I started hearing about the great Ms. Charlotte Tilbury months ago over on Vivianna Does Makeup. The elusive British cosmetics brand, named for the famous makeup artist, recently became easily available to Canadians, and my excitement shot through the roof.
Was it the woman with the fiery hair and personality? Her portfolio? Her stunning products? Brilliant marketing? Probably a combination of all of it. (Her videos are boss—have a watch. Seriously.) Whatever the reason, I could scarcely wait to get my hands on a few of her beautiful eyeshadows. The Dolce Vita palette, for me, was the prize. As soon as I officially finished the coursework for my MA (just my thesis to go—wahoo!), I rubbed my hands together with glee and ordered this little beauty as quickly as my fingers would fly over my phone. An appropriate "Congratulations, Amy, you're awesome," gift? I should think so.
Now, for the painfully inflated price of $64 plus taxes (curse you, luxury brands and your so-called prestige!), I'm not sure what I was expecting. Diamond-encrusted edging? A magical ability to blend it like Charlotte? Rainbows to come out of my eyes? Hard to say.
Having used Dolce Vita for a few weeks, I can say this: It's not perfect. It may not even be worth the hype or the price—but it speaks to me. The colours, shimmer and micro-glitter catch the light just so and make my green eyes pop. This quad is absolutely beautiful, and I've gotten comments whenever I've worn it. So this particular splurge makes me smile.
Here are some specifics:
1) The shadows are divided by purpose for ease of use.
The shimmery cream colour is for priming all over the eye and highlighting the inner corner. The rusty reddish-brown is for "enhancing." The chocolatey brown with gold shimmer is for "smoking." And the golden glitter shade is to add a "pop" of drama. Charlotte says it's for a red-carpet or disco look, but who are we kidding? I wear a smokey eye to the grocery store. I wore the "nighttime" Dolce Vita eye look to get my hair cut the other day, and a stylist commented on how pretty it was while she was washing my hair, and the guest next to me asked me where I'd gotten my eye makeup done. (Pretty much the best feeling ever to say, "I did it myself!" Am I right?)
2) They're not the most pigmented shadows ever.
Some people see pigmentation as a sign of quality. I think this is a little simplistic—some shadows are designed to be used sheer. I think it's actually nice to have the flexibility of wearing colours either sheer or opaque. But if you like big, bold eye looks, the pigmentation of these colours is something to keep in mind. You'll need to build them up.
3) They're a leeetle powdery.
You may be able to tell from the photos above that the eyeshadow textures are quite soft and a little powdery. (You can see the powder the brush kicked up on the pan.) This means they blend incredibly well and incredibly easily, but there is some fallout. (Others haven't experienced this—maybe I'm just weird?) I find it best to apply the shadows gradually, building up to the opacity I want. I watched some of Charlotte's videos to get the hang of it—she always taps her brush on the back of her hand before she goes to the eye, so I tried the same technique. The tap seems to help knock off any extra product (more than tapping the brush off on the side of the palette) and work it into the brush a bit better. Additionally, I find the MAC 217 works better than a couple of fluffier brushes I have. I still deal with a bit of fallout, but it's nothing a bit of advance planning won't fix: I always do my under-eye concealer after my eye makeup.
4) You should apply the "pop" shade, the golden, glittery colour, as she recommends.
That is, with a finger. A brush might get a little frustrating. Rub the shade gently with your finger, pat on the colour, and build. Be patient if you want full coverage. Interestingly, I barely notice fallout with this shade at all!
Here's a closer look: