Guerlain Les Noirs 09 Écrin 4 Couleurs

August 26, 2011

After seeing all fall palettes from Guerlain in person at Nordstrom I added Les Noirs 09 ($59) to my collection of Les Bois de Rose 04, Les Gris 05 and Les Fumés 06. The Les Noirs 09 is a classic smokey eye palette with a soft matte black, a gunmetal frosted grey, a satiny dove grey and a pale frosted pink. The colors are simply breathtaking in the compact and apply with a smooth soft finish. The pigment on these shades is soft to medium. The frost for the 3 shimmery shades is simple and uncomplicated. The shimmer is visible on the skin but not overly frosty or glittery.

I played with this a few times this week. The quality and texture of the shadows is excellent however I’m not sure the colors are best suited for me. I find that dark grey and dark black shimmers can be difficult for me to pull off on my eyes and skin. To date, one of the few classic black/grey/cream palettes that work for me is Edward Bess’s Soft Smoke Trio. I also adore Bobbi Brown’s Black Plum Shimmerwash Eyeshadow as a dark black (on me) because it has a bit of brown and plum to give it depth on my eyes.

I typically need to layer blacks and greys over something with a bit of warmth or shimmer such as a dark bronzey-brown liner or cream in order to prevent the colors from looking too harsh or too dull. Most dark blacks wash out my skin. My experience with Les Noirs is typical of my experiences with most classic smoky eye palettes. The greys all looked similar on my skin and eyes even when layered. The pale frosted pink washed my eyes out. The palette is still gorgeous – just a bit more high maintenance for me. Chances are I just need more experimentation with this to get the layering technique down better – but after my first two tries, I know this will require a bit more practice for me to get the colors to work with my olive skintone.  I find that applying the darker gunmetal with a damp brush will bring out the shimmer and depth. Lining with the matte black with a fine tipped brush (also damp) brings out the intensity as well.

You can see this same palette swatched on Rouge Deluxe, Karla Sugar, and Makeup and Beauty Blog.

Comparisons to a few other brands: MAC Shimmertime Pigment, Armani Maestro 29, Guerlain Les Noirs, Chanel Gris Exquis, MAC Black Tied, Burberry Midnight Black, MAC Knight Divine

While Les Noirs is a gorgeous palette, I don’t think it’s very unique. That being said, I think it’s hard to create a good classic smoky eye palette that doesn’t seem too basic. Have you checked out Guerlain fall yet? What are your thoughts? Did you try Les Noirs?

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  • It looks really nice, but I think I already have my shades similar. I agree with you that it's a bit difficult to get a very unique smokey eyes palette. I think it really depends on one's tastes. 😀

  • Gasp! I die!! I'm not one for melodramatic responses, but gorgeous smoky greys and blacks are a weak point for me. I think my coloring is cooler and darker so greys and blacks suit me better than most browns.

    The fourth shade in your swatch is such a complex grey; it seems like it has miniscule plum and copper tones mixed in. It reminds me a little bit of MAC copperplate, if that makes any sense. Thank you for posting this eye candy =)

  • Eileen

    I think this was probably a misunderstood release. It wasn't a collection per se, rather it was a reworking of Guerlain's quads and a beautiful reworking it is as Guerlain knows how to create complex, opalescent colors that play off of each other so perfectly. But, it means that those of us who already have a lot of Guerlain found little that was new or inspiring. I already have several of the Écrin 6 Couleurs palettes and singles; so when I actually went to the counter to play with these new beauties, there just wasn't anything that said take me home. Perhaps as seasonal releases appear (i.e. Vol de Nuit Holiday 2011) we'll see more inspired palettes. Don't get me wrong, these are gorgeous quads, but they aren't particularly unique.

  • Sophia1105

    Like you, Sabrina, I have a tough time with grays (pull far too much blue). This collection looks gorgeous and I'd love for it to work for me but it might be too brash. Thanks for posting this, your swatches and reflection on products are wonderful.

  • Do you know what I love about the Guerlain palettes? The tonal gradients. Nothing is too close in tone to be useless and they create a beautifully dimensional eye.

  • I really like all Guerlain pallets, but… I bought six shades pallet – Champs Elysees some time ago. Eyeshadows are beautiful, perfect for my coloring, blend well, packaging is to die for, I had opportunity to buy it for only $60, everything seems so perfect. There is only one problem – those eyeshadows fade and crease on my lids after 1 (ONE!) hour, no matter what eye primer I use (I tried few). Is it curse or what?

  • I got this palette thanks to your swatch and I'm heading today to pick up Les Fumes shade as well. I just love them and I can't believe I haven't gotten them much sooner! 🙂