PAT MCGRATH LABS Skin Fetish Highlighters: Hit or Miss?

If I had to create a list of the makeup brands that excel in quality of formulas and pigments Pat McGrath Labs would be definitely among the first who comes to my mind. I’m totally obsessed with MatteTrance lipstick that I’ve shared in one of my  videos reviews on Youtube.

This summer, Pat McGrath Labs released a line of new highlighters that includes both a pallet with 3 pressed highlighters and 3 dual end cream-sticks. They were first launched at Sephora with Early Access for VIB Rouge members, and as it always happens with this brand, most of the products were sold out within minutes.

Thankfully, there are back in stock now.

Sublime Skin Highlighting Trio ($50, Buy Now)

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Highlighter in Iridescent Pink 003 (opalescent pale rose), Fine Gold 003 (glittering yellow gold), Bronze Nectar 003 (gleaming soft copper)

The formula of these highlighters is considered as gel-powder, which is basically a combination of creamy and powdery textures. Even though the highlighters come as a pressed powder, neither of them feel too dry or flaky on my skin. The powder is so fine, it indeed imitates a cream or liquid texture on the skin with tiny glitter which is visible only when direct light hits the highlighter. Each highlighter is pearl-infused and adds multi-dimensional effect to the skin as it melts into the skin contributing to glowing complexion.

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Diffused Light
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Direct Sunlights

When compared to my favorite Sugar Glow Kit from Anastasia Beverly Hills, it feels less creamy and more powder-ish. But when you apply it to your skin… here is where you see the dramatic difference.

As I said before, they blend really well filling all the lines of skin texture, which is even better than when swatching highlighters from Sugar Glow Kit. If I could measure the shine, I’d say it is probably twice stronger and the coverage is better falling somewhere between medium to full compared to Sugar kit or any other highlighters I have in my collection.

This is that very moment when the camera can’t actually show how gorgeous the highlighters are.

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Comparing Highlighting Trio to other products in my collection. From top left:

Iridescent Pink 003 from Pat McGrath Labs Sublime Skin Highlighting Trio

Gumdrop from Anastasia Beverly Hills Sugar Glow Kit

Fine Gold 003 from Pat McGrath Labs Sublime Skin Highlighting Trio

Marshmallow from Anastasia Beverly Hills Sugar Glow Kit

Bronze Nectar 003 from Pat McGrath Labs Sublime Skin Highlighting Trio

Darker shades of Mini Shimmer Brick in Bronze from Bobbi Brown

When I first received this pallet, I doubted if the first two iridescent shades with purplish and greenish casts would be wearable and I actually ordered it because of the Bronze Nectar 003 shade – a true Sun Kissed Blush color.

Honestly, I was surprised to find myself using Iridescent Pink 003 shade quite often keeping the rest of the makeup in nude range and matching the highlighter with my Pat McGrath Labs Lust Lip Gloss in Pale Fire Nectar.

The highlighter is recommended to be applied with your fingers or with duo-fiber brush in circular motions. Depending on the brush you’re using, you either can create a narrow sharp line on your cheekbones, or use a fluffier brush for more airbrushed effect. I used the Buffer 003 Brush in the photographs presented below, which blends the product pretty well, however, causes some glitter fallouts around. The fallouts are not seen in diffused soft light, but you’ll definitely going to notice them in the direct harsh light.

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From top to bottom: Iridescent Pink 003, Fine Gold 003, Bronze Nectar 003

Did you know that your cheekbones are not the only area where you can use these products? Try to put a bit of highlighter on your nose bridge, under your brows, on the center of eyelids and the collar bones.

By the way, all of the three shades can be used separately or mixed all together to create a nice rose gold shade – the fourth shade that you’ve seen on swatches.

The packaging

The trio comes in a cardboard pallet that opens two ways and closes on magnets, while also has an elastic closure. It doesn’t have a mirror but has a clear plastic with names of each highlighters on top of the pressed product. The packaging of all the products from Skin Fetish Collection looks like a page from a newspaper or fashion magazine.

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List of Ingredients:

Fine Gold 003:
Alumina, Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, Mica, Glycerin, Tin Oxide, Silica, Squalane, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Polysorbate 20, 1,2-Hexanediol, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-di-t-butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Chondrus Crispus, Xanthan Gum, Caprylyl Glycol, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891).

Iridescent Pink 003:
Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, Glycerin, Squalane, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Polysorbate 20, 1,2-Hexanediol, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-di-t-butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Chondrus Crispus, Xanthan Gum, Caprylyl Glycol, Tin Oxide, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891).

