Review: YSL Couture Palette in No. 04 Saharienne

Monday, July 21, 2014

Thanks to a kind friend, I ordered one of the new YSL Couture Palettes last week from Bergdorf's. There's so many beautiful color combinations but what did I get? A fairly cool neutral palette. No. 4 Saharienne. I think it looks vastly different from the stock pictures on the Sephora website - take a look:
image from Sephora
The stock image looks much warmer and the colors look quite a bit richer. The case is identical to the older quads, that same sleek gold case that attracts finger smears with a vengeance. These ready-to-wear palettes are what I like to call "portion controlled"; the main color has a larger pan than darker colors of which you'll likely use less.

At the time I ordered, I had only seen a few other bloggers swatch this particular palette. Since there weren't too many pictures, I guess I didn't really get a very accurate impression of how the palette actually looked. When it arrived on my doorstep, I thought the colors looked a bit washed out. So I headed out to swatch it and play with a tester with the intention to exchange my new palette for another.

This is how it looks swatched over bare skin. I started with the peach side on the top left corner of the palette and went clockwise. You'll have to excuse my swatches, I'm not used to swatching at the counter with people about (no doubt wondering why I have taped off sections of my arm).

The first three colors were very sheer, the peach shade was the worst offender.

 The swatches without primer were so abysmal, I felt like I had to redo them over primer. Primer is definitely not optional here. I used UDPP here instead of my normal LORAC Behind The Scenes Eye Primer because it had a little bit more slip.

Even with primer, the shimmery peach is a bit patchy and sheer. Which is really just too bad because since you get more peach than any other shade, I am of the opinion that it should be fantastic. The other shades are much improved, especially my favorite shade in this palette- that dusty lavender tinged soft grey shimmer.

Now since I've only owned one other YSL palette (and that was with the old wet/dry formulation) and I haven't tried all the new palettes to see if the quality varies from palette to palette, I can't definitively state which formula is better. No. 4 Saharienne's shadows feel more finely milled (but then again, the other palette I had contained completely different finishes - four very sparkly/glittery shades) and quite smooth. The three darker shades glide on the skin like silk.

I took a test drive at the counter and came up with this look. I swept the peachy shade just above the crease, the white gold color in the inner corner, the grey on the "ball" of the eye and the darker brown colors in the corners to provide dimension.

I didn't think that the colors blended particularly well, but mostly because four of the shades (excluding the darkest brown, which is nearly matte with a few lonely sparkles) all had a high sheen/micro shimmer finish. Don't get me wrong, I love sparkle like you would not believe - but in this case I found that the high shimmer shades were just not flattering and really aged my eye lids. The high sheen just really emphasized uneven lid texture and highlighted every micro wrinkle. To their credit, the shadows were fairly long wearing though.

As the case with my first YSL palette, I don't think that this palette is a good ready-to-wear, all inclusive palette. Unlike the Pure Chromatics No. 8 palette, I'm not willing to use this palette in a deconstructed fashion. The colors are not unique or attractive enough to warrant it and the sheerness of the peach shade is just a bummer.

I'm pretty glad that I didn't dig into my palette and went to the counter first! Though this palette just didn't suit me. I'm not writing off all the new Couture Palettes... just this one.

YSL Couture Palettes new for 2014 are $60 each.

Products featured were purchased by me, with a gift card. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy. 

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