Chanel launched a new highlighter called Camelia de Chanel Illuminating Powder ($70 for 6 g/0.21 oz, made in Italy). It’s currently available online at Chanel.com and comes in a solid mirrored compact, limited-edition red lacquered case, half-moon brush in a stunning embossed camelia pattern. This highlighter compact literally took my breath away as soon as I opened it – the pattern, texture, shimmer and color are just out of this world beautiful. It truly is one of the prettiest compacts I think I’ve seen. On the skin my feelings are mixed. This is a beautiful highlighter that I think has an exquisite type of prism-like shimmer but I need to apply with a very light hand on the cheeks or only use this on the eyes – otherwise it’s simply too shimmery for my skin tone.
Chanel describes this to be “a sheer highlighting powder” that “captures and reflects light for a delicate, luminous glow.” For my medium-olive skintone I don’t find it sheer or delicate. It’s a champagne highlighter with an intense sparkle with tiny micro sparkle particles. They aren’t glittery chunks but the glow particles are definitely bigger than finely milled shimmer. I know many of my readers are split into those who are anti-shimmer anything and those who love all the glow they can get. I am one who loves as much glow as I can get as long as I don’t end up looking like a frosted or gilded statue. In all the years I’ve collected Chanel highlighters I would say this one is definitely the most glitzy and sparkly of them all. Chanel highlighters have been all over the place from so sheer that you can use as an all over setting powder to a more noticeable glow to a more traditional highlight. If you remember the sparkly loose powders like MAC Silver Dusk or Laura Mercier Candlelight (both discontinued) – this Camelia de Chanel Illuminating Powder has a similar sparkly quality but in pressed form and also in a more beige-champagne color versus the light silvery pink tint the loose powders had.
There’s a slight texture that is noticeable if you swipe the powder with a finger but swatching it on the hand or arm it feels extremely smooth and silky. The pigment is quite intense but can be easily blended out for a more diffused look. I love this on the eyes for a good champagne sparkle highlight. On my cheeks it gives my face an almost wet-look effect with the way the light hits the shimmer – but I will note that some champagne highlighters don’t look good on my specific skin tone because of the way it either matches or is one shade too light. For example Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight looks good on everyone I’ve seen it on but on my skin tone it looks chalky and just plain horrible. By comparison the Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kits are some of the most glowy almost frosty looking highlighters I’ve tried – but because the colors contrast more with my skintone I find them more wearable especially if I blend them out with a brush.
A closer look
Swatch on bare skin:
I know this one is super blurry but it shows how the light reflects on some of the particles:
A quick look on the face, photo taken without flash because with one my entire face looked like a glowy shiny mess. I have mixed feelings about this one on my face because I feel like it looks a bit too glowy and also emphasizes texture on my skin. It doesn’t emphasize pores like some highlighters do, but right now I’m working on some exfoliating and peels for my skin so texture is showing a bit on the cheek areas.
On the face:
- Hourglass Vanish Seamless Foundation in Warm Ivory and Nude mixed
- MAC Mineralize Skin Finish Natural in Medium Plus
- Chanel La Palette Sourcils de Chanel Brow Powder Duo in Brun
- Chanel Joues Contraste Blush in Rose Initial
- Camelia de Chanel Highlighter on eyes and cheeks
- Chanel Les 4 Ombres in Tisse Rivoli on eyes
- Le Rouge Crayon de Couleur in Beige Rose on the lips
Two sets of swatch comparisons for you, Set 1:
- Hourglass Ambient Strobe Powders in Euphoric and Incandescent (review here)
- Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops in Moonlight (review here)
- MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Shimpagne (discontinued)
- Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Powder in Champagne Pop (review here)
- Edward Bess All Over Seduction in Sunlight (review here)
- Tom Ford Skin Illuminating Duo in Moodlight (review here)
- Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer 001 (review here and here)
- Laura Mercier Face Illuminators in Indiscretion and Devotion (review here)
- Tom Ford Shimmer Shot Spin Spin Sugar (review here)
- MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Soft and Gentle (available here)
Quick note and some thoughts on comparisons. The Camelia de Chanel has a similar sparkling quality to MAC Soft and Gentle on my skin, but the Chanel is slightly more sparkly. My personal favorite is still the Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer 001 because it melds nicely with my skin and the color is just perfect for me. This spring they’ve added 3 more shades (review soon). The comparison swatch shows the Dior and Chanel to look really similar but on camera it’s difficult to capture ever single nuance with the shimmer, color and sparkles. If you want to avoid all kinds of harsh shimmer and want just a soft natural glow the Edward Bess All Over Seduction is my holy grail cream highlighter although the Tom Ford Shimmer Shots are quite pretty and easy to wear too.
Final thoughts: I think the Camelia de Chanel Illuminating Powder is an exquisite highlighter. I was sent one for review and would have purchased one even if they didn’t send one to me. I think it’s definitely a unique piece compared to previous Chanel highlighter launches and even unique compared to other brands. It has a sparkle that almost feels like it could be fairy dust captured and pressed into a compact. Opening it is a breathtaking experience and they really did an excellent job at creating a one of a kind piece for beauty collectors and fanatics like myself. Quality is top notch – it has a smooth even texture without any patchy issues. As with any powder there will be some fallout in the application but once on the skin I found it stayed put all day long. I love it on the eyes. On my cheeks it’s a bit much for me – even though as you can tell from the comparison swatches above I’m a bit of a highlighter junkie and love a good glow. This one is just not doable for the cheeks for everyday but I will say that right at this moment I’m in that weird skintone transition phase where I’m getting lighter and finding a lot of colors aren’t working for me. I know this will pass as I tan easily and sunshine is in the weather forecast in the upcoming days so I’ll probably get some color soon.
If you bought this I’d love to hear your thoughts! If you can chime in on your skintone to help those who are debating whether or not to order sight unseen that would be amazing too.
The Camelia de Chanel Illuminating Powder retails for $70, currently available online at Chanel.com.
Illuminating powder provided courtesy of Chanel for review.