Estee Lauder x Victoria Beckham Modern Mercury Highlighter Review, Photos, Swatches

Estee Lauder x Victoria Beckham Modern Mercury Highlighter
Estee Lauder x Victoria Beckham Modern Mercury Highlighter

Estee Lauder x Victoria Beckham Modern Mercury Highlighter ($65.00 for 0.26 oz.) is a light-medium, rosy brown with warm undertones and soft pink and gold shimmer. Tarte Dame (LE, $14.00) is more shimmery, warmer (90% similar). Bobbi Brown Pink Quartz (P, $46.00) is more shimmery, lighter (95% similar). ColourPop Whipped (LE, $8.00) is less shimmery, lighter, warmer (95% similar). Laura Mercier Temptation (LE, $45.00) is lighter (95% similar). Make Up For Ever 15 Golden Pink (P, $21.00) is more shimmery, warmer (95% similar). NARS Friction (LE, $30.00) is lighter, warmer (90% similar). Bobbi Brown Tawny Glow (P, $48.00) is less shimmery, darker (95% similar). Morphe Boom (P, $14.00) is more shimmery (95% similar). ColourPop Might Be (P, $8.00) is less shimmery, darker, warmer (90% similar). Anastasia Tourmaline (LE, ) is more shimmery, darker, warmer (90% similar). Dose of Colors Bathe (LE, $28.00) is brighter (90% similar). ColourPop The Golden Child (LE, $8.00) is lighter, warmer (90% similar). MAC Superb (P, $37.00) is cooler (90% similar). J. Cat Beauty Pink Goddess (P, $9.00) is less shimmery, lighter, warmer (90% similar). Tom Ford Beauty Moodlight (Candlelight) (LE, ) is warmer (95% similar). Sydney Grace Allegro (P, $9.00) is more shimmery, lighter, cooler (90% similar). Clionadh Bellona (P, $12.50) is more shimmery, cooler (90% similar). Makeup Geek Rekindle (P, $20.00) is lighter, brighter (90% similar). Pat McGrath Champagne Gold (LE, $65.00) is lighter, warmer (90% similar). Bobbi Brown Afternoon Glow (P, $48.00) is lighter, warmer (95% similar). Top 20 dupes listed, see the rest. See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

It’s a powder highlighter that features the brand’s Gelee formula, and it was released many years ago, though I do not have the original to compare this to. I can see why so many were longing for a rerelease of this one; it’s absolutely dazzling. There’s a really intricate play of sparkle and light reflecting when this is on the skin. You have to imagine that after so many years of swatching highlighters that it’s rare for a product to make me go, “Oooh, that’s incredible” but that is exactly what I did with this shade.

The texture is incredibly soft, smooth, and blendable with excellent color payoff that can be as intense or as soft as you desire. I found the formula very forgiving when it came to diffusing and blending; it worked with all types of brushes and could be worn as a subtle sheen when used with a fan brush or applied for a full, metallic glow with a denser cheek brush. On my skin tone, it adds a bit of noticeable color but not much and doesn’t run overly warm, so it reads as more neutral even with the visible color. I did not notice any emphasis of my pores or my skin’s natural texture with this on (but it doesn’t smooth the skin either). When I wore it, the color lasted for eight and a half hours on me.

Of all the products in the Victoria Beckham collection, this was the one first to sell out, and I saw that it launched this morning on Neiman Marcus (a week before it was supposed to), so happy hauling if this is the item you’ve been waiting for! πŸ™‚ (As a FYI, Selfridges seems to have the majority of the collection in stock.)

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See more photos & swatches!

