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The Gloss Report: Highlighters

December 19th 2013

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In a bid to waken up tired winter skin, the Gloss team try out highlighters to find out which ones shine above the rest

Benefit High Beam

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Price: £19.50

Buy online: www.benefitcosmetics.co.uk

Feedback: “I’ve been using this little pot of dewiness since my sixth form days and it’s been imparting insta-cheekbones ever since. Pearly, bright and a cinch to blend, it sculpts the face and erases tiredness in a flash. Dotted in the inner eye and at the top of the cheeks, it dries quickly to a create a lit-from-within effect on paler skins and somehow creates bone structure and definition on even the most puffy, post-party complexions. I applied the highlighter by dotting some liquid on my finger and dabbing over areas I wanted to spotlight - I found that using the brush applicator was a far too heavy handed approach, resulting in product dribbling down my cheeks (disco ball chops are most definitely a daytime no-no). The gently, gently approach is favourable both for your face and your wallet, as it will make this not-inexpensive highlighter last much longer. I love it and have converted many a friend and family member to the school of High Beam, but I’m not sure the light pink tone would blend as well with darker skins. I predict an 80s frosted Dynasty finish. Perhaps not the most flattering look... ”

Reviewer: AH

Score: 9/10

Cargo Cosmetics ColourStick in Champagne

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Price: £16

Buy online: www.debenhams.com

Feedback: “I consider a highlighter the essential finishing touch to my make-up, particularly when going out for the evening so it's a staple of my kit; however, I usually use a powder or liquid formula - liquid being my preference, as it gives more of a sheen. This highlighter from Cargo was therefore quite a novelty, as it is a creamy stick formula which when put on the skin turns into a sheer, powder finish. It's actually a blusher but in the Champagne shade, and having used this I'll be putting a pink version of the blush on my wish list.

“Soft and velvety to the touch, I found the best way to apply was just with the tip of my finger, blending gently upwards at the top of my cheekbones, on my brow bone and generally anywhere that needed a lift. It has a golden glow that would look incredible with a tan, but is just as illuminating for winter as it carefully warms the complexion. It has a hint of sparkle, but I wouldn't say it's glittery - it's actually very subtle. If you like your highlighter to beam from your cheekbones in all its glory, you’d probably be disappointed as it’s not super bright; and if I were being picky I would have to top it up halfway through the day as it’s so lightweight that it fades easily. However, the barely-there shimmering glow was the exact result I wanted and with a beautiful texture to boot - I'm hooked. I'll just be keeping my trusty liquid ones to hand for when I need a bigger boost.”

Reviewer: JJ

Score: 8/10

St Tropez Rose Skin Illuminator

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Price: £12.26

Buy online: http://www.st-tropez.com/en-gb/rose-skin-illuminator

Feedback: “Given my ghostly December pallor I almost ran a mile from this highlighter when I clocked the brand name, however, once I’d got over the tanning associations I was so taken with this product that it’s won a space in my superstar bathroom counter line up. It’s up there with my nearest and dearest make-up allies because it’s been there for me come rain, shine or hangover for the past few weeks and has kept me looking fresh, radiant and about 18 years old throughout. A luminescent rose liquid with subtle violet undertones, just a tiny dab of this creamy, sheeny illuminator creates chiselled cheekbones and a ‘je ne sais quoi’ youthful glow. The effect was subtle and fresh and I was really impressed by the value for money factor - a little goes a long way and the packaging is generous (it also comes in Violet and Gold shades). It’s thin enough to mix into moisturiser or foundation and looks equally elegant smoothed over collarbones. It’s multi-purpose and quite frankly, marvellous.”

Reviewer: AH

Score: 10/10

Lancôme Eclat Miracle Liquid Mirror Make-up Primer

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Price: £21.00

Buy online: www.boots.com

Feedback: “I’m pretty sure I have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with highlighters. I could be surrounded by all the most expensive, tantalising make-up in the world and yet I will almost always make a beeline for the shimmering palettes and glowing creams. So, having tried more than my fair share of highlighters in the beauty stratosphere I like to think I have a very clear idea of what I want them to do for my skin.

