The Sophisticate by Charlotte Tilbury: Review and Photos

The Sophisticate set by Charlotte Tilbury.

Charlotte Tilbury and I are having a moment. A very awestruck, very expensive moment that is forcing me to rethink my current makeup storage solution. When I was asked whether I wanted to review a Charlotte Tilbury look to help introduce her to Vancouver, I almost did a dance. Yes, please! Nearly everything I've tried from her looks and feels beautiful and luxe. Wearing it, I feel delicious. Old Hollywood. Just call me Audrey. (Right.)

Today, I'll be showing you Charlotte's The Sophisticate look, which consists of seven pieces (plus an adorable bag, pictured—sort of—above):

1) The star of the show is the Luxury Palette Colour-Coded Eye Shadows in The Sophisticate ($64).

The Sophisticate Luxury Eye Palette Charlotte Tilbury.

It contains four matte or almost-matte shades. Clockwise from the top left, we have a soft, satiny ivory, called the "prime" shade; a light brown, the "enhance" shade; a cool grey-brown, the "smoke" shade; and a satiny chocolate-brown, the "pop" shade. All of her palettes are colour-coded this way to make creating a cohesive look easy—using various combinations of colours is supposed to take you from day to night, like so:

Desk-Dusk-Disco-Tilbury-Luxury Palette

This is a basic, classy palette that you'll love if you're into matte, neutral eye looks. Like the other Charlotte Tilbury eyeshadows I've tried, pigmentation is medium. For matte shades, they apply and blend fairly well—emphasis on for matte shades. I own two other Tilbury palettes, Dolce Vita and Vintage Vamp, and I find the shimmer shades from both of those easier to work with—they almost blend themselves. A little stiffness is just the nature of almost any matte eyeshadow formula. If you don't mind spending a bit more time with the blending brush, this palette will work well for you. 

2) The supporting character, the Cheek to Chic Swish and Pop Blusher in Sex on Fire ($50), is a stunning addition to the set—just look a that rose-gold ring and the cute little star! Like all of Charlotte's blushes, It comes with an outer ring of colour that you're supposed to "swish" onto your cheekbones, and an inner circle of darker colour that you're supposed to "pop" onto the apples of your cheeks. Sex on Fire's outer ring is a warm, rosy pink with subtle shimmer. The inner circle is a brownish, pinky mauve with subtler shimmer. Note that swatches of Charlotte's blushes are misleadingly sheer. Applied to the cheeks, they're plenty pigmented, so go easy with the blush brush, and you'll end up with a beautiful, glowy flush on the cheeks.

Cheek to Chic Swish and Pop Blush in Sex on Fire by Charlotte Tilbury.

See that little ding on the left of the blush? It's sad, but a testament to its softness. It arrived like that, unfortunately. The artist who did my makeover at Holt Renfrew last week said Charlotte's products are prone to breaking because they're "soft-pressed." This apparently means that fewer chemicals are used in pressing the products. So be warned: Do not drop the pretty Charlotte Tilbury makeups!

3) Full Fat Lashes 5-Star Mascara in Glossy Black ($34) is a lovely black mascara that does a great job of grabbing every lash and fanning them out. The brush reminds me of Clinique High Impact's, but with a little more tapering at the end to make it easier to get at the corners of your eyes. The mascara provides good volume at the base, and I'd say average length and volume on the rest of my lashes. I usually prefer mascaras that make my lashes look a little more BAM, but this one does a great job of making them look soft, fluttery, and girly. It also lasts the day without smudging or flaking, and comes off easily when I remove my makeup. 

4) The Classic Eyeliner Powder Pencil in Audrey ($28) is a deep, chocolate-brown pencil eyeliner. The colour is lovely, but the formula doesn't work for me. I find it uncomfortably hard and difficult to apply with full opacity. As you'll see in the photos below, I also had a hard time getting right into the roots of my lashes. I prefer a creamier eyeliner. (Maybe I need to sharpen it to get at softer formula underneath? Can any of you advise?) On the bright side, it lasts well with primer—no smudging.

5) Lip Cheat  Re-Shape and Re-Size Lip Liner in Pillow Talk ($27) is probably the best lipliner I've ever tried. MAC liners are drying. Even Marc Jacobs' new gel-like Poutliner is drying compared to Lip Cheat. It's still drying compared to a lipstick, but fairly comfortable on its own. It's great for lining and filling in the lips, and making lip colour last and last and last…Pillow Talk is a lovely MLBB shade—a pinky nude. I'll wear this constantly even without lipstick on top—just gloss. It's that pretty.

6) Lip Lustre Luxe Colour-Lasting Lip Lacquer in High Society ($28) is a beautiful, rosy lip gloss that isn't too sticky or thick. It's pretty on its own, but I think it really sings when applied over lipstick to give it some shine and a hint more colour.

Charlotte Tilbury's The Classic eyeliner, Lip Lacquer gloss, Full Fat Lashes mascara. and  Lip Cheat lip liner.

7) Fallen from the Lipstick Tree K.I.S.S.I.N.G in Hepburn Honey ($38) is a pinky-brown nude that, at first glance, made me go "meh." I don't usually wear nudes—they can make me look corpse-like because of my pasty-white skin. But combined with the right colours (like the ones in this set!) and great bronzer (like Filmstar Bronze and Glow—more on that later), it looks gorgeous. I like it more than I ever thought I would. Then there's the formula. My goodness. I think Charlotte makes the most comfortable, hydrating lipstick known to (wo)man. It's better than NARS Audacious. Better than Marc Jacobs Lip Creme. We have a winner, people. Now, if only Charlotte would come out with a few more colours...

K.I.S.S.I.N.G. Lipstick in Hepburn Honey.

Ready for the look?

The Sophisticate look by Charlotte Tilbury.

Other products in this look:

I was going for JLo glow (hard to achieve with my level of pastiness, but I tried!):

A word of advice:

If you're anything like me, you've already watched all of Charlotte's iconic look videos on YouTube. Twice. The above was my attempt to recreate her Sophisticate look. My advice to you would be to do what feels right for you and your face. Buy the colours that work for you—not that "go" with the look (unless that floats your boat). Also, apply them in a way that works for you. As I look closely at these photos, I wish I'd taken the time to blend a little more of the light brown into the upper part of the crease so things transitioned more seamlessly. A lot of makeup pros start with a lighter colour in the crease and then go deeper. That never seems to work for me; I like to start with the deep colours and soften. Every beauty needs to make her own makeup rules and techniques—am I right?


If you're intrigued by the Tilbury and you're in Vancouver, pop by Holt Renfrew (Pacific Centre, downtown Vancouver) or make an appointment to try out a look for yourself. I know from several experiences that the girls there are lovely and knowledgeable. You'll love it. Also, Charlotte herself is coming in October! WHAT? Stay tuned.

What do you think of Charlotte Tilbury's products? Have you tried them? Do you like them? Have you developed an unhealthy obsession like me? Let me know in the comments!

Disclosure: The pieces from The Sophisticate set were provided by PR for my consideration. Other products in this look, including Filmstar Bronze and Glow, were purchased by Eyeshadow Addict.