NARS Banc de Sable Highlighter Palette | Review and Comparisons


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I’m Makena, the creator and editor of Makeup By Makena — a beauty blog dedicated to empowering others through the art of makeup.






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I have been lusting over the brand new NARS Banc de Sable Highlighter Palette ever since it first popped up on the Just Arrived section of Sephora’s website. I swatched it in the store several times and completely fell in love with it, so I decided to splurge during my Hawaiian vacation and purchase it! It costs $49 and features three unique shades. I always love learning new things, and apparently, in French, ‘Banc de Sable’ means ‘sandbank’, and these three shades are all perfect for summer! This palette is limited edition and is exclusive to Sephora, so make sure to keep reading if you want to know whether or not it is worth it! I will also be comparing this to the BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighters because they are also high quality and high-end products, which I know a lot of people have tried, and I already own (and love) several of their shades. Also, for reference, I have medium-tan skin with warm undertones.



It may not seem important to some people, but if you are spending half of your salary on a highlighter palette, packaging really is crucial, and for me, this passes the test! This compact feels very luxurious with sturdy black plastic and a metallic bronzey-gold overlay on the lid. It also features a mirror on the inside, which is always a plus. One thing I really like about this is the size — this really is the perfect travel palette, not only because the shades scream summer and are extremely versatile, but also because it is very sleek to carry. I am obsessed with my BECCA highlighters, but for me, I do not travel with the full-sized powders because they take up a lot of room and are very fragile. Considering it contains three decent-sized highlighters, this palette is the ideal size.


Quality, Formula, & Application

Each of the three shades is extremely high quality as is expected of any NARS product and the formula is so amazing! What makes this highlighter truly unique from its competitors is that NARS created the shades to be used both dry and wet. When used dry like any other typical highlighter, it creates a soft shimmery veil of luminous glow. When swatched, these look highly pigmented, but once you feather it onto the highpoints of the face, it provides a much more soft-focus effect. If you are looking for that blinding Jaclyn Hill-inspired beam that BECCA highlighters give, then you will most likely find the dry formula underwhelming and mistakenly believe they have poor pigmentation. However, NARS also instructs users to dip an already-damp brush into the powder and then apply it onto the skin for a high-impact shimmering glow. I don’t like getting the powder itself wet because I am afraid that will ruin the product, so I have come up with three different techniques to apply it wet for a more dramatic, yet still wearable glow… The first and most intense way is to get the product onto a normal, dry brush, and then spritz something like MAC Fix Plus onto the brush before applying it to the face. For a more wearable alternative, you can simply mist any facial spray onto your cheeks, or use my personal favorite technique, which is to apply the dry highlighter like you normally would but then gently pat over it with a damp beauty sponge! I was expecting these would have an intense sheen without any glitter whatsoever, but these do have a noticeable yet finely-milled shimmer, which provides the most beautiful glow that is somewhere in between the barely-there sheen and the alien abduction glow. Still, if you do not like any shimmer on your cheeks at all, this is not for you. Whereas the BECCA highlighters are something I reach for when I am taking photos, going to a formal night out, or just want a very intense glow, this palette is something I can see myself really getting my money’s worth out of because it is perfect for a glamorous, yet very wearable day-to-day glow! One of my other favorite things about this palette is that the three shades blend perfectly with one another so unless you prefer only cool-toned highlighters, you will be able to create your perfect custom shade with this whether you have very fair skin or very deep skin; this also makes it a good product for makeup artists to have in their kit, as well!


Shades from Left to Right: “Rivage,” “Salé,” “Embruns”

“Rivage” | Pearl

The first highlighter on the left of the palette is called “Rivage” (meaning ‘bank’ or ‘shore’ in French), which is a pale, off-white pearl shade with more neutral undertones than the others. I would say this is the most pigmented and intense of the three and because it is much lighter than I would normally use, I only pop it on the very tops of the cheekbones, the inner corners of the eyes, and my cupid’s bow after I have already swept on some of the middle shade. “Rivage” is ideal for very light skintones who may have a difficult time finding a suitable highlighter. BECCA’s “Pearl” is more of a pure white whereas this has a touch of champagne, but on the skin the color is pretty similar.


