Skin Fetish 003 Makes Me Feel Like I’m on Pat McGrath’s Level

Because I love this illuminating set so much, I'm showing you how I've begun to incorporate it into my everyday look.
Publish date:
May 19, 2016
sets, kits, illuminators, highlighter, pat mcgrath

Pat McGrath is major.

Even if you haven't heard her name, chances are you have been affected by her work in one way or another. Pat's glamorous creations grace not only the glossy pages but also the coveted covers of Vogue.

They can be found on the runways of Givenchy, Anna Sui, Balenciaga, Dior, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Maison Margiela, just to name a few (and I really mean a few).

Open any magazine and you will be touched by the influence of her brilliance. (Have you seen the absolutely mystical Star Wars campaign for CoverGirl? Yup, that was her.)

She's worked with designers and brands like Giorgio Armani, Max Factor, Dolce & Gabbana, and CoverGirl to execute groundbreaking and novel products for their makeup lines. And now, after much anticipation, she has created a brand that bears her own name, stamped with the Pat McGrath seal of approval.

The first product to be released from the Pat McGrath Labs was her gold pigment, Gold 001. Whispers were ignited after the Prada Spring 2016 show, during which the models, under Pat's deliberate direction, sported soft skin and metallic gold lips. You may have seen Kim Kardashian modeling the pigment, with makeup carefully applied by Pat herself.

Following the release of Gold 001 came Phantom 002, a launch that included gold, blue, and copper pigments, a fuchsia eye blush, a black eye gloss, a black caviar gel liner, and two brushes.

Finally, Skin Fetish 003 has arrived, and makeup artists are salivating. Pat is known for creating looks with soft, touchable, velvety skin without a pore or, seemingly, a stitch of makeup. She has mastered the skill to such an unparalleled degree that for those of us in the business, McGrath is basically synonymous with skin. And she has created a product that shares the magic with us.

I had the ultimate pleasure of meeting Ms. McGrath recently at the release party for Skin Fetish 003, so OF COURSE I purchased a product to take home with me.

Revolutionary. #skinfetish003 @patmcgrathreal

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Skin Fetish 003 comes in two colors: Golden and Nude.

As one of the palest humans on the face of the Earth, I tend to like pink shades more on myself (however, I must say, I've tried the Golden now on a wide array of skin tones, and I can confidently say it looks good on all). I took home the Nude, and I have been wearing it every day since.

The $72 set comes with three different separate pieces: a double-ended stick, a powder, and a brush. For all intents and purposes, it's $72 for basically four products, which comes to about $18 a product. And for me, especially as a makeup artist, it's more than worth the investment.

The packaging itself is beautiful.

It's one of the only illuminators that lasts all day on my skin. I'll still see it in place after a 14 hours! And it's so versatile; I've already used it in a plethora of ways. I glide it over my cheeks, lips, eyes. I cocktail the products in some areas, while letting some textures stand alone in others. I've even layered other brands' powders (like NARS Albatross) on top of the cream and/or gloss, and I have been thoroughly impressed.

In an attempt to emulate Pat McGrath, I start by giving my skin a "clean" appearance. This means I applied a very light layer of foundation using mostly my fingers (and the occasional bounce of a beautyblender) only building up coverage in areas of a bit more discoloration (like under-eyes and acne scarring on the cheeks). I wanted to keep my skin looking soft, dewy, and touchable, so I used mostly cream- and liquid-based products. I set everything with a very sheer layer powder only in my hot spots (the areas more likely to get oily throughout the day).

The products in Skin Fetish 003 can be layered or worn alone to create different textures and colors. When layering, I always make sure to start with creams, followed by glosses, topped with powders. This insures that the product will deposit evenly and smoothly onto the skin. I use my fingers to apply the cream and the gloss, which allows them to melt into my skin. I only use the brush to apply the powder.

I begin by using my pointer finger to tap in the cream to the high points of my face, the parts of my bone structure that naturally come forward and catch the light. I apply it along my cheekbone and my temple, basically in a C shape around my eye.

I sweep it across the ball of my eye, place it in the inner corner, and tap right underneath my brow. I add a bit more along the bridge of my nose and my cupid's bow to bring those areas forward and help to give them a bit more definition.

I then move on to the gloss, which I apply in the same C-shape motion around my eye. The gloss I utilize a bit more methodically. Because I tend to be a bit — and by bit, I mean disgustingly and ridiculously — oily throughout the day, I keep the gloss away from my hot spots, like my nose, forehead, and chin. I DO, however, apply it to the ball of my eyes to get that high-fashion, glossy-lid look, and also to my lips to give my pout more focus.

Here's my look after the cream and gloss have been applied.

Because I like my cheek highlight to be a beautiful beacon to the high heavens, I used the brush to apply the powder on top of my cheekbones, to further emphasize the highlight already in place. I run a bit of the extra powder over the very tip of my nose and the center of my lids as well. The powder shines pink in the light and, accordingly, I'm a bit obsessed with it.

To finish the look, I add a soft brown liner, a wash of taupe shadow in my crease, mascara, and false lashes to my eyes.

Some people have already asked me about dupes for this product. What I can say is sometimes when a product costs a bit more, it can be for quality insurance. When higher-grade pigments and materials are used, they will tend to stay on for longer and shine a bit brighter. What I love about this illuminator is that it lasts on my super-oily skin through a 14-hour day with the added bonus of being able to cocktail the products to achieve multiple, varying looks. And, in this specific case, with the wide array of cream and powder illuminators I've tried in the past, I do not believe any other product will achieve the same exact result.

Yes, $72 is decidedly expensive (I even shed a small, glittery tear as I watched my bank account deplete). But for me, it was more than worth it. Skin Fetish is major, singular, and brilliant, just like her Pat McGrath herself.

  • Do you think you're more likely to get the Nude or Golden shade of Skin Fetish 003?
  • Do you have a favorite Pat McGrath makeup look?
  • What makeup products are you more than willing to splurge on?