The Sample: NEW Burberry Sheer Summer Glow Natural Highlighting Compact (Review, Swatches & Photos)

15 May

Burberry usually isn’t one to release limited-edition products–but boy, when they decide to, they do it right! I’ve been dying to post my review of this miraculous powder for days–but I’ve also been really busy studying for finals and writing a paper, so apologies for not getting this up sooner. I’m sure you’ve gotten your fix though, as this baby has been making appearances on blogs everywhere. It seems people are really excited about Burberry releasing a limited-edition product (as evident by the profusion of rave-reviews). Burberry: take note! I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing more LE products from them.

This is a beyond-gorgeous compact that consists of 4 color quadrants: a creamy golden-shimmer (bottom right), warm rosy-pink (top right), warm golden-tan (bottom left), and a dark brown with slight red-undertones (top left). All 4 shades do have a slight sheen to them, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call them shimmery. Rather, they exhibit a kind of luminous, pearlescent sheen. It’s so breathtakingly beautiful! You really have to swatch it to believe.

The compact it comes housed in is quintessential Burberry. Like most luxe-brands, the compact is lovingly wrapped up in a suede little sleeve. It’s a little different from Burberry’s usual checked black pouch in that they have made it a soft tan just for this limited-edition compact. The compact itself is metallic gunmetal-gray with the iconic Burberry check embossed on it (as well as across the powder inside). The compact isn’t at all flimsy like some of the other high-end brands’ (think YSL and Edward Bess), but instead feels nice and weighty and substantial–very high quality. I thought for sure the compact would be a magnet for fingerprints (again, think YSL and Edward Bess)–but surprisingly, Burberry’s does well in that area. And speaking of magnets, this compact features a magnetic closure which works very well and is quite strong (so strong that I sometimes it takes me a second or two to open it up, but maybe that’s just me). I really like the packaging a lot–it’s definitely among one of my favorites.

Released as part of their Iconic Nudes Collection for Summer 2012, Burberry describes this product as an “effortless all-in-one highlighting compact. Four blendable shades naturally highlight and define in one simple application.” You’re meant to apply it “across the face for a fresh everyday summer glow” or “use each shade separately to illuminate forehead, eyes, cheeks, and chin.” Now because it has the 2 darker, brown shades on the left, this product can be used to contour or bronze as well as highlight. But because it contains “shimmer” (aka: “pearlescent sheen”), I’m not sure everybody will agree that it’s the best product for contouring. I do think it will make a fantastic illuminating bronzer though–but there is just one caveat: because this product is on the sheerer side, I believe it will only really work as a bronzer/cheek color for those with light or light-to-medium skin tones…anything darker, and you’re probably only going to be using this as a very subtle highlighter–and even then, you may have to layer it well if you have very dark skin.

That being said, I thought that the pigmentation was perfect for this product–but then again, I’m not a huge fan of super, super pigmented cheek color. A lot of people mentioned that they were disappointed in the pigmentation, so when it first arrived I was expecting the worst. But it’s actually not that much sheerer than the majority of bronzers I own–the color payoff is excellent (on my skin tone) and I thought it was the perfect middle ground between a sheer powder and a super pigmented one.

See how pretty? PS: I hope you all are happy. I completely massacred the beautiful embossing of the powder with a sponge-tipped applicator in order to get super-pigmented swatches for you guys. The things I do!!! :P


I’ve really been loving the sheerer formulations of blushes, bronzers, and highlighters that have been coming out recently. I’ve mentioned before that I am terrible when it comes to applying powder color on my cheeks. You’ve heard of a lead foot? Well I must have a lead elbow when it comes to cheek product application. I struggle majorly when it comes to super-pigmented blushes–so for me, these sheer powders are a godsend. I also find that this new breed of powder truly makes you look like you’re emanating the glow/color naturally–not like you’ve applied a pretty highlighter/bronzer.

Such is the case with this particular powder. When swirled all together, it creates a lovely, subtle–well…summer glow. The overall effect is extremely understated, but succeeds in making me look radiant and healthy. It’s another one of those “je ne sais quoi” kind of things. No one will know what you did or what you’re wearing, but you’ll look damn good–I promise you that!! All 4 shades mixed together yields a sheer, shimmery bronzey-brown color. It doesn’t really bronze the face in the conventional sense, it just lends the skin a warmth that makes you look flawless and well-rested. The red undertone of the dark brown and the pink help make the resulting shade look more like a natural tan–except 1000 times more glowy. This powder is pretty damn near perfect, in my opinion.

