Favorite highlighters & contouring products

Top Ten Tuesday is into highlighting and contouring. I’m just learning about contouring and it’s a slow but interesting process. But it’s slowly coming along because, as they say, practice makes (almost) perfect. Now highlighting is something I love so it was easy to find what I wanted to share with you. Though my college shows 9 products, it’s actually 10 which I’ll mention below. What highlight & contour products do you like?? — Marcia
1429474283_luxlight-revitalizing-foundation1-315x315EDDIE FUNKHOUSER LUXLIGHT HYDRATING PRIMER * ($14.99) is what I often start with when I want a more glowy look. I have other illuminating highlighters but this is the one I grab. The price is right, as is the Candlelight shade which gives a peachy radiance.
1429474197_mi-01-2tDEX COSMETICS MINERAL ILLUMINATOR ($33) is the unknown brand. No one talks about DEX, it’s more of a cult brand. When Lisa and I went to IMATS once she fell for the line, therefore I bought several items. This mineral illuminator is the one to find if you love a soft beautiful glow wherever you’d highlight. It brightens up the undereye area and looks great at the cupid’s bow to help your pout.
1429473863__82371DIOR SKINFLASH RADIANCE BOOSTER PEN ($38) is available in 6 shades. I bought 002, Candle Light, during a makeover. The makeup artist aka my sister loves this more than my favorite Touche Eclat. I still prefer TE but Dior did a great job on this pen. I mostly use it to soften the look under my eyes.
1429473386_luxlight-illuminator-315x315EDDIE FUNKHOUSER LUXLIGHT ILLUMINATOR PEN* ($11.99) has the best price and it’s very close to the original Touche Eclat, Luminous Radiance, shade. Mine is in Candlelight for cool skintones and it’s also available Arclight for warm skintones. This stands out from the crowded field because of its excellence and price.
1429473252__9457300CHARLOTTE TILBURY THE RETOUCHER ($35) is the first CT product I bought when it came to Nordstrom. I’m still deciding what else to buy from the brand but I wanted to see if I could find something better than Touche Eclat. I bought it in shade 1, Fair, which is lighter than my TE so it works great as a highlighting concealer.
1429473050__5813776YSL TOUCHE ECLAT, RADIANCE ECLAT ($42) is the first highlighter that I ever bought. Since then I’ve bought dozens of other brands but this remains my favorite. It is now available in 10 shades but I’m still in love with the original, Luminous Radiance. There’s just something about this that I can’t describe.

highlighting pens

highlighting pens

highlighting swatches - YSL Touche Eclat, Charlotte Tilbury The Retoucher, Eddie Funkhouser Candlelight, Dior Skinflash, Dex Minerals Illuminator

highlighting swatches – YSL Touche Eclat, Charlotte Tilbury The Retoucher, Eddie Funkhouser Candlelight, Dior Skinflash, Dex Minerals Illuminator

1429472802_2264104__detail_?1429472802IT COSMETICS HELLO LIGHT ANTI-AGING CREME ILLUMINIZER (and Hello Light Anti-Aging Illuminizer, the powder version*) ($24) is aaaamazing. I love creme products so that’s why this is the one in the collage. I can get this exactly where I want it to be and blend it with my fingers. As with all IT Cosmetics products for me, it’s the cat’s meow.
1429472649_2264092__detail_?1429472649IT COSMETICS MY SCULPTURED FACE ($38) has been in my collection for a long time. After I bought it though, I was afraid to use it. When I see dark colors for contouring I run. Once I started using it, I saw that IT Cosmetics only had my best interests in mind. The tones in this give you everything you need for highlighting, concealing, contouring and bronzing. It’s the perfect travel companion.

It Cosmetics The Sculptured Face

It Cosmetics The Sculptured Face

1429472501_smashbox-step-by-step-contour-stick-trioSMASHBOX STEP BY STEP CONTOURING TRIO *($45) is the best concept of all of these items. Three separate crayons that Contour, Highlight and Bronze

•    Contour: A darker shade that sculpts by creating shadows
•    Highlight: A light shade that pulls features forward
•    Bronze: A transition shade that eliminates harsh lines by blending the contour and highlight shades

A full review is coming up tonight.

Smashbox Contour Stick Trio

Smashbox Contour Stick Trio

Now that you’ve seen my mostly highlighting choices, which of these 9-1o products would you want to try? And what others would you recommend? I know my other blogger friends have some ideas for us all and I’m ready to check them out.  — Marcia
*products were pr samples

Further reviews on these can be found on Beauty Info Zone
IT Cosmetics Hello Light Anti-Aging Creme Illuminator

Eddie Funkhouser Hydrating Primer and Illuminator Pen

Makeup Wars – my repeat purchases aka the holy grail


It’s that time again. Makeup Wars!  If you haven’t been keeping up with us, Makeup Wars is a series with over a dozen amazing bloggers on a variety of topics. Today we have decided it show you the items we buy over and over. I’ve chosen to call them Holy Grails since I prefer these to similar products. These are products I consistently purchase and assume I’ll continue to do so for years to come.
So what has Marcia chosen and why?

