Last Fall, after being slow on the uptake when Modern Mercury – the first offering in the Estee Lauder Gelee phenomenon – came out, I cursed myself for missing out. Then, several other gorgeous LE luminizers came on the market (~cough~ LM’s Rose Rendezvous ~cough~) and I swore that the next time something like that was released, I was getting on that train ASAP. When I saw Estee’s Spring PR release pop up online, which included Topaz Chameleon (another gelee), I was determined to get my hands on it. However, two things prevented me from satisfying my lemming – first, Topaz Chameleon was majorly metallic, and almost copper-toned, so I wasn’t quite sure how I would make it work. Second, it never appeared here in stores – I even called a few Lauder counters and no one had even heard of it before (which is RIDICULOUS if you ask me – don’t you do your homework???). I considered buying it online, but as it looked a bit scary I wasn’t confident enough to buy it sight unseen.
A few short weeks later, I stumbled upon pictures of Estee’s Bronze Goddess Capri Summer 2012 collection (weird timing between the two, don’t you think?) and noticed that there was a third powder gelee, Shimmering Sands – a pale rosy-bronze shade that looked MUCH more wearable. In a flash, I looked up a few swatches online (The Beauty Look Book and Best Things in Beauty have great info/photos) and decided I could DO this. As this hadn’t popped up in stores yet either (surprize), I ordered online from the Lauder website. I paid about $50CAD total for the gelee (shipping is free with any $50 order in Canada); ironically, I was in Mills two days after I received it to find that they had it on counter (WTF?). Thankfully, it’s being priced at $50 here too, so I didn’t end up paying more – and I got a 10-day sample of the Advanced Night Repair, so I’m not complaining!
The gelees are housed in beautifully elegant golden packaging, always with a gorgeous imprinted design on the actual product (I assume Shimmering Sands wavy texture is supposed to mimic sand in the desert?). It comes with a large sponge applicator, which I have yet to try. The texture of the gelee is ridiculously light – it almost doesn’t feel like I’m picking anything up on my fingers at all, until I turn it to see it’s full of product. The description given for the gelees describes them as a ‘tri-blend liquid, powder, and gel formula’ – how in the world they do that, I do not know. All I can say is – this baby is feather-light and soft.In the pan, it looks as I previously described – pale rosy-bronze – but on the skin, it was surprizingly burnished; more like a luminous reddish-bronze. On the website, they recommend smoothing it on as an all-over soft sheen; however, from reading previous reviews on both this and the Topaz Chameleon version, I knew this probably isn’t the way to go, as they’re very pigmented. While they’re not glittery, the shimmer can easily be overdone, and careful placement and a light hand is critical. Regardless of knowing this, I can see how it would be easy to overdo. Picking product up on my brush feels the same as with my finger – like I’m not actually getting anything – but then BAM! there it is. So, remember to not let it’s light as air texture fool you – just go slow and build intensity if needed!
I like the way it looks on my skin – it’s not as reddish as I feared, and just makes me look sun-burnt in a pretty way. As well, the illuminating effect is well-executed; I feel glowing without being self-conscious that I look shiny or glittery (light hand though, remember!). However, it’s more of a bronze/blush rather than a luminizer (though I knew that going into it, really) – perhaps when I get a nice golden tan in about a month’s time, it’ll be just what I’m looking for. I’ve also read online that it works great as an eyeshadow, so I’ll have to try that next.
Overall, I love the technology of the gelee, and how light it feel and how little you need to apply to get an effect. I do like the way it looks worn, though it’s not *truly* what I’m searching for. A downside is that the Illuminating Gelees are 0.15oz, which is below average for this kind of product (LM’s Rose Rendezvous is 0.20oz for around the same price, and Guerlain’s Cruel Gardenia is 0.31oz – but a whole lot more, about $74CAD, though its over double the product). Of course, this wouldn’t really be an issue if I LOVED it….but alas I don’t! Unfortunately, this was one of those purchases that I made in haste that usually ends up being a regret. I can use it, thankfully, but I don’t feel excitement about it, which is against my new “policy” on only buying things I love. I admit that I let myself get carried away with the hype, and now I’m paying the consequences. Somewhat of an expensive lesson to learn, but hopefully it will serve as a reminder in the future!
Do you fall prey to the hype on products? Please share so I can feel better about myself >:\ Also, do you own any of the Illuminating Gelee’s? Which is your favorite?