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge


I have to say, Burberry’s powder formula is among the best that I’ve ever had the pleasure to try. Ever. Remember how much I was gushing about Edward Bess’ Quad Royale in Monte Carlo when I first got it (for a reminder, click here)?? Well, Burberry’s powder formula beats it by far. I know, right?! I am officially obsessed with this product. The texture of it really can’t be beat–it’s so silky and smooth and finely-milled and every other positive thing you can possibly think to say about an amazing product. Despite being very finely-milled, it isn’t powdery at all. The red-brown color is the softest and most pigmented of the 4 other shades. The glowy-pink is the next softest/most pigmented, followed by the shimmering golden-cream, then the golden-tan. Actually, I found the tan shade to be a bit hard in terms of texture. As a result, it was a little difficult to swatch.

This powder is heavily scented, so some of you may have a problem with that. The scent is quite strong in the pan but when you apply it, it’s a lot softer and almost unnoticeable. However, it doesn’t dissipate quickly. After applying it, I left my house to go to the library and kept getting very subtle whiffs of it in the car. When I applied swatches on my arm to photograph, I left them on to see how long the scent would linger. After about 3 1/2 hours, I could still smell it–but keep in mind that I also applied very heavy swatches to get the color to show through. Applied regularly on my cheeks, I could hardly smell anything. I was a little worried about the scent before I got the compact, but surprisingly I actually quite like it. I could definitely do without it of course, but since it’s in there, I’m glad it smells so good (its a very feminine and powdery rosy-perfume smell).

A close-up of each individual shade

A close-up of the mixed swatch

The photo directly above was a little comparison swatch that I did between Sheer Summer Glow and Laura Mercier’s Peach Mosaic Shimmer Bloc just for fun. It almost seems unfair…:P Anyway, you can see that compared to Summer Glow, Peach Mosaic appears to be frostier while Summer Glow gives off a very understated glow and sheen. The effect is much more natural and believable. Peach Mosaic screams where Summer Glow whispers.

*Please note: Peach Mosaic looks much more subtle and beautiful (in my opinion) when it’s applied with a lighter hand and blended out thoroughly. For the purpose of the comparison shot, I did apply Peach Mosaic a lot heavier than I would normally but I thought it was only fair to do so considering Summer Glow had also been applied quite heavily as well

Sheer Summer Glow lasted about 6 hours on my bare, oily skin before it faded considerably. That’s about the longest a powder usually lasts on my oily cheeks, so I’m happy with the wear. Over foundation and set with a translucent powder, Summer Glow lasted about 7 1/2 hours before fading–although it never fully disappeared from my skin. I noticed that even though the color had mostly faded, I retained a very slight glowy warmth on my cheeks all day and night without reapplying once. I really do think the quality of this product is unmatched. From the attention to detail in the packaging to the quality and performance of the powder itself, Burberry has created a true gem of a product! Summer Glow makes your skin look bright and luminous without being overtly shimmery and can be worn all year long, helping you to you look radiant and healthy during the summer and restoring some the life and luster back into your skin come fall and winter. I certainly feel like it was worth every single penny. I can’t recommend this product enough–it’s major love (so much so that I am considering purchasing a back-up for when I finish this one. That’s huge for me, as I’ve never in my life purchased a back-up of anything before)!!!

Pros: gorgeous presentation–from the tan pouch down to the embossed compact and powder. Burberry really paid attention to detail and it shows; makes your skin look bright and luminous without being overtly shimmery; the colors work in harmony to give the skin a true “summer glow”; easy to customize your color; multi-purpose (can be used as a bronzer, blush, contour, highlighter, and even eyeshadow); powder formula is incredible–soft, silky, pigmented, easy to blend; wear time is good for my oily skin, so it should stay put all day for those with normal skin; compact does not attract fingerprints

Cons: the scented powder may not fly with everyone; pricey; may not show up well on those with darker skin tones. I highly suggest trying it in-stores if possible. If not, Nordstrom has a great return policy!; the golden-tan color is a bit hard and doesn’t have as much color payoff as the other 3 shades; limited-edition (why oh why did they have to choose this product to release as a LE item?)—*please note: this last one is not really a con, even though it’s totally true :P

»»Pricing: $50/0.35 oz. (10 g.)

»»Availability: online and Burberry counters

»»Recommended for: light or light-to-medium skin tones will get the most visible results from this powder, color-wise. For those with darker skin, this could act as a very sheer, very subtle highlighter or even as an all-over face powder (in the vein of Guerlain’s Meteorites)

»»Overall Rating: A-

17 Responses to “The Sample: NEW Burberry Sheer Summer Glow Natural Highlighting Compact (Review, Swatches & Photos)”

  1. Tracy@Beauty Reflections May 15, 2012 at 1:40 am #

    What a great review! :) I just got this one myself and agree 100%. This is such an awesome product-one of the best I’ve seen this year. Beats even my Dior Aurora hands down. Burberry is my favourite brand by far-not one thing I’ve tried is a dud. You should get their glow primer-it’s really great!

