Aaaaand we’re back with ROUND TWO of “You Get What You Pay For?” — wherein we check out some pretty cheap crap to see whether it’s actual crap or Surprisingly Good Stuff. Today : HIGHLIGHTERS. Are they good, or are they nah? Pull up a chair and let’s get this rolling.
WHAT IS ALL THAT STUFF
From left, the AOA Studio (Miss A’s house brand) Wonder Baked Highlighter (available in 12 shades, $1 each), L.A. Colors Cheek & Lips Tinted cream highlighter (available in 8 shades, six actual tints and two highlighters, $1 each), and TonyMoly Cristal Blusher (available in 16 shades, this one is about $5 including shipping on eBay, but you can find them on numerous K-beauty retailers).
L.A. Colors Cheek & Lips Tinted : At about two inches high and one inch in diameter, these little guys are both teensy and adorable, with a twist-up tube and a cap that clicks closed (it seems fairly secure, but if you threw it in a purse, I’d be sure it was in a snug pocket and didn’t have a lot of room to knock around). I grabbed both of the highlighter shades — pearly white “Frosted” and pale bronze “Goddess.”
These have a really nice consistency — a little firmer than RMS Living Luminizer, but a bit softer/creamier than Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Poured (which is good, because I find those a little too stiff and dry). You can swipe them on straight from the stick and then blend, or just rub the top with a finger and pat it on. LOVE the finish on these — it’s a soft semi-sheer pearl, with a tiny bit of sparse microsparkle. It doesn’t emphasize pores, doesn’t look too “glittery,” and I like that it has a slightly dewy moist finish. Also note that while tiny, these are .12oz — not much smaller than Becca’s cream formula which is .19oz and also thirty-eight times the price of this. And honestly? I like the texture and finish of this one better than my Becca Poured in “Pearl” (white), as it looks moister on the skin and isn’t quite as “metallic” … but otherwise, they’re very similar :
So, yeah, I’m SUPER into this, and one or both of these are probably gonna live in my purse’s makeup bag from now on. They’re small, they’re easy to use, and they’re cheap as hell so it’s not a tragedy if I get wrecked on gin and tonics and lose/drop/stomp on them. THE VERDICT : GOOD. Like, seriously, I really like these, and might even grab a couple of the actual “tinted” ones to see how they do as cream/gel blush.
AOA Studio Wonder Baked Highlighter : You know how a lot of “baked” powder products are kind of lofty and porous and fragile? Yeah, this is totally one of those. In the pan macro shot, you can see a few little chips and divots in the edges — that’s from just its journey, plus me opening and using it a couple times. This would not be a highlighter to throw in your bag, because I’m pretty sure the whole thing would shatter if you dropped it. On the other hand, the lid snaps closed VERY securely and it’s a sturdy little compact. Also? A DOLLAR.
The texture and application, however, are really nice! “Creampuff” is a pale cool champagne gold that’s not too yellow on my pale pink skin. The finish is kind of a combo of pearly-metallic with some tiiiiiny little discrete sparkle bits. It’s not so “METALLIC!” that it emphasizes pores — not really any more so than Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed, which I have in Moonstone and which is significantly more warm-yellow-gold than this on the skin, and the sparkly bits don’t really read as glittery for me (I adore sparkly things, but ColourPop’s “Over The Moon” and its two moon-themed brethren are legit glitterbombs and are kinda Too Much most of the time). The wear (over my usual foundation + powder etc) was just fine — it was detectable all night until I washed my face, and didn’t seem to break down or migrate. THE VERDICT : GOOD! Even though it’s prone to kicking up a lot of dust, I’d definitely buy this in additional shades … if I were actually in need of more highlighters, which I definitely am not (and yet here we are, lookin’ at four damn highlighters).
TonyMoly Cristal Blusher : Super cute compact that clicks closed securely, and, while not a dollar, still pretty dang cheap. I’m pretty sure this is the only shade from the range that counts as straight-up “highlighter” (rather than a blush with some shimmer), and it’s SUPER low key. Are you intimidated by highlighter? Do you want the most minimal sheen, or perhaps even something you can dust all over your face for a faint glow? This is 100% for you.
The shade is a pale peachy pink with a kind of “satin shimmer” finish : it’s way less intense than basically every highlighter I’ve ever used (excepting maybe RMS Living Luminizer), and just gives a kind of pearly glow. Lucky for me, the hue and tone of this are a near match for my own skin color, so it works on me as a super chill highlight or allover powder — but be aware that it has a little bit more Light Base Pigment (talc? mica? idk) than some comparable products, so it might read chalky on deep skin tones. THE VERDICT : GOOD! It’s nice to have a non-shouty powder-formula highlighter in the arsenal, and this one has good wear and a nice (and versatile) finish. YAY.
OBLIGATORY ARM SWATCH CHART
AND BONUS VIDEO, WOOOO, HIGHLIGHTER IN ACTION :
Tried any of these? Have thoughts? Have questions? You know what to do!