Battle of the Highlighters: Fenty Beauty, The Balm & Nature Republic

Every now and then, it’s good to give in to the hype. That’s what they teach you in high school, right? Peer pressure and all that! And the internet certainly makes that remarkably easy. While I’m pretty good at resisting products, sometimes my brain glitches and I just hand over my money (digitally, of course) to the latest & greatest shiny new thing on the market. And I’m okay with that.

My most recent case in point is, to be sure, Fenty Beauty. I wrote about the holiday collection a few days ago, but only touched on how much of a hold Riri and co. got on my self-control. I wasn’t really aware of the launch, and then on the Friday night (September 8 or 9) it happened to go live, and I happened to remember I’d heard something about this lil ol’ makeup brand.

Fast forward an hour of browsing later, and I’d handed over a fair chunk of dolla$. I was proud of myself, however, for exerting self-control and not meeting the minimum spend for free shipping. See, I didn’t need everything!

Of course, the very next day that was all shot to shizz when I logged on again and bought another truckload of stuff — paying for shipping again and loving it! The cherry on top was when I received my Pro Filt’r foundation and it happened to be far too light. I had played myself! But more on that later.

Because I got all hyped up and needed to buy everything before I’d seen a single review, I went in blind. And that is refreshing! I decided to pick up a few things (many of which I ended up returning, lolol), my favourite of which turned out to be the Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Lightning Dust/Fire Crystal. This seemed to be (and is) the lightest of the highlighters, so I thought it wouldn’t be too cray on my porcelain skin. As someone who sort of missed the whole matte lip/glowing highlighter trend, this dual highlighter seemed to be a good way to ease in.

One side is more subdued for daytime, and the other is PACKED WITH GLITTER. Yasss. They’re both really pretty colours, and blend in seamlessly on my cheekies. To me, these seem to be one of the standouts from the Fenty line (so far).

Next up, is an old blogger classic, The Balm’s Mary Lou-manizer. This is an OG product — but I still was curious about it. I’ve seen it on a lot of videos/blogs, and it seems to be one of those universal, one-highlighter-fits-all products. The “manizer” sisters (there’s a couple more they brought out after the success of this one) don’t seem to be so friendly to all skin tones, but this Mary Lou… she’s a gem.

This pact is particularly smooth, and is a perfect circle. I mean perfect. So pleasing to a little OCD nut like me. It’s a smooth, soft, buttery highlighter which is super easy to blend. Just a dream.

Last but not least, is the Nature Republic Provence Highlighter. In true Korean style, this one is also loaded with glitter, but lightly so. A lot of Korean eyeshadows are like this: glittery but sheer, not too in your face or punchy. It adds a pretty glow without overloading anything. As you can see, the actual pact is also gorgeous, with a rainbow pastel design.

This was part of their Provence line, which also came in super pretty floral packaging (lots of lavender). I picked this one up a while ago, but being a little hoarder with a purchasing addiction, it sat in my collection without seeing much light… ironic for a highlighter, you might say!

As much as this looks like it’s a rainbow gelato (yum), the colour distributes evenly. In fact, there’s not too much colour to this; it’s more like a wash of light glitter.

So which is my favourite of the three? It’s too hard to say! Don’t make me choose!

I decided to take a few swatches close up to give you a better idea of the difference between the three, because honestly, it’s sometimes hard to tell if there even is a difference in highlighters. They’re all light and bright, right?!

You can see straight off that the Fenty Beauty (the more pigmented, Fire Crystal side) highlighter is pretty rich and sheeny. They’re actually beautiful to apply — they feel really expensive and luxe.

And now, here are swatches in their rightful place — direct sun:

You can get a better idea of the nuance in shades here. I think you see what I mean when I say the Nature Republic highlighter is sheeny and glittery — and it’s also a lot more icy in tone than the others. This makes sense when you get to know Korean makeup: they’re notorious for going super fair and not having much diversity. Yeah, this worked for someone with skin as light as mine, but it was also a little weird and whitewashing. There was pretty much zero darker tones — something that’s only sort of starting to happen now.

These swatches were actually revealing to me, too. Namely, the gold-ness of the Mary Lou-manizer compared to the others. Yes, I have two eyes and could see it was a champagne-y shade, and that it would work on a bunch of skin tones — but I think compared to the Nature Republic one it certainly ran more golden.

And Fenty Beauty… oh, my beloved Fenty Beauty. I do love this Killawatt highlighter, and have recently been using it in the daytime for a subtle glow. Yes, there’s a fair bit of glitter going on, and the pact was SUPER hard to open at first… but you forgive it all when you see it on. That’s the Riri effect!

And so, here’s my ode to glow. Now, if only I would use these on the regular. If you see me sometime soon and my face is aglow… you’ll know what’s up. YOU’LL KNOW.

Have you tried any of these? Let me know in the comments!


Steph x