Another day, another highlighter review! Today I will be talking about Urban Decay's Naked Illuminated Trio, which is part of their holiday collection. If you're still putting together your Christmas wishlist, and you're a makeup fan like I am, I suggest you read on for a very thorough review of this highlighter palette. Lots of pics ahead!
The Naked Illuminated Trio looked beautiful to me at first sight - I mean, look at those pretty discs of glowing colour! The whole palette is super chic and the highlighters remind me of planets. In addition, Urban Decay consistently delivers gorgeous quality, so whenever they drop something I'm HERE FOR IT.
However, the reviews were not what I had expected. Every blogger was either very negative about these (complaining about them being sheer and too glittery), or positive in a super shallow way. You know when beauty bloggers just show product pictures and go "OMG I'm obsessed"? Yeah, that sort of thing. However, I had swatched the UD Naked Illuminated shimmering powder in the shade Aura before. Despite it seeming very glittery at first sight, I actually very much enjoyed how it looked, especially in direct light. Hence, I was curious to see whether I would like this one, or be as disappointed as all the other bloggers.
The Naked Illuminated Trio comes in a beautiful cardboard box with a big mirror and a dual sided, synthetic fibre brush. The pinky-taupe prismatic print makes this a beautiful collector's item, and at €41 (versus €31 for a single Naked Illuminated highlighter), that is great value for money.
I feel like this brush deserves its own review: I had never used this type of brush before - flat, soft, floppy and relatively small. However, this baby turned out to be the perfect brush for highlighting, bronzing or contouring. It is seriously the softest brush I own, and the shape makes it great for precision work or a quick swipe along the entirety of your cheekbone. Lovely product!
The palette contains three shades in different shades and finishes. Pyrite is a dirty bronze, Oasis is a pale beige marbled with taupe stripes, and Twilight is a peachy rose gold. Let's look at swatches in different lights and exposures. I applied these with my finger.
As you can see in the first two pics (featuring direct sunlight), all three of these contain noticeable shimmer/glitter. However, that glitter isn't always as obvious: Pyrite is the most pigmented and looks more metallic in "normal" (not direct) light, Oasis is sheer and clearly super glittery in every lighting condition, and Twilight is more like a duochrome with some shimmer throughout. Three very different effects. All three products are easy to work with, but Pyrite requires a lighter hand because it's so pigmented. You can use these subtly with the complementary brush, or apply the shine more heavily by patting them on with your fingertips. All of these last the entire day on me and do not wear off easily.
Of course, you won't be wearing these on your arm, you'll be using them in your face, so let's see how they perform there. Again, as many different shots and lighting conditions as possible!
A first overview: Pyrite gives a more metallic, warm glow - the typical highlighted look that is so popular among bloggers and instagram stars right now. Oasis is SUPER sparkly and gives me major disco queen vibes - perfect for the upcoming holiday parties, but I think this one would also look breathtaking in summer with a very minimal makeup look and tan + strong brows. Finally, Twilight is my favourite and the most wearable for everyday - a soft, pink glow with some shimmer in there.
Damn girl, SERIOUS shine from Pyrite! The glitter in this one is barely visible, but I think Pyrite would perform gorgeously in a very warm, glamorous Christmas party look - think dark red lips and a cat eye.
I feel like I need to defend Oasis from obvious detractors. Sure, Oasis is definitely glittery, which is not the trend in highlighting right now. However, I think trends and beauty rules are bullshit, basically, and you can create some truly stunning looks with bold glitter. Don't take my word for it, check out this little collage I made with pretty pics I found on Pinterest, which I hope will open your mind to the idea of intentional glittery highlighter.
Convinced yet? OKAY. Moving on: Twilight.
As I said, Twilight is the most subtle out of the three - almost like a matte duochrome peachy-pink base, with some whimsical shimmer sprinkled in for good measure. I love Twilight and I wear it all the time, even to work! Definitely a wearable take on a more shimmery highlighter.
Now, for all of you who like the look of these highlighters but feel intimidated by the glitter - these are not just for your face, they were also designed as body highlighters. You could put together a really gorgeous holiday look with Pyrite on your cheekbones, Oasis on your shoulders or cleavage, and Twilight dabbed over your lipstick.
In conclusion, I definitely don't agree with all of the negative reviews: sure, Oasis and Twilight are sheer and on the glittery side. However, there is no hard and fast rule that highlighters should be the highly pigmented frost-fest that has been popularized by the likes of Jeffree Star and NikkieTutorials. Just because everyone is doing that look does not mean that that's the only type of acceptable beauty. Think for yourself, people! These are gorgeous quality and great value for your money, if you like what you see.
Do you feel like riding the the glitter wave?
PS: I bought this palette myself, so you know I ain't biased.