August 21 2014

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Beauty Throwdown: Battle, Highlighting Pen


When YSL enlisted makeup artist-turned-beauty entrepreneur Terry de Gunzburg (the Terry behind the By Terry product range) to create its Touche Eclat nearly 20 years ago, it was an instant hit. One part concealer and one part highlighter, the gold-encased pen inevitably ends up on anyone who is anyone’s makeup must-haves list for the way it manages to blur dark circles with light-reflecting pigments that leave behind a universally flattering sheen. Nearly two decades on, and Touche Eclat remains the top-selling item for the luxury line and has spawned more than its fair share of imitators. Some have come close, but none of them have been able to truly grasp the power of the original pen. That hasn’t stopped more and more brands from trying, though. The latest contender to offer up its own take on the cult favorite is Maybelline New York, which has just launched its Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer. And so, without further ado, we give you our latest product face-off.

The Original: First, let’s talk applicator. YSL’s is a substantial, gilded tube with a bottom click mechanism that emits a surprisingly satisfying sound every time it dispenses a bit of product. As far as the brush tip is concerned, the fibers used are gentle against the skin, even in those super-sensitive eye contours where we tend to pile on this silky-smooth highlighter, which never cakes or smudges. And with seven shades to choose from, every skin tone can get in on the action.

The Newcomer: Maybelline’s wand is significantly lighter-weight, making it very easy to wield. Rather than a click pen mechanism, this one works by twisting, which is slightly less satisfying, but just as effective. With equally soft, gentle fibers and a shade range of six neutral tones, the Dream Lumi Touch stacks up to Touche Eclat so far. But it’s with the formula that the real difference lies. Maybelline’s brightener/concealer hybrid, while smooth and readily absorbed into the skin, doesn’t have the same easy glide and silken formula of YSL’s, which means it’s not as efficiently manipulated after being dispensed. Also, while it functions beautifully as a concealer—it camouflaged some very stubborn raccoon eyes still left over from overzealous weekend revelry—the instant illuminating quality of its predecessor just isn’t there.

The Bottom Line: We have to commend any beauty brand for trying to reimagine an item that is such a beauty classic. And while Maybelline certainly manages to offer up an impressive contender, it just doesn’t match up to the radiant-infusing perfection that is the original YSL version. Perfection that, in our humble opinion, is worth every last one of the $40 it commands. But should you be in the market for a damn fine concealer, we encourage you to opt for the Dream Lumi; it is $8 very well-spent.

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