Gorgeous Cosmetics Prism Powder Highlighter - review and swatches


Like the Summer version I've recently reviewed (see here), this product has been next up on my list of items to review for weeks now, it's just that I've kept opting to write other posts and so it's fallen to the wayside. But I've had the product for over eight months now so I'm more than ready to give you my thoughts.

I bought it late last year when one of the online retailers was running a GWP promotion for Gorgeous Cosmetics (from memory you had to spend around $90 on GC products to receive a pack that contained a GC bronzer, lip pencil and lipstick), and since I'd had my eye on the two Prism Highlighters anyway, I bit the bullet and I'm glad I did because they're exactly the kinds of highlighters I'm after: subtle, work-appropriate and hard to overdo. 

More on all that below. This review is for the original Prism version.

Each compact comes in a decent black box with a nice-enough matte rubber compact that displays the Gorgeous Cosmetics logo and contains a mirror. 

It's not my favourite packaging because there's something uninteresting about it and it gets grubby easily (like the Nars packaging does), but it's not terrible either so it wasn't a reason to avoid the purchase (yep, that's right - I'm far too swayed by packaging! But I suspect I'm not the only one ; ) ).

Gorgeous Cosmetics claims/product details:
  • Prism's multi-dimensional reflective properties give you a sophisticated shimmer
  • This transparent and pearlised, luminous powder gives skin a gorgeous subtle sheen
  • Prism's soft particles are so finely milled that they reflect and diffuse the light, reducing the appearance of imperfections
  • To use: use as a highlighter on your cheekbones and brows for a subtle highlight; lightly dust over the face 
  • $49.00 for 12g

There's the product below, direct sunlight (I photographed this when I got it, so it looks much nicer here than it does now ; ) ):

And in natural light:

There's a swatch in direct sunlight below. I've sheered it out on the left and done a heavier swatch on the right (click on any image to enlarge it):

And another one:

And in natural light:


And below I've sheered it out completely, direct sunlight (you can see how subtle it is):

Last one for good measure:


I love this highlighter and it's one I reach for often because it's the perfect product to use if you want a highlighter that doesn't announce itself as such.

Indeed, it's the most subtle highlight I own (I'd say it's even more subtle than Hourglass' offerings) so it's great for 'no makeup' days or those times when you're already looking pretty glowy - eg from an illuminating base product or if your blush has a sheen/shimmer - and you don't want to overdo the glow factor and risk blinding people on the street.

There's no glitter in this product and it also doesn't emphasise pores or other texture, so it's great if you have dry or older skin like mine because it lifts the face without highlighting imperfections - a common problem with highlighters that aren't formulated well.

With some of my powder highlighters (I'm looking at you, Becca), you have to be super careful if you want to avoid your glow being visible from the moon. I don't find that with the two Gorgeous Cosmetics highlighters I own and for this reason I'm much more likely to reach for them because they require less effort to apply. This one is even more subtle than the Prism Summer version so it won't be for everyone, but it's great for those of us who prefer a more low-key look.

I also think that, of the three Gorgeous Cosmetics powders I own (the third being a bronzer), this is the best one in terms of texture because it's slightly softer and more blendable than the other two.

Also, while all three of my Gorgeous Cosmetics powders developed a crust within the first few uses, this was the least-affected and the crust was the smallest and easiest to remove of the three.

On that, crusts on cosmetics usually form when some oil from eg a dirty brush has gotten into the compact and mixed with the top layer, making a hard surface that must be removed if you want to keep using the product, but I've only ever had this happen once before with a cheap blush I owned, and none of the other powders I'm using at the moment have had this issue. So what is it about Gorgeous Cosmetics' formula that encourages a crust to form?

You have to wonder, and I'll mention here that these powders don't feel quite as high quality as the $50 price tag suggests. I got my Becca highlighters for $35 each and they feel much better quality than these do.

What I'm talking about is the texture of the powders: while they're finely milled, they just don't feel as soft and luxurious as the other high-end highlighters I own. Eg my Becca and Hourglass powders cost about the same at full price, and while those feel like they're worth every penny in look and feel, the formula of these isn't quite as good and I think they're priced above their weight.

For this reason I mightn't buy them again: if I'm going to drop $50 on a powder, I want to feel like it's a $50 powder whenever I use it! And I certainly don't want it developing a crust shortly after I've opened it.

Note also that the first listed ingredient for this product is talc. Now talc is a cheap filler and I personally don't think we should be seeing it as the largest ingredient in something that retails for this price, but maybe that's just me.

Otherwise I love this highlighter once it's on the face. It offers a believable sheen and it's impossible to overdo. While I personally wouldn't use it all over the face as a finishing powder because it doesn't blur imperfections like the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders do, you could probably do that if you wanted to because it's so subtle that it wouldn't look like it's too much. (And that's why I haven't included photographs of how it looks on the face: it barely showed up and the arm swatches display it better.)

So while my Becca highlighters feel better quality in terms of formula, these look better and 'gentler' on the skin - which means I use them more often.

You also have to love that Gorgeous Cosmetics is an Australian brand: I do love buying homegrown products and suspect I'm not the only one.

Ticks from me. Here's to natural, glitter-free highlights that don't make your pores look like craters! But I do recommend seeing and feeling the product in person before buying it, if like me you want your expensive products to look and feel like expensive ones.

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