One of the most beautiful and practical sets of the season comes from Laura Mercier. The Fall Favorites Face Palette Collection is centered around the color palette, but also includes a a full size black mascara and three brushes- cheek, lip and eye. The brushes have short travel size handles but are otherwise full size, high quality and help one get the most of the palette. I wish Bobbi Brown would take notice and do the same with some of her face palettes.
The colors are neutral, wearable and very flattering. I already have a full size pan of Coffee Ground, a matte taupe, which I use often and always pack for travel. As you can see, it coordinates well with the other shades Laura Mercier has included here- Bamboo, Rose and Stellar. The four eye shadows are versatile, perfectly coordinated and are truly great for a day-to-night look. I swatched them very lightly, but the colors can be built for more drama if needed. They have a soft texture and a luxurious finish that fits this set very well.
The blushes are quite universal. I can wear both and also like mixing and blending them together. I could have lived with less shimmer, but it's not too bad. I swatched the colors more heavily then I wear them, to make sure you can see the difference between Spice and Apricot Blossom. A lighter application gives the face a natural healthy glow.
Out of the three lip colors, Crystal is a sheer gloss with very little pigment. I don't wear it on its own, but it's great either mixed with the other two or topping a different lipstick. My favorite thing to do here is blending Black Currant and Orchid together for a juicy and rich neutral color that's dark enough to look sexy but isn't too bold.
The only issue here is the size of the pans. The eye shadows are quite narrow and cross contamination is very easy, especially when using good brushes (like the ones that came with this collection). Still, as long as one is mindful things can be kept fairly clean. I've been putting the palette to good use in the last few weeks and have a feeling I'm going to run out of several colors within 6 months or so.
Bottom Line: Between the pretty packaging, tools and the work horse colors, this is a big winner.
This particular Laura Mercier Fall Favourites Face Palette Collection ($125) is a limited edition and exclusive to Saks (in store and online). Other department stores have different sets for fall 2010 with other colors and products (Neiman's has no lip products but includes more eye shadows and a pencil liner).
All photos are mine.