The Hype Machine is a series that takes a critical look at well-loved, cult classic, appears-in-every-other-Instagram-photo products and asks: are they worth the hype?
A little under two years ago, this same series ranked the original Touche Eclat All-Over Brightening Pen as an above-average product, versatile and lovely, but probably more expensive than necessary. I've continued to use my Touche Eclat pen primarily as an undereye brightener, mixing it with my concealer du jour to get a bit less coverage and a brighter, slightly dewier finish. So when YSL released a true-blue concealer version of Touche Eclat (because, again, the original is not really a concealer; stop yelling at the poor thing), and when it was reviewed positively by bloggers I trust, I decided to bite the bullet and use up my gift cards.
Natural light on top, ring light on bottom. From left to right: YSL TE High Cover in 0.75 Sugar, YSL TE Brightening Pen in 2 Luminous Ivory, NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly, Glossier Stretch Concealer in G11.
What got me a little stuck was the shade range. I couldn't decide between the lightest shade, 0.5 Vanilla, and the second-lightest shade, 0.75 Sugar. After receiving several super-helpful comments on Instagram, I decided to go with 0.75 Sugar, since this is clearly meant to be an undereye/brightening concealer, and I knew the peachy tones of 0.75 would work well on my dark circles.
I'm glad I went with that shade. First of all, yes, 0.75 is DEFINITELY peach-toned, and it definitely works well on dark circles--more on that in a moment. Second, it's closer to the original Touche Eclat pen in 2 than you'd think. See, the original Touche Eclat pen darkens up a bit as it dries: it comes out looking almost identical to the very pale NARS Chantilly, but it ends up being about a shade darker. I'd peg the YSL Touche Eclat High Cover at about NC/NW 15 in terms of depth, and the YSL Touche Eclat All-Over Brightening Pen is maybe half a shade lighter.
The only other product on my face in these photos is a thin layer of the Surratt Surreal Skin foundation, which, LOOOOL, look at that beautiful application right over my top lip. I'M AN ARTIST.
The new High Cover version of Touch Eclat features a nearly identical metal tube and brush tip applicator; the only difference is that the High Cover version includes a black label, which is honestly helpful for differentiating between the two tubes quickly. I love the feeling and the weight of this packaging, and unlike many click tubes, it only takes a few clicks to get the product started.
One click will get you about twice as much product as you see in the above-middle photo. I actually find that a full click of this concealer is a bit much for me, so I just leave the rest on the brush for touch-ups or my next application. However, I tend to wear very thin layers of my base products, I only use this on my undereyes, and I have a sort of small face; you may use a whole click if you're covering more surface area or like more coverage.
Now, the name of this product may make you think this is going to completely blank out your dark circles. I don't think that's the purpose of this concealer. Instead, I think the name means this is a "high coverage version" of Touche Eclat (versus a traditional, maximum coverage concealer). I'd say this is a very natural, beautiful, just-barely-medium coverage concealer.
I can hear you scoffing. "Natural?! It looks like you smeared Vaseline on those undereyes!"
Look, I get what you're saying: my undereyes look hella-glossy in that after photo. But remember that it was photographed with a strong ring light shining directly down on me. In every other lighting situation I tested this in, including the all-important natural light, this just looked like a satin-y, natural, skin-like concealer. See the above natural light Instagram shot for proof!
You can also dust this very lightly with some powder to make it a natural matte texture. I found that powder took away any and all shine, and it prevented a bit of the (inevitable) creasing, but it didn't clump or cake.
Finally, let's answer that all-important question: is it worth the price? Again, I have to give you a wishy-washy "yes and no." For me, it's a pretty stellar product that's easy to apply, works well with all of my foundations, and really brightens up my face. I used to put two products on my undereyes; now I'm down to one. If you're like me and you have a hard time finding a single undereye concealer you like, it's aces. But if you already have an undereye concealer you love, I don't know that this luxury product is necessarily going to top it.
BOTTOM LINE: YSL has created a higher-coverage version of their beloved Touche Eclat pen that delivers natural, medium coverage that really works on my undereyes. If you're looking for a great undereye concealer, this could be the one for you; if you've already got a favorite, feel free to give this pricey pen a pass.
The Hype Machine is a series that represents my experiences and opinions. It is not meant to be a personal attack on a specific company, product, or consumer. I always recommend that you try products for yourself and see how they work for you. Everybody is unique, after all!