Is The Laura Mercier Highlighter Palette Worth It?

by Tynan Sinks

As little as two years ago, I couldn’t find a highlighter outside of the champagne and bronze realms to save my life. Last year, a few brave brands started to take risk and release pastel and iridescent highlighters. In 2017, it feels like the year that everyone is clamoring onto the bandwagon and releasing highlighters in every shade and finish you can think of.

Enter the Lightstruck Prismatic Palette by Laura Mercier, a palette of five highlighters of varying intensities to both satiate and feed your highlight addiction. IMO, the arrival of this palette is an indicator that iridescent highlights are here to stay, and I'm glad that Laura Mercier is the one to bring me to that conclusion. The quality of the products is impressive across the board — just ask anyone who uses the tinted moisturizer or the loose setting powder.

Though their standard cult favorites can't be beat, this is a whole new deal. Until the release of this palette, the brand hasn't exactly been at the forefront of fun, out of the box makeup. But how do you use it, and more importantly: Is the versatility of the product worth it for the 52 dollar price tag?

When Laura Mercier dropped this baby, I was excited. I got all caps lock in their publicist’s email and then voila, the palette showed up at my door. I had my assistant clear my schedule for the day so I had time to really dive into it. Also, I do not have an assistant.

Here's what it is:

There are five multi-dimensional highlighters, all creams. Super lightweight, blendable, and buildable. The shades included are as follows:

  • Aurora – a solar flare highlight with a sheer coral base and a soft flex of gold.
  • Prism – a yellow gold base with gold shimmer
  • Reflect – A sheer bronze base with minimal shimmer
  • Ray – They’ll tell you Ray is a “sand.” It’s not. Ray is a pearl base with pink and turquoise flecks of shimmer.
  • Beam – An ice blue base with a highly reflective, almost-mirrored shine.

Here are some arm swatches since I know we all live for that.

Left to right, Aurora to Beam:

In order to try this out to the fullest capacity, here's the base I started with: Barefaced, my truest self, for full disclosure:

Who's she? Whew.

Here's me with my base:

I wanted my face to be luminous but not dewy, and I wanted products that would blend will with the cream highlighters. To prime, I used a cocktail of Bobbi Brown's Vitamin Enriched Face Base and Urban Decay's Self-Adjusting Primer, with Make Up Forever's HD Stick Foundation. For some dimension, I used Colourpop's Sculpting Stix in Dove (which have been discontinued, I suspect, to make room for new contour products in their pressed powder formula.)

You will notice that the Laura Mercier palette has twice as much of Aurora as the other shades.

This is because they suggest you use Aurora as a base highlight, applying it all over your skin for a soft, even glow. So that's exactly what I did.

Each highlighter differs in how dense, spreadable, and blendable it is. They're all easy to use, but spreading another cream product all over a face that's already sporting foundation isn't the easiest. Aurora isn't the most emollient of the bunch, and I didn't want to move my foundation around as I did this, so I tapped my fingers into the pan and then ended up sort of...rolling my fingers across my face to evenly lay down the highlight. Then I softly evened it out with a flat, angled foundation brush.

This worked really nicely, actually. I'm not one for an all over glow, but this isn't the craziest highlight of the bunch, and it actually adds a soft luminosity that looks really nice! The fleshy pink base with gold shimmer make Aurora a pretty, warm highlight that will flatter all skin tones. Win! I actually built it up a bit more on my cheeks in place of a cream blush, which looked awesome, and I will definitely be doing again

Blush Face™

Then I went into Reflect, the bronze shade.

Now, I know, I know. Most of us don't bronzers with shimmer, but you still see them around, especially during the summer, and this palette includes one so it is my duty. Reflect is the least, well, reflective, of the five. It's a sheer brown base with itty bitty flecks of silver in it. It shows up as more of a sheen on the skin to give warmth and add depth. In terms of pigmentation, it's on the more sheer side, but buildable, so its payoff can be customized to how bronze (or not) you want to go.

I knew I was going to be highlighted to an inch of my life by the end of all this, so I went in with the bronzer and used a bit more than I normally would to balance it out.

I placed it everywhere I normally bronze my face up, my hairline, under my cheekbones, and blended.

It warmed my face up without looking too reflective and crazy. I was actually pleasantly surprised by the cream bronzer and might (MIGHT) go back to it in the warmer months. On warmer skin tones, this would be another beautiful warm-toned highlighter instead a bronzer (and would probably work better as such) so it's good to have in the palette, regardless.

And then there was Prism, the gold.

"What in the hell am I supposed to do with that?" I thought to myself, as if highlighting with gold was some sort of unheard of concept and not the norm.

I know people love a gold highlight, and it's flattering on everyone, especially richer skin tones. I just hate gold across the board. SO. I used it as a cream eyeshadow and I loved it, as much as I could, anyway. I also threw on a lip, Anastasia's Liquid Lip in Ashton, a warm brown, and then topped it with the gold highlighter for a metallic lip moment. I think that worked really nicely, and it wore well!

Then I finally got to the good stuff, RAY.

Truthfully, I think this is the most "prismatic" in the bunch. The sheer, pearly base with magenta and turquoise shimmer is that real cosmic shit. This is what we came for.

The base and the shimmers work well together here. The base doesn't give you a wet look, more a bit of an ethereal glow. The pink and blue accents don't read like glitter, so if you want to wear just a touch of this, you can still get a pretty, subtle look.

But subtle isn't really my thing.

I basically stamped my face with Ray, building it up until I couldn't anymore. My cheekbones were reflective, my brow bones were glowing. It gave me a pearly, dimensional highlight.

This is my fave of the bunch, my only critique being that if the pearly base builds up just as much, if not more, than the reflective micas themselves, and too much of it might make your high points look...white? That being said, not everyone is going shellac their faces down with this as much as I did. I think it's just enough.

And finally, BEAM.

Beam goes so hard that it surprised even me. The icy blue base doesn't show up on your skin, for better or worse, but the mirrored shimmer is the star of the show here. I want to say that the micas are the largest of the five, but they could be the same size as the others, just much more reflective. Whatever the case, you can't miss them. This might just be the closest thing to a true chrome highlight that I've seen. It's almost alarming.

I used this sparingly, if you can believe it. I dipped my finger into the pan and tapped it into the inner corners of my eyes, the tip of my nose, and placed it on the highest points of my cheeks, right on top of ray, to accent it and really make that highlight blast off.


Ray gives you the payoff of a pearly base with multicolor shimmer. Beam's base takes a back seat and lets the shine do all the work. It may just be the most reflective highlight I've ever used, especially in cream form. Powders are one thing, but it's hard to find creams that you could check your reflection in.

So, what are my final thoughts?

In a word, the palette is great. This palette is made to be mixed or worn alone, so the possibilities are endless. Also, with so many highlighters and highlighting palettes flooding the market right now, the bolder options within the palette truly options do stand on their own. I can't think of any other highlighters on the market that are very similar to Ray and Beam off the top of my head. Combined with the two versatile, understated shades in the palette, this beauty buy is one you're going to want to push to the front of the line.