“This Lancome product markets itself as a serum of light and a universal radiance booster - a high benchmark indeed. On recommendation I mixed a few pearly drops into my foundation and applied all over my skin to try and achieve the elusive ‘all-over glow’ that has us beauty junkies running from counter to counter to find the perfect product. I must admit it really did enhance the appearance of my face make-up - it glided on beautifully, had a satin-smooth finish and also gave a hint of iridescent glow especially around my cheekbones and upper brow areas.

“However, when I attempted to use it to spotlight areas on top of my foundation I wasn’t quite as impressed - it left a very slight dewy effect in its wake but otherwise I wouldn’t say I was particularly ‘enhanced’. On the whole it’s a gorgeous product to mix in with your base to act as a highlighter/primer that gives a beautiful all-over glow and lustre - but if you’re looking for a spotlight effect then I’d say you could probably find a cheaper and better suited make-up product.”

Reviewer: KR

Score: 8/10

Topshop Illuminating Powder in Reflect

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Buy online: www.topshop.com

Price: £12.50

Feedback: “In my opinion highlighters are the magicians of the make-up world. They help to instantly shape your bone structure, minimise dark circles and impersonate a subtle face-lift, all with an appropriately placed swipe of liquid or powder.

“For this week’s test I chose Topshop’s Illuminating Power in Reflect, a powder split into three highlighting colours of light and dark shades. The shimmering nude, glistening rose and glowing bronze really helped to highlight and create an illusion of a perfectly chiseled facial structure.

“When I added the nude and rose pigment to my cheekbones, Cupid’s bow, corners of my eyes, and the bridge of my nose, it created a natural youthful glow which really lifted my dull winter skin. The application was incredibly fuss-free and instantly accentuated my face shape into a work of art - even if I do say so myself…”

Reviewer: LW

Score: 9/10

Clarins Instant Light Complexion Perfector

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Price: £26

Buy online: www.clarins.co.uk

Feedback: “Silky, sheer and very liquid in texture, this illuminator is definitely best used as an all-over radiance booster rather than a targeted glow-giver. Used under make-up or mixed with moisturiser or foundation it makes skin look plump and healthy rather than contoured and sculpted, as is the effect with more concentrated highlighters. It’s light as air, very subtle and works well as a primer, but if you’re after cut glass cheekbones or a glossy brow, this is certainly not the product for you. It’s a natural looking, high quality illuminator, but the price point may make your eyes water, especially at this time of year. In short, a fantastic fatigue eraser but it’s not a great choice if you’re watching your pennies - I had to use more of this product that its competitors to achieve a polished outcome.”

Reviewer: AH

Score: 7/10

Charlotte Tilbury Bar of Gold Skin Gilding Highlighter

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Buy online: www.charlottetilbury.com

Price: £30

Feedback: "As a rule, it’s safe to say that Charlotte Tilbury can do no wrong when it comes to beauty. Offering faultless products that actually deliver all the wondrous things they claim to, this Gilding Highlighter is exactly that. Designed to reflect light and subtly sculpt cheekbones and create glowing, glossy skin with just five brush strokes, this decadent powder couldn't be easier to use. A quick sweep on top of cheekbones, temples, nose, cupid’s bow and décolletage imparts a subtle JLo-type glow minus all the TOWIE-style glitter and shimmer that many highlighters come with. Containing incredibly fine gold pearls, this powder highlighter creates a natural looking luminosity that is suitable for both day and night - better still, just one bar is likely to last you well over a year."

Reviewer: KB

Score: 10/10

AERIN Bronze Illuminating Powder Shade 01

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Price: £34

Buy online: www.johnlewis.com

Feedback: “The AERIN Illuminating Powder is a bit of a cross between a bronzer and a highlighter in that you can swish it all over your face like you would a bronzer, but with the intention of creating radiance rather than a tan. I love the soft and flattering colour of this shade; it’s very light, and when swept over the face it gives a subtle bronzed glow that evens out the skin tone while creating a sunkissed glow. The fine and barely-there shimmer doesn’t leave you with a mass of sparkle on your face, which always worries me with highlighters, but instead leaves a healthy sheen that is perfect for the dull winter months. I think it is best for paler skin tones, being a tad too subtle for anyone with darker skin. AERIN products are guaranteed to be feminine and glamorous with their luxurious gold and pale pink packaging which is always a bonus too.”

