The year 2017 in makeup was defined by the “unnatural highlighter” trend, which has yet to show signs of abatement. Like any trend, it has its detractors–beauty forums regularly have comments pop up that say, “Why? All highlighters look the same on the skin. The emperor has no clothes y’all.” That made sense to me, which is why I did not pay attention to highlighters beyond the most basic ones (TheBalm’s Loumanizers, Becca Opal, etc.)
However, downtown San Francisco has such stylish people pass through sometimes… One day, I saw something really cool: a woman wearing no color makeup but one of those unnatural highlighters. Every time the sun hit her cheekbones, they flashed electric pink. That’s when I understood: no, colorful highlighters don’t all look the same. There’s a purpose for their existence! I ended up getting Becca Lilac Geode and a Sleek highlighter palette for my birthday, and purchasing one of Anastasia’s glow kits for a teenage family member.
And here’s one of my Xmas gifts: the Sigma Beauty Chroma Glow palette. According to the brand, these are not just highlighters, but “multifunctional shimmer pressed powders,” which can also be worn as sheer glowy eyeshadows.
Swatches swatches swatches. (Nope, no fancy swatches on fingertips, with glitter glues or primers or gimmicks. Just a couple of finger swipes on my arm. My goal is to show you how these products look in real life.)
One thing to know about the Chroma Glow highlighters is that they’re not too metallic. Not the kind that would give you a “seen from space” glow. They produce more of a delicate shine.
Highlighters are a pain in the booty to photograph, as they’re meant to respond to sunlight, not to the phone camera. However, I’ve managed to capture some looks that incorporate them. Most of the pics are of my eyes, just because the highlighters show up better that way, but I do wear all of these colors on my face, as well.
Unfortunately, I have to start my review of the individual pans on a sour note, as I don’t understand the point of the peachy-pinky-beige highlighter, Peaceful. First of all, it’s beige–why?.. Wouldn’t the target audience for Chroma Glow have preferred something like an electric pink instead? If you set out to do a weird palette, commit! However, I would have forgiven Sigma for the pedestrian color if this product actually did anything. As you have probably figured out by looking at my swatches, Peaceful barely shines and barely shows up on the skin. It might enhance the glow of my Bare Minerals original foundation, but only slightly. See the shine on my cheekbones, on the bridge of my nose, and in my eye corner? That is it.
However, I like the other Chroma Glow colors quite a bit. Ambrosia is one of my favorites, a very cool-toned metallic rose. For some reason I think of it as a “severe” color, I guess because it’s so icy. Here is a look with Ambrosia paired with the Lorac Unzipped palette. I applied it on top of the lid and into the inner corner.
Moving on to Zeal, which seems like the most unusual shade for a highlighter: a sky blue in a dusty mauve base. This pan exemplifies the “delicate shine” effect that I was talking about. I like to contrast this happy blue with rich, earthy tones, such as the burgundy eyeshadow below (Kiko Water Eyeshadow in 203). I patted Zeal onto the middle of my lid and the purple shade, Felicity, into the inner corner. So far, I’ve been mostly wearing Zeal as an eyeshadow, but it looks good on my cheekbones, as well. And no, I haven’t (yet?) noticed it looking like a dirty mauve stripe on my cheeks when I’m out of the sun.
Bedazzle is a peachy shade tinged with rose. I find it hard to be excited about shimmery peach eyeshadows, because they usually translate into a boring “sheer pantyhose” color on my skin. But being a highlighter, Bedazzle has its luminosity as the saving grace. Below, I am wearing it on the lid (on top of the rose shade from the Wet n Wild Comfort Zone palette) as well as in the inner corner. Full face (from the other time I did this makeup).
Lush is another peach, but one that’s filled with copious amounts of delicate pink glitter. If you’re scared of sparkle in your complexion products, this highlighter is not for you. In the pic below, Lush is packed onto my lid and into my inner corner, framed by three mattes from ABH Modern Renaissance.
My other favorite shade (besides Ambrosia) is Felicity, a bright and luminous purple. Here, I used Felicity in the inner corner, with some eyeshadows from Melt Cosmetics. Eyeshadow review here.