Saturday, December 15, 2012

A True Work of Art: The Laura Mercier Artist Palette

For quite some time I felt myself growing oddly disillusioned with makeup palettes. What had always been something I'd gravitate towards for their value, compact convenience and array of products from any given brand suddenly became something I'd grown tired of. In recent months it had occurred to me that I favored only one or two shades in many of the palettes I own and particularly if these colors could be purchased individually, the palette suddenly seemed wasteful in terms of product, money and space.

For these reasons I've avoided purchasing makeup palettes for months ... and then I laid my eyes on Laura Mercier's masterpiece, the incomparable Artist Palette. Though Laura Mercier is becoming a wildly popular brand, I still feel as though her eye shadows are overlooked. For my part, I have yet to encounter a Mercier shadow that isn't smooth, incredibly easy to work with and beautifully pigmented.

The largely cool toned palette offers two rows largely grouped by color and divided into shimmery, illuminating shades (top) and matte shades (bottom). I was immediately drawn to the Artist Palette both due to the mix of shimmery and matte shadows as well as the fact that it contains some of the brand's most popular shades.

Chocolate is a plum tinged deep brown that I've been using as an eyeliner as well as a shade to subtly deepen the complexity of my eye makeup at the outer V. I'm very excited I finally own African Violet, one of Laura Mercier's most popular shades, described as a violet copper shimmer. Sable is a very unique cool gray taupe unlike anything else in my collection. The shade appears quite steel colored in the pan, so I'm certain the swatch will surprise you (below)! 

Vanilla Nuts is a classic creamy light champagne shade that looks stunning on the brow bone and pairs well with every shadow in the palette. My love for Plum Smoke, a smoky amethyst, is well established so I'm thrilled to have a second pan. Finally, Café au Lait is a neutral caramel only slightly richer in tone than MAC's much loved, limited edition Moleskin.

I don't often wear shades like Guava, which is actually a much deeper pink than it appears in the pan. I look forward to broadening my horizons, though I'm not quite certain how I'll wear it yet! Cameo, a shimmering champagne tinged with cantaloupe undertones, was an instant hit with me. I'm certain it will end up being one of the most used shades in the palette along with Sunlit, the obligatory classic shimmering golden beige.

Coffee Ground is a lovely rich, reddish deep brown that makes for an amazing liner. Rich Night is quite frankly the matte navy I've been dreaming of for months! The shadow applies like a dream and blends to perfection. Though I do find Deep Coffee a bit redundant due to the fact that it's not too different from Coffee Ground, the deeper shade of brown takes the place of a black in the palette.

As is to be expected all of the shimmering shades are incredibly pigmented, smooth shadows. I took these photographs on a gray day: setting aside the editing of the photograph meant to make my swatches look true to product color, you can see just how much light these shadows attract. Even the darkest shade among them brings light to the eyes which I love!

(Left to right): Chocolate, African Violet, Sable, Guava, Cameo and Sunlit

I have quite a few amazing quality matte shadows in my collection, but Laura Mercier's are undoubtedly the best. I hope the swatches below convey just how smooth, pigmented and easy to work with these matte eye shadows are.

(Left to right): Vanilla Nuts, Plum Smoke, Café au Lait. Coffee Ground, Deep Night and Rich Coffee

I am absolutely blow away by the Artist Palette, and I just can't bring myself to put it down. The perfect mix of illuminating and matte shades means that I don't really need another eye shadow or eye liner, just this palette and a lick of mascara. I can only think of one downside: the packaging. Though I love a bit of animal print and texture here and there, The Artist palette is housed in a snakeskin fabric case that I'm not the biggest fan of. In light of the fact that I adore Laura Mercier's classic, deep plum packaging I'd really prefer that this palette were packaged as all her other products are. 

I purchased Laura Mercier's Artist Palette at Sephora for USD $48 which I consider an excellent price given the size and quantity of shadows within. Unfortunately when last I checked the palette was listed as "sold out" on Sephora's website. Nevertheless, if you're able to snag this gem in store I highly recommend that you do. I haven't been more pleased with a palette in recent memory!

Do you have a favorite Laura Mercier shadow?