Edward Bess cosmetics - elegant, inspired, luxurious, exclusive, and for some inaccessible. Edward Bess cosmetics are sold only at Bergdorf Goodman and at Edward's Web site. If you want to touch and feel before you buy makeup, you have to be in New York to experience the luxury of Edward Bess.
I buy more than half of my cosmetics online, and I'm willing to take a leap of faith most of the time. With Edward Bess, though, I wanted help. Given the price of the items I was considering - and given my aversion to returning makeup - I called Bergdorf Goodman and had the good fortune to hook up with Susan Babakhanova. I explained to Susan that I wanted help in purchasing a sample of Edward Bess cosmetics, and she guided me through his collection with such enthusiasm and expertise, I knew exactly what to purchase.
As I browsed the Edward Bess Web site (Bergdorf has not put the items online), I had landed multiple times at the Private Eye ($225) collection of sensual eye colors. The classy box opens to reveal seductive eye colors that were said to range from subtle and understated to bold and dramatic. Five hand-pressed eye shadows and two lengthening mascaras (Deep Black and Deep Brown) comprise the collection designed to enhance the eyes with luminous color for maximum impact. The collection looked good in the photograph, so it was one of my purchases.
I was fairly surprised when it arrived. The photograph at the top led me to believe that there were a few light colors to use over the entire lid and a few accent and contouring colors. In "real life," the shades all appeared to be medium to dark, with no pink or peach tones as the photograph on the Web site had shown. I thought about the shade collection for a few weeks (seriously!) and decided that Bess had made a brilliant tactical choice of colors. Who doesn't own a nude, pink, peach, or yellow-toned eye shadow that can be used as a "base color" when creating an eye look? If you are like me, you own tens of them. The colors he included in his Private Eye collection are unique. They add an extra dimension to the wardrobe. When considered from this perspective - and I think I reached the proper conclusion - his choice of shades was spot-on.
Edward Bess's Ultra Luminous Eyeshadow ($30) is available in six individual shades: Nude, Intimate, Escape, Mystery, Dusk, and Night. All but Nude are included in the Private Eye collection. The luminous color is incredibly smooth to the touch, and the ultra-rich texture adds depth and dimension where you use the shadows. The shades are sheer, as you will see in my photos. That quality gives you ultimate control. You can build the color until you get the intensity you want.
Each shadow in the collection is housed in an elegant designer compact with applicator and mirror, so you can take the shadows out of their box and store them individually to save space. My box is storing earrings.
I took a photo of the set for you. I decided to swatch each shade so that you could see how the shadows look on the skin. It's hard to judge an eye shadow in the pan, particularly if you don't know whether it's sheer or intense. I used the little sponge applicator and a makeup brush to swatch each. You can see the difference in intensity. The sponge-applied shade is at the top of each photo. I took photos in bright morning sunlight and decided that even with the little sparkles created by reflection on my skin, the sunlight photos would give you the truest depiction of the colors.
You can see that Night is the darkest shade; it can be used as a liner if you wet your liner brush to pick up the shadow. My favorite shades are Intimate and Dusk. Both are "nude" tones that work well on my skin. Escape is a very warm brown - perhaps not the best shade for me. Mystery is a pure brown color, neither warm nor cool - and it's great for contouring or mixing on the brush with other shades. These shades are not sparkly, despite the reflections in my photos. They have a gleam on the skin.
We're all different, so my favorites won't be the same as yours. If I had been in the store, I probably would have purchased all of these shades except Escape, which is a little muddy on my eyelids. It may go to a better home. I wouldn't give up the rest of the collection for anything - love it!
The inclusion of the Pure Impact Mascaras ($30) in the collection is a nice touch. I'll tell you about the mascara another day.
If you are tempted to experience the luxury of Edward Bess, give Susan Babakhanova at Bergdorf Goodman a call at (212) 872-8826. She will provide professional and friendly assistance - no hard sell, just great information.
Photo at top courtesy of Edward Bess