#FrenchFriday - Lancome Glow Subtil Higlighter Review

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Review, photos, swatches of Lancome Glow Subtil Silky Creme Highlighter

Happy Friday and welcome to your weekly French beauty rendez-vous! This week I want to show you a brand new product by Lancôme, the Glow Subtil Silky Crème Highlighter. Launched a few weeks ago, this highlighter is exclusive to Sephora and comes in 5 shades from 01 to 06 (there is no 02).

I'm sure you've noticed that highlighters are all the rage these days: the "glow" is this year's strongest trend and all the beauty brands out there are trying to get a piece of the pie. Personally I'm not much of a highlighter addict - in fact, I rarely use any, I tend to keep it for evening looks and special occasions. But Lancôme is one of my favorite brands and since I've been very happy with their cheek products so far, I decided to give a try to their new glowing baby, that I bought in shade 06 Glowing Lights. So, hit or miss? Let's find out below!


Review, photos, swatches of Lancome Glow Subtil Silky Creme Highlighter

The Glow Subtil Silky Crème Highlighter is a cream highlighter that comes in a small plastic pot with a screw top, identical to the packaging used by Colourpop (more on that subject later). Here the little pot is a pearly champagne color and the lid features Lancôme's signature rose in gold print. It's cute, but I've never been a fan of screw-on lids: I think flip tops are a lot more convenient. It also feels a bit cheap considering the $30 price tag.

Review, photos, swatches of Lancome Glow Subtil Silky Creme Highlighter


I don't detect any scent when I sniff this highlighter and a quick look at the ingredients list confirms my nasal observation: it is fragrance-free. I personally enjoy a light scent in my cheek products, but I know that fragrance is a concern for many of you, so fear not, you can go ahead and spread it all over! It does contain silicones though, the first ingredient being dimethicone. I have the full ingredients list below if you want to check it out.


Review, photos, swatches of Lancome Glow Subtil Silky Creme Highlighter

Cream products come in many different textures, from thick and sticky goo to airy mousse or dry cream-to-powder and I wasn't sure what to expect from this one. As it turns out, in terms of texture the Glow Subtil Silky Crème Highlighter is probably the most fantastic cream product I've ever had a chance to put my dirty little fingers in. It's one of those bouncy creams that feel like Play Doh, but in an incredibly soft, thin, silky and airy version. When I run my finger on the surface it feels almost wet to the touch, and it melts and glides on skin very nicely.

Review, photos, swatches of Lancome Glow Subtil Silky Creme Highlighter


Review, photos, swatches of Lancome Glow Subtil Silky Creme Highlighter

The shade I picked, #06 Glowing Lights, is described on Sephora's website as "gold mine" - in fact I've seen people confuse that description for the name of the shade. It's the only shade in the range that is marbled, the others are just solid colors. I don't think the marbling is an overlay, since it's still visible after about half a dozen uses. The shade is a warm rosy nude with a beautiful sheen that's nicely pigmented. On my light skin tone it adds warmth and a bit of color to my cheeks, not just highlight. I can see it working as a shimmery blush on fairer complexions, and as a natural highlighter on deep skin tones. Glowing Lights almost looks like a mix of all the other shades. In person I found it closest to Rosegold Lights, but a bit deeper and maybe with a stronger sheen.

swatches of Lancome Glow Subtil Silky Creme Highlighter Glowing Lights, Rosegold, Amber, Buff, Gold all shades


Glowing Lights can be applied lightly but it's also buildable if you want a stronger highlight. I find it best applied with fingertips: brushes don't pick up much product, and the texture is so dreamy soft that it's a pleasure to apply with fingers anyway. I gently swirl my middle finger on the surface of the pan, without much pressure, and then dab on my cheek bone, lightly swiping to blend the edges. Since it's quite pigmented a little goes a long way. With one layer I get the kind of natural glow that I'm looking for, but I can build it to full opacity in two to three layers.

How it looks

Wearing Lancome Glow Subtil Silky Creme Highlighter in Glowing Lights, fotd motd
Indirect natural light

If you literally want to glow but not look like a disco-ball, the Glow Subtil Silky Crème Highlighter is exactly what you need. It looks like my skin is glowing gorgeously, but there is no visible texture or shimmer particles, and it doesn't emphasize my pores. It's hard to translate into words how stunning that glow is: it looks at the same time natural and ethereal. It looks as if I had dipped a brush in pure light and gently swiped it on my cheek bones. It's not metallic, it's not sparkly, it just reflects light in a way that is so amazingly flattering. As someone who wasn't particularly enthusiastic about highlighter, I've been converted by the Glow Subtil! Paired with blush or bronzer it makes my skin look fresh and healthy (it doesn't look oily by the way). Drop dead gorgeous glow is the best way I can describe it! My photos don't really do it justice, but if you need more to be convinced, I encourage you to try it in a store. I don't think you can be disappointed.

