Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerise Cream Eyeshadow: Cleopatra, Marie Antoinette, Mona Lisa

The Minority Report

After my  "meh" feelings and being rather unimpressed with the initial Charlotte Tilbury line launch I was sort of won over by the stunning Norman Parkinson collection. Granted, I picked and chose carefully, but ended up with two items I cherish and use. Between that and the gorgeous (and well-accepted) Eyes to Mesmerize range of cream eye shadows I was ready to delve in head first and buy all six colors. Thankfully, logic won and I only got three: Cleopatra (a rich peacock shade. You know I had to), Marie Antoinette (a  dirty gold, very complex), and Mona Lisa (a chocolaty bronze). Looking at these Charlotte Tilbury eye shadow for the first time and swatching them on my hand nearly sent me online to purchase the other three. They were SO beautiful with their rich pigment, mousse-like texture, and gleaming finish.

So Beautiful.

And so disappointing once you actually start using them.

I've seen so many online reviews praising and admiring these cream shadows. Everyone loves them. But between me and one of my friends who bought a couple of them as well, we could not believe the dismal performance. It took me back years ago to when cream eye shadows were the underachievers and rather useless part of makeup collections. In her book Style Eyes, makeup artist Taylor Chang-Babaian wrote ''The challenge with cream shadows is that they tend to smear and melt, often creasing on eyelids almost as soon as they are applied. ...look for a key word such as 'creaseless' and a great return policy''. The book is awesome, by the way. I need to go back to some of her techniques. But in any case, it's been years since I've come across a bad cream shadow. Until now.

According to Charlotte Tilbury "...simply use your fingertip to add a sheer wash of color across the eyelid. For a more dramatic effect, use a damp or dry brush and apply across the eyelid and lower lash line for high-impact, high-shine color.". Sounds easy and straightforward, especially with such a luxurious texture and intense color. We all know that with cream shadows less is more and you need to work in thin even layers (well, that's true for all makeup, but especially here). There was no problem creating a light and smooth surface, but the cream started migrating right away. A primer is a must, and I've thrown my entire arsenal at it. Generally speaking, NARS was the most effective, as well as one of the Urban Decay primers (i can't remember which. I was working from samples). Serge Lutens was a disaster, as were Lancome and Lorac. I found a sample of Too Faced, and it was okay. But no matter what, I could not keep the color in place. And that was only half the trouble. Marie Antoinette scattered shimmer particles when I applied it with a brush. And I wasn't buffing for my life, just gently patting it down. The other ones didn't so maybe it's a faulty jar, but who knows. I've found that the most effective way of application is after priming the lids to scoop a tiny amount on the back of my hand and work carefully with a brush or a finger, using about half the amount you think you need.

So I guess I made it work, sort of. But the inexcusable flaw of Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerise is longevity. They disintegrate, melt, or flake within three to four hours (I'm being generous). They're not an all day product, and not even suitable for a date night. They're pretty while they last, but what's the point of carefully doing your makeup to have the key element vanish and dissipate? Yes, I can try and anchor them into place by setting with a powder eye shadow on top, but doing that takes away the unique colors and the gleaming finish. So, once again, what's the point?

Bottom Line: a major disappointment.

Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerise Cream Eyeshadow ($32 each, made in Italy) are available at select department store and on Beautylish.


  1. I am actually wearing one of those right now, I applied at 7 am in the morning and right now it is 9:30 pm here.
    I have dry eye lids and use Nars Pro-prime underneath. Although I don't like the texture as much as Tom Ford ones, they are not major disappointment for me. By the way I am no way a CT fan, just wanted to write that the result is different depending on your eye shape and dryness.

  2. I have to say that I love cream eyeshadows but I can't wear them alone because I have oily lids. I were them over a primer and underneath a shadow to make my shadows pop. So for that reason, I don't buy the expensive ones, right now I'm loving everything ColorPop, their shadows are creamy, have to apply with fingers and they really enhance every eyeshadow that I wear with them. They are also so pigmented that they can be worn alone, they just aren't that blendable.

  3. I so remember the days of poor performing cream shadows. They've come so far that this is truly disappointing. The shades are gorgeous but, yes, if they don't work, they don't work. Thanks for the honest review. :)

  4. I've read completely opposing reviews of these eyeshadows and I'm firmly in the negative camp. Yes, the colors are gorgeous. Yes, the performance is dreadful. LOL. I have a dear friend who is a well respected MA out here in La La Land. He was curious as to how well these would work on his older clients and so he gave me two unlabeled sample pots and didn't tell me anything about them. He just said to try them both out for a week or so and report back. I found that they applied like a dream. They have good slip and apply smoothly. They also wore well for about two hours and then the problems started emerging. The color began to fade a bit and they began creasing. The creasing really surprised me because I have somewhat deep set eyes with a large moveable lid and absolutely zero hooding. Creasing is a problem I very seldom encounter and so these CT creams were very disappointing. I reported back to my friend that they'd be lovely if they only needed to look great for 2-3 hours, but otherwise, they were a complete fail for me :-(. I'll stick to Tom Ford.

  5. I'm someone for whom these work well, certainly as well as Tom Ford does, and I like the colours better than Tom Ford. I've been wearing Marie Antoinette several times a week since the summer and I have never encountered any kind of "shimmer Particle". Amazing how polarising these are, LOL!

  6. These colors look beautiful, but I think this will be a 'try before you buy' for me. Just too many conflicting reports/issues. I do want that Peacock though, it's gorgeous!

  7. The colors are so pretty. I have most of the Tom Ford colors I want and all the Giorgio Armani colors I love. Since I'm not a makeup artist or blogger, I think my Dear Husband would be disappointed if I spent money on products I'd end up not wearing. He thinks my collection is too big as it is, and he maybe be right about that point.

  8. Charlotte Tilbury should have to check them out in person, prior placed on the market. Many beauty blogs are full of "excited, great, excellent, my H.G ". Their reviews are fake and I don't trust them anymore.

  9. I feel like these would work well on dry eyelids. Mine are super oily, so I will steer clear. I feel like people either love these or hate them. There doesn't seem to be a middle ground with these shadow pots. Thank you for your honest review! Just as an aside. Don't give up on all CT products. Her Retoucher concealers are amazing and the only ones I've tried that don't dry and flake by the end of the day and settle in the fine lines. Her rock n' kohl liners are the only ones that don't smudge on my bottom lash line. Her Matte Revolution lipsticks are incredible.

  10. I have oily lids and I bought Veruscka because it's sooo beautiful. Applied with my fingers and it settled in my crease almost immediately. Even with primer. And powder on top. But then i read that using a brush is way better so I tried and it actually worked. Tried it alone, with primer, with powder and both. I found the best was applying with a brush and then top it with a tiny amount of a powder. Lasts so many hours! And that's amazing for me because almost everything creases on me without primer when talking powder shadows, and this is a mousse so... Yeah I like it.


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