Mary Kay Oil-free Eye Makeup Remover has been a constant for at least 10 years when I unwittingly ended up at an MK party. Actually I enjoyed the experience especially because I bought my first eye makeup remover there. Now I try to buy two or three at a time. The two items that I find the hardest to remove are gel eyeliner and mascara. No matter how stubborn those two are the Mary Kay works. I shake, squeeze it on my cotton square, hold it to my eye for a few seconds and wipe gently. I rarely need to add more since it’s so effective. Plus it’s not oily so if I’m redoing makeup I only have to pat on a little water and I’m set. The MK leads to the next item…makeup war repeat marykay

DHC Silky Cotton squares. I’ve used other brands of pads but this is what I stockpile. Since I hate paying shipping I always buy enough to avoid that charge and I’m set for a year. I like these because they are soft yet sturdy and they never shed fibers. I also buy Shiseido’s version because  those are super soft. But DHC stands up to eye makeup remover better. I usually only need one square for both eyes. I also use these for toner and other light liquids. These cost $5.50 for 80 pads and I now see that DermStore carries them.makeup war repeat dhc

Another type of cleanser I love having on hand all the time is J.R. Watkins Hand Soap aka Natural Home Care Liquid Hand Soap. This comes in about 5 fragrances and is my favorite item to wash my hands with. I keep these in all my bathrooms. It’s  natural earth-friendly formula that is moisturizing without being sticky. It washes off cleanly without a residue. It’s only $4.99 at drugstore.com or Rite Aid and lasts me about 6 weeks. I buy the yummy citrus scents of lemon, orange and grapefruit.

makeup war repeat soap

YSL Touché Éclat   Another product I buy again and again. I buy this kind of concealer/highlighter from other brands all the time. I  probably have half a dozen similar products in my stash. But when it’s all said and done, this is my favorite. It’s not the best concealer but it brightens under my eyes making me feel more alive. I’ve got a few new brands of this type of concealer/highlighter I will be using to review, but they’ll always be compared to YSL TE.makeup war repeat ysl

Last in this list is the BeautyBlender sponge aka Beautyblender Makeup Sponge– accept no substitutes. I’ve got this type of sponge from Sonia Kashuk and MAC and they don’t compare. Other brands will tell you that they are as soft but they aren’t. I love my “Pink Egg” and have gone through quite a few. Mine almost always stains but it’s not entered in a beauty pageant – its job is to make my foundation look perfect and it succeeds. They now produce this in black and in white so if you choose those colors just make sure they are genuine. I’m a bouncer ladies but only with my Beautyblender.makeup war repeat sponges

Now that you’ve read my 5 choices let me know what you’ve been buying over and over again. Then when you are done do some clicking (bouncing) yourself to see what my fellow warriors have selected. — Marcia

L’Oreal Magic Lumi highlight pen – is it the dupe you are looking for?

I’m a big magazine reader or maybe I should say that I like to read magazines, big or small. One type of article I find interesting is “splurge or steal” or “lust or must”. You know the type – comparing a high priced item with a so called dupe. I usually shake my head or talk to the magazine (softly since I don’t want to be carted away). “Yes but what about the quality?” “They may be the same color but how do they fit?” “Are they crazy!!”. You get the drift. Today I have a “splurge or steal”. My two items are YSL Touché Eclat as the splurge and L’Oreal Magic Lumi pen as the steal. $40 versus approximately $12 depending on drugstore sales.

I love YSL Touche Eclat. It is one of my favorite products. Yet for some reason I’m always looking for the “steal”. Maybe that’s why I became a beauty blogger – to justify the search. I’ve found some items I like and that I use but Touche Eclat is still on its little pedestal.

The question for this review is “Will L’Oreal Magic Lumi knock YSL Touche Eclat off the pedestal or even nudge it a little?” Let’s see what I found….

L'Oreal Magic Lumi

L’Oreal and YSL look similar. Same kind of click brush mechanism. Similar coloring to the tube. But you can see that the L’Oreal Magic Lumi brush looks cheap and is cut unevenly. In spite of that it works just fine.
YSL comes in 7 shades and L’Oreal comes in 3 shades.  And let’s not forget  that price difference.

brush for Magic Lumi

L'Oreal Magic Lumi

I use #1 in YSL which is the lightest and for a long time the only shade. I use the lightest in L’Oreal also. My YSL has been used many many times so even though I photographed them together you can’t go by the color on the brush. In actuality YSL is brighter and lighter in swatches.

