The Quest to Satisfy a Lemming: Estee Lauder Illuminating Powder Gelee in Shimmering Sands (Review)

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.

Above (promo shots): Modern Mercury, top; Topaz Chameleon, bottom.

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!

Photos taken in direct sunlight

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.

Photos were taken in direct sunlight

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?

, , , , , ,

  1. #1 by Larie on March 8, 2012 - 6:56 pm

    You could probably sell it! I bet there are tons of people who wouldn’t mind buying it off your hands 🙂

    • #2 by Latoya on March 11, 2012 - 9:11 pm

      This is probably true Larie 🙂 I think I will give it a chance, see how I feel about it over the coming weeks and especially during and after my trip to Jamaica – but if it’s still not blowing my socks off, I may have to part with it, someway, somehow!

  2. #3 by Eugenia on March 8, 2012 - 9:42 pm

    Well, when Modern Mercury came out…I was completely clueless about its existence, that is until Topaz Chameleon arrived. THAT was one that intrigued me; I also picked up Shimmering Sands the day it hit counters, but hesitated as it looks suspiciously close to Rose Rendezvous (which I have as well) and I didn’t want a duplicate of that. So, here’s the breakdown between Topaz & Shimmering: while the formula is the same tribryd in both, Topaz is actually gold-based (not copper as you described) and yes, definitely more metallic, as well as coming with a brush instead of a sponge applicator (which, incidentally, Modern Mercury debuted with). Shimmering, on the the other hand, is more copper based, same hue as the LM but less metallic and definitely a more finely milled texture; it applies easier than Topaz as it is less metallic. To be fair, I haven’t worn either full on yet, but from my early testing, I can say that while Topaz will look amazing come the summer and with a light tan, Shimmering is actually more wearable right now. As to the pattern on its surface, it’s a dead-on duplicate to CHANEL’s bronzers, with their sand-dune texture (which I love, by the way – both the texture & the Chanel bronzer, I mean…lol!)

    For what its worth, it looks warm & glowy on you…I love it and think you should hang onto it until you can test it out with a tan, before giving up on it! But that’s just me…..

    • #4 by Latoya on March 13, 2012 - 4:32 pm

      I’m always interested in knowing that I’m using terms and words correctly…I’ve always been curious about the difference between copper and bronze, so I looked it up, and copper has more pink tones (like Shimmering Sands) and bronze has more brown. I haven’t seen Topaz in person but I believe you when you say it’s more golden – its soo metallic and rich-looking! In any case – you learn something new every day 🙂 I’ll be able to use these shade descriptions properly now! LOL

      As for the products themselves…thank you for liking it on me Eugenia, I have to agree – I’m just not sure I needed it (but when do we ever? haha). I’m going to give it a good trial run before making a decision for sure, I just fear having so many items that I’ll never give them a fair share of face time (literally), AND I don’t have the storage for them, either! Ah, rough life eh? 😛

  3. #5 by makeupmorsels on March 10, 2012 - 12:37 am

    Yeah, I definitely do. It’s really difficult not to get sucked into the hype sometimes, my willpower has its limits! At least you don’t hate this though, and god that formula sounds cool *not going to get sucked in, I repeat, not…*

    Also with Larie up there, if you decide this isn’t for you, I’m sure there are others out there who would love to get their hands on it. Although I do think it looks gorgeous on you, you picked a good shade.

    • #6 by Latoya on March 13, 2012 - 4:35 pm

      Thanks MM!! I think it’s a good shade too, I just don’t like getting caught up in ‘must haves’ and letting them dictate how I spend my money LOL! Right now I’m struggling with buying about 5 shades in the new YSL Glossy Stains – it is a CHALLENGE not to go crazy! Thankfully they aren’t LE so I can calm myself. It bugs me how susceptible I’m becoming to every new thing coming out these days – I totally blame blogging and being much more aware. You do well to keep your head!

  4. #7 by Liz on March 10, 2012 - 12:24 pm

    Oh god, these things are so ridiculously pretty – I don’t blame you at all for falling prey!!

    I was determined to snag one of them, too, but each time I saw them at the counter, they just seemed to crazy and unworkable. I’m also developing a resistance to palettes that are too beautiful to actually use. When I see the devastated testers at the counters, it always kills the urge to get one of these unless I’m sure the colours work well.

    This one is beautiful on you and I’d try Eugenia’s suggestion before giving up. But like Larie said, you can always sell it later as it’s something people will be on the hunt for long after it’s gone!

    • #8 by Latoya on March 13, 2012 - 4:43 pm

      Yea, I’m going to give it a chance for sure. I don’t have a really good reason to not!

      I’ve never really owned anything with a pretty design before like this, so I could never relate to not just ~using~ it, but I sort of feel it a bit with this, as well as the Chanel Blush de Horizon – I hate to see the lines all blend together. However, I absolutely refuse to buy things and not use them, so either I’ll buy and deal or I just won’t buy at all (which sounds like how you’re dealing with it). Both of which, when you think about it, is ridiculous lol – we’re hilarious 😛

  5. #9 by M Jansson on March 16, 2012 - 9:28 am

    truly excellent review!!!!!

  1. Beauty Low-Buy Update: Month Two « Beauty Obsessed
  2. Something to Amuse You While I’m Gone: My Blush Collection (Part IV!) « Beauty Obsessed
  3. Denying the Urge: My Foray into Frugality « Beauty Obsessed
  4. Summer Looks, 3 Ways: Cheeks, Lips or Eyes « Beauty Obsessed
  5. Makeup Roundup: Purchases in 2014 | Beauty Obsessed

...And what do you have to say about all this?? Dish! :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: