Saturday, January 06, 2018

Bruno Fazzolari- Feu Secret (Perfume Review)

I have an attitude when it comes to new perfume lines. It comes from a lifetime of sniffing and collecting fragrance, but mostly from blogging about it for eleven years and eight months. It's easy to dismiss new brands that keep popping up with their own version of an amber, an oud, a vetiver, a rose... We all know how it goes. Then I remind myself that if we're all very very lucky they might be as good as Bruno Fazzolari.

 Fazzolari had burst onto the scene in 2013 and quickly(ish) claimed a prime spot on the American indie perfume landscape. Here's how much I trust Bruno's blending hand: earlier this year just before Feu Secret launched he sent me a sample. However, the envelope reached my mailbox sealed yet empty. There was only the card with press materials. I checked, triple checked, looked suspiciously at the neighbors and cats, but no. Whoever filled the enveloped simply forgot to actually put a sample in mine.

Being me, I couldn't bring myself to email Mr. Fazzolari and request a do-over. I just don't do that. My plan was to visit Twisted Lily and give Feu Secret a good sniff. Or buy a sample online. I never got around to do either, but knowing that this Bruno Fazzolari perfume was out, and that it was an IRIS of all things haunted me. Especially since a couple of friends who've smelled it already told me I'd need a bottle. Because it's an iris. An iris!

I bought a bottle. Unsniffed. Which is not something I do often. I was already placing an order for Lampblack for my husband , so why not*?

It was a good decision. Putting aside the fact that when the husband tried Feu Secret on his own skin he announced that it needs to live in his cabinet and promptly placed it next to his Lampblack bottle. I don't mind, it's still on a shelf I can reach easily, which I do often. Feu Secret makes it necessary to amend and adjust my old list of favorite iris scents. It's that good and takes on iris (or orris) to the max in every direction this note can go. Perfumers seem to prefer concentrating on a single facet: earthy, carroty, a chilly fog marsh next to a cemetery (I've been thinking about Great Expectation lately. Must reread), or an opulent silk and dried violets, a perfumy boudoir, a buttery pastry, we can go on and on. Iris is all that.  However, Bruno Fazzolari's theme here is alchemy. Combining certain elements, often contrasting ones, and creating a new precious substance.

Orris root, with the lengthy process extracting the actual raw material, its history in the fields of Tuscany, and the iris flower itself has that magical shape and enchanting colors that are perfect for this alchemy theme. It's ice and fire, a dark cavern full of secrets, light flickering from a pile of precious blue and purple gem, and the alchemist's smoky cauldron hanging over a green fire in the ancient alcove. It has all that, yet it's also a very modern perfume in the way the two main aspects, hot and cold, are sketched. Two lashing tongues bursting on a canvas, dueling in their starkness at first before the full power of the fire wins over the cold camphoric blue light and engulfs you with the powdery hug of spices, woods and plenty of orris. The dry-down is like falling down into the most comfortable and luxurious bed, outfitted with crisp sheets and the softest warmest comforters you can pull over your head while taking a deep breath.

Feu Secret has an all-day longevity on my skin, it dries down softer and fluffier with the hours, yet the impression is completely gender neutral and easy to wear for lovers of iris, spice, eucalyptus, and a good dose of quality cedar note.

*I can't claim I've never met an iris I didn't like, because I'm a bit ambivalent about Aedes Iris Nazarena, bored out of my skull with Prada's various Infusion d'Iris versions, and the highly acclaimed Penhaligon's Iris Prima smells like dill on my skin.

**I'm two Fazzolari's behind. Something will be done about this soon.

Bruno Fazzolari- Feu Secret ($125, 30ml) is available from Luckyscent, Twisted Lily (when they're not out of stock), and directly from the perfumer on (ditto).

Image: detail from The Peacock Stage, attributed to Jörg Breu the Elder, (German, ca. 1475–1537). Miniature from the illuminated manuscript Splendor solis oder Sonnenglanz.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas

Wishing you a happy, warm, and peaceful holiday season.

