Friday, June 27, 2014

Elizabeth Arden Pure Finish Cool Radiance Highlighter in First Mate Review, Swatches and Photos

Elizabeth Arden is not a brand I think about often - the last time I purchased a product of theirs was back in the 90's when Amber Valletta was still their brand ambassador! It probably was a tube of Eight Hour Cream which is a brand classic (and a great substitute for cuticle cream.)

Recently on a visit to my local Shopper's Drug Mart I stopped to play around with their new nautical themed summer collection. Much to my surprise I came away with their Pure Finish Cool Radiance Highlighter in First Mate (LE, $35.00 CA). Photos taken in natural light on NC 35/40 skin.

Elizabeth Arden Pure Finish Cool Radiance Highlighter in First Mate

First Mate is a twist-up stick highlighter that has a gel-cream consistency. There is a slight grittiness to the formula but it otherwise glides smoothly onto the skin and as the name implies has a moist, watery feel that evaporates in a few seconds. The product itself remains creamy on the skin allowing you to blend and sheer it out, but it does not dry down or set on the skin.

Elizabeth Arden Pure Finish Cool Radiance Highlighter in First Mate

According to Elizabeth Arden, First Mate "illuminates your skin with a soft, pink opalescence that looks and feels naturally radiant." I would agree with everything in that statement except the "natural" part. First Mate is an opalescent explosion of ultra fine pink, violet and gold micro shimmers suspended in a clear base. The formula is similar to some of Bobbi Brown's Sparkle Eye Shadows but with a finer grade of shimmer. The effect applied straight out of the tube is quite glitzy - this is not a product for people who want low level shimmer! Thankfully because of the formula you can sheer out the shimmer to more subtle effect, and though I would not consider the effect "natural" it certainly is pretty in a fairy dust kind of way. A little of this product goes a long way.

Elizabeth Arden Pure Finish Cool Radiance Highlighter in First Mate on NC 35/40 skin.

Unfortunately, capturing the dazzling effect of First Mate was extremely difficult. This swatch is two heavy passes, straight out of the tube with no blending. I think you get an idea of how reflective the shimmer can be when built up, but the photograph does not capture the beautiful way the shimmer shifts colour from pink to violet to gold. The mix of cool and warm shimmers really is flattering on the skin and in real life does not appear as cool toned as my photo would suggest.

Because the product does not set it remains slightly moist to the touch, which means it's not a product that is going to be bomb-proof. If using on the eyes, a primer or glitter glue would be necessary to reduce fall out an increase wear time. It would be very pretty patted over a neutral matte eye shadow, but I like it over a clear primer on an otherwise bare eye.

At the time of this post First Mate is still available online at The Bay.

Grade: B

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