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making faces :: guerlain gets happy

we're officially into spring now, which means that i'm ready to talk more about spring collections. that makes me late to the game for a beauty blogger, but i maintain that my timing is a reflection of how the world should be. also, i know that there's no way that my budget can keep up with the myriad releases that come out every season on a timely basis. for instance, the guerlain spring collection has been out in canada- and we usually receive seasonal collections later than our southern neighbours- since february. many will already have made decisions about the collection already. but nothing can stop me from sharing my opinions and i'm going to assume that, if you're still reading this, you don't mind. so thank you. i truly appreciate that.

firstly, a few words about guerlain: if you look through the archives here, you'll note that they've long been a favourite brand of mine. i still believe that their rouge g lipsticks are the best on the market, despite the ever-increasing competition. but i've found that, in the last few years, they seem to have been going in two directions, neither of them particularly encouraging. first, they've exhibited a tendency to sit on their luxurious laurels, releasing products that bear an uncanny resemblance to things they've released before. [e.g., the eye shadow palette released last fall was beautiful, but was basically a hybrid of two previous palettes ["les fumes", which is permanent, and "les sables", which was released in fall 2014]. as good as the new shades of rouge g lipsticks they've introduced are, a lot of them lack the subtlety that made the original colours worth the extra money. [simple, clear, highly saturated colours have been the trend in lipstick for a few years now, which i don't mind, but when it comes to high end cosmetics, i do expect something that's more unique in appearance, and not just in the formula. i feel like nars accomplished something like this with their audacious lipsticks, because, while the colours look uncomplicated enough, most are fiendishly difficult to duplicate.]

the second risky undertaking that i feel like guerlain has undertaken is their attempt to expand the brand to younger customers. don't get me wrong: i love to see prestige brands acknowledging that young women have buying power and that women of all ages are taking more chances with makeup purchases. it's no longer the era when turning thirty-five was the signal that you had to throw out your red lipsticks and coloured eyeshadows and be consigned to a future of muted pinks and peachy browns. but i feel like young women and risk-takers who look to guerlain, one of the priciest brands out there, are looking because they want something that whispers luxury. i liked guerlain's glitzy "paris" collection with its hints of neon pink and orange, but i've not been as impressed with the cheapening of their packaging overall. [i like my pressed meteorites powder well enough, but the plastic casing does not feel like something that should command a high price.]

this spring, i feel like guerlain has pushed themselves further towards both those ends, with mixed success.



the spring collection proper is a small, pop-art like affair, with a multi-colour limited blush embossed with the word "smile" and a buttery yellow single eyeshadow that reads "enjoy". the blush leaned a little too close to the "blush g" that came out with their spring collection a few years back to be worth the asking price for me, but given that it was years back, i think that there are a lot of people who'd like the warm-toned coral with enough pink to look neutral.

i did, however, spring for the single shadow [spring? get it? grooooaaaannn...], because creamy light yellow is a stupidly difficult colour to find and it's one that always seems to do wonderful things to my eyes and my complexion. [in colour analysis terms, that makes sense, because, as a bright season person, there's a strong element of spring's yellow in my complexion.]

i loved the bright, sunny colour with just a hint of gold shimmer in the mix, something that didn't really show as frost, but that gives that mysterious "glowy" quality that i love in guerlain's lipsticks. i swatched it on my hand in the store and was impressed with the colour payoff, which made it an easy sell.

enjoy
unfortunately, it's a bit less impressive in use. it's a powdery shade, which annoys me because powder dispersed = product wasted. that's become something unforgivable for me in a high-end product. it's also not a problem i've experienced with guerlain's four-shadow palettes, so it represents a step backward in terms of formula. you're going the wrong way.

when i originally tried guerlain's new single-shadow formula, i liked what i saw, but i have heard others express frustration with it. this leads me to believe that the more shimmery shades [like the one that i originally purchased] may be a safer bet than the satin or matte shades [like "enjoy"].

the softness of the powder made it much more difficult than it should have been to achieve good coverage. i've no issues with a formula being buildable, but this takes a lot of building and even then, it tends to sheer out if you're not very careful to pat the shadow in place. if your have to blend it with other colours, count on having to go back and add more. again, having to use this much to achieve full coverage means that i'm essentially wasting product.

it's a shame, because i really do love the colour when i manage to get it just right. it sits on the line between yellow and gold just perfectly. i compared it to rouge bunny rouge "golden rhea", which is the one gold i have in my collection that i thought contained a sunshine yellow undertone, but "golden rhea" looks orangey and muted by comparison.