Art:  Fairfield Porter; The Christmas Tree, 1971; Lithograph in colors. Via Rago Auction House in Lambertville, NJ.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

FotD: Shimmer Green Eye Shadow

I need a short break from the pile of NARS products and from reviews in general, so let's see what I've done when let loose with some green shimmery stuff. I've been doing variations on this look with different products, including a toned-down one that's darker yet significantly muted than what you see here using YSL Eye Duo Smoker in 02 Smoky Green, which is dual ended shadow stick (one side is a cream hunter green while the other is a shimmer sage green). What I've learned is that I get the best results (in my opinion) by using as few eye shadows as possible. One cream/stick shadow and a brighter powder one are my ideal combination. It's definitely a look and makes a statement, but still very much in my comfort zone.

Edward Bess Precious Pearl Black Sea Primer
La Mer Soft Fluid Foundation SPF 20 (20? why even bother?) in Neutral, which I think is a great match. Applied with a Beauty Blender.
No concealer
Guerlain Météorites Pearls in 03 as my finishing powder. Mine is the old version, Beige Chic, now called Medium.

Etude House Proof 10 Primer
Bobbi Brown Cream Shadow Stick in Forest. This color is now discontinued and I'm trying to finish the last dregs in mine, but Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Jungle will do (it's more khaki), as will Kiko Milano in #10 if you want to go brighter. Or the YSL. In any case, I blended it all over the lid and into the crease, then reapplied a little more over the outer part of the lid.
Strobe Cosmetics Alchemy eye shadow applied with a dampened flat synthetic brush all over the outer 2/3rd of the mobile lid.
Clinique High Impact mascara.

Burberry Silk & Bloom blush from last year. Did you get this year's version? I'm sure it can do just as well. This blush has enough glow that I skipped highlighter in the name of getting out of the door on time.

Rimmel Exaggerate lip pencil in 070 Enchantment
I also made a messy mix of Kevyn Aucoin Bloodroses lipstick and MAC Cremesheen Glass in Deelight and applied it on with a brush when it looked right to me. These concoctions are why I take so long to get ready.

Other Stuff
Denim jacket is my trusty and soft snap jacket from Current/Elliott. They still make it and it looks the same online, just beware that the jacket runs small if you're busty. I had to size up significantly.
Brooch- vintage Kenzo
Earrings- another vintage find.
SotD- Memo Italian Leather from a sample. I think I prefer Irish Leather because it's punchier, but this one is interesting for the tomato leaf note.

Monday, December 04, 2017

NARS Man Ray Collection Holiday 2017- Eyes (Swatches & reviews)

NARS Man Ray Collection for  Holiday 2017 includes two limited edition eye shadow palettes,  Glass Tears (in the photos above), and Love Game, which is only available in the UK and several European countries. The specific shades in the Glass Tears palettes are also limited, even though you can find similar ones in the permanent collection. The point here is the set as an artistic choice and the various looks you can expect to get from them. There's something very NARS about the Glass Tears palette. Just like in this collection duos see below) as well as in the large permanent NARS line, it does not shy away from pairing strong dark colors together. It can go editorial or tame, bright or soft, and you don't need to use more than 2-3 colors for your eye look, no matter what statement you're making.

Glass Tears offers two matte colors and four satins. They're generally softer in texture than many NARS duos which are usually best applied by  patting them on the lid with goat or pony hair brushes before blending them softly. The shadows are somewhat powdery but not messy  (I didn't clean up the swatches above, done with my trusty old Paula Dorf flat eye brush). 

The shades are (top row, l-r):
 Cry Baby, an ivory creamy matte. On my skin it's more like a soft and very fine face powder. It shows no pigment even on the darkest part of my lid (no chalkiness, either), so I use it lightly over a primer to perfect the base, and it definitely helps in blending.
 Heartbreaker, a blackened teal green. It's the star of this palette, naturally, and can be used by itself easily, or paired with gold. You can also create a smoky eye worthy of a silent film star.
 Loverboy, a matte black. Does anyone need another black matte eye shadow? No. But the artistry of this palette and the looks it's meant to create would be incomplete without it.
(bottom row, l-r):
 Tryst, a shimmer gold that leans somewhat green on an olive-toned skin. A lid or inner corner color, a great companion to most  eye shadows in the palette.
 One & Only, a shimmery olive. Tryst might be its natural partner, but using it along with the teal color is very very NARS.
 Vengeance, a classic warm medium brown with a low shimmer finish. Perhaps the most versatile but it would be a shame to stick with neutral combination. So again, go teal.

