Hey everyone! Today I’ve got a special (and slightly lengthy) post for you all. Pat McGrath’s new Skin Fetish 003 sets, like her previous releases, have been taking the makeup community by storm. The set contains a cream highlight and balm stick, a stippling brush, and a pressed pigment highlighter for $72 USD. The sets come in two different shades—Golden and Nude (shown below).
In this post, I’m going to be reviewing the Skin Fetish set and also reviewing two dupes—the Makeup Revolution Ultra Strobe Balm in Euphoria and NARS Cassiopeia.
Pat McGrath Skin Fetish 003. First things first, the packaging for this is beautiful but not the most user-friendly. In order to keep everything contained (in case of a return) I had to store the bag and sequins inside of a Ziploc bag because they got everywhere if I didn’t. The packaging of the pressed pigment and balm/highlighter stick is functional but looks a little cheap for the high price tag. I noticed some air bubbles under the label on the stick and also under the label on the brush. The brush was nice, with soft bristles and a sturdy handle, but the fact that there was a sticker label on it made it look very cheap also. The packaging of the pressed pigment is sturdy but, like the other products, is very basic and looks cheap.
Now let’s talk performance. All 3 products from the Skin Fetish package performed nicely. The brush was soft and worked with both the cream and pressed pigment. The highlighter and balm were both creamy and applied evenly. The pressed pigment had a dry formula but was very pigmented and applied smoothly over bare skin and well over the cream products. I did have some issues with “stacking” the products on my skin, AKA using them the way they were intended to be. I have severely dry skin, so when I tried to apply the cream highlighter over my foundation, it did not cooperate with my skin. Applying the highlighter with the brush and a stippling motion helped, but when blending the pressed pigment over top of it, it caused my foundation to break up more. However, I’m inclined to believe this is due to the fact that I have severely dry skin, not because the formula is lacking. When I applied the pressed pigment just over foundation, I had no issues at all.
In short, the Pat McGrath Skin Fetish is a collection of well-formulated, nicely performing products. I think for $72, the packaging of the products has a lot of issues that could be improved, but the formulas themselves are awesome. I wish the products were sold separately because buying the pressed pigment separately would be perfect for me.
Makeup Revolution Ultra Strobe Balm in Euphoric. The Ultra Strobe Balm is a cream highlighter available at Ulta. The price is $9, much better than the Pat McGrath collection! The Strobe Balm is the closest color dupe I’ve found to the Skin Fetish pressed pigment.
However, the formula leaves a lot to be desired. It’s an extremely dry balm that bunches up when swatching on your fingers, but it applies decently over bare skin. I tried applying Kat Von D’s Thunderstruck eyeshadow on top also, but Thunderstruck proved much too warm to be a true dupe for the Skin Fetish highlight.
When I applied the MUR Ultra Strobe Balm over my foundation, it was extremely hard to work with. I tried to apply it straight from the pan with the Pat McGrath brush and it was hard to get even pigmentation as well as a sheen. After reading some tips on Reddit, I tried swirling a drop of water around the pan and applying it with my finger, but it caused my foundation to lift up and become patchy. As a Hail Mary, I wiped my cheek off, reapplied my base, then tried the Ultra Strobe Balm with a droplet of Drunk Elephant’s Virgin Marula Oil. It caused my foundation to break up extremely badly, so I gave up.
The Makeup Revolution Ultra Strobe Balm formula leaves a lot to be desired but like the Pat McGrath highlighter & balm, I can attribute part of my issues to my super dry skin. I feel like someone with normal or oily skin would not have nearly as many troubles applying this.
NARS Cassiopeia. Cassiopeia was my last attempt at finding a good dupe for the Pat McGrath pressed pigment! I searched the internet high and low and just decided to take a chance on this eyeshadow. At $29, it’s pricier than the Ultra Strobe Balm, but significantly more wallet-friendly than Skin Fetish.
It arrived in the mail today and I compared the two shortly after I got home from work. In swatches, the two look slightly different—Cassiopeia is a little more cool-toned. But I think the difference is minute when applied to the face. It takes a little more product for Cassiopeia to build up to the same intensity, but I’m very happy with how it looks and consider this the ultimate winner!
I hope you guys enjoyed this super long post and found it helpful in your decision about whether or not to buy Pat McGrath’s Skin Fetish 003 or either of the dupes mentioned above! Have you found any others? Let me know in the comments below ❤