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Tom Ford makeup: the review

November 21, 2011 |  1:14 pm


With shades called "Love Bruise" and "Lost Cherry," Tom Ford's full makeup collection has finally landed in Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus stores, where it is being sold exclusively. And the products don't disappoint. They are among the most expensive on the market ($48 for a lipstick, $75 for foundation). But the last time we spoke, Ford told me he had not experienced any price resistance, and WWD reported that he sold $52,000 in one night during a personal appearance to promote the line at New York's Bergdorf Goodman this month.

Let's start with the packaging. The black and gold lacquer tubes and compacts are as sleek and elegant as a luxe handbag. But it's what's inside that really matters. For me, one of the star products is the Traceless Foundation Stick ($78). Really a foundation and concealer in one, it glides across the face like an ice cube -- smooth and cool to the touch. It would be a great thing to have in your purse for touch-ups during the day, or to use as a complement to the Traceless Liquid Foundation ($75), which is so lightweight it's feels more like a moisturizer on the face than a traditional foundation.

The collection is based on the concept of layering color, as in, you control how sheer or matte you want the color by how much you layer on. A lot of cosmetics claim to have this quality, but Ford's really seem to, particularly the shadows in the Eye Color Quads, which include four colors in sheer sparkle, satin, shimmer and matte finishes. They can also be turned into eyeliner by wetting the liner applicator brush included. (One note: I found the shadow particles did occasionally irritate my eyes when I had my contacts in.)

The lipsticks (which debuted in 2010) have garnered a lot of buzz, particularly the "Cherry Lush" red. They provide intense color but are not drying. And the Lip Lacquer Vinyl ($30) is an ingenious pearlized top gloss that softens any of the lipstick colors or can be worn alone. The Ultra Shine lip glosses ($45) have a pleasant surface tackiness that offers staying power but don't feel sticky. My favorite shade is "Wet Violet," which can be a sheer purple or intense plum depending on how thick you brush it on.

I've heard raves from makeup artists about the Shade & Illuminate cream compact ($75, designed to create shadows on the face that give the illusion of model-worthy cheekbones and contoured eyes), as well as the Illuminating Protective Primer ($70), which is a color prep/skin retexturizing treatment hybrid. But I haven't had a chance to try those yet. The Noir Absolu ($35) also looks interesting. It's a black pigmented gel that can be swept across the lid to create a smoky eye effect or used with a brush as an eyeliner. (The collection is also available online at

The names of the colors are as naughty as you'd expect from Ford, who built his reputation on a sexy, Studio 54, 1970s-meets-1990s hedonism, and who has admitted to wearing makeup himself. But when you're stepping out in "Violet Fatale" lipstick, "Wicked" cheek color, "Golden Mink" eyeshadow and "Viper" nails, you can't help but feel like a disco goddess. 


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Photo credit: Tom Ford Beauty