Bronze Nectar 003:
Mica, Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, Glycerin, HDI/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Squalane, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Silica, Ethylhexylglycerin, Polysorbate 20, 1,2-Hexanediol, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-di-t-butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Chondrus Crispus, Xanthan Gum, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Dicalcium Phosphate, Caprylyl Glycol, Tin Oxide, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Aluminum Powder (Ci 77000), Iron Oxides (Ci 77491), Carmine (Ci 75470).

The ingredients list looks pretty good, except for couple of ingredients in bold.

Sublime Skin Highlighting Trio is available at Sephora and PatMcGrath.com for $50.

Buffer 003 Brush ($25, Buy Now)

This is a synthetic duo-fiber brush – the only brush featured in this collection.

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To be honest, I’m having mixed feelings about this brush. I have other duo-fiber brushes and compared to them Buffer 003 seems more fluffy. However, after playing a little more with it, I’ve noticed that it gives a nice airbrushed effect when you use in circular motion. Lately, I prefer to apply highlighters either with fingers or with fluffy angled brushes like the one from Bobbi Brown. By using an angled brush I feel like I have more control on spreading the product, as the Buffer 003 brush let some fallouts of glitter to happen around your highlighter. As I said, they are only seen when the direct light hits those areas.

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Nevertheless, what I noticed about this dual-fiber brush is that you can control the intensity of these blinding highlighters and build them up.

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The Buffer 003 Brush is available at Sephora and patmcgrath.com for $25.

Skin Fetish Highlighter + Balm Duo ($48, Buy Now)

I was especially excited about this particular product in the collection. It’s a two end stick with colored highlighter on one end and a transparent reflective balm on the other. Skin Fetish Highlighter + Balm Duo is available in 3 shades: Bronze, Nude and Golden. I decided to try Golden.

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The highlighter in Golden matches my skin tone and has warm undertones. The texture is more creamy than the Vanish Flash Highlighting Stick from Hourglass, and blends in more seamlessly. If you prefer no-makeup makeup look, use your finger to apply and blur the highlighter.  Alternatively, you can use the Buffer 003 brush or any other brush of your choice.

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Compared to the Sublime Skin Highlighting Trio, this highlighter is very subtle and is perfect for everyday use.

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The balm on the other end comes the same in all variations.

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It is transparent and reflective and the formula is infused with aloe and argan oils as well as hyaluronic acid. The combination of these ingredients not only looks and feels good but also benefits your skin. I swatched it on one hand, and now I feel that my skin there is smoother compared to the other hand.

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If you like dewey, bare skin look, you’ll like the balm a lot.  Did I mention how good it smells?

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Comparing to other highlighters in my collection:

Nudestix Nudies All Over Face Color in Illumi-naughty

Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish Highlighter + Balm Duo in Golden

Milk Makeup Highlighter

Hourglass Vanish Flash Highlighting Stick in Champagne Flash

You can apply them separately, or layer them for intensified shine. By the way, by layering highlighters from the trio over the balm, you can blind somebody with the strobing glow.

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From top to bottom: Balm alone and Balm + Highlighter

Some people say that applying the balm and the highlighter straight from the stick on your face can ruin the foundation that you already have and it works best when applied with fingers. I was testing these highlighters with Armani Silk Foundation and I let it dry pretty well before applying the balm, trying both methods. I can’t say I noticed that my foundation was swept away when I tried swiping a product from the stick, but just personally I prefer to apply it with my fingers. This is how I usually apply all of my highlighting sticks.

As well as with the Highlighting Trio, you can use this highlighter duo on different parts of your face and body.

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List of Ingredients:

Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Diethylhexyl Adipate, Dimethicone, Mica, Polyethylene, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax (Candelilla Cera), Talc, Silica, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Microcrystalline Wax (Cera Microcristallina), Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Octyldodecanol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, Cholesteryl Hydroxystearate, Tocopherol, Lecithin, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Glyceryl Stearate, Glyceryl Oleate, Citric Acid, Nylon-12, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Iron Oxides (Ci 77491).

The ingredients list looks pretty good as well, except for ingredients in bold which fall in Moderate hazard rate at EWG (3-4).

Skin Fetish Highlighter + Balm Duo is available at Sephora as well as patmcgrath.com for $48.

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Overall, Pat Mcgrath Labs stay true to their quality. I’m especially surprised with the pigments of Sublime Skin Highlighting Trio. For me, it is definitely a hit and I’m glad I have it now in my collection as these highlighters are worth every penny. I’m not sure about the brush though, but I believe I’m going to give it another chance.

Did you have a chance to try these highlighters? Let me know in the comments down below!


This post is not sponsored. My disclaimer is here.

If any of the products cause irritation discontinue use immediately.

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