Reviewer: SM

Score: 7/10

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Rose Gold

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Price: £30

Buy online: uk.spacenk.com

Feedback: “This highlighter is perfect for the party season. It’s a beautiful rose gold compact, with a super soft and creamy powder that blends easily into the skin with a smooth finish. The rose and gold tones are evenly blended to create a soft and shimmery bronze with a golden sheen. It is also highly pigmented so you don’t need a lot to make an impact – it would be easy to over apply this and look like a glitter ball so I would advise building up the layers! A big bonus for me was that it was long-lasting so I didn’t need to re-apply during the day. It’s perfect for a night out when you want added shimmer but also gives a beautiful glow for winter-worn skin.”

Reviewer: SM

Score: 9/10

KIKO Two-Phase Liquid Pearl for Facial and Eye Contours in Gold Drops

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Buy online: www.kikocosmetics.co.uk

Price: £6.90

Feedback: “There’s a fine line between a highlighter and glitter and for me, and this product fell into the latter category. Although silver in the bottle, when applied to skin using the handy little dropper dispenser, it instantly transformed into a high impact sparkle-packed fluid which dried immediately, though thankfully didn’t feel at all grainy.

“Although probably best reserved for night time rather than daytime, I would personally apply it to body instead of face due to its intensity. Great for collarbones, but perhaps a bit too OTT for cheekbones in my opinion.”

Reviewer: AM

Score: 6/10

Burberry Fresh Glow Fluid in Golden Radiance No.02

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Buy online: uk.burberry.com

Price: £34

Feedback: “This versatile product provided just the dose of illumination that my winter skin was screaming out for. Perfect used either under foundation for an all over glow or on cheekbones, nose and cupid’s bow instead for more targeted highlighting, the deeper shade in the range was a great match for my darker skin tone.

“Creamy but not gloopy, lightweight yet refreshingly hydrating, the silky smooth formula felt great on my skin and will hopefully go some way in protecting it from the elements too thanks to its nourishing formula, containing anti-ageing skin plumping goodies and hydrating wild rose extracts. All I would say though, is that I would have liked for it to have an even greater amount of shimmer for a more lustrous finish. However, with short and long-term solutions sufficiently catered for in one handy bottle, this product will certainly be making its way into my make-up bag this season for helping me feign a subtle and healthy glow, in the absence of a decent stint of sun.”

Reviewer: AM

Score: 9/10

NARS Illuminator in Copacabana

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Price: £22

Buy online: www.narscosmetics.co.uk

Feedback: “This liquid highlighter may seem pricey but the size of the tube means it's brilliant value for money - and that's before you've even seen how impressive the product itself is. A pearly, pinky product which sinks onto the skin seamlessly, it leaves a wash of radiant, illuminating colour in its wake to light up cheekbones, brow bones, the inner eye or even the collarbone (again, the tube size comes in handy here). As an avid Benefit High Beam user I'd say this is its equal if not a better option; lightweight, super silky to the touch and a perfect hit of highlighter with none of the glitter that's often found in powders, it works wonders on skin that needs a pick-me-up. Add a drop or two to your foundation for an all over glow or dot it sparingly onto target areas - either way, it will brighten up your day."

Reviewer: JJ

Score: 10/10

Clinique Up-lighting Liquid Illuminator in Blush

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Price: £21

Buy online: www.clinique.co.uk

Feedback: “I would say that this product is something to use during day rather than at night - it gives the kind of beautiful ourdoorsy, windswept flush that you get from a brisk walk at Christmas down the country lanes. My advice would be to apply it to freshly moisturised skin as this gives a dewy base which makes blending easier, and a little goes a very long way (expect this tube to last you well over a year). The colour is a very believable 'flush' colour that suits many skintones and it imparts a faint sheen (just enough, not too much) to make skin really glow, without looking metallic."

Reviewer: ST

Score: 8/10

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