Beauty · Make-up · Skin care

Charlotte Tilbury review: 8 products tested and why I’d only buy 1

A little weekend reading for you! This post will be really helpful if you’re considering buying any products from the Charlotte Tilbury range. I’ve tried and tested eight of her make-up and skincare products and here, I give my full and frank review on each of them.

This is a topic I actually covered in a video, which I intended to put on my YouTube channel but I’ve had major issues in uploading it! It’s a video I’ve worked really hard on and it’s taken a lot of my time, so I’m feeling really frustrated that I can’t share it right now! At the risk of not having anything at all to show for my time, I thought I’d write a blog post about it as well.

Recently I’ve been watching and reading about a lot of other peoples’ reviews and experiences of Charlotte Tilbury make up and skincare products. In fact, some of the reviews were so good it really made me want to try some things out for myself. I always wonder, are the reviews so good because the people doing the review received the products for free? I’ve paid out for all of my products, so it’ll be interesting to see if my reviews are equally as good…

The Charlotte Tilbury product line has only been around for about 2 1/2 years now (although it feels like it’s been a lot longer) but I think her website is fantastic in its product detail; the service was fast, the packaging had lovely touches and the whole unwrapping experience was really exciting. The other fantastic thing about ordering through Charlotte Tilbury’s website is the fact that, with every order, you get two free samples and you actually get to choose which samples you receive at the checkout. The samples I chose were her Magic Foundation, The Retoucher concealer, Wonderglow Primer, Magic Cream moisturiser and Magic Eye Rescue eye cream.

I’ve chucked it away now, so it’s such a shame that I can’t share a photo of the packaging my products came in! Initially it looks like a plain brown cardboard box but when you open it, the inside was printed with an advert for her Scent Of A Dream Eau De Parfum. All my products were carefully wrapped in deep burgundy tissue paper and sealed with a Charlotte Tilbury sticker. My free samples and order invoice came in an envelope that was embossed in rose gold with Charlotte’s logo. A lot of people won’t care about this sort of thing but I think when you’re excited to receive something anyway and then you noticed these little touches, it just heightens your anticipation. I’m an attention to detail kind of person!

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Two of the things that I actually purchased from her website, were the Lip Cheat Lip Liner in Pillow Talk and the Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk (these have already featured in a previous blog post: Romantic Reds and Perfect Pinks for Valentine’s Day Lips). The other item I purchased was her Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder in the shade Fair. I’ve had her products for about 10 days now and I’ve been using them daily, so I can give you a full and honest roundup of how they’ve performed, with both my personal and professional hats on!

When I opened my lip liner and lipstick, I loved the fact that the lipstick came in a matte box, as opposed to the normal shiny box (that the lip liner came in). That’s because the lipstick itself is matte, which is just another one of those little touches, which I think shows that the Charlotte Tilbury brand really does pay attention to the finer details. I also love the tiny stars that you find hiding on the packaging in discreet places, it’s so cute!

Matte Revolution Lipstick

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The Matte Revolution Lipstick comes in a ribbed rose gold case and the bullet itself is chiselled, which makes for a really smooth application. The consistency of the product is cream; I’ve bought a lot of matte lipsticks in my time and many of them dry your lips out and feel a little uncomfortable come the end of the day but the cream texture of this makes it really wearable, comforting and actually nourishing to the lips. The appearance of the lipstick is completely matte, so despite being a really comfortable formulation, it keeps to its promise of a matte look and it certainly lasts the day! I always, ALWAYS wear lipstick (it’s practically my middle name), so I certainly put a new lipstick through its paces when I’m testing it out for the first time. I have high expectations when I spend a lot of money too (this lipstick alone is £24) but I was really impressed to see that, without touching it up at all throughout the day, it lasted me from 7 AM to 6 PM, no problem. If I’d been wearing it into the evening, I would’ve reapplied it though, just to build the intensity of colour back up again but that just goes without saying.

