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Estee Lauder Topaz Chameleon Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee Review, Photos, Swatches

Estee Lauder Topaz Chameleon Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee
Estee Lauder Topaz Chameleon Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee

Estee Lauder Topaz Chameleon Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee

Estee Lauder Topaz Chameleon Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee ($40.00 for 0.17 oz.) is described as “high polish for your skin.” It’s a liquid, powder, and gel formula all-in-one. Estee Lauder says it “smooths on as an all-over soft sheen” and “builds for luminous pearl highlighting.” I wouldn’t describe it as an all-over powder or really so much a highlighting product–maybe a highlighting bronzer. The product is very, very intense. The pigmentation is insane; one tap of the brush, and it’s more than enough color to add a bronzed look to my cheeks. To achieve mere highlighting, I found that a fan brush and a very, very light hand (think of just a tap) was the only way to get just a faint sheen. If you use a regular blush or highlighting brush, and you use your typical method, you’ll probably find there’s too much for just a highlighted sheen.

This is a product that would be really lovely on deeper, golden-toned skin. It’s a rich coppery bronze with red undertones and a molten gold shimmer and sheen. theBalm Betty Lou-Manizer is browner, less orange and red. Urban Decay Gilded is a little lighter, more orange and less red-toned, but compares to the softer swatch of Topaz Chameleon.  If you want to bring out the metallic sheen, you can use the powder with a wet or damp brush.

I feel like this product is too pigmented if its aim is to be an all-over highlight.  Even on darker skin tones, I can’t imagine using this all over.  It’s very metallic and frosty, so it does emphasize the texture of the skin slightly.  The brush that Estee Lauder includes applies this more heavily if you aren’t careful (light hand, tapping away excess).  As a bronzer, it should work on warmer skin tones.  There are strong copper and orange tones, so I’m not sure if this would work as well on cooler complexions.  Estee Lauder just doesn’t call this product out as a bronzer, when it just feels and looks so much like one.

It can be used as a highlighter, but the application is more difficult and takes some practice.  It looks very dirty on my skin tone as a bronzer, but with a fan brush, a light hand, and a buffing brush, it can yield a softer, more manageable golden sheen.  The texture is soft but has this dry feel; it’s a different texture compared to most powders, but it is similar to Estee Lauder’s recent formulas like this.  When I wore this as a bronzer, it lasted for seven hours before beginning to fade.  I wish it would blend out more easily, because it’s just too easy to over-apply, so a more blendable texture would make for a more forgiving application.

I had a tough time trying to figure out exactly what Estee Lauder was going for here and whether this product should have been sheerer or if the pigmentation was on point.  I decided that since Estee Lauder said it was buildable (and it is) and didn’t mention it being sheer, the product would receive full marks for pigmentation.  Because achieving the highlighting the brand describes is more difficult, this was reflected in the application score.

Estee Lauder Topaz Chameleon Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee
Estee Lauder Topaz Chameleon Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee

Estee Lauder Topaz Chameleon Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee
Estee Lauder Topaz Chameleon Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee

Estee Lauder Topaz Chameleon Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee
Estee Lauder Topaz Chameleon Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee

Estee Lauder Topaz Chameleon Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee
Estee Lauder Topaz Chameleon Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee

Estee Lauder Topaz Chameleon Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee
Estee Lauder Topaz Chameleon Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee


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Marina Avatar

It’s an interesting product. Not something I would buy, but it’s awesome looking!
Christine, what are you wearing on your eyes and lips? Are you planning on reviewing the products later today? Thanks for another great review!

Romina Elorrieta Avatar

I swatched it out when it came out as the first GelΓ©e with EstΓ©e Lauder Holiday 2011 collection, and I do agree with you 100%, that it has got more the pigmentation of an eyeshadow than of a bronzer/highlighter. However, I do suppose that if it is used as lightly as Christine explained it can work pretty well. I won’t purchase it at all because it looks extremely metallic for me to just be what it says it is, but it has to look amazing on warmer complexions for sure.

