"Glow at your own risk and beam beyond the spectrum", - Pat McGrath.
I had a feeling Mother was cooking something special for us this summer and when SKIN FETISH collection first popped up in my Instagram feed, I knew I had to review it for you guys. In this post we are going to dive into the world of Pat McGrath splendiferous highlighters, so if you are curious - please keep on scrolling!
About the Collection
SKIN FETISH is a Summer '18 launch from Pat McGrath. This collection includes a highlighting palette, highlighting duos, sparkly lip balms and the brand's very first Buffer 003 Brush. A few products here are a re-launch; for example shades like Iridescent Pink 003 and Fine Gold 003 made their debut back in 2016 as a limited edition release. These bad boys have graced everything fromValentino runways all the way to pages of Vogue (things couldn't get more boujee) and are every highlighter junkie's wildest dream [pretty much].
Skin Fetish Highlighter + Balm Duo
This little guy used to be Pat McGrath top backstage secret for many (many) years and now, fast-forward to 2018, us mortals can finally enjoy it just as much as supermodels and Hollywood divas do. This is basically a dual ended chubby highlighting stick: you get a cream highlighter on one side and glossy clear balm on the other.
Price: 48 USD (for 3.5g/ .12oz + 3g/ .11oz); Made in Italy
Claims: runway radiance/ luminosity/ iconic illumination/ luxurious dewy finish/ lit from within gleam
Colours: available in Nude, Golden, Bronze. Featured here is shade Bronze; it is a bit deep for my skintone (I have a light-neutral N2 complexion), so I often wear it as an eyeshadow base or luminizing bronzer instead. If you have a deeper complexion, Bronze will look gorgeous on you; same as Nude and Golden will suit light or medium complexions accordingly.
Packaging: as you can tell, this upgraded 2018 packaging is pure luxury. I love the combination of white and gold, with the brand's prominent logo right in the center. The duo has a nice "high-end" weight to it too and is compact enough to fit into the smallest travel makeup bag.
Formula: now, both highlighter and balm have a completely different feel. Although very smooth, highlighter itself does not feel balmy or creamy; I would describe it as satin in feel and pearlescent in finish. It is not very blinding either (great news for "natural" highlight lovers), but should act as a great base for other (powder) products that can be layered right on top of it. While this jojoba oil-enriched highlighter doesn't smell like anything, the balm does have a subdued vanilla scent (which is something I adore; think MAC lipsticks). It is 100% transparent and does look like a proper, hydrating balm/gel with a very nice glossy finish. However, unlike most balms that look similar, this Pat McGrath creation doesn't feel sticky/gloppy/greasy or anything like that. I believe "sophisticated" would be a proper adjective here; balm is infused with a blend of aloe, argan oil and hyaluronic acid to both nourish and illuminate the skin.
As per this site's tradition, all of my swatches are "raw" and unedited. What you see is what you get.
Application: there are at least five ways you can enjoy your Skin Fetish Highlighter + Balm Duo. You can wear both sides on their own, mix them together or create a little [blinding] concoction with a sprinkle of your favourite powder highlighter. [Example above]. Additionally, you can wear the balm on your lids and lips too for that editorial "wet skin" look.
My favourite way is to layer balm first and then add either cream or powder highlighter on top of it. I would probably mix all three if I was going to a lavish party or for photography; but on a day-to-day basis I just wear the balm on its own to achieve that youthful and hydrated skin look. My key tip: unless you are not wearing any base, do not apply this product straight from the bullet. I like to dab it with my fingertips in order to not disrupt my foundation.
Wear: considering this is a cream formula, it won't be just as long-lasting as your beloved powder highlighters (unless you choose to layer). On me the highlighter lasts for up to 4-5 hours, before starting to fade gracefully. Since the balm does not really get absorbed by the skin, it will keep your complexion nice and glowy for a longer period of time; minimum 5-6 hours. These little guys don't slide around/bleed, so you can rely on them 24/7.
Skin Fetish Highlighter + Balm Duo is a very special possession in my highlighter collection and it is safe to say that I don't own anything quite like it. To me personally, the standout/star product here is Pat's iconic balm. I often see how people use things like vaseline on high-points of their faces to theoretically "achieve" a similar wet skin look, however, they do turn into a glazed donut instead (ok, now I am hungry) whereas this formula manages to give you that runway gloss without making you look oily/shiny/sweaty. From my experience, it works best on its own or as a primer for powder highlighters. Who will love it the most? If you want a sublte glow and are not into blinding/metallic/holographic highlighter bonanza, then might find your BFF here. The highlighter creates that subtle "lit-from-within", effortless model off duty look; while the balm is a great mixing medium. You can layer or sheer things out as much as you want and still get a very natural-meets-sublime glow as a result. Great for busy girlbosses on the go. I also believe this is the best cream highlighter formula I have tried in ages; I give it A.
