Beauty Review // Highlight Palette Comparison & Review

Guys, highlighting is the best.  Beside all make up products, highlighters are the best thing in the world.  I've got 3 highlighting palettes for you to today that I wanted to do a quick comparison on - the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette, the Balm's Manizer Sisters trio, and the Elf Illuminating Palette.  Like, for real guys...I love all three of these, but I'll go ahead and spoil it for you if you're looking for an affordable highlighting palette Eyes Lips Face has you covered.
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But lets talk about them all...

From the Website
Create your perfect light with this palette featuring three shades of Ambient Lighting Powder, which utilize Photoluminescent Technology to filter out harsh light and refine the appearance of the complexion. Each of these high-tech, soft-focus finishing powders recreate an exquisitely flattering light source. The powders can be applied individually or layered to imbue skin with a multidimensional glow.  Cost: $58.
taken from the website here
The Balm's Manizer Sisters
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, this trio of Manizers has been found guilty - of being gorgeous. Designed for girls on the run, this highlighting trio enables you to emphasize your finest features. This palette contains three triple-milled multi-tasking highlighter, shimmers and shadows. These champagne, rose, and golden-bronze shades are flattering on all skin tones and easy to use so you can take your glow on the go. Cost: $28
taken from the website here.
Elf Illuminating Palette
This beautiful illuminating palette holds 4 gorgeous complementary shades to mix and match for a custom blended radiance that captures, diffuses, and softens the way light reflects on the skin. The soft-focus powders are great for highlighting around the eyes and on cheekbones to enhance the skin with a luminous effect. Perfect for all skin tones.  Cost: $6
taken from the website here.
First Impressions & Application
So let's get too it, and this is going to be hard.  Each palette is filled with highlight powders that are very pigmented.  Not one of these palettes has a dud.  While I would say each palette has unique colors, there are some that are comparable.  The textures vary between each palette - the smoothest texture being in the Ambient palette\ - but none of them kick up too much powder.
The Ambient Lighting palette has one satin shade - the Dim Light - and two other shades - Incandescent and Radiant Light - that seem to have a bit of shimmer in them.  That didn't pick up on the swatches but there's definitely some glittery brightness (and not in a bad way).  The texture is velvety smooth, and it really does feel luxe.  For the price, the texture is what I'd expected.
The Manizer Sisters trio is a bit more bold with the pigmentation.  Each has a little bit of that shimmer though the Cindy-Lou Manizer has more of a satin finish.  In person it also has sort of an iridescence to it as well.  The texture of these remind me of an eyeshadow rather than a face product, but that doesn't affect the application or my over all opinion of it.
The Elf Illuminating palette has all satin finish shades. Any thing that looks like it might have a little bit of that shimmer blends out to be a purely satin finish.  These powders are very, very soft and have the texture of a face product.  This $6 palette impressed me more than the Manizer Sisters being that the Manizer set is the middle end product here.

Honestly if you had these pans out, unlabeled, I would choose the Elf powders as the middle end product.
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette Swatches

I applied each with a tapered brush - the Elf Small Tapered Brush - and was impressed with the glow of each.  The Small Tapered Brush is great for laying down product but also blending it out.  I love the point and the density and find it perfect for highlighting in general.  For a more subtle look either the Elf Illuminating palette or the shade Dim Light could be used but the Elf palette can be built up to give a bolder look.  For a bright pop the Manizer Sisters and the shades Incandescent and Radiant light are perfect.

Wear Time
I was impressed with the wear time of all of these.  I can get a little bit longer wear from the Ambient  Lighting Palette but both the Elf Illuminating Palette and the Manizer Sisters lasted a good amount of time.  I would say for the latter two I'd still notice the highlight about 4 hours into the day but I did notice the Ambient Palette to stay slightly longer.
The Manizer Sisters Swatches

I do like using the Manizer Sisters palette as an eyeshadow as well and I notice that the more concentrated the color is the longer it is visible.

I wear a full face of liquid foundation and a setting powder everyday and found that this canvas worked well with these powders.  The texture of the Ambient Lighting Palette and the Elf Illuminating palette allows for blend-ability - meaning you'd get a more even glow with less work.  These powders are able to blend into the skin more evenly with less effort creating that tale tell lit from within glow.  The Manizer Sisters palette takes a little more effort (save the Cindy-Lou Manzier) to get a clean, even application.  It's not terrible - because I really do love all three of these palettes) just in comparison I find this palette take more work.
The Elf Illuminating Palette Swatches

Overall Impressions and Recommendations
Honestly, I would recommend all of these palettes.  However, if you are looking to only spend $6 you will get your money's worth in the Elf Illuminating palette.  While you can tell by the swatches that there are comparable shades in each palette, I would not say that any are dupes.  If you have $58 to spend, do go ahead and pick up the Ambient Lighting Palette.  (Better yet, see if Santa will pick it up for you!)  All in all I am most impressed with the quality of the Elf Illuminating palette - every other one lives up to the price tag, but the drugstore equivalent really gets me!

If you are thinking about getting some of these, don't forget to check out Ebates to see if you can get any cash back on your purchases!  Currently, as I'm typing this - Elf has 5.5% cash back, Nordstrom has 6% cash back (you can find Hourglass and Mac on the Nordstrom site), and Khols has 6% cash back.  That's pretty awesome.  Don't forget that Black Friday is also coming up!

You can sign up for Ebates here to earn cash back on your purchases - seriously, there's no catch!

Do you have a drugstore alternative to a high end product that blew you away?  Have you tried any of these?

xoxo, Moe

1 comment:

  1. I'm in love with my Hourglass palette! It actually got me hooked to their brand that I don't mind spending a bit more. All the ones I've tried from Hourglass are top-notch quality :)

    Lovely Serendipity


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