Monday, 14 May 2018

Officially Bourgeois: Trying Chanel and Guerlain

(Side note: my first introduction to the term bourgeois is not through the mandatory lesson on the French Revolution we all get, but as a common last name here in l'Acadie. Acadians only have about twenty last names - yes, I'm being hyperbolic, but there really aren't that many and of the choices, most people are named LeBlanc or Leger, which also indicates that there wasn't a whole lot of creativity there either. I can say this because I'm of Acadian descent. Bourgeois literally means town dweller.)

I'm a loyal Loblaws shopper. Which is curious since I worked at an Atlantic Superstore for five years and have almost nothing positive to say about it, other than the 3:30PM-12:30AM shift was the optimal time for me to work and I will never have that joy again. Slinging groceries sucks, my friends, and I will never free up the brain space that holds onto produce codes from 2007. But I have always lived within walking distance of a Superstore. I have also, with the last two and a half years as the exception, lived within spitting distance of a Shoppers. I have been a loyal cardholder of Shoppers Optimum since high school, and PC Plus since that program was unveiled. I used to go through Superstore to get to library school, and that was connected to a Shoppers! I had points from both coming out of my eyeballs. So when Loblaws announced that they were merging Shoppers Optimum and PC Plus to make one new loyalty program brilliantly called PC Optimum, I was elated. YES! I can get points from my groceries and use them to buy makeup! And clothes! This is the best! My points will be more useful instead of split! I was almost as thrilled as my mother, who probably had the very first Shoppers Optimum card issued and is such a PC points loyalist that she has their top tier credit card to earn even more points. 

(Lest you think I'm being paid to talk about PC Optimum: I was paid pennies when I actually worked there and they sure as shit aren't paying me now.) 

I ended up with $110 worth of points when they merged, which isn't a ton, but it was enough for me to do a little shopping on Beauty Boutique. And because I used the points calculator, I started planning a tentative redemption purchase on Beauty Boutique once all of my points were in one happy place. After much deliberating and careful cart calculations, I settled on two items: the iconic Guerlain Méteorites in in Clair and Chanel Rouge Allure Ink Matte Liquid Lip Colour in Sédiusant, after having spent the better part of the year quietly coveting it, after seeing how great it looked on thelipstickstash and jacmakeup. Together, they totalled $119 before tax. After tax and redemption, I paid $26.85 for the two of them.

So value-wise, before I even get into these products, I'm not sure if I would have paid the full price for them. Don't get me wrong: this is going to be a very positive review. I love both of these. And I'm glad I got to use my points that I got for running my regular errands and get items that I really enjoy. But paying for No fancy coloured balls of powder or liquid lipstick is worth the pricetag that Guerlain (and to a lesser exent, Chanel) has applied here. And while I'm clearly not averse to paying some eyebrow-raising prices for makeup now and again, I have some limits. I would use points on these again to reduce or wholly cover the price, however. Which I'm sure cheapens the luxury aesthetic I'm sure they're going for, but manipulating the system to get what you want goes both ways.

One of the interesting things about luxury goods is the value of how they look to others. Of course, no one is going to know if I'm wearing Guerlain Méteorites unless I tell them, or pull out the tin and start applying them in front an audience. Similarly, no one will know my Chanel lipstick unless they ask, or they see the packaging. A curious thing about luxury beauty: these being my first, at least of brands that are more well-known, I felt kind of awkward about owning them. Even though, you know, no one knows unless I tell them. Class is a funny thing - not as prominent in the Maritimes, it still exists. In a sense, I feel like I'm reaching for things that I have no business owning. Which is untrue, because if I were so inclined to actually pay for these, I could have.

After a few months of owning and regularly using these two items, most of those feelings dissipated, and they've both become staples in my daily makeup. Guerlain Metéorites, while subtle, and almost certainly matter only to me (I discovered on Friday that my coworkers don't even notice my mascara or eyeliner or even the eyeshadow I sometimes wear, unless it glitters at them), make me look brighter, glowier, and airbrushed. They claim to blur, and they do soften any blemishes and meld my makeup together. If I've been too heavy handed with blush or powder highlighter, the Méteorites blur it a little, add an extra glow, and make it all look more natural. Could I get the same effect from something cheaper? Probably, but I never saw anything that appealed. 

The tin is solid, and klutzy me has only knocked out a few pearls a few times - and only one at a time, so there. I found the classic Guerlain violet scent to be overwhelming at first, but either I'm used to it now or it has gotten less strong.

A long time ago, I got a deluxe sample from Sephora of the Méteorites. It included a pearl of each colour in a plastic and cardboard little container. It was...not ideal. I couldn't swirl my brush over them and I got frustrated and gave it away. The full size makes the Méteorites make more sense. I swirl my brush (Zoeva 106 powder brush) over the top layer of pearls, and then lightly sweep it over the rest of my makeup. I kept the foam insert and use it when I want to travel with them (so far no mishaps). I haven't gone a day without them since they came in. And I think that's the mark of a good purchase: seamlessly fitting into your routine. 

Chanel Rouge Allure Ink in Séduisant, on the other hand, is meant to be seen. It's a pink leaning coral, with a very fine gold shimmer in it, giving it a gold pearl finish. If you like the mattest of matte liquid lipsticks, this is not for you. It's not totally transferproof, but that tradeoff is worth the comfort. Séduisant is, bar none, one of the most comfortable and flattering lipsticks I've ever worn. Even when it starts to wear off, it fades gracefully and leaves a stain. It can't stand up to an especially oily lunch, but you can easily remove it before (again, unlike other liquid lipsticks, it's a little less stubborn) or suffer through. It probably won't look that bad.

