I was always a fan of full-face palettes. I have loved a couple of Chanel ones, very much used a few Laura Mercier ones and then there was that Dior box that simply had everything. I used that for years! They don't make them like that anymore. The popularity of the Urban Decay Naked Palettes spawned a whole slew of copycats. 12 eyeshadows in one palette! But I longed for the one that had it all: eyeshadows, blush, powder, lip color, a sturdy, travel-friendly compact with a large mirror that I could actually use.
Over the holidays, I saw a number of those but I zeroed in on two brands that I felt most comfortable with: Chanel and Guerlain. Similar price point (under a hundred) and content, I figured deserved a comparison post. I threw in the YSL Kiss and Love Palette just because it was similarly-priced although the lack of a blusher kind of sets it apart. I considered purchasing the Dolce & Gabbana one except it was about $150 and now out of stock where I would have purchased it. But anyway...
Let's start with the Chanel Destination Travel Palette packaged in a velvet pouch with an elastic to go around and keep it closed. There is a travel-size mascara included and the pouch has a special place for it. Nice touch. It is pretty much your usual black plastic case with the interlocking C's on the outside. There is an ample sized mirror, some applicators including this foldable blush brush, which I thought was a brilliant space-saving design. As per the Chanel website, the actual makeup included are as follows:
Eyeshadow in Mauve Shimmer, Sheer Pink Satin, Pearl Satin, Bronze Shimmer and Espresso Satin. Lipgloss in Coral, Pink and Fuchsia. Lip Colour in Mauve and Berry. Blush in Rose Shimmer. Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour SPF 15 in No. 20. Inimitable Mascara Multi-Dimensionnel in Noir.
The Guerlain Extra Gold Palette is in a much less luxurious case. It's a thinner plastic with a magnetic closure. It's quite a bit larger overall but I'm disappointed in the design as Guerlain usually has beautiful packaging. Going beyond aesthetics, there is a lack of functionality in the overall palette design. While they included a place for all the applicators, the travel mascara and the travel lip gloss, they did not think to add something to help prop up the mirror. There is no way to keep it up unless you've got one finger against it at all times. It is not particularly convenient to hold the palette up with one hand and keep one finger against the mirror. The entire thing is simply too heavy. And at the end of it all, the word I have in my head to describe it is, disposable. It's almost as if they designed everything in the plastic casing so that when you finish the mascara and gloss, you just toss the entire thing. That just doesn't seem very Guerlain to me.
The actual makeup included, as per the Neiman Marcus website (I purchased mine at the store), are as follows: a universally flattering medium-toned powder, a pearlescent pink blush, four eyeshadows (light lavender, smoky purple, slate grey and golden bronze), two lipsticks (luminous pink and raspberry red), a pink Maxi Shine Gloss, black mini Cils D'Enfer mascara, powder brush, double-ended eyeshadow applicator and lip applicators, all in a chic palette with mirror and instruction leaflet. Just to clarify the colors, the blush applies as a multi-dimensional pink coral with an opalescent gold sheen. VERY BEAUTIFUL. If I were to describe the eyeshadows, counterclockwise, starting with the top left, I would say the first one is a shimmery pale pink and not lavender. The one they call smoky purple seems more like a shimmery brown. The slate grey is a satiny taupe and the golden bronze is more golden than bronze but the description isn't wrong.
The YSL Kiss and Love palette comes in a much smaller sort of pocketbook style plastic and paper packaging with a magnetic closure and a thin elastic cord that I guess is more for appearances rather than functionality. It's a cute little thing, peppered with kisses. Size-wise, it's small enough to fit in my purse so it's definitely small enough for a travel bag. However, whatever space you saved will be offset by the blusher that you will have to bring along. I could have done without all the useless applicators. That space could have been better utilized to house a pretty blush.
