Sunday, August 11, 2013

Marc Jacobs haul: Some swatches, a whole bunch of reviews, and a FOTD

Bear with me, folks: this post is going to be detailed, but LONG!

I wasn't initially excited to hear about a new cosmetic brand by fashion designer Marc Jacobs coming  to the shelves at Sephora, but of course the cosmetic junkie in me just has to check out products from just about any new line, so I swung by my local Sephora the date of the Marc Jacobs launch to play for a little while with the products. Here are my thoughts on what I saw and played with, interspersed with some product pictures and looks.

- The foundation and powder: I was very excited to see that the lightest shade in both seems genuinely light enough for a true N10 like me! I got a sample of the liquid foundation, and have worn it for two days in a row now. The color is fantastic; it looks dark on my arm in the swatch pictures below, but my inner arm is more like N5; on my face, the color is a perfect match. Unfortunately, I can only recommend the formula to those who are VERY oily all over: it is very matte on the skin and quite drying, even on my oilier-than-usual summertime skin. Because it dries so quickly on the skin, I also found it difficult to apply. I applied it with a fluffy airbrush-style foundation brush yesterday and a traditional flat synthetic foundation brush today, and both times ended up with inevitable streaks on my skin - despite how quickly I worked - that I had to blend out vigorously with my fingertips. I found this to be the case over a sunscreen made to be used as a makeup primer (tried that yesterday) and over bare, moisturized skin (today). The powder looked a little more soft and luminous when I swatched it on my arm in-store, so perhaps it will be more friendly toward other skin types.

- The blushes: wow, these swatched gorgeously. Definitely had that "melt into the skin" effect, especially after a few minutes. Most notable was the colors - there are some clearly unusual ones, at least in the standard US market! I ended up buying three: Naughty, an ultra-pale shimmery pink that I was hoping would be on me what I wanted Illamasqua Katie (which turned hot pink on me in a half hour) to be; Outspoken, a deep lilac/lavender, less pink and more purple than NARS Gaiety and the like; and Reckless, a gorgeous rose-mauve type color that makes an excellent everyday blush. There were some other interesting colors too - a pink-red one that reminded me of Rock and Republic X-Rated... a coral one that was similar to Chanel Fleur de Lotus... and two orange ones, a deep rusty orange and a lighter, brighter one too!

- The pencil eyeliners: excellent formula, definitely comparable to Urban Decay 24/7s and the like but perhaps slightly less creamy/greasy - not dry, though. The swatches were sooo hard to get off my hand afterward! I bought the Jazz (Berry) color, the only one I knew would be unique to my collection. These are the kind of eyeliners that you twist up on the bottom, not the kind you sharpen.

I'll pause the "impressions" here and show you my pictures and swatches of the products I bought. From left to right: the Shameless Bold blushes in Naughty, Outspoken, and Reckless; the Genius Gel Super-Charged liquid foundation in #10 Ivory Light (only in the swatch pictures); and the Highliner Gel Crayon eyeliner in Jazz (Berry):

Marc Jacobs packaging
Swatches in sunlight
Swatches in shade

IMPORTANT NOTE: while the swatch picture taken in sunlight shows the textures of the products and how they "sit" on the skin best, the swatch picture taken in the shade is far more color-accurate for all five products.

In the FOTD below (I'm squinting because the sun was so bright - sorry about that), I am wearing the Marc Jacobs liquid foundation, Reckless blush, and Jazz (Berry) eyeliner. (The eyeshadow is Burberry Pale Barley, the powder is MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Light, the highlighter is NARS Albatross, and the lipstick is Sonia Kashuk Shine Luxe in Sheer Berry.)

I really liked the way Reckless applied on my cheeks; it melted into the skin in a natural, beautiful way. I found that it lasted well on me for around 5-6 hours; after 8 hours, I saw some of the color had faded, but it was still lightly visible on my skin. The Jazz (Berry) eyeliner lasted all day with no problems, and unusually, applied more easily and evenly on my eyes than it did when I swatched it on my arm. Cool!

The foundation lasted all day as well, but I take issue with how drying it is: I had to carefully dab moisturizer on my chin and around my mouth after applying because the skin was looking flaky (an issue I don't run into often). I also noticed that my skin had a duller look and worse texture to it than usual this morning after I wore this foundation yesterday, and it was the only new face product I introduced into my routine recently. Moreover, when it's on my skin I don't feel like it's doing me any favors... it's sheer coverage, which can be nice, except in this case my skin literally looks no better after I apply the foundation than it looked bare. I'm very glad I asked for a sample first and did not impulse-buy the full size of this based on the excellent color alone!

Unfortunately, I didn't have as good of luck with the other two blushes. Naughty, the pale pink, is fantastic in theory but disappointing in practice: I had to pile it on to get it to show up in swatches (what you see above is many layers with a sponge). I did the same thing on my face, and found I was actually able to see the finely-shimmering texture/finish of the product on my cheeks before I was able to see the color. Bizarre. I applied it so thickly that I'd use up the whole pan in a month if I were to use it like that every day, and even then, I was only able to see the color on my skin faintly in direct sunlight - not at all in shade or indoor lighting. I was unable to get any pictures showing it on my face to share with you.

