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.
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.