Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sheen, Shimmer, Sparkles, and Glitter

Sparkly, shimmery, metallic, glittery - it's not just wordplay! A company's description of a makeup product should be accurate, but often isn't. There can be startling differences between marketing descriptions and reality. You can't even depend on beauty bloggers or those who post reviews on sites like Sephora or Makeupalley, although real-life descriptions are often better than promotion-speak. When in doubt, look for reviewers who have actually tried the product.

We all have different preferences. I like highlighters that add sheen and shimmer, but not obvious sparkles or glitter. I do appreciate finely milled sparkling products and metallic eye shadows, but I want the sparkles and metal to stay where I put them, not drift to other parts of my face or clothing - or even worse, into my eyes. I don't like glitter at all. I don't want to look like I dashed through a confetti toss.

We all have different preferences, but we should know what to expect - particularly when we are ordering online! How many times have you read about a pearly sheen on an online site and found that your new purchase was a glitter bomb? That happened to me with Super Orgasm, shown above, an incarnation of the iconic and universally loved NARS Orgasm blush. It had been widely touted as the next great thing, so I ordered it as soon as it became available. What arrived was a blusher that was so glitter-laden it was unusable. I gave it away. I will give Sephora credit; they would have taken it back, no questions asked. Other sites don't make it as easy for you. Some say that once you have tried - or even opened - a product, they will not accept a return.

What is the NARS description of Super Orgasm?

A sheer-pressed powder blush with golden speckles...shimmering peachy pink blush with an extra dose of golden sparkle.

I didn't get the code!

Had I relied on reviews posted by customers on the Sephora site, here are some of the descriptions I would have read.
  • Luminous sheen
  • Healthy, glowing look
  • Perfect shimmer
  • Natural looking
  • Chunks of glitter
Who was right? The gal who said "chunks of glitter" and another who said "shimmer gets everywhere." Sometimes, it's best not to be an early adopter!

I'm not trying to pick on NARS here. This is a universal problem. Chanel's new Empreinte de Chanel - Radiant Glow Highlighting Powder, shown to the right, is described as "subtly shimmering shades of rosewood, beige, and bronze." On my skin, it adds major sparkle, and it's not flattering. The new Maybelline Eye Studio Color Plush Silk Eyeshadow Quads are described as being silky and luminous. You can read my impression of the sparkle fest here. High end and low - the descriptions aren't reliable.

We all have different likes and expectations. If companies would give us good descriptions, we could select products that make us happy - a win-win for cosmetics companies and consumers.

I try to give you accurate descriptions. Other bloggers do too. Always check out a new product in the store first - if you can. If not, make sure you read the code words carefully, and then order from a reputable retailer who will accept your return when you are disappointed or feel misled.

Am I being grumpy? Care to share your experience with sheen, shimmer, sparkles, and glitter?

Photos courtesy of Sephora and Chanel

1 comment:

Marley's Mom said...

It matters to me! I hate glitter. I'm too old for it. Come to think of it, who isn't?