Again, the YSL palette includes a mirror that won't hold itself up. However, this palette is light enough to hold in one hand while applying eyeshadow so I have actually been able to use the mirror. The caveat here is the position of the eyeshadows. Much like the Guerlain palette, the eyeshadows and the lipsticks are situated right next to each other, raising the likelihood of stray eyeshadow particles grabbing on to the lip colors. Has noone learned anything here? A flap, a cover, a lid, a simple tiny piece of plastic with a hinge would fix this issue. Instead I "solved" the problem the cheapest way I could think of, by putting a strip of tape over the lipsticks. But I will admit that it's highly inconvenient to have to lift the tape up carefully and put it back each time. It makes me not want to bother using the lipsticks. Chanel did a much better job with the design by putting them on the opposite end.
You can already tell here that Chanel is the big winner as far as packaging design and presentation are concerned. But what about the makeup? Take one look at the swatches and it's a clear runaway win for Guerlain. Those eyeshadows by Guerlain are pure buttery pigment with every swipe. They apply really well and blend beautifully. And that blush is totally gorgeous. I'm more into matte blushers but even I could not deny how nice this one looks on. As YSL did not include a blush, it's an automatic loss in this contest. I am surprised, however, at how much I did not like the Chanel blush. The color itself isn't the problem as it's a very wearable shade of pink for my skin tone but I did not like the silver glitter. Application was also not particularly smooth. It just didn't work for me.
|Above, from the Guerlain Extra Gold Palette|
|Above, eyeshadows and blush from the Chanel Destination Travel Palette|
|Above, the lip colors from the Chanel Destination Travel Palette|
As far as the Chanel eyeshadows go, I have mixed feelings. I normally don't really mind lighter pigmentation or even a slight powderiness in eyeshadows. But I feel like the formula that they used for the colors in this palette need a tacky base to work properly. An eyeshadow primer, a MAC Paint Pot or even some smudged out eyeliner could seriously help get looks together when using these colors as they apply lightly. What I appreciate is the fact that they didn't go with all shimmer, which is what Guerlain and YSL did. I need to see at least one matte shade or a light satin that looks mostly matte when applied. Otherwise, I usually end up packing an extra eyeshadow or I end up using the face powder to mute the shimmer in certain places.
|Above, YSL Kiss & Love lip colors and eyeshadows|
YSL's eyeshadows, as mentioned, are all shimmer and shine. The two darker colors (the gold on the leftmost and the brown on the rightmost) applied better than the two lighter colors. Those two dark colors are money. I love them. I could wear them everyday. The gold on the lid, the brown on the crease, one of the lighter colors underneath the brow and blend, blend, blend. When worn, I substitute the fourth shade with a satiny beige single eyeshadow from another brand to tie the look together. As I said, I could use a matte in here somewhere.
Overall, all three are rather nice palettes to have. My least favorite is the YSL one and it offers the least variety for the money since it is about the same price as the others but does not have a blush or mascara included. I loved the colors in the Guerlain palette and all the products applied beautifully. I adore the red lip color, I love the blush and the eyeshadows are beautiful. Guerlain's Cils D'Enfer is one of my favorite mascara formulas too. So when it comes to the product, I think I prefer Guerlain's Extra Gold to the Chanel Destination Palette.
Who would I recommend these products to? Because of the shade of the powder in all three palettes, I would say this is more for light to medium skin tones. I'm more of an NC-20 and all three powders work for me. They won't substitute for foundation but I could finish or touch up with any of them.
The Chanel Destination Palette is the one I deem most travel-worthy. It was initially offered by Nordstrom for the 2015 Anniversary as one of their exclusive products but Chanel is now selling it on their website in the US. I haven't seen it at other department stores. Neiman Marcus is currently selling the Guerlain Extra Gold palette as an exclusive and I truly haven't seen that anywhere else. I've found that some of these exclusive items trickle down into the mainstream after a few months or they can be found at duty-free shops. The YSL Love and Kiss palette seems to be available at most places that sell YSL makeup although it is a limited edition item.