Holiday Highlighters 2017 Review

In true holiday consumer fashion, I went from zero highlighters purchased this year to buying 3 of them within a month; all of which are from brands owned by Estée Lauder. Something to be cautious about when it comes to parent companies is that they can share formulas, which means consumers could be paying for a high end product when the same thing is being sold under a different brand name for half the price. When titans like Estée Lauder, L’Oreal, and Shiseido acquire a new company, they are within their rights to reformulate with better or worse ingredients, use a different lab and/or manufacturer.

In the case of these highlighters, the Becca formula is still uniquely their own but the MAC Snow Ball Whisper of Gilt and Bobbi Brown Moon Glow Highlighter share very similar ingredients.

MAC: Mica, Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, C12-20 Acid PEG-8 Ester, HDI.Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Glycerin, Squalane, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan) Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Dicalcium Phosphate, Caprylyl Glycol, Polysorbate 80, etc.

B.B.: Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, C12-20 Acid PEG-8 Ester, Glycerin, HDI.Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Squalane, Polysorbate 80, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan) Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Dicalcium Phosphate, etc.


The highly sought after Whisper of Gilt returned in the MAC Snow Ball Face Bag in Gold, not to be confused with the Nordstrom Exclusive in Peach. It’s also not to be confused with the two individual face powers that retail for $35 each. This set includes the Extra Dimension Skinfinish, a short handle synthetic fan brush, and rose gold sequin pouch. It is a very pretty powder that, despite what its name implies, gives a subtle glow that compliments low/no makeup days.

Of the three I purchased, the MAC highlighter packs the smallest punch and I had to use almost double the amount of powder I would use from any of my other highlighters to produce the results seen in these photos.

I most often apply highlighter with my Hakuhodo 5521 Brush but it literally could not pick up any product from the pan so I switched to my Wayne Goss Fan Brush. Firmer bristles work better for this product but the brush MAC included is wider than I’d want to use, especially for areas other than just cheekbones. MAC was very smart not to sell this individually (to keep the price point up) and for adding the snowflake imprint because I would’ve returned this one otherwise. I like it but I know I will always reach for Moon Glow over this one.


The Bobbi Brown Highlighter in Moon Glow from the Caviar & Rubies Holiday Collection is slightly yellower and a bit more pigmented than Whisper of Gilt. It’s long lasting on the skin and pretty, but frankly, it’s overpriced. $49 from MAC gets one a highlighter, bag, and brush whereas $50 from Bobbi Brown gets a minor upgrade in performance and an upgrade in package quality. The compact is admittedly quite luxe but I wouldn’t have kept this either without the 20% discount that I used during a beauty sale at Macy’s.

*the Mac swatch was layered up to become better visible on camera

When comparing the aforementioned highlighters, the color difference is so minimal that they may as well be the same. I guarantee that if I wore WoG one day and Moon Glow the next day, no one would know I used a different product. The picture below shows how the same amount of product on each side of my face is such that whisper of gilt is barely visible but it’s evident which side has Moon Glow.


This is the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter in Shimmering Surprise Golden Mint.

This is a very soft highlighter and only the tiniest amount is needed to make an impact. Although it’s hard to tell in photos, this powder looks slightly green tinged in the pan, stark white on the skin in swatches, but a peachy/champagne gold when blended. It’s truly stunning! Because it’s so pigmented and because of this particular shade, I do have to use it sparingly so it won’t appear too harsh and frosty on my complexion.

It’s easily the most shimmery of the three but once you have one good highlighter you really don’t need any other. If you have a silver, gold, pink, peach, and bronze that’s probably the most differentiation others would notice you wearing, besides the somewhat fading trend of blues, purples, and rainbow highlighters. The real determining factors of a good highlighter are the ones that give the level of pigmentation you want (blinding like Becca or subtle glow like hourglass), have finely milled shimmer vs glitter, the texture (how smooth, how wet, or dry looking), and ingredients. Golden Mint may not be for everyone but I recommend any of Becca’s Pressed Perfector shades over these limited edition MAC and Bobbi Brown highlighters.

❤ Lili

*Disclosure: I purchased every item in this review with my own money. This is not sponsored content and these are not affiliate links. These are my own honest opinions as a long time consumer and lover of cosmetics. Thank you for visiting my blog!

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