The highlighter trend is still going very strong and brands show no signs of slowing down with new releases. I love a good glow and trying new highlighters is one of my favorite things to do. I tend to be ok with varying degrees of glowy shimmers but these days it seems like the more glitz the better. I can’t pull off lots of frost, glitter or super light colored shimmers with my olive tan complexion so for me this roundup has some misses alongside some hits for me. There are a number of new launches out that aren’t included in this post. I’ll add a few notes at the end with some extra thoughts.
One of the palettes that caught my eye immediately was the Laura Mercier Exotique Face Illuminator Collection Palette. It’s exclusive to Sephora and has two new shades of their Face Illuminators in Infatuation and Temptation. I already own the other two Indiscretion and Devotion in the full size (reviewed here) and while I would have really preferred to have a palette with all new shades I do like that it has these as it will be a good one for travel. Indiscretion happens to be one of my favorites that I own. Going forward if I had to travel with 1 highlighter palette I think this would be in my top 3 picks. Formulas is true to full size – smooth, easy to build, doesn’t emphasize pores, beautiful color and shimmer. They last long on my skin even in humid weather. You can wear on the eyes or cheeks, alone or over blush/bronzer. It’s a solid winner for me.
Next are the highlighters from Hourglass and Fenty Beauty. I’ve been a long time fan of Hourglass Ambient Lighting highlighters. This holiday they have two new palettes. One is the Ambient Metallic Strobe Lighting Palette and the other is the Ambient Lighting Edit Volume 3. I have the trio reviewed today and the other palette will be reviewed separately as it has more than just highlighters.
The Ambient Lighting Powders in general have a softer but noticeable glow. This season they’ve increased the intensity with the Metallic Strobe Lighting Palette which has the most intense shimmer I’ve seen from them. Pigment is smooth, nicely pigmented and very metallic. Colors are on the pale side and on my olive tan skin they look very similar on the face with the exception of the middle color which is clearly more gold/yellow. I can wear this with a very light and soft hand. I use a skunk brush to apply on the cheeks and it’s still very intense and metallic. Compared to previous powders launched from Hourglass this is very unique in color and finish. It has a less powdery finish compared to the Ambient Strobe Powders which some of you reported you found glittery or chalky (although they worked well for me). The Metallic Strobe Powder by comparison have no glitter particles and there isn’t any matte/chalky/powdery base but instead has a more metallic shimmer like a wet-look shimmer.
I’m kinda mixed on this one. I do think it’s a good palette. Quality, finish, pigment, texture and price are all a thumbs up. Color-wise it’s a miss as I find it’s a little too pale for me as I have quite a bit of tan and the paleness of color makes it look extra shimmery on my skin.
Next are the Fenty Beauty Match Stix Shimmer Skinsticks. I bought both sight unseen but have since had a chance to play with the entire line at Sephora. My first test with Starstruck (pale champagne pink) wasn’t good. I found it had a gritty texture and looked really dry. I tested it a few more times and it grew on me. However there is still something with the paleness that makes it too contrasted with my tan skintone and it ends up emphasizing texture. Sinamon works better for me as it is a pretty bronzey color. Both have a buildable shimmer quality and they adhere well to the skin and in this hot humid Florida weather they held up remarkably well. That being said if you have any dry patches or if you find shimmer can emphasize texture – definitely be aware these can emphasize both. I don’t think these would work for me in normal weather climate on the cheeks as they have a rather dry texture that almost tugs at the skin. They are easy to blend with fingers and I think the issue with most cream products in general is they are lacking in lasting power. For me the two shimmer sticks I tested held up really well so I’m ok with the slightly dry texture. I actually wanted to get Rum but my store was sold out. Given the number of highlighters I have and also keeping in mind holiday will probably have more offerings I’ll hold off on purchasing more.
I was able to wear both without any irritation or clogging of skin. This is something I’m always concerned about when it comes to cream or liquid cheek products. I give these a thumbs up for formula even if the colors I picked aren’t really all that unique. Starstruck just didn’t work color-wise on the cheeks for me but the formula is still really good and I find it’s lovely on the eyes.
Edward Bess makes my holy grail cream highlighters with the All Over Seduction compacts. This fall he has new launches with a Harmonious Hues Light Stick Trio which are twist up highlighters in a chubby pencil form. The colors include Candlelight (champagne), Ambience (peachy gold), Aura (soft bronze) and I absolutely love these. The shimmer is subtle but still noticeably glowy, the texture is creamy and easy to swipe on the face or eyes and easy to blend. They have a semi-emollient finish which makes the color adhere well to the skin. It’s as natural as it gets without being invisible. The colors are right up my alley.