I took a bit of a gulp when I saw the price of this lipstick: I have never spent £24 on one lipstick before! But I’ve watched and read so many reviews singing their praises, I thought I’d give it a go. I’m not sure what miracles you can actually expect a lipstick to perform?! So I think when you see the price, you’ve got to accept that it is just a lipstick and yes, it might be a really nice one but if you agree to pay the price then, well, you’re agreeing to pay that price for just a lipstick.

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It’s a gorgeous, sophisticated, lady-like shade of pink, which I would class as a nude for me and I will certainly get plenty of wear out of it. I think it’s ideal for an occasion or an evening out, especially if you team it with the matching lip liner to really give your lips definition but I also think it’s such a wearable shade, you could easily wear it throughout the day as well. And that’s why I was happy to pay out what I did for it: I was confident that it wasn’t going to be a waste of my money. On the other hand, when this lipstick runs out I won’t be buying it again, simply because I don’t want to make a habit of spending that much on one lipstick. I do love the shade but I’m sure I can get something similar for cheaper if I really wanted to. I bought it, tried it and yeah, it’s a nice product but it’s not a repeater, for me.

Lip Cheat Lip Liner

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The Lip Cheat Lip Liner in Pillow Talk is a perfect match (shade wise) for the lipstick. And you’d expect it to be, right? But I say this because I’ve bought matching lip liners for lipsticks before and they’re NOT THE SAME SHADE! Absolutely gutting. So of course I had to test this with that in mind and they do work perfectly together. The lip liner is not retractable (it’s one that you have to sharpen), which for me is a bit of a shame as I sadly wave goodbye to chunks of otherwise usable product with every twist of the sharpener… On the positive side, sharpening it every so often will keep it more hygienic for you.

It applies smoothly and softly with no tugging or friction on the lip. I was a little disappointed with the colour transfer though; I found I had to retrace my steps with this lip liner several times to build up an intensity of colour that matched the lipstick. For me this is annoying and it took me longer to do my lips because of it but for someone who likes a ‘barely there’ look and is happy for a build-able colour that they can wear lightly or full, this isn’t a problem. Depends how you look at it… This lip liner is £16. For me it’s a treat, not a make-up bag staple, so when it’s gone, it’s gone.

Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder

The Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder is a pressed powder that comes in a rose gold compact with a mirror inside the lid. The compact casing is plastic (which I think most are these days) but I think I was hoping for metal, given the price… It’s no biggy, it just means I won’t be letting it knock around in the bottom of my handbag. This powder is £33, which again I took a gulp at but again, the reviews have been so good and powder is something I get a lot of use out of, so I took that one on the chin.

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I bought this in shade Fair. When I saw that I had to choose my shade, I was a little worried about getting it wrong (only having the web images to go by) but having used it now, there’s almost no coverage offered by this powder, so you don’t need to worry too much about getting the shade match perfect. I tend to be ‘fair’ in most things, so it was a pretty safe bet. It’s a very finely milled powder and sweeps on beautifully, settling into (not onto) the skin delicately. It sets my make-up in place as well as I could want it to and it keeps my skin matte all day (until dinner time – I’m a combination skin type). I have nothing negative to say about his powder, it’s really lovely but then, so is my No7 Perfect Light Loose Powder, which is only £10.50… In my honest opinion, I haven’t noticed a difference between them.

Magic Cream

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The free samples I got were a decent size (plus I’m a tight arse when I use things), so I’ve been able to get a good week’s use at least out of each of them. First up is Charlotte’s Magic Cream: I recently watched a Pixiwoos video with Charlotte Tilbury on it, telling the story of her Magic Cream and their comments really made me want to try it. Their comments also heightened my expectations…

Charlotte currently only offers this one day cream in her range and for 50ml it costs £70 (somewhat raising expectations again!). It has:

  • SPF 15 (the very least we should be wearing on a daily basis!)
  • Hyaluronic acid (a hero ingredient for targeting dehydration)
  • Charlotte’s BioNymph Peptide Complex for anti-ageing, stimulating collagen production and fighting free radicals
  • Rosehip and Camellia oils plus vitamin E to hydrate
  • It’s paraben free (if you’d like to know more about parabens, read this recent blog post of mine).

