This is my first post of 2016, and I am very excited to show you the e.l.f. Illuminating Palette today. You may remember that e.l.f. released a Studio Ambient Palette back in June that disappeared almost instantly. It was obviously meant to be a dupe for the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette and I wonder if e.l.f. may have run into some legal issues with using the word “ambient” because after months of nothing but questions, the palette returned under a new name. The Illuminating palette is here to stay, so now I can show it off to you. I have had the palette for about six weeks now, and have thoroughly tested it and am ready for the review.
The e.l.f. Illuminating Palette comes in the same packaging as the new(ish) Contour, Blush, Bronzer (etc.) palettes. They have the large square mirror that is very good quality and the four pans of product that can be popped out. If you have several of these palettes, you can pop out and mix the pans to create a custom face palette with the blush, bronzer, and now highlight that you use most. E.l.f. is not currently selling replacement pans, but I think it is inevitable with this new system. I think the packaging is functional and I really like the mirror. I am interested to see what else e.l.f. does with this format.
Shade 1 is an opalescent highlight that packs a decent punch. The first two shades are definitely brighter, and this shade is the brightest in the palette. There is no noticeable glitter or shimmer, though, and it is still universally wearable in my opinion. This shade works wonders as an inner corner highlight to brighten the eyes. Shade 2 is an icy pink highlight in the same color family as Benefit Highbeam. It is my least favorite shade and I think the weakest link of the palette, quality-wise. It does not seem as finely milled as the other three shades, and I think it is a bit chalky. It is a bright, bold highlight as far as this palette goes, and I am sure that many people will like it, but it is not the shade for me. This is supposed to dupe Incandescent Light from the Hourglass palette. Shade 3 is a subtle champagne highlight. I love this shade so much and think it is worth it to buy the palette just for this shade. I prefer subtle highlights, and this is perfect for me. Color-wise this is very much like Hourglass Dim Light. Shade 4 is a warm golden peach shade. It is also a subtle highlight and because it is so warm and so dark, it will not work for everyone. I love it as a blush topper, and will wear it more as a highlight in the warmer months to give my skin a golden glow. This shade is close to Radiant Light, though it isn’t as close of a shade match as the other two.
The e.l.f. Illuminating Palette is a wonderful highlight palette, but it is not Hourglass. While I think the e.l.f. highlighters are finely milled and good quality, they are softer than Hourglass and they kick up more powder than Hourglass. They are not as extremely finely milled or as silky as Hourglass. I can use Diffused Light all over my face like a setting powder because of its satin finish, but I couldn’t do that with any of the e.l.f. shades. The Hourglass powders also have a smoothing effect that e.l.f. didn’t manage to replicate. If you really want to know if this palette can replace Hourglass as an exact dupe, then the answer is no. Though e.l.f. did manage to dupe the shades in the Ambient Lighting Palette, they did not dupe the formula. But you know what? That’s okay. Not everyone needs Hourglass quality. The Illuminating Palette is really good. Most people will find that it meets their needs and will be perfectly happy with it. If Hourglass is too expensive for you but you like the shades, then this palette is a great option. The e.l.f. Illuminating Palette is $6.00 at eyeslipsface.com, and I think that it is absolutely a worthy buy. With the exception of the pink shade, I think the highlighters are stunning and the formula could easily fit in with many mid-range brands. I absolutely recommend the Illuminating Palette.