Filed In: Bronzers

Benefit · Cheek Parade, Galifornia, Hoola Lite, Dandelion Twinkle & Hoola Quickie Contour Stick

 

Over the years, Benefit has put out some products that have quickly become cult-faves and it’s not hard to figure out why; apart from a universal appeal and the fact that they deliver, there’s also that retro-cute factor that’s pretty much irresistible. The brand’s Hoola range has just received new additions, while sunny Cali was the inspiration behind a new blush shade. Speaking of blush, there’s even a entire posse of them on parade in a palette. And who knew that dandelions can twinkle?

 

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Tarte · Pretty Paintbox Collector’s Makeup Case, Holiday 2016

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For Holidays 2016, Tarte has released the limited edition Paint Box Collector’s Makeup Case, filled with 24 tarteist™ eyeshadows, 4 tarteist™ cheek products, a full-sized so fine micro liner in black, a deluxe-sized tarteist™ lash paint mascara in black, and a tarteist™ glossy lip paint in obvi — all housed in a pucci-esque fabric case with gold accents.

The holiday period usually sees more than its share of palettes being launched by practically everyone and while in the past I have tended to pass on anything too “all-in-one”, it appears like brands have really stepped up their game in this department by releasing well-curated collections that not only have visual appeal (I mean, just look at the outer packaging here) but that are good performers as well. Case in point is the palette showcased today — which would also make for a pretty impressive Christmas gift, by the way #hinthint

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Pretty Paintbox Collector’s Makeup Case, limited edition (US $59.00)

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Created with mineral pigments for an ultra-soft application and smooth feel along with Amazonian clay for long-lasting wear, these eyeshadows come in a broad mix of matte, lustre, satin, and metallic finishes with catchy art-inspired names. Upon opening the case, I confess to staring in admiration at the array presented, as all sit totally in my comfort zone of neutrals. Swatching these eyeshadows revealed another surprise: with the exception of a few, all show good pigmentation (obviously the deeper hues have a stronger colour payoff) and blend effortlessly. Despite some powdery kickback on certain shades, none result in fall-down and when worn over primer, they stay true until removed. I’ve opted to divide them by vertical rows (starting from the left) for the swatches below:

Row 1

  • glitter glue – pearly white with shimmer
  • waterlilies – bone, matte
  • pearl earring – oyster, satin shimmer
  • fresco – nude, matte
  • porcelain Dali – pink/nude, matte
  • pastel – nude rose, matte

Row 2

  • nudes – champagne, matte
  • van Gogh with it – milk chocolate, matte
  • frameworthy – soft camel, matte
  • hearts & crafts – light pink/tan, matte
  • monochrome – pearlized light taupe
  • I Louvre it – dusty mauve, matte

Row 3

  • bronze casting – light bronze, shimmer
  • metal work – copper, shimmer
  • first impressionism – blackened teal, shimmer
  • selfie portrait – champagne taupe, shimmer
  • hot MoMA – cranberry, shimmer
  • get surreal – lilac, multi-tonal shimmer

Row 4

  • silhouette – black, matte
  • charcoal sketch – deep brown, matte
  • starry night – blackened navy, matte
  • one too Manet – rich brown, shimmer
  • stained glass – berry, matte
  • still life – eggplant, matte

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The covered compartment across from the eyeshadows holds a black liner, black mascara and a neutral lip gloss. The so fine micro liner in black has an ultra-fine tapered felt tip for precision work, although you can also create a thicker line by using it more along its width. The waterproof formula does dry relatively quickly, so I suggest working on one eye at a time. The tarteist™ lash paint mascara in black has a full head of bristles with a good sized width, making it easy to use on both upper & lower lashes. Not the most volumizing formula I’ve tried, but I do like how the brush grabs each lash to coat it well. As nude lippie shades are what I usually turn to, I’m really liking how this tarteist™ glossy lip paint in obvi has hints of rose in it to keep it from appearing flat, coupled with a good pigmentation which provide decent coverage — a feat not always easy to accomplish in a shade this light.

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The cheek/face portion of this palette is really, really pretty — both visually, and applied. With one blush, two bronzers and a highlighter, all shades do lean more on the warm side but as the pigmentation isn’t too strong, they can still be made to work on those with fair/cooler complexions.

