Wednesday, July 15, 2015

High End Highlighter Wardrobe

Highlighter seems to be having a resurgent moment, despite never truly dropping off the radar. Still, with the release of Becca x Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Champagne Pop (purportedly breaking Sephora records for sales of a new item) and talk of "strobing", highlighting seems to be back bigger than ever. I've always loved highlighter (the obsession started at the very beginning of the blog), and still regard it as one of the most enjoyable aspects of makeup. Here, I've rounded up my high end powder highlighters. Among them are some of my favourite makeup items ever.



theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer
Generally regarded as one of the best highlighters out there, and for good reason. For anyone remotely into highlighter, the Mary-Lou Manizer is a must have (chances are, you already own it). This is the strongest, most visible highlighter out of the 5 I've featured. The texture can't be faulted: smooth, soft and buttery, almost creamy, not powdery in the slightest. It blends effortlessly. As it's so pigmented, it requires a light hand and applies best with a small fluffy brush like the SUQQU Cheek Brush.

Napoleon Perdis The Ultimate Contour Palette Highlight shade
Recently included in my January 2015 Favourites, there's been no loss of enthusiasm since. This one is special because it's glowy as opposed to shimmery or metallic. It's also the most refined in that you can't detect any shimmer particles — it just projects a luminous sheen. Excellent texture and quality.

Stila All Over Shimmer Powder in Kitten
I was fortunate to win this in the Stila Party in a Box set that also had a Lip Glaze in Kitten. Since then, I admit I haven't reached for it very often. I do like the colour, but texture-wise it's a bit chunky and not as finely milled as the others. The shimmer is more frosty on the skin and looks slightly gritty and dry.

Dior Diorskin Poudre Shimmer in Amber Diamond
One of those products I'm so thankful to have in my makeup collection, because I'm not sure how I could get my hands on it now. Christine of Temptalia calls it her "all-time favourite highlighter", though that declaration was 7 years ago. Still, I can understand why. As it's a gradated strip, there's more choice and versatility with the colour selection. Overall, it produces a very flattering, softly glowy effect that instantly adds radiance and dimension to the face. It has a slightly harder texture than the others so I prefer using it with a flatter, firmer brush like the Real Techniques Setting Brush. A softer, fluffier brush might not pick up enough product and distribute it in a concentrated enough manner along the cheekbones. Full review with swatches here.

Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow Highlight shade
Ahhh, the Filmstar Bronze & Glow. Such an incredible contouring palette and worth every penny. The Highlight shade in this duo is powerfully luminising but not greasy or pore-accentuating. Being so smooth and soft in texture but not crumbly, it blends with hardly any effort. I almost exclusively apply it with the Charlotte Tilbury Powder & Sculpt Brush which places and diffuses the product brilliantly.

l-r: theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer, Napoleon Perdis Highlight, Stila Kitten, Dior Amber Diamond, Charlotte Tilbury Highlight

l-r: theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer, Napoleon Perdis Highlight, Stila Kitten, Dior Amber Diamond, Charlotte Tilbury Highlight

Colour-wise, theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer is the most yellow-leaning/champagne. The Napoleon Perdis is an ethereal pearly pink and the lightest. Stila Kitten is a rose gold/pinky bronze with a touch of frostiness. Dior Amber Diamond (mixed together) leans the most orange/copper, though the exact colour obviously depends on what section of the strip your brush is dipped into. (The lightest shade to the left, a pale yellow gold, is a stunning inner corner highlight.) The Charlotte Tilbury is like a peachier Mary-Lou Manizer, with glints of yellow, orange and pink when inspected under the light.


There's just something about highlighter that injects instant glamour and lift to the face. It literally brings light to the complexion and is that final, beautifying step that ties everything together. I don't wear it every day, but when I do, I'm reminded how much an impact it does make. Plus, it's just fun. Who doesn't want to cheat higher, more prominent cheekbones or give themselves a touch more glow? Since I took photos for this post, I may have purchased theBalm Cindy-Lou Manizer and pre-ordered Becca Champagne Pop. I'm still looking to eventually add Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight to my collection. And while it's not a powder, I think I need some of the MAC Cream Colour Bases. I was fixated on highlighter in the early stages of the blog and I'm still hunting down highlighters now. Some old loves show no signs of fading.

31 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing these! I don't think my face will ever be the same again since I've started using highlighters. My favourite is by Hourglass actually, but the Charlotte Tilbury duo looks a dream too!

    Lion in the Wild // www.lioninthewild.com

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    1. Ooohh, which Hourglass do you like? Is it one of the Ambient Lighting Powders?

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  2. I need to pick up The Balm's Mary Lou-Manizer! I have been putting it off for way too long and it is such a staple. x

    nueyork.blogspot.com

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  3. Aaah, who doesn't love a good highlighter? I have the same sentiments about the Amber Diamond - I'm just so glad that I got my hands on it although my lid has now broken! A shame but I still reach for it quite a bit. I'm also a huge fan of The Balm's Mary Lou Manizer and my newest favourite is Laura Mercier's Matte Radiance Baked Powder in Highlight-01 :)

    Ash / www.thebeautycollection.com.au

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    1. The Laura Mercier sounds intriguing! How'd you manage to get your hands on Amber Diamond? Yay to us for shopping successes :)

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  4. Woohoo! HIGHLIGHT ON FLEEEEK. These are all seriously gorg, gotta love Mary-Lou and I hope you really like Cindy-lou! I reaally want to get my hands on the Filmstar bronze & glow and I would looove Becca Champagne pop but I think I missed the pre-order bandwagon? Was busy uhming and ahing over the price haha. Hopefully they make it permanent because it's so popular!

