Estee Lauder x Courreges Iridescent Ball Highlighter
Estee Lauder x Courreges Iridescent Ball Highlighter ($26.00 for 0.11 oz.) is a sheer wash of champagne sheen. Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight (P, $28.00) is less shiny. Burberry Nude Radiance No. 01 (P, $48.00) is thinner, liquid. NARS 413 BLKR (P, $30.00) is more shimmery. Illamasqua Aurora (P, $24.00) is more shimmery. See comparison swatches / view dupes.
The product’s description is confusing, because in one breath, it’s described as an “iridescent powder gelee,” which is then followed by the term “sensorial cream.” To be totally clear, this is like a very firmly-packed cream–think like a lipgloss that’s been put into pan-form. It’s not at all powder-like, and it doesn’t dry down at all, so it remains shiny and glossy on the skin. If you prefer a more matte finish or lightly luminous highlight, this probably isn’t a product for you, because it is shiny and can look oily as much as it looks glossy. It’s not a product that worked well over foundation and only seemed suitable on bare skin (the latter of which is what I test wear for, but with something like this, I also play with it to see how it would react with base products under it), as over foundation, it tends to break down base products more quickly. It lasts for six and a half hours and migrates slightly over time (so the area that I highlighted got larger as the day goes on).
It doesn’t have underlying pigment in the base, but it has champagne shimmer that translates into more of a sheen, even though in the pan, it looks more beige/champagne. It’s very sheer when used, and the only way to get sheer to semi-sheer coverage is to pat the product onto the skin with fingertips and then only blend the edges with a soft touch. Otherwise, the product sheers out to nothing but a wet-looking sheen. In practice, it is more shine than shimmer, more shine than color. Estee Lauder said it could be used “dotted onto cheeks for an allover polished glow,” which I think would be a very specific look as it would give the skin a wet/oily sheen wherever it is applied (but might be nice for drier skin types), which can work when it’s done on high planes, but it is easy to go overboard if you apply it everywhere! The texture is thin, somewhat spreadable but really benefits from the warmth of fingertips rather than brush for good application. It’s not really tacky, but my hair will get stick to it (as will a stray dog hair, found that out as well!).
The brand could have described the color/coverage of this product better, because I think knowing that is necessary so anyone who purchases knows what they’re getting themselves into. In the press release, Courreges was inspired by his desire to “let the light into my clothes” when making this product. This is absent in Sephora’s description, but the press release seems to indicate that the coverage is something in the sheerer realm (certainly opaque, as light wouldn’t come through), though it isn’t totally clear where it’s supposed to fall, and it falls on the very, very sheer part of the spectrum. Descriptions like these (and lack of more specific ones) are what makes rating more difficult, and I’ve tried to weigh the idea that “this isn’t supposed to be opaque” with “but this is almost clear,” but sheer and clear are quite different to me. (Wouldn’t it be nice if brands used a 1-5 opacity system?!)
The pan is small, and it is hard to get some brushes in it with ease. Something about seeing the pan’s rim combined with the packaging felt cheap to me, but that’s a very subjective observation, so some may love it and others may feel the same. The amount contained in the pan seems small, but there aren’t a lot of products like this on the market to compare size with. I honestly think that a liquid highlighter (like Kevyn Aucoin’s or Becca’s) would be a better investment, but both will give a must less shiny finish.