Review | Estée Lauder Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelée in Modern Mercury

I was captivated by the photos of this highlighter when they first appeared online – its curved textured surface seemed to shimmy and I wondered if it was a powder (if so, how did it maintain its wavy shape?) or a jelly-crème (how could they have embossed it so precisely, then?).

It turns out that Modern Mercury is both powder and gel…and more.

A ‘tribrid’ of liquid, powder and gel, this highlighter from the Estée Lauder Fall 2011 collection has a delightfully creamy – almost molten – texture. The undulant surface seems to have some measure of springiness; it’s not exactly like a gel or cream shadow (it’s not that soft) but it has a certain resilience.

It maintains its intriguing shape, even as it imparts excellent colour payoff with its rich pigments. The pretty print doesn’t seem to sustain much defacement even with a heavy swatch, although I doubt it extends all the way to the bottom of the pan.

A gentle swatch of my preview sample yields a rosy taupe that pulls peach (a tempered rose gold, perhaps). Laced with shimmer bordering on frost, it reminds me of Stila Kitten eyeshadow, only cooler in tone. There are hints of copper, bronze and silver amidst the rose gold, so multi-reflective is its gleam.

Its neutral tone with a bit of oomph makes it a nice lid colour too, although I haven’t tried it on my eyes. It can be used wet – the brand promises a ‘fierce flush of color’ – but I’m already quite happy with its intensity when dry.

According to the brand, the product ‘smooths on as an all-over soft sheen (and) builds for luminous pearl highlighting’. Designed to impart a ‘theatrical blur of shimmer’, it has a high polish finish (it has an intense shine), yet a delicate dusting with your brush will give you a glow that’s not over the top.

I absolutely love how it seems to merge into my skin tone to give a natural radiance. You’ll need a light hand for an all-over glow or else you’ll look too shiny-sheeny. On the facial planes, though, I love its sculpting versatility – it can be either a subtly glowy or clearly gleaming highlighter, depending on the brush you use and your strength of application.

The included wide sponge tip is actually great for picking up the product, intensifying or diffusing it. The unique formula of this luminiser seems to bind the pigments well and another happy feature of this product is its lasting power – it doesn’t fade easily and it has terrific colour integrity.

Recently launched in Singapore, this gorgeous illuminator retails at S$60. I’m glad it made its way here for it’s already sold out on the Estée Lauder website. Kudos to Tom Pecheux, EL’s Creative Makeup Director, for living up to the ‘creative’ part of his title!

Image source: Estée Lauder Singapore


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