April 27, 2018

Smashbox + Vlada Petal Metal Highlighter Review & Swatches

I purchased this item and I receive a small commission if you shop using the links in this post.

Smashbox + Vlada Petal Metal Highlighter ($40) is a new, limited edition gel highlighter available in three shade selections that recently launched with the Petal Metal Collection which is a collaboration between makeup artist Vlada Haggerty and Smashbox Cosmetics.

I’ve expressed how taken I was with this entire collection in some of my earlier posts and also in my recent review of the Smashbox Petal Metal Covershot Eyeshadow Palette review. It’s a stunning collection to say the least and beautifully presented with shades that aren’t the same o’ same o’ round up of nudes.

One of the things I instantly loved about the Smashbox + Vlada Petal Metal Highlighters was the gorgeous square metallic rose gold compacts and the lovely 3D rose designs that reminded me of Milani’s Rose Powder Blush. Everything is just gorgeous in this collection and visually very appealing but the highlighters are the star of the show.

We all know I hate highlighters but I admit I hauled two. There are three shades one of which is exclusively available at Sephora and the other two are sold everywhere else. Smashbox describes the highlighter as having a gel texture which I assumed would be like Estee Lauder Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee that launched a few years ago but after getting it I was leaning towards it being more Laura Mercier Face Illuminator. It’s actually neither.

Here’s the bad news…

This is a nice highlighter for people who like subtly. This is not a highlighter for people who want their glow to be seen from outer space. If you’re looking for intense pigment with a rich metallic finish there isn’t a doubt in my mind this formula will disappoint you. If you’re looking for a subtle sheen you’ll be pretty ok with this formula.

Smashbox + Vlada Gilded Rose Petal Metal Highlighter

Smashbox + Vlada Rosemantic Petal Metal Highlighter

Smashbox + Vlada Petal Metal Highlighter Swatches (Rosemantic and Gilded Rose)

I must express some disappointment not because the shades I purchased both lacked pigment. But because they did prove a little difficult to pick up. I swirled and swirled and I swirled my brush in this highlighter and it just failed at picking color up. I thought the blush would have a slurry-like consistency but it’s actually a lot firmer that I expected but not dry nor powdery. It was just a real pain to get the color to transfer to my brush. I used several blushes and in the end I settled on a smaller fiber brush with soft bristles. I had to built a bit but I was able to use the shade Rosemantic as a blush. It did lack the glow and metallic finish I thought it would have but if you apply a bit of setting spray after application you will get more depth and glimmer to your look. Gilded Rose was the worst of the two shades as this had really sheer pigment and a very subtle glow. I suppose you can say both are great if you’re a heavy handed makeup user as you really can’t go over board during application. They do fade rather fast as I did wear Rosemantic as a blush as I said earlier and I got about five hours in before the color faded a good deal.

Smashbox + Vlada Petal Metal Highlighter comes in lacking. The lack of glow, pigment, and the poor application made these a disappointing purchase. I imagine if you take highlighter very seriously these will be a sorely sad purchase. There’s some subtle glow here but not enough for me to recommend you splurge $40 on this mediocre formula no matter how gorgeous the packaging!

Smashbox + Vlada Petal Metal Highlighter is available now at ulta.com and sephora.com. And now on sale at macys.com for $19.50!

Did you haul these?

How did application go for you?

I purchased this item and I receive a small commission if you shop using the links in this post.

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • Carol

    Too bad, as they are gorgeous. I didn’t buy either of these as $40 is extremely expensive for a highlighter.

    • Isabella Muse

      agreed! I got them 15% off but that was still high for them!

  • Kristen

    This made me sad! I was truly hoping for some metallic looking glow on my face but these look so blah. Thank goodness I didn’t purchase any of those! (they were both on my list)

    • Isabella Muse

      Try them in store is my suggestion! YOU MIGHT like them! Personally, I thought they were to sheer. I watched Alexandra Anele apply the highlighter and it POPPED on her but she’s a lot fairer and I think she had a ring light on her as she filmed so that makes things look great in my opinion!

  • kjh

    Good review. Not sure I would have bitten, anyway. I extended your positive review on Lottie London blushes (which ARE good) to the holo HL palette. Not for everyone, as it does run offbeat, and fairly cool, but I do like it. Then I fell for BH blacklight HLs, so, umm, set for life. As chief m/u weirdo, now I can match colored mascaras with HL, in most color families. Some like warm neutrals, some like little unexpected hits of color, in a matchy -matchy kind of way. Might have to get out the doggie pee detector light to see if the BH actually does glow in blacklight, and rile up those dachshunds! Love to your Huahua girl.

  • Paige

    I saw another reviewer’s take on these and sadly passed, because she had the same reaction you did. It’s so sad, because I wanted to like these so much. I’m definitely not sad about having the money in my pocket, though!

