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As part of last month's Glossybox (Google if you're curious, I'll only review after it's been going a few more months) I received a full-sized Illamasqua powdered metal in the shade Ether.
I was excited to try it out as it is the first product I've used from Illamasqua, and I am also a fan of anything that will help enhance my skintone and make me generally more dewey, fresh-faced and lovely etc etc!
All that said, I am really not a fan of glitter in make-up, which at first glance this looks suspiciously like. I much prefer matte bronzer and blusher, and wasn't sure how I would get on at all with what essentially looked to be a tub of very fine glitter mixed with powder/talc. Fortunately I have to say it is fitting in quite nicely to my daily face routine.
The tub holds 15g, which may not sound like much but is actually a big container and despite the sifter lid holds a lot of product. Packaging is VERY basic, a clear plastic bottom with black lid, and only the word "Illamasqua" in tiny white letters on the edge of the lid. The actual product name itself is only disclosed on the bottom, along with a brief description of how to use the product which I find a nice touch. Overall I think they could have made slightly more effort with the design but I'd rather plain than tacky.
The sifter lid has fairly large holes and a few more than I would really have wanted. As I said, I'm not a fan of the glittery face look, so less is definitely more with a product like this. I have left the sticker covering the holes on and tend to "dunk" my brush through the holes to tap a little on rather than actually shake the product through the sifters. That said, I'm still glad there is some way of regulating the amount of product that gets onto the brush.
The powdered metals come in three shades. Mine, Ether, is gold. There is also a pink shimmer and bronze shimmer. As I mentioned before, they are pretty glittery. I can best describe this as a loose powder mixed with masses of extremely finely milled shimmer, rather than chunky pieces of glitter. It can be used on face or body, and by using different brushes and building up product it can be used in a variety of ways.
Personally I like to use a fluffy blusher brush to dust a miniscule amount onto my cheekbones and nose. It adds a 3D kind of effect and is especially good if you are using a full-coverage foundation that leaves the skin looking a little flat. On the skin it is noticeable, but noticeable in a fresh, glowing way, not to make your face look like a glitterball. I also really like to take a smaller brush, such as an eye blending brush, and dab a slightly larger amount of product under the eye to add more dimension and brightness after using a heavy-duty concealer. It also helps open up the eyes when dabbed into the corners with a small brush.
The product can be applied wet for a more intense look. Again, I'd say this would be great for on and around the eyes, but it could perhaps start to look a bit strange on the body or elsewhere on the face! For me highlighter is a way of looking as good as I can NATURALLY so that's not exactly what I'm going for.
I have tried using the product on my collarbones once, with a large fluffy brush. While it did add a little sparkle, I would prefer the bronze shade for body use. I would suggest the pink for very fair skin tones, gold for darker skins (although I feel it would be most versatile) and bronze for most white skin tones and also for body use.
Although I am enjoying using this product, I do find it more of a hassle than liquid highlighters such as Benefit's High Beam which I love. It is a bit faffy messing around with different brushes for different parts of the face, and adding different amounts of product. One other thing I find pretty annoying is that the shimmer seems to transfer to my hands and gets everywhere. While it's not as bad as having actual glitter all over the place, I definitely don't enjoy having sparkling hands, clothes etc! Again, I find it much easier to use a cream or liquid highlighter which tends to hold the glitter better and not transfer as much.
Overall I find this product only so-so. While I will continue to use this product, I wouldn't have paid for it full price and it definitely won't be becoming a favourite. I am, however, pleased that my initial reservations of it being super glittery and unnatural-looking weren't true.
Illamasqua products can be found at Selfridges, Debenhams and online. Powdered metals cost £22.50 for 15g, which I doubt I will ever manage to use up. Although the size of the tub is helpful if you were going to use it for the body, I would prefer a smaller, cheaper version. For what it is, I find it expensive.