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Is it worth it? Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat

WORDS BY ROB POVEY

Just how impressive is this cult-favourite product?

Dropping some serious coin on beauty and skincare products that you know will run out in a matter of months isn’t something we do lightly. That’s why we called in Rob Povey, a makeup artist extraordinaire and product junkie, to try some of our most lusted after luxury purchases to decide, “Is it worth it?”. For the sixth and final instalment, we asked him to put the iconic Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat to the test.

What is it?

Touche Éclat by Yves Saint Laurent.

How much does it cost?

$70 (2.5ml) at Mecca Cosmetica, Sephora, Adore Beauty, David Jones and Myer.

What does it claim to do?

The secret weapon of the world’s top makeup artists and the single beauty essential “nobody should be without”, Touche Éclat is the original and iconic must-have for a radiant, flawless face with a natural, luminous finish. Sleek and sophisticated, the convenient click pen format discretely slips into makeup bags and makes it perfect for on-the-go, mess-free touchups and buildable sheer coverage, anytime.

With a few strategic strokes, erase dark circles, signs of fatigue, fine lines and illuminate the complexion. This award-winning highlighter is powered by light-infused pigments so you look instantly rested and refreshed. Glycerin and squalane hydrate and plump the skin, while the signature Luminocaptide Complex illuminates the skin without shimmer.

How well does it live up to those claims?

Launched in 1992 and created by renowned French makeup artist Terry de Gunzburg (who would later go on to launch her own eponymous makeup line, By Terry), the YSL Touche Éclat – or Radiant Touch – is officially a definitive beauty icon at this point. With one sold every ten seconds somewhere in the world, this legendary gold pen is immediately recognisable and synonymous with Parisian chic.

This highlighter has been in my personal and professional makeup kit since day one, for almost fifteen years. Oft mistaken for concealer, the Touche Éclat offers no such thing; instead, it brilliantly bounces light from wherever it is applied.

Any other pros/cons?

The Touche Éclat can do so much more than just brighten up sleep-deprived under eyes. Apply to the high points of the face (including the cheekbones, bridge of the nose, forehead, cupid’s bow and temples) to bring those areas forward.

Tone down overzealous blush application by lightly dotting over the colour and blending out. Enhance the brows by adding a dot under each brow bone and blend out gently to instantly lift and sculpt the brow shape. Use it to define the lips by drawing just outside the natural lipline to define lip colour and create the illusion of fuller lips.

Like most luxury cosmetic houses, the Touche Éclat’s greatest downfall is the limited range of diverse skin tones available. The product has vastly expanded from the lacklustre three “universal” shades offered when I first started doing makeup in the mid-2000s to the current lineup of eleven shades, and the product’s formulation is, by its very nature, quite forgiving and each shade can generally accommodate a wide range of complexions due to its translucency. But the truth of the matter is that very dark skin tones are still ultimately left out, which in 2020 is unacceptable.

Are there any cheaper dupes out there?

In spite of this egregious omission, the YSL Touche Éclat formulation is truly is in a class all of its own. No other product on the market quite captures the same magic of this iconic gold pen. Ironically, the By Terry line also features a similar highlighting pen, however this iteration is even more expensive than the OG YSL and still only comes in an abysmal shade range of four colours.

Is it worth it?

I may be biased, as I’ve diligently repurchased this product repeatedly for more than a decade, but a resounding yes, every single cent. I use it in almost every makeup I do; it illuminates the skin like nothing else.

While the initial expenditure is far from budget-friendly, a single tube will last a daily makeup-wearer between two to three months, and longer for the more casual user. For those after a full-coverage beat, this won’t be to your liking by any means, but for those seeking a more natural, your-skin-but-better effect, you really can do no better.

Check out the first instalment of ‘Is it worth it?’ here, the second instalment here, the third instalment here, the fourth instalment here and the fifth instalment here.

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