April 03, 2014

Giorgio Armani Belladonna Palette Highlighter

I'm not generally a makeup conservationist, but there are a few products that I have in my collection that I have yet to touch - their sheer gorgeousness will not be despoiled. The Giorgio Armani Belladonna Palette almost joined those ranks, were it not for the fact that it was a press sample and the desire to do some Gollum-worthy hoarding didn't seem like the thing to do.

But I mean seriously.

Giorgio Armani Belladonna Palette Highlighter

This is a stunner, no doubt about it. Named after the Belladonna flower (poisonous and psychotropic, yes, but also used in cosmetics and medicine), it also bears the bas-relief imprint of the self-same bloom.

I have to give GA some love here, for choosing this dual-natured flower as opposed to something more prosaic. It takes a certain appreciation of history and horticulture to base the centrepiece of the angelic-toned Spring collection on a plant that evokes the "beautiful woman" with its name, yet also possesses a murky history and a strong association with the darker arts.

Giorgio Armani Belladonna Palette Highlighter

The packaging is classic Armani, sleek and elegant and somehow practical, with a heavy plastic compact that flips open to reveal the mirrored pan and a storage compartment beneath for the circular fan brush. (This brush would be  just "meh" in a blush palette, but actually works well when it comes to applying a highlighter like this along the cheekbone.)

Giorgio Armani Belladonna Palette Highlighter

The product itself....GAH. Pardon me while I wipe the drool. It's a gorgeous champagne shimmer that looks incredibly reflective, even metallic, when viewed in the sunlight.

Now, if you've tried the MAC Extra Dimension line, or the Gelée textured products from Estée Lauder, then you're familiar with the type of formulation that this has - a hybrid of powder, cream and liquid. It has the same bewilderingly complex texture, and feels dense, without any powdery kickback or that touch of dryness that these kinds of products tend to have. It also feels smoother and more finely-milled, and blends more easily.

It can be used wet or dry for varying intensity, and built up for greater opacity. Applied with a fluffy brush, it leaves a soft, sparkling glimmer, like fairy dust. The sparkle is incredibly fine and ethereal, the polar opposite of club-y.

With a firmer, synthetic brush, it can be applied for stronger shimmer highlight, and over eye primer it builds up to a wet-look gleam. The latter is super beautiful when paired with a simple, lash-heavy eye look.

Lasting power is great when worn as a highlighter, maintaining a nice sparkle and sheen over 8 hours (though I would welcome the excuse to take the compact out in public for touch-ups). As eyeshadow, it does best over a primer, otherwise starting to crease after about 4-5 hours.

Giorgio Armani Belladonna Palette Highlighter

In the swatch below you can see it applied straight on the left, and buffed out with a fluffy brush on the right.

Giorgio Armani Belladonna Palette Highlighter swatches review

Although I have a lot of highlighters in my collection, I actually had a hard time finding a dupe for this. The closest is the lighter shade in the MAC Definitely Defined Skinfinish, and even at that it is cooler and more pink-toned, and doesn't quite buff out to that same fairy-lit finish.

Giorgio Armani Belladonna Palette Highlighter MAC Definitely Defined

Here you can see the Belladonna Highlighter on the left, and Definitely Defined on the right.

Giorgio Armani Belladonna Palette Highlighter MAC Definitely Defined swatches review

I was quite surprised to see that this is that rare luxury beauty product that is actually less expensive in Canada than it is in the United States: it's 70$ at Holt Renfrew, compared to 88$ on the Giorgio Armani website. I KNOW. It's not a steal by any means, and like I said, you can find a similar formulation from other brands - but the gorgeous design, the finer texture, and the particular way it reflects light and sits on the skin is truly unique. It is the luxury version in more ways than one.

Have you guys tried the Belladonna Highlighter yet? What do you think of it? How does it compare for you?

(This item was provided by the band/PR to be considered for review. This post is not compensated, all opinions are my own.)


  1. Luckily I've managed to build up a weird tolerance to beautiful highlighters ever since parting with most of my beauties. It's a good thing drool doesn't travel through internet though, ha! *oogles*

  2. What an absolutely GORGEOUS product! Wow, indeed. If I were to get my mits on that, I honestly don't think I'd use it. I'd want to keep it in its original condition - pristine.


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