Friday Post…Pick Up A Palette

God, but make-up palettes used to be boring, didn’t they? Yet right now I have at least four or five of the latest limited editions up and running in my make-up trunk (yes I said trunk, what did you expect?), each more beautiful and (here’s the kicker) more wearable than the last – the kind of compacts that make you want to stick a finger in, rather than stick ’em in a drawer and wait for the day they all become collectibles on ebay.

So what happened? According to make-up artist Karen Mason (if you like your cosmetic chat peppered with astrology – and I do – Karen’s your gal) a number of beauty pros are currently toting the latest offerings from Guerlain et al around in their kit, they’re that good. ‘Beauty companies have cottoned onto the face that consumers want value for money – and that means no duff shades, thanks very much. And because we know we can go to brands like Trish McEvoy and Cosmetics A La Carte to put our own custom-made kits together, why would we buy something we’re only going to use half of?’ Here’s what she thought of the handful I tumbled in front of her yesterday, and a few ways to wear them…


Laura Mercier Silk Road Eye & Cheek Colour Palette (£37): ‘Gorgeous sparkle with a great colour pay-off, a lot like old Nars eyeshadows. The lilac will suit just about anybody and the violet would look amazing on black skin – the right purple can lift and brighten a tired complexion when you’re coming out of winter and into spring, and it’s a very pretty way of making a statement. I’d use a creamy primer or neutral eyeshadow underneath to anchor these shades as they’re quite sheer – Shu Uemura Cream Eye Shadow in P Pearl Beige (£18.50) is brilliant and works under anything, or try Benefit Lemon-Aid (£16.50), which also disguises redness. Either will keep your colours looking true and make them last much longer.’

Guerlain Ecrin 6 Couleurs in Rue De Rivoli (£52.50): ‘Well, they say you pay for packaging but this is some packaging,’ says Karen. ‘I keep these in my kit (as do other make-up artists I know) and have dropped one of them at least twice – it’s still in perfect condition. They’re predominantly satin rather than sparkle so are great on older skin, but aren’t flat and matte either which can be just as aging. The darker bar  takes you from day to night – apply with a damp brush but do reserve a small section at the bottom of the bar to play with, as getting your shadows wet can change their texture.’

Bobbi Brown Pretty Face Palette (£42): I know, up she pops again and I was trying so hard. But in a season that’s pushing more pink than I ever thought possible this deserves a mention if only to prove a point. Which is? Rose rocks, try it. ‘Especially if you’re looking tired or sallow – just don’t wear the strong shades  against your lashes or you’ll look rabbit-eyed.’ says Karen. ‘Sheeny pastels work well as highlighters, and the rose-taupes and flesh tones sit so well on the skin, creating a beautiful Rubens glow.  Try using your fingertips to stipple a few soft tones over the eye-lid for a muted ‘butterfly wing’ effect’.

Here, I must confess that I requested a way of ‘toughing up’ said pinks and pastels and was gently admonished. ‘You could do it with a lot of liner (try Clinique Kohl Shaper in Black Amethyst,£13.50) or by keeping blush to a minimum to make it look a bit more modern, but why not just embrace the pretty?’ said Karen. ‘Wear a soft pink eye with a rosy cheek and a sheer gloss with a shot of sparkle. Or if you want an even bolder pop of colour but don’t want it on the eye, wear one of the soft taupe shadows with a bright pink lip.’

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