l to r :: enjoy, rbr golden rhea
also this spring, guerlain has introduced a new line, of sorts which i believe is joining the permanent collection. it's a group of nail polishes and lipsticks with cutesy packaging and a lower price point that's obviously intended to pull in younger buyers. i'm not thrilled that the lipsticks are apparently replacing the rouge automatique formula, but from a marketing perspective, i have to admit that it makes sense. the rouge automatique line was a little cheaper and a little less luxurious than the rouge g's, but there wasn't enough to clearly differentiate them one from the other, except for packaging. [and not everyone loves the hefty rouge g packaging anyway.]

the new lipsticks are packaged in a way that's about the midpoint between dior addict and anna sui, and named for guerlain's heavily marketed fragrance "la petite robe noire". they're scented with the same elements as the perfume, although i don't find the scent any stronger than it is on other guerlain products. i'm not crazy about lprn, but the version of it in these lipsticks doesn't seem as fruity [which translates to cloying on me]. i think it's a wise move for guerlain to use "la petite robe noire" as a name for their subset of more price-friendly products, because it allows them to retain the guerlain name for the crème de la crème. so this does tend to alleviate my concerns about them cheapening themselves overall.

that said, the guerlain name is all over this stuff, and my personal reaction to it is not so much "cute" as "tacky". nonetheless, i am a sucker for a new lipstick formula, and it's not like i'm investing rouge g money in these, so...

these lipsticks are supposed to be somewhat translucent [lighter colours more so, darker colours less so] and very glossy. chanel has come out with something similar this spring [rouge coco stylo] and yves st. laurent has expanded their rouge volupté line to incorporate sheerer shades. it's a counterpoint to the intense matte shades that have dominated counters for the last few seasons, something that's lighter, more relaxed and softer.

the two things that immediately spring to mind when i hear "semi-sheer" and "glossy" are short wear time and feathering. so imagine my surprise when i experienced neither. i've held off writing this review because i wanted to have the opportunity to try it a few times before giving a verdict, but the formula is a champ. i guess the one caveat would be that i've only tried one shade, but it's one that deep enough that migration and fading would be very evident. but i've been nothing but impressed. it's certainly not transfer-resistant, but the colour fades to a nice, even stain over time. mostly, you lose the glossiness. i never saw even a little feathering. the colour won't survive a meal, but i've yet to meet the lip colour that does, without looking patchy and horrid. the formula is pretty moisturizing as well, which is always welcome. it's slicker than the dior rouge baume, but had a similar effect. i expected to come away thinking that this new line was just a cheap imitation of guerlain, but instead, i think it accomplishes exactly what an "entry level" product should: it looks good, feels good and also gives the user the promise of something more from the brand; "we have such sights to show you."

berry beet
the colour i picked up was "berry beet", which is undoubtedly the most predictable thing i could have done [although the choice wasn't especially easy]. it's a bright pink-berry that leans a bit cool, but, being less than opaque, will adapt to the undertone of the individual wearing it. i'm fairly certain it would look redder on a warmer complexion. despite being translucent, it has plenty of colour and it sets to a berry-magenta stain, so if you're not comfortable with saturation, i'd recommend opting for one of the softer options in the range. there are a number of them.

this is a type of shade i like very much [hence the predictability]. the closest one i have in my collection is mac "lustering", which is warmer and redder.

l to r :: berry beet, mac lustering
personally, i'm up for getting more.

as always, here's a look at both products in action. i've combined "enjoy" with a couple of shades from tarte's "rainforest of the sea" eye shadow palette, so you know at least one review that's coming up. although spring is supposed to be about softer, lighter colours, but for those of us who look a little washed out when we go too soft and/ or light, i think this is sort of a nice balance.


    

so it's a split decision on guerlain's spring offerings: the eyeshadow is promising, but falls a little short of the mark. the new lipstick line, however, is a welcome and most likely a clever marketing move to boot.

Comments

resident witch said…
Hmmm! I have a complicated (by chronic migraines) history with the color yellow, and to date it is the only unrepresented color in my eyeshadow collection. I could not envision using "enjoy" used when this collection launched in the states; Guerlain has always been a window-shop only brand for me, but I can't stop looking. It pairs so well with that lipstick!
Kate MacDonald said…
I think that buttery yellows- with more of a creamy, off-white tinge to them are better for a lot of people to wear, especially when they're paler and/ or cooler toned. I avoided yellows myself for years because I thought they'd make me look jaundiced.

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