To start with, I applied my normal amount (a rice grain size to each of my cheeks, forehead and my neck) and this was way too much; it didn’t absorb fully and I developed an annoying shine on my face before lunchtime, suggesting that it was just too rich for me. Determined not to waste it though, the next day I just tried less and it did fully absorb. It’s a thick cream in texture; almost balm-like and very smoothing to put on. My make-up applied beautifully after using it and after a week’s use I would confidently say that it was helping the hydration of my skin, just as well as my normal moisturiser does (I’m currently using Dermalogica’s Dynamic Skin Recover SPF 50). Which leads me to my conclusion: my current moisturiser is on a par with Charlotte’s Magic Cream when it comes to hydrating my skin but it’s also cheaper and has a higher SPF (which will protect me against premature ageing). I think you know where I’m going with this…

Magic Eye Rescue

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This eye cream is £40 for 15ml. Again, when I first applied this, I used my normal amount, which is a rice grain size for each eye and it was far too much. It didn’t absorb and left a sheen on my skin; it was a little bit like I had applied lip balm around my eyes, so I had to dab off the access with a tissue before applying my make up. The next day I applied half that amount and it absorbed better but I was still using too much, so the next day I used less and got it just right. The thing about eye cream is, if you use too much or use one that is too rich for you, it actually makes your eyes sting and creates puffiness around the eye area. I did have a little bit of stinging on day one of using this but that was my fault for applying too much. Once I got the balance just right, I found this applied beautifully; it was incredibly hydrating and my make-up applied smoothly after using it. Ingredients include:

  • Soft-focus nano particles for a blurring affect on fine lines and wrinkles
  • Rose wax and Almond oil to hydrate the skin
  • Light reflecting ingredients to diffuse light

I’ve got to say I didn’t really notice the benefit of the light reflecting ingredients or the ‘soft-focus nano particles’ in diffusing light or blurring the fine lines around my eye area. Even after using this product for 10 days, I didn’t notice the benefit of them. On the other hand, it did successfully hydrate my skin for the whole day. Sadly this eye cream doesn’t include an SPF, which is a bit of a disappointment, because I like to include SPF in as many products as I can to help fight the signs of ageing. I think this alone is the main reason that I would not purchase this eye cream, despite how hydrating it is (and hydration is one of my key skin concerns). It’s lovely to try new products to see what you might be missing out on but I am already using an eye cream that successfully reflects the light from the eye area, is cheaper and includes an SPF 15…

Wonderglow Primer

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I also had a sample of Charlotte Tilbury’s Wonderglow Primer. This primer is for tired, dull and dehydrated skin. I am definitely dehydrated but normally, when it comes to choosing a primer, I like one that mattifies my skin and at least attempts to fill-in or reduce the size of my large pores. This primer doesn’t claim to do either but I still wanted to try it, because I have this hypothesis that if my skin is well enough hydrated, then the appearance of my pores would be reduced anyway. This primer has a pearlescent sheen to it to diffuse light on the skin and to give a glow when either worn on its own or under make up. I really liked this and it definitely showed up on the skin but because I’m the sort of person that does wear make up over the top, it went unnoticed. If you wear a primer alone, then it would definitely give a pretty glow to the skin. Ingredients include:

  • Rosehip and camellia oils to fight premature ageing
  • The same peptide complex as is in Charlotte’s Magic Cream, to fight free radicals and stimulate collagen production
  • Hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin

On Charlotte’s website, she includes application tips for each of her products and her tip for this primer is to apply a ‘fine layer’. I went in like a bull in a china shop, applying my normal amount and after not long at all it starting creating rolls of product, like little peelings that I then had to brush off my face! Really irritating but then, I’d obviously used too much. So take the advice literally: a fine layer. This primer applies smoothly (when you use the right amount), absorbs quickly, is great at adding extra hydration to the skin and the light diffusing pigment gives a lovely glow. For me, I was just so conscious of my pores being so visible all day that I think I need to stick to my normal poly-filler!