AmyD Avatar

i think it looks great on you. it seems like it brings out a natural rosiness in the apples of your cheeks. i’m nc42 and have been looking for a product like this – a golden bronze-y highlight. i’m going to have to check this out!

baby in a corner Avatar

Good review – I feel like I don’t get the hype surrounding these EL powder gelees either! They are much too frosty as a highlighter – pretty as eyeshadow (but there is so much product)!

Katherine Avatar

You made it work for you Christine it looks great! I’m a NC37 to NC40 and I have this and adore it. It’s exactly what I was looking for considering my deeper skintone. My youngest daughter’s complection is far deeper than mine and she rocks this. I found that this is much easier for me to use than their modern mercury highlighter (I have that one too) because this one is more bronze rather than light gold/silvery shimmer. I do agree this is for the darker toned ladies. πŸ™‚

Lark Avatar

How beautiful! I love the compact and the gecko texture. But as a blue, it’s not for blue girls and not for the palefaces either. Somebody remarked that Indian spices would be a lovely cosmetic color pallet the other day, and here it is! Curry powder?
If they made a lighter one I want to see it; I’ll be stopping at the Lauder counter. Nobody does compacts so well!
The brushes though? Holdover habits from 1972. They need to ditch the puny brushes.

Anne Avatar

Wow… I have the modern mercury one and totally love it!!!! This one looks good, but I’m not sure if I could use it as a bronzer. Anyway, I guess I’ll just go and swatch it at the counter to make a final decision. Thanks a lot for your review!!!

linda Avatar

I have this and I’m light to medium complexion and I manage to dust just a bit across my cheeks and it looks great. I love it and this Summer, it should look amazing. I wish I had the previous, the Modern Mercury. I’ve priced it on eBay and OMGosh!!!!

Gia Avatar

I abosolutely love this bronzer/highlighter. Topaz chameleon applies like silk. It absolutely gorgeous and when I saw it I had the urge to buy it immediately! It is great for women color because its pretty dark and shows up beautifully on dark skin. If you are below a nc 43 you can use it as a blush or eyshadow, but it is quite dark. I use it as eyeshadow, blush, and a highlight. During the summer I will be using it alll over for a nice healthy glow!

Stacey Avatar

I jumped on this and bought it online without seeing pics because i missed out on modern mercury and it was called topaz so i figured it being a gold toned highlight. Nope total BRONZER. it is a BEAUTIFUL eyeshadow though! I wear it all over the lid, fading it out as i go up with estee lauder copper mascara and a bright blue or teal eyeliner on the lower lash line/inner rim.
I get compliments all the time too!

Lenora Avatar

After Dusty’s rave review I went and purchased this online. I’m NW50/55 and this is GOOORGEOUS as a blush/hightlighter. It’s like liquid coppery-gold on my skin. If you have a deeper complexion I would definitely recommend this! I will probably use this all summer.

Elysia Avatar

I tried shidting sands tonight at Nordstroms. This one is wayyyy prettier in my opinion. Shimmering sands looks like a champagne colored eyeshadow to say the least!

Megan Avatar

I LOVE topaz chameleon!!!!!! I’m an nc25-30 right now and can wear it all over my face as a bronzer, it looks gorgeous and I can only imagine it will get better this summer when I’m tanner πŸ™‚ however I had to hunt like a crazy woman to find this it was sold out everywhere!!

Ursula Avatar

I have actually tried this at the EL store today and it really looks fab on, I wonder why you have rated it low, especially the application Christine. I tend to agree with your opinion most the time, which is why it surprised me. I love their fall highlighter but actually think this is even nicer and it does work as a bronzer or a blush/highlighter. Hmm, perhaps it is the skintone? I have fair skin but slightly yellow toned.

Jenny41 Avatar

I purchased thsi from Ebay as they are all gone from the stores. I absolutely love it. I’ve fair to medium skin around NC20/NC25 and I blend it out a lot. It loses a lot of the metallic finish when it is blended out and you are left with a gorgeous bronzy healthy looking glow. More of a blush/bronzer I’d say than a highlighter.

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