowers, lipsticks, and the iconic double C’s embossed on the top. This is the one highlight that I get complimented on every time I wear it. Unfortunately, it was limited edition but I highly recommend splurging on at least 1 Chanel highlight at some point in your life. I actually use the spongey applicator included with this powder to apply it – applies it surprisingly well.
Cle de Peau Luminizing Face Enhancer #13 – another mega splurge/luxury item but well worth it. #13 has more of a bronze shade that provides a subtle but beautiful glow on my face. It’s perfect for my super tanned skin during the summer, but still awesome and life-giving any season. I apply this one to my face with the Sigma F35 Tapered Highlighter Brush.
TheBalm Mary Lou-manizer – I bought this after seeing it on Estee/Essiebutton and this one gets picked up by my brush very easily. You can definitely build it up and be extremely lit up, or apply it lightly and have the perfect amount of glow. I like using this with the Real Techniques Setting Brush.
Becca X Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfector in Champagne Pop (LE) – ok so let’s get this out of the way first: I am not, in fact, a Jaclyn Hill fan. I’m not a hater – I’m just set on my favourite YouTubers (Estee, Claire, Rae.) I did buy into the hype however of a limited edition product and since I didn’t own a Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector, I figured I may as well get this. I’m probably going to get a lot of heat for this – but it’s not my favourite. On me, I have to blend this powder in like crazy since if I apply it how I usually apply highlighters, it just sits on top of my skin. One buffed in, it’s a nice highlight but I find that the lasting power isn’t anything to write home about. Then again, I may just be overly critical because everyone and their moms were losing their minds over this. Is it a universally flattering colour? Sure. Is it a universally flattering formula? Questionable. I’ve tried applying this with both the Sigma and RT, and I think the RT works a bit better to really blend it in.
Bobbi Brown High Light powder in Pink Glow (LE) – Sorry for including so many limited edition highlights but really – there’s a reason why they’re limited edition! This is my only pink-toned highlight and it provides such a soft and luminous finish. Both of my designated highlighting brushes work well with this one.
It Cosmetics Hello Light Illuminating Powder – This is a nice workplace appropriate highlighting powder in the sense that it is a bit more subtle. Not too stark white, but not at all golden toned, this one is a classic that wears beautifully all throughout the work day.
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette – So as aforementioned, these powders can generally be used all over the face, but I think Incandescent Light (the center shade) is probably the most highlight-y of the 3. To be honest, I think this palette was a little overrated – it came out for Holiday 2013 (if I recall correctly) and sold out SO quickly. It is now permanent so if you don’t have any Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders, then sure, this provides a good bang for your buck.

Do you use highlighting powders? Do you prefer a cream highlight? None at all? Let me know if you have a favourite or even if you think highlighting is unnecessary (in which case, why did you read this LOL). Thanks so much for stopping by!


6 thoughts on “Highlights: What the Fuss?

  1. ilashesandsuch says:

    Hey there great blog post! I like highlighters myself because it transforms my dull skin into a refreshed hydrated skin tone. Anyways I do a cream highlighter and top it off with a powder highlighter for extra staying power

  2. enls1314 says:

    I’m not sure if they still sell it since mine was bought awhile ago but Joe Fresh (who knew?) makes this amazing cream highlighter in the colour champagne. i use it as a base under my powder highlight and it’s beautiful!

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