  • moment – peach blush, satin finish
  • authentic – champagne highlighter
  • unique – warm tan bronzer, lustre finish
  • provocative – taupe/tan bronzer, matte finish

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I have to say that all the colours in this palette are totally up my alley, and that includes both the face and eye shades. To sum up, the eyeshadows performed well enough, although some definitely blew me away while others could have used a bit more work. Surprisingly the lip gloss had more pigmentation than I expected (a good thing), while the face products appear to fall much lighter than what’s seen in the pan, but can also easily be built up for more intensity. Overall, the Pretty Paintbox has a well thought-out colour selection and would make that budding beautista on your list very happy indeed. Bonus point scored for this awesome outer print (love anything Pucci-looking).

Available exclusively at Sephora

PR Sample/As always, all opinions are my own

Bare Minerals · Be Beautiful Ready Face and Eye Palette

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I’ve only recently begun exploring the Bare Minerals range, and if the skincare products I’ve tried to date have impressed me (more on that coming in future posts), this palette was an unexpected — and totally pleasant — surprise. The Be Beautiful Ready™ Face and Eye Palette holds pretty much everything you’ll need for a completed look (barring foundation & mascara) and what makes it even more unique? Everything has a matte texture, but not the flat light-absorbing kind; think more radiant-matte and you’ll get a better idea.

 

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Be Beautiful Ready™ face and Eye Palette (CAN $58.00/value of $162.00) | This all-matte limited edition palette features products for both face and eyes in a travel friendly compact. The case is made of a rigid plastic that closely mimics metal and has an oversized mirror on the inner lid, along with a secure snap closure.

The shades for the face are all well sized and spaced apart enough that they’re easy to get to with a variety of brushes. The blushes all boast an 8-hour buildable colour along with skin-nourishing properties, and while the Finishing Powder appears somewhat yellow leaning in the pan, it applies fairly sheerly — just don’t be thrown by its chalky texture, since it can still be easily buffed into the skin for an nice setting touch.

The four neutral-leaning eyeshadows all have intense saturation and an almost creamy texture, with pigment-packed colour that’s stated to last up to 12 hours; that said, I still recommend applying primer first for the best wear (especially if you have oily lids like I do).

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  • Presence – parchment (actually this is an eyeshadow shade, but can double as a matte highlighter as well)
  • Promise – palest mauve/white
  • Finishing Powder – neutral flesh tone
  • Golden Gate Matte – dusky rose
  • Inner Beauty – ballerina pink
  • Faux Tan Matte – soft mid-sheer tan

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  • Graceful – dirty lavender
  • Exhale – taupe
  • Beautiful – dusty rose
  • Confident – deepest aubergine

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I love shimmer, I really do … but matte shades are my sweet spot. For starters, I find that as I’ve gotten older, matte is much more flattering for me to wear, although I won’t say no to a little pop of shine here and there. The blushes in this palette apply sheerer than what’s seen in the pan — not an issue since the colour can easily be deepened. The pigmentation and effortless blendability of the eyeshadows makes them all winners, not to mention how flattering they’ll be on a wide range of skin tones. Final verdict? An excellent value palette and definitely worth looking into (or picking up as a Christmas gift, perhaps?)

Available at Sephora

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PR Sample/As always, all opinions are my own

Marc Jacobs · Object of Desire & Up All Night Gift Sets

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As someone who usually shops for individual products, I confess that gift sets seem to have this strange pull over me — plus they’re a great way of trying out a bunch of different items from a particular brand, and usually at a decent price too. What makes both the Object of Desire and Up All night gift sets (limited edition) from Marc Jacobs so interesting, is that they not only come filled with 100% wearable shades (and don’t even get me started on the top-tier quality), but housed in packaging that can easily double as the perfect party clutch. So basically, they’re like a beauty twofers.

Previously reviewed from Marc Jacobs Holiday 2016:

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Object Of Desire Face and Eye Palette (CAN $93.00) | Housed in a metallic gold vegan patent leather pouch with a luxe silky tassel, this palette has: 1 Perfect Bronzer, 1 Blush, 1 Luminizer, and 6 Plush Eyeshadow shades — everything you need (with the exception of foundation & mascara) to create a variety of looks that will take you from the workplace to the after-party.

The quality of each product is spot-on superb, with excellent colour payoff combined with amazing blendability on all, and though there is some powdery kickback seen in the pan when swirling brushes across their surfaces, none of that translates to fall down upon the skin.

