I haven’t done much with my blog for ages. I am so consumed with the outrageousness of Brexit and the egregious Trump that anything I write here seems trivial. I started this post at the end of June and have been consumed with the horror of the struggle unfolding before me ever since. And yet. I hate to leave anything unfinished, and I didn’t want to waste these words. I want to apologise to you if it all seems so irrelvant and superficial. On one level it is, of course, but I figure that we all need to cultivate our garden while we can.

As you know I’m trying to conduct a one woman economic boycott of US products to teach that Trump guy a lesson, which has meant replacing my Nars and Paula’s Choice products – often conscientiously suitable for a wide variety of skin tones – and substituting preferably European ones. Why not kill two birds, after all?

I’d heard about Charlotte Tilbury’s ranges from my daughter and her friends and since I can order them from John Lewis and pick them up the next day at my local Waitrose with click and collect, I decided to give her products a try. I hope in the space of a few blog posts to cover most of the ones I’ve bought and tried. I feel so entitled writing this: these products are expesive, though largely worth the cost, but MsDD and friends can only ask for, say, a mascara for a birthday present. Still, one day, I hope, things won’t be so tough for them. By the way, asking for an expensive mascara as a birthday present from one’s teenage BFF is deemed outrageously entitled by some. But that’s another story.

I thought I’d take the pohoto above and work through the sticks systematically. Let’s start off with pencils.

The Rock and Kohl eyeliner pencil is a definite hit for me. I have one in shade Barbarella Brown which is a very dark brown but not quite black, which can be unflattering for older women. This is great for an effortless summer or casual look. It’s extremely soft, blends beautifully and quickly and, once on, lasts all day.

I’m not so keen, however on the Classic Eyeliner Powder Pencil. Charlotte Tilbury creates looks with pieces to collect and coordinate, and my shade Sophia pencil was recommended in her Golden Goddess look. This pencil is not as soft as the kohl, and I found it a lot more difficult to apply. Although I had, have, high hopes of this as a quick summer eyeliner, it doesn’t show up against my skin so I don’t think I’ll be buying it again.

Charlotte Tilbury cosmetics are a mid-to-high end British brand, developed by the fair-skinned, redheaded make-up artist herself. It’s a newish brand but I can’t shake off the suspicion that people of colour were far from the minds of the people who developed the colour ranges. I have two of her colour-coordinated eyeshadow palettes, and one that covers eyeshadows, blushers and bronzers. Though the colours are supposed to suit all people, it’s clear that they are going to complement fairer skin tones better than darker. To her credit, Charlotte Tilbury herself demonstrates her “looks” on a variety of models, and perhaps the paler eyeshadows show up better on very dark skins, probably creating a different look from the one planned, but they are pretty pale on me. I get around this problem by copying the look, but starting with one shade darker in each palette. The effect is subtle on me, and probably contains a bit too much shimmer for hooded, ageing eyes. Having said that, I tried this adapted look at my friend’s utterly fabulous wedding last weekend using The Sophisticate eyeshadow palette and ended up with an unsuitably smoky eye for that time of the afternoon.

I do like the Colour Chameleon stick eyeshadow, colour-coordinated specially to make eyes pop. You scribble the pencil on eyelids primed with eyeshadow primer otherwise there’s absolutely no hope of the eyeshadow staying put (I use the Urban Decay anti-ageing one) and you blend quickly with your finger before it sets. Here I have the shades Dark Pearl and Amber Haze for brown eyes. Voilà, an easy eye in a jiffy.


Which brings me to the next stick in the picture. OK, this is an American product but I think it’s excellent. This is the Marc Jacobs Magic Marc’er gel eyeliner pen. I love liquid eyeliner, and was happily settled with my Lancôme Artliners, but then the low boredom threshold set in and I bought this. I fell in love with it. It is not too runny, not too soft, not too hard. Somehow it is JUST RIGHT: easy to control, dispense the right amount of liner without smudging or spotting. Simply very good. You can get a very intense black colour Blacquer but I have the dark brown Cocoa Lacquer shade, and I love it for a more formal, polished look. I’ve even drawn winged eyeliner with it, then told myself not to be so silly as the colour nestles into my crows’ feet. Older women can wear liquid eyeliner, though, and I firmly believe that they should if they so wish.

Next along in the photo is Charlotte Tilbury’s Lip Cheat Lipliner, here in the Pillow Talk shade. You can get the matching lipstick too but it’s far too pale pink for me to be comfortable wearing it. Indeed, I now have six Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks and I’d classify all as summer wearing nudes and pinks, except for shade So Marilyn, which is a bright red, and Birkin Brown, which I’m hoping will be a good enough substitute for my beloved Farouche, which Chanel have unaccountably discontinued, the blighters! Even the red is a bit watery and toned down against my darker skin so I think I shall be sticking to my bolder Nars girls for the foreseeable. They need using up.

Anyway, the Lip Cheat, though not really my colour, is a gorgeously soft and spreadable on the lips and worlds well as a lip liner. I have bought the Iconic Nude shade now too, which looks like it’s going to be a staple of mine.

The thing with all the Charlotte Tilbury pencils I’ve tried (apart from the powder eyeliner) is how soft they are. This means that you often have to sharpen them to make a precise line, which in turn means that they run out quickly. I find it strangely reassuring, however, to use my cosmetics up for once instead of chucking them in the bin or passing them on to MsDD.

Ignore the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow in the centre: that’s there simply to look pretty.

The right hand compartment contains three mascaras: a L’Oreal Million Lashes, Waterproof, which is nothing special really and the two Charlotte Tilbury lines: Full Fat Lashes and Legendary Lashes. Neither is waterproof and the first time I tried out the Full Fat Lashes, it slipped to my lower eyelids within the hour. It doesn’t cope well with oil or grease from eye cream on the eyelids. If, however, you powder well under your eyes and over your concealer, it’s fine, though not outstanding, but not completely reliable to stay put.

I adored the Legendary Lashes mascara for its lengthening and thickening effect but it is far less tenacious than its sibling, which is a real pity. Using a mascara fixative like the NYX Proof It Mascara Topcoat I have here sometimes helps, but I’d never rely on it for long wear or an emotional occasion. They say that waterproof marcaras aren’t good for the lashes – they don’t tell you why – and I’ve never really found one that plumped my eyelashes as much as, say, the Legendary Lashes, but at least they mostly stay on.

So that’s it for this post. In due course I’ll do a skincare review and there are all sorts of things I want to write but finding the right words is difficult when one sopends most days in a state of inchoate rage.