Review | Estée Lauder Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelée in Topaz Chameleon

Remember Modern Mercury? Here’s Topaz Chameleon, a warmer counterpart to that beautiful highlighter. Part of the Estée Lauder Topaz Spring 2012 collection, this striking palette seems more summer than spring but like the latter season, it’s a discovery in itself.

The name says it all – with a print that mimics the scaly outer covering of that colour-changing reptile, Topaz Chameleon may seem like an obvious bronze, yet like the creature, it doesn’t just bear one hue. Instead, this warm palette gleams a coppery bronze and flashes gold with a fiery glow at some angles, while its multi-coloured particles sparkle when seen from certain directions.

The swatches above demonstrate this colour-changing effect.

Like its predecessor, it is highly pigmented and has intense colour payoff. The rich pigments last very long but do not stain the skin.

This palette has obvious depth of tone and will be excellent on darker, warmer skin tones – its gorgeous hues and lustrous gleam will undoubtedly pop beautifully on them! This is not to say that fair or cooler-toned maidens cannot wear this – when applied with a (very) light hand, it can work on my fair-to-medium skin tone. I won’t reach for it as often as Modern Mercury, though.

Depending on the brushes used and the pick-up of colour, Topaz Chameleon can be pretty versatile: A dense shadow brush makes it a gorgeous eyeshadow and an angled cheek brush imparts a golden gleam, while a graze with a skunk brush picks up its sparkles to offer a kiss of bronzy glow, as shown above.

My only quibble with it is its ‘illuminator’ label. When I first learnt of it, I’d expected something that would work as an all-over product but when I finally saw the preview sample, I was quite taken aback by its intensity and metallic-frost texture, which even deeper skin tones will have difficulty carrying off without looking OTT. And you know, it’s already so pigmented dry that I can’t imagine it wet!

According to the brand:

Skin is luminous and sun-warmed: Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelée in limited edition Topaz Chameleon provides the dash of sun-kissed warmth to newly awakened spring skin. Featuring a fitting snakeskin pattern, this prism shine powder gelée can be used to bronze, blush or softly contour cheeks.

A “tribrid” system of liquid, powder and gel, this first-of-a-kind, “multi-powder” formula creates a theatrical blur of shimmer on the skin when applied dry and a fierce flush of color when applied wet. The unique suspension of golden pigments and pearls float on top of the skin, resulting in a truly unique sensorial experience.

The modern powder is flexible and uses a luminosity-boosting complex that makes the complexion appear perfectly smooth, seductive and warm.

In Singapore, this limited edition palette retails at S$68 and is only available at Estée Lauder counters located at Isetan Scotts, Takashimaya and Tangs Orchard.

Image source: Estée Lauder Singapore


  • Eileen says:

    This is such a gorgeous highlight/bronzer. I missed the Modern Mercury one (was deliberating about getting it and when I finally wanted to it went OOS >.<) and was actually looking forward to this one. However, this looks really dark for my skin and might be a little hard to work with. It still looks like a piece of art in its pan though ;)

    • makeupmag says:

      Hi Eileen,

      I’m assuming you’re very fair, going from your Anna Sui blush swatches (love your pix, by the way!). This is definitely too dark for you, unless you are willing to use a very light hand with it. It’s super pigmented and I love the slightly bouncy texture of this formula!

  • Eileen says:

    Hi Mag!

    Thanks for the reply! Looks like I have to pass on this one, the texture is a dream and I wish EL comes up with something lighter because I’m sure these will make terrific highlighters!

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