Let me preface this review by saying that my favorite makeup product has always been highlighter. When strobing became a thing, you better believe I walked into the office every day with cheekbones that looked like the angel rays of Beyoncé were shining upon them. My life literally changed the day Pat McGrath launched her Skin Fetish highlighter. Take a look inside of my bathroom—which basically looks like a hoarder robbed several Sephoras—and most of the makeup in there consists of shimmery powders and creams. I tell you all of this so that you understand my unique qualifications for reviewing the new Charlotte Tilbury Bar of Gold Palette.
First of all, let’s address the gilded elephant in the room: This palette, ringing in at $58, is not inexpensive. I crunched some numbers, and that’s approximately 11 coffees (that is, if you live in LA. I’m sure it’s the price of more coffees if you live in a place where caffeine is actually affordable). But here’s the thing: When the single version of this highlighter first came out, it completely sold out. It was $42 and tiny. But people loved it because it was magical.
The Charlotte Tilbury Bar of Gold Palette trio is a re-release of the original, with the added bonus of two other shades. Am I justifying the amount of money one would have to spend on this? One hundred percent. I did the same thing the other day when I bought my first pair of Re/Done jeans, and also when I bought an organic avocado and one of the aforementioned expensive coffees. But all of these things are worth the cost, in my opinion.
Have you ever seen anything more beautiful than the Charlotte Tilbury Bar of Gold Palette? Answer: Yes, but it’s the Timothée Chalamet fine art Instagram account, and there’s really no beating that.
Real talk—for the price tag, the product not only needs to work but also needs to look amazing sitting on my vanity. The three bars of gold (original, rose gold, and gold button) are embossed with the Charlotte Tilbury logo and “FINE GOLD,” which appeals to me on both an aesthetic and emotional level.
This powder will forever be the litmus test to which I hold all other “finely milled” powders accountable. It is so silky smooth and blends right into your skin, imparting the softest, prettiest natural glow. It’s neither sparkly nor greasy; it’s simply like your skin got blessed by a shaman specializing in cheekbone-defining. Like you actually drank enough water every day for an entire week, and also exercised and ate no processed foods, only without actually having to do any of those things.
I use an angled brush to apply it. The first time I put it on, the effect was very subtle, so I added more (lots more). I normally hate it when I see something described as buildable, but TBH, there’s no other way to describe the application. It’s totally buildable, so you can make it as subtle or extra as you want. And even if you do add extra (*raises hand*), it never turns into a glittery, sparkly mess.
Here’s what the highlighter looks like on my face for a normal day out. Again, it’s very subtle (I applied it with a light hand), but it adds just the right amount of “yeah, I totally got eight hours of sleep last night and definitely didn’t stay up until 2 a.m. watching Unreal.” Or, you know, something less specific.
I apply it to my cheekbones, down my nose, under my brows, in the inner corners of my eyes, and on my cupid’s bow. If I’m feeling sassy, I’ll also swipe a little on my collarbones.
I’ve found that all three shades are flattering on my very pale skin, though I tend to reach for the original gold color the most out of the three. However, I do think that the “Gold Button” shade, which is a pretty intense gold, would be more flattering on a darker skin tone than on my paper-white one.
Overall, this highlighter looks like you put one of the lowest setting of Kira Kira (do people still use that?) on your face IRL, and I’m into it.