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  • Tantric – medium warm tan
  • Exhibitionist – rose with peach undertones
  • Make A Sheen – oyster with pearly reflects

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  • Lights On – champagne, shimmer
  • Candlelight – ecru, metallic
  • Dimmer – shadow tan, matte
  • Violet Hour – pale mauve, matte
  • Twilight – plum with gold shimmer
  • In The Dark – blackened brown with shimmer

 

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Up All Night Five-Piece Petites Le Marc Lip Crème Collection (CAN $66.00) | A collection of Le Marc Lip Crème mini lipsticks in five iconic shades (all permanent) in the brand’s 10-hour wear & triple-milled formula, offering concentrated colour payoff from the first swipe along with a long-lasting hydrating feel — all housed in a metallic hot pink vegan patent leather pouch with a luxe silky tassel.

Unscented, these lipsticks all really do apply in a very creamy way and feel highly comfortable throughout the wearing. Bonus points scored for nudes that don’t wash out your lips or settle into fine lines, while the deeper hues can also be applied as a light stain for those wanting tone things down. Considering there’s only 5 shades, I feel that there’s a good mix of colours offered in this set, enabling you to create a variety of lip looks.

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  • No Angel – beige nude
  • Slow Burn – soft nude rose
  • Miss Scarlet – brick red
  • Oh Miley! – cherry red
  • Scandal – aubergine

 

As someone who’s only recently started delving more into this brand, I’m quite impressed with what I’ve tried so far and that includes everything in both gift sets shown here. If you’ve yet to explore this range, I can’t recommend either of these enough as they each contain products that are all totally user-friendly (as opposed to eccentric hues created just for the holidays) and the pouches are honest-to-God gorgeous (not gimmicky) — and both are seriously perfect for gifting. Not sure you’ll be able to part with them, but there you have it.

Available at Sephora

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PR Samples/As always, all opinions are my own

Guerlain · Shalimar Collection by Natalia Vodianova, Holiday 2016

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Several weeks ago I was honoured to be amongst a select few invited to a special media preview of the Guerlain Shalimar Collection for Holiday 2016 which was held at Restaurant Europea in the heart of downtown Montréal. Discreetly tucked away on de la Montagne Street, the unassuming exterior belies the gastronomic delights we were about to discover, along with the exquisite beauty collection itself. Presented by key members of the Guerlain team along with International Makeup Artist for the brand, Maxime Poulin (whose talent is simply phenomenal), we were given a thorough breakdown of not only the entire collection, but of several other new releases, including Orchidée Imperial Black, the most über-luxurious skincare cream I’ve ever come across, and the newest additions to the Les Exclusifs de Guerlain fragrance range.

The Guerlain holiday release is always one of the season’s most highly anticipated (last year’s version sold out as soon as it hit counters), and the Shalimar Collection which was created by Shalimar face & muse Natalia Vodianova in collaboration with the house’s Creative Director, Olivier Echaudemaison, is no exception — drawing inspiration from Imperial India and one of history’s great love stories, that of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Tahal. Their passion and love for one another has since reached legendary status and when she passed away, her grief-stricken husband dedicated one last homage to her: the creation of one of the seven wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal, a tomb fit for a queen.

I’m going to warn you right now: this post is quite picture-heavy so get comfortable and read on. I’ve begun with the event itself, immediately followed by my review with swatches of the entire collection. I’ve also included the Shalimar full-length video produced by Bruno Aveillan — an absolute must-see for any die-hard romantic. Personally, I can watch this on repeat all day long as it is just so beautifully crafted and visually arresting. Then there’s the divine jewelry worn by Natalia that I’m absolutely lusting after …

*Note that the entire collection is limited edition

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Natalia Vodianova for Shalimar

The Legend of Shalimar, directed by Bruno Aveillan

 

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The venue: Restaurant Europea, downtown Montréal, Québec

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Brought to the event from the Guerlain vault: the Shalimar Talisman Bizantin by Maison Gripoix, bearing 1.5 litres of Shalimar Extract and valued at $11,500 — of which there are only 25 pieces in the world

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It’s all in the details: delicate beading surrounds the neck with the iconic chauve-souris (bat) label in front

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Table settings and ambiance — all perfectly meshed

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection by Natalia Vodianova, Holiday 2016

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Lobster Capuccino with truffle purée

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Lower-River shrimps & pea gazpacho, creamy celery remoulade, citronnade, roasted sunflower seeds & wild pansy petals (*photo taken before the gazpacho was added)

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Strips of cured meat paired with white wine

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Caramelized scallops, citrus & yuzu juice, creamy risotto with green sprouts & crispy-fondant sautéed mushrooms

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Lemon Pie Cristalline with fresh berries

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Vanilla meringue buttons and raspberry cotton candy

