The Search for The Holy (Foundation) Grail Part 3: YSL Touche Éclat Iluminating Pen in #1 Luminous Radiance

Greetings from the bridge of death, fellow rogues!

Apologies for the break in this series  – the photo issue has been sorted out as best I could and the bloodthirsty giant spiders have been chased off, for now!

Welcome back for Part 3 of my Foundation Holy Grail Quest! If you missed Parts 1 and 2, you can find them here and here. Part 1 It also contains some details about the kind of foundation I prefer, and my skintone/colour match, if you need a bit of context for my foundation-related ramblings. In case anyone is unfamiliar with Monty Python and believes I am going mad after reading these posts, I highly recommend checking out Monty Python and the Holy Grail!

Right. Today we’ll be attempting to cross the Bridge of Death, answering some tricky questions about the thorny issue of concealer/highlighters, with a discussion of YSL’s famous Touche Éclat illuminating pen. In an attempt to avoid being thrown into the Gorge of Eternal Peril, I’m hoping to be able to show you how this little golden staff nicely rounds off my Holy Trinity of Foundation. Grail. Thing. This is probably the least ‘essential’ element of the three, but I love the effect it gives so much that I’ll always reach for it when I’m putting my face on!

First Question! What is your favourite colour?

YSL Touche Eclat iluminating pen in 01 review, swatches

YSL Touche Eclat illuminating pen in #01. Also Hilarion, because you cant have the pinnacle of a noble quest featuring an illuminating staff without a paladin, apparently…


Right – my favourite colour in highlighting/concealing pens is ‘peachy pink pale’! I’m fond of this colour because it helps counteract my dark bluish/purplish areas (e.g. undereyes), and also helps to brighten up the slightly yellowy/brown areas/shadows around my mouth and nose. It’s also light enough for my skintone. For this reason, I use the Touche Éclat pen in shade #1, Luminous Radiance, but there are 12 shades available in total, covering a more-than-you-usually-expect range of skintones.


Second Question! What is the capital of Assyria?


YSL Touche Eclat iluminating pen in 01 review, swatches

The brush tip of this clicky pen illumintor. Hilarion seems ready to attack, possibly because he feels that this pen is outshining him… 😉


Well, depending on which time in the history of Assyria we’re talking about, it could be Assur, Nimrud, Nineveh or probably others (those three were off the top of my head). What’s more important is the ‘capital’ or brush tip of the Touche Éclat pen! The mechanism of this pen is a clicky one – you click the black button on the bottom of the pen, and magical peachy illuminating goo comes out through the brush. I find that two clicks is sufficient to give me goo for my whole face (that is, all the areas I want to highlight/conceal). The brush is nice, being large enough while still being precise, and firm enough while still being soft and flexible.


Third Question! What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen sparrow?


YSL Touche Eclat iluminating pen in 01 review, swatches

Swatches, straight from the pen, thickly, and then blended. As you can see, this shade has a definite peach to it!


OK, I have to admit ignorance on this one. But since the question didn’t specify whether it was an African sparrow or a European Sparrow, I’m choosing to focus on the weight and consistency of the Touche Éclat pen (i.e. how ‘laden’ does it make you feel?) and on how easy it is to apply (with what velocity can you apply this illuminator?).

The consistency of the goo is creamy when you apply it, and then it gains a bit of friction as it dries. This is nice, as you don’t feel like you’re just spreading it out into nothingness, and it stays put the whole day. Makeup of both the liquid and powder varieties apply nicely over the top. It’s very easy to put on, as the pen gives you nice precision, and blends easily, so you can touch up quickly and be back on your quest before the guards notice. It’s also not shiny or glittery or ‘highlight-y’ in the Edward Cullen sense, so you can really put it anywhere without worrying that you’re going to look odd. You can put on thin layers (like me), or you can build it up a bit (see notes about concealing below).

The packaging is lightweight and shiny gold, which makes photographing it a nightmare, but it looks like a precious artifact, which is nice. The cap is thick and snaps on with a solid click, so the seal is good and the brush (with leftover product on it) doesn’t dry out at all or get crusty, and is protected from the air. I’ve had my pen for the best part of a year, and it’s still going strong – it has neither run out nor dried up. The click mechanism works perfectly, and after the first click-fest to get the pen started, I only have to click exactly twice to get just as much as I need.


Fourth Question! So how does it look on an actual face, anyway?


YSL Touche Eclat iluminating pen in 01 review, swatches

YSL’s Touche Eclat on a rogue’s face! You know, this was absolute murder to photograph. I’ve circled the areas where it makes a difference in the darkness/redness etc, but the photo kind of doesn’t do it justice.


