Guerlain Imperiale Holiday Collection: Review and Makeup Lesson Video

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by Sonja on October 27, 2009

For the holidays this year, Guerlain introduces the Imperiale Collection designed to bring luxury worthy of royalty to every woman. I’ve been having such a wonderful time playing with the press samples I received. I need the holiday parties to start rolling in, especially after I got a lesson with Guerlain’s top makeup artist Marcus Monson. I had the good fortune to sit down with him when he was in town recently.

Marcus describes the collection as a way to get a “delicate dazzle” with subtle radiance. I find the colors and finishes to have a really nice balance of holiday glamour and elegance – definitely festive but not over the top.

As usual, Guerlain knocks it out of the park with luxurious packaging that makes each piece a luxe accessory. They’ve created a lovely vintage, boudoir feel with white gold finishes and black lace and jewel accents.

The Shadows

Guerlain Eyeshadow Palette Holiday 2009Like all Guerlain shadows, the shadows in the 407 Bal de minuit Ombre Eclat 4 Shades ($58) are exquisitely silky with a great dose of color. But these have a different finish than most Guerlain shadows. They’re more metallic and pearlescent while retaining an elegant look, because the neutral hues are on the soft side.

There’s plenty of shimmer to make them work for holiday parties and any special occasion. But they can also work for everyday wear if you apply them lightly. It’s a great multi-purpose set. Marcus suggests applying the darkest shade wet to use it as a liner. He also showed me that the medium brown shade (bottom right) works well to fill in the brows.

The Mascara

I adore Le 2 de Guerlain with its two brushes that grab each lash and make them so long and full. Marcus showed me how to use it to curl the lashes by simply holding the lashes back for a second (much easier for me than using a lash curler).

Guerlain Le 2 Mascara Holiday 2009

For the holidays, the 12 Reine de nuit Le 2 de Guerlain ($35) has a super black shade with the main brush and a sparkly gold formula with the small brush. The gold is meant to be used alone or over the black on the bottom lashes and on the tips of the top lashes. The effect is subtle so you can’t see it well on the video. But it’s very pretty.

The Lip Colors

For the lips, they’ve introduced two new shades of Rouge G, their incredibly luxe lipstick with the case that flips out to reveal a mirror. It can also be engraved since the case is metal. For the holidays, these two lipsticks have ornamental black jewels on them.

Marcus used 11 Grace (bottom lipstick shown below) on me. It’s a subtly pearl, lingerie pink that’s now one of my all-time favorite pinks (the other shade is called 12 Gems). Marcus topped Grace with 807 Perle de Lune KissKiss Gloss ($29, middle below), a delicately sparkly, light opalescent pink. There are also two darker shades: 808 Ambre Précieuse and 809 Rubis Rose.

Guerlain Rouge G Lipstick and KissKiss Gloss Holiday 2009

The Powders

The collection includes three powders. Météorites Perle Impériales ($53), the loose pearls of powder Guerlain is famous for, has three new shades to correct and brighten the complexion, as well as give it “evening-out” sparkle. It comes in a black, sparkly, lacy container.

There’s also a new luxury edition of the Météorites Voyage Impérial pressed powder ($180) in a white gold metal compact adorned with black Swarovski strass crystals evocative of a constellation of stars. I haven’t used that. But they say it has “fine-tuned formula” with a “one-of-a-kind formulation” that’s gently pearlescent, and easier to blend and customize.

Perhaps the most unique piece in the collection is the Éclat Impérial ($85, on right below) powder for face and body. It’s silky, sheer, lightweight and gives the look of tiny little diamonds on the skin. It comes in the most exquisite atomizer with a long black tassel so you apply it like perfume – talk about luxe.

Guerlain Powders Holiday 2009

The Makeup Lesson

Marcus was in town for a big beauty event at Nordstrom in downtown San Francisco. He shared more great tips and tricks in this makeup lesson video. I love that after all these years of sitting down with makeup artists I can still learn something new. My favorite tip was about how to properly blend eyeshadow in the crease by sort of dabbing at the shadow instead of sweeping back and forth.

