Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish 003: Worth The Splurge?

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The hype surrounding the launch of Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish 003 was impossible to ignore. I got so sucked into the online frenzy that I ended up spending over R1,600 to get my hands on it. Madness. Utter madness.

I ordered the ‘Nude’ version for myself, and the ‘Golden’ version for a friend, and getting it here was challenging to say the least. I placed a Sephora order using an American bank card (they don’t accept Paypal or SA bank cards), and used my Aramex Global Shopper US postbox as the delivery address. However, the transaction got declined because Sephora don’t ship to postboxes which are associated with more than one person (as is the case with Aramex addresses), so I placed a second order and got it shipped to Jules’ brother in the UK, and he then brought it home for me.

The kit contains a highlighter and balm stick, a pigment, and a buffing brush (and more sequins than you will ever use in your lifetime). I am only going to be reviewing the ‘Nude’ version, but I have included an image of the ‘Golden’ version below so you can get an idea of the colouring. You can also check out some swatches here to see the shade differences between the two.

Pat 1

Opening the package was probably one of the most exhilarating makeup experiences of my life – this was it, the moment I’d been waiting for! In amongst the cascading sequins, there they were: the products that promised a glow like no other. The first thing I noticed was that the packing was very lightweight – it felt cheap and flimsy, complete with stick-on labels (as you can see). For $72, I was expecting something a little more luxurious and weighty, something a little more ‘Pat’, you know? Still, I was excited to put the products through their paces and promptly got to work.

Now, bear in mind how high my expectations were. This is a product created by a woman who is arguably the world’s greatest, most creative makeup artist – she possesses a talent that leaves me awe struck every time I see her work. I genuinely hoped that when these products touched my face, I would be transformed into a 90’s supermodel (preferably Cindy Crawford, but beggars can’t be choosers). I don’t need to tell you that obviously that didn’t happen, but I’m sad to report that these products actually left me feeling a bit disappointed. Whilst they make a perfectly fine highlighting trio, they didn’t blow my hair back enough to forsake all other highlighters. When something is billed as being the best, it has to deliver, don’t you agree? This didn’t deliver for me.

I expected the pigment to have more iridescence to it, but it’s actually just flat-out pink – not a wearable highlighter colour for me. The highlighter is fine, but I can achieve comparable/better results using other, more affordable, highlighters in my collection. The balm, however, is great. It creates that effortless, healthy glow we all wish we could achieve by drinking green juices, and it looks really natural (and undetectable – very important) in real life. It wears well, too – it doesn’t slip off your face, nor does it feel sticky or tacky on the skin. It’s also great on the eyes and lips to create a dewy sheen.

Pat 2

I was in two minds about whether or not to even post this because I don’t like writing negative reviews, but I do think that when a product is as expensive as this was, it’s important to be honest. This experience has left me wondering: is it just me? Am I actually some kind of makeup pleb who doesn’t know what she’s doing? Perhaps this product is best for editorial photoshoots, and isn’t really designed for real life/natural light? So many questions! If any of you have tried it, please let me know your thoughts – I hope I’m not alone!

*Photographs by SJ Van Zyl

8 comments on Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish 003: Worth The Splurge?

  • Simone Cameron

    Oh wow, that is really disappointing as it’s a lot of money!! And all the effort 🙁 The swatch looks very pink. WHat did your friend think of the gold one?

    I saw Tati rave about it on her channel….and I was so excited about those sequins myself. Hopefully you’ll find a use for it or grow to like it a bit more….for the price tag, I’d just go to bed with it until I really do love it. lol.

    • Camilla (author)

      He says the gold one is beautiful, but it’s definitely for darker skin tones – it would look very obvious on my pale skin (which is why I went for the ‘Nude’ option). I will keep using it, because MONEY, but it won’t ever be a favourite, sadly.

  • Lize Hartley

    NikkieTutorials actually had the pink highlighter as her June “Oh God No”, so it seems you’re not alone.

    • Camilla (author)

      I saw that too! Bloody love her.

  • Adele Elzinga

    Shame what a pity – I have over the past few months ordered a good number of items (20 or more) from overseas per Aramex and have been disappointed in so many of them – I think the media creates huge hype as well a many of the beauty bloggers and then often items are disappointing.

    • Camilla (author)

      So true – it’s so easy to get swept up in the hype! Sorry to hear about all your disappointments though, that’s a real bummer. Which products didn’t you enjoy?

  • Adele Elzinga

    Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm whilst it smells divine it’s nice but not wow. Charlotte Tilbury Foundation, Giorgio Armani Silk Foundation – maybe Maestro would have been a better choice. Cover FX drops . I did enjoy my Colour Pop purchases and Pixi Glow Tonic which is wonderful. Would have been great if customs had sealed it properly after opening it and I hadn’t lost 1/8th of the liquid by the time it was delivered 😡

  • Christy Wahl

    Jeffree Star seemed underwhelmed by this as well in his latest review as well

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