Estee Lauder x Victoria Beckham Modern Mercury Highlighter
Estee Lauder x Victoria Beckham Modern Mercury Highlighter

Estee Lauder x Victoria Beckham Modern Mercury Highlighter
Estee Lauder x Victoria Beckham Modern Mercury Highlighter

Estee Lauder x Victoria Beckham Modern Mercury Highlighter
Estee Lauder x Victoria Beckham Modern Mercury Highlighter

Estee Lauder x Victoria Beckham Modern Mercury Highlighter
Estee Lauder x Victoria Beckham Modern Mercury Highlighter

Estee Lauder x Victoria Beckham Modern Mercury Highlighter
Estee Lauder x Victoria Beckham Modern Mercury Highlighter

Estee Lauder x Victoria Beckham Modern Mercury Highlighter
Estee Lauder x Victoria Beckham Modern Mercury Highlighter

Estee Lauder x Victoria Beckham Modern Mercury Highlighter
Estee Lauder x Victoria Beckham Modern Mercury Highlighter

Estee Lauder x Victoria Beckham Modern Mercury Highlighter
Estee Lauder x Victoria Beckham Modern Mercury Highlighter

We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!
Makeup Look
On face:
  • Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Foundation
  • Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder
  • Estee Lauder Modern Mercury Highlighter
  • Estee Lauder Java Sun Bronzer
On eyes:
  • Este Lauder x Victoria Beckham Eye Palette
  • Estee Lauder Black Myrrh Eye Ink
On lips:
  • Chanel Super Nude Rouge Allure Lipgloss
About Reviewer
Review FAQ

Christine Mielke is the editor-in-chief and has been reviewing products for over 14 years.

She has normal-to-dry skin with occasional dryness on cheeks and nose. She has a light plus skintone with subtle, warmer yellow undertones (view her foundation matches here).

Learn more about her review process here.

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What’s annoying me is that this collection’s packaging and event the box look almost identical to TF. And their small differences make me prefere TF. The finish looks more refined with TF.

I don’t like the black orchid bottle kind of packaging at all, plus I’ve never being wowed by EstΓ©e Lauder’s products themselves, so I was totally going to skip this collection.

But I’m curious now. Your description make me want to try it.

I can totally see VB do a makeup brand, just like TF. She could be the femal version of TF. If the quality is there like TF, that could definitely become credible.
But she should choose a packaging that suit her image rather that just picking a good old TF design.

The packaging is actually different – it’s a soft material, so texturally, it feels totally different. I believe it is leather, but I’m not certain (I could not find anything that indicated what it was on the packaging when I looked last week).

From what I understand, the packaging is reminiscent of Vintage Estee Lauder make up cases but instead of the Black Lacquer its updated with the soft black material, “to compliment the interior of a nice leather handbag”.

Wow – that is GORGEOUS!!! And spendy. $$$$ I can’t buy anything until after the first of the month, so we’ll see if this sells out again.
Christine – Any chance you’ll be reviewing the CiatΓ© x Chloe Morello palette that just launched? It looks really beautiful.

When Modern Mercury was first introduced, it was best in class and today that is still true. I can see why it sold out in the blink of an eye. It’s a real standout in a sea of highlighters.

LOL! I think it would probably work as an eyeshadow – I have not tried it, but Estee Lauder has (had?) a Gelee eyeshadow, which was virtually the same technology/texture in marketing speak (ingredients might have been different).

This is what I want from the collection. πŸ™‚ I have that formula in Tease and I’m wearing it today. I think this color would look great on my pale skin; more of a bronzy blush than a highlighter.

It’s the basis of Estee Lauder’s marketing scheme, and dates back to the beginning. The idea was to build the hype, make women (because back then, men didn’t openly wear makeup) think they were missing out on something if they didn’t get it. Consumer trends were different, as well, and the majority of women had basically what was “necessary”. By releasing small batches of new products, on a frequent basis, they became highly coveted, and encouraged “brand loyalty” by women who would await the next release, as opposed to buying elsewhere. Many brands have all but disappeared due to Estee Lauder’s tactics, which is why I rarely buy from any of their brands (I’m giving MAC another chance, as long as product continues to be available-it seems the EL tactic has begun to backfire).

