Visitors to London before Christmas should take the opportunity to visit make-up artist Lisa Eldridge’s Covent Garden pop-up shop, which, in the festive, twinkle-lit, cinnamon-scented surroundings, constitutes nothing less than a beauty pilgrimage.
Eldridge is one of the most influential living make-up artists. Her name is up there in beauty history with industry stars such as Allan “Whitey” Snyder (the artist behind Marilyn Monroe’s signature look), Michael Westmore (creator of countless Star Trek make-up looks) and Pat McGrath. When a make-up artist of that calibre launches their own brand, it’s going to be good. Eldridge launched her eponymous line with three (excellent) lipsticks in 2018, and has grown her brand steadily since, slowly expanding the range across lips, complexion and eyes.
Eldridge embodies a sort of Nigella Lawson-esque elegance, intellectualism and soothing voice, all of which have helped her build her following of 1.7 million on Instagram, and more on YouTube. Now, she has launched her first eye palettes, and the results are beautiful. Author of Face Paint: The Story of Makeup, which is a fascinating history of make-up, Eldridge is the owner of an extensive collection of vintage and antique make-up. The oldest item is a Chinese powder compact dating from 700AD; her products incorporate a vintage aesthetic inspired by her collection, along with an eye for colour and texture. With shade names such as Lamp Black, Taffeta Fan and Victorian Trim (a regal mulberry-purple), Eldridge’s passion for beauty history is articulated through to the last detail.
The five eye palettes – each containing six shades and priced at €59 – are exquisitely assembled compilations of complimentary tones, finishes and colours, housed inside a sturdy, brushed antique gold compact. The compacts are refillable and customisable, so each of the 30 shades can be bought as a refill for €14. Textures range from two variations on matte to luminous, full metallic and an unpigmented topcoat for a wash of intense sparkle. The heroes of the collection are Myth, an assemblage of wearable purples and taupes that is ideal for green or blue eyes, and Sorcery, certain to be a party season bestseller for its opulent selection of rich metallics and jewel tones, incorporating an unusual green-to-heather duochrome and a vibrant sapphire blue.
For an everyday look, you won’t do better than Vega. Its cool and neutral grey-taupe shades evoke the best of the Kevyn Aucoin (another famed make-up artist) 90s supermodel aesthetic. With it, you can build everything from a one-and-done neutral eye to a full-on smoked-out affair.
The palettes will certainly sell out – Eldridge’s products have an unfortunate habit of doing that. However, they’ll be stocked at her Covent Garden pop-up until the end of December (friends or family in London may be called upon to earn your love by schlepping in to find one). They are also available through lisaeldridge.com, where you may be able to catch your favourite before it sells out again.
If you can’t get your hands on one, there have been several other excellent eye palettes launched this year. Mac Eye Love Surprises Eye Shadow Palette in Sparkling Wine (€40 at Brown Thomas) is a lovely wearable gifting option with its warm, champagne and earthy tones, while the Vieve Ninetease Palette (€52 at vieve.co.uk) is a strong contender for the best palette launch of 2022. The shades are exceptionally pigmented, the cool tones are hard to find, beautifully complement a Celtic complexion, and this 10-shade offering will see you through day and night all the way to summer and beyond. If you favour warmer tones, you won’t do better than the hefty 18 shade-strong Huda Beauty Empowered Palette (€65 at cultbeauty.com). With a mix of metallics, mattes and glitters, it has almost limitless versatility. A perfect buy for makeup enthusiasts.