I love the beauty kits and palettes that appear on shelves at Christmas, perfect as a gift or a capsule collection of a new or favourite brand. Laura Mercier and Benefit are two that I particularly look forward to checking out as they always deliver compact sets of gorgeous makeup that works out at great value compared to buying each element separately.
This year they have launched two quite similar palettes, which I’ll swatch and compare in this post: Benefit Away We Glow and Laura Mercier Colour to Go in Warm Neutrals (also available in Cool Neutrals).
Benefit gets a head start with Away we Glow as the palette is significantly bigger with a larger range of products. Or does it? Laura Mercier’s compact and bijou kit comes in a dinky double decker that fits in the palm of my hand and I’d happily pop it in my handbag, plus it’s made of sturdy plastic rather than cardboard.
Laura Mercier Colour to Go: Warm Neutrals Palette
I’ve posted about this palette a couple of times and have coveted it from first glimpse. My regular readers will know that Laura Mercier is my all time favourite makeup brand… I often stray, but I always return and it never lets me down. Why? The soft, rich colour tones, beautiful textures, skin flattering shades, great quality and lasting power.
3 Eye Colours
Tightline Cake Eye Liner
Bronzing Pressed Powder
Second Skin Cheek Colour
The top ‘deck’ has the eye colours and lip glace, which is also available from the base (clever!) and a full sized mirror. The texture of Laura Mercier eyeshadows is perfection in my eyes… good colour payoff but not too much; a satin, not shimmery disco finish, zero fallout and amazing lasting power. These ones are quite small compared to the full sized product, but I have some I’ve used for years and barely dented, so that’s not a worry.
On the bottom deck are a generously sized bronze and blush in very flattering and wearable shades… I’ve used the bronze as contour, but wouldn’t really use as full on bronzer at this time of year, except perhaps in the evening to balance out any self tan on my body.
The whole shebang, with flash…. a dinky little thing of beauty!
It was difficult to capture the nude shadow (far left) in a pic, but it’s a really lovely shade that’s close to my skin tone, which brightens the eye area and lifts the browbone. Together, these colours add definition and softness, but don’t make me look overly made up, which is just how I like it. Of course the deeper shadows can be used to build up a more smoky evening eye, but the overall look can be kept quiet for day… a good transition piece.
Benefit Away we Glow
You really do get a whole lotta bang for your buck here… the palette is beautifully presented and again you have a full sized mirror for application on the go. I can’t imagine any girl whose face wouldn’t light up to receive this. The extras are brushes, mascara and two highlighters, making it completely self sufficient if you’re happy to use all of those together.
- CORALista a “rio” pleasure face powder with brush - a pretty, shimmery coral blush with gold undertones that needs no introduction!
- 5-colour eyeshadow palette - pale shimmery shades from a white-gold highlighter though peach, bronze and brown
- high beam cool, luminescent complexion enhancer - silvery highlighter for cheek & brow bones
- sun beam warm, golden bronze complexion highlighter - as above but with warm tones
- BADgal lash mascara
- ultra shines life on the A list lip shine - a pale peachy gloss
- fluff shadow/hard angle brush
I did expect the eyeshadows to be more pigmented, as Benefits’ often are, but these provide much more of a subtle, soft look. They are very pretty and I’m not sure if it’s the amount of shimmer (more than I’m personally comfortable with) or the lightness but to me this kit spells summer rather than cold depths of winter. It’s been described as a dupe to a previous kit, Her Name Was Glowla, except that this one replaces Moonbeam highlighter with the newer Sunbeam.
Another (3rd time lucky) photography special by my 4 year old… taken with flash. At a glance, the overall look and tones of the two sets appear really quite similar here…. though the Benefit is very peach focused, paler and more shimmery. The Laura Mercier colours are more coral-pink and bronze-brown, better pigmented and generally warmer, as the name suggests. All of the swatches were photographed in afternoon light (pesky Winter weather) and do appear a little deeper in real life.
If you’re all about the glow and want a palette for evening or summer use, I’d go for Benefit. For an everyday, every season quality kit that’s small enough to fit in a clutch, Laura Mercier is a winner - and my personal favourite.
I still think both are amazing value for what you get - a complete kit for eyes, lips and cheeks that works out much cheaper than buying each item individually. Totting it all up, both work out with a value of around £80 per kit… and double that if you buy the full sizes.
I got the last Laura Mercier Colour to Go kit (£30) in Space NK Belfast, though it’s still available online. Away We Glow (£29.50) is exclusive to Boots, online and instore.
Which set would you most like to unwrap on Christmas morning?
*I was commissioned to review two beauty gifts of my choice as part of a research challenge by lifestyle magazine Most Wanted, who will include my views in this week’s newsletter.