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making faces :: a soft, smoky aura with guerlain

you'd be mad not to
it occurred to me this week, as i was attaching my sticky little paws to a couple of items from guerlain's newly launched fall collection that i hadn't ever taken the time to review any of the guerlain eye shadow quads in my possession. bad blogger! bad!

because when guerlain launched their new permanent collection of four-colour palettes last fall, the world got just that little bit prettier on average. sure, there are still horrible things going on. but if you're an aesthete like me, sometimes it helps to just close your eyes and imagine the sumptuous, buttery shades of one of these magnificent little boxes. it's not going to solve the world's problems, but focusing on the pretty might help things seem a little better in the short term.

i was lucky enough to be able to pick up the "les fumes" palette from a makeup fan who had accidentally ended up with two. this is an example of a situation where fate just forces something on you because it's meant to be, even though you might otherwise be inclined to ignore it. it's like a host insisting that you eat the cheesecake, even though you're already full from dinner. sometimes you just have to accept that the host is right and that you're going to miss out if you don't eat the damn cheesecake. [unless you're lactose intolerant, in which case you should probably stick to your guns.]

cheesecake may be an appropriate metaphor, because all four of the included shades are incredibly rich, smooth and velvety. but you shouldn't eat them. you can, however, enjoy them greatly by applying them to your eyelids.

MORE PICTURES [OF EYE SHADOW, NOT CHEESECAKE] AFTER THE BREAK...



for those who think that a smoky eye is made up of blacks and greys, this quad might come as a bit of a surprise. the shades remind me quite a bit of actual smoke- warm, soft greys and browns, like smouldering wood or leaves. there's not a tremendous level of differentiation between all four colours, which means that you'll end up with something that's not incredibly dramatic [especially given how understated the colours are], but that blends to a perfect degradé.

the first shade is an almost matte medium taupe. there are tiny pink and copper sparkles in it, but they're invisible on application. it's very smooth, although a wee bit sheer- it's not ever going to have a ton of impact. it does layer and blend very well, though, so you won't want for colour.
natural light

with flash
it was somewhat similar to a limited edition mac shade called "gazette grey", which has more of a sparkle, but likewise looks mostly matte in use. the guerlain shade is a little lighter and cooler in tone. 
l to r [with flash] :: mac gazette grey, les fumes
l to r [natural light] :: mac gazette grey, les fumes
second up, we have an odd fleshy beige shade that looks a little pink. it's deeper than natural, but it isn't dark enough to be a real brown.
natural light
with flash
the limited edition mac shade "remotely grey" [which isn't grey at all] looks similar, but has a noticeable sheen. urban decay's popular "naked" has the same matte finish, but is yellower.
l to r [natural light] mac remotely grey [l.e.], les gris, urban decay naked
l to r [with flash] mac remotely grey [l.e.], les gris, urban decay naked
the darkest of the four shades is a deep taupe. i assumed this would be fairly easy to duplicate, but it actually leans a lot greyer than most taupe/ brown shades and even looked cool compared to a rich grey like mac's "copperplate". this is really the shade that gives the palette its smokiness. as i mentioned, it's less like traditional smoky-eye makeup and more like actual smoke. it's much more forgiving on eyes that might have a couple of crow's feet around them than pure black.
natural light

with flash
it's darker and cooler [and much more pigmented] than the mac shade "notoriety" as well as "copperplate". it does still have a lot of brown in it, though, so it isn't something you'd mistake for grey.
l to r [natural light] :: mac notoriety [l.e.], les fumes, mac copperplate
l to r [with flash] :: mac notoriety [l.e.], les fumes, mac copperplate
finally, we have a light, very shimmery warm beige with a lot of multi-colour sparkle. guerlain does these shades really well, in that they are frosty without being overwhelming. applied heavily, it can add a really dazzling effect, but i personally think it looks gorgeous as a sort wash blended over the other shades. at least, when i'm trying to keep things low-key and not attract a lot of attention.
natural light
with flash
there are a lot of shades like this that you could find, although no exact matches. mac "sweet satisfaction" is lighter and cooler. urban decay "sin" is pinker, warmer and a bit deeper. rouge bunny rouge "angelic cockatiels" is a lot more coppery.

l to r [natural light] ::mac sweet satisfaction, les fumes, urban decay sin, rbr angelic cockatiels
l to r [with flash] ::mac sweet satisfaction, les fumes, urban decay sin, rbr angelic cockatiels
taken together, the shades blend extremely well for a smoky effect that works very well even during the day. you could build it up for evening, but it's never going to be the most dramatic thing in your repertoire, unless your repertoire is pretty conservative. because the effect is more tone-on-tone, you might need to supplement it with a highlighter- even the lightest shade is much to heavy for me to use under the brow bone. it's overall a very understated, classy look and the quality of the individual shades- other than the slightly sheer first shade- is incredible. this is the sort of thing that every woman should have.

hell, i know a lot of men who could pull this off too.

the lasting power, as has been my general experience with guerlain, is very good. it's about eight hours before i notice fading, even in my office, where the air seems to hate all things cosmetic. [seriously, you should see what it does to my lips... not pretty].

stylists tell you to invest in things that are classic and this certainly fits the bill. i think of it as being like the cheesecake. you'll regret the decision a lot more if you don't get it.

here's a quick look at something i did with the palette for a day at work.

the base
urban decay naked skin foundation "2.0"
gosh liquid concealer "light"
marcelle pressed powder "translucent"

the eyes
guerlain e/s palette "les fumes" [satin taupe brown, matte pink beige, cool dark taupe, shimmery warm sand]
mac eye kohl "smolder" [black]
cargo lash enhancer mascara

the cheeks
mac mineralize blush "dainty" [warm pink]

the lips
mac l/s "plink!" [light seashell pink]
giorgio armani l/g "515/ vintage" [sheer warm pink with blue shimmer]*

suggested alternate :: vintage is still available as part of the armani "skin lacquers" collection- probably the best of the handful of nude lip mini-collections that have come out recently [along with mac and dior]. i'd advise grabbing it as soon as possible, because it's a fantastic shade and the only thing that comes close to it is the more orangey limited mac shade "flurry of fun", which is long gone.

if you're interested in some more smoky-eyed looks, you can always check some out here.

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