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Cover FX Candlelight Custom Enhancer Drops

Cover FX Candlelight Custom Enhancer Drops
Cover FX Candlelight Custom Enhancer Drops

Cover FX Candlelight Custom Enhancer Drops ($42.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is a medium-dark, coppery-brown with warm, red undertones and fine gold, pink, and copper pearl. Cover FX Candlelight (P, $34.00) is more shimmery, lighter (95% similar). Makeup Geek Ignite (P, $20.00) is more shimmery (95% similar). Kevyn Aucoin Sunlight (P, $52.00) is less shimmery, lighter (90% similar). Anastasia Bronzed (LE) is more shimmery, warmer (90% similar). Colour Pop Santos (LE, $8.00) is less shimmery, darker (90% similar). The Estee Edit Beachy (LE) is less shimmery, cooler (90% similar). theBalm Betty-Lou Manizer (P, $24.00) is lighter, warmer (90% similar). Bobbi Brown Bronze (P, $46.00) is more shimmery (90% similar). MAC Gilty Bronze (LE, $29.50) is darker (90% similar). Colour Pop Glo Up (LE, $8.00) is less shimmery, warmer (90% similar). Colour Pop Avalon (LE, $8.00) is more shimmery, warmer (85% similar). Too Faced Sun Bunny #1 (P) is less shimmery, warmer (85% similar). Laura Mercier Seduction (P, $44.00) is darker, warmer (85% similar). Dior #004 (P, $56.00) is lighter, cooler (85% similar). Becca Topaz (P, $38.00) is more shimmery, lighter, warmer (85% similar). Colour Pop Poolside (P, $8.00) is less shimmery, lighter, warmer (85% similar). Makeup Geek Sunlight (LE, $20.00) is more shimmery, lighter (85% similar). MAC Golden Elixir (LE, $31.00) is less shimmery, lighter (80% similar). Disney by Sephora Golden Sands (LE, $55.00) is warmer (80% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Custom Enhancer Drops is a liquid formula that can add a “highlighting, strobing, or bronzing effect” to your favorite liquid products or used alone on top of (or underneath) your other products (including powder); two of the six shades are bronzing and four are more shimmery/metallic for highlighting. It is a buildable coverage product, so that you can use as many or as few drops as desired for the effect (and it will depend on how you use it; mixing with a moisturizer for all-over may require less product than spot application on cheeks after other makeup is applied!). These are similar to formulas like Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer (runs a bit sheerer overall, less buildable), Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector (Liquid) (much sheerer), and NARS Illuminators (thicker, sheerer, usually contains larger shimmer/glitter particles). The major difference is the intensity of the pearl and buildability in coverage (easier to get to full coverage but still easy to retain sheer coverage).

What’s neat about these is that they are versatile as you want them to be; they really do perform well mixed with various liquid and cream products (moisturizer, foundation, tinted moisturizer, primer) while also working under and over makeup, and are buildable from sheer to opaque coverage. Initially, the formula might seem incredibly pigmented, but the thin, liquid consistency naturally creates a sheerer layer as soon as you work it across the skin. That being said, unless you’re mixing with a base product, one drop is likely overkill for spot application.

These have a strong sheen but very fine shimmer, so it produces more of a pearly, glowing effect on the skin–lightly dewy with moderate shine and some noticeable shimmer. They dry down within 10-15 seconds of blending out the product and feel like a powder but with better hold (I get little transfer if I touch the area with this applied, but if I rub vigorously, I will get product to move), so the sheen you see is the result of the reflective quality of the pearl not that the product remains wet. You can, however, build these up to opaque coverage, and at that level, some of the shimmery shades can emphasize the texture of the skin. The formula also wore well on me, ranging from eight to ten hours with minimal signs of fading. I’d expect that this formula will work for someone who likes all-over luminosity and likes adjusting and mixing highlighters with their base products or enjoys moderate-to-metallic highlighters with luminous, shiny, pearly finishes or likes all-over warmth (in the case of the bronzing shades) with a satin-to-matte finish. If you like barely-there shimmer or tend not to like noticeable shine, I would try it in person or look for another type of product.

