Sunday, March 4, 2018

7 Days of Glossier, Day 2: Haloscope in Quartz

Disclaimer: I purchased this product with store credit from my Glossier affiliate link. I am not (heaven forfend) a Glossier rep.

Welcome to the second of my seven Glossier reviews! At this rate, I'll probably get to the seventh product before the 2020 election, but I'm not making any promises. This post is a review of the Haloscope highlighter in Quartz ($22 for 0.19 oz).


Glossier describes Haloscope as a "dew effect highlighter" with an "outer halo...infused with genuine crystal extracts for all-day enlightenment" and "a solid oil core of vitamin-rich moisturizers for a hydrated, dewy finish." New-Agey Goop-speak aside (what the hell is a "crystal extract"?), Haloscope is a familiar product: a cream highlighter in chubby stick form. The formula is currently available in three shades: Quartz, a champagne pink; Topaz, a deep bronze; and Moonstone, a silvery white. I had no trouble choosing a shade: Topaz looked too dark for me (a shame, since topaz is my birthstone) and Moonstone seemed similar to Topshop Otherworldly, so Quartz it was.


The highlighter comes in Glossier's standard blush-pink cardboard box. ENLUMINEUR EFFET MOUILLÉ, bitches.


I've had serious issues with the packaging for some other Glossier products, particularly the Generation G lipsticks, which I refuse to repurchase until Glossier listens to the hundreds of customer complaints on its website and fixes the flimsy tubes. Since Haloscope also comes in a plastic tube, I worried about its sturdiness, but I've traveled with Quartz twice now and it's held up perfectly. The tube is solid, the highlighter itself feels snug inside the tube, and the cap snaps on securely.


Aesthetically, though, Haloscope is a bit lacking. It just doesn't look or feel like a $22 highlighter to me. The clear cap in particular seems cheap for the mid-range price point. And given the sci-fi vibes of a name like "Haloscope," I would have expected more imaginative packaging, you know? Something galaxy-inspired, maybe? I noted this in my Glossier You review as well: there's often a disconnect between the stories that Glossier tells about its products and the actual physical presence of those products.

Also, I'll just say it: Quartz was my second Glossier product to come with a hair in it (the first being Generation G in Jam).


I know, I know: I should have requested a new one. I just couldn't be bothered. I wasn't 100% sure it wasn't an ambient bit of hair from my own room, and I didn't feel like contacting Glossier customer service and going through a whole thing, and I'm probably less of a germophobe than I should be. Believe me, there are many neuroses clamoring for precedence in my brain, but squeamishness about errant hairs just isn't one of them. Is this grossing you out? I'm so sorry. Here's Quartz sans hair:


Like most stick highlighters, Haloscope has a misleading tube that's way too large for the amount of product you get. Here's Quartz twisted all the way up:


However, this is after a month and a half of regular use, and the only sign that Quartz isn't brand-new is the slight concavity at the top. In other words, this product will last me a while, which makes me less irritated than I might otherwise be about the deceptive packaging.

Now that I've destroyed whatever mystique this highlighter may have possessed for you, let's talk about its performance. When I posted an Instagram story about my Glossier order, someone sent me a message along the lines of "be warned that the Haloscope formula is really subtle, like REALLY SUBTLE." I was confused about this, since I almost never wear a bold highlight and have written ad nauseam about my preference for a nearly undetectable glow. But once I swatched Quartz, I understood. Because Haloscope is supposed to function as skincare as well as makeup (more on that later), the "dew effect" comes from the oil as much as from the mica and "crystal extracts" (lol). For the record, the coconut oil in Haloscope hasn't made me break out. Coconut oil can be comedogenic, though, so use at your own risk.

Here's Quartz swiped once along my arm (left), then built up a little with a finger:


To my disappointment, the beautiful pink that you see in the tube doesn't quite translate onto my cool-toned skin. I suppose these swatches look a hair pinkish (IF YOU WILL), but I'm more inclined to describe the color as "off-white."

Here are the two Quartz swatches with a few more cream highlighters in direct sunlight. Top to bottom: Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Liquid in Opal; ColourPop Super Shock Cheek in Lunch Money; Quartz, built up; Quartz, one swipe; Topshop Otherworldly. Because the mica in Quartz is less densely packed than in the other highlighters, Quartz's glow looks more smooth and diffused.


I've seen people apply Haloscope in a few different ways. Because my face is so small, I don't like swiping on Quartz directly from the tube, which is quite wide. Instead, I rub a finger over the product, then dab it across my cheekbone and up to my temple, blending it out as I go. I've tried Haloscope over Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint in Light, my only foundation-like product, and the two perform nicely together, but I can't speak to Haloscope's cooperation with other foundations.