Swatches in Direct Sunglight from Left to Right: “Rivage” dry, “Salé” dry, “Embruns” dry; “Rivage” wet, “Salé” wet, “Embruns” wet

“Salé” | Champagne

The middle shade in the palette, “Salé”, (which translates to ‘salty’) is a medium peachy champagne color with warm golden undertones. This really is one of those universally flattering highlighters and I think this would be ideal for almost all skintones, from light to dark. “Sale” is the shade I use most out of the palette as I apply it liberally all over the highpoints of my face. Like the other two shades, this does have shimmer in it, but it is far from chunky, so that is all that matters. The color is very similar to BECCA’s “Opal” or even “Champagne Pop”.

“Embruns” | Rose Gold

The darkest color on the right side of the palette is called “Embruns’ (‘seaspray’ in French) and it is my personal favorite shade because it is a gorgeous rose gold. This would be a stunning highlighter for deep skintones, but even if you have lighter skin, you do not be afraid of this because it makes a beautiful blush overlay. For example, I will apply a matte blush – any color works — and then using a less dense and more fluffy brush, I will lighlty dust this all over the top of that to give a fresh and glowy sheen and beautiful wash of rose gold! If you like shimmery bronzer, then you could also combine this with a matte bronzer for an all-over glowy effect, as well. I also am obsessed with using this damp as an eyeshadow, perfect for Spring! “Embruns” in particular really shows just how multi-purpose this palette is, catering to all different skintones and needs. This formula and color is almost identical to BECCA “Rose Gold”.


I love this product and highly recommend it if you want a wearable, everyday highlighter palette with a beautiful shimmery glow. The best things about this products is that each shade can be customized for each individual, regardless of skin tone or color preference. It is not a palette where you only use one or two of the shades and then ignore the others because they can be mized together, layered, or used for different things whether it be a highlighter, blush or bronzer overlay, or eyeshadow, making it the perfect versatile travel palette. If you already own similar shades in a formula that you love, dislike shimmer on the cheeks, or are only looking for that trendy and dramatic glow, then I would advise you to pass on this palette. However, if you do not already
have highlighters with a similar formula or shade range, or are simply a makeup hoarder who would still use this frequently, then this is completely worth the splurge!



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Read the Comments +

  1. Noha ♡ says:

    Aaaah this palette is so so gorgeous I’ve been stalking it ever since it came out haha. Loved reading this review x

  2. aah this is stunning! Your photos are so good and I love how in depth this post is!

    • Thank you for reading! Hawaiian beaches make anything look stunning, haha! Yes, my reviews take forever to write but whenever I search for a review on a specific problem I am curious about purchasing, I am always disappointed at how vague the reviews are, so I always try to make mine as informative as possible. Thanks for the sweet feedback! xoxo

  3. […] NARS Banc de Sable Highlighting Palette: I have only owned this stunning assortment of soft and shimmery highlighters for a few weeks, but it has quickly become one of my most-used products due to its versatility! I love how the formula is more wearable than the others in my collection, and how each of three shades can be mixed together or used for so many different things from eyeshadow to blush overlay. The quality is well worth the price and I appreciate how NARS catered to a wide range of skin tones. Please read my full review here. […]

  4. […] ‘Banc De Sable’ Highlighting Palette: Although this product (review here) was limited edition and unfortunately can no longer be purchased, I finally convinced myself to […]

  5. […] Nars Banc de Sable Highlighter Palette is one of my most used and loved products in my entire collection thanks to the absolutely gorgeous […]

  6. […] a pop of highlight, I used ‘Rivage,’ a light golden vanilla shade from my holy grail NARS’ Banc de Sable Highlighter Palette (similar […]

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Hey, I'm Makena.

I’m Makena, the creator and editor of Makeup By Makena — a beauty blog dedicated to empowering others through the art of makeup.

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