    Tasha // shiwashiful.

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    1. Woahhhhh I just checked ry.com.au and Lipstick Republic and both are sold out. I'm genuinely shocked!

      Crazy stuff. Shopping is so competitive these days, sometimes you can't even pay quick enough lol

      I love Cindy-Lou, it's so pretty and fairly unique in my collection :) The CT is so exy but one of my best purchases ever.

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  5. I have been drooling over the Charlotte Tilbury's bronze & glow forever. I have the Mary-Loumanizer and wonder if this would be too close to the shade. From the zillion reviews I read, think CT's much more fined and easily blended.

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    1. I think in terms of texture, pigmentation, blendability, quality etc they're comparable. The CT is less yellow in colour compared with Mary-Lou. The glow it gives is probably a touch more refined and it sits beautifully on the skin. I think you'll like the palette if you do buy it :)

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  6. Great post! I am not big on highlighters as they tend to emphasize my pores. But I do own several of them and use them only for special occasions usually at night where I don't need to worry about the sunlight ( the most unflattering kind of light for my pores. LOL ).
    I own Marylouminizer and it is indeed a very good highlighter and very nice on photo. I use it on daily basis but as inner corner highlight.
    The CT Filmstar duo is on the top of my wish list. When net-a-porter offers free shipping, I'm going to order it right away xP

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    1. Haven't used Mary-Lou much for the eyes but sounds like a good idea!

      Haha please tweet me when you find out about Net-a-Porter having free shipping ;) I'll be looking to take advantage of that especially since the AUD has died against the USD, making the pound more relatively affordable!

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  7. Oh wow, you seriously have a nice bunch of highlighters there! The only highlighter I own is the mary-lou manizer and I actually use it mostly on the eyes! I've never liked using highlighters on the face and feel no need to use them to sculpt as I'm always using shimmery/glowing blushes! I would love to own a mini sized dior amber diamond though, I could see that being a perfect match on top of a neutral blush!

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    1. That's true that a shimmery blush often negates the need for a separate highlighter. I haven't used Amber Diamond as a blush topper but some of the more pigmented segments probably could double up as a blush/bronzer hybrid. Kind of like Edward Bess Monte Carlo or something.

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  8. Great swatches! I reallyyyy want Champagne Pop haha :)

    Erin | Erin and Katherine Talk Beauty

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    1. Thanks! I cannot wait for mine to arrive. Mid-August is too far away...

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  9. Oh gosh, they all look so beautiful! I rarely remember to use highlighter, but it doesn't stop me lusting over pictures like these hehe xx

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    1. It is a bit of an optional/additional step that's not part of everyone's daily makeup routine. I do love it though!

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  10. Woah that Charlotte Tilbury palette! I've seen it around on other blogs and always tell myself 'later...buy it later...". So gorgeous!

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    1. It's definitely a wishlist-worthy item!

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  11. Great post and thanks for sharing all the swatches and comparisons! I'm not a huge fan of highlighters, but I'd really like to try the one from Thebalm, because being very pale I think the other colors would add a little bit too warm shine. By the way also Nars does some beautiful highlighters. I'm not saying you need one more, but ...I'd recommend them ;)

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  12. Dior's Amber Diamond certainly looks gorgeous! I love the colour in the pan but I find that it's a little too orange for my tastes. I'm all about the highlighters too and I've recently gotten the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfecter in Moonstone which is so gorgeous! It reminds me of a softer less glittery version of Mary-Lou so an accidental heavy handed mistake is still ok :)

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  13. Ugh everything is so pretty!
    I don't really own any Powder highlighter - except the one that came with my face form from Sleek. I've been thinking about getting two from the balm and maybe one from MAC ( they are expensive but they are sooo pretty. Oh and some Korean Brands also have really pretty highlighters, like Lioele and 3CE)
    I usually tend to use more either my sample high beam or my sample what's up.
    And Charlotte Tilbury Makeup is sooo gorgeous. I seriously need to try something out...

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  14. HIGHLIGHTER FOREVER! :D

    Cindy-Lou is amazing! I haven't used it in a while because it got smashed and I haven't yet had the chance to fix it, but soooooon.

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  15. I really want to pick up Charlotte Tilbury's Film Star Bronze and Glow, it looks so beautiful x

    http://abeautyromancee.blogspot.co.uk
    http://abeautyromancee.blogspot.co.uk

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  16. once you get champagne pop, I would love to see a comparison against amber diamond!

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  17. Mary-Lou is what got me into highlighters - now I'm hooked! Love the shade of the Charlotte Tilbury one though, so gorgeous!

    Sheri | Behind The Frames

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  18. Ahhhh I love highlighter, you should try out the one by Physician's Formula it's the best!

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  19. I recently got the Filmstar Bronze and Glow palette and I'm in love. I haven't always been a highlighter fan, but I've started to change my views on it a bit since I got the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette. That extra oomph on the cheek bones do make a good difference! :)

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  20. Amber Diamond looks stunning! I think Im finally going to get the Bronze and Glow in the new shade coming out. Highlighter is one of my favourite products to treat myself to :) xx

    Jasmine Talks Beauty

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