“Lit from within” vs. “glow” – Laura Geller’s French Vanilla Baked Highlighter. Review and swatches.

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Back in the 90’s it was all about matte finishes.  For a long time, I too thought that this was the way to go to achieve a clean and flawless base.

Luckily, with the new light foundations and powders that give skin a luminous glow, there came bronzers and highlighters too for a more defined look, adding contour and light just to the right places. While for some skin types matte is still the preferred finish, I personally am a big fan of dewy and natural looking skin that has a healthy “glow” to it.

Most often that glow is not at all natural though, so we need a little help from products like highlighters and illuminators.

While my favorite illuminating product is still Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector (the liquid in the shades Rose Gold and Opal), I was looking into alternatives that are less pricey. One of those alternatives is Laura Geller’s Baked Highlighter in French Vanilla.

I stumbled upon this highlighter on one of my regular visits to Ulta. Looking at the price tag ($15 for the regular Net Wt. .06oz/1.8g size and a double-ended brush applicator included) I thought “why not give it a try”. It’s my first purchase from Laura Geller. Since I am not a big fan of baked powder products in general I have never felt inclined to try out this brand but I am happy I did. The baked formula which often times lacks pigmentation when it comes to eyeshadows is actually a good choice for a powder highlighter if you are opting for a non-glittery highlighting product.

Here are some swatches in different light settings and backgrounds:

As you can see it contains no obvious glitter and the finish is silky and subtle yet buildable to some degree.  After purchasing it, I have found a video presentation on QVC where they also used it underneath the eyes to illuminate the undereye area. Due to its very natural, non-glittery finish I like to use it mainly in the inner corners of my eyes and on the bridge of my nose as well as on the cupid’s bow. It is just perfect to add some light right underneath the eyes. Think of a powdered version of an illuminating concealer stick. However, for my personal taste it is not pigmented or light reflective enough to use on top of my cheekbones unless I’m opting for a barely-there kind of highlighted look. The product is actually rather an illuminator than a highlighter.



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For my cheekbones I really like Revlon’s Photoready Skinlights. It is wonderful and the shade 100 Bare Light in my opinion comes close to Becca’s liquid Skin Perfector in Opal and Rose Gold (my favorite shades). It also has a very natural, non-glittery finish and flatters a variety of skin tones and skin types. It has definitely more of a natural “glow” to it than the Laura Geller Baked Highlighter so it’s perfect for cheekbones and collarbones. ($13.99 for 1.0 Fl. Oz./30 ml).

For a shimmery eye look I like Paul & Joe’s Eye Gloss (shade G 001). You can either use it as a highlight on the brow bones or all over for a shimmery look but beware – it has a frosty finish and is highly pigmented. That is why I wouldn’t recommend it to use on your cheekbones. (No price information here because I got this as part of my Paul & Joe Kitten Collection).

And here some swatches for comparison – 1: Becca Skin Perfector Opal (liquid) 2: Becca Skin Perfector Moonstone (pressed powder) 3: Benefit High Beam (liquid)

Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector is definitely my favorite illuminating product because it has a very natural, glowy and dewy finish without looking metallic or glittery. But that only applies to the liquid version. The pressed powder versions have too much glitter in them for my personal taste. I’ve found that to be the same with their newly launched Beach Tint Shimmer Souffles. While I am an absolute blush addict, I disliked the heavy shimmer and amount of glitter in them. Too bad because I really love their texture.

Shade Description and Colors:

Laura Geller’s Baked Highlighter comes in three shades: French Vanilla (subtle light and matte golden cream color), Portofino (more shimmery and a darker golden shade), Golden Rose (like the name suggests a rose gold shimmery color).


For all skin types from light to medium. It may not be pigmented/shimmery enough for darker skins. Due to its almost matte finish it’s perfect for natural highlighting of areas where you want to avoid glitter, i.e. bridge of the nose, cupid’s bow.


The highlighter comes with a double-ended sponge applicator brush. The smaller pointy end is perfect to get into the inner corners of the eyes while the bigger flat end is suitable for dabbing the powder on top of the cheekbones or along the bridge of the nose. Silky finish and light texture. You may want to build up and reapply during the day due to its natural finish.

Rating and Recommendation: B


  • No obvious glitter.
  • Very natural finish (velvety matte with a subtle shimmer without any metallic or frosty sheen).
  • Feels light on the skin.
  • Perfect to illuminate the undereye area and to give subtle non-glittery shine to certain areas like cupid’s bow or bridge of the nose.
  • Perfect highlighter for the day and office.
  • Good for mature and fair skins.


  • May not be shimmery/pigmented enough for some who want a really highlighted look.
  • Soft, powdery texture calls for reapplication.
  • May not be suitable for darker skins due to the soft, powdery finish and weak pigmentation/shimmer.

It’s not an over-the-top highlighter but it’s not bad by any means. It depends on the look you’re going for. If you are looking for an illuminating product to add light to certain areas on your face or if you just prefer a more subtle, natural look that looks like “lit from within” without the glitter, then this product is absolutely worth trying out.

Do you prefer a subtle “lit from within” look or are you more into the “glowy” look? What’s your favorite highlighting or illuminating product? Do you have any good drugstore/chemist dupes?

Thanks for reading!


– Mirjam


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