Estée Lauder steps up its game


The Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Palettes

I have to confess that I’ve always thought of Estée Lauder as a brand for older women. Not in a good way, but as a mecca for matrons who’ve put adventure and sex appeal in their rear-view mirrors. (For the record, I see some clothing brands, including Alfred Dunner, Coldwater Creek and Koret, the same way. Those are my mother’s brands. If you ever see me in their apparel, just shoot me. It means I’ve given up on life.)

In any case, I wore Estée Lauder’s Fresh Air Makeup Base in Ivory Mist all through college. Back then, it was the thing to wear because choices were limited. Later, after the cosmetics market exploded, Estée Lauder was eclipsed in my mind by newer, fresher, “modern” brands. It probably doesn’t help that EL’s foundations no longer work for me; even the much-lauded Double Wear doesn’t sit well on my skin.

Estée Lauder, though, is working to modernize its image, as evidenced by the signing of its face of the moment, the trendy and social-media savvy Kendall Jenner. It also has made its way to Sephora counters after years of anchoring department store cosmetic sections. That’s a smart move, because stores like Sephora and Ulta are the go-to spots for younger women shopping for beauty products.

Anyway, other than its Heat Wave highlighter, which became a cult hit a few years back, Estée Lauder hasn’t been high on beauty gurus’ hot-product lists. But here’s some  good news: I impulsively purchased two items from the company’s latest roster of products. Both are from the Bronze Goddess Collection. The first is the Summer Glow Eyeshadow Palette and the second is the Summer Glow Multi-Palette. One has found favor with me; the other not so much. Let’s talk about the disappointment first:

  • The Summer Glow Eyeshadow Palette, $45 on sale at Nordstrom, is gorgeous to look at. It features six shadows, two neutral mattes and four shimmery but not glittery shades that range from pale rose to taupe brown. The standout is an unexpected pop of aqua. Sounds great, right? The problem is that the colors are prettier in the pan than on the lid. The payoff isn’t the best. I expected the shades to be bold and be beachy, but they’re pastel in reality. I’m going to try them with a wet brush to see if I can get better, more intense results.
  • The Summer Glow Multi-Palette, $45 on sale at Nordstrom, is the better of the Summer Glow entries. It features a highlighter in a golden shade, a blush that’s a warm rosy tint with a touch of shimmer, and a satin-finish contour that is actually more of a bronzer than a contour powder due to its warmth. I like this palette — it’s tagging along on my upcoming vacation — but I recommend it with a caveat: It’s really best suited for fair-skinned girls. While the highlight is universal, the blush and highlighter may be too pale for those with darker skin to bother with.

All in all, these palettes are promising steps forward as Estée Lauder courts younger buyers. The company has also just released a suite of products aimed at younger women in its new “The Estée Edit” line. These include the Flash Photo Powder, which I’ve tried and like, as well as a pore-vanishing stick and kohl eyeshadow.

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