REVIEW: Poppy Sauvage by Violette
I first was introduced to makeup artist Violette through a series of 'on-the-go' video tutorials she did for Violet Grey. Since then, she's been responsible in one way or another for about 80% of my makeup purchases in the past year -- I love her overall aesthetic and how she approaches makeup and its application. I love (slash am insanely jealous of) her hair. Her nails are always perfect. She also seems happy, content and confident. And she makes all of these things seem so easy. The French part I try to be impartial on, because romanticizing someone's nationality is problematic and I shouldn't do that, but it's hard not to be like, ooooh ... French 😍
Violette is a talented makeup artist (and obviously a well-trained professional) but has a way of describing how to put on makeup that makes you feel like you can do it AND that in doing it you are being creative and artistic. Violette taught me that makeup can be playful and expressive and that you can do a lot with just your fingers. And the inner-eye highlight!
Anyway, she's just cool. So when it was announced that she was putting out a collection with Estée Lauder, I was already 100% in without seeing any of the products. Having played around with these for about two weeks now, I think it's a pretty great collection and am really happy with my purchases. However, not everything is perfect -- and despite my love for Violette, I'll try to be as impartial as possible going through the pros and cons of each item 😁
I bought everything off Estée Lauder's website after discovering I could get 15% off and free shipping with my first order and a bunch of samples (sorry Violet Grey, until you start offering free samples, we are done!) -- Estée Lauder is really generous with the free samples. I got four mini mascaras, two eyeshadows and two Advanced Night Repair Serum sachets -- not bad (especially compared to Sephora in that I actually got the samples I requested! 🙄).
In general, I really like the packaging. Everything, especially the lipsticks, feels very heavy and expensive. I think the design is also very pretty -- I like seeing these products in my makeup bag and I feel fancy opening the palettes and applying eyeshadow or blush using their included mirrors (like Violette does in all of her videos). I think this collection can be summed up as 'beautiful' -- not in a hyperbolic Charlotte Tilbury Youtube sense, but in a measured, appreciative way. I think it's obvious that a lot of thought and consideration went into the experience of this line, both in the products themselves, but how they are presented and applied by the user.
This is the centerpiece of the collection and, surprisingly, my favorite Poppy Sauvage product. It's an intensely pigmented liquid lipstick that dries matte.
First: the color. It's a beautiful bright red -- to be honest, it doesn't really read 'poppy' to me. I always think of poppies as either bright orange or deep red and I think this is more of a tomato red. Either way -- it's very pretty. For my skin tone (vampiric) it works well and isn't too orange-y that it washes me out.
I am not that talented in applying makeup -- especially lipstick -- so I tend to stick to light colors, balms or glosses. As this is a richly pigmented liquid lipstick, I was really surprised this turned out to be my favorite part of the collection, but I find I reach for this more than anything else. The color is stunning, but the real winner here is the formula. It's a testament to how easy this is to apply that **I** can easily apply it -- in a car no less! 😮 Of all the liquid lipsticks I've tried (Fenty Uncensored, Jeffree Starr, Hourglass) this is the easiest to put on. It has a pretty standard doe foot applicator, but the texture is light and really smooth, making it easy gradually paint and build up. It also dries relatively slowly, which makes it easier for someone like me who needs to go slow and who might need some time to wipe off a mistake. Once it dries (takes about a minute -- so not *too* long a waiting period, but just enough to fix things if you mess up) it is extremely transfer resistant. Partner's cheeks and water glasses? Unscathed. If you eat anything with oil it will start to come off, but if you are just out and about having an apéro or just at home daydreaming about doing that over boxed wine, it won't come off. This is the only part of the collection I will buy an extra of -- mostly because of the color, but definitely backed up by its easy-to-use and transfer-proof formula.
I like the idea of blush, but as a naturally ruddy person it's not really my favorite thing. The main thing I got excited about was the name of the pink shade, 'Camélia', which ties this to another Violette I love and is exactly the kind of meaningless coincidence I really enjoy.
I think this duo is inoffensive. I haven't used the 'Soleil Doré' yet (I don't know what it is -- it's probably my own ineptitude, but I just cannot get bronzers to work as 'sculptors' for me so I sort of ignore them or try to use them like blush which doesn't really work...) but 'Camélia' is a standard sheer, pretty pink powder blush. I love the packaging, but unless you don't have any pink blush at all, this is probably skippable.
I don't LOVE these lipsticks, but I like them a lot. The colors are very pretty, but they aren't something I would necessarily reach for if they weren't part of this collection.
As mentioned, I gravitate towards more natural colors, so I've used 'Poésie' more than 'Vin Rouge', but the formula is identical. Both are satin-finish and on the drier side, and both are impressively long-lasting. In one of her tutorials, Violette recommends smudging the edges so you get more of a stain look, and that approach works well with this formula. It's pigmented enough that if you have a thin layer on you still get a nice wash of color.
'Vin Noir' looks much more burgundy than it goes on in person -- I always mis-label it as 'Vin Rogue' in my head when I'm putting it on because it's definitely more reddish-purple than dark purple. I consider 'Poésie' to be a deep coral -- for me, this doesn't really classify as a nude because it's too pink, but for some people it might work.
The lipstick has a slight scent and while the formula is on the drier side, it's not so dry that it 'catches' on your lips or pills (which sometimes happens to me with Bésame's lipsticks). It's a pretty basic lipstick bullet, so it's as easy or difficult to apply from the tube as any other lipstick. As shown by the second picture above, I still struggle with my lower lip line, so I usually get better results with a lip brush (as I did in the first photo). You have to work a bit with a brush because the product is a little sheer, but it's doable.
