As I get older and more experienced with makeup, my expectations rise. It's rare now for me to go "oh wow" when I try something new, so I was pleasantly shocked when I had just such a moment recently when I tried out these new (to me) Clarins items.
Now, everyone knows Clarins as that ubiquitous department store staple with the red packaging, but when you think of amazing makeup brands, Clarins doesn't exactly jump to mind. The brand has always been associated with the type of woman who's often older and more interested in looking tasteful than trendy, but that's no reason to not give this brand a try. I haven't tried too many Clarins makeup items, but of what I have tried, I've had zero complaints!
Case in point, the Face Contouring Palette (LE) and Ombre Iridescente Eyeshadow. When I first received these, my reaction was "oh great, another contouring trio and grey shadow. YAWN," but I was so wrong.
The Face Contouring Palette is on the surface your typical contouring kit. There's a golden beige highlight, a neutral medium toned bronzer and a petal pink blush. This trio is designed to target light-medium skin tones and has been dermatologist tested to be suitable for all skin types. Each shade is matte and has a really fine, silky texture that just loves to be blended in with a brush.
The Face Contouring Palette also comes with special contouring brush, but dump it as it's rubbish. This mini brush has a unique sickle shape that supposedly is designed to help carve our your cheekbones. I gamely decided to try this one out as I assumed maybe Clarins would make a nice brush, but nope, as soon as I touched this brush to my palette, I got a crumbly, powdery mess and I put that brush down instantly. Time to call in my tried-and-true brushes!
After that I fared much better. As I mentioned, these powders just love to be blended. I decided to try out Clarins' enclosed instructional pamphlet, and first took my contouring brush to apply bronzer to the hollows of my cheeks and hairline. My mouth immediately dropped when I first took my contouring brush to the bronzer as this bronzer is so pigmented. The texture of these powders are so fine and satiny and just ugh, so nice! If you use a gentle hand to slowly build up color and apply liberal blending motions, then the colors of this trio are just perfection.
I always find blending bronzers a pain, but with the Clarins Face Contouring Palette, it's a breeze. The bronzer looks amazing as it's not orange or cool toned, but pink toned so it wears almost like a brown blush. When paired with the blush, my skin just looks more alive somehow, as if it were lit from within. Even though the powders look matte in the pan, somehow when on my skin it just becomes illuminated, as if it had some Guerlain Meteorites magic baked into it. My skin looks almost airbrushed and so different that I couldn't stop squinting at my cheek in the mirror as I couldn't figure out how this effect worked.
The only, not dud, but least exciting shade out of this palette for me was the highlight. It's a cream matte that's exactly the same color as my skin so it doesn't really do much for me, but it does work well as an overall powder with light coverage. I'd definitely use this as a finishing powder!
|Swatches of the Clarins Face Contouring Palette and Ombre Iridescente Eye Shadow in Silver Grey|
The shade I received to try was Silver Grey and it's a shimmery mid-tone steel grey. Made with bamboo powder and vitamin E, the Ombre Iridescente Eyeshadows come in 7 different neutral colors and all have a shimmery, pearl finish with a unique creamy texture designed for all day wear.
I usually avoid cream shadows as they tend to crease and are streaky on me, but the Clarins Ombre Iridescente Eyeshadow felt quite buttery and with a dense shadow brush, was super pigmented and definitely on par with my Urban Decay shadows.
I should have recorded myself applying this shadow as I'm pretty sure my reaction was just a series of "ugh, so beautiful!", "ahhh I love this!" and other incoherent mutterings. The shimmer on this shadow isn't sparkly per se, as there's no visible glitter, but it's as bright and glistening as a true glitter.
Despite all the shimmer, this shadow also has a decently pigmented base of color, which I often find lacking in glitter shadows. Overall the Ombre Iridescente Eyeshadow are a great grown-up version of sparkly eyeshadows and perfect for a smoky eye, a sheer wash of color, or just as a shimmering liner.
Even though both of these products are quite pigmented and high impact, they are actually very wearable and natural looking on. I created this makeup look using both products and I love how soft and yet defined my features look. I can't wait to try these out with more looks in the future!
The Face Contouring Palette retails for $42 USD ($56 CAD) and the Ombre Iridescente Eyeshadow for $25 USD ($33 CAD) and are available at Clarins counters everywhere. While definitely high-end price-wise, this is one of those occasions where I'd vote that these are worth investing in. There are many other contouring trios at similar prices that aren't anywhere as great and this one I'd say is comparable to my beloved Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow, but at half the price! As for the eyeshadow, the Ombre Iridescente Eyeshadow is only slightly more expensive than the Make Up Forever singles and again, at comparable quality.
If you're curious about expanding your makeup horizons, then get thee to a Clarins counter as there are some real diamonds in the rough to discover!
* This post contains PR samples