Review / Sleek Barekissed Illuminator in Monaco

Sunday, 15 November 2015

I never used to be a highlighter or a shimmer kind of gal - give me matte as hell skin, blot every ounce of moisture out of my face and let me shrivel up into a glorious matte raisin and be one with the Atacama desert.  A while back though, I became much more open to the idea of dewier skin, and eventually I purchased highlighters and decided that, actually, I want people to be able to see my radiant cheekbones from the ISS.

I'd mostly been using powder highlighters until Sleek Makeup came out with their Barekissed Illuminator, and as soon as I saw that sweet liquid highlighter goodness I knew I had to try it!  Since my forays into dewier skin, I'd been wanting to compliment my liquid BB creams and foundation with a highlight to match, and Sleek's is the first affordable, cruelty free option I've seen around.  At £8.99 from Superdrug, it doesn't exactly break the bank and the bottle is a pretty decent size, too.  Sleek is cruelty free (but not Leaping Bunny certified) but unfortunately I didn't realise until after I purchased it that it's probably not vegan.

The brand website says:
"Achieve an envious glow with our collection of versatile liquid illuminators in four sunkissed shades.
  • Refresh and enhance your complexion with gorgeous light-reflecting pigments, perfect for all skin types and tones."

  • Can be mixed with foundation or applied directly to cheekbones, brow bones and the body."
There are four shades altogether; Cuba is more peach, Casablanca cool pink, Pompeii warm brown and Monaco is a sort of cool, champagne shade.  Monaco was the lightest and most neutral so both appeals to me the most and probably suits my skin tone the best, so that was the one I bought.  I find it a bit misleading that the brand says that these would suit any skin tone, because I honestly can't imagine any of the other three shades looking anything but awful on my vampire pale face, but I think they probably would look beautiful on darker skin tones.

The bottle is a nice quality glass bottle with a pump, and although I really like the pump, one complaint about the Illuminator is that even when I'm trying to barely push down on it, I still end up with way more product than I need.  To use a full pump just to highlight your cheekbones and high points of your face would be far too much in my opinion!  That said, I always prefer pumps or at the very least normal bottles as they're much more hygienic than doe foot applicators or brushes.

The actual highlighter is a sort of thickish liquid/loose gel consistency (for lack of a better word) that melts and blends easily into the skin, and as you can see, it's very pretty!  I'd personally call it a silvery champagne - it's not quite silver, but it isn't really champagne or gold coloured either.  I wouldn't really say this one makes you look sun-kissed as the website says, more... frost kissed?  But in a nice way that doesn't make you look cold and/or dead.  It doesn't have big bits of glitter in it (yay!) and it just settles very nicely onto the skin to give it a beautiful iridescence that's both eye catching and natural looking depending on how you apply it.

I've found that it lasts fairly well throughout the day, although worn on its own it looses a little bit of its lustre by the time I remove it in the evening.  If this is an issue though, I've discovered that it also works as a great liquid base for powder highlighters, as they both work together to give your glow some extra oopmh, and setting the Barekissed Illuminator with the powder gives it more than enough extra staying power.  It can also be mixed with your foundation to turn it into an illuminating foundation, but I haven't tried this yet so can't quite vouch for it personally, though I am planning on giving it a go.

As far as my sensitive skin goes, I haven't had any problems with it so far, but it does contain silicones so if you find your skin doesn't react well to these, you may want to avoid it.  If you're like me and mostly get clogged pores around your nose, chin and forehead though, there's a chance you'll still be able to get away with just using it on your cheeks instead of all over your face.

As I said earlier, I had just assumed it was vegan but on closer inspection I realised that the bottle and website seem to say two slightly different things.  The bottle plain states that it does contain carmine (which I totally missed thanks to my apparently crappy reading skills when I first picked it up) but confusingly, this also then conflicts with what's on the brand's page for it.  The website lists the exact same ingredients for all of the different shades, and says that they may contain carmine.  This isn't quite clear and I would've thought that the red-based shades would be more likely to have carmine in than Monaco so I plan on contacting Sleek for some clarification, but in the mean time I'm not planning on repurchasing it because of this.

If you're not vegan though, this is a really great high street liquid highlighter for the price and probably the closest you'll get to a cruelty free dupe of its high end cousins.  You can buy it from Superdrug and take advantage of the 3 for 2 across all cosmetics offer they have on at the moment, or from the brand website.

What are your thoughts on the highlighting craze?


  1. This highlighter is such a pretty colour! I normally prefer a matte face too, but now the weathers more dull I like to contour more. Would love if you could check out my recent fashion post? :)

    The Fashion Road

    1. I still like matte skin occasionally but I'm definitely converted! Will do. :)

  2. Oh i really want to try that! Thanks for the review!
    Jabeen x

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