Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Le Métier de Beauté Couches de Couleurs

I got into these late, which is ridiculous because for over a year now I've known these are the best eyeshadows in the industry (this statement said after author has been through every aisle in Sephora and every counter in Bergdorf/Neiman's). But there's something about beginning your experience with the brand with a kaleidoscope (Splendid Frost, in my case): It's all there arranged for you. When you throw me into the wild with 34 eyeshadows to choose from, I start to panic. Like what I said in my lip creme tutorial, sometimes people just need a little bit of structure and guidance before they know how to experiment.

So after pestering Dustin for another hour of instruction, here you go! We throw the words Couches de Couleurs around fairly often without really explaining what it means (I personally just thought it meant layering), but now I have a comprehensive chart detailing exactly how you should layer eyeshadows according to the Le Métier de Beauté technique. Keep in mind you can always experiment any way you want. The chart below is not the be all end all to eyeshadow layering. I just personally hold that you should know the "rules" before you start breaking them, you know? 

Oh to own the whole array

There are four types of colors according to the Couches de Couleurs technique: 
  • Brighten: Resembles skin color, but has a little radiance to it
  • Warmth: Resembles your natural blush color. Everyone has a different color, some people have more red, some more pink. He suggests using the knuckle trick (clench your knuckles and look at the color by the protruding bones) to determine which tone you are
  • Focus: What the overall look is going to become
  • Depth: Usually placed at lash line, gives a veil on the entire look. The texture of the Depth colors are harder, thus it's usually a little difficult to pick up pigment from them

And you layer them accordingly! I swatched the colors according to type in the chart below. Do click on the picture to access the enlarged version. For arm swatches, please visit Karla Sugar's fantastic recap of the entier Le Métier eyeshadow line.

If anyone is interested to know, my Brighten and Warmth colors are Jojo and Tuscan Sunset.

Click to enlarge!

I should tell you that Dustin was hesitant to label certain colors under "Brighten" or "Depth," because women have different skin tones thus use different Brighten colors. For example, people with darker skin tones can use certain Depth colors (like Spicy) as Brighten colors. So do take the chart above with reservations if your skin tone is much darker than mine!

Also, notice I labelled Corinthian under "Everything." Corinthian is unique in the sense that it could be used as a Brighten, Focus, or Depth color (or if you're lazy or in a rush, it's pretty enough on its own that you can just slap it on and call it a day). I'm surprised it's not one of my first acquisitions - in fact, I only got this a few weeks ago when I was visiting New York, largely because Joeybunny and Dustin both gave me looks of acute disbelief when I admitted I didn't own it. Ah peer pressure!

Now, you probably realize by now that the seasonal kaleidoscopes don't exactly follow this technique. A prime example is Violaceous Splendor, which is basically an explosion of color! To this Dustin says the seasonal kaleidoscopes are unconventional ways for color to go together, like fashion-forward accessories that are just made for the season. This is not to say they'll go out of style as soon as the snowfall ends or the spring flowers bloom, but like the ubiquitous cape of Fall 2011: nice to have now, but you bet I'm going to wear it over and over again in the years to come.

In response to Larie's question about the eyeshadows and whether they contain paraben (and my horror at not finding even one picture of the ingredient list online), here's a picture for those with sensitive skin:

Le Métier de Beauté single eyeshadows are $30 each. I'd love to thank Dustin for sharing his knowledge, so if you don't have a counter near you, I hope you will give him a call at 212-872-8612. Let him know I sent you and I promise he'll be extra nice (not that he isn't already)!


  1. Xiao, are Le Metier shadows paraben-free? I'm always tempted, but I can never find ingredients so I've never really looked further into them.

  2. Nice! :) These eyeshadows are look perfect :)

  3. I want Fire Lily! I just got Corinthian in California last month-it's always out of stock when I visit the States so I was lucky! I love my two kaleidoscopes a lot, but I don't want to use them up!

