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Budget Beauty

Budget vs. Blowout: Highlighters

September 27th 2016 / Anna Hunter


Cult illuminator or high street strobing stick? There’s only one way to find out whether money can buy you cheekbones…

In the ring: Nars The Multiple in Copacabana vs. Kiko Radiant Touch Creamy Stick Highlighter.

The vital stats:

Nars The Multiple in Copacabana, £29

Press release promise: “The original multi-purpose stick for eyes, cheeks, lips and body. Its unique creamy formula and sheer color blends effortlessly to create shimmering accents; contours or dynamic highlights on all skin tones.”

Kiko Radiant Touch Creamy Stick Highlighter in 101 Rose, £9.90

Press release promise: “The soft and creamy texture melts flawlessly into the skin. During application, it ensures great coverage and excellent blendability. Pleasant to the touch, application is easy and precise. The highlighter allows you to create targeted points of light.”

The battle: Sales of highlighters (not the pencil case kind) grew by almost 50% last year according to the NPD Group, and if SS17 shows are anything to go by, the glossy cheeked, luminously defined look isn’t going anywhere. In 2015 the highlighter market was valued at £8 million, but where exactly should you be putting your money? The following two highlighters have a lot glowing for them...

First round: Being sticks, the first thing to say about these two is that they’re incredibly convenient. Both facilitate finger painting, they won’t leave a glistening snail trail in your makeup bag and they last for donkey’s years. So far it’s a level playing field.

Kiko is definitely the lightweight in this match- size wise it can’t compete with The Multiple’s wide ‘bullet’. Then again it darts into nooks and crannies stealthily where The Multiple can’t, and can be applied directly from the stick thanks to its rounded shape, whereas Nars generally requires a bit more handiwork.

Second round: Onto the effect- both are designed to suit all skin colours, but Kiko has more of a pink tone, as is to be expected, whereas Nars’ champagne glimmer makes for a more ethereal, candlelit effect. Texture wise The Multiple melts into skin and has a velvety feel, while Kiko is altogether more slick. Kiko slides on effortlessly, but it also migrated slightly during the day, while Nars’ The Multiple seemed to meld with the rest of my makeup fairly seamlessly, delivering more staying power. If you love glassy shine, Kiko’s Radiant Touch delivers gleam in spades, while you’ll have to work at it with Copacabana, but if subtle strobing is your priority it’s hard to beat.

Third round: The versatility test- can these two really glide anywhere you desire a sheen? The Multiple seems made for body application, given its generous sizing, flat top and um, name, while Kiko is a bit trickier to navigate to legs and the like. A swipe along the collarbone works, however, and the edge of the stick catches cheekbones beautifully. Neither perform well on lids due to creasing, although with a primer I’d give The Multiple the edge.

The winner: Nars The Multiple lives up to the hype once again, but Kiko’s offering is ideal if paying close on £30 for a bit of shimmer feels extortionate.

After more ways to strobe? We’ve pulled together a handy highlighter edit here

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