I've been putting off writing this review of Charlotte Tilbury makeup (available at Holt Renfrew) since forever because: 1) anything I say will be so superlative it'll sound like an infomercial; and 2) no matter how I tried, my photography skills couldn't seem to do justice to the burgundy-and-rose-gold packaging. Beautiful packaging aside, this line really is as good as everyone says it is. I've been playing around with some tried-and-true favourites ever since meeting Charlotte Tilbury herself at a press preview last winter—and now, I've got a few new launches on my beauty desk as well. This line was long overdue for a blog feature—more details after the jump!
Which Charlotte Tilbury girl are you?
As the MUA of choice for much of Hollywood, Charlotte Tilbury travels around with a lot of makeup; when she's prepping a client for the red carpet, she's usually mixing and matching, pulling this and blending it with that. This is great if you're Amal Clooney or Kate Moss, but what if you're the average woman with kids and a job and twenty minutes to get ready for a dinner date, and you need to be able to open your beauty kit and find all your go-to products in a single place?
This is where Charlotte Tilbury's signature looks come in. Each kit is expertly curated around a persona, taking all the guesswork out of picking the right shades. All you have to do is pick the persona. Are you a Glamour Muse or a Vintage Vamp? An Uptown Girl or an Ingenue? It's an ingenious way of shopping for makeup whether you're picking the kit that fits your personal style best or who you want to be in the moment—the Sophisticate during your nine-to-five daily grind, the Rock Chick at a weekend concert. (Incidentally, the signature looks make it a cinch for others to gift Charlotte Tilbury to you too. Your significant other doesn't have to know blusher from bronzer—he can kind of eyeball which Charlotte Tilbury girl is most you and go from there.)
At the winter press preview, the MUA in charge of my mini-makeover took one look at me and my outfit and proclaimed me an Uptown Girl ($275): "She's polished, elegant, and knows the power of a good blow-dry. The Uptown Girl takes the time to look her best and favours super sleekness, but always with a hint of fun." My kit included all the colour products necessary to create a sleek, polished makeup look, but these were my faves.
The Luxury Palette Eyeshadow in 'Uptown Girl' ($64) is a quartet of champagne, pink, and smoke grey shades. Texture- and formula-wise, these eyeshadows are finely milled with build-able coverage, and so easy to blend out—definitely novice-friendly. If you need a few pointers though, check out Charlotte Tilbury's easy-to-follow video tutorial.
I've always been more of a lipstick lover than an eyeshadow aficionado, and this perfectly matched trio of liner, lipstick, and gloss—also sold separately as the The Uptown Girl Lip Kit ($85)—ticks all the boxes. The pencil is creamy with zero drag. The lipstick is a vanilla-scented matte creme somewhere between a "my lips but better" pink and a perfect nude (not too pale, just pink enough so I don't look terminally ill). The gloss is moisturizing, not sticky, and when layered on top of the pencil and lipstick it adds dimensionality and the perfect hint of shine.
Whatever you do, don't swipe your big fluffy blush brush across the two-toned Cheek To Chic Blusher in 'Love Glow' ($50) haphazardly! The compact is designed to be used with Charlotte Tilbury's "swish and pop" technique to achieve a youthful flush. The result is always pretty, never overdone or misplaced. First, swish your brush in a circle on the outer colour, and then swish in counter-clockwise circles on your cheeks. Then dip your brush in the centre colour and lightly apply to the highest point of your cheek for a pop of accent colour. The video tutorial illustrates the technique perfectly.
Skincare first, makeup second
Charlotte Tilbury loves makeup so much, she sleeps in it. It sounds strange until you consider the fact that her skin products were formulated with skincare benefits first and foremost in mind, cosmetic benefits second. (In other words, don't try this with any old makeup!)
Regardless of which Charlotte Tilbury girl you are, every beauty look starts with glowing, gorgeous skin. The Goddess Skin Clay Mask ($80) sets the stage by lifting, smoothing, brightening, and tightening pores in just 10 minutes, leaving behind a tingly, refreshed feeling. (Here I am with the mask on.)
Then it's time to massage in Charlotte's Magic Cream ($125). If there's such a thing as a hero product in the Charlotte Tilbury line, this is it. Based on Charlotte's own top-secret "magic cream" formula which she's been blending and using backstage for years, Magic Cream boasts SPF 15, hyaluronic acid, peptides, and a bevy of natural ingredients that treat and nourish skin. The texture is rich, luxuriant, cooling to the touch, and positively melts into skin. As soon I apply it, the effect is like a soft-focus Instagram filter on the skin; everything is glow-y and radiant even sans makeup. Magical indeed.
The newly launched Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation ($49) is some kind of wonderful for a girl who normally detests wearing foundation. Many foundations can feel cake-y or mask-like, or they settle into fine lines and pores unless you apply primer first, which is often silicone-based and uncomfortable if you're not used to heavy makeup. Thankfully, Magic Foundation is none of these things: it offers weightless, build-able coverage that blends well and feels truly comfortable, as though I have nothing on. Mushroom extract tightens pores (such a big difference around my nose!), while hyaluronic acid plumps up skin and decreases the appearance of fine lines, smoothing things out without the use of a heavy primer.
The Charlotte Tilbury MUA who introduced me to Magic Foundation showed me how a simple change in application technique could make the formula double as a sheer foundation and a concealer with more coverage. For a sheer finish, dispense 1-2 pumps on the back of your hand, tap a brush like the Magic Complexion Brush ($68) into product, and buff it into skin; a little product can go a long way. Dispense more product on the back of your hand if necessary, then tap fingers into it; the tapping motion of your fingers against the back of your hand thickens the texture and makes it tackier. Use this wherever you'd normally apply concealer.
Which Charlotte Tilbury products have you tried? Is there anything you see here you like?
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