I love the look of Quartz on my skin. It's the most natural-looking highlighter I've ever tried. Because it doesn't actually read as highlighter on my cheeks, I feel comfortable wearing it to academic events, which I can't say about any of my other highlighters. (My academic makeup keeps getting more staid and understated, as does my regular makeup, but that's a subject for another post.) As proof, here I am wearing Quartz for a recent Professional Event that I can't talk about here because I don't want to jinx anything, ugh. My lipstick is Urban Decay Ravenswood, which I bought last month despite my lipstick no-buy because I didn't have a satisfactory MLBB for said Profesh Event. This photo was taken under (unusually flattering) artificial light, after a Tony Moly tea-tree sheet mask, so Haloscope isn't responsible for 100 percent of my glow. Let's say 80 percent?

My pin is from amazing local artist KWT Designs.

Here's Quartz today, in direct sunlight, with MAC Men Love Mystery lipstick (I'm squinting, not scowling):


And in indirect natural light:


Though Quartz is flattering and easy to apply, its texture falls a bit short for me. Glossier makes much of Haloscope's "dual-delivery formula," but do I want my highlight to double as a moisturizer? I don't know. Glossier is very skilled at filling niches that never existed before Glossier was created. I certainly don't like highlighters that emphasize fine lines or skin texture (which is why I've stopped buying powder formulas entirely), but Haloscope goes a little too far in the opposite direction. Once applied and blended out, Quartz has a noticeably tacky finish that never seems to dry down. I can tap my cheekbone two or three hours after application and still feel that stickiness. I've heard that some people wear Haloscope as cream eyeshadow, but I'm here to tell you from experience that if you have deep-set or hooded eyes, smearing this product on your lids will make them adhere to themselves in nightmarish and previously unimaginable ways. Likewise, you can build up Quartz to a brighter shine on your face, but the tradeoff will be increased stickiness. It's almost like lip gloss for your cheekbones, with the concomitant danger of lip gloss: who knows what will adhere to it? 

I'm always reluctant to report on wear times for blush and highlighter because my face sweats A LOT (I guess this is the post where you learn how gross I am??), which means that very few cheek products last longer than a few hours on me. Quartz, well...lasts a few hours on me. At least it's easy to bring along for touch-ups, though I don't usually bother. 

Overall, I'd say that Quartz is one of the better Glossier products I've tried. It doesn't blow me away, but it's quietly become a staple in my everyday routine. 

Would I repurchase this product at full price? Maybe. I have yet to encounter another highlighter that's so subtle and work-friendly. The stickiness does put me off, though, and the packaging is a little cheap for a $22 product.

Grade: 4/5 full-moon-activated crystals.

18 comments:

  1. coffeeatpemberleyMarch 4, 2018 at 11:44 PM

    I really appreciate how you manage to deconstruct the hype around the product, but still express that you like it. The makeup world can be kind of stressful and exhausting (the quest for the elusive HG, and very focused on specific trending products), which bugs me, but your approach towards makeup is always relaxed. I feel like more people need to say "it's a nice product and it's fun for now, but it's not the magical lifesaving grail Glossier wants us to believe".

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    1. That's exactly the effect I want this blog to have! I think it's a shame when consumers allow a brand like Glossier to craft the entire narrative of a product. There's something disempowering about that. Ultimately, makeup belongs to the people who use it; it's a tool for OUR creativity, not Glossier's.

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  2. A hair pinkish. I'm dying.
    Best, best wishes for your super mysterious top secret professional thing! My wife is also a humanities academic, so I'm familiar with what season this is.

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    1. Thank you!! As I'm sure your wife knows well, waiting to hear back from a place is excruciating. I'm trying to distract myself with embroidery and books and (obviously) blogging, but it's hard.

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  3. Oh wow, I cannot possibly imagine using this as an eyeshadow. Maybe for like one second for pictures...? Or maybe it's just Glossier reps trying to make people think this is possible or advisable.

    I fully agree with this review. This is one of my go-to highlighters because it's such a no-brainer and I love how subtle it looks. I find it lasts a little longer than a few hours on my dry skin, but it probably won't get me through a full workday. Luckily I'm not that bothered about my highlight fading. And yeah, the packaging is really unimpressive. The combo of shiny white plastic + clear plastic will never not read as cheap to me.

    I think the finger-swirl-tap-onto-cheekbones application method is probably the best. I've also experimented with swiping it on directly from the tube, but depending on what's underneath that can cause a bit of lifting of product. I also just find fingers best for applying cream products, in general.