The image used on the palette's cover is Man Ray's Les Larmes from 1932 (or 1934, depending on the source). While the model was unnamed and I could not find any information about her other than that she was probably a can-can dancer, the theme of the palette seems to be the breaking of Man Ray's relationship with fellow artist Lee Miller. The need for revenge and vengeance was behind many Man Ray works that cut and frame the model (often Miller herself) in a violent way.

NARS Glass Tears Palette ($49, made in US) is a limited edition item for Holiday 2017. available at most NARS retail points. I bought mine at Ulta.

Left: Montparnasse, right: Debauched





The two eye shadow duos from the NARS Man Ray collection are Montparnasse and Debauched. They could not be more different. Montparnasse is a classic combination of a shimmery very pale gold (the left side) and a pearlescent very brown plummy color with somewhat of a reddish base. The colors are easy to work with, and my favorite way to wear them is by blending the dark shade obnoxiously all over the lid and beyond, topping it with the gold in the middle of the lid. No transition shade, no seven layers of crease colors. I've also used the gold under the lower lashes, where people whose eyes aren't sunken halfway into the skull would use the plum.

Those crying for transition shades would not find their relief in Debauched. Here the left side is a browned out purple and the right is made of scattered red micro-glitter in a dark off-black (or charcoal) base. I'm guessing it's an inferno reference. I can wear dark color on my eyes but I don't always want to go that deep. It's a welcome challenge for those of us who think they've seen and worn it all. Of course, one can always use either one to jazz up a neutral palette, but I think it's meant to evoke looks such as these ones of actress Theda Bara (nothing to do with Man Ray):

If you're trying to decide between the duos my suggestion is Debauched. You can easily find approximations and equivalents for Montparnasse in most makeup collections, but Debauched is unique. Is it a must have? I'd go out on a limb and say that nothing that contains red glitter is a necessity. But it's a look.

NARS Debauched and Montparnasse ($36 each, made in Canada) are available from all NARS sellers. While the website labels them as limited to the Man Ray collection, I understand from the press materials that they'll join the permanent line. Both were sent for my consideration by PR (for consideration=no obligation to endorse or even mention).

Artwork in the photos: Untitled, 1936, and The Witness, 1947.

The last eye products in the collection are two velvet eyeliners in Nagoya (straightforward purple violet) and Santiago (a coppery brown). They're a different formula than the much-beloved Larger Than Life eyeliners, softer, smudgier, and not quite as long lasting, but the don't migrate as much as a kohl would move around. They seem to have been designed to go with the eye shadow duos and are definitely great for expanding the range of looks they create. Neither one has the Man Ray lips logo or any indication that they're part of a limited collection, but the site clearly states that they're limited

NARS Velvet Eyeliners ($24 each, made in Germany) are available from and most other retailers.  Both were sent for consideration by PR.

Artwork used: Man Ray, Barbette Making Up, 1926.

NARS Man Ray Makeup Collection For Holiday 1917- A Quick Overview

Man Ray, 1932

As you probably know by now, NARS released a Man Ray-themed collection for holiday 2017. NARs usually goes big and impressive on holiday collections, especially when Francois Nars chooses a personal favorite as the inspiration (remember the Andy Warhol collection?). I was extremely excited about this one because while surrealism is not necessarily my thing Man Ray's fashion photography and portraits have been part of my mental landscape for many years.

