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.
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.
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?