Can you believe it’s been close to 26 years since the Touche Éclat was first launched? This modern classic has remained, as far as I know, untouched and retained its place as a bona fide bestseller with allegedly six pens sold every minute round the world.
I have to admit, though, that after buying my first Touche Éclat a few years ago I quite quickly forgot about it. Retrospectively, I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I gasped and nodded politely at the counter after having it swiped and blended under my eyes and over my cheekbones. Closer to the truth was the fact that I was squinting and trying to see the difference – but therein lies the Touche Éclat’s magic.
If you’re not familiar, the Touche Éclat was developed by Terry de Gunzburg and first launched in 1992 in a market still unfamiliar with the idea of a light-reflective product meant more for correcting than concealing. The most common gripe people have with it tends to stem from misunderstanding its purpose. Certainly, there are similar products with better concealing coverage (Tom Ford, Givenchy and Clinique have similar clicky pens which cover shadows much more effectively) but the Touche Éclat isn’t pretending for a moment to do that job.
Instead, its purpose is to gently bounce light off the skin and bring radiance to specific parts of the face. Under the eyes, that works best when either mixed with a concealer proper or tapped on after doing the covering up. On the rest of the face needing light – cheekbones, cupid’s bow, brow bone, bridge of the nose, etc. – a swipe and a couple of taps will do the trick. The confounding thing, though, is that more often than not you will have paid $62 for a dinky pen with 0.1 ounces of product that seems to just disappear.
Ironically enough, this product’s hero property is its near invisibility on the skin. That’s not to say it isn’t doing anything – far from it. Rather than give you glaring highlights and unsubtle shimmer, the Touche Éclat gently nudges the highlighted features forward and helps create an illusion of a brighter and better-shaped face.
After forgetting about it and leaving the gold pen to sit in a cup of actual pens (the kind actually meant for writing), I decided on a whim to give it a go again. If anything, just to finish the product. Besides, I figured that if it seemed like it wasn’t doing anything it wouldn’t mess with the rest of the makeup I would be putting on. So I swiped the thing on and left the house without giving it any more thought. When I got into an Uber, I dutifully did the millennial thing of checking my makeup with my phone after I’ve left the house and no longer have the means of fixing any problems I find. Lo and behold, I find myself looking well-rested and positively radiant! And I say this as someone who has come to accept my eyebags and generally dull skin as part of my being.
So it is with great joy that I now declare the Touche Eclat a rediscovered gem – one of those trivial and serendipitous occurrences that somehow brings great joy. With all honesty, I feel like a fool now for buying it without first falling in love to begin with. My purchase was first made because I thought “if all these editors and makeup artists love it, it’s gotta be good” – but really, the very best thing in beauty is discovering for yourself that you’re onto something (however late). As it goes, let there now be light!
An Ode To is a series of stories celebrating the beauty products we love and the little personal relationships we have with them – be they new favourites or old standbys rediscovered.