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Best Highlighters | Holiday 2016 Gift Guide

Best Highlighters | Holiday 2016 Gift Guide

It’s that time of the year again:  holiday gift guides aplenty!  This year, I’ve broken out my gift guides into best of selections for blush, eyeshadow, highlighter, lipstick, lipgloss, palettes, and brushes.  These guides feature permanent formulas so that they can be useful anytime during the holiday season or even into next year.  For limited edition holiday products, you can check out our list of the top 50 highest-rated holiday products, which updates as I post more reviews for holiday products.  I hope you find this list of top performing highlighters useful 🙂

Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Powder

Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Powder

Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Powder ($44.00 for 0.11 oz.) is a luminous, powder highlighter that strikes the right balance between being noticeable without emphasizing the skin’s natural texture. The shimmer is fine, while the powder is silky and smooth. There are only three shades at the moment, and the one I use the most is Starlight, which works as a highlighting blush on my skin tone.

Availability

Sephora, Nordstrom, Beautylish, Neiman Marcus,

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More Holiday 2016: Besame, Wander, BUXOM, Giorgio Armani, Kevyn Aucoin

Besame Mini Lipstick Set
Besame Mini Lipstick Set

More sets I saw online! 🙂

Availability

Now online

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The Details

Besame Mini Lipstick Set | $25.00 | Limited Edition

Bésame Cosmetics’ Classic Color Lipsticks feature vintage-inspired, smooth lip colors that leave a budge-proof finish that stays put, while the angled design achieves precise application. Each lasting color is inspired by the shades worn by coveted Hollywood starlets of the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, imparting an iconic, satin-meets-matte lip look. Each formula is enriched with macadamia oil, vitamin C, chamomile, and aloe to leave your lips feeling soft and hydrated.

  • 5 x 0.035 oz/ 1 g Classic Color Mini Lipsticks in Noir Red (1930), Cherry Red (1935), Red Velvet (1946), Dusty Rose (1969), Chocolate Kiss (1970)

Wander Beauty Prone to Wanter Lipstick Set | $49.00 | Limited Edition

Instantly switch up your lip look with these richly pigmented, long-lasting matte lipsticks. From brights to neutrals, customize the shades you want to take on the go. Simply pick a color combination and insert the two lipsticks into the Wander Beauty core for long-lasting, portable color. Enriched with marula oil, castor seed oil, coco seed butter, jojoba oil, mango seed butter, and sunflower oil, the formula glides on effortlessly and keeps lips moisturized.

  • 6 x 0.07 oz/ 2.04 g Lipstick in Velvet Rope, Miss Behave, Wanderberry, Barely There, Exhibitionist, B.B.

BUXOM Frozen Assets Bold Gel Lipstick Collection | $39.00 | Limited Edition

The Frozen Assets 8-piece Mini Big & Sexy Bold Lipstick Collection includes a range of nude to red shades in moisturizing matte and satin finishes in a lightweight, gel formula. Each shade delivers piercingly vivid, one-stroke color to shamelessly stand out.

  • 4 x 0.03 oz/ 1 g Mini Big & Sexy Bold Gel Matte Lipstick in Racy Reveal (matte warm light pink), Sinful Cinnamon (matte cinnamon brown), Ultraviolet (matte bright violet), Ruby Temptress (matte brick red)
  • 4 x 0.03 oz/ 1 g Mini Big & Sexy Bold Gel Lipstick in Rebel Rose (satin rosy pink), Graphic Grape (satin deep purple), Forbidden Berry (satin deep pink), Fuchsia Fetish (satin hot pink)

Kevyn Aucoin Sunlight The Celestial Skin Liquid Illuminating Emulsion

Kevyn Aucoin Sunlight The Celestial Illuminating Emulsion
Kevyn Aucoin Sunlight The Celestial Illuminating Emulsion