The PR box I received found me doing a not so flattering jaw-meet-floor because everything in it was so beautiful and right, doing justice to both artist and customer. It was definitely the cure for my cynicism towards makeup collections (and brands) of late; the artwork was good for the soul. While I was sent most items from the Man Ray collection it was not everything, so I promptly hopped online to get a couple more that I knew I wanted. Like many other American NARS fans I was deeply disappointed to learn that one of the jewels of the collection, the Love Game eye shadow palette was exclusive to Space NK UK and the countries they serve. US Space NK was not included. I was examining the hoops necessary to jump in order to get it anyway, but eventually decided that it was a bit much, considering the number of palettes I have in general and NARS eye shadows in particular. I still sulked.

Why, Francois, why?

My original intention was to drop the swatches and reviews gradually,  but it's too much and we're getting closer to the holidays. So I'll do it in large consecutive batches, mostly by function. What you need to know is that in NARS usually splits big collections to Gifting collection (sets and other jaw-droppers) and Color collection (smaller and usually cheaper items). It doesn't really matter (try asking a store employee that wasn't trained by NARS and you'll see what I mean), so I did not make the distinction. One of the great things about NARS limited items is that they make enough of them. They don't completely sell out for quite a while. However, a few items are supposedly exclusive to certain retail doors. It only partially true, as looking in the press material and online has proven to me. I bought one of the NARS stores/online exclusives from Sephora weeks after it was labeled unavailable on My advice: look online for whatever it is you want, and if you don't see it call your local stores directly (that includes but not limited to Sephora, Ulta, Nordstrom, and other department stores, as well as the brand's regional standalone locations).

So let's start unpacking the collection.

Bonus: recommended reading for art and fashion photography enthusiasts. 

I've used two books for research and as background  in my photographs:
Man Ray, Lee Miller- Partners in Surrealism by Phillip Prodger, Lynda Roscoe Harigan, Antony Penrose,  2011, Merrell
Man Ray in Paris by Eric Garcia, 2011, Getty Museum

Friday, December 01, 2017

Currently- November/December 2017 Edition

Is it me or does the image above, Vanity Fair's December 1917 cover oddly and appropriately creepy?

Laura Ingalls Is Ruining My Life by Shelley Tougas. None of my usual comfort rereads wasn't doing it so I've gone prairie. It's cute and better for peace of mind than Philip K. Dick.

Ryan Adams covering Tegan & Sara's Back In Your Head. Actually the entire  The Con X: Covers is excellent and all proceeds from it benefit The Tegan and Sara Foundation, which fights for health, economic justice, and representation for LGBTQ girls and women.

Binging on art documentaries.  Every show made and written by Waldemar Januszczak is excellent: informative, thought-provoking, and wonderfully entertaining. The Renaissance would never be the same for me (and some things cannot be unseen). I need to look at his books.

I'm supposed to have a good re-sniff trying to think about the year's best releases, but it just makes me want more vintage. Not that there weren't a handful of things I truly loved and joined my collection, but the disappointments were many and colossal. Do I have enough pre-reformulation Miel de Bois backups?

Lancome Monsieur Big mascara. Hate the name, love the lashes.

Frequently Worn Item/Outfit
Scarves and the various accessories that hold them in place just so. See below.

How to use a penanular brooch. I saw an antique(ish) Scottish penannular on eBay and wanted to know how it works. I lost the auction but gained a couple of ideas for accessories I can use in a similar way.

I'm ok with guacamole as a food group.


Right this moment Sophie and Olivia are playing "Mouse for Cats" on my iPad together. They seem to take turns catching the mouse, and Sophie is somewhat better at this game. Occasionally they slap each other, but somehow it works out.

A new year.

A week without what the writers on call the "Perv of the day advent calendar".

Random Thought
Do you believe that Meghan really "knew nothing" about Prince Harry before their blind date? Regardless, I love her and the two of them together.

How are you? What's on your list of loves and banes? Any wishes and recommendations?

