Beauty Test Drive: Benefit Cosmetics’ Watt’s Up Highlighter

Jessica Wakeman | January 9, 2012 - 4:20 pm

Highlighter is one of those makeup products that sounded kind of like BS to me, like lip gloss primer. Really? Do I really need this? Then a makeup artist at a MAC counter put some sparkly highlighter on me and — ta-da! — I had cheekbones for the first time in my life. As someone with very round features who suffered from the nickname Cabbage Patch Kid as a child, I can’t believe I went so long without illuminating the (few) angles in my face with a highlighter. I also wish I had started using highlighter years earlier to make my skin look more “alive” during winter months instead of slogging onward through cadaver-dom. So I am happy to report that Benefit Cosmetic’s Watt’s Up highlighter is quite pretty and is a bit more natural-looking than my sparkly MAC highlighter. 

Watt’s Up comes in a tube with a cream stick on one end and a buffer on the other end. I’ve never used the buffer, though. The highlighter cream itself is an orange-ish champagne, which I  use to emphasize my cheekbones, the bridge of my nose, my brow bones, and even the cupid’s bow above my upper lip. In a pinch, I’ve used it as an eyeshadow as well. It glides on silky smooth and feels soft to the touch, but doesn’t easily rub off if I’m lying on a pillow or making out with my dude.

I use Watt’s Up nearly every day, but there is one product from Benefit Cosmetics that I actually prefer. Their High Beam Gloss ($26) is also a hightligher, is natural-looking and shiny without being sparkly, and comes in small bottle with a brush, similar to nail polish. I prefer the High Beam Gloss is because it’s pink and looks lighter on my pale skin, whereas I worry the champagne color of Watt’s Up stands out a bit too much on the skintone on my cheeks. (By way of comparison, I think Amelia, who has a more naturally ruddy complexion, could pull off the champagne-colored Watt’s Up highlighter perfectly.) I agree with one reviewer on the Benefit Cosmetics website who said of Watt’s Up: “It is not suitable for very fair skin. You will have gold streaks on your face. … It can be very noticeable and unnatural if you are heavyhanded.” If you always put on your makeup sober and in natural lighting, than you’re in luck. But if not, well … 

In conclusion, I say any highlighter is worth the investment, especially if you live someplace freezing right now and feel blah during the winter months. Try on different shades/glitter levels on your cheeks to see which one is right for you. And let us know which highlighters you recommend in the comments!


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