Sunday, June 26, 2016

REVIEW: Glossier Haloscope

If you follow me on social media, you might know that I've tasked Glossier with creating two items: a lash stain that's actually effective without also being a pain in the ass to use and a highlighter. Hence, I was really excited when Glossier released their newest product, the Haloscope highlighter. Supposedly dropped suddenly like a Beyonce album, rumored to have been released earlier than planned because a few websites leaked the product deets, Haloscope is a cream stick highlighter that comes in a pale champagne gold shade (Quartz) and a more coppery gold color (Topaz). Being the ghostly pale human being that I am, I just went with Quartz for this review.

Before I even received this product, I decided to compare it to the RMS Living Luminizer. Full disclosure: the Living Luminizer is the one and only product I've ever regretted purging. But I've noticed that some of Glossier's products, like the Stretch Concealer, and their general beauty philosophy seem very similar to the RMS line. Here are the ingredients lists for the two products:

Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Beeswax, Mica, Silica, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Nylon-12, Quartz, Sodium Hyaluronate,Tin Oxide, Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Carmine (CI 75470)

*Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, *Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, *Cera Alba (Beeswax), Tocopherol (non-GMO), *Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, and may contain [+/- Titanium Dioxide CI77891, Mica CI 77019]

So basically, Haloscope and Living Luminizer aren't dupes, but they're pretty damn similar. If you like one, there's a good chance you'll like the other.

Also, it's worth noting that a lot of the folks at Glossier seem to be in to the "new age" healing and vibes stuff that's becoming more popular, and that supposedly influenced their decision to use quartz. I think that's a line of crap and they used the ingredient because it looks pretty and sounds cool, but I'm a Big Mean Skeptic. Please correct me if I'm just being a cynical bitch. (PS: Don't even get me started on the crystal dildo in that post.)

Now, a lot of people, including me, gave Glossier some shit for how much the Generation G lipsticks cost per ounce. So let's do some price comparisons with similar stick highlighters.

Glossier Haloscope - 0.194oz, $22
CoverFX Click Highlighter - 0.17oz, $18
Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlighter - 0.21oz, $22
NARS Multiple - 0.5oz, $39
Josie Maran Argan Enlightenment Illuminizing Wand - 0.36oz, $28
Milk Makeup Highlighter - 1oz, $24

The Milk Makeup offering is clearly a crazy huge deal, but beyond that, it looks like Haloscope is par for the course as far as cost per ounce goes. It's not the cheapest, it's not the most expensive.

Glossier's packaging seems to be very polarizing. I personally love plastic packaging because it tends to be shatter-resistant and I'm VERY clumsy. Also, unlike the Generation G lipstick packaging, this all feels like it was chosen to keep the product functional. You can twist the product all the way up and retract it completely, there's plenty of extra space in the cap (so no smooshing your stick!), and the cap stays on in your bag. Furthermore, Haloscope is one of those rare products that really is best applied straight from the stick--but more on that in a moment.

The actual highlighter has an interesting, but not entirely unique, design: there's mica and ground quartz in the colored outer ring, and the center ring is a mixture of oils (namely castor, sweet almond, and coconut). The idea is to give you a dewy glow with refined shimmer.

It's a great idea, but it does have a few glaring consequences. First, if you're sensitive to any of those oils, this will be an instant no-go. Contrary to current hype, a lot of people find that coconut oil and its derivatives break them out. Some people are also highly allergic to it. If you aren't sure, PLEASE patch test Haloscope before you go hog wild with it!

Second, the oil might break down your foundation, which is not surprising when you consider that a lot of people use coconut oil as a makeup remover. I haven't had a problem with this over my usual sheer foundations, including Glossier's Perfecting Skin Tint. (And let's be honest: those are the foundations Glossier expects their target customer to wear.) Still, I wanted to make note of it.

Third, the numerous oils in the product mean it never totally sets and can stick in your brush bristles or soak all the way in to your sponge. In other words, you should use your fingers to blend this. As I said earlier in this post, this highlighter applies best if you swipe the tube across your face, then pat out the product with your fingers. (You can certainly rub your fingers on to the stick and go from there, but I've found the straight-from-the-tube method to be the quickest and easiest.) Weirdly enough, I find that this "pulls" on my cheeks when I first start dragging it, but then it slides around's like it needs to hit the warmth of your skin to get truly soft and mobile. Blending it out is easy as sin, though.

I'm honestly in love with the fact that this gets me glowy in less than 30 seconds. And while I keep comparing Haloscope to the RMS Living Luminizer, I...honestly think this product is a bit better. It gives a similar natural glow without the same amount of visible glitter, even in macro shots (see above), and the packaging is much more portable. There, I said it! It's out!

The sticky texture of this product also seems to give it pretty good staying power, at least on my dry skin. If I want more glow, I can easily dab on more product and layer it up; it'll look dewy and shiny without being robo-metallic or overtly sparkly.

Here is the Glossier product compared to my two staple highlighters, MAC Strobe Cream and Becca's Shimmering Skin Perfector liquid in Pearl. As you can hopefully see, Pearl is straight white, Strobe Cream is very sheer but has a slight pinky tinge, and the Glossier is a super-pale gold. I can see this being flattering on a decent range of skintones, though of course, people with darker skin will probably want to bump up to the Topaz shade.

I almost gave Glossier Haloscope a 4 out of 5, but then I stopped myself. Why was I reacting this way? Yes, the marketing is a bit of a turn off, but it's also relatively effective. Sure, this will not work on people with allergies to the ingredients, but that's kind of how beauty products work--if your skin doesn't like one of the ingredients, it's going to react poorly. And yeah, it'll probably be a bit of a mess on very oily skin...but have I ever found a product that was truly universal?

Overall, this is a solid product that I somewhat grudgingly admit I'm loving. When I put it on, I can't stop staring at my skin in mirrors and tilting my face toward the light to see how my cheeks glow. That's what a good highlighter is supposed to do.

RATING: 5 out of 5

If you're interested in purchasing this product (or any others) from Glossier, feel free to use my affiliate link in this post--everybody with an account gets one, so this isn't a paid post, I swear. You'll get 20% off your order, I'll get $10 in credit. If that's not your thang, just go to to get your products, no affiliation required.

Affiliate Link: Glossier


  1. Hmm, I'm not sure how I would get on with it. I wish I could test it.

    1. *cough* You might have a chance coming up. *cough*

  2. I happily used your glossier affiliate link today and I hope you get your $10 credit. Your blog is such a pleasure to read. I appreciate your honest reviews and the fact that you don't buy into the constant hype for new products.

    1. This is incredibly kind of you, thank you! What did you get?

  3. I wish I'd read your review before purchasing the Halostick, as I had a very bad allergic reaction.

    1. I'm so sorry! I always recommend that people keep a list of their acne/reaction triggers and check ingredients lists thoroughly.