dupes, Makeup, Reviews

ELF Cosmetics Baked Highlighter Blush Gems Review 

Today I am talking glow! I think there needs to be more options available for affordable, drugstore highlighters. We have so little available it’s quite unsatisfactory. There are countless higher end ones, but not everyone can afford those. So today, I am reviewing another drugstore highlighter, the ELF Cosmetics Highlighter in Blush Gems

Claims (taken from ELF Cosmetics) :

“Create a radiant glow with this illuminating powder that highlights the skin with a sheer wash of shimmering color. Infused with Vitamin E, Jojoba, Sunflower, Apricot and Grape to nourish and hydrate the skin. The long-lasting baked shimmering color can be applied wet for a vibrant effect or dry for sheer pigmentation.”


Mica, Talc, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Nylon-12, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Paraffinum Liquidum (mineral oil), Dimethicone, Tocopheryl Acetate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Rosa Canina (Rose Hip) Fruit Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben. May Contain: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Tin Oxide (CI 77861)


The highlighter is housed in a plastic compact with a transparent lid. The lid is dome shaped same as the product. I’m not fond of this packaging because it feels pretty cheap and flimsy. I don’t think it will be resilient to being dropped or tossed around. Baked products can be rather fragile to begin with and I am terrified it will break into pieces. I was worried the product would separate from it’s base as well, but fortunately it didn’t. You get 0.17oz / 5g of product which is smaller than most highlighters. 


Like all baked products, the texture is hard. At first touch it is drier than other baked products I’ve tried. It is finely milled but when you look at the product it looks as if it has a ton of chunky glitters and shimmer. Luckily upon application that is not the case. I first used it with a brush, it didn’t apply well. It is SO difficult to pick up with a brush. I used many different brushes but it applies very sheer and almost disappears. The top layer of the highlighter is very stiff/hard so I gently scratched off a fine layer. The stiffness can be a good thing, as it means the product wont crumble, and gives you better control. 

Performance & Pigmentation:

The product feels a snitch uneven and bumpy when you swatch it with your finger, and some areas give off more powder than others. It does have some powder kick up, but it is extremely minimal due to the formula being baked. 

I chose the shade Blush Gems. It is a pretty rose gold shade with a champagne undertone and I think it will work pretty well for both fair and medium dark skin. After I scraped off the top layer of overspray, it applied easier than the first time I used it (when it had a layer of overspray). Granted, it was still sheer and difficult to pick up, it was relatively easier to blend and softer too. Since it was so sheer on my brush, at first I didn’t think any color deposited onto it. It takes a few try’s to see which brush applies it best for you, as per your personal preference. 

For everyday, I prefer a soft, gentle “lit from within” glow, so I applied the product with a dense small angled brush. I find that applying it with this brush gives me a soft, sheer glow. Not too gaudy looking. It does however blend away easily, especially with a fluffier brush. So I just blend the edges and it “holds” much better that way. It didn’t make my skin feel dry and I like that it isn’t glittery on the face. The finish isn’t metallic at all (I was worried it would be) and when lightly applied it doesn’t look overly shimmery either. If you do want more shimmer action, you can just use your finger to apply it. I applied it with my finger a few times and it didn’t look messy or disappear like it did when blending with a brush. 

For special occasions I prefer a more intense highlight. When I wet my small, dense angled brush, added setting spray and applied the highlight, it was – for lack of better word – POPPIN’! I was really, really surprised. When applied wet, it doesn’t have as much shimmer and is significantly more pigmented ( so pigmented) as apposed to when applied dry. It also applies much smoother when wet. I have combination skin, and I found that it didn’t sit on top of my skin like the Catrice baked highlighter did. When applied lightly this highlight gives me a nice sheen without looking glittery or shinny. It’s not too difficult to build with this highlighter, in fact, I would suggest it. Due to the formula being baked, building up your application is key as it’s easier to build than having to take some away. 