He also has a new powder highlighter called the Marbleized Rose Gold Highlighting Powder. It’s a very pale yellow gold with smooth luminous shimmer. I love this video he did with an application on lighter skinned complexions. I think it looks amazing on them! Yellow golds really aren’t my thing as I already have yellow-based skin but I like this one on the eyes for me. The texture is very smooth and beautifully pigmented without the frost.
Cover FX launched a new set of mini Custom Enhancer Drops in a set of 4. These are larger than the ones you may have seen in a few GWPs or Beauty Insider gifts but smaller than the full size. I’ve shown them below. If you’re one who wants to try a bunch of colors or want to travel with more than 1 these are perfect. When I ordered them I didn’t realize they were existing shades (I should have read the description). I saw “minis” and it went in my cart and I didn’t think twice. Since I already own these I’m sending these to my niece. They come with a similar dropper style packaging as the full size. The shimmer is buildable to full intensity. Don’t be scared at how shimmery they look. They are actually very wearable and easy to blend out. Review on the full sizes here and here.
Last but not least Charlotte Tilbury launched a Beauty Light Wand with her Hollywood Collection. I just reviewed it a few days ago here but wanted to include it in the fall roundup. It’s a really pretty one and surprisingly convenient for on the go touch ups or for travel.
I managed to get a few decent face swatch shots. We are in between places living a rather nomadic life and are about to make our fourth move this year very soon. My setup for everything has been rather on-the-go for the past few months and I couldn’t get the focus right on the camera the last few rounds of reviews. Four highlighter face swatches shown below:
- Foundation is Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra Longwear Foundation in Buff
- Concealer is NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Ginger
- Powder to set is Armani Luminous Silk Powder Foundation 4
- Brow pencil is Diorshow Browstyler in Universal Brown
- Lipstick is Tom Ford Lips and Girls in Zoe
- For highlighter:
- Top row left has the new Laura Mercier L’Amour Exotique Face Illuminator Collection with Infatuation
- Top row right has the new Laura Mercier L’Amour Exotique Face Illuminator Collection with Temptation
- Bottom row left has Hourglass Absolute Strobe Light
- Bottom row right has the FX Custom Enhancer Drops in Rose Gold on the right
Additional ones that were on my radar that I haven’t tested (yet):
- Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Smoky Quartz is on my wishlist, I wish it were available at Sephora or Ulta because it’s where I can get points or perks, this one looks so so pretty, I obviously do not need, but if you have it let me know what you think
- Fenty Beauty Killawatt Freestyle Highlighters are something I swatched in store and the colors/pigment is quite impressive, with each duo at least 1 side has some micro sparkles which I thought would be too over the top for what I’d normally wear, I may give one a try – the pigment is soooo good!
- Bobbi Brown Highlighting Powder Trio looks amazing, I really loved her highlighting powders this year and think it’s possible the trio would be dupes for the individual shades I own, but the finish of these powders is really divine
- By Terry Compact Expert Dual Powders are new powder + highlighters in a compact, I will have a review on all the shades soon, I bought 5 of the 8 shades, fell in love, ordered the remaining 3 which should arrive soon, the texture and finish is so naturally beautiful (some look light in color like they could be highlighters but I’ll have to do some more testing to report)
- Burberry Fresh Glow Highlighters have such a lovely glow, I’ve swatched on several occasion in stores and have been extremely tempted but I really love my Laura Mercier and Dior highlighters and felt it would be like owning duplicates
- Victoria Beckham Estee Lauder Modern Mercury has been on my radar for quite some time but it kept selling out with previous launches, that being said it should be easy to find now, if I can test it in person first I’ll give it a try, I still own the Modern Mercury color before it was part of the VB collection (I had a backup) and I suspect it’s identical so I don’t think I’ll be purchasing it
All this being said, if you feel overwhelmed by all the highlighter options, you are definitely not alone. I’m on highlighter overload (and also feel that way about new foundation base launches too). I still feel my top highlighter picks include the Dior Nude Air Luminizer Powders (all four reviewed here), Laura Mercier Indiscretion (review here), Hourglass Luminous Light (review here) and Edward Bess All Over Seduction (reviewed here).
Out of the new launches the Laura Mercier palette is my favorite, followed by the By Terry Compacts (not reviewed yet, but will be soon!).
Have you jumped on the highlighter bandwagon for fall launches? What have you picked up lately (new or previously launched colors)? Let me know what you’ve been loving!
Press samples include items from Hourglass, Edward Bess and Charlotte Tilbury.