It’s also nice to sit down with someone who knows the ins and outs of the products so I can use them to their fullest potential, so to speak, like how to use the mascara to curl the lashes. I also learned that Rouge G has a primer built into the formula so there’s no need to use primer before applying.

I must forewarn you that I had some trouble with this video. I sat down to review what I shot and found that the last third disappeared – vanished into thin air (sigh). I did my best to work around it with photos and such. But there is an upside: I had more time to show more of the eye makeup application, so you can see more of Marcus’ excellent techniques (YouTube has a time limit so I usually have to cut out a lot of great stuff).

Where to Find the Collection

The collection is available now at select Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Sephora, Bloomingdales, and Bergdorf Goodman stores.

Do Tell

So what do you think of the collection and Marcus’ lesson? Do tell.

P.S. Check out the Beauty Resources page for some amazing beauty deals from,, Sephora, and more.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Yaya October 27, 2009 at 12:04 pm

the packaging on these is just too delectable!
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2 Tami - fête à fête October 27, 2009 at 12:31 pm

you look stunning, as usual. now i gotta play with my palette! :)
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3 Sonja October 27, 2009 at 1:55 pm

❤ Yaya, absolutely!
❤ Tami, thank you! It’s so wonderful! Have fun!
Sonja´s last blog ..Guerlain Imperiale Holiday Collection: Review and Makeup Lesson Video My ComLuv Profile


4 nancy October 27, 2009 at 2:26 pm

Sonja, your eyes look amazing. That mascara is really amazing. Good save ;-)


5 Sonja October 27, 2009 at 3:36 pm

❤ Thank you, Nancy! I just love that palette and am stunned by the mascara. And thanks for the comment about the video itself. I thought I was gonna cry when I discovered the video had gone missing.
Sonja´s last blog ..Guerlain Imperiale Holiday Collection: Review and Makeup Lesson Video My ComLuv Profile


6 Midtown Girl October 28, 2009 at 4:05 am

That’s exactly how I curl my lashes!! Your lashes look so lush - I think I may have to try this mascara!!
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7 Sonja October 28, 2009 at 1:58 pm

❤ Midtown Girl, very cool. That technique had never occurred to me before. So glad I learned it. Definitely give the mascara a try – awesome stuff!
Sonja´s last blog ..Guerlain Imperiale Holiday Collection: Review and Makeup Lesson Video My ComLuv Profile


8 laura November 9, 2009 at 7:01 am

Hi i bought the WHOLE collection after seeing your video!! I adore Guerlain anyway and have TONS of their products but this collection is the best they have done! I loved your video!! So thank you so so much! Love seeing Guerlain videos but there isnt a lot of them!:( xxx


9 Sonja November 9, 2009 at 9:34 pm

❤ Wow, laura! That’s so cool! They make such wonderful products. Everything’s so decadent and luxe. I’m sure you’ll love everything. I’m wearing the eye palette right now. Love! So glad you liked the video and found it helpful!! xoxo


10 FT November 19, 2009 at 4:55 am

Sonja, you look really pretty in the video and photo! Your lashes look so fabulous! I think I might get the mascara, gonna try it on first on a Guerlain counter ;)

I’m thinking of getting a brownish shadow palette and considering between Brun Madoré (from the fall collection) or the Bal de Minuit (from this holiday collection). I haven’t seen and swatch any of them in person. Is Bal de Minuit much more sparkly? If yes, then I might get the Brun Madoré instead, because I want to use the palette during the day and because I have a medium olive skin color, I can’t apply eyeshadows lightly, otherwise the colors won’t be visible enough.

Can’t wait for the next Guerlain video from you. I learn quite a lot from this one! ;)
Thank you :)


11 Sonja November 19, 2009 at 3:45 pm

❤ Thank you, FT!! The mascara is pretty amazing. Let me know what you think of it!

I would suggest the Brun Madoré from the fall collection if you mainly want to use it during the day. I use that all the time for daytime looks; but you can also layer on more to get more dramatic with it for evening. The Bal de Minuit isn’t more sparkly – it’s more metallic and pearly so you might find it to be too much for daywear. The colors are also lighter so I think the Brun Madoré would be better for your skin color. Hope that helps! So glad you found the video helpful!


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