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Guerlain · Shalimar Collection by Natalia Vodianova, Holiday 2016

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The uniqueness of this collections starts with the intense cobalt blue outer packaging, a  hue that’s also carried throughout the rest of the pieces. Inspired by the colours of India’s precious  metals and stones, blue & gold decorates the detailing of the Météorites container, a design which is reminiscent of elegantly delicate lapis lazuli jewelry boxes. Taking things to the next level, a faux-sapphire cabochon adorns the luxurious Rouge G lipstick, turning this ubiquitous beauty item into a covet-worthy work of art that just begs to be taken out in public. Rounding the collection out is the body & hair spray; delicate, ethereal and the only festive touch you’ll need for the holidays.

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Precious Light Pink Pearly Illuminator (CAN $62.00) | A subtle highlighter in a pen format that you click to release the product onto the brush. The shade is a pale pink with pearly reflects and can be used to bring radiance to key points of the face: inner or outer corners of the eye, upper cheekbones, bridge of the nose, brow bone and/or cupid’s bow of the lips. The shade is actually universally wearable due to the complexity of the pearly particles, and should even suit the darkest complexions without appearing ashy.

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Guerlain · Precious Light Pink Pearly Illuminator

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Guerlain · Precious Light Pink Pearly Illuminator swatches

 

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Écrin Shalimar Precious Eyeshadows, Gold & Sapphire (CAN $51.00) | The two shades of this palette are not only incredibly complex formula-wise, but work in perfect harmony together. The gold has a nice balance of both cool and warm tones, therefore making it workable on a broad range of skin tones, while the sapphire is truly jewel-like with hints of indigo, purple and even a fine blue shimmer thrown in to keep it unique. The texture is incredibly smooth — almost creamy to the touch — and blends beautifully. The colour of both shades, while not initially overly strong, is also easily built up; you can apply either as a sheer wash of colour, or layered for more impact and depth of tone. One thing to note with Guerlain eyeshadows: if you opt to use the shades damp, then you probably won’t be able to go back to using either dry again, as wetting them changes the texture.

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Écrin Shalimar Precious Eyeshadows, Gold & Sapphire

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Écrin Shalimar Precious Eyeshadows, Gold & Sapphire

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Écrin Shalimar Precious Eyeshadows, Gold & Sapphire swatches

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Écrin Shalimar Precious Eyeshadows, Gold & Sapphire

 

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L’Or Eyeliner, Felt Eyeliner Sparkling Gold (CAN $42.0) | A scintillating gold eyeliner with a felt tip for ease of use and precision application. The texture is initially cooling to the touch upon skin (but which dissipates fairly quickly) and you can build up the intensity  for more impact. Apart from using this in place of a traditional eyeliner (i.e.: to line either the upper or lower lash line), you can also apply some to your finger then lightly pat that on the mobile lid for some extra sparkle, or my favourite, along the tips of the outer lashes for a unique glittering touch. There’s about 30 seconds of play time before it sets, because once it does, it’s there until removed. True fact: I swatched a bit on my hand and even after showering, it was still there — how’s that for crazy staying power?

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · L’Or Eyeliner, Felt Eyeliner Sparkling Gold

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · L’Or Eyeliner, Felt Eyeliner Sparkling Gold

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · L’Or Eyeliner, Felt Eyeliner Sparkling Gold swatches

 

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Terracotta Terra India Shimmering Bronzing Powder

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Terracotta Terra India Shimmering Bronzing Powder (CAN $64.00) | There are several facets that make this Terracotta powder stand apart from the brand’s other versions: first up is the indigo outer packaging, followed by the intricate pattern embossed on the powder’s surface. Not meant to be a bronzer in the traditional sense, the hue appears more rose-gold when applied thus turning it into an almost hybrid highlighter/bronzer type of product. That being said, there’s a unique versatility to this shade in the fact that all skin tones can get something out of it: the über-fair can use this as bronzer without fear of overdoing things, it works as a gorgeous highlighter (neither blingy nor ashy) for women of colour, and makes for a gorgeous touch of radiance for just about everyone. The texture is [unsurprisingly] highly refined and blends/buffs into the skin flawlessly, while the product can be worn either as a sheer wash or layered for more depth — all depending on your preferences and the look you’re going for.