    • Isabella Muse

      Sniff! oh well! I’d probably have ranted if it was too much glow lol! can’t win with me ;-D They are a bit expensive for what you get that’s for sure ;-D Money saved for ya!

  • Susan

    I think this is yet another product where you’re mostly paying for the packaging, and it’s sad that expensive makeup has gone that route. By expensive, I mean higher-end than drugstore stuff. Don’t know about others but I don’t have $40 to burn. Thanks for the review & have a great weekend!

  • Melaina

    I’m so glad I only picked up one, on sale, and the ‘better’ of the two. But still – so pretty and so disappointing.

  • Kimmwc03

    Sad 🙁

    I passed on these and got the eyeshadow palette and a Fenty highlighter instead. Plus, I just got a PF highlighter and I found the WnW Goth highlighter on a random trip so I think I’m set. 🙂

    • Isabella Muse

      Sounds like a better haul than $40 on these in my opinion ;-D

  • Maria

    I bought Rosemantic initially and it looked awful on my medium skin tone. Too dark to be worn as a highlight and I didn’t like it as a blush either, since I tend to gravitate towards matte and satin finishes.
    I got it exchanged for Gilded Rose and love it! It’s a very subtle highlight, and as you said, is not for someone who wants an intense, wet look. It works for me personally because I’m only starting out with highlight and feel more comfortable with a natural, subtle sheen. But I completely understand that it would be a dud for anyone looking for strong, intense pigment.

  • Katherine T.

    Muse, I think you got a bad batch of Rosemantic. Mine is so pigmented that I barely have to swipe it, and the brush is loaded with color! And my product isn’t soft either –I’ve swiped the embossing multiple times with fingers and brushes, and that embossing holds up well. The color is way too pigmented and dark for me to use as a highlighter, but makes a gorgeous blush. The finish is very pretty and glowing, like the MAC Extra Dimension Blushes. The color lasted really long time on my cheeks, and my cheeks eat blush. And that rose compact design is just stunning!

  • kellly

    I so wanted to like these. I use highlighters as eye shadow and I thought the darker one would be perfect. However, when I swatched it in Ulta, it was a let down for me, too. I guess I should be congratulating myself on just saving $40

  • Felicia

    I picked up the other one from Sephora, the iridescent petal pearl I think it’s called and I was disappointed too. Absolutely stunning packaging but no pigment. This one is almost a clear base with hot pink glitter on my skin. None of my brushes worked. I had to use my fingers to get it to apply well…but I think on darker hued skin tones it could look amazing. On my fair skin I just couldn’t see it.

    • Isabella Muse

      Me either! I did use one shade as a blush of sorts for this review but I was expecting more of an intense glow!

  • Anna

    they are gel powder so you need a brush with thicker bristle to pick the best of the formula. Normal powders are just aggregated, so it is easy to pick them up with a regular brush even with soft bristles.

    • Isabella Muse

      I actually used a few different brushes including a dense, thicker brush but I get about the same results all around!

  • emily

    I have gilded rose but its going back. I can’t get over how poor the pigmentation is. Also as you mentioned doesn’t stay long at all. I don’t need to look like a disco ball especially at work but this doesn’t show up at all. I wore it one day alone to see if it would show up more but not really. I’m fair-Light neutral and still can’t really see it on me.

  • Saoirse

    I adore this product! I haven’t had a good experience with highlighters in the past. I’ve tried quite a few, including Laura Mercier, Kat Von D, and Becca to name just a few, and had given up using them entirely. But Gilded Rose is the first one I’ve found that I love. I agree that if you are looking for anything more than a subtle glow that shows up when the light hits it the right way (which is what I like) you’ll probably be disappointed with this product. For me, though, it’s perfect.

    • Isabella Muse

      I’m glad to hear you like it 😀 I agree it is great for a subtle glow just not one that has a high impact!

  • Oh! My Lord! Do not let my eyes see these! Lol! I’m nuts about highliters have been collecting all from WetnWild (except the white one with the skull and the 4 shades that come in a palette not into green exactly I’ll leave that for the aliens), but got the pink and love it and all the rest then I fell in love with Milani ones and so far got 4! Want Sunset also. Plus the the 3 previous one with the little roses and they are soft and natural and yeah I want them all. These are gorgeous and I prefer them soft not blinding the cosmonauts up there let them do their nerdy research! Lol!

  • Silvia

    Awwww how sad these seem dead I really was interested in the gorgeous presentation but at $40.00 no way after the sad reviews. I already have a rose garden with all the Milani blushes/highliters. Lol! Also all WetnWild, Maybelline, Essence. I still really am in love with the Milani ones which had teeny roses these are just a satiny glow so beautiful I sometimes use them as blush or to blend/diffuse a strong blush and of course as highliters I like them a lot and got all three.
    If some of you like the slightest highliter kind I think you would like these Milani too they go back since 2014 wow! just realizing when I got them and lost my freaking mind on all! Lol!