Disclosure: Affiliate links. Product provided free for review from Influenster.
To continue my recent theme of trying out products that wouldn't normally fit into my budget, today I'm reviewing Marc Jacobs Beauty Glow Stick Glistening Illuminator in Spotlight. This product was sent to me for free from Influenster. If you're not aware, anyone can sign up for Influenster and get things to review. It's not a blogger thing, but you do need to use social media.
Highlighter is one of those products that is proliferating the market right now, but if you are not a makeup collector or someone who regularly uses makeup to create editorial looks, you probably don't need more than one. In fact, you probably don't need one at all, because chances are you already have an eyeshadow that can function perfectly well as a highlighter. Personally, when I do my makeup, I am usually aiming to conceal things I don't like and to enhance or slightly alter things I do like, but rarely to draw a lot of attention to the makeup itself (with the occasional exception of lip colors and eyeliners). It's my impression that the majority of makeup consumers belong in this same category, though I am quite aware that people use and enjoy makeup for other reasons as well. Maybe you don't want to look naturally glowy, but like an android or an alien. That's a legitimate choice.
For me, two highlighters have been enough for a while now (and, again, eyeshadows will substitute just fine). Because I have a fairly neutral skin tone, I can adjust my makeup to be cooler or warmer, depending on my clothing, hair color, or mood, and it will still be flattering. So if I want to bring more warmth into my complexion, I'll use a gold/champagne highlighter (right now I have a mini tube of Benefit Watt's Up), and if everything else I'm wearing is cooler, a pearly or pink highlighter will often work better (I am currently working on a bottomless bottle of Benefit High Beam).
For a lot of people, either warm or cool will be more suitable for your skin tone, however. For everyday use, highlighter is generally meant to look like light is naturally reflecting off the high points of your face, and so having subtle variations of shade in various highlighters isn't going to make much difference, because the color shouldn't really show up, just the glow. For these purposes, you only need one good option that works for you.
That seems to be where Marc Jacobs Glow Stick Glistening Illuminator in Spotlight is meant to fit in. The Sephora description says that it contains both silver and gold pigments in order to be flattering to both cool and warm skin tones. I think you can see that that's a fairly accurate description when you compare the photo below to the first photo in this post. At some angles and in some lighting you get a warmer champagne or golden shimmer and at others a cool, pearly color like in the photo below. You may also be able to tell that it has a creamy texture here. If you've ever use Benefit's Watt's Up, the Glow Stick is much softer, slipperier, and more emollient.
The effect is on my skin is subtle and natural, so it works well for everyday use. I even applied this stuff to my entire face, and I just looked "dewier," not like some kind of combination human-fish cyborg. But I didn't take a photo.
Here's how it looks on my cheekbone. I'm wearing other makeup in the photo, but no base product (just concealer and powder). I applied the Glow Stick by swiping my finger across the surface of the stick and then patting it along my cheekbone.
This photo was taken adjacent to direct sunlight (i.e. I was standing right at the edge of the shade on a very hot, sunny day) which intensifies the effect somewhat. It's not as shiny in indoor lighting. I think it looks pretty naturally "dewy." (I can't help but put scare-quotes around that word--sorry.) In fact, I'm not wearing the highlighter near the inner corner of my eyes, but the natural glare of the sun of my skin there looks similar to the reflection created by the Glow Stick. I don't think it makes the natural texture of my skin look any worse than it is, but it also doesn't do anything to disguise it.
Unfortunately, the creamy texture does not work well for my oily summer skin. It disappears after just a few hours, and all I'm left with are a few stray sparkles. I think this would probably work much better for dry skin, but since I don't have that, I can't say for certain. I'll have to hold on to this until winter and see how it works for me then.
The product description states that you can get "one-swipe application" on your cheekbone due to the shape. I haven't had much luck doing that. It's not the right size or shape for me. Fingers are fine.
Here are some comparisons with some other products I own:
Left to right: Marc Jacobs Beauty Glow Stick Glistening Illuminator in Spotlight, City Color Shadow & Highlight Mousse in White Gold, the highlight shade from the Wet N Wild Walking on Eggshells eyeshadow trio, Benefit High Beam, and Benefit Watt's Up.
I thought that the City Color Mousse would be similar, but it's clearly more yellow and more intense. The main similarity is that it also doesn't work very well for my skin type, because it is very slippery. But the color is so pretty that I keep it around in hopes that I'll figure it out some day. I also looked for an eyeshadow that would be close to the Glow Stick as a powder alternative. Honestly, any pearly-cream eyeshadow is going to be pretty close, as you can see from the Wet N Wild swatch. And then I swatched my two usual highlighters, Benefit's High Beam and Watt's Up, just as points of comparison. You can see that when the light reflects off of these products, the differences are subtle. Noticeable in heavy swatches like these, sure, but when you use a lighter application like you ordinarily would on your face, the differences are going to be even less apparent.
$42 is out of my usual budget for a highlighter, especially since there are so many things that can be used to highlight the skin. But I was curious, so I did a cost comparison with some other stick highlighters out there (there are a lot these days!).
The Marc Jacobs Glow Stick is $42 for 0.49 oz., making it $85.71 per oz.
Glossier Haloscope is 0.194 oz. for $22, or $113.40 per oz.
Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlight is 0.21 oz. for $22, or $104.76 per oz.
Benefit Watt's Up contains 0.33 oz. for $30, or $90.90 per oz.
Maybelline Master Strobing Stick is 0.24 oz. for $10, or $41.67 per oz.
Milk Makeup Highlighter is 1 oz. for $24, or fucking huge.
I don't know how any of these but Watt's Up compare (and I like Watt's Up quite a bit--it lasts longer on my skin), but there's the cost breakdown for you. The Marc Jacobs Glow Stick is somewhere in the middle. Not cheap, not outrageous.
I think that the Marc Jacobs Glow Stick is going to appeal mainly to people who have dry skin and want to own a single, natural-looking highlighter that's easy to apply without going overboard. There's a lot of product in there, so it would be hard to use it all up if it were just one product in a rotation of many. I guess it would also appeal to people who like their makeup to look like deodorant. Who doesn't, though?