I recently bought the infamous Becca x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Face Palette, and while I don't regret that other purchase, I have to say that Lancôme's Glow Subtil looks much more beautiful on the skin than the highlighters that palette contains, Champagne Pop and Prosecco Pop. Of course they are bound to be different, since these are powders, but the shimmer in Becca's Pops is nowhere near as fine. As a result, the look on the skin is not as refined, there are visible sparkles, it emphasizes my pores more, and looks a bit dryer.

On my cheeks Glowing Lights lasts all day, which is pretty amazing for a such a lightweight and slippery cream product. I didn't notice any fading at all even when I wear it during long days.

Review, photos, swatches of Lancome Glow Subtil Silky Creme Highlighter
Artificial light

Lancôme Glow Subtil vs. Colourpop Highlighters

Now I want to address the controversy that I've witnessed online about the similarities between this Glow Subtil and Colourpop highlighters. Apparently some people are actually very mad at Lancôme, accusing the brand of blatantly stealing Colourpop highlighter formula and packaging, and selling it for $30 instead of $8. A few thoughts about this:

- Colourpop doesn't own the concept of bouncy cream products. In fact they've been around for a long time, from blushes (remember the Maybelline Bouncy blush?) to eyeshadows (Chanel Illusion d'Ombre, Dior Fusion, Buxom...). Bouncy cream highlighters are less common, but they're just another declination of the texture.

- The formula is NOT the same. I compared the ingredients list of Lancôme's Glow Subtil with Colourpop Churro highlighter, and they are NOT identical. Of course there are many common ingredients - there are only so many things you can make cream highlighter out of - but again, it is NOT the exact same formula. If you need to see for yourself, look at Colourpop's ingredients list, and compare it to the Glow Subtil ingredients list, which is the following: dimethicone, ethylhexyl isononanoate, trimethylsiloxysilicate, dimethicone crosspolymer, boron nitride, synthetic fluorphlogopite, isopropyl myristate, tin oxide, stearalkonium hectorite, silica, alumina, propylene carbonate, ethylhexylglycerin, cetyl dimethicone, phenoxyethanol. + pigments
If you feel like going into detail related to quality, notice how preservative phenoxyethanol is the last ingredient in Lancôme's highlighter, but about mid-list in Colourpop's.

- In fact if you're looking for a product with the same formula, you won't find it at Colourpop, but in L'Oréal's range! I felt like the texture was reminiscent of L'Oréal Visible Lift cream blushes, and sure enough, there is only one ingredient that is different between the two formulas, although the order of the common ingredients differs. Nothing too surprising here since Lancôme belongs to the L'Oréal group, and beauty brands within the same big group often share similar formulas. You can see the ingredients list for the Visible Lift blush here. I swatched Glowing Lights next to L'Oréal Visible Lift Rosegold Lift and Nude Lift, and the shade looks like a mix of the two. The texture, however, is softer, wetter, and it's considerably more pigmented.

Lancome Glow Subtil Silky Creme Highlighter vs L'Oreal Visible Lift cream blush

- I don't own a Colourpop highlighter, so I can't directly compare them. However the Lancôme Glow Subtil is much thinner and silkier in texture than the blushes I own by the brand. It feels more similar to one Colourpop shimmery eyeshadow that I have.

- Apparently Colourpop doesn't own a patent for their little pot. In fact Lancôme already used the exact same plastic pot last year for the exact same kind of product, a cream blush called Blush Subtil Crème, part of their summer 2015 collection (I reviewed it here). I didn't hear about anyone getting upset at that time. Last year Shu Uemura also used the same container for their limited edition Shupette cream blushers (review here). As you can see on the picture below, all of these pots are exactly the same. And those are only the ones I own, but it's very possible that other brands have used them too. So I'm not sure why it's becoming a problem now.

Lancome Glow Subtil Silky Creme Highlighter vs Colourpop
A blush by Colourpop, Lancome Glow Subtil,
Lancome Blush Subtil Creme (205) and Shu Uemura Shupette blush (2015)

- If you're not comfortable forking out $30 for a highlighter, which is perfectly understandable, then by all mean enjoy the $8 Colourpop highlighters. But that doesn't mean that the Lancôme Glow Subtil is not a fantastic product!

- All that being said, I think that Lancôme's decision to use the same plastic pot as Colourpop for their Glow Subtil was a mistake. Had they used a different, higher end packaging, comparing the two wouldn't even come to mind, there would be no controversy, and the price would feel more justified.


I will forever remember Lancôme Glow Subtil Silky Crème Highlighter as the one that made daily use of highlighter possible for me. It creates such a gorgeous, natural glow that I can't get enough of it, and I'm even considering buying it in another lighter color! If you want to join the highlight party but you prefer to glow rather than sparkle, this is it. It will leave your pores and skin texture alone and make you look like an angel surrounded by a divine halo!

Have you jumped on the highlighter bandwagon? Do you use it daily or do you keep it for nights out like I used to? And what is your favorite highlighter?

Where to buy?

The product featured in this review was purchased by Lulle. I received no compensation to write this post, which only reflects my personal opinion. This post contains affiliate links.

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