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Terracotta Terra India Shimmering Bronzing Powder

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Terracotta Terra India Shimmering Bronzing Powder

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Terracotta Terra India Shimmering Bronzing Powder

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Terracotta Terra India Shimmering Bronzing Powder swatches

 

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821 Rouge Saphir Rouge G Exceptional Complete Lip Care (CAN $61.00) | The epitome of luxury lip colour, if a fairy-tale Indian princess carried a lipstick, then I’m betting this would have been it. The finesse starts with the casing, which here is a gleaming pewter that bears a solid heft to it and adorned with a faux-sapphire cabochon. Popped open, it reveals a mirror — perfect for touch ups and basically made to be pulled out in public to do so (I mean, how could you not?). The shade is a lush scarlet and so incredibly pigmented that you basically get full coverage/opacity from the first swipe. As to the texture, I almost have no words: buttery, velvety, and hands down superior to anything else I’ve ever applied to my lips. Even the staying power is impressive, lasting through eating & drinking with minimal fading, and leaving a beautiful deep-rose stain behind.

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · 821 Rouge Saphir Rouge G Exceptional Complete Lip Colour

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · 821 Rouge Saphir Rouge G Exceptional Complete Lip Colour

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · 821 Rouge Saphir Rouge G Exceptional Complete Lip Colour swatch

 

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Météorites Perles de Légende (CAN $79.00) | I may have an slight obsession with Météorites, begun when I first discovered these little pearls of perfection years ago and saw first-hand the effect they can have on one’s skin. This collection’s iteration is no less amazing; housed in a stunning metal container that bears a design perhaps Peter Carl Fabergé might have imagined, the 3 shades it holds were personally selected by Natalia as they reminded her of ‘the colour of mosaics in Indian palaces’, although there’s more to them than that. The pink hue provides brightness and enhances the complexion with a touch of freshness, the blue shade works to even out the skin, while the golden hues act as subtle illumination and call forth light to the face.  Bearing the brand’s signature violet fragrance, it does dissipate fairly quickly after application and instead of the usual powder puff (which honestly, I never use) the pearls are protected by a foam cover. Slightly more shimmery than any of the Météorites in the permanent range by virtue of the golden pearls, the effect is still delicate enough that you won’t come off as appearing overly glittery. In fact, trying to describe what this powder does is beyond difficult; you basically have to try it to fully understand, but it’s like an invisible veil that somehow magically makes your skin look a zillion times better. The type that will have people asking what you did, because your complexion looks so good.

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Météorites Perles de Légende

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Météorites Perles de Légende

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Météorites Perles de Légende

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Météorites Perles de Légende

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Météorites Perles de Légende

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Météorites Perles de Légende swatches

 

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Souffle D’Or Perfumed Iridescent Body & Hair Powder (CAN $105.00) | The final crowning touch, Souffle D’Or is literally bottled fairy dust. I kid you not.

Imbued with a subtle version of the Shalimar fragrance, this gossamer-light mist is meant to add delicate golden touches to either hair or skin and retains some of the scent long after it’s applied, only to be picked up ever-so-softly with movement. The indigo bottle bears the traditional Shalimar shape and has that Old Hollywood-glam style bulb for applying it with, lending a sensuous boudoir touch to the entire experience. The shimmery bits come in a variety of sizes and while some may fade, others stay behind along with a whisper of scent, just to keep things interesting.

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Souffle D’Or Perfumed Iridescent Body & Hair Powder

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Souffle D’Or Perfumed Iridescent Body & Hair Powder

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Souffle D’Or Perfumed Iridescent Body & Hair Powder

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Souffle D’Or Perfumed Iridescent Body & Hair Powder (in action)

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Souffle D’Or Perfumed Iridescent Body & Hair Powder swatch

 

If you’ve made it all the way to this point, then I applaud you for sticking it out but sometimes you just can’t condense something so spectacular in just a few words or pictures. Guerlain is a luxury brand that refuses to comprise on details, and that fact is brilliantly apparent with the Shalimar Collection, a first for Natalia Vodianova who’s been the muse for the Shalimar fragrance range running on 8 years now. This collection has been beautifully curated and nothing has been overlooked, but it does lean on the steep-side price-wise; the lipstick alone is a hefty investment, but I can honestly say that I have never worn anything like it before (and trust me, I’ve worn a lot). Last year’s Météorites had a waitlist a mile long and something tells me that this year’s version will fare the same, especially when you consider that the shade range is so suitable to a much broader complexion range. With the Christmas season and holidays upon us, any one of the pieces here would make an absolutely incredible gift for the beauty-lover on your list … that’s assuming you don’t scoop everything up for yourself first.

Available November 1

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Press samples/As always, all opinions are my own