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making faces :: un-bronzing [and more] with yves

the magic of marrakech
on the grand list of "things that are never supposed to happen", i'm pretty sure that me buying not one but two "bronzing" products is right up there with platform ugg boots and macrame tights as pants. after all, i'm the one who rolls her eyes when makeup aficionados start talking about the need to develop a bronze cast to the skin over the summer. i like my pale skin almost as much as i like not having skin cancer, so tanning, either naturally or artificially, is not for me.

and yet...

no sooner did i fall in love with the softened beige-with-a-hint-of-coral-pink powder from guerlain's summer collection than i met up with yves st. laurent's new "powder blur skin perfector" and i got smitten all over again. in fact, i'm pretty smitten with a few things from the ysl "sahariennes" summer look, inspired by the colour palette of marrakech [and kudos to them, because they've done an excellent job of recreating that sort of palette!], but first let's talk about how i somehow fell on to the bronzing bandwagon.

the powder blur skin perfector is a brand new product with the texture of a balm that turns to a fine powder when applied to the skin. it promises to minimize imperfections and smooth over pores while imparting a healthy, sun-kissed glow to the complexion. although it turns to a powder when applied, the slick texture keeps it from ever becoming powder-y, even when built up, so while there's no shimmer to the product at all, it never looks fully matte. it comes in six shades and, as with the guerlain jolie teint product, the lightest one is a boon for fair-skinned ladies like me who aren't sold on the whole tanned thing.

the lightest shade, which is called either "1" or "abricot" depending on where you look, isn't bronze at all: it lives up to its name ["abricot", not "1"] because it's a very sunny yellow-orange, sort of like the colour of apricots. it's completely lacking in the brown tones that can make such products look muddy and dirty on pale skin, which means that, on me, it doesn't look like a natural tan at all. it looks way better. i'm struggling with a way to describe the colour, which is at once very light and soft, but also surprisingly bright. it doesn't add tons of colour [although it does build up well], but the colour itself is very clear, not muted. on the skin, the colour doesn't make you look tanned [having no brown tones whatsoever, it really couldn't], but more like you've captured some of the sun's radiance inside you.

shade 1 abricot

the obvious colour comparison was, of course, with that other non-bronzing bronzer, guerlain jolie teint "blonde clair 00". swatched side by side, the two look more similar than they do on the skin, but you can still see that the "powder blur skin perfector" is brighter, more yellow/ orange, which is more or less how it translates on the skin. the "jolie teint" powder is more beige, muted. it imparts a soft glow, where the "skin perfector" has more clarity to the colour: think of the difference in texture [not colour] between the soft skin of a peach and that of a nectarine.[note: for the swatches below, i've focused on the beige part of the "jolie teint" powder. adding more of the coral part of the powder makes the final shade pinker.]

l to r :: abricot, guerlain blonde clair

as far as the balm-to-powder's performance, i was pretty happy. the colour payoff is light at first, but easily built, which makes it perfect for even the palest skin. it does indeed have a smoothing effect on the skin and it does make pores a little less visible, although the difference on that score isn't huge. it comes with a dual-sided applicator- an angled brush combined with flocked material on the other end. i don't love that, since the fabric side, intended for lighter application, will get dirty quickly and be difficult to clean. furthermore the brush [intended for heavier application] isn't ideal for applying the product over foundation. being a balm texture at first means that the skin perfector is fairly emollient, and applying it with a brush has a tendency to cause the balm to bind with foundation and move both around rather than blending one on top of the other.

i find it much easier to just tap some colour onto my cheeks with my fingers and kind of press it into place. if i need to blend it a little, i use a soft, fluffy brush [my choice is the mac 188] and a light hand. some people don't like to go sticking fingers in cream products, i know, but you can use a brush to tap the colour in place. all in all, i would have preferred to see a sponge applicator with this product. the dual-ended brush-fabric thingy is overcomplicated.



one downside that i noticed is that the surface of the product seems to attract dust. i live in an older building and in a city known for its dusty summer air, which may make this a more acute issue for me, but even though i keep the product closed, inside a box, inside a drawer, i still find little dust particles on it. [that's not uncommon for me and cream products in general, so if you don't experience this with other creams, you probably won't experience it with this.]

on the other hand, whereas the guerlain jolie teint powder is fairly heavily fragranced, this one doesn't seem to have a scent at all. that surprises me, because i find that ysl tend to over-scent their lip products. if perfume is a concern, you'll want to reach for this rather than guerlain. however, they're different enough that i [clearly] think you can justify owning both. even if you don't like to look tanned.

not being content with just one new product, yves saint laurent has also reformulated their single eye shadows [like guerlain] and launched a line of liquid-to-powder shadows [like armani]. the liquid shadows are a little too shimmery for me, since high metallic shimmer often equals a bad reaction on my eyes [and especially since i've had allergic reactions to ysl products before]. the colour range is similar to what they had before, although the actual shades are different. [i'd like to take a moment to mourn the loss of "slate green".]

this is where being a cosmetics fan can be frustrating. the ysl single eye shadows were quite good, but they were in need of a refresh, kind of like the guerlain single shadows. the new formula is nice- at least on the one shade i bought, although it seemed generally good based on swatching all the colours- but i don't know if it's that much better than it was before. in fact, i don't know if it's that much different than it was before, but it didn't really have to be, because the previous formula was good.

i picked up shade 17 "dédale", which is one of those tricky to find browns that's more yellow-toned than red-toned. it's not grey enough to be a taupe, but it is neutral enough that it can be worn with cooler shades. for that matter, it's a shade that can work just fine on its own. it has an understated golden shimmer that reads as a luminescence rather than as frost. it is what you'd describe as a workhorse shade: you can wear it alone or in combination, pretty much anywhere.