Candlelight had buildable coverage that ranged from semi-sheer to opaque, depending on application and amount of product used. For reference, one droplet on the back of my hand covers that area (about 3″ x 3″) with semi-opaque coverage. I liked a dab of the applicator against the back of my hand, rather than a drop, if I was applying on targeted areas, like cheekbones or down the bridge of my nose, as a drop was far more product than needed. For mixing, I found one drop to be sufficient for a noticeable all-over glow that didn’t read metallic or like I highlighted my entire face, while two or more drops became more noticeable and also added color to my skin tone. The consistency is thin, easily spread across the skin or mixed in with other products, and blends well as it is drying down. Once it dries down, it’s not very blendable, so I recommend working one area at a time when using it alone (either under or over makeup) as there is some time to work but not a lot (this is the only downside to the product, but it is likely part of why it is longer-wearing). On me, the color lasted for nine hours when applied over bare skin. I did not find it shortened the wear of other products when I mixed it in and applied all over.

Here’s an in-depth look at how I’ve used and trialed all the shades:

Alone: I’ve patted them over bare skin, liquid foundation, and liquid foundation with setting powder on top. For best results, I like to tap my brush against the applicator (not even using the droplet applicator to get a drop out) and then stipple the product onto the skin. I tend to apply both my bronzers and highlighters more along the cheek areas, so I would stipple a few times along my cheeks or cheek bones and then lightly buff in small circles. It worked equally well just dabbing my fingertips against my skin and using the side of my fingertip to sweep and blend the product out. I was particularly impressed by how well it applied over powder, as the sheerer, smooth texture didn’t disrupt base products and move foundation or turn the area patchy. When testing for wear, I used its longevity on bare skin as my major measure for the rating, but I did wear the shades mixed in and layered with a multitude of products to ensure that the formula wasn’t prone to shortening the wear of other products.

Mixed with Primer: I tried it with both water and silicone-based primers, and I had no preference for one over the other with respect to these drops. I used one to two drops for all-over luminosity; I preferred one drop myself, as it gave me a dewier finish that wasn’t over-the-top for my preference. If you wear a lighter-coverage base on top of primer, mixing with primer could work for all-over glow/warmth, but if you wear light-medium or heavier coverage, I would suggest mixing with your foundation or applying on top of your foundation as it gets lost under heavier coverage.

Mixed with Foundation: I tried it with tinted moisturizer, sheer coverage foundation, medium coverage foundation, and full coverage foundation. In general, heavier coverage foundations are a bit thicker than the ultra sheer formulas. I found one to drops was sufficient with tinted to medium coverage formulas, while full coverage was less receptive–it made the foundation dewier but wasn’t as luminous as with lighter coverage foundations. If I wore full coverage foundation, I preferred this patted on top at the end, rather than mixed.

Mixed with Moisturizer: Like primer, this method works well when you skip foundation or wear lighter coverage foundation. I can imagine this combination working well for those with flatter or more matte skin naturally, as it gives noticeable luminosity and dewiness. While I didn’t personally like the level of sheen it gave my face when mixed with moisturizer, I loved it for body–particularly on shoulders and decolletage. It is also gorgeous on legs. I really liked mixing one of the highlighting shades with a bronzing shade for a little color, warmth, and sheen on legs.

Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops (Illuminating) Candlelight
9.5
Product
10
Pigmentation
9
Texture
9.5
Longevity
5
Application
96%
Total

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YSL Rosy Contouring Couture Contouring Palette

YSL Rosy Contouring (2) Couture Contouring Palette
YSL Rosy Contouring (2) Couture Contouring Palette

YSL Rosy Contouring (2) Couture Contouring Palette ($47.00 for 0.24 oz.) contains two powders–one for contouring, one for highlighting–in a slim, gold-hued (plastic) palette. The contouring shade is slightly larger in size compared to the highlighting shade. Like the Golden Contouring (1) Palette, I suspect this will be better suited and show more nicely on fairer complexions. The quality of this palette, however, is lower as the texture of the Contour shade is firmer and has less payoff while being harder to diffuse.

