Friday, October 10, 2014

Elegance Paris: A comprehensive look

 Ever since I picked up and reviewed Elegance Paris' Nouvelle Eyes in 02 (here), I couldn't get the brand out of my mind. I find myself perusing the Elegance section on Ichibankao from time to time and thought there was no better time to splurge on more Elegance pretties than during my birthday month.

Radiance Quartet BR400 (8,650 yen)
I first heard about these Radiance Quartet powders from a favorite beauty blogger of mine, Beauty Gypsy. Apparently these are under Elegance's "other series" category, and thus, are more exclusive (but still part of the permanent line.) In short, they are a blush and highlighter in one compact. These come in three flavors: pink, orange, and brown. My knee jerk reaction would have been to snatch the orange one, but the rational side of me stepped in last minute telling me I didn't need any more orange blushers. Hence, the brown one.

In the pan, it seems like it would be more of a bronzer, and some skintones may be able to pull this off as a bronzer. On me, it's too warm and has too much of an orange undertone. Instead, I prefer swirling a brush into the three shades on the left to give a glowy, nude blush that pairs extremely well with a smoky eye -- or just for some subtle definition when I'm not contouring. One can concentrate on the different stripes depending on their skintones and/or preferences. The powder is very finely-milled and blends effortlessly. It stays on beautifully and lasting the entire day on my skin with just the hint of fading by the 10-hour mark. There is a very noticeable scent, however, and it finally occurred to me that the scent is similar to that of Les Merveilleuses Laduree products.

Bottomline: truly one of the standout products from the line.

Poudre Haute Nuance 01 (13,000 yen)
Multi-colored face powder is my kryptonite, and Elegance just delivers them so elegantly (pun intended) making them hard to resist. 01-03 are more mattifying, whereas 04 and 05 are more luminous in finish. One of the drawbacks to ordering online is not having a feel for them beforehand -- how they apply, which one is more suited for certain skintones, etc. I chose 01, since I thought it would be the more universal shade, much like the Meteorites, but I was wrong. This is best suited for fair to light folks, as it can look very obvious if I overapply, which is quite easy since it is more on the powdery side. There is also a light floral scent to this powder.

Is it mattifying? Yes, but not as mattifying as the Guerlain Meteorites compact pressed powder, and certainly nowhere close to how loose powders perform. I have tried this as a finishing powder, and I find that it works well for that purpose too. Maybe my views on this would have been different had I picked the right shade, but in my opinion, I don't think this is a must have by any means. That said, I do hope to try one of the more luminous shade options in the future.

Nouvelle Eyes 01, 11, 12 (7,400 yen)
Onto the more noteworthy show stoppers of Elegance's lineup (figuratively and literally speaking): The Nouvelle Eyes quad. I have yet to find another eyeshadow quad that rivals its design and bling. (Swatches of each quad can be found after the individual reviews.)

01: (permanent) This quad reminds me of Suqqu's EX-12 Hisuidama meets Tom Ford adult glitter shadow. All four colors are unbelievably smooth and just apply easily with no fallout at all! Some may say that this is the most sheer quads of them all, but sheerness is such a subjective term these days. None of the Elegance quads I own are richly pigmented by any stretch of the imagination. They are, however, buildable and softly pigmented, so it all boils down to a matter of preference. There are no mattes in the quads -- only glitter, shimmer, and more glitter. Since the glitter is so refined, I can definitely say it's daytime and work appropriate. Probably one of my favorite quads, this is a must if you are fans of Tom Ford glitter but with the complexity of Suqqu shadows.

11: (LE) I was most excited for the navy blue shade of this quad, but ultimately, this is a palette I know I won't be getting too much use out of. To start, it is too cool-toned for me, and secondly, the navy blue just translates as a satin black with zero dimension -- only unevenness and patchiness upon application. I do think that this palette is more suited for those who are looking for minimal shimmer and sparkle on their eyes. The gray does lean blue on my lids, so if you are someone who has a difficult time pulling off grays for the same reason, you may want to make a note of that. For me, this palette is a dud since I'll eventually be reaching for the taupe and ivory-champagne shades of the four.

12: (LE) What drew me to 12 was the unique color combination of cool and warm tones. One can technically get two eye looks from this one palette alone by drawing a horizontal line dividing the top two shades from the bottom two. Thankfully, this fared better than #11, and the three lighter colors are more pigmented. The black forest green is not as smooth as I had hoped, but it is still gorgeous nonetheless with the noticeable gold glitter. Unlike the previous two quads, I find that I can achieve a full look with all four colors, since the top right hand shade actually  makes for a nice transition (or even crease) color. I do think this is one that's worth owning, and I particularly like mixing the two different tones to give a more polished look.

(Swatches in clockwise order over bare skin)

Just like all the other makeup brands out there, there are bound to be hits and misses. Elegance Paris is no exception, though the line will always excel in packaging -- which undeniably will keep me coming back for more. The pricepoint for Elegance products definitely reflects the shiny golden packaging, but I do wish there's more substantial weight to the compacts (which are made of plastic.) I plan on trying the blushers and lipsticks next, but seeing how they are permanent, I can hold off on them for a while. I do strongly recommend checking the products out in person, if possible, since the "swatches" both from the Elegance Paris official website and from Ichibankao can be a bit misleading.

Please note that the prices listed are what Ichibankao charges. You may find them at lower prices (read: in Japan), but I have yet to see Elegance sold online elsewhere.