17 dédale

the new formula is very good. it's smooth and even in application and it has excellent colour payoff. i find it more finely milled than the previous ombre solo formula, which manifests as feeling less dry and perhaps blending a little easier. that said, i really liked what i saw of the old formula...

with a neutral shade like "dédale" there are always a lot of potential duplicates, but i still found this one to be unique in my collection. burberry "pale barley" is lighter and cooler. rouge bunny rouge "rufous-tailed weaver" has more of a yellowish-green cast. rouge bunny rouge "bohemian waxwing" is more shimmery and leans greyer.

l to r :: burberry pale barley, dédale, rbr rufous-tailed weaver, rbr bohemian waxwing

based on my experience, i'm curious to try a couple of the other shades in the new [and permanent] line, especially royal purple "caftan" and sea green "orient". all in good time...

finally, i picked up one of the limited edition lip glosses available with the summer collection, a brick red called "bordeaux sarouel". i fell in love with the new "gloss volupté" formula when it launched last year, but this is the first time i've tried one of the deeper colours. often, deeper glosses look lovely in the tube, but are frustrating to get even in practice. this one, however, is perfection.

well, it's perfection as long as you like the smell of watermelon [it's not fig, i don't care what they say]. like all the "volupte" products, these glosses are suffused with it, which i find a little sickening. that i would splurge on this gloss despite the cloying scent that i hate and despite the fact that i generally wear lipstick rather than gloss should tell you something about just how much i like this formula.

indeed, it's easy to get even coverage with the surprisingly functional and not gimmicky "lip-shaped" applicator. the colour itself has exactly the colour i'd expect based on what i can see in the tube: it's a gloss, so it's not at all opaque, but it is a deep, rich red all the same. nothing annoys me more than a gloss that looks dark in the tube and then turns out to be near invisible on the lips. [plenty of things annoy you more than that, every day. -ed.]

in the tube, this looks like a very warm red, with barely visible flecks of fine pinky-copper shimmer. because the formula is semi-transparent, though, your own colouring will have an effect on how the final product looks. whether it's swatched on my hand or applied on my lips, the colour pulls cooler on me, more neutral ruby than brown-tinged. the shimmer isn't really visible at all, although it gives the final shade some dimension.

bordeaux sarouel

although the gloss isn't transfer-proof [nor does it claim to be], the lasting power is impressive. i could still see plenty of colour on my lips after a cup of coffee, despite the fact that a lot of product adhered to my mug. it's easy to touch up as well, more like a lipstick, in that you don't have to remove every last bit of product and start over: you can just dab a little extra over the remains. of course, if you eat something oily, you'll want to wipe the lip-slate clean and start over, because leftover oils, even a little, will cause products to migrate around your lips. left on its own, i experienced no feathering or bleeding over the course of a day. when my lips are in good condition, i don't get a lot of bleeding from lipsticks, but glosses do tend to get fuzzy around the edges. this one doesn't do that.

i compared the shade to a couple of other deeper red glosses i have, but more just to give a point of reference: chanel "crushed cherry" is much cooler. bobbi brown "black ruby" has very visible gold shimmer. i have seen some shades that are closer to "bordeaux sarouel", but none that applied so well or had that subtle shimmer that really makes the colour. there are so many lovely products in the yves saint laurent summer collection [including a beautiful peach and warm brown-themed palette and a couple of rich, warm nail polishes i'm considering a return trip to purchase], i wanted to call particular attention to this one, because it's just the sort of thing that can get lost in the shuffle. and that would be a shame. a damn shame.

l to r :: chanel crushed cherry, bordeaux sarouel, bobbi brown black ruby

of course, i couldn't wait to try all teh stuffz together, which works quite harmoniously. i did set "dédale" off with a couple of shades from the "les sahariennes" palette, which is not the palette that goes with the summer collection, although that collection is called "sahariennes" [the summer palette is called "les mauresques", which is actually the name given to an earlier ysl eye shadow palette, because things weren't confusing enough already], but one of the permanent shadow palettes that were launched last year.

beyond that, what you're looking at is exactly what i've reviewed here: "dédale" eye shadow over the lids, "abricot" blur powder skin protector on the cheeks and "bordeaux sarouel" on the lips.




all three of these lovelies are available now from yves saint laurent. the gloss is definitely limited edition and the eye shadow is definitely permanent. as far as the skin perfector, i'm a little less certain. i was originally told that it was limited and the product has disappeared from the canadian sephora web site, however, there's nothing on the brand's u.s. web site to indicate that it's limited and i noticed that all the shades had migrated to the permanent display at one of my ysl counters. my advice: it's summer, which means that this is an appropriate thing to have on hand. so you might as well grab it sooner rather than later, in case it does go away.

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