Rosy Contouring Contour is a muted, medium-dark rosy brown with subtle, warm undertones and a matte finish. It had semi-sheer color payoff, which was somewhat buildable, so this is going to be a product that is better suited for someone who likes sheerer coverage overall. The texture was firmer, a little stiffer to work with, which was likely part of why the pigmentation was lower. It lasted well on the skin for seven and a half hours on me. NARS Contour (P) is warmer (90% similar). Inglot #504 (P, $15.00) is darker, cooler (85% similar). Colour Pop Aphrodisiac (P, $8.00) is more shimmery, warmer (85% similar). NARS Paloma Contour (P) is darker, warmer (80% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Rosy Contouring Highlight is a very light beige with subtle, warm undertones and a satin finish. It had good pigmentation with a lightly dusty consistency that blended well. Despite the dustiness, it didn’t emphasize my skin’s texture or appear dry or powdery applied to my skin. This shade seemed to wear for eight hours, but on my skin tone, it was hard to determine as it doesn’t register easily. YSL Golden Contouring Highlight (P) is more shimmery, warmer (95% similar). MAC Hot Sensation (LE, $22.00) is lighter, brighter (95% similar). Tarte Highlight (Tarteist) (LE) is more shimmery, warmer (90% similar). Chanel Jardin de Camelias (LE, $70.00) is warmer (90% similar). Hourglass Incandescent Strobe Light (P, $38.00) is more shimmery, warmer (90% similar). NYX Soft Light (P, $5.00) is less shimmery, lighter (90% similar). NARS Highlight (P) is less shimmery (90% similar). NARS Paloma Highlight (P) is less shimmery (90% similar). Kat Von D Lucid (P) is lighter, brighter (85% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

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Also In This Review

YSL Golden Contouring Couture Contouring Palette

YSL Golden Contouring (1) Couture Contouring Palette
YSL Golden Contouring (1) Couture Contouring Palette

YSL Golden Contouring (1) Couture Contouring Palette ($47.00 for 0.24 oz.) contains two powders–one for contouring, one for highlighting–in a slim, gold-hued (plastic) palette. The contouring shade is slightly larger in size compared to the highlighting shade. I expect this to work best on light-medium and lighter skin tones; it is just barely noticeable on me as a more subtle contouring pick, and I am light-medium to medium in coloring. Though this is dubbed Golden, it is not overly warm and seems like suitable shades for neutral-to-warm skin tones. It’s a decent to good palette overall, though there are certainly a lot of options in this category across price points.

Golden Contouring Contour is a muted, mid-tone taupe-brown with subtle, warm undertones and a matte finish. The texture was slightly dusty, though soft, smooth, and finely-milled, that blended easily underneath the cheekbones and along the jaw line without leaving sharp lines. It had semi-opaque color payoff that was easy to apply with a lighter hand or build up with an additional layer for truer-to-pan color. On me, it wore well for just over seven and a half hours. Kevyn Aucoin Light (P, $44.00) is darker (90% similar). Smashbox Contour (P) is darker (90% similar). LORAC Light Contour (P) is darker, warmer (85% similar). Kat Von D Sombre (P) is darker, warmer (85% similar). Tarte Contour Soft (Tarteist) (LE) is warmer (85% similar). Kevyn Aucoin Medium (P, $44.00) is darker, warmer (80% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Golden Contouring Highlight is a light beige with warm, golden undertones and a satiny shimmer-sheen finish. The pigmentation was rich, while the texture was soft, finely-milled, and blendable without being dusty or powdery. It gave a very subtle luminance to the skin, where it seemed to emphasize the natural sheen of skin, but it wasn’t enough to show up well in photos (it is one of those products that is better suited for real life than photography). I also suspect it will do more for lighter skin tones than mine. This shade seemed to wear well for eight hours (it’s not really visible on my skin color, so that makes it harder to judge wear). YSL Rosy Contouring Highlight (P) is less shimmery, cooler (95% similar). MAC Hot Sensation (LE, $22.00) is lighter, brighter (95% similar). Tarte Highlight (Tarteist) (LE) is more muted (95% similar). Chanel Jardin de Camelias (LE, $70.00) is less shimmery (95% similar). Sephora Light Beam (02) (P, $14.00) is more shimmery (90% similar). Cover FX Celestial (LE, $34.00) is more shimmery (90% similar). NARS Paloma Highlight (P) is less shimmery (90% similar). Colour Pop Glazed (LE, $8.00) is more shimmery, darker (90% similar). YSL Lumiere Divine (LE) is more shimmery, lighter (90% similar). NARS Highlight (P) is less shimmery, lighter (90% similar). Hourglass Incandescent Strobe Light (P, $38.00) is more shimmery (95% similar). NYX Soft Light (P, $5.00) is less shimmery, lighter (85% similar). Kat Von D Lucid (P) is less shimmery, lighter, brighter (85% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

