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making faces :: purple palettes' majesty

years ago, i was visiting a makeup counter with a friend of mine and as we looked at products, the sales associate commented "wow, you really like anything purple!" i admit to it. it's not like i'm obsessed and have to have everything around me purple, but when shown a rainbow of colours, my eye does naturally fall to the purple tones. [purple isn't part of the rainbow -ed.] [shut up, it's a metaphor. -kate]

nothing says "i'm well-adjusted" like PAHRPLE EVERYTHINGZ

so after trying and falling in love with guerlain's new and limited "les sables" palette, with it's gorgeous, buttery matte shades, i knew that i had to go back for the all-matte purple palette "les violines". after all, purple mattes are tough to find and a lot of those that  you do come across are overly powdery or stiff. i tried each of the shades from "les violines" on my hand and was properly convinced that this would not be the case here.

the four shades are what i'd call neutral to warm purples. technically, purple is considered a cool colour, but those that pull more red/ brown/ mauve have a tendency to look warm compared with very blue-based ones. two of the shades in "les violines" lean reddish, while the other two are pretty much right down the tonal middle. let's dive right in, shall we?



first up, the lightest colour is a pale, dusty lilac. the dusty/ muted quality keeps it from looking very bright, like a white-based pastel. this one has some definite greyish undertones. it's too dark to work for me as a highlighter, but it's certainly a great shade for the lids.

les violines #1

the limited edition mac shade "all races" is lighter and cooler and another limited mac shade, "mink pink" is warmer and more pink-toned. both of those colours have that same softness, though, the same understated look on the eye.

l to r :: mac all races [l.e.], les violines, mac mink pink [l.e.]




next up, we have a medium-deep mauve/ plum kind of shade. it has a lot of redness to it, which may put some people off, although i didn't find it made my eyes look teary or swollen. i love how rich this colour looks, although it does sheer out a little when applied. it helps to us a stiffer brush and "pat" the colour in place.

les violines #2


i was actually surprised that mac "nocturnelle" looked quite close to this when swatched, since i always think of that colour as being less red/ brown and shimmery. scratching my head about this. the texture on the guerlain shade is much smoother and the colour payoff richer.

l to r :: les violines, mac nocturnelle

third, we have another mauve shade, a blend of pink and purple with warm undertones and a very soft texture. i absolutely love this colour because i have almost nothing like it, but i was frustrated that it had a tendency to blend out a little too easily. i had to be very careful not to work on it too much once applied, as it was difficult to keep the shade true to the colour in the pan.

les violines #3

as i mentioned, i don't really have anything similar to this, but here's a comparison, for shits and giggles...

l to r :: les violines, mac star violet

finally, there's a blackened purple shade that works to add depth or as a liner. it appears as more of a soft, cool black, deeper than grey but not as stark as a true black. again, it has the same soft, pigmented texture of the other shades, but in this case it's really prone to sheering out. even if i didn't try to blend it, there was a tendency for the colour to fade fairly quickly. as a liner, it was quite soft and required careful layering. this was frustrating, because the palette really does need something to provide a bit of contrast to the other shades.

mac "shadowy lady" is a little darker and bluer. it also has a much stiffer texture, which makes it hard to apply evenly, although both shades are prone to disappearing when blended.

l to r :: les violines, mac shadowy lady

despite the application problems of some of the shades, i did find that when applied, once i got the mix right, there was very little fading throughout the day, even for the darkest shade. so the good news is that while you might have to spend a little extra time fiddling with application, you won't have to worry about it during the day.

as you've likely guessed, i didn't find that "les violines" quite lived up to the quality of "les sables", but it is nonetheless a lovely palette of purples to have. purple shadows are notoriously difficult and a high percentage of them suffer from pigmentation and fading problems [trust me on this one]. while these shades might not be flawless, they're still on the better end of what i've experienced and, as you'll see in the looks i've posted below, the palette has the advantage of being able to look more purple or more neutral depending on how it's applied.

look #1 :: natural plum

this is a great way to pull off colours like these if you're a little shy of going all out colourful. i used the lightest shade over the lid, with the soft mauve on the inner lid, the deeper plum in the crease and on the outside and the blackened purple in the outer v, just to deepen the colour there.

 


i'm also wearing guerlain "chic pink" rose aux joues blush and rouge bunny rouge "fluttering sighs" succulence of dew lipstick. the mascara is yves st. laurent baby doll, because something in this look had to bring a little drama. seriously, i'm shocked at how soft and neutral this palette can be made to look, although i shouldn't be, because all guerlain palettes lend themselves exceptionally well to very subtle applications.

look #2 :: slightly smoky

 


you'd really need a cream shadow underneath to do a full-on smoky look with this palette, but i did come up with this look, which is appropriate for days while still having a bit more effect than look #1. i applied the first three colours in "arcs", starting with the lightest going from the inner corners and pulling it out along the brow bone. after that, i used the mauve shade in the centre of the lid and followed the arc of the lighter colour just below the brow bone. then i patted the deeper plum shade basically in an oval shape at the outer part of my eyes. then i used the blackened purple shade to line my upper and lower lash lines. as you can see, it creates a very soft line indeed. and i wasn't satisfied with how it looked along the lower lash line, so i diffused the colour a bit with the plum shade.

in this look, i'm also wearing chanel joues contrastes blush in "rose écrin" and yves st. laurent glossy stain in "naughty mauve".

as a little extra, i thought i'd share a couple of looks done with other purple-based palettes in my possession, just to show the further flexibility of the colour:

this is mac "spring colour forecast 3" eye shadow quad. it was limited edition from their 2010 spring collection, but i think that you could achieve a similar look with "les violines" over a darker base.

 


i'm not 100% sure what blush i'm wearing, although i believe it's dior "happy cherry". the lipstick is mac "peach blossom".

and this is another guerlain palette, "attrape coeur", part of the brilliant 2013 spring collection. this is an example of much cooler purples and frostier finishes. the palette was limited edition, but it does crop up online occasionally. on this case, i've used the colours from darkest in the inner corners and getting gradually lighter as you move upward and outward from there. i always find that this sort of look is pleasantly unexpected, although you'll want to avoid this type of application if you feel your eyes are closer together.

 


i'm also wearing dior "pareo" blush and yves st. laurent "fuchsia tomboy" glossy stain.

back to the topic at hand...

"les violines" is limited edition, but still available at most counters and online. although it's not perfect, i do find that it is good enough to warrant a purchase, especially if you find yourself drawn to purples.

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