When I was a child, I was all about Cheaper by the Dozen (the book), and one of the most memorable parts for me was the description of the family’s acquisition of a white typewriter. The children’s father, an efficiency expert, purchased it because he wanted to teach his family to type, and scientific studies had shown that a white typewriter made people want to type on it. It worked.
So what does this have to do with Marc Jacobs and his eponymous beauty line? Well, the thing is, long after I first read Cheaper by the Dozen, I got a degree in professional communication, and I learned about the kind of science that tells manufacturers how to package a product so that the quality of the thing inside is just half of the battle. The bottom line: Marc Jacobs gets it.
Before I went to Sephora, I had seen a few reviews here and there online and visited the Marc Jacobs Beauty Website, but nothing prepared me for the decadent sensory assault of seeing the line assembled in person. It’s simply breathtaking–beautiful, sensual, sophisticated, and a little bit edgy. I wish I’d thought to take a picture of the whole display, but I’ll plead insanity on account of how overwhelmed I was.
From the picture at the top of the post, you can see the main style of the products, sleek black compacts made of high-shine plastic with metal closures. Similar to brands like Chanel, the products have their own little bags, but superior to Chanel (in my opinion), these bags avoid the grime-attracting nuisance factor of the Chanel versions by being matte and not velvet.
I knew I wasn’t after face products, so I spent the least amount of time with the foundations and powders. They looked nice to the eye, but I didn’t swatch them. The MUA who cashed us out at Sephora said that those are her favorite parts of the line, so I definitely plan to check them out in the future.
What I did spend time ogling was the color products–the Lip Gels, Lip Vinyls, Style Eye-Con palettes, and nail varnishes. Everything I swatched was lovely. A few things to note:
* The shadows are mostly satin finish.
*At present, the line only has eyeshadow palettes, no singles.
*The palettes come in groups of three shades and seven shades, and each is themed to a certain style or “look.”
*Each palette contains a mirror and a plastic shield to keep the mirror free of product.
* The lipsticks start sheer and are buildable, so what you see in the tube may be darker than what you initially get on the lips.
*The lip glosses come in a sheer formula (more like a traditional lipgloss), and a full-coverage formula (more like an Hourglass liquid lipstick or OCC lip tar).
*The glossiness of the packaging will attract fingerprints.
On to my specific purchase, Style Eye-Con No.3 in The Mod.
The Style Eye-Con trios come packaged in slim compacts with a highlight shade, lid shade, and deeper shade for contouring/lining. The highlight shade is the largest, then the lid shade, and finally the accent shade. In The Mod, the lid shade is a shimmery light silver, the highlight is a slightly satiny white, and the contour shade is a black with some sparkle.
Here’s an arm swatch. As you can see, the pigmentation of the black is stronger than the other two shades, though the other two hold their own. The overall effect is very high contrast, just as a mod look dictates.
Here’s where we get into opinion territory. Not everyone digs this trio as much as I do. For those with skin much darker than mine, the white and silver will come off quite light, and this certainly isn’t a color combo no one’s seen before.
But that’s the whole point. This trio is called The Mod for a reason. It’s the perfect set of shades to create a retro 60s mod eye or to carry the wearer to a new age version of mod. Either way, it contains the requisite shimmering lid shade, light highlight, and highly contrasting black for a cut crease and awesome cat liner. And lest you think the silver or white are lightweights, I actually used the silver to cover the black in areas of my lid where my clumsy application put it in the wrong place, and the silver delivered successfully.
Here’s a photo of my eye look and full face using the trio. (Excuse the hideous lighting in my office that somehow manages to make me look dead and ruddy at the same time.)
Bottom line: These shadows are the kind of quality I would expect for a very high-end line, and the thoughtful shade combination makes this a must-have for mods of any age.
Finally, a word about the lipsticks. I’m pretty obsessed with lipcolors, so the Lip Gels were one of the first things I grabbed to swatch. As I expected, the colors were pigmented, creamy, and luxurious. The packaging is to die for as well, with an insanely satisfying magnetic closure (seriously). The one odd thing, to me, is the shade selection. The number of colors is pretty big, but to my eye, at least four or five of them are varying shades of red. Now, as a dedicated red lip wearer, I’m all over this, but it made me wonder if the rest of the world would feel that way. We seem to be in a red lip moment in time, so perhaps the line will expand in the future to include more shades of other types. My sister purchased one of the darkest shades in the line, a lovely vamp purple that goes on sheer but builds to creamy opacity.
I can’t really speak to the wear time of either the shadows or lipstick since the purchases were just made yesterday, but the shadows have been going strong for six hours as I type this. (I always wear eyeshadow with a primer.)
I kind of wish I had more of a complaint about this line, because really, I just want to go purchase more. I have my eye on one of the Style Eye-Con No.7 palettes and at least a lipstick or two, not to mention a possible foundation attempt.
These days, it seems like some kind of fad for every designer to have his or her own beauty line. Thankfully, Marc Jacobs didn’t just nail the packaging; he nailed product quality as well. Hopefully the attention to detail will lead to brand longevity and more irresistible offerings.