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Dior #001 Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer

Dior #001 Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer
Dior #001 Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer

Dior #001 Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer ($56.00 for 0.21 oz.) is a light, golden beige with warm undertones and a luminous sheen. Sleek MakeUP Equinox (P) is more shimmery (95% similar). MAC Sparkling Rose (LE, $26.00) is lighter (95% similar). Colour Pop Teasecake (DC, $8.00) is less shimmery, cooler (95% similar). Becca Champagne Pop (P, $38.00) is warmer (95% similar). Cover FX Moonlight (P, $34.00) is less shimmery, lighter, warmer (90% similar). LORAC Destined (LE, $23.00) is lighter (90% similar). theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer (P, $24.00) is lighter, warmer (90% similar). Too Faced Sweet Peach Illuminator (P) is warmer (90% similar). Colour Pop Yummy Cookies (LE, $8.00) is less shimmery, darker (90% similar). bareMinerals The Love Affair (LE, $26.00) is less shimmery, darker (90% similar). Charlotte Tilbury Sun Light (LE) is less shimmery, warmer (90% similar). Colour Pop Double Dip (LE, $8.00) is lighter, warmer (90% similar). Smashbox Shimmer (LE) is less shimmery, darker, warmer (90% similar). Becca Champagne Pop (P, $38.00) is warmer (90% similar). Tarte Exposed (P, $28.00) is lighter (95% similar). Becca Moonstone (P, $38.00) is lighter, warmer (85% similar). Dior Glowing Nude (002) (LE, $58.00) is warmer (95% similar). Tom Ford Beauty The Afternooner (Highlighter) (LE) is lighter (85% similar). Cover FX Sunlight (P, $34.00) is lighter, warmer (85% similar). Bobbi Brown 24 Karat (P, $46.00) is warmer (90% similar). Top 20 dupes listed, see the rest. See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

According to Dior, the formula is “highly concentrated with illuminating pigments” that gives you a “radiantly luminous complexion.” There’s not a lot to infer either way about pigmentation, but in general, the Diorskin Nude Air products are touted for natural, lighter looks, which tends to be code for sheerer. #001 has medium coverage, which is somewhat buildable, but it is such a close color to my actual skin tone that it’s hard to distinguish coverage when I’ve applied it as a highlighter (as it is blended out)! The texture was firm in the pan, smooth to the touch with a slight dryness on the brush (liked baked and hybrid gel-powder formulas), but it sat on the skin well and did not emphasize pores or the skin’s natural texture. I liked it, but it’s very dupable (even within past Dior releases), so whether it’s a must-have or not will depend on your stash. I really think it’s just a re-release of the Nude (002) from earlier this year; it’s at most, slightly more golden than #001. On me, the powder wore well for eight hours.

Dior Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer #001
#001

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NARS Talia Contour Blush Duo

NARS Talia Contour Blush
NARS Talia Contour Blush

NARS Talia Contour Blush ($42.00 for 0.28 oz.) is one of two new, permanent highlighting/contour duos for fall. The highlighting shade in the duos tends to be mostly matte, so it is not your typical shimmery, glowy highlighter. Talia adds a solid choice for medium and medium-dark skin tones looking for skin-like contouring. I also think it can work for lighter skin tones as well, particularly if you like a more dramatic contour or like being able to use a light hand and build-up.

