If there was one thing to learn from the celebrities' makeup at the Costume Institute Gala last week, it was that heavy eyeliner is the hottest look for evening. Most of us don't walk the red carpet too often and should probably avoid any exaggerated look, but going a little bolder with our eyeliner is quite flattering. Especially if we keep it sophisticated and use colors other than black.
Guerlain Terracotta Kohl, a loose powder eyeliner/eye shadow, is considered by many to be one of the scariest makeup products around. It's the wand, you see. We tend to have that fear of stabbing ourselves in the eye. But once you get acquainted with this kohl it can become a true love very quickly, thanks to beautiful pigments and the soft texture of the powdered pigment.
There are several schools of thoughts regarding wand usage. I've heard about swiping, closing your eyes over the wand while holding it on the water line, applying only to the upper lid/lash line and allowing the fallout to reach the bottom lashes and there are probably more ideas out there. Then there's the question of inside (the water line) vs. all around the eye. According to Pamela Morgan, Guerlain's national makeup artist, no matter what you choose, the only thing not to do with the kohl and its wand is holding it like a pencil. It simply doesn't work this way. The secret is to swipe it quickly and lightly, which is a lot easier than you think. I'm a royal klutz and still find it very easy to do, despite my mortal fear of getting anything inside my eyes. Pamela also suggest you try using a regular eyeliner brush, flat or pointed, for a more traditional application, above and under the lash line. This is a great technique for a dramatic smoky or goth-inspired look.
The powder is richly pigmented and has a light iridescence. Bleu (03) is a tad shinier while Mirage (06, the newest color in the series) is muted. Bleu is not glittery at all, despite the appearance in the packaging. The texture is very soft and pliable, so with little practice you can create many looks. While black can appear a bit harsh on many of us, the neutral taupish brown of Mirage is very flattering and versatile. Bleu is a gorgeous teal. I love it combined with sand and bronze- it's summer perfection.
The one big issue with Terracotta Kohl is the fallout. I haven't found a way to avoid this, and there's quite bit of it even when Pamela did my makeup. My advice would be to apply the kohl before you do anything else, including face primer and foundation. Cleanup is easy enough- a fluffy brush and a makeup removing wipe is all you need. The latter also works on cat paws, as I discovered (not before I got blue paw prints all over my dressing room. See Giselle in the last photo). A minor annoyance is the shape of the bottle/tube. It's beautiful, of course, but obviously can't stand on its own, so I either hold it in my left hand while applying or leave it lying on its side and hope it doesn't roll away (with or without feline help).
The thing I like best about Guerlain's kohl is the formula- it manages to be very gentle and never irritates my eyes, even when I use quite a bit on the water line. Still, the color remains vibrant and doesn't fade for 6-8 hours. When used on the lid over a good eye primer it stays put like any liner or shadow and Bleu maintains the soft glow. Any regular eye makeup remover works fine with it, so no rubbing needed.
Bottom line: Love. A great choice for a summer night.
Guerlain Terracotta Kohl Liner ($35 each) is available from most decent department stores and Sephora (Mirage is an online exclusive, for some reason). I received mine from the company's PR department.
All photos are mine (and Giselle's).