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making faces :: guerlain's grey area

i was browsing through random old blog posts, as i occasionally do for no good reason, and i found my review of guerlain's "les fumes" palette wherein i admitted that i'd been bad by not reviewing the 4-shadow palettes i had in my possession and that i'd be much better about doing that in the near future.

so i guess i failed at that one.

although i'm dreaming of snatching up some goodies from the guerlain spring collection very soon, i though it might be a good time to call attention to some of the permanent products that you can buy any time at all, including the palette in "les gris". it was part of the original launch of the new four-shadow palettes in 2011 and i've actually had it for quite a while, i just hadn't gotten around to writing about it.

sorry about that.

"les gris" is, as you might guess, a take on greys, although it really pushes the boundaries of grey beyond the standard silver/ charcoal/ slate that you normally see. it's worth noting that their interpretation is very much cool-toned, since greys can veer in several directions. these ones lean [and in one case cross the line] into blue territory, which is fine with me, although these are the kind of colours that can emphasise under eye circles, since they'll pull any blue tones in the vicinity into prominence.

A FULL SET OF SWATCHES AND CLOSE-UPS IN ACTION AFTER THE BREAK...



the first shade in the palette is a standard cool medium pencil lead grey. it's almost matte [but not quite] with very good colour payoff. it looks darker in the pan than when it's applied, where it's really a softer kind of colour. it's a real workhorse shade, good for adding definition against lighter colours, over the lid for a soft smoky look, or applied with a liner brush for a slightly smudgy effect along the lash lines.

natural light
with flash
there are lots of these sorts of greys out there, but almost all of them pull warmer [mac swell baby and copperplate] or darker [nars eurydice and mac print].

l to r :: mac swell baby [l.e.], mac copperplate, les gris, nars eurydice, mac print :: natural light
same as above :: with flash
second is a shade that's difficult to define and it's my favourite in the whole palette. it's a slightly shimmery nude-ivory with a grey tinge to it. it's delicate and somewhat sheer at first, although it's easy to get more opacity and the application is extremely smooth. it never looks heavy on the lids and adds a little brightness without being an attention hog. it's the kind of shade that makeup fiends adore and occasional users [anyone else starting to feel like these posts are talking about a drug? just me?] find boring, because it's not an in-your-face kind of thing.  [it's an on-your-face kind of thing! yuk yuk yuk] but it's just got that extra je ne sais quoi that really dreamy neutrals have. it's kind of a makeup addict thing, i guess.

natural light
with flash
in terms of comparisons, edward bess "storm" looks somewhat similar, although it's more opaque, more shimmery and has a lilac tone to it [not that evident in the photos, i realise], while nars "lhasa" is darker and more lavender. it's in the same family of shades though and it's a family i've grown fond of.

l to r :: edward bess storm, les gris, nars lhasa :: natural light
same as above :: with flash
most surprising in the palette is the dark teal-blue shade. it's flat-out not grey, but it does harmonise well with the coolness of the colours overall and can be used either intensely or as a subtle wash with the other shades. it's got a very blackened base, but the teal-blue elements definitely shine through on the eye. this was the only shade that i found applied less than smoothly. it was good, but not up to the level of its neighbours.

natural light
with flash
there are other shades like this available. armani's "obsidian black seaweed" is more intense and darker. mac "birds & berries" is lighter and bluer. the mac "shop & drop" shadow quad had a similar colour as well. so this one is different enough that it's not a repeat, but close enough to others that you might feel you've seen it before.

l to r :: armani obsidian black seaweed [l.e.], les gris, mac birds & berries [l.e.] :: natural light
same as above :: with flash
the final shade is a bright, frosty medium silver that really packs in the pigment. if you shy away from frost finishes generally, you'll want to use a light hand with this one and be prepared to blend, because it is the sort of shade that can start to look heavy in a hurry. it's great to use as a highlight on the inner corners of the eyes, where it's lustre and brilliance are an advantage. other than that, i like to use it blended softly over the other shades for a little added sparkle and life.

natural light
with flash
although i have a tendency to think that all silvers look alike, i don't have one along these lines. the mac stalwart "silver ring" is darker, while the limited edition mac shade "melt my heart" is much brighter.

l to r :: mac silver ring, les gris, mac melt my heart [l.e.] :: natural light
same as above :: with flash
of any of the guerlain palettes i own, this is the one that i found was the trickiest to get to work on my eyes. the colours can look a little heavy on me and, as i mentioned, the tones can make dark circles [which i have in spades] more evident. having played around with it, i've definitely discovered some techniques that work for me. ultimately, it's still probably less versatile than other guerlain quads, but that is a very subjective opinion.

one of the best ways i find that this works for me is by using the colours to create a soft "cut crease" kind of look. it keeps the deeper colours off my rather heavy lids, so i don't look tired and makes use of the intense silver in the inner corners and as a soft wash above the crease, so that it doesn't become overwhelming. i also find that having a sharp black liner along the upper lash line helps keeps things very defined and un-fussy. i used the dark teal blue along the crease and then defined it further by using the deeper grey on the lower crease and along part of the lower lash line.



here's a full list of what was used

the base ::
gosh anti-aging velvet touch primer
clarins everlasting foundation "103"
diorskin nude hydrating concealer "010"
mac paint pot "painterly"
mac fluidline brow "redhead"

the eyes ::
guerlain e/s palette "les gris" [greyed ivory, bright medium silver, blackened teal, soft mid-tone grey]
mac superslick liquid liner "on the hunt" [black]
yves st. laurent effet faux cils mascara
mac eye kohl "i get no kick" [shimmery champagne nude]*

the cheeks ::
mac highlight powder "marine life" [bright pinky coral]*

the lips ::
guerlain rouge g serie noire "rouge sensuel" [soft, shimmery red coral]*

*suggested alternates :: i get no kick = makeup forever 23l; marine life = nars deep throat [softer]; rouge sensuel = very difficult to match!! rouge bunny rouge word of mouth is less shimmery, more red, less coral and more muted, but it's probably the closest permanent item i have; mac "viva glam cyndi" is more similar in terms of the base colour, but less shimmery and looks a bit browner on me [it's discontinued, but it's something people may still have, since it was released only a couple of years back]

interestingly, this became part of an inadvertent "guerlain week" for me last week. without meaning to, i wore at least one guerlain item every day from monday to friday. this is the only one i got good photographs of, but i have to say, it did confirm how well the brand and i seem to mesh... all the more reason why i see more of them in my future [and in the future of this blog].

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