I'm not sure about you, but a few years ago I never really heard much about highlighters, so upon the trends rise in popularity, I was completely overwhelmed by the multitude of offerings available in both the drugstore and on the high street when I first looked to up my glow game - a skill that I'm now rather proud of. I began with the drugstore brands - you know, the ones with the chunks of glitter and chalky formulas? Yep. They worked fine in the beginning, helping me to learn how and where to apply highlight, working out how subtle or intense I like it but I quickly grew dissatisfied with the cheap offerings of 2015 and that was when I purchased my first high-end highlighter. After about 4,687,076 years of researching and umm-ing and ahh-ing, I settled upon MAC's Mineralize Skinfinish in the shade 'Lightscapade' and it basically changed my life. It was amazing compared to the products I had been using and about a month later I purchased my first Mary-Lou Manizer compact. Oh lawd. I vowed to never go back to the drugstore offerings after the religious experience that was my first "proper" highlighter application. I became a complete snob when it came to my highlighter brands, and that vow still holds true today.. for the most part. Highlighters have come a long way since then, and I know for a fact that many drugstore products are just as good, and in some cases better than the high-end offerings. I've tried a few here and there, and thoroughly enjoyed them all, but I find myself going back to my high-end babies time and time again. I'm still a snob, what can I say?
After such a long-winded intro (why, tho), it's time to get down to the point of this whole damn post - and that is the comparing of arguably the two most talked about, and my absolute favourite highlighters: TheBalm's Mary-Lou Manizer and M.A.C.'s Mineralize Skinfinish in the shade 'Lightscapade'. Now, I don’t wear highlighter every day. I'm lazy and perpetually running late for work so if I do wear highlighter, it's for a special occasion, and I’ll pair it with a bad-ass contour and big ol' lashes. I like to use it on the highest point of my cheekbones, on my nose and in my cupid's bow. I feel it gives the prettiest glow - a sort of angelic effect.
Starting with the similarities, both highlighters are nicely pigmented and neither have harsh chunks of glitter in their formulas. Both are finely milled, meaning they have a luxurious texture and are easy to work with, and they both have amazing staying power. I have heard complaints that MAC fades from the skin after a few hours but honestly, I would have to disagree based on my personal experience, but that all depends on the foundation, primer and setting spray you do or do not use, the oiliness of your skin and what sort of weather conditions you experience when wearing it. I don't find it fades much, if at all throughout the day, as is also true with Mary-Lou.
The biggest difference between the two is the tone of the highlight. Lightscapade is leans more towards a silvery tone - it's a very light, soft beige making it ideal for fair skin tones, while the Mary-Lou Manizer is of a more golden champagne tone, making it ideal for a more tanned complexion. I don't necessarily feel as though those "rules" should be strictly adhered to, however. I've used Mary-Lou Manizer on my pale Winter face, and Lightscapade in the Summer, and either way, they still look fantastic.
The one comment that I feel I should make, is the fact that buying MAC's Skinfinish can be a bit of a guessing game since you don't really know what veining you could end up with. I personally feel as though the powder is light and subtle enough that the veining doesn't matter too much - they're all going to be mainly beige with some blue and coral running through, but exactly how much of the blue and coral will be in your individual pan will differ.
All in all, both products are great and I love them both too much to choose a specific favourite; The only deciding factor that goes in to picking which offering I reach for is the type of look that I'm after that day. On days that I want a really stand-out highlight, I’d definitely go for Mary-Lou Manizer. For a more subtle, natural look, the Skinfinish is the way to go.
What do you think? Have you tried one, or even both, of these highlighters? Would you agree? I'd love to know your personal favourite brand of highlighter!