Wavering in the Glow of Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight The Celestial Powder Review

July 24, 2014

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.

Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight swatch comparisons

Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight swatch comparison

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.

Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight The Celestial Powder

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.






11 responses to “Wavering in the Glow of Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight The Celestial Powder Review”

  1. By Georgia Grace says:

    Hi Linda, I just happened upon your blog, as I just wrote a post on Chanel Infiniment powder (I felt just ‘meh’ about it) and was checking to see where I ranked on Google 🙂 I found your post right above mine and clicked and have since been clicking through your other posts. I have extremely oily skin, and I am so interested in your theory that oily skinned ladies take shimmery highlighters better than frosty ones. I have the Kevyn Aucoin Tropical Days bronzer, which is an ombre powder that has Candlelight at the top and transitions down to a warm bronze shade. I’ve been really loving Candlelight, although the glow is very aggressive, and when I get oily later in the day, sometimes it’s all too much and the candlelight possibly makes my face seem even more oily than it is. However, I felt that nothing was wrong with it, as a little blotting brings everything down a notch, until I recently was trying out the Hourglass Iridescent Light Strobe Light powder in the new Ambient Lighting Edit, which I think is more of a shell pink, shimmered highlighter. I’ve noticed that the glow is definitely more subdued, but that when I get oily later in the day, that it’s not such an aggressive glow and my face handles it better with the shimmery more subdued highlighter. It’s all definitely very interesting, and I hadn’t really thought about it much until reading your comment! Xx Georgia Grace

    • silverkis says:

      Hi Georgia Grace, thank you so much for leaving me such a thoughtful message, and i’m so glad you feel the same way about shimmery vs sheen highlighters!! Sometimes I wonder if I live inside my own head too much… and it’s nice to know when it is validated.

      Sorry you felt just “meh” about the Chanel Infiniment Powder. I definitely saw a difference when I used it, though I guess my skin needs all the help it can get!

      • By Georgia Grace says:

        Thanks so much for the response Linda! Yes I totally agree with the ‘inside your head’ observation! I’m always wondering if I’m totally making things up as well, or forcing distinctions that are probably invisible to everyone else, so it’s always nice to have outside confirmation that you’re not completely imagining things 🙂 My skin is very oily, and I applied the Infiniment powder later in the day when I already had a healthy glow going on, so it’s totally possible that’s why I didn’t see much of a difference. Then again, there are a million reasons why it might not have seemed particularly spectacular to me! I tend to either want a seriously mattifying powder, like Guerlain Les Voilettes, or something that’s more obviously highlighting. The Chanel Infiniment seems like it’s meant to be an in between middle ground, and since it was neither here nor there, that’s probably why I didn’t love it. The one exception with neither matte nor highlighting powders for me are the Guerlain Meteorites, which I LOVE. Although I do gravitate toward the iterations which are slightly more shimmery like the pressed Wulong compact or the current holiday release Perles des Neiges. Haha, I clearly am quite a loquacious person, so no need to respond to all my ramblings 🙂 So nice to ‘talk’ with you! Xx

  2. Eileen says:

    Although I already had a lot of lovely highlighters, I purchased this one a couple years back because I wanted to see what all the hype was about. It was lovely swatched on my arm, but it didn’t translate well on my face. I’m NC15 and the color was off somehow and it looked blatantly frosty. I would rather have some sparkle in a product that merges with my skin than a product with a solid frost finish that looks like it is sitting on the surface. I really wanted to like it and so I tried it with several different brushes, but to no avail. For me, it was a no go, but my young niece who inherited it, loved it.

    You mentioned CdP’s USD95 price tag, but the powders can be bought as refills for USD55 which makes them more accessible and definitely makes them a bargain in comparison to the KA highlighter. The refills come in sturdy packaging that protects the product and is easy to store. I own all four luminizers that have been released, but I only own one case for when I travel. Although I can easily afford to purchase a case with every powder, it just seems like a waste to do so.

    • silverkis says:

      Hi Eileen,
      thanks for reminding me that CdP comes in a refill as well! I find it so interesting that there are so many who love this highlighter, in fact I posted it on my Instagram last night and there are only rave comments there. So glad to hear your personal experience as well, that lets me know i’m not the only one who has issues with the color and frost!

  3. Sunny says:

    Hey Linda, I’m SO glad someone out there finally gets my point! I got this a while ago, and to be honest I am not a big fan. It’s a little too much for me, and I think you’re right about the frosty finish and oilier skin. I’ve been sticking to Chanel Poudre Signee de Chanel. I hate to admit it because it was a limited edition piece, but in my book it’s perfect! Candlelight is great quality, but I don’t like how they reduced the amount an sell it at the same price. That doesn’t make a good first impression.

    • silverkis says:

      Hey Sunny, yes the size was my 1st reaction too like omg i cant believe how tiby this is! And i missed Chanel Poudre Signee but I’m loving Dentelle right now! Give me shimmer over a sheer base anytime!

  4. Hi Linda,
    actually you are not the only one who is disappointed by this one. I remember Sunny writing a similar review about it. I think the star product of KA range is their sculpting powder, not the highlighter. Highlighter had raves some years ago before all the brands released their super pretty highlighters. I don’t own KA Highlighter and I don’t plan to get it because there are many out there for more affordable price, prettier design and better function. I’d rather splurge to a MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Highlighter or a limited edition Chanel or Dior one. Thanks so much for the honest review. You wrote you have a cool skin tone, I thought you were rather warm?

    • silverkis says:

      Hi Sara, yes I saw Sunny’s post but I think she liked it for the effects? Yes definitely there are plenty of other more interesting highlighters to collect! Yes I’m cool toned even though I’m “yellow” Asian… But there’s quite a bit of pink undertones in me too!

  5. lilian says:

    I think you are the only bloggers say the pan is ‘ so so’. I am so glad that we are kn the same boat. I thought I am the only in the world not raving about KA Candlelight.
    Give me 5! ^.^

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