While I haven't tried to pile on too many layers, I have touched it up with a new layer over a partially faded one, and it applied seamlessly. Not too thick or flaky or tight. It doesn't sink into lip lines weirdly. Basically, this is the most perfect liquid lipstick I have ever owned, and everything else is now too matte, uncomfortable, and dry. Damn you, Chanel. 

One layer.

I paid $43 Canadian for it, which is the same price as a NARS Audacious, which is not totally out of my lipstick budget but definitely approaching the uppermost limit. It being a liquid means I'll have to use it up faster than a bullet, though if you've been scrolling through my Instagram, you'll note that it crops up a decent amount. It's opaque in one swipe, take a couple of minutes to dry down so you can easily smooth it out and fix any mistakes. The applicator is a small, flat doefoot, easy to use and manipulate. The packaging is small, but hefty, giving it the weight a luxury product needs to make you feel like you're getting almost your money's worth. 

It's possible that Séduisant has ruined me for other lipsticks (ha, not possible. But if it was...). Not only the formula is incredible, but the colour is beautiful and hugely flattering on me. Guerlain Méteorites, while a daily fixture now, still have to wear me completely down. Although, I generally find finishing powders to be kind of dull, and at least the Méteorites are pretty to look at and make me feel bougie as fuck when I'm putting them on, and a little bit elegant, which is not something one would usually associate with me. And while I won't pay full price for it, I do enjoy it. 

Where do you fall on luxury and high end makeup? Worth it? Ripoff? Good use of points if you have access to programs like PC Optimum?


  1. My first job was at No Frills and it was THE WORST. Like we all know customer service at least kind of sucks regardless, but being a grocery store cashier is especially terrible. My last day at that job was 8 years ago today (yay!) and to this day I hate shopping at that No Frills because of all the horrible memories. Luckily I no longer remember most of the PLU codes, but 4011 will always stick with me for whatever reason. Oh and I totally remember the code for a single clementine, which my friend actually got tattooed on her a few years ago (on a sticker on an actual orange, it wasn't just the number 4450).

    My mom is a points hoarder too, hahaha. She has over 600k PC Optimum points right now!!! Although I am the one in my family with the PC MasterCard, which is pretty helpful since I use it to pay my tuition and that racks up a LOT of points.

    Basically every time I go into Murale to do a big redemption I eye the Meteorites, but I think it's mostly for the packaging? I can never bring myself to actually pull the trigger anyway. And you know I am a huge advocate of buying expensive shit I would never spend actual money on with my points. I probably redeem close to $1k a year. Guerlain is usually my go-to when I'm feeling incredibly bougie and have points to spend. I do have a LE Chanel blush that's nice too, but not nicer than Hourglass. I guess I do like owning fancy things, but not enough to actually pay for them. And I don't really actually enjoy most of my luxury products more than mid-range things, or things that are similarly-priced but with less of a luxe brand image. Now I have mostly moved on to spending my points on NARS lipsticks and expensive mascara that I'm ashamed to like.

    Love love love that Chanel lipstick on you. Such a gorgeous, vibrant, joyful colour! I can see why you've been wearing it so much - it is so flattering.

    1. I moved from cash to running self scan and working the customer service desk, which is a different kind of awful, but one with more money and less general misery. Anyway. I'm coming up on six years since I quit (and crap, 11 years since I started there) and people are still telling my parents that they wish I worked there still. HAHAHAHA no.

      I think that's where I am. I like owning fancy things, but I don't want to use money on them.

      Thanks! It's so great. And it lights up my face in a way that only truly special colours can.

  2. Damn it, you Canadians not only have nationalized health care, but you can ALSO buy luxury makeup with points earned from grocery trips?? So unfair.

    In my six or seven years of wearing makeup, I've owned only five products (all lip products, of course) that I'd describe as "luxury": a YSL Rouge Pur Couture and Glossy Stain, both of which I've since destashed; two Chanel nail polishes, which are very prone to chipping; and my beloved tube of Pat McGrath Madame Greige. Even putting price aside, I don't really get the allure of luxury makeup. Much of it is heavily scented, which I hate, and almost none of it is cruelty-free (though I do acknowledge the misleading/greenwashing nature of that term). If a product's color or formula really jumps out at me, as Madame Greige did, I'm willing to budget for it. I do think "you get what you pay for" is true in a broad sense, but only up to a point. Is your average Urban Decay or NARS lipstick better than your average Revlon or CoverGirl lipstick? Yes, absolutely. Is your average YSL or Guerlain lipstick better than your average Urban Decay lipstick? That's debatable.

    That said, Séduisant is beautiful! I wish reddish corals looked that good on me.

    1. I mean, we also pay about twice as much for food as you do in the US, so there's that too...

      That's a good point. After a certain threshold, improvements on formula and colour are minimal and not really worth the price jump. But there's also been a blurring of what is luxury and what is the ending point of mid-range - or at least, brands that don't have the same cachet as YSL or Guerlain or Chanel, but are still around the same price point. I don't really think of Hourglass as luxury, but its products are comparably priced to Chanel.

      Thanks! I think Sediusant is my coral. It's wonderfully complex on me.


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