    • becca May 15, 2012 at 3:27 am #

      I agree, Tracy! I’m SO happy with my first Burberry purchase and can’t wait to order a back-up of the Summer Glow, plus their Cameo blush and lipstick and Rosewood or Pale Barley eyeshadow :D

      I was curious about the glow primer, but as I have very oily skin I wasn’t sure if it would just be shimmer overload? Might have to find a way to get a sample of that one!

      So do you love Summer Glow enough to get a back-up too?

  2. svetlana May 15, 2012 at 4:49 am #

    i like the pigmentation on this compact. i CAN see the effortless you described. love!

    • becca May 15, 2012 at 6:19 pm #

      It’s pricey, but I can say without a doubt that it’s SO worth it. It’s the kind of product you can just slap on and not have to worry about, but you’ll look super gorgeous and glowy :)

  3. Larie May 15, 2012 at 4:56 am #

    All of your photos are so beautiful! I think this palette actually reminds me of Neapolitan ice cream, haha. It is very pretty, though!

    • becca May 15, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

      LOL you’re right! I didn’t notice that before, but now that’s all I can think of :P

  4. Shivani May 15, 2012 at 11:10 pm #

    Fantastic review! I kind of want this now and its all, all your fault!

    Good luck on your finals and papers!! X

    • becca May 15, 2012 at 11:16 pm #

      If you are craving/obsessing over Sheer Summer Glow, then my work is complete. EVERYONE should check this out–it’s THAT beautiful! :P

      And thanks for the well wishes. Tomorrow is my last final, so definitely can’t wait for that to be over! Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

  5. Emi at Project Swatch May 17, 2012 at 2:05 pm #

    Great review! I’ve been playing with mine, and really enjoying it!

    • becca May 17, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

      Thanks Emi! Yeah, I love my Sheer Summer Glow. It’s replaced my Edward Bess Quad Royale in Monte Carlo as my everyday cheek color!

  6. Sunny May 17, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    This looks yummy, Becca! I’ve been playing with Chanel Sable Rose, and I have the impression that color-wise these two might be in the same vein. It’s not dark enough for me (NC30) as a bronzer, but if used as a blush it’s actually very pretty! I think if someone is another bit darker it’ll be a great highlighter too, just because the shimmer is very delicate and fine :) Thanks for the review! I’ll have to check Burberry out soon!

    • becca May 17, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

      I actually played with Sable Rose at the mall the other night. For some reason, it didn’t really interest me–even after reading all the great reviews online. But when I swatched it on my skin it was a WHOLE different story. It’s absolutely gorgeous!!! And you’re right, Sunny–it’s definitely a blush on me. At first, I thought there was no need to own Sable Rose and Sheer Summer Glow–but I was wrong. There’s almost no hint of bronze in Sable Rose, it’s just a pretty warm rosy color on my skin. But Sheer Summer Glow is actually a very light bronzing powder on me. It just gives my skin a hint of warmth and not a lot of pink, whereas Sable Rose is definitely more pink than bronze and can be applied like a bronzer but looks more like a very warm blush. I’m definitely going back for Sable Rose!

  7. dani@callitbeauty May 20, 2012 at 4:46 am #

    Such a lovely product! I normally don’t like sheer products, but since I’m usually scared of bronzer, this is not a bad thing! :p

  8. Shannon May 31, 2012 at 1:57 am #

    Excellent review and gorgeous photos! I love most everything I’ve tried from Burberry. This is lovely and looks like it has such a nice, soft glow to it! It’s going on my wish list :)

    • becca May 31, 2012 at 2:41 am #

      Thanks, Shannon! That means a lot coming from you with your mad photography skills :P I do love this compact a LOT and think it would look even better on your fair skin than it does on my light-medium skin! I hope you do grab one, you’ll love it!

  9. S June 1, 2012 at 3:29 am #

    I just received this today! Omg, it is even more beautiful in person!! I love your blog, great pictures & such wonderfully descriptive reviews. Thank you for sharing all of your bits of beauty wisdom.

    • becca June 1, 2012 at 3:42 am #

      Wow, thank you so much, S! I’m glad you find it helpful!

      And yes, it is SO beautiful, isn’t it? I almost cried when I had to take my sponge-tipped applicator to it to do the swatch photos. :P

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