I have only seen the occasional product get hyped up and never seen again from Estee Lauder, but I find that is far truer with MAC than Estee Lauder in the 10 years I’ve followed. I actually see Estee Lauder release more new/permanent shades overall, but obviously, I have only been aware of them for a finite period of time. In general, MAC seems to be the brand that very much relies on hype and selling out within the Estee Lauder family, while brands like Bobbi Brown, Clinique, Estee Lauder, and Smashbox don’t seem to launch a lot of limited edition, hard to find products. I think that Tom Ford does not seem to rely on hype, but products sell out – I am not certain if that’s actual or deliberate scarcity; however, Tom Ford has shown that they do listen to customers and bring back/make certain products permanent (not always, though).

The problem with LE collections…is that, inevitably, a product is really fantastic and you fall in love and then…oops, we’re sold out //forever//. Although I will admit, that as soon as I saw your review of the Modern Mercury highlighter, I hopped over to Selfridges to put in an order and shipping be darned, I am really struggling with whether or not to pre-order the morning aura. First, because it would be the priciest item of makeup and skincare I have //ever// purchased, but then…would I end up never wanting to use it for fear it would run out? And then come to find it went bad or something? I already do that wilth my LE Mac lipsticks, trying to make them last as long as possible. It’s just too heartbreaking. At least the highlighter will last for //ages//, given how little one usually needs to use to get a good result, but I have a chubby face! That lotion will be gone in no time!

I haven’t tried the lotion, so I really could not say, but I am sure you can find something that has a similar illuminating effect in liquid form for less – I feel like if it is not something you would normally buy and splurge on, unless you can return if it doesn’t work out for you… I don’t know that this would be the place, you know?

Even worse if you spend $95 and don’t use it for fear of running out!!

Holy cow I need it. I didn’t know I needed it until right now, but I NEED IT. Hahaha. That’s what a glowing (literally!) recommendation from Temptalia will do!
It’s totally sold out on NM already. And I’m not about to pay $30 shipping. That’s just insane. I hope I can snag it somehow soon.

Hi Christine, I bought 1 for me and 1 as a Christmas gift for my makeup-loving mother-in-law.

Christine, have you had any experience with ordering from Selfridges? I noticed that their prices are lower than in the US but I’ve had no experience with customs and duty, etc.

I believe the threshold for paying customs/duty is $800 for Selfridges (hard to do on makeup). It is $30 flat rate to ship, and it’s express DHL – it will go through customs, then go to you. I ordered a few weeks ago, and I had no issues – my order got here in about 2 days (one day to get here, one day to clear customs).

That’s very encouraging, Christine. Appreciate your experience. One item alone was $17 less than in the US, goes a lot towards the shipping rate (though there are shipping discounts from time to time).

Oh, definitely! I ended up having my shipping covered between two products I bought because of the difference in price! I didn’t really *save*, but it didn’t really cost extra to get it from an international retailer!

I get the shipping business, but wth is the product less expensive in Britain? Because they can? Because this has a us track record of being a runaway hit, which buoys the price here (US)? I would think since it is mfgd this side of the pond, it would be MORE expensive in GB. They have to ship it there. Makes no sense to me, but I will be glad that some can score it from Selfridge’s.

I too purchased from the UK but was disappointed to see that my credit card charged a foreign transaction fee. i bought twice because Berdgorfs did not fulfill my order. They ran out. So I had to pay 2 delivery charges and 2 foreign transaction fees.

It is definitely “blushier” on us pale people. The first day I wore it I applied it in the semi-dark (if I turn on my lights, I alert the children to my wakefulness!) in my usual highlighter spots, looked in the mirror after bus pick-up and thought, “whoopsie! someone looked unskilled at makeup application this morning!”

I put the lights on and it looked much better today. πŸ˜‰

Whoa! This helps me make up my mind about the Becca Rose Quartz. If I can get this, this is my choice. (I will just not look at the price tag. πŸ™‚ )

Modern Mercury fans are going to lose it. There seems the packaging is about $20US increase and a slight increase in product from the original 0.21oz./6g to 0.26oz./7.5g .

