Hit or Miss? | The $4 Baked Highlighter from e.l.f. Cosmetics

e.l.f. Baked Highlighter moonlight pearls review and swatches

E.l.f Cosmetics is known for their super budget-friendly beauty buys. From $3 lipsticks, $6 foundations, $4 brushes, and more, filling up your shopping cart is easy.  It’s when you get home and test them out that you sometimes discover their shortcomings – longevity and pigmentation being the top two in my book.  Even still, every once and a while, you’ll find a little gem in their collection – could that be e.l.f.’s $4 Baked Highlighter?  Let’s find out!

e.l.f. Baked Highlighters

The e.l.f. Baked Highlighters illuminate the face through subtle micro-shimmer, along with a soft wash of color.  Infused with Vitamin E, plus Jojoba, Sunflower, Apricot and Grape seed oils, they’re also formulated to nourish and hydrate the skin as you wear them. The formula is baked, and can be applied wet for a vibrant effect or dry for sheer pigmentation.

E.l.f.’s Baked Highlighters are currently available in three shades – Pink Diamonds (a cool pink), Blush Gems (a warm, almost bronze-like rose), and the lightest shade, Moonlight Pearls (a warm champagne).  Today, we’re testing out Moonlight Pearls.

e.l.f. Baked Highlighter moonlight pearls review and swatches

e.l.f. Baked Highlighter moonlight pearls review and swatches

e.l.f. Baked Highlighter moonlight pearls review and swatches (2 of 2)

e.l.f. Baked Highlighter Review

When I first attempted to swatch Moonlight Pearl, it almost landed in the trash – and not by accident.  I could barely get any pigment on my finger or brush, and had to go over about 10x (using force!) to pick up enough product to create any noticeable kind of glow. (Surprisingly, with all the oils inside, the formula is actually very dry and almost rock-solid, so there was no damage done.)

Here’s a before and after of me using it dry on my cheeks.  I used a dense domed brush to apply it, and went over my cheekbones 4 times.

e.l.f. Baked Highlighter moonlight pearls review and swatches

Before

e.l.f. Baked Highlighter moonlight pearls review and swatches

After (applied dry, 4 layers)

e.l.f. Baked Highlighter moonlight pearls review and swatches

Despite the effort involved in applying this dry, once I had it built up to where I wanted it, it actually did create a very pretty and subtle glow that’s wasn’t too over-the-top with glitter or shimmer.  It also lasted me all day and didn’t easily transfer or rub off.

Fortunately, there’s a way to get around the tedious application process, and that’s to apply it wet, using a little setting spray or water.  Using either of these methods, the highlighter quickly build ups to a vibrant luster in just 2-3 layers, and comes out looking even more gorgeous. (I’ll typically spritz my brush 3x with setting spray, swirl my brush lightly in the pan, and then apply for a gorgeous glow.)  I used that method in the photo below –

e.l.f. Baked Highlighter moonlight pearls swatch applied wet

e.l.f. Baked Highlighter in Moonlight Pearls applied wet (using setting spray on a brush, then swirled into pan; 2 layers)

Here are some swatches of the highlighter applied both dry and wet:

e.l.f. Baked Highlighter moonlight pearls wet vs dry swatches

Swatches of the e.l.f. Baked Highlighter in ‘Moonlight Pearls’ dry (left) & wet (right), in artificial light (4 swipes each using my finger)

e.l.f. Baked Highlighter moonlight pearls wet vs dry swatches

Swatches of the e.l.f. Baked Highlighter in ‘Moonlight Pearls’ dry (left) & wet (right), in natural light (4 swipes each using my finger)

What a difference, right?!  With that small tweak of adding water/setting spray, this highlighter performs just as well as my $20 and $30 ones!  And considering it’s only a fraction of the price, I’d absolutely recommend it for both highlighter newbies and gurus.

Available at Target, e.l.f. Cosmetics & Amazon



Have you tried e.l.f.’s Baked Highlighters? If so, what’s your favorite way to apply them?

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