What do we love more than pizza? For me the answer is highlighters.
During the VIB sale I grabbed a few glowy goodies and realized that the shades in one palette are errily similar to two other palettes. I thought, why not do a comparison to see what product gives the most bang for our bucks?
Product: Highlighting Palettes
Today I will be reviewing three palettes that contain six shades each, all around the same general quantity. They represent a low price point, mid price point and then somewhat high end price point, in order from least to most expensive. I’m judging them all on quality, value, packaging and overall satisfaction.
#1: Okalan Glowing Palette Shimmer Kit (Sunshine)
Product Specs: 6 shades – $12 USD
Release Date: unknown
Available on the Shop Hush website
Packaging: All the Okalan palettes that I have tried come with sleeves which I think is a nice touch and ensures the package doesn’t open and spill everywhere in transit. Unfortunately the Okalan palette sleeves are always super hard to remove, but that’s not a big deal.
The packaging doesn’t feel cheap but it also doesn’t look luxurious. There is a stripe design in bright colors like lime green, purple and pink. It errs on the “fun yet juvenile” side and looks like something I might buy for a preteen/young teen. Physically though the package is made of cardboard and I believe it is magnetized. It feels pretty sturdy.
Contents: Like I mentioned each palette has six shades, and the shades have names. Top Row: Moonshine, Stellar, Glimmer; bottom Row: Beam, Amorous, Gilt. At first glance it looks like this palette contains two highlighters, three blushes and a bronzer, but the colors apply differently on the skin depending on your skintone.
I would say the colors in this palette are better for people with warm undertones, though everyone could use it with some application finesse. Four of the shades–Moonshine, Stellar, Glimmer and Amorous–look very pink to the naked eye, but have a very sheer, almost undetectable pink undertone during application.
As far as pigmentation, this palette really blew me away with how reflective and glowy the highlighters are for the price. These highlighters err on the side of glittery but there is a base of pearl that coats the skin really nicely. They do have a bit of kickback when you tap your brush into the product so I would advise using a light hand! That actually goes for all the Okalan products.
Value: For the palette price of just $12 dollars that means that each shade is only $2 each. Sometimes “cheap” price tags can result in low quality products but I don’t feel that way about this palette at all!
Personal Opinion: Would I call it a “dupe” for the Sephora and Anastasia palettes? No, nt really, although the concept is very similar. I do like this palette and it is a good investment for a young person or for basic highlighting. I also think it is a good highlighting palette for beginners, people shopping on a budget or those that just like to collect and try out makeup. This product isn’t bad quality by any means; I actually love the way this looks! But in terms of rating it amongst the other two I’m comparing, this is my least favorite due to the loud packaging and the lack of color/tone variety.
**more pictures and swatches to come
Sephora Illuminate Palette
Product Specs: 6 shades – $28 USD
Release: I’m not sure of the exact release date but the oldest product reviews on the Sephora website are from December 2016
Available in Sephora stores and the Sephora website
Packaging: This palette comes with a thin cardboard sleeve in blush pink around the palette with the title, “illuminate” in silver holographic lettering. Again, I love sleeves for keeping the kit closed and away from damage. I love the color scheme and the clean look of the packaging. Inside, the palette is made of plastic. The lid has a clear window in the center and the entire palette is surrounded in black plastic casing.
Packaging wise, I will say that the blush pink accents are very similar to the ABH Nicole palette, although the pale colors/blush color scheme is something we would expect from Anastasia. The packaging feels sturdy and reliable; something you can feel confident traveling with or packing in your kit, even though I am not sure how strong the clear plastic part is. Also it doesn’t seem to ‘click’ shut, so I sometimes question if it is closed all the way and I have a bit of trouble opening it.
Contents: Another similarity between this palette and the Anastasia/Nicole palettes are the shades themselves. The Nicole palette has two warm pinks and one cool pink that leans mauve in the pan. The Sephora palette has a similar warm pink and a similar mauve pink as well as a frosty pale pink not seen in the Nicole glow kit. The other visual difference shade wise is that the Nicole palette has a deep cool bronze, while the Sephora palette doesn’t have that. Instead it has a warm champagne and deep warm copper and no other shades in the golden range.
Pigmentation wise, this palette applies surprisingly warm for colors that look so cool. The first color in the top row and last color in the top row definitely come off cool. The bottom first color is a champagne gold that can read warm, neutral and cool depending on your skin tone, but the other three shades I would classify as warm.
One thing that I like about this product is that it’s pigmented but not too obvious. It is a buildable glow that goes from candlelight to UFO mothership beam. With the Okalan palette it literally can be overdone in a single sweep of product so this is a bit more user-friendly in a sense. Although if you like beaming highlights, the Okalan might be preferable for you.
Value: When I do the math, each highlighter shade is about $4.70 each–not a bad price at all! Especially considering the price of a single Becca, Too Faced or Hourglass highlighter.
Personal Opinion: Even though not all shades are flattering for everyone, I think that for the most part they are all wearable and they can be used as eyeshadows, blushes or body glow. The value is definitely there in my opinion. I’d be willing to pay more $$ for this (shh, don’t tell Sephora). I recommend this product for a freelancing kit or just in general for everyday/nighttime wear. It isn’t quite at Becca level quality but it is better than some of the Too Faced highlighters I have tried.