Magic Foundation

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I got this foundation in shade 3 Fair (there’s 4 shades within the ‘fair’ range, 4 shades in the ‘medium’ range, etc.). This foundation claims to leave you poreless and flawless, so (having pores like craters) I had high hopes! I would say this is a medium coverage foundation and it evens the skin tone well but is actually a lighter coverage than the description suggests (the website describes this as a full coverage foundation. I think if you have scarring, blemishes or pigmentation you want to cover up, this may not be coverage enough). It’s easy to apply with or without a brush (I tried both) but I do prefer to apply with my fingers, so that I get more out of my product; I find a brush drinks up a little bit and you get through the product quicker. Once set with powder it lasted a full day no problem, although wearing it into the evening you’d want to touch it up. Key ingredients:

  • Broad spectrum SPF 15
  • Hyaluronic filling spheres to plump the skin
  • Antioxidant vitamin C to help fight free radicals

I love the fact there’s an SPF in this; like I said earlier, it’s good to get in sun protection wherever you can. I used this for about a week before it ran out and in that time it was quite hydrating and seemed to complement my skin care rather than feel like a completely separate product. As much as I like it, I don’t think there’s anything particularly special about it… Price wise it’s up there with your Estée Lauder and YSL but (can I say this?!) performance wise it’s on a par with the drug store favourite Max Factor Lasting Performance, which is just £9.99. It’s got a great ingredient profile if you want to focus on anti-ageing and it does have an SPF (Max Factor Lasting Performance doesn’t) but I just wasn’t wowed in any way…

The Retoucher

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This product comes in a pen, much like the YSL Touché Eclat but this is actually a concealer as opposed to a highlighter. It also costs the same: £25. The Retoucher claims to treat and conceal at the same time: being highly pigmented, you can use it all over the face on any blemishes and imperfections. This product claims to:

  • Hydrate, moisturise and plump out the skin for luminosity
  • Fill in fine lines and grooves in the skin for a smooth and seamless surface
  • Create an invisible plaster over imperfections

As per all the other products I’ve tested, a little goes a long way! Which is great because it’ll last you longer. Initially I think I applied it a bit too liberally and it settled in my creases but by using less, I avoided it happening again. I love this concealer and found it so easy to apply. It’s a liquid formulation and gives good coverage; I wouldn’t say it’s as highly pigmented as I was hoping for but it doesn’t matter because it still covers the dark shadows under my eyes just fine. If you have some serious pigmentation to cover up however, I wonder if this would be enough for you…

Setting this concealer with powder holds it in place all day and it really does stay put. I love the pen applicator but these can by unhygienic, especially if it lasts you a long time. Just clean the brush tip like you would any other make-up brush once a week and you’ve got no worries. Despite using this for at least 10 days now, I can’t say I’ve noticed that it particularly hydrates or moisturises but that may be because I only apply it to small areas… Of all the Charlotte Tilbury products I’ve now tried, this is one that I would happily purchase again (even though I didn’t, if you know what I mean), because it does what it says on the tin, it has better coverage and blend-ability than all the drug store liquid concealers I’ve tried and so in this case, I do think it’s worth the money.

The great thing I’ve found about Charlotte Tilbury’s products is that less is more, which is always a plus because it’s more economical and it’ll last you longer. A lot of her products (for me) are more than I want to spend (although I’d be happy to spend out on them if they blew me away) and I can find something else for less money that achieves the same/similar. It’s been great to try so many of her products despite only actually buying 3. I think in future I’m going to watch reviews that include a mix of people who get sent the product for free and people that actually have to pay out for it. Could be interesting…

I hope this (very long!) post has been helpful for you if you’re considering purchasing from Charlotte’s range. Drop me a comment below: how have you got on with her products? This is the longest post I’ve written to date and it includes a detailed review of 8 different products but is it too long?

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Thanks for reading x

Some of the images in the post were adapted from http://www.charlottetilbury.com

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