Pat McGrath Labs- Mothership I: Subliminal Palette Swatches & Review

Here’s the bottom line: I can’t use the old cliche “if you only buy one palette/makeup item this season let it be this one”. Not in good faith. And it’s not because Pat McGrath’s Mothership I Subliminal isn’t the most exciting release of the year, in my opinion. It is. It’s also gorgeous beyond anything my pictures show. And incredibly versatile, offering in only ten shades various options for understated neutral elegance, award show glamour, creative editorial looks, fun and fashionable, edgy and dark... you name it and it’s right there waiting for your brushes and fingers. The quality is superb in every way, from what beauty bloggers call “buttery” and Pat McGrath refers to as “emollient”, to pigment saturation. The Subliminal palette is easy to apply and blend if you know what you’re doing; and have I mentioned it’s gorgeous? The packaging, too, I mean. Heavy, luxurious, with a beautiful beveled mirror that you will actually use.

It costs $125.

And that’s why I can’t say that Subliminal is a must-have and feel right about it. But the palette does bring me joy when I use it (I don't mean to sound like Marie Kondo who doesn't have monopoly o feeling joy), as well as inspiration. I’ve done a one color look, a two, three, and four shade looks, and there’s still room for exploration there. It reminds me again and again why I fell in love with makeup all those years ago. If you’ve read my big palette post from earlier this week you know that’s a lot.

So what do we have inside Pat McGrath’s packaging? What is it about the ten eye shadows that creates the magic? I think it’s the combination of taupes, the bluest blue, the duochrome colors, and that stunning special effect topper that isn’t exactly white and isn’t exactly opalescent (and is nearly impossible to capture on camera) that deliver beautiful looks.

Here are the colors and my notes about using them.

Top Row (top of wrist downward)
Skinshow Nude- Shimmery/pearly pale golden beige. It's a long description for a deceivingly basic color. It can be the main lid color or an inner corner highlighter. Also works for me under the lower lash line since I've learned on Pat McGrath's site that you can use it wet or dry.
Depth- A cool dusty earthy brown matte. Blends seamlessly on the outer v and can become the star of a soft daytime smoky eye.
Ultimate Taupe- The name says it all. A pale greigy matte taupe.
Pale Gold 002- A true yellow gold metallic color. It's another wet/dry formula, but I have yet to feel a need to dampen my brush for it. It brings a lot of life the inner corner of the eye on a gray day.
VR Violet-  Apparently the VR stands for virtual reality. I'm a sucker for duochrome and this violet with a reddish shift is a stunner. This one has to be applied with your finger (or a dampened synthetic brush as a second-best option).

Bottom Row (from he wrist down the arm)
Xtreme Black- The obvious use for this darkest mattest sootiest of blacks is an eyeliner, either with a dampened small brush or dry. However you can create a magnificent evening look by covering the lid in this black and topping it with Astral White or various sheer glitters (those Stila liquid ones).
Lilac Dusk- I didn't think I'd love this shimmer grayed lilac as much as I do. Pat McGrath describes it as an "intense multi-dimensional crystalline lavender" and that's probably the secret of this unique lid color that can be easily worn during the day. This is the most powdery (=messy) eye shadow in the palette, but I don't mind it.
Substance- It's sort of the shimmer version of Depth from the top row. The texture is so creamy it almost feels wet (see: emollient).
Blitz Blue – You know that this is was the initial reason I chose this palette out of the three Mothership sets. It's the satin blue to end all blues. The opaque pigment goes on the lid so perfectly I'm kind of speechless.
Astral White – If I remember correctly, this is the color that was part of a couple of Pat McGrath's original kits, those that came in bags full of sequins. I was certain they were neither environmentally sound nor cat or vacuum cleaner friendly (Lizzy and Georgie who hang out with me during makeup time would have covered my entire dressing room and themselves with sequins). I still lusted after Astral White and now I have this opalescent white topper with an icy blue shift that you pat on with your finger over just about anything (other than the cats) and see what happens. The most dramatic effect is over black, obviously, but you can create the softest tonal look with Astral White, and it can go anywhere, any time. Does not work with a brush. At all.

About the swatches: they were done over a random eye primer (Lorac, in this case, because it was right there in front of me) using an ancient workhorse flat brush, Paula Dorf Eye Glimmer circa 2001, which is a synthetic brush wider than MAC 242. Except of course where it was specified to use my finger. All of them are one swipe of color, unblended and not cleaned up.

