Flawless Contouring Palette
Laura Mercier's Flawless Contouring Palette claims to have an advantage over other palettes because of its blendable cream formula, but we found it has some drawbacks, too—enough to make it a palette you might want to skip.
Flawless Contouring Palette comes in a cardboard compact with a mirrored top. Inside are five cream shades: Three brown-based colors intended for contouring and two shimmer shades meant for highlighting. This palette is definitely best for those with normal to dry skin, as the creams are very emollient—they "warm up" and become quite creamy with the slightest touch.
Those with oily or combination skin will find this won't last long at all over oily areas, and can emphasize shine. We found the best way to apply this fragrance-free formula was to dab it directly on to areas we wanted to contour, then blend it in (which can be done with a brush, sponge, or fingers).
Of the three brown shades, Contour #1 is the most versatile. It's a slightly warm medium brown that looks dark in the pan, but with enough blending, it sheers out to be workable on light to medium skin tones. We should note that it might be too warm if your skin is pink-based or "cool-toned."
Contour #2 Medium has the same warm base but is a darker brown that works best on medium to deep skin tones.
Contour #3 Deep is a neutral dark brown that's best for deep skin tones. We wish Laura Mercier offered a couple of different versions of this palette, because for those with fair to light skin only one of the contour shades is useable, as is the case for deep skin tones (Contour #1 and Contour #2 Medium are too light to show up on the deepest skin tones).
As for the highlight shades, Highlight #1 is a yellow-based cream with flecks of sparkles. On fair to light skin, it doesn't show up much, except for the flecks of glitter. On darker skin, it appears quite yellow and doesn't resemble a natural highlight. Highlight #2 is the better of the two options—a shimmery bronze that can work on lighter skin tones as a bronzer, and on deeper skin tones as a highlighter.
As for wear time, we found on normal to dry skin that this did wear well without fading during a standard workday. As mentioned above, those with oily skin will likely find that its cream texture emphasizes already-shiny skin.
In the end, Flawless Contouring Palette just isn't as "flawless" as claimed. Its lack of versatility, both in contouring and highlight shades, means this just doesn't have the wider range of appeal that can be found in other palettes, so this doesn't get our enthusiastic recommendation. To find products that do, see our list of Best Contour and Highlight Products.
- Contour #1 shade is workable for some light to medium skin tones (despite how dark it looks in the pan).
- Contour #2 Medium shade and Contour #3 Deep shade work well on their intended skin tones.
- Highlight #2 shade can work well as a bronzer or highlighter.
- Contour #1 shade will likely be too warm for pink-based or "cool" skin tones.
- Lack of versatile shades means some will go unused.
- Highlight #1 shade is not ideal for light or medium to deep skin tones.
Laura Mercier At-A-Glance
Strengths: Many fragrance-free products; top-notch water-soluble cleansers; some extraordinary foundation and powder products; great powder blush, cream blush, and powder eyeshadows; a couple impressive mascaras; mostly great shimmer products; praiseworthy makeup brushes.
Weaknesses: Expensive; some of the products with sunscreen lack sufficient UVA-protecting ingredients; jar packaging hinders some of the skincare formulas.
Mercier did a reasonably good job of crafting a skin-care line to complement her formidable collection of makeup (color is definitely Mercier's strong suit). From her above-average cleansers to some intriguing serums, it is clear that the skin care wasn't just an afterthought. Mercier is the only independent makeup artistry line we know of whose skin-care products actually have an impressive array of state-of-the-art ingredients. Of course, not everything is a slam-dunk, but following the reviews below will lead you to some wonderful products, assuming the higher-than-normal prices don't offset your decision to shop this line for your skin-care needs. And it's nice that the line has toned down its claims about emu oil, because it was never that miraculous to begin with - it's just one of many emollient oils that can help dry skin look and feel better.
For more information about Laura Mercier, call (888) 637-2437 or visit www.lauramercier.com.
Laura Mercier Makeup
What sets Mercier's well-organized makeup line apart from the rest is her trademark "flawless face." Mercier believes that perfecting the complexion is the most important step to makeup application, and her line presents some incredible options for doing just that. An added plus is that Mercier's counter staff really have their act together when it comes to makeup application know-how, while the sales pressure is low key. We wish the tester units were more spacious and efficiently labeled, but this isn't an overwhelming line to navigate.
Most of Mercier's foundations are in many ways a step above the rest. Although none of the main foundations offer sun protection, there are formidable options for all skin types, and the pigmentation in each is rich, so a little goes a long way. Other areas where Laura Mercier's makeup really excels are the loose powders, cream blush, mascara, brushes, and shimmer products. It is all too easy and very tempting to put together an entire makeup wardrobe from the Mercier selection, but keep in mind that there are a fair number of standard to lackluster products that simply aren't worth the expense, despite Mercier's considerable makeup artistry expertise.
Mercier's handiwork routinely graces the covers of major fashion magazines, and for the most part her work speaks for itself and epitomizes this line's Flawless Face philosophy. Mercier herself regularly makes special appearances at her counters, and my guess is that sitting in her chair would be an experience to remember!
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.