The tube itself is actually one of my favorite things about this lipstick -- it has a magnet so when you close it it gives a very satisfying click and is very secure. I don't know why more companies don't do this, it's such a cool feature!
A random thing I really appreciate about these palettes: each one has this little plastic condom so that the powder doesn't get on the mirror. This is another example of a small detail (and maybe something that is standard with Estée Lauder products, not just this collection) that I think speaks to the overall quality of the collection and the 'luxe' feel you get when using it.
This is a palette of very warm eyeshadows: along with the pink duochrome in the upper right, both the oblong highlight color and the gold-ish color in the upper left have pink undertones. I think pink eye makeup can make me look sickly, so I've been trying to figure out how to use these pink tones in a way where they don't come off too warm (...to a general lack of success). The highlight color works well as a general highlighter for the face, but it's too pink for me as an inner eye highlight. I think this combination of colors would work better on someone with Violette's coloring (a little more on the tanned/olive side). This is the only part of the collection I'm seriously considering to return, but part of me still wants to stubbornly try to use it up because if Violette picked these colors they must be perfect. So rational, I know!
The quality of the shadows is very nice -- they are richly pigmented and a little goes a long way. While it's not really for me, the duochrome is my favorite color -- it is a very pretty pink-gold that has an intense shimmer. I've seen some looks on Violette's Instagram of just this eyeshadow with the 'Poppy Sauvage' liquid lip and they look really cool. When I try to pull this off, though, I look kind of weird, but you should try it! It seems like a cool look! 😊
Finally, something more my speed. This comes in as a close second to the Poppy Sauvage liquid lip as my favorite item in the collection. I love any kind of eye product that is in a stick or crayon format because for the unskilled novice like myself, it makes life sooo much easier. Unlike a powder, where you put a crayon that is where the color goes. 😜 You don't have to worry about gradients or fallout -- it's like the makeup version of paint-by-numbers and I'm all for it!
This is a pretty basic copperish-brown eye pencil, but it's also a very good copperish-brown eye pencil. I've tried eye sticks from Sisley, Laura Mercier and Charlotte Tilbury, and I think this has the best formula in terms of blendability. I don't really like to blend that much (I prefer to just use this kind of thing as a thick liner along the lash line and then build on top of it with lighter colors) but I experimented in sort of smudging it out as a smoky eye and it doesn't ball up, streak or pill.
Can we take a second though to make fun of Estée Lauder's description of this product?
Baaaaaaarrrrffff. 🤮 What does 'French eyes' even mean??? I admit I already have a pet peeve about the whole romantic idolization of the 'French girl' because it feels like gross over-simplification with trappings of nationalism, elitism and Euro-centricity that squigs me out, but even despite these feelings this is just a weird way to describe a product.
Anyway, it's a nice eye pencil, and another item I might buy a back-up of. It does a nice job of bringing out the green in my eyes, and it's easy to use. Once it has set it is pretty transfer proof (just give it time to set lol unlike I did before taking these photos... 😬) and it's easy to layer other things on top. The only thing I'm not a fan of is that you actually have to sharpen this once the first nub of product gets finished. I prefer 'twisty'-style crayons (like the Laura Mercier Caviar sticks), but a lot of people seem to prefer the sharpenable ones because they (supposedly) don't dry out as fast. 🤷🏼♀️ I just know that I always manage to mangle any pencil I sharpen so am apprehensive whenever this becomes an eventuality in a product I like.
Despite this (😝) I really like this eye crayon! It's a nice product, and a shade I think will work for a lot of people (especially compared to the eyeshadow palette...)!
As I'm conditioned to by Instagram, I love everything about the idea of this product. You are telling me someone combined the idea of rosé AND a dew pot? Whaaaaat?!?!
In addition to being naturally ruddy, I guess you could (generously) call me naturally 'dewy'. A more accurate term would probably be sweaty (my father's nickname for me during the summer as a child was 'Sweatbox Charlie' 😅) so, realistically, I have no need for this. Especially because its first ingredient is lanolin oil, which I'm allergic to. 😭
Despite how happy I am owning this product, I don't think it's much different from a Smith's Rosebud Salve or any other petroleum / lanolin based balm or dew pot. In one of her makeup tutorials, Violette uses Smith's in the exact same way she suggests you use this product, so I suspect this is what she was going for (or at least inspired by!). Katie Jane Hughes called this a glow pot in one of her Instagram posts and I think that's the best way to describe it. It's not really a highlighter, it's more of a sheen-er. While it looks pink in the pot, it is functionally transparent and very oily. It's difficult to 'catch' in photos and in real life looks a little more like sweat (especially in the cupid's bow area) than a 'glow'. I will still keep it, because the experience of putting it on feels very chic and I love the look of the jar, but I think RMS Living Luminizer or Glossier's Haloscope are better options if you really want that ✨light-reflection✨ effect.
Overall, I am really impressed and happy with this collection and can't wait to see what Violette does next. The products I wasn't impressed with (mainly the eyeshadow palette, the blush duo and 'Soft Glow') were more disappointments because they didn't fit my personal needs -- not due to defects on their own. Everything is well made and feels expensive and high-quality. The lipsticks in particular are really awesome in terms of their ease of application and longevity. Violette says she's coming out with a new collection soon -- hopefully it will come with some cooler-toned shadows! 😜