Some nitpicking:
1. I already mentioned that there's some powder falldown varying between the colors. It's not ABH Subculture level (a palette I actually like. One shade at a time), but I would not do my under-eye base first.
2. The outer cardboard packaging is artistic and pretty, but the gold print on its back came all blurry on mine to the point it was impossible to read the ingredients.
3. Speaking of which, I've tossed the cardboard box but I'm pretty sure that it said "Made in the USA", while the small sticker on the bottom of the palette itself declares "Made in Italy". Which one is it?
4. The palette comes with a separate card stating the names of the eye shadows. I wish they were engraved or at least printed on the palette itself. How long do you think I can keep it safe from George and Lizzy, not to mention Lilian who's also developed a fondness for makeup?

Bottom Line: See Above. Still, you'll have to pry it from my cold dead hands.

Pat McGrath Labs- Mothership I: Subliminal Palette ($125, probably made in Italy. Or maybe in the US. Ask Pat) is available from Sephora, where I bought it back in October and on

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Let's Talk About It: The Big Palette Rush

I'm fully aware that this post is going to look more than slightly ridiculous in light of the next one, which will be a review of Pat McGrath's Mothership: Subliminal palette. I still think it's worth talking about, because palettes are a big part of current makeup conversations, both negative and positive. Younger consumer seem to think that palettes became a thing with the launch of the original Urban Decay Naked Palette in the summer of 2010. This is not quite accurate, of course. There've always been makeup palettes, big and small. While "always" in my case is the last thirty years that I've been wearing makeup and can describe from personal experience, makeup palettes have been here much much longer:

 Max Factor 1967, three years before I was even born
A multitasking palette from 1965

I love palettes. Always have. As a teen I had a large drugstore one, kind of the equivalent of those noname mega palettes people were buying on eBay over a decade ago (or the current Coastal Scents and their ilk). I also had a couple of adorable  St. Michael sets, a Marks & Spencer brand known for embossed tin packaging and pastel color stories. The shades were comically wrong for me, but they gave me the push to start doing makeup on my friends, several of whom had the right coloring for those pinks and lilacs. I had incredible fun doing that.

As far as I can remember, my mother was not a palette person. She favored duos or trios, and never had more than a couple of those at any given time. Browsing through vintage makeup books in my collection I'm reminded that we weren't always supposed to build layers of transition colors and use three separate shades in the crease alone. 'the 80s weren't that big on blending, either, but that's a topic for another day. My own approach to eye shadow was using two (three max) colors at any given time, the dark one mostly on the mobile lid and outwards, the lighter from the tear duct and up on most of the browbone. Using a quint or a quad didn't mean applying all the colors at once (If you're a millenial it can't make much sense, right?).

I didn't own a proper Christian Dior quint until my very late twenties (I did have a couple of Dior duos; one is still alive, well, and sees regular use because the quality, shades, and pigmentation are still superb). The following Dior ad from the fall/winter 1988 campaign (remember when there were only two makeup seasons/collections a year?) featuring the inimitable Susie Bick  pretty much embodies that style (and might be the reason I must have every blue Dior quint they release. It's seared into my brain.

Musing on palettes of yore also reminded me that Inglot did not really invent the "Freedom System". Other brands probably also had similar setups, but back in 1988 or early 1989 I decided to get a "create your own" duo of Revlon eye shadows. You'd buy the pans and the lady at the counter would pop them in a plastic compact. I needed something that would have fitted in a small makeup bag, so in my eternal wisdom I picked two colors: a satin/shimmer olive green and paired it with a matte hot pink. Now you know all my secrets.

I'm realizing I've been drifting off the subject of real actual palette and the shelf space they take up in stores, individual collection, and mental wishlist (and rabid coveting list, of which I'm just as guilty). When did they become the must-have of all must-haves? In the  early aughts (2003, I think) Chanel launched their Jeans de Chanel collection, with an eye shadow palette (a quad, really) as its star. I'm guessing it was a pre-fall release  that was available starting July that year, but I waltzed into my local Blomingdale's to buy it in early September, because I thought it'd pop  up nicely against my planned outfit for our anniversary dinner. There were no availability issues and I bought the quad and the matching liner, rejecting whatever else was in that display*.