Skin Fetish Sublime Skin Highlighting Trio
This is the part I am sure you all have been waiting for. Pat McGrath iconic powder highlighters - and look - they now come in one universally flattering Skin Fetish: Sublime Skin Highlighting Trio Palette.
Price: 50 USD (total 12g/ .42oz). Made in Italy
Claims: multidimensional shimmering highlighters/ revolutionary formula/ smooth veil of colour/ ethereal luminosity/ metallic brilliance
Colours: Iridescent Pink 003, Fine Gold 003, Bronze Nectar 003 (from left to right). These are not your basic highlighters; as a matter of fact you see at least two duochromes and one pure bronze-gold shade here (not too coppery, not too yellow-based either). Pink shade reflects gold, peach and lavender (just squint to see these multicoloured specks); although gold here appears quite white in the pan, when you swatch it - you realize that it is the most vibrant true yellow-toned gold with a hint of peach (very fine hint of peach here) that reminds me of Tinkerbell pixie dust; finally bronze shade has ultra fine specks of silver running through it and will look more/less intense depending on how you choose to layer it.
Both Iridescent Pink 003 and Fine Gold 003 will look undetectable when you look straight ahead, but as you turn your head to the side - this is when magic happens.
Honestly, swatches don't do this gorgeous trio any justice. I have filmed a few clips of me swatching the palette and will save them in the "highlights" section on my Instagram for you guys to see.
Packaging: very Pat Mcgrath-esque envelope/book type packaging (which I live for) with amazing illustrations and newspaper print all over it. One thing missing is a mirror. This palette is pretty fragile and delicate; it is easy to accidentally damage or break the product (if you drop it) so please treasure it as your most valuable makeup possession and carry it in your hand-luggage if you decide to travel with it (I often do that with all of my makeup palettes by the way).
Formula: these are the most iridescent, uber soft/smooth and finely milled highlighters on the market. They do not really look or feel like anything else; while swatches are very opaque, on the skin these guys do require some layering. Especially duochromes. I would actually call them pressed pigments; just imagine an intensity/vibrancy of your favourite shimmering eye/face pigment? Imagine combining powder, cream and fluid? This is what this product feels like. Plus it doesn't accentuate skin texture or pores whatsoever like some other metallic highlighters of a similar kind. I feel like this formula melts right into the skin.
Application: Skin Fetish: Sublime Skin Highlighting Trio Palette is every makeup artist's/junkie's dream because it was designed with glow aficionados in mind. Trick here is that you can use it alone or combine it together with Skin Fetish Highlighter + Balm Duo, the one we spoke about earlier in this post. This palette will deliver great results without a primer or some kind of a finishing spray. Pat recommends using a duo-fiber brush like her Buffer 003 Brush (great for delicate blending); personally I do switch between a fan- or tapered highlighting brush (they all deliver great results). You will get a lot more colour options, if you mix these shades. Below are my favourite combinations:
Iridescent Pink 003 + Fine Gold 003 = GORGEOUS peachy-gold goodness! (aka "my go-to" combo);
Fine Gold 003 + Iridescent Pink 003 = pink with a vibrant silvery-gold undertone (yummy combo);
Fine Gold 003 + Iridescent Pink 003 + Bronze Nectar 003 = rose gold-meets-opal (fanciest combo).
Wear: these look very smooth/even on the skin and wear all day long and don't really fade that much. Even on my eyes they stay put for hours and hours and hours.
This is my SKIN FETISH look: I used Bronze highlighter from Skin Fetish Highlighter + Balm Duo as a primer for my eyeshadows and clear balm on my cheekbones as a dewy base for my powder highlighter; I then layered Bronze Nectar 003 right on top of it. I defined my crease and lower lash line with a matte medium-brown eyeshadow. To highlight my inner corners and all of the high points of the face, I used a mix of Iridescent Pink 003 and Fine Gold 003 from Skin Fetish: Sublime Skin Highlighting Trio Palette. On my lips I am wearing LUST: Gloss in the shade Flesh Fantasy (review here).
Skin Fetish: Sublime Skin Highlighting Trio Palette is an absolute 5- (if not 6) star product and will be mostly loved/appreciated by those, who are not afraid of a bold highlighter (one that looks hella good too I should add). You can play and create so many colour combinations, as well as wear all three shades on their own and look like a glowing goddess. Initially I was afraid that pink/gold would look too prominent/dark or leave obvious streaks of colour on my cheekbones, but I am thrilled to report that those were some very silly assumptions on my behalf. Given their multidimensional/duochromey nature, even a fun pop of colour like pink adapts to your skin tone and reflects the light beautifully as you move your head from side to side. All three shades are incredibly wearable too, so unless you are strictly into your classic champagne golds, you will be in love with this trio. It is not a surprise that KKW, Lily Aldridge and Bella Hadid are all fans of the formula. I get it now girls, I get it! Witchcraft in a domed-shaped form. Pat McGrath creation gets yet another A+ from me.
PR Samples; this review is not sponsored - full disclaimer here