Nicole Guerriero x Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kit
Product Specs: 6 shades – $40 USD
Release: around March 5th, 2017
Available in Sephora stores and online (restocking in May 2017!), Sephora counters as well as Ulta and Anastasia’s website
Packaging: In very similar fashion to the Sephora palette, the ABH palette is blush pink with holographic silver lettering and the standard Anastasia logo in black. There is no sleeve on the palette but the palette itself is magnetized, which is a feature the other two palettes I am comparing don’t have. Of course Anastasia’s products always look clean and beautiful and I love the blush pink on the package. I also love that the shades have names unlike the Sephora palette. It makes it easier to reference what colors you’re using, in my opinion.
Contents: The top row features three pink colors though they have different tones. Kitty Kat, Forever Young and Daydream are the top three colors. On the bottom there is Forever Lit, Glo Getter and 143. The two last colors are more WOC friendly.
Like I mentioned in my Illuminate palette review, the shade similarities are pretty neck and neck between that palette and this one. Each color is buttery and they go as far as to include ingredients for every shade on Sephora. What I think is interesting is that the three top shades, the ones that basically look different shades of pink, have the same formula.
The standout colors for me are those in the bottom row. I think everyone can benefit from a cool toned holographic shadow in their collection and Glo Getter and 143 are the most summertime friendly. This palette quality wise is on par with the other Anastasia products.
Value: One great quality that this palette offers is a quantity distribution breakdown of product on the website description. $40 dollars and six highlighters literally divides up to $6.66….so let’s just say that each shade is $6.70, not a bad price. I feel that if you go for a beaming, pearly and glittery highlight, this palette would be worth the $40.
Personal Opinion: Just my own personal preference, I do not like that there are so many pinks in this palette or the Sephora one. These pink shades are definitely more pigmented than those in the Sephora which might speak to being better quality, but it makes it less wearable for a diverse audience which is why I prefer the Sephora palette.
For my taste, I like pearlescent, smooth, even highlighters like the ones Becca makes. These are smooth and buttery, but definitely are glittery in appearance which I am not totally in love with. Also I feel that Kitty Kat, Forever Young and Forever Lit are not really wearable on an everyday basis for those of us with deeper skintones. They might make good accent colors layered over a base highlight or good for using as eyeshadows, but in general this palette reads frosty and too cool toned for me.
Overall, I rank this as #2 in my list. It can be intense, glittery, too cool toned and therefore not as wearable as the Sephora palette. I will say that the color intensity of the glow kit and the Okalan palette are pretty similar which is shocking for a $28 dollar price gap.
I am just going to come right out and say it. I feel like the ABH x Nicole glow kit basically a copy of the Sephora one. And maybe not intentionally! And that isn’t a beauty sin or anything, but for the glow kit to be so hyped about, I wanted something more original and unique.
I do think Nicole and Anastasia did a good job of trying to be versatile, but with the complexity of brown skintones, it isn’t an easy thing to do and I’m sure it wasn’t the first priority. But for me, the frostiness of the Nicole collaboration glow kit is the #1 thing preventing me from purchasing it.
Are the highlighters better quality in the ABH palette than the other two? Yes. But are the products really similar? Also yes. It is also something of a novelty product if you love Nicole Guerriero, which we all do of course.
I think all three of these palettes are good/great and worth the price. As far as the Okalan palette goes, I hate the aesthetic of the packaging, but the highlighters inside are pretty good and worth the money. Overall, none of these beat out my favorite brand of highlighters, which is Becca.
At the end of the day, the Sephora palette is my favorite of the three. I think the price is on par with the quality, the shades are a bit easier to work with; you can build them up or sheer them down. Also the palette itself is versatile, and the packaging is sleek yet still on trend. Also I genuinely like Sephora brand products and I don’t think they get enough attention sometimes.
Here’s some math:
Total spent on all three highlighters: $80. Average cost? $28 dollars–the same as the total cost of the Sephora Illuminate Palette. Which is on par for being a store brand product, even if they are owned by Louis Vuitton. And it also speaks to the illuminate palette being priced well. All the palettes have a $2 dollar price different per highlighter, which I find pretty interesting. Kind of irrelevant though, unless they are sold as singles.
If you’re a highlighter collector, I’d say go for ABH. If you need something versatile, especially if you’re a makeup artist, then the Illuminate palette might be more your speed. And if you just collect makeup or if you are looking for something affordable, the Okalan palette is a great product to try out.
Which of these palettes do you own? I went back and forth on getting the Nicole palette for a long time but ultimately decided that I’d have to pass. While it looks beautiful, the formula and finish of the colors just isn’t a must-have for me right now, however I do own the Okalan and Illuminate palettes. I tend to gravitate towards wearable highlighters that are more warm/golden based but have a sprinkle of silver for that super reflective look. I am open to some fun colors for summer though–I’m thinking orange, yellow, pink and berry.
Hopefully you found my review interesting! Let me know if you have any ideas/requests for future product comparisons.