During that same period Lorac was still a makeup artist-led brand (do you remember the lipsticks that were all named after Carol shaw's favorite celebs?). They had two eye & face palettes that to me are still iconic. The Snake Charmer (which I've bought soon after starting the blog even though it was on the market for over a year at that point. Funny how makeup marketing wasn't all about urgency) and the Croc Palette. You can see both in the photo at the top of the post. They're still as amazing. And what about really BIG palettes? Why didn't Cargo The Runway palette (2009) cause a mass shopping hysteria? After all, that was already in the new era that in my opinion was ushered by both MAC and their endless limited editions (at the height of the crazy it seemed like every four weeks. Then everyone stopped caring), and Bobbi Brown's whose original Chocolate palette (July 2006 for the fall collection) was really the first mass palette stampede I can remember (please correct me if it happened before).

Speaking of Bobbi, mega palettes were one of those items her super pro artists used on events (nowadays some are available to the public on a seasonal basis). MAC artists also had them in one form or another (right along with the bad attitude). I don't think I've seen a non-store brand (even Neiman has them), not made in china 500 colors that no one needs, or non-holiday drugstore  humongous palette until the last few years. Lorac Mega Pro is an extrapolation of their regular Pro palettes (the success might have caught them by surprise at first), and most of us have seen them being hyped to the moon and back on YouTube and Instagram. Not that Lorac is the biggest or worst offender here.  "Luxury" brands that have never been seen before outside the internet, Established brands that had the liquid highlighter go to their heads, brands releasing the very same shades again and again, upping the cute factor on packaging and lowering the quality, and we shall not forget: limited edition collaboration with celebrated online personalities that your mother has never heard about**.

All of that comes with a  clear message: Buy it. Buy it NOW. It won't last and then you'll cry. And you won't have this never seen before rose gold eye shadow that will never be released again (until next month. And have we told you that it's a LIMITED EDITION? Go! Go! Go!

Which brings me to the reason of this post. I love palettes. The ones at the top are a small glimpse of my collection. From Wet 'n' Wild to Chantecaille, Juvia's Place to Guerlain and everything in between. The thing I resent is the deluge of poorly thought and designed products that are marketed by people whose job is to sit in front (or behind) cameras and tell us to go shop now, before the next thing comes along, that you need another twenty eight eye shadow palette that offers the very same colors you already have "because they tweaked the formula and now it won't shed glitter into your cleavage" (remember how that glitter was the best thing ever two palettes ago?).  In most cases it's no longer about makeup, passion for innovation or technique, and it takes away a lot of the joy I feel when seeing a new collection and analysing how it relates to what we've seen in the most recent shows, as well as historical makeup moments, and  eternal fashion and beauty icons. There's still a lot to love (I owe you an in-depth overview of the entre Man Ray collection, which is exactly why I love makeup-in-context so much), and Pat McGrath has brought back artistry to choosing colors and textures. It's just the rest of them that make me cranky.


  • How do YOU feel about the palettes of the last couple of years?
  • What makes a collection exciting for you? What and who can make you buy them?
  • YouTube and Instagram personalities who are not Lisa Eldridge: how important is their endorsement to you?
  • Have you stopped buying or even testing products from certain brands? Why or why not?

* Chanel gets me every time. Right now I'm bemoaning the fact that Jews don't do Christmas and we only do Hanukkah for the children, since the Le Singe de Leon highlighter in Or Rose and the new Jardin De Chanel Blush in Camelia Peche have ensnared me. Yup, just as I was ranting about the limited edition ludicrousness. I'm a Chanel sheep.

** I want to be clear that my issue about collaborations is with the brands and the crap they produce, not with the marketing personalities that front them. I have a lot of respect to those among them who have game and can hustle, because I absolutely lack the talent. If I have a bone to pick with them is about knowledge and intellectual curiosity, but it is not something I'll discuss in public because they're also people with feelings, sensitivities, and mothers who read everything that is said about them.

So let's talk about it. What say you?

See Also

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