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). 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 Pink Quartz (P, $46.00) is more shimmery, lighter (95% 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 Whipped (LE, $8.00) is less shimmery, lighter, warmer (95% similar). Laura Mercier Temptation (LE, $45.00) is lighter (95% similar). ColourPop Might Be (P, $8.00) is less shimmery, darker, warmer (90% similar). Dose of Colors Bathe (LE, $28.00) is brighter (90% similar). Anastasia Tourmaline (LE, ) is more shimmery, darker, warmer (90% similar). ColourPop The Golden Child (LE, $8.00) is lighter, warmer (90% similar). MAC Superb (P, $37.00) is cooler (90% similar). Dior Rosewood Glow (05) (P, $48.00) is more shimmery, warmer (90% similar). Tom Ford Beauty Moodlight (Candlelight) (LE, ) is warmer (95% 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, $60.00) is lighter, warmer (90% similar). J. Cat Beauty Pink Goddess (P, $9.00) is less shimmery, 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.)

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

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


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Shana Avatar

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.

Christine Avatar

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).

Jocelyn Avatar

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.

Eileen Avatar

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.

Robin Avatar

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.

xamyx Avatar

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).

Christine Avatar

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).

Tracy Avatar

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!

Christine Avatar

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!!

Bonnie Avatar

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.

Tracey E. Avatar

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.

Tracey E. Avatar

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).

kjh Avatar

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.

Sandra Avatar

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.

Jane Avatar

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˜‰

Linda Avatar

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™‚ )

Christine Avatar

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.

Evelyn Avatar

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˜€

Sonia Avatar

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.

AB Avatar

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.

Maria Avatar

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.

Christine Avatar

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™‚

Zoe Avatar

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!?

kellly Avatar

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!!

Amy Avatar

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!!


Gina Avatar

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!!!!!

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