Outspoken, the lavender blush, was more pigmented than Naughty but less so than Reckless. I was able to get it to look clearly "lilac" on me (I'm always on the lookout for a fabulous purple-toned blush!), but I had to apply it very heavily to achieve this effect. This is much more blush than I would normally wear, but applied more sheerly it looks like your average cool pink, and I wanted to show you its potential. Because I evidently have no shame, here it is on me, but note that I have zero other makeup on in these pictures except for the Marc Jacobs foundation as a base, so be nice! I would never actually go out looking like this, LOL!

The bad news is that after about an hour, the color faded enough that it went right back to looking like a common cool pink, as it did earlier when I applied it more sheerly. There's nothing wrong with that, but it wasn't the unique and beautiful lavender color I was hoping it would be. With the elimination of that would-be positive attribute, the unimpressive pigmentation and lasting power are enough to make me feel very "meh" about Outspoken overall.

Okay - here are the rest of my first impressions, from looking at the display:

- The concealer pens: the product seems good (comparable to YSL Touche Eclat, perhaps with slightly more pigmentation), but its execution is terrible... they shouldn't have combined the click-button mechanism used to dispense the product with the "cooling" metal applicator tip. The product is far too runny in consistency for that to work well.

- The eyeshadow palettes: the quality on them seemed excellent from the swatching I did, except for a few dud colors scattered here and there throughout the palettes. I just can't get past my extreme dislike of the packaging, though (they remind me of the cheap plastic LA Colors dollar store palettes!) so I didn't even consider any of them.

- The lip glosses: seem decent, but I didn't try any on. Color range seems nice, some adventurous shades but nothing likely to be highly unflattering for most people. I like that they're separated into sheer ones and opaque ones in the display.

- The lipsticks: I only tried on two, and both looked awful on my lips (clung to dry areas in a hideous way), but maybe it's just because I chose the two lightest shades to try on? Hard to say.

- The nail polishes: worst nail polish bottle shape ever. It's outrageously impractical. It's like... a squashed oval. I am decently skilled at painting my own nails and I still know I'd knock those bottles over and spill their contents, constantly. For this reason, I barely even looked at the colors, but I hear some of them are actually quite lovely, so I may go back and take another look. If I find one I love, I suppose I can always decant it into another bottle... =/

I think that was just about everything - I didn't really play with the mascaras at all. Anyone else checked this stuff out yet? Want to share your thoughts too?


  1. ILY!
    I was sceptical about this brand from the get-go, and each promo pic had me less and less excited, but there was still a niggling "must try" voice, you know what that's like ;) Thanks for saving me from myself and thoroughly killing everything!
    (Although that liner looks rad. Wait. What?)

    1. Of course I know what that's like :) You're welcome. The liner IS totally rad though - I don't have any other colors like it. I'd check just that one thing out if I were you!

  2. Hey, thanks for your review on these products. I'm actually a big MJ fan, so I went to check out the launch.

    I agree with your assessment on the blushes - very unfortunate because they felt really nice. The concealer pens I liked, but I don't need any concealing - I felt like they had significantly more coverage than my YSL Touche Éclat (which is just the right coverage when I need it for my undereyes) and they set nicely without powder.

    I got a nail polish for review and then picked up 2 more polishes at the launch, and I have to disagree with you as far as practicality of the bottles. I am super clumsy (don't like the American Apparel or Dolce & Gabbana bottles because I always knock them over), and I find the base nicely weighted and stable. The brush is also one of my favorites. I got sent Oui! which is like a magenta version of Nubar Pasadena Purple and am wearing Petra right now (it is gorgeous). The bottles might not be the most aesthetically pleasing (there seems to be a love-it-or-leave it attitude to the design of the whole line), but I think you would be surprised if you grabbed a polish that it will work for you. I'm jRoxy13 on MUA BTW, and I'm gonna try to post my pics in the next few days!

    Sorry for the mega-long comment, but, again, thanks for the reviews!

    1. Hi, thanks for your thoughts! You didn't have issues with the concealer packaging, then? I liked the product itself, but found the packaging so impractical on those that it ruined them for me. The testers were brand-new on the display, but they already had product slopping all over from being stored upside-down, even with their caps on =/

      Good to know about the nail polishes and the weighting of the bottles. I will take another look at them this week and at least check out the colors with more attentiveness!

  3. The lids on the nail polish bottles pop off to reveal a standard round top/handle. The entire length of the brush (from top to bristles) are shorter than standard nail polish brushes, but I didn't find it to be an issue, and I'm pretty klutzy when it comes to painting my own nails. I tried Sally, UltraViolet, and Petra (my fave!).

  4. Thanks for the thorough review!! I should have come here first and read up all about it. I agree with you on foundation: I had a little sample from Sephora, really drying on my already dry skin. The blush is hit-miss.. I tried Obsessed -- a nice peachy-pink with poor pigmentation and Promiscuous -- nice warm rose with good pigmentation. What gives? Haven't tried the e/s or lip products so definitely be back for more. I also tried the bronzer, which actually is quite good! The pan is huge and the mirror is even huge-er, very nice for touch up. P.S. That Sonia Kashuk Sheer Berry gloss looks great on you!

    1. Thanks! I agree, that's so weird about the blush.

  5. I've been really curious about these blushes, but I think I'll have to pass on them! They're too pricey to not be amazing!


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