The powder is a housed in a sleek, sturdy compact and has the most beautiful imprint, it looks like a shell to me. The formula claims to combine the best of two worlds: "blendable, buildable, illuminating formula that combines the best of a subtle shimmering powder with the versatility of a gel". The formula is indeed soft, incredibly soft to the touch as it is very finely milled which translates into a delicate, sheer swatch sheen I run my finger across it. When swatched with my fingers or with a blush it definitely feels like an incredibly soft powder to me rather than that cream to powder formula I envisioned (think MAC Extra dimension Skinfinish). The color is a peachy champagne that that has a sheen to it, reflecting light in the most delicate way possible. The powder is not incredibly pigmented and the sheen is subtle, when applied to the skin it's almost invisible until you start moving and seeing how it captures the light. Unlike most highlighters I own this one is soft, it doesn't have that reflective quality, that "pow"but it rather looks like your skin is glowing from within. On my skintone I found myself using it all over the cheeks and over the traditional highlighting points to get that healthy radiance, that diffused glow which makes me compare this to (the concept behind) Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders, which, btw, did nothing for me. To compare the two, the EL one does a great job at imparting that glow to the skin while the ALPs felt like a glorified powder that didn't do anything when it came to enhancing and "lifting" the look of my skin.
I don't own any of the old versions of the Illuminating Powder Gelées to compare textures and formulas but I was under the impression this would me more of that gel/cream to powder formulas. It is not. It is, however, an incredible highlighter. It stands out to me because it's so soft and looks so different compared to my other highlighters and I love what it does. I love topping my blush with it, I love the glow it imparts to my skin, I love wearing it on it's own as well as paired up a bronzer and I can see this shade being absolutely perfect for summer. Actually, whenever I wear this powder it makes me feel and look like I'm basking in a soft summer sun, think of that warm soft glow you get after a day biking outside in June... well, it seems Esteé Lauder managed to capture just that and trapped it in this compact.
EL Illuminating Powder Gelée on its own
Compared to MAC's Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Whisper of Gilt
(L-R) Essence Metal Glam, Essence Ticket to Paradise, Bare Minerals The Shining Moment, EL BG Illumoinating Powder Gellée and MAC Whisper of Gilt
Now it's time to see it in action sur le visage
*Product provided for consideration. This does not influence my opinions or review