Review: Forever 21 Sheer Highlighter (TONYMOLY Plagiarism)


Hey gang. Normally I don’t review Forever 21 cosmetics (aside from the PureDerm pore strips I tried awhile back), but during a cheap accessories run, I noticed this cute little thing hanging out in the checkout line. You know, the part that sucks you in at the last minute.

I wasn’t drawn to it because it’s cute, although we can all agree it is. I was drawn to it because of its ridiculous similarity to a product by TONYMOLY, the Cats Wink Clear Pact.


F21 has been under fire in the past for plagiarizing clothing designs from other companies, so it didn’t really shock me to run into this. To be fair, this similarity is only superficial–F21 is pushing a completely different product, a sheer highlighter. Of course, I was disappointed it wasn’t actually the TONYMOLY pact I’ve been eyeing for awhile, but whatever. It was $3.80 USD, and it was cute.

It might just be me, but it’s sort of alarming to see that the only difference in the packaging is that F21 removed the poor thing’s eyes. Maybe that’s enough to make it ‘unique’, but what kind of person thinks ‘let’s market this with a blind cat, that’s a great idea’? I’d like to meet that person someday.


Love & Beauty & Copyright Infringement, by Forever 21.


Made in China. Pretty sure Chinese cats still have eyes though… what a mystery.


Eyes aren’t in the ingredient list either, so it’s not a mistake.


I rarely use highlighters and illuminators, but when I do, I usually turn to my favorite Watt’s Up Highlighter, by Benefit Cosmetics. The chances of me actually using this product besides as a cute compact borders on rare, but it might come in handy someday.


This doesn’t come with a puff, pad, or brush to apply, so you’ll have to provide your own.


Or finger it. Whatever.


My skin looks diseased!!! But it’s not, it’s just really translucent and sunburnt. Take your judgment elsewhere. In any case, the highlighter is decent. Shimmery and neutral-toned.

It looks like Forever 21 has also taken a liking to several other TONYMOLY products, releasing some veeeery similar lip glosses and mascaras. I may have spotted some products very similar to those of Etude House as well. As fun as it is to have easier access to cute products, plagiarism of any sort is shitty and it shouldn’t happen.

Pros: Cute. Cheap. Highlights.
Cons: It makes me sad that this is ripping off TONYMOLY, a favorite brand of mine. I love me some F21, but come on. And taking away a creature’s eyes doesn’t make it different, it’s just cruel.

Final Verdict: Would I buy this again? Probably not, because I mostly use it as vanity decor. But if you’re looking for a super cheap highlighter residing in the rosy face of a blind cat, this might be right up your alley. Check it out at Forever 21, or look for the original TONYMOLY powder at Amazon, for ~$9 USD.

What do you think about this kind of controversy? Have you tried any of the F21 knockoffs? Seen others that I’m unaware of? Please let me know your thoughts on this, I am genuinely curious to hear what everyone thinks.


  1. Thats super cute! I have ever heard of tonymoly… But just clicked the link for amazon and looked at more items… SUCH cute things! Thanks so much for sharing!


  2. I didn’t know that they plagiarized, but I’m not surprised. The knockoff that really bugs me is Skechers. They’re a huge successful company and yet they felt the need to copy every single thing they possibly could from Tom’s. Having a three letter man’s name, check, very similar designs, check, similar price points, check, similar logo, check, one for one pledge, check. It makes me sick!

  3. Wow I didn’t know Forever21 has its own cosmetics line. Such a shame they copied Tony Moly packaging :S


  4. If you do end up using the highlighter, I wonder if it’s nearly the same quality as the other company you mentioned. For only $3, I wonder what they chose to discard besides the eyes. Cheap cosmetics always make me a bit leery.

    • The TONYMOLY product is actually a powder, not a highlighter, so I can’t compare… I have heard rumors that F21 has just repackaged e.l.f. cosmetics in the past. I can’t confirm that, but the prices would make sense. Who knows?

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