YSL Touche Eclat, L'Oreal Magic Lumi

Top swatch is YSL, bottom is L'Oreal

A big difference is in the thickness of the products. Touche Eclat feels more substantial. It lasts longer under my eyes than the L’Oreal. While both are advertised as concealers and highlighters they are, for me, just brighteners. They help illuminate the area under my eyes helping to camouflage the darkness that’s inherently underneath. When I was younger I could use Touché Eclat as more of a concealer though never as a full one. Now though I prefer it as a last step to magically make me feel a little more uplifted. L’Oreal Magic Lumi has a similar effect but not exactly the same. At first I notice the lift but it doesn’t last. It’s the product I’d carry in my purse for a Just In Case. When I want the big guns, I’m sticking with Yves St. Laurent Touche Eclat.

L’Oreal’s website describes the Magic Lumi highlighter pen as a “liquid-light formula that highlights your complexion and boosts radiance for a subtle glow.  Dab it on dark areas or shadows for instant enlightenment, or along the cheekbones and brow line for a wide awake effect”. YSL describes Touche Eclat as “illuminates and highlights the complexion with the perfect balance of coverage and radiance.”

You’ll have to decide if you want to “splurge or steal”. My opinion is that I still believe exactly what I believe when I read these types of articles in magazines — it may look similar but it’s no substitute for the real thing.  — Marcia

Marcia vs Lisa: YSL


Since I get to start another week’s throwdown I’ve decided to pick YSL. It’s actually ironic that this is the brand I’ve chosen since my Yves St. Laurent collection is minuscule. I constantly read about their gorgeous lipsticks and glosses but YSL loads those products with fragrance making me gag. None of their eyeshadows or palettes have intrigued me enough to part with my money for a long time. But I do have a staple product from YSL that I believe is their best one and that’s

Touche Eclat Radiant Touch.


Touche Eclat has created what I consider to be the premier highlighter/concealer on the market. If you are expecting a great concealer, you’ll be sorely disappointed. If you are expecting an unusual highlighter, you’ll probably be disappointed too. But if you want to brighten your undereyes Touche Eclat is the way to go. I wear this in Luminous Radiance (1) which is the original shade. They now have 4 shades total.

Every brand has come out with their own variation of the product and I’ve tried several. I’ve liked others but none have the je ne sais quoi of Touche Eclat. I know that you’re shaking your head and saying “Marcia, they keep raising the price.” “Marcia there are other products that do this equally well or better.” But my answer remains the same, this is the best of YSL and I stand by my conviction. – Marcia

Marcia, I am asking you why! This is $40 now. It wasn’t $40 when you started buying this. And do you remember how many you’ve tossed because they got “moldy”??? Do you Marcia? I can’t believe what a short memory you have.  I have a much different opinion as to what is the BEST product in the YSL line.

My true favorite is the Frozen Eye Shadow, or Eclat de Givre.  This is mineral eyeshadow that turns into cream eyeshadow upon application.  It feels very ‘cool’ when it’s applied, thus the name.  I love this stuff, it’s super easy to apply and it lasts and lasts. Unfortunately, this was limited edition so you can’t find it anywhere except for maybe on Ebay now.  Which means I get ANOTHER choice, and that would be the Golden Gloss ($30), especially in #7, Golden Amber.  This gloss is the perfect shimmery neutral.  Somehow it manages to be both warm and cool at the same time.

This gloss tastes and smells like peaches, which isn’t unpleasant to me. It supposedly contains real 24-carat gold flecks, which is always fun! Love the packaging, because the cap actually works as a mirror, too. The applicator is a brush, not a doe foot, although I find that the opening is wide enough so the brush doesn’t get splayed like the Bobbi Brown glosses do. The look on it’s own is a very pale pink with golden shimmer. It is just gorgeous!! I have paired this with neutral lip liners, pink lip liners, and peachy lip liners, and they all look terrific. It’s a very versatile shade that will look good on any coloring, warm, cool, or neutral.

On Sephora, they say, “GOLDEN GLOSS, Shimmering Lip Gloss. What it is:
A high shine lip gloss with real 24-carat-gold flecks.
What it does:
Yves Saint Laurent GOLDEN GLOSS Shimmering Lip Gloss is the ultimate in beauty luxury. This gloss forms a mirror-effect on the lips with sparkling gold mother-of-pearl.
What else you need to know:
A complex of nourishing oils (Nigelle and Cameline Oils) protects the lips while providing total comfort. It contains 0.2% of 24 carat gold.”

I know that some people think this gloss is a bit gritty, but I haven’t had that problem.  I love the gloss, and I think the #7 Golden Amber is a fantastic color, so it gets my vote as the best of YSL.  – Lisa