  4. Xiao,

    Once again you outdid yourself with a very helpful and relevant tutorial/info sharing. This posting and Dustin's explanation of the "method" behind the couches de couleurs technique couldn't have been more timely.....I have slowly been amassing LMDB singles into my collection and pick up 1 or 2 every time I stop by their counter so that I on my way to having all in the permanent line. However, I don't reach for them as regularly as I should, and am more apt to use a ready made kaleidoscope (when you are in a hurry, experimentation doesn't always yield satisfying results....). I am going to sit down and analyze your chart this afternoon-I can't wait to play! You hit another ball out of the park with this posting (I refer to your lip creme tutorial frequently as well). Maybe at some point, you can do a tutorial on mixing their lipsticks/glosses?? This week has been a magnificent present from you in the form of your wonderful postings!! Thank you and Happy Holidays!

  5. Larie- full ingredient list for one of the shadows there. Looking at it, I guess it does :(

    Rainy Days and Lattes- They're SO good *happy sigh*

    Tracy- I know the feeling! Though... I probably will never be able to finish any of them :x

    DEN- oh you have no idea how much your wonderful comment means to me! Happy holidays to you too :)

  6. What a great post. I copied the chart since I have so many LMdB shadows and will try new combinations. I'll be referencing this too on a future blog post since it's so helpful.

  7. What a fabulous resource! You have just opened up a whole new world for me, Xiao. I'm going to turn into an eyeshadow mixing maniac.

    FYI, Sheer Nude seems to be back in stock on RBL! I seem to recall us mourning the color when it sold out. No More War is back too, and I've scooped up both.

    Sorry this is off-topic. I need to get Twitter so I can yell at you about in-stock RBL colors. Come Christmas, I'm getting an Anne mani!

  8. MarciaF- thank you :)

    Leigh- aha! Can't wait to read it on your blog.

    *FROTHS IN MOUTH* at sheer nude! But I have a reach $100 and buy policy for RBL polishes. I suppose I should just wait till the next order (undoubtedly it'll be sold out by then but a girl needs some boundaries!) If Diddy Mow ever mysteriously gets restocked you MUST get that!

    and yes you *need* to get on Twitter. We need much more timely and extensive conversations!!

  9. Aw, if I had known, I would've added a second Sheer Nude to my order for you. On the bright side, I am now following you as @creaturofdesign!

  10. Thank you so much for all the work you've put into this! This is an extremely useful resource.

  11. This is amazing! I've started a collection of kaleidoscopes but have been intimidated by the single shadows since I don't know how to combine them. I'm going to be referencing this post frequently. You're the best!

  12. The number one ingredient is TALC. Sigh, that means you are paying for mostly Talc, a filler ingredient, no for pigment. Sad. I will stick to making my own!

  13. Excuse me, but you make me sound like I was FORCING you to buy Corinthian! =P

    I was merely expressing my shock at the fact that you're such a LMdB fangirl but had yet to purchase it.

    Harumph <33333

  14. Xiao,

    What a treat! This was SUCH a helpful post. I have been wanting to create my own kaleidoscope for a while, and this is just what I needed. It is so nice to find out more about the "science" behind the brand. Your blog is such a delight to read and is truly one of my favorites!

    @Jillie Duncan-Jack: I don't know if you have ever used LMdB shadows before, but I have never found them to be lacking in pigment. Some of their shades are the most pigmented eyeshadows I own. And the ability to blend them is amazing. If you have not tried them, I highly recommend you try one.

    Have a wonderful holiday season everyone!


  15. The Kindly One- I'm glad it's of use to you :)

    Megan- That's what I thought! I was missing out on their single shadows and there are some delectable shades in there (rose champagne, plum, water sapphire, and corinthian are such must-haves) I really wanted to use. Now we can!

    Jillie Duncan-Jack- I agree with what Kate said in the comment below yours. LMdB shadows are one of the most pigmented I own (though keep in mind the Depth colors - which Water Sapphire is - are made to be a little "harder" since it's the last shade to be layered), and the only ones that I can layer over each other without the result looking like a muddy mess. But of course, if intense color is what you seek, pure pigments will be the best.

    Joey- *shifty eyed* at this point everything I don't own from LMdB is a shock apparently. I purchased Mystique the other day and Dustin was gaping at me... I MISS YOU can't wait to see you again <3

    Kate- Thank you for the kind words! Hope you have a wonderful holiday as well.

  16. Great post, and great website. Thanks for the information! sofa set


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