One of the prettiest highlighters out there, NARS Highlighting Blush Powder in Albatross is softly flattering on the skin. Its subtle golden hue is suitable for most skintones and it is not heavily pigmented. It does not give a frosty or overtly shimmery finish. Rather, it imparts a glow that looks like it comes from within.
Of course, you could end up with too much shimmer if you apply it with a heavy hand, so be prudent in your application. A fibre optic/skunk brush is perfect for depositing the right amount of product.
Albatross is often compared to MAC Pigment in Vanilla because of its golden white shade. They may seem similar in colour but they are in fact different in shade, form, texture and finish.
Albatross is a pale golden white. Vanilla, on the other hand, is more intense; brighter, yellower and more golden.
Albatross is a pressed powder in a flat rubber compact, while Vanilla is a loose pigment powder in a plastic cylindrical jar. The pressed powder form is admittedly easier to work with but I absolutely detest how NARS compacts tend to deteriorate into a sticky black mess over time, making it irksome to touch the exterior of the casing. It’s a shame, considering the stellar products they usually contain!
As for MAC pigments, the packaging is simple enough and MAC thoughtfully provides a plastic lid – aside from the screw top cover – atop the contents, with which you can pick up/swirl/dust off your pigments. While I am not fond of pigments, this extra lid does help a fair bit in application.
Both are smooth in texture. Albatross is harder to swipe from the compact, while Vanilla, being a (pigmented) pigment, is easier to lift and apply. However, Albatross goes onto the skin more smoothly than Vanilla. The latter can apply unevenly at first because it is concentrated and powdery. That said, this can be easily resolved with blending and careful pick-up/application.
Albatross imparts a velvety, glowy finish while Vanilla is more striking and shimmery; veering on metallic.
To jazz up the comparison, I have included one of my favourite highlighters, MAC Hyper Real Pressed Powder in Extra Light. This powder has golden hues as well but as you can see, its texture inclines more to a pressed powder purpose. However, it is exceptional as a highlighter precisely of this – it blends seamlessly into whichever powder you already have on, kissing the cheeks with a lovely glow; giving you a natural radiance.