"Thank you, it's my new highlighter", I explained. A puzzled expression ensued; I had forgotten most people are not makeup addicts and think of stationery when told about highlighters...
The episode made me realise: I haven't shared my favourite highlighters!!!
My first encounter with a delightful, almost liquid finish, highlighter was Guerlain Cruel Gardenia. Apparently one can still find this at airport Duty Free so be on the lookout! This is probably my favourite... Well gosh, no all these are favourites. I have others, namely liquid ones and cream ones, but I've found that for longevity and that liquid effect, the gelee type formula AKA extra dimension (Estee Lauder and MAC terminology respectively) are the very very best.
Guerlain Cruel Gardenia - a pale petal pink, almost a champagne rose
I don't like lilac pinks and purples, but a soft warm pink works well. I find lilac tones like NARS Luxor or Urban Decay Afterglow make my pale skin look like a gleaming corpse. I prefer looking like I have the angelic heavenly light of pure sunshine.
I sold my MAC Whisper of Gilt, I've spoken about this before - it was amazing - but I did get the latest evocation of MAC's delicious Extra Dimension skinfinish formula, Oh,Darling. It's a close cousin of Whisper of Gilt but not quite as wonderful. Having said that, once I got my hands on Anastasia So Hollywood, all mourning for Whisper of Gilt ceased. So Hollywood is paler than Oh,Darling and has that very slight murmer of pinky peach about it which I so loved in Whisper of Gilt. Oh,Darling is a gold with a burnt orange murmer rather than a pinky peach one. It almost gives a tan effect. The gleam on all these formulas makes them all exquisite regardless of shade tones.
MAC Oh,Darling beneath Guerlain Cruel Gardenia. Notice shade tones pink v gold
Anastasia So Hollywood (third swatch) - notice lighter than MAC Oh,Darling
As I was saying, I only just got my hands of this, and it's got to be the grandaddy of these wet look highlighters! I imagine Guerlain was the first to seize upon this formula. At any rate, look out for MADE IN ITALY and the ingredients: "GLYCERIN" and also often "SQUALENE". These two moisturising and skin-loving ingredients seem to be the secret to finding winning formulas.
Guerlain Sun in the City - the most true gold. Notice more clean gold than MAC Oh,Darling
I tried to swatch Guerlain Wulong powder next to the Sun in the City (5th swatch) but it's rather faint. On the face however, Guerlain Wulong; Guerlain meteorites and pressed meteorites; Laura Mercier Secret Brightening powder; Benefit Powderflage, and the Estee Lauder loose powder from the Cyberwhite range, all give soft glowing finishes and in photos as well as real life, they make a huge difference.
Swatched here (below and between MAC Oh,Darling and Anastasia So Hollywood) I've tried to show Becca loose pigment in Hyawatha (which I pressed into a pan) but it's rather hard to detect. These are in the category of all over brightening veil rather than strategic highlighters.
Staying with loose pigments, MAC pigment in Vanilla is another safe bet. It's a pale gold with a pinky duochrome reflect.
A guilty pleasure of mine is Illamasqua Beguile pigment. It's rather gritty and sandy textured, and let's face it it's essentially a loose glitter - but I love the way it looks like drops of water. It looks terrible in daylight and rather garish at the best of times, but for nights or evenings when you feel joyful and want to let the magpie spirit free - it's such wonderful stuff! It's white - but reflects blue and green and pink and purple and gold...!
Illamasqua Beguile; MAC Vanilla
A frustrating and futile exercise trying to capture the mesmerising glitter of Illamasqua Beguile - here in artificial light
I must mention - without veering into favourite glowy blushers of course - the beauty of Laura Geller Blush n Brighten. I have chosen Pink Grapefruit here. I threw away all my MAC mineralised blushers! I used to adore the likes of Daft Pink and Moon River (youth, sob) but now I can only bear the super refined powders. MAC mineralised blushers and, to a lesser extent, the Milani baked blushers, are not as flattering anymore. I also like the texture of Too Faced Pink Leopard which is a similar peachy shade. I often use these lightly with a fluffy brush, as all-over brighteners when I am especially pallid.
Second row shows Too Faced Pink Leopard, Becca Hyawatha, Laura Geller Blush n Brighten in Pink Grapefruit
Top row top to bottom: Guerlain Sun in the City, Anastasia So Hollywood, MAC Oh,Darling, Guerlain Cruel Gardenia. Second row top to bottom: Laura Geller Blush n Brighten in Pink Grapefruit, Becca Hyawatha, Too Faced Pink Leopard
Artficial light, L-R: Guerlain Cruel Gardenia, MAC Oh,Darling, Anastasia So Hollywood, Guerlain Sun in the City