Just a side note if you are going to apply this wet; DO NOT wet the actual product nor wet the brush before dipping into product. Because it is a baked formula, when you wet it directly it will dry down harder and you will have to scrape off a layer again. What I do is pick up the product with my brush then sprits some fix+ spray or other makeup spray on the brush and apply it to my face. This way, the highlighter won’t go hard again and you won’t have to scrape off any more of the product. If however you already did this and your highlighter is not as pigmented anymore, you can just take a piece of scotch or packing tape and lay it over the highlighter, sticky side down, and rub your finger over the tape to pick up that top layer. It will remove any hard layer that might be there and will remove less product than scraping. 


This highlighter lasted about 5 hours on me when used dry. The intensity starts fading around the 3.5 hour mark but still ended up looking natural and pretty. 

When applied wet, it lasted about majority of the day and the intensity started fading after 4 hours but only a tiny bit. 

This highlighter is a fantastic dupe for the Mac Mineralize Skinfinish Soft & Gentle. The texture feels similar too, but Soft & Gentle is softer and a bit more pink. 

Despite the small difference in color and texture, I think this dupe is great as it is very similar at a fraction of the price. Soft & Gentle is a cult favorite but is quite pricey at R450. If you’ve always wanted it but the price isn’t in your budget, this dupe is for you! 

Shade Selection:

These baked highlighters come in 3 shades. 

  • Pink Diamonds 
  • Moonlight Pearls 
  • Blush Gems


I am really glad I got to try this highlighter. It’s earned a spot in my top 5 affordable highlighters list (would you like to see a post on that, by the way?) and is such an affordable dupe for Soft & Gentle. It doesn’t appear cakey, unnatural or chalky on my skin and the staying power is quite something. For the price I think it’s pretty great and way better than a few other drugstore highlighters I have tried. I love that this shade is universal and will show up on most skin tones. I really want to try the other 2 shades in this range. The only thing I’m not fond of is the packaging. Other than that, I rate this highlighter 6.5/10. 

If you have uneven and textured skin, I’m afraid this highlighter will emphasize that and so I would suggest you give this a pass. If, however, you’re someone who is looking for a great, affordable highlighter or you’ve been wanting to add Mac Soft & Gentle to your collection but it is too pricey for you, I would highly recommend this product. This shade is a great dupe, and the other shade in this range, Moonlight Pearls, is also a great dupe for The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer and Becca Opal. I don’t know about you guys, but I love a great dupe! The best part? ELF Cosmetics is cruelty free AND vegan. Which means we can slay without harming our furry friends! *cuddles my kittens* 

Price And Where To Purchase:

You can purchase ELF Cosmetics baked highlighters as well as other ELF products from Accessories By Bwalya on Facebook or Instagram. These baked highlighters are R150 each, which is on par with drugstore highlighter prices. If she doesn’t have a specific ELF product you want, don’t fret, because she does pre-orders as well! 
What is your favorite tried and tested product(s) from ELF Cosmetics? Let me know in the comments. I would love to try some more ELF products. 

Disclaimer: I received this highlighter from Accessories By Bwalya free of charge to review, but this in no way affects my opinion. This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. 


6 thoughts on “ELF Cosmetics Baked Highlighter Blush Gems Review ”

  1. Love this review! And I’ve currently been obsessing over the Mary Loumanizer so the ELF dupe would be an awesome option as it’s about half the price. Ok so I’ve heard that the ELF foundations are amazing, get 2 shades though, so you can mix them to get your perfect colour. Need to try it myself. Do a review once you’ve tried it, would love to hear your thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I definitely want to get my hands on the other 2 shades of this baked highlighters, they’re pretty great!
      I haven’t tried any ELF foundations or concealers before, but when I do I will definitely be doing a review.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t heard of ELF products before but this highlighter sounds good for everyday use. I learned something new today with your tip on how to recover your product if it gets wet by using Scotch tape. Thanks for the great review and for suggesting a dupe alternative to priey products.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are very welcome! I am glad you learnt something new. I use the scorch tape trick on shimmer eyeshadows as well, if the too layer of shimmer sort of gets hard. ELF is a really good, affordable drugstore brand and I REALLY hope they open an ELF store in South Africa soon. I feel like most affordable brands are lost to us. Such as ELF, Milani, City Colour, Jordana etc.
      thank you for reading and commenting ❤


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