Talia (Highlight) is a medium brown with subtle, warmer undertones and a matte finish. The texture was soft, silky, and effortless when it came to blending and applying it to the skin. It had good color payoff that could still be sheered out and/or applied with a lighter hand. For reference, it adds some noticeable color on me (like a very subtle bronzer) on my skin tone. This shade wore well for eight hours on me. MAC Bronzer (LE, $33.00) is more shimmery (95% similar). Kevyn Aucoin Natura (P, $37.00) is darker, cooler (90% similar). Laura Mercier Bronze (01) (P, $40.00) is darker (90% similar). Laura Mercier Bronze (03) (P, $40.00) is darker (90% similar). By Terry Light & Tan Vibes #5 (LE) is more shimmery, darker (85% similar). Urban Decay Sun-Kissed (P, $28.00) is darker (80% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Talia (Contour) is a medium-dark taupe-brown with subtle, warm undertones and a matte finish. It had good pigmentation, but the texture was firmer and less forgiving, so it took extra work to blend out. On me, this shade started to fade after eight hours. Too Faced Medium Cocoa (P) is lighter (95% similar). LORAC Light Contour (P) is lighter (95% similar). Kevyn Aucoin Deep (P, $44.00) is darker, warmer (90% similar). LORAC Medium Contour (P) is warmer (90% similar). Tarte Contour Soft (Tarteist) (LE) is lighter (90% similar). Sephora Los Cabos (24) (P, $14.00) is warmer (90% similar). Zoeva Heavy Crown (P) is lighter (90% similar). Too Faced Chocolate Soleil (LE) is warmer (85% similar). Smashbox Bronze (P) is warmer (80% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

NARS Contour Blush Talia
Talia
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Makeup Revolution Peach Lights Vivid Baked Highlighter Powder

Makeup Revolution Peach Lights Vivid Baked Highlighter Powder
Makeup Revolution Peach Lights Vivid Baked Highlighter Powder

Makeup Revolution Peach Lights Vivid Baked Highlighter Powder ($6.00 for 0.26 oz.) is a very light pink with subtle, warm undertones and a shimmery, lightly sparkly finish. NARS Devotee (P) is warmer (95% similar). Makeup Revolution Moon Glow Lights (P, $6.00) is less shimmery, darker (95% similar). Wet 'n' Wild Desert Explorations (LE, $2.99) is less shimmery, darker, warmer (95% similar). L'Oreal Rose (P, $12.99) is more shimmery, darker (90% similar). Burberry No. 03 Pink Pearl (P, $68.00) is darker (90% similar). Catrice Stardust (P, $5.99) is less shimmery, more pigmented (90% similar). Urban Decay Luminous (P, $30.00) is more shimmery (90% similar). L'Oreal Ice (P, $12.99) is more shimmery, darker (90% similar). bareMinerals Clear Radiance (LE, $26.00) is less shimmery (90% similar). Chanel Beiges Ombres Tissees (LE, $75.00) is more shimmery, darker (90% similar). LORAC Moonlight (P, $23.00) is darker, warmer (90% similar). Urban Decay Aura (P, $26.00) is darker, cooler (90% similar). Catrice Champagne Campaign (P, $5.99) is lighter, warmer (90% similar). Laura Mercier Devotion (P, $44.00) is more shimmery (90% similar). MAC Softly Does It (LE) is less shimmery, darker (90% similar). Cle de Peau Delicate Pink (14) (P, $55.00) is less shimmery (90% similar). Becca Prismatic Amethyst (LE, $38.00) is darker, cooler (85% similar). Laura Geller Charming Pink (P, $26.00) is darker, cooler (85% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

The formula is supposed to give “natural looking color” with buildable coverage that wears “all day.” It has a warmer base color, while the shimmer seemed cooler and icier (particularly noticeable when I applied it to the face and blended out). The texture was fairly soft, not as smooth as the other two shades in the range, but it remained blendable and easy to apply to the skin. The texture didn’t emphasize pores on me, and it had buildable, medium coverage. While this had the most noticeable shimmer, it actually seemed to have the least amount of sheen between the three shades in the line; it yields a noticeable glow–somewhere between subtle and moderate. This shade stayed on well for seven hours on me.

Makeup Revolution Vivid Baked Highlighter Powder Peach Lights
B

Permanent

8.5
Product
9
Pigmentation
8
Texture
7.5
Longevity
5
Application
84%
Total

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