Review: Essence Pure Nude Highlighter

Today’s post is a review on the Essence Pure Nude Highlighter, which has been getting a lot of coverage around the beauty community in the last few months.

I usually don’t wear highlighter on a day-to-day basis to work, because sometimes it seems a little much for the office, and it’s just an extra step that I don’t always have time for in the mornings. However, I have been on a highlighter kick for the last few months, and currently have so many highlighters on my wish list. I purchased this Essence Pure Nude Highlighter back in December. It was a little difficult to find! It was sold out at every store I visited, until I randomly stumbled upon a few at a store I had already checked a few weeks prior.


I bought this highlighter at Shoppers Drug Mart, which I find is the store in Canada where Essence is most readily available. It retails at $5.49 for 6.5g, which is a steal, even for a drugstore product. If you compare the price to a high-end highlighter like the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed, the Becca is $46 for 8g. Per gram, it works out to $0.84/g for the Essence highlighter vs $5.75/g for the Becca highlighter. Crazy!

First, let’s talk about the packaging. The highlighter is housed in a plastic compact. The lid is clear so you can see what’s inside, and there is no mirror or brush included. Overall, the packaging feels pretty light, but the lid snaps tightly closed and the packaging feels sturdy enough for travel.

The highlighter itself is a peachy shade which leans champagne, and is a very subtle highlight. It has no discernible shimmer in it, but does have a slight sheen – I would say that it is a satin finish. I’ve been wearing it to work every day, and it gives off a very natural glow. I think that people who prefer strong highlights will not really find what they are looking for in this highlighter. Also, if you are very fair, this highlighter may pull too orange on you. Unfortunately, it is only offered in one shade so there is nothing lighter to choose from.


The highlighter is baked, so it feels a bit drier and dusty to the touch; it’s not as soft or smooth as a highlighter such as the ones from Becca. The pigmentation is not strong, but can be built up gradually; for example, in the swatches you see below, the Benefit and Becca highlighters needed just one pass for a clear swatch, while the Pure Nude Highlighter needed three. It’s too subtle to apply with a fan brush; you wouldn’t really see much of anything. I usually apply it using a small rounded complexion powder brush with more hairs than a fan brush. The highlighter has a very slight scent when you stick your nose right into the compact. I can’t really tell what the scent is – I think it’s floral, but either way, no smell can be detected at all once applied.

I wanted to compare a swatch of the Pure Nude highlighter with some of my other favourite highlighters. The top photo is the highlighters swatched straight onto my arm, while the bottom is the highlighters blended in, which is how you would normally wear it.

Swatched: Benefit Watts Up Highlighter, Essence Pure Nude Highlighter, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette in Incandescent Light, and Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Opal
Blended: Benefit Watts Up Highlighter, Essence Pure Nude Highlighter, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette in Incandescent Light, and Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Opal

Benefit Watts Up and Becca Opal are clearly the most metallic, although Watts Up is the most similar shade to Pure Nude. You can see that Pure Nude is a peachy shade that is pretty close to my skin tone, while Hourglass’s Incandescent Light is a much whiter shade. It’s interesting, because I think that the Incandescent Light looks the most natural on camera, but Incandescent Light actually has shimmers in real life that the Pure Nude highlighter does not.

The highlighter is made in Poland. I was a little taken aback, since in my head, I always associate less expensive makeup products with being made in China, although that isn’t always necessarily true.

These are the ingredients of the highlighter:

Mica, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Magnesium Stearate, Boron Nitride, Glycerin, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Dehydroxanthan Gum, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Silica, Glyceryl Caprylate, Sodium Levulinate, P-Anisic Acid, Sodium Anisate, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide).

To summarize, these are the pros and cons of the highlighter:

-Natural highlighter with no shimmer
-No/very subtle fragrance

-Too dark for very light skintones
-Only one shade available
-No mirror included in packaging

Overall, for $5.50, I would say this highlighter is highly worth a try if your skin tone can handle warmer peach shades and you like more subtle highlights. Have you tried this highlighter? If so, what do you think?

17 thoughts on “Review: Essence Pure Nude Highlighter

  1. Some sweet person from IG sent this to me last month! 😛 I haven’t had a chance to post about it yet.
    I haven’t tried it yet but my first thought was that it reminded me of the Houglass – looks like this one is a good mix between the super metallic like Benefit and the low sheen of Hourglass.
    And yessss, most of Essence’s products are made in Poland. Isn’t it neat? Inglot stuff are made in Poland too.


    • Aww, that’s so nice of them to send this to you!
      You are so right, the shade is VERY similar to the Hourglass Dim Light. The Essence one has more of a sheen though, so I don’t know that you can use it as an all-over powder like you can with the Hourglass. It’s definitely a mix between Benefit and Hourglass!
      I knew that Inglot was made in Poland (it’s a Polish brand, I believe), but had no idea about Essence! Pretty cool. I thought that makeup from Poland would be pricier than the price point of Essence products.


  2. Great review and I like the pictures! I keep hearing about this over and over again in the Youtube and Blogging community. I’m trying to curb my makeup spending and work through what I have but this is tempting for the price 😮

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This reminds me of the hourglass dupes I have from Revolution, I like that this one looks really neutral, it doesn’t lean pink, peach or gold – perfectly neutral glow.
    We do have essence here but the counters are normally quite dinky and the selection limited, I’m going to see if my closest one has this though as I keep hearing great things about it, and I’m definitely on a highlight kick at the moment!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Our Essence sections are quite small too. Best of luck on your search for the highlighter! Might be sold out due to all the hype, but as long as they have a spot on the shelf designated to it, you just have to keep going back, haha!


  4. mmmm definitely considering to buy this one since I never wear highlighter and it seems a nice one to start out with. However, I am quite fair.. Not sure what to do

    Liked by 1 person

    • Darn, that’s a shame, this is definitely a good highlighter for someone just beginning to get into highlighters, but I think it would be too orange for fair skin.
      Unfortunately, I don’t have any inexpensive, natural-looking drugstore highlighters to recommend to you, but in terms of high end – the Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder in 01 is really natural-looking!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is on my list to purchase as well – mostly because Iike you, I don’t usually wear highlighter on a daily basis but also because I don’t really like a strong highlighter. It looks pretty but I’m pretty fair too so I’m wondering if it might look orange on me but I’ll probably give it a try anyway for the price.

    Have you tried the elf iluminating palette? You might enjoy that if you like a subtle highlight – I’ve been using it for a few weeks now and it’s very subtle but pretty!

    Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hmm, you’re right, it might be worth giving it a try because it’s so cheap – too orange on you, then you could just pass it on to someone else.

      I haven’t tried the ELF Illuminating Palette yet! I just looked it up and it looks GORGEOUS. I need to get my hands on that!


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