These Shimmering Sands Are More Than a Mirage: Estée Lauder’s Innovative Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelèe in Shimmering Sands

Published in: Estee Lauder, Makeup, Product Reviews

estee lauder shimmering sands

Ever since that time I sent El Hub out to buy toilet paper and he returned with four rolls of crummy one-ply paper that felt like tree bark on my booty, I take care of replenishing the TP around here.


Stay with me. I’m going somewhere with this… 🙂

As I was on my way out the door the other day to pick up some Ultra Soft Charmin (the best!) from Target, I glanced at myself in the hallway mirror and said, “Dang, K-Dawg! You’re wearing hella bronzer, girl!”

I was shimmering, and bronzed, like I’d just gotten back from a week in the South of France.

Merci beaucoup, Estée Lauder Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelèe in Shimmering Sands ($42).

estee lauder shimmering sands
Shimmering Sands on my cheeks, across my forehead and along my jaw line

I haven’t always been this inspired by the Estée Lauder brand. Matter of fact, up until a renaissance a few years ago in which I think they started cranking out some really innovative products at a rapid clip, I didn’t often think of EL as a super bold or cutting-edge line.

Recently, releases like the Cyber Eyes Collection, Pure Color Blushes, and now this here Shimmering Sands, have totally changed the way I look at the brand.

Sands is a warm and shimmering peachy golden bronze powder from the new limited edition Bronze Goddess Capri collection, and it’s designed to be worn as a bronzer, a highlighter and/or a blush.

And that’s not all. Texture really sets this multitasking powder apart. Part liquid, powder and gel, it feels lightweight, creamy and smooth on my skin.

Throw in some punchy pigments and an almost mirror-like shine, and Shimmering Sands reminds me of a marriage between a MAC Mineralize Skinfinish, with its metallic finish, and a creamy NARS Multiple. Just really super cool.


estee lauder bronze goddess capri swatches
From the left: Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee in Shimmering Sands, Pure Color Intense Kajal Eye Crayon Duo in White Sands/Molten Lava and Pure Color Gloss in Shimmering Mirage

If you decide to give it a try, learn from my mistakes. Take it easy on this bad boy, and apply it with a light touch, because the first time I swept this powder on my cheeks, I went a little overboard and consequently spent a solid five minutes buffing it down.

I think it’d be darn near perfect for $10 less, but I think it’s still pretty great. 🙂

PRICE: $42
AVAILABILITY: Available now at Estée Lauder counters and also online

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 25 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Louisa says:

    I’ve been looking for a highlighter for a while now and just bought MAC’s lustre drops in pink rebel yesterday… might have to check this out anyway, though 😛
    You look really gorgeous on these pics, Karen! 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Louisa,

      The Lustre Drops are fun! Have you tried mixing it with your moisturizer yet? It adds a really pretty glow to the skin.

      Happy Saturday!

  2. Becca says:

    You look so pretty Karen! Love the eyes and I’ve been LOVING your hair lately! The hair you did for the Estee Lauder Mad Men collection was gorgeous!

  3. Marina says:

    Yes, I definitely LOVE the eye makeup you are wearing, have to say it one more time 🙂 As for the gelee powder, I think I like the one from Autumn collection the best.
    Marina recently posted … Guerlain Terracotta Sun In The City Makeup Collection for Summer 2012

  4. I wondered how this would fare on darker skin tones! Gorgeous! I am still hesitant about the EL brand but this looks worth a try!
    productdoctor recently posted … Chanel Glossimer in Amour (166)

  5. Teresa says:

    You look gorgeous Karen, I love the powder gelee on you!

  6. Kat says:

    You look stunning! I will be picking up shimmering sands. I know this is really random, but where did you get that hoodie? The color is awesome.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kat,

      It’s by Zella, a line of workout clothing at Nordstrom. They’re like the less expensive version of Lululemon. I’ll try to take a shot of the hoodie, because it’s pretty neat — it has an asymmetrical zipper, ruching at the shoulders, and the hood itself is very wide.

  7. Very pretty! Love that product!

  8. tierra says:

    This looks SO pretty on you! I splurged and ordered it…naughty, but I am dying to try these. 😉 Can’t wait for it to arrive!

  9. Maggie says:

    That illuminator is perfectly suited to your skin tone – lovely!

    I agree with you about the Estée Lauder renaissance. Up until a few collections ago, they were firmly in the Don’t Bother Except At Holiday To Get That GWP For My Mom category. And now they are probably in my top 5 brands.

    Tom Pecheux is a freakin’ genius.
    Maggie recently posted … Rouge Bunny Rouge Long-Lasting Eyeshadow

    • Karen says:

      He is. He’s done a lot to make the brand much more hip. I still have a couple of old school pieces that I love… remember the Michael Kors collection from a few years back (the one with the beige and gold packaging)? Still love and use that all the time.

  10. Gooooorgeous! Love how you look in this picture! So sultry and bronzed! If you have to take it easy though, I’ll probably also have to take it VERY easy!
    Sunny @ Mostly Sunny recently posted … FOTD with MAC Woodwinked, Urban Decay Mildew & Smog

  11. Sylvia says:

    I agree you definitely need a light touch with this product. But, the color is gorgeous and the staying power is pretty fantastic! I put mine on hold at Carson’s for their annual Goodwill sale, have to love getting it on sale!

  12. Amanda G says:

    Who makes my favorite cupcakes? Me! From a modified Red Velvet recipe on Epicurious. Om nom nom nom.

  13. Liz! says:

    I wanted the Modern Mercury (I think that’s what it was called anyway) Powder Gelee that came out a while back so bad! I might have to check this one out before it’s gone.

  14. Shayne says:

    what are you wearing on your eyes? love it.

  15. Nina says:

    oh so pretty! love it~

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