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    1. I forget now where I heard that Haloscope could double as an eyeshadow, but I've definitely seen that tip more than once. Have these people ever seen or used a cream eyeshadow? Haloscope looks nothing like that. (ON THAT NOTE, I am a little bit excited about Glossier's new liquid shadows.)

      I don't mind when my highlight fades, either. When I put on makeup in the morning, I fully expect that it will look different (or nonexistent) eight hours later. This makes things awkward for the blog: I feel like I have the responsibility to provide an exact account of wear time, à la Temptalia, but I just don't care enough to keep track!

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  4. Whenever I see crystal extract I imagine it's water that has been purified by (soaking) pieces of rock...Seemed the thing that was all the crazy around Hongkong back in early 2000s.

    I like seeing your glossier reviews even though I am not one of the fan girls after trying the cream blush (I am still thinking about boy brows and milky jelly cleanser though, maybe someday I will cave again).

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    1. Wow, that was a thing? Amazing. Now I'm tempted to write to Glossier and ask what exactly a "crystal extract" is. I was assuming it was a bit of crystal powder, similar to mica, but who knows!

      My review of Milky Jelly is coming soon. Spoiler: it made me break out. :( I think I'm unusual in this, though.

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  5. Thank you for your honest, detailed review. I think what confuses me about this product is that it's meant to double as skincare - doesn't that limit the scope in which it can be used? I have oily skin, so how/why would I use the product? Ya know? I'm definitely not susceptible to Glossier's marketing, but I know how it feels to be sucked in by something shiny and new. Anyway, I wish you the best of luck with your super secret activities! I hope you hear good news soon.

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    1. Yeah, I don't understand that either. Pretty much every cream highlighter I've tried is capable of delivering a more or less dewy look. And since I have dry skin, I'm almost always wearing some kind of moisturizer, so I don't need extra moisture from my highlighter...? Basically, they've made something that's (I assume) unwearable for those with oily skin and not really necessary for those with dry skin.

      And thanks! I should be hearing back in a week or two (the academic job market moves at a snail's pace). Trying to keep myself distracted in the meantime...

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  6. I saw someone yesterday working the counter at a Noodles & Co. who had highlighter layered thickly over her cheekbones and also the tip of her nose. It was the first time I’ve ever really noticed someone’s highlighter in the wild and it made her look a little like an android.

    Good luck with the results of the Professional Event!

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    1. Yeah, I think the strong Instagram-style highlight is a little offputting in person, especially when the nose is involved. I respect those who lean into it, but it's definitely A Look. (That said, I've definitely been guilty of wearing blue duochrome highlighter in public. I tell myself I'm wearing it "subtly," but who knows.)

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  7. Great review, love your lip colors. RMS living luminizers are extremely natural and easy to apply, easy to carry in their little pot, last a long time, and cost as much as a Pat McGrath lipstick. It's hands down the most natural glow I've ever encountered, takes years off my face.

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    1. Ooh, I'll have to look into those! I've been hearing about them for a while but for some reason have never investigated further.

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  8. I was interested in those Glossier highlighters but I then I read somewhere that they are super oily... I have a feeling that they might dissolve my sunscreen?.. I use a cream highlighter from the Sleek Solstice palette to achieve what I think is the same translucent effect.

    Sorry to all of the Into the Gloss fans out there, but I read some articles from that website recently, and then rewatched the Black Mirror episode about social media (Nosedive), and it struck me how much the tone of the Into the Gloss website is like the video call scene:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EWxHq5hzOag

    Btw, thanks for posting images of those arty pins! I am interested in checking out those pin websites.


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    1. Oh man, I just watched that clip and you couldn't be more right. I saw Nosedive a year or two ago but didn't make the ITG connection! I'll have to rewatch it soon with that in mind.

      Speaking of nosedives, it's way too easy to fall down the rabbit hole of enamel pins. I speak from experience...

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  9. I have Haloscope and this review is spot-on. It's nice in that it's subtle and work-friendly but it doesn't have a ton of staying power and isn't super buildable. If you want to go bold with this you really can't without it looking like you just smeared a rack of ribs across your face, i.e. super oily. I've always just swiped it on directly via the tube because I'm lazy like that but I'm going to try your fingertip application method and see if I get better results.

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    1. Yeah, it's odd that they launched Haloscope with all those photos of shiny glazed donuts when this is such a soft, subtle highighter (which isn't a bad thing!). Then again, donuts are greasy and so is your face when you pile this on, so maybe the imagery wasn't so far off...

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