Alright, this is definitely the hardest question. Why so tricky, you ask? Because the effect is subtle when you take photos, honestly. Contrary to what I believed, cameras are actually quite kind when it comes to blurring imperfections and altering colour tones already, so my before photos never look quite as uneven and blotchy as I look to me in real life! So: I applied a thin layer of the Touche Éclat literally just around the rim of my eye, almost as though I was trying to do an ‘ancient Egyptian kohl’ look with peachy goo instead of black antimony. I think the best demonstration of the powers of this little pen is around the lower lid and in the outer corner. The brown and red tones in the first photo aren’t shadows, they’re the unevenness in pigmentation in my skin, and this pen does a marvellous job of reflecting some light off them and neutralising the unwanted rainbow of colours. The effect is even better when you’re looking at your actual skin in full daylight, so I appreciate if these photos don’t entirely convince everyone! I suggest popping over to a YSL counter and trying a couple of shades out, then going out into the sunlight and seeing what you think!

A note on concealing: This pen is not designed to be a concealer. It’s supposed to be an ‘illuminator’, which is why I use it to neutralise shadows on my face that come from uneven pigmentation, not to conceal, say, pimples. It works well on blue/purple undereye circles, but as shown in part 2 of this series, my powder foundation also does a remarkable job (see image below) of dealing with those too! I think that if I put on enough of anything to actually fully obscure my dark circles, it would work, but be too much product for me. If you’re looking for a proper, full, will-conceal-acne-scarring concealer, this probably isn’t it. If you’re looking for something to neutralise your blotches and lighten up your shadows, then this pen is your friend. If you know of a good actual concealer that is absolutely lightweight but perfectly covering, please let me know – I’m still on that quest!


YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat Foundation Compact BR20 Review, Swatch

Before and afters. for the YSL powder foundation I discussed in Part 2 – I’m not wearing any Touche Eclat or concealer in this picture, and as you can see the foundation does a pretty spiffy job on my undereye area all by itself! Normally, I would lighten up the reddish, shadowy area at the outer corner of my eye with my touche eclat.


The verdict: An truly illuminating (but not sparkly) pen that does a lovely job of neutralising blotchiness, lifting shadows and taking the edge off bad blue undereye circles. It may not be as good for actual concealing coverage, but it brightens you up a treat! I also use a couple of other HG foundation-related products from YSL, so check out Part 1 and 2 if you want the whole picture!

The practicalities: YSL Touche Éclat Compact costs NZD ~80.00 / USD 41.00 for 2.8 g / 0.1 oz, and may be found at YSL counters and department stores around the world, as well as at (or your region’s equivalent if applicable).

Until next time, fellow adventurers, don’t forget to check for traps!


I am an adventuring rogue, not a mercenary for hire, and as such, all opinions expressed here are my own, based on a genuine fondness for/interest in this product. If you have any queries or suggestions, please do not hesitate to pin your parchment to the board (contact me) at thepaintedrogue [at] gmail [dot] com., or use the contact form provided! All images on this blog are the property of The Painted Rogue unless otherwise stated. These images may not be reproduced without permission, unless you want a fleet of gelatinous cubes after you.


17 thoughts on “The Search for The Holy (Foundation) Grail Part 3: YSL Touche Éclat Iluminating Pen in #1 Luminous Radiance

  1. Not to get too wrapped around the axle, but during the time period when King Arthur was supposed to have lived, Assyria didn’t have a proper capital – it was ruled by Babylon. I would probably get tossed off a bridge for something like that.

    The overall 1, 2, 3 effect is a knock out!

    Do I have to ask it? African or European?


    • Huh. Guess I’m showing my Egyptology student colours there 😛 I didn’t even consider what it would have been in Art’s time!

      A rogue could get thrown off her own bridge for trying to answer a question like that, Karen… 😉


  2. I’ve used this one for a looooooong time, until I discovered that there were cheaper products out there that did pretty much the same thing and looked basically exactly the same on me. So I switched. I actually even gave away my Touche Eclat to a friend! (don’t throw me in the dungeon)


    • Hehe, it’s ok. If I’m scrupulously honest, I might never have tried it if not for one bizarre sale at smith and caugheys where they had a box of 1 touche éclat, 1 mascara and one tube of primer from YSL for $70. Since any one of those items is more than that individually, I seized the chance! I love the touche éclat and the mascara (haven’t really tried the primer), so it was money well spent, but when my touche éclat runs out I’ll have to think carefully about buying a new one! What are your favourite cheaper alternatives?


  3. Glad to see that you and Hilarion get some more face time. Be careful, Paladins tend to claim all the glory for them alone. However, as always an awesome article. I suggest more miniatures, because they make everything better!


  4. Imma just get all of these and layer them on, in hope of covering this wretched affliction. WHY did I have to fall asleep in that patch of leaves?!! *weeps pitifully*


    • I totally thought that I would be horrified by the way my skin/makeup skillz (or lack thereof?) would look in photos, but actually, it’s OK!

      It’s made me a lot happier about being photographed in general, actually…


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