Monday, February 14, 2011

Laura Mercier Eye and Cheek Palette (Silk Road Collection)

Laura Mercier's latest is the Silk Road Collection which includes some new lip plumpers, a couple of stick gloss shades, a new liquid eyeliner and the showstopper eye and cheek palette.

Laura Mercier Eye and Cheek Palette

When this palette hit my favorite Nordstrom counter, I was so psyched! The SA and I took it for a test drive and I was so pleased with the results that I bought it. One defining thing about the palette is that it doesn't have any cream items. No lipstick or lip glazes. It's all powder. I love that about it. I always carry a separate tube or palette of lip color anyway and I tend to leave my eye shadows at home. I don't like it when powders get stuck in the cream. Leaving it out of this one was a grand idea.

The palette is a fabric-covered clutch-case with a large mirror and a magnetic closure. While it doesn't seem like the most secure thing, I actually haven't had any problems with it accidentally opening on me. I like that it's easy on the hands and there'll definitely be no nail-breaking trying to get it open. But I've mentioned my lack of fondness for magnets. While it's light, I think the magnet makes it not so purse-friendly. Also, the mirror is floppy. It will not stand on it's own. This is not a big deal but something to be noted.

Laura Mercier Eye and Cheek Palette ($48)

The colors, I adore. You have a lovely taupe shade (Rare Taupe) that can stand on its own for everyday. There's a sheer pinky/peachy, sparkly golden shade (Golden Sands) that you can use as a highlighter or a sheer wash all over the lid. And then the violets: a lovely for spring lavender (Lavender Silk) with the smoothest texture, and a deep, dark violet with a sprinkling of sparkles (Regal Violet) that you can apply sheerly or build to intensified color. The combination just works for my brown eyes on a bunch of different levels. I use Rare Taupe a lot. I lightly sweep Golden Sands all over and then I concentrate Rare Taupe on the lid up to the crease. You pop on eyeliner and mascara and it's done. Good for a trip to the mall, good for work, you can even smoke it out for a party.

Lavender is, I find, an acquired taste. Some people dislike it on them and some people, like myself, adore the pop of color. But really, if you think about it, if you're not piling it on, lavender can be pretty neutral. Lavender Silk is not an overwhelming color and it's not so pastel that you could get away with it, even if you're no longer in your teens. My SA applied it all over my lid, a bit beyond the crease. Then she used Regal Violet lightly on the outer corner and applied some Rare Taupe on that same corner, to the outer browbone with a ponytail brush. Golden Sands went right under the brow, then she simply lined my upper lash line with the Noir eyeshadow (plain matte black shadow that's not in this palette) and we applied mascara. The result was pretty. Very clean and refreshing. A hint of lavender with a subtle depth.

Eye shades from top left: Regal Violet, Golden Sands
Bottom from Left: Rare Taupe, Lavender Silk

Swatches from left: Regal Violet, Golden Sands

Swatches from left: Rare Taupe, Lavender Silk, Regal Violet, Golden Sands

Swatches from left, with flash: Rare Taupe, Lavender Silk, Regal Violet, Golden Sands

Palace Pink Cheek Color

Swatches from left: Palace Pink, Persian Rose

Persian Rose

The cheek colors are a nifty pair that looks designed to please a crowd. What you have is pretty much a dupe for NARS Orgasm and a sheer pink with a golden sheen. Actually, both of them have a golden sheen. For this reason, you must be careful not to go overboard with either one. The most natural-looking effect I've achieved is by using the new Laura Mercier Powder Fan Brush first dipped in Palace Pink and swept onto cheekbones and then dipped in Persian Rose and stippled or swept all across the cheek. The only guideline really, is to use very little product.

From Left: Laura Mercier Persian Rose, NARS Orgasm

Side by side with NARS Orgasm, can you even tell the difference? But there is a difference, and that's in the application. Orgasm is so lightly buildable, less powdery and a lot more subtle. This is the hallmark of those great NARS blushes. When swatched, if I use the exact same amount of swiping, Persian Rose produces a more intense pink and a heavier golden sheen. But if applied ever so lightly, they might as well be the same thing. This is a dupe, if there ever was one. And both Persian Rose and Palace Pink are highly useable. The quality is good. It lasts pretty much all day. The colors will certainly appeal to a large group of people across varying skintones.

Swatches from left: Laura Mercier Persian Rose, NARS Orgasm

Granted there's nothing completely unique about this palette, I still love it. The quality is there. The pigmentation is good, except on Golden Sands, which comes across very sheer. But because these colors are easily duplicated, even with colors from her own line (Laura Mercier), I can't declare it a real must-have. If you love lavender and taupe powder shadows and want them together in a palette with a pseudo NARS Orgasm, you have a reason to pick this up. At $48, it's a better value than buying 2 eyeshadow singles and NARS Orgasm, which will run you $44 on the cost of the shadows alone. But you are looking at less product. If you actually ever hit pan on eyeshadows, then by all means, buy singles. For me, this is the super handy travel palette I've been waiting for. I'd grab this in place of a bulkier trio of eyeshadows and blush and head for the airport.

(Note: If you're thinking of buying singles, the closest matches from the Laura Mercier line would be Kir Royal for Regal Violet, Lilac or Dusk for Lavender Silk, Sable or Topaz for Rare Taupe and I can't approximate Golden Sands but for some gold pearl in an Ivory base, maybe Sandbar or Sandstone if you want something with a hint of pink. I personally would prefer Sandbar or Stellar rather than a pink.)

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