I still wish either MAC or Estee Lauder would make this formula permanent. πŸ˜€

Well, at least they increased the amount, too, but yes, I had the same thought, “This was released before as an EL product, so it would have been normal in price…”

The hatching on this is interesting, but it is more pleasing to use a brush on as it doesn’t have as many grooves. I think it is odd that it is not a permanent formula, though.

I think I have the original one so I can’t justify buying another one (especially because I don’t even know where that original one went because I haven’t been using it haha)

Since everything is sold out everywhere that I looked, I thought maybe I could check in with a local NM Estee Lauder counter (San Francisco) and lo and behold, they are now taking pre-orders and will ship on Oct 5 once the collection is officially launched at NM! I put in an order for the palette and highlighter! The rep (who have seen the collection himself) also made a comment that all the eyeshadows from the collection are perfect for doing smokey eyes. So that’s double yay for me! πŸ˜€

I admit that I really do get swayed whenever you recommend a product. But from personal experience I know that this looks super unflattering on my Indian skin, with golden undertones. I have been telling myself lately that what you recommend is personal to you, and may not translate well on me. Happy wallet. πŸ™‚ Looking forward to your other reviews.

This is just gorgeous. This said, I have energy and time to only search so far, especially since it’s not a need per se (it’s a Want with a capital), so hope it becomes more available and easy to find.

I would have to agree, this is THE highlighter to end highlighters! Never have I seen one this beautifully glowing, yet also having an odd naturalness to it, if that makes any sense? But I know that I really love it!
(One can hope that CP brings back The Golden Child!)

A bit too dark and warm for me but it sure looks nice. Lucky that I probably can’t find it anywhere near me because I think I’d probably buy it in a frenzy and then sort of regret it because it really isn’t the best shade for me.

It must be a really fantastic highlighter for you to go ‘Wow’ – as you have tried, tested and used so many over the past few years. It certainly looks gorgeous and worth the money. You would have it for years.

Christine for you to give it an A+ it has to be beautiful and the best quality. It looks really pretty and it performs well. I just purchased it from Selfridges but to justify spending $30 on delivery I had to buy something you can’t get in the states so I bought the Suqqu M eye brush. Yet I still feel guilty but happy at the same time.

I’m not usually stunned by products when I swatch them – I mean, many products look pretty to the eye, but I don’t usually have a strong reaction to products these days, lol! So this one was really fun to test. I put it in my personal use drawer (go-tos) πŸ™‚

I was wondering your and Dustin Hunter’s take on this. Because the gelee formula is supposedly legendary and EL keeps releasing sub-par formulations with the same name. Good to know this one gets a great review, but the LE status is infuriating! If the product is so great and has such a cult following, why not make it permanent!?

This is SO pretty but too expensive for me. I also see it contains carmine (thank you so much for showing the ingredients when you review products!) so I can quit craving it, since I’m allergic to carmine. I like using highlighters as eye shadows but I can eliminate this from my wish list because of that carmine. I can save my $65!!

Does anyone know if this product has been discontinued? I placed an order with Neiman Marcus and the order was suddenly cancelled today. I called cust svc to inquire and they said the product has been pulled. She called 2 stores that still showed avail stock, but they are unable to sell per EstΓ©e Lauder. I don’t understand. It seemed like it was a fantastic product. If anyone can help, I’d really appreciate it. I’ve spent hours online looking for a retailer (USA) and I’ve had no success. I just want this item so badly. Thank you!!


Hi Christine,

This collection is launching in Australia (Finally!), I am so tempted to get this highlighter… but do you think it will look good on light warm skin tones? As an Asian with smaller eyes I feel the other products are kind of “not for me”, but this highlighter… after reading your reviews.. oh my oh my so tempted!!!!!

We try to approve comments within 24 hours (and reply to them within 72 hours) but can sometimes get behind and appreciate your patience! πŸ™‚ If you have general feedback, product review requests, off-topic questions, or need technical support, please contact us directly. Thank you for your patience!