Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight The Celestial Powder has a legendary cult following, and with a name like that, it is hard to dismiss. I’ve had this one sitting in my stash for a very long time, and have been pondering over it for so long because I found myself at a loss in formulating an opinion. To be honest, it was not love at first sight / swatch for me. But with all the rave reviews out there, I wanted very much to love it, so I kept trying, putting it aside, then taking it out and trying again.
This is a very finely milled highlighting powder that goes on so smoothly it almost feels creamy. Unlike some other highlighters that I own, Candlelight does not contain any shimmer which will be good news for those who are averse to sparkly things. It is a platinum beige color with a frosted sheen. And I think therein lies my problem.
I swatched a few highlighters that looked like they may be dupes (based on color in pan) for a side-by-side comparison. I have layered on the same amount for each swatch so you can see the difference in pigmentation. Candlelight shows up the most distinctly against my skin tone, and that is due to its pigmentation, color and frosted finish. The platinum beige color neither warms up my complexion (the way YSL Y Lumiere Face Palette and Chanel Dentelle did), nor does it give a soft rosy glow (the way Chantacaille Rose Petals and Cle de Peau Beaute Luminizing Face Enhancer #14 did). Against my cool-toned, Asian skin, it almost lends a pale parlor which is not quite flattering.
Given that I have an oily T-zone, I am personally averse to more sheen then my skin can produce. Through the course of testing this, I have developed a yet-to-be-proven hunch that oily girls tend to take shimmery highlighters better than frosty ones. Something about shimmery highlighters like Cle de Peau and Chanel Dentelle… they sink into the skin better (these are also sheerer and less pigmented as you can see from the swatch comparison above), and the shimmers show up subtly as the light hits. In contrast, frosty highlighters like Candlelight tend to float on the surface and does not give that lit-from-within effect. Of course, this is entirely a hunch, as I know there are many out there who love the finish that Candlelight offers. It all boils down the type of look you prefer, and perhaps the way you apply your makeup.
The other thing that turned me off the moment I received my Candlelight was the miniscule size. I am all for sleek and compact designs, but I also like getting value for money. And Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight is the most expensive makeup item (on a per gram basis) I have ever bought! It retails for USD44 for a mere 3.1gm of product; in contrast, Cle de Peau Beaute Luminizing Face Enhancer (the one that is most often regarded as a luxury item) retails for USD95 for 10gm. Candlelight does not even come with a luxurious hefty case or brush like CPB. To be clear, it used to be sold in a heftier case that contained a brush and 5gm of product, but Kevyn Aucoin redesigned it sometime last year. Since then, the brush was dropped (which I don’t mind so much since I prefer using my own brush) and the amount of product reduced drastically, but the price remained the same.
I have had Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight The Celestial Powder in my stash for a long time now, and this has been a very difficult review to pen. If you already own a substantial collection of highlighters like me, then I would rather reserve limited real estate and budget for other prettier, limited edition highlighters. On the other hand, if you don’t already have a highlighter and are looking for one to start with, or are averse to shimmer, then this does come at a more accessible price point than the other luxury highlighters (on an overall basis and not per gram – although of course the point is moot if you are unlikely to hit pan on this!). It is certainly pretty when worn, and the texture is sublime. But it just did not wow me the way the other highlighters in my collection did.