Kevyn Aucoin Sunlight The Celestial Illuminating Emulsion ($52.00 for 1.0 fl. oz.) is a medium-dark brown with warm, golden pearl. Tarte Park Ave Princess (P) is more shimmery (95% similar). Kevyn Aucoin Sunlight (P, $44.00) is more shimmery, cooler (95% similar). Becca Topaz (P, $38.00) is more shimmery (95% similar). CoverGirl Bronze (200) (P, $9.99) is more shimmery (95% similar). Makeup Geek Sunlight (LE, $20.00) is more shimmery, lighter, cooler (90% similar). Cover FX Candlelight (P, $38.00) is more shimmery, darker (90% similar). NARS Laguna (P) is lighter (90% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

The Celestial Skin Liquid Illuminating Emulsion is supposed to be a “weightless highlighter” that “stays put for “12 hours” that can be used as a “primer, foundation, or even a highlighter.” It has a thin, liquid-like consistency that’s more watery than it is substantial, so it mixes well with a variety of products without adding heaviness. I’m a big fan of using this type of product mixed with moisturizer or liquid foundations for an all-over glow. Of the three shades available, Sunlight is the shade that adds the most noticeable color when applied to the skin, so those with lighter complexions may want to experiment and use a bit less if they want to retain the subtle effect of the other two shades when mixing in for all-over use. Those with deeper skin tones may find this works better than the other two shades for all-over. It can still be used as a subtle highlighter on its own, especially as the thinner consistency makes it very spreadable (but harder to leave in place, as it will take forever to dry down in a thick layer!). It gave my skin a soft, golden sheen that’s slightly dewy (but not oily or shiny) and a touch of warmth. When I tried it as a primer, it added an hour or so of wear to my base products, and when I wore it alone as a highlighter on cheeks (over bare skin), it lasted for eight and a half hours. This shade is very similar to its powder version.

Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Skin Liquid Illuminating Emulsion Sunlight
Sunlight
Sunlight
9
Product
10
Pigmentation
10
Texture
7.5
Longevity
5
Application
92%
Total

See more photos & swatches!

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Kevyn Aucoin Starlight The Celestial Skin Liquid Illuminating Emulsion

Kevyn Aucoin Starlight The Celestial Illuminating Emulsion
Kevyn Aucoin Starlight The Celestial Illuminating Emulsion

Kevyn Aucoin Starlight The Celestial Illuminating Emulsion ($52.00 for 1.0 fl. oz.) is a light-medium rosy pink with warm undertones and fine, pink and gold shimmer. Bobbi Brown Wild Rose (LE, $46.00) is more shimmery (90% similar). Looxi Beauty Venom (P, $7.50) is more shimmery (90% similar). Makeup Geek Starlight (LE, $20.00) is more shimmery, lighter, cooler (85% similar). Bobbi Brown Sunset Glow (LE, $46.00) is more shimmery, lighter, cooler (85% similar). Anastasia Starburst (LE) is more shimmery, lighter (80% similar). Anastasia Sassy Grape (LE) is cooler (80% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

The Celestial Skin Liquid Illuminating Emulsion is supposed to be a “weightless highlighter” that “stays put for “12 hours” that can be used as a “primer, foundation, or even a highlighter.” It has a thin, liquid-like consistency that’s more watery than it is substantial, so it mixes well with a variety of products without adding heaviness. I’m a big fan of using this type of product mixed with moisturizer or liquid foundations for an all-over glow. I reviewed the original shade, Celestial, years ago here, and I recently noticed the brand released two more shades, Starlight and Sunlight. The formula is very subtle as a targeted highlighter, but it works well patted onto cheekbones, down the nose, above the cupid’s bow, and so on, if desired. There’s a soft sheen and dewy finish that’s apparent but doesn’t move around my base products easily. The brand says 12-hour wear, which I don’t get; it added maybe an hour of wear time to my base products when mixed in, and on top of bare skin as a typical highlighter, it lasted a solid eight hours. I don’t expect that one needs to collect all three shades; this is ever-so-slightly more pink-toned and less golden, so it may suit those with pinker and redder skin tones a bit more than the original Celestial. Worth noting, the liquid version is pinker and not quite as peachy as the powder version.

Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Skin Liquid Illuminating Emulsion Starlight
Starlight
Starlight
9
Product
10
Pigmentation
10
Texture
7.5
Longevity
5
Application
92%
Total

See more photos & swatches!

Kevyn Aucoin Deep The Sculpting Powder

Kevyn Aucoin Deep The Sculpting Powder
Kevyn Aucoin Deep The Sculpting Powder

Kevyn Aucoin Deep The Sculpting Powder ($44.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a muted, dark brown with subtle, warm undertones and a matte finish. Kat Von D Subconscious (P) is warmer (90% similar). LORAC Deep Contour (P) is darker, warmer (90% similar). NARS Talia (Contour) (P) is lighter, cooler (90% similar). Viseart Sculpting #2 (P) is brighter (90% similar). NYX Hollow (P, $5.00) is warmer (90% similar). LORAC Medium Contour (P) is lighter (85% similar). Cover FX Sunset (P, $38.00) is darker, warmer (80% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

The Sculpting Powder is supposed to feel lightweight and have buildable coverage from sheer to full. Recently, the brand expanded the Sculpting formula to include two new shades–Light and Deep–to complement the existing Medium shade. Deep is several shades darker than Medium, which is a good thing, and still retains the more neutral undertone that made Medium so beloved by those who enjoy contouring. It’s a very pigmented formula that’s more blendable than it is buildable; if you apply less, you can sheer and blend out the color enough for a subtler contour, but it has a tendency to apply rather true-to-pan. The texture was very soft, smooth, and finely-milled with a bit of excess kicked up in the pan. The color could have been slightly more blendable in practice, but it wasn’t too much work to diffuse the edges. The contour wore well for eight and a half hours on me.

Kevyn Aucoin The Sculpting Powder Deep
Deep
Deep
8.5
Product
8.5
Pigmentation
9
Texture
8.5
Longevity
4.5
Application
87%
Total

See more photos & swatches!

Kevyn Aucoin Light The Sculpting Powder

Kevyn Aucoin Light The Sculpting Powder
Kevyn Aucoin Light The Sculpting Powder

Kevyn Aucoin Light The Sculpting Powder ($44.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a medium, subdued brown with warmer, rosy undertones and a matte finish.Tarte Contour Soft (Tarteist) (LE) is darker (90% similar). YSL Golden Contouring Contour (P) is lighter (90% similar). Zoeva Heavy Crown (P) is darker, warmer (85% similar). LORAC Light Contour (P) is darker (90% similar). Too Faced Medium Cocoa (P) is darker, warmer (85% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

The Sculpting Powder is supposed to feel lightweight with buildable coverage from sheer to full. Recently, the brand expanded the Sculpting formula to include two new shades–Light and Deep–to complement the existing Medium shade. I don’t consider it a very buildable formula as it is rather pigmented, and a little can go a long way, but it is soft and finely-milled, which makes it easy to blend and diffuse to sheerer coverage, if desired (or just use less and build up). The texture felt smooth and silky to the touch, and despite being very matte, it didn’t look dry or powdery on the skin. I have more light-medium colored skin, and I am able to use this shade and achieve noticeable color, though it is definitely lighter than Medium and should work well on lighter skin tones but very fair complexions may find they still have to sheer it out quite a bit for a subtle contour. I also think this one may be better on cooler undertones, as the rosy tone makes it appear more dramatic as it contrasts with my skin tone more than Medium or Deep does (I have soft, yellow undertones). On me, the contour wore well for eight hours on me.

Kevyn Aucoin The Sculpting Powder Light
Light
Light
9
Product
8.5
Pigmentation
10
Texture
8.5
Longevity
5
Application
91%
Total

See more photos & swatches!

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