Sunday, 5 October 2014

Surratt Beauty - First Impressions

Back in September, I had a precious few hours in London to myself and spent it hotfooting down to Liberty to check out the newly opened Surratt Beauty counter. To my surprise, Surrat has also quietly opened its first counter at Takashimaya (third level) in Singapore. In the US, Surratt is available exclusively at Barneys New York. Barneys is a key bellwether for the beauty industry, being the first to stock brands such as NARS, so for Surratt to be in Barneys is an indicator of the great promise that the brand holds.

Troy Surratt was a protege of the great Kevyn Aucoin and became fascinated with Japanese beauty products thanks to Aucoin, who was then the creative director of Shiseido's Inoui brand. Aside from helping Maureen Kelly to create Tarte, Surratt has worked with Adele, Charlize Theron, Adrianna Lima, Jennifer Lopez, the Kardashian sisters and Angelica Huston, to name just a few. For more on the origins of the brand, you can read the interviews with Surratt on NY Mag, Beauty Judy, Elle, Barneys, Babewalker, Beauty Gypsy and Beauty High. Glam, Instyle and Beauty Blitz also feature lists of makeup tips by Surratt. Reviews of Surratt's products can be found on Beauty Professor, The Non Blonde, Wondegondigo and the Beauty Look Book. Surratt's Relevée Lash Curler just won Allure's Best of Beauty 2014 for its category, ironically displacing Aucoin's eyelash curler.

I purchased four eyeshadows, a blush, the large compact case, two Lipsliques and the Surréaliste Skin Concealer. The entire Surratt line is made in Japan, so it's not surprising to see some packaging similarities with certain Japanese products, such as the Surratt Diaphane Loose Powder's mesh net design and flip-out inner cap which is also found in Addiction Compact Loose Powder.

The Surratt Large Compact (US$22/£18.50) fits either 6 eyeshadows or 3 blushes. The chameleon-like quality of the cover, which shifts color depending on the angle at which it is tilted, is reminiscent of Suqqu's limited edition Blend Color Eyeshadow palettes from its Fall 2013 collection.

Both the eyeshadows and powder refills are sold individually with only a clear plastic lid. The brand does not offer any pre-made palettes. Although the eyeshadow pans have a sticker on the back that is meant to be peeled off in order to adhere the pan to the compact case, I found this to be much too weak. Using a strip of double-sided tape offers much greater security and stability.

Ponceau blush (US$32/£23) is a cheerful poppy pink with a sprinkling of micro shimmer particles that do not really show up once applied. This is impressively well-pigmented so working with a very light hand is recommended. It brightens up the face immediately without looking artificial.

The eyeshadows (US$20/£16) are based on a Japanese 'slurry technology' which means that these are poured like cake batter into the pans and then gently pressed. The moisture then evaporates, leaving behind a silky, velvety texture that is more optimal for blending. If you're familiar with Japanese brands, it's likely that you've encountered this luxuriously molten, creamy texture before. The shades I picked all have a certain amount of shimmer but this is so ultra fine that when applied, the finish is a rather subtle satin rather than frosty metallic.

#17 Fee Dragée

#21 Patine

#8 Ravissante

#14 Marron

The eyeshadows are easy to work with, gliding smoothly onto the skin. They are not crazily pigmented or fallout-heavy like some of Urban Decay's eyeshadows. There are no obnoxious glitter bits, only a very refined shimmer that is barely discernible on the skin. Addiction's metallic eyeshadows are more lustrous in comparison. Used over a primer, these last well throughout the day without any significant creasing. These may seem sheer at first but they do layer nicely. The plastic lid is rather flimsy and not well-suited for travel, which adds to the incentive to invest in a compact case.

The two Lipsliques (US$34/£22) are very well-pigmented but can be sheered down to a lovely stain. My picks are #4 Rubis (bright red) and #18 Au Courant (deep plum). I found these to be long-lasting and non-drying on the lips, but not as wetly slick or 'melty' as Esprique Mellow Forming Rouge, which has a similar twist-up dispensing mechanism.

My purchase was just short of 50 pence to qualify for the Liberty beauty gift, so I ended up selecting the stick concealer as well. The £36 price tag made my jaw drop and I thought I would end up regretting it, but as luck would have it, #5 turned out to be the best shade match I've ever found for my undereye area. This provides excellent coverage that does not budge much. I think this might well be the holy grail concealer for me.

After asking if I was a blogger, the friendly SA Narong surprised me by showing me their upcoming line of brushes, which are all hand-crafted in Kumano, Japan (where else), joking that these are powered by green tea. Judging by how buttery soft the brushes are, I'm sure that these will be flying off the shelves once they launch in mid-October. According to the SA, the price range will be similar to that of Suqqu. The brush handles also feature a visually stunning gradient color effect.

The Surratt Beauty range comes across as well-edited with a strong creative vision and distinctive aesthetic. Much thought has clearly gone into designing the products for maximum functionality and efficacy. It does not offer any foundations but hopefully, this will be just a matter of time. For now, I'll be busy saving up for those brushes.


birkinbagbeauty said...

Amazing, I'm planning to pick up another blush. I was curious for the eyeshadows but if you rate Addiction a bit higher then I might skip it for the time being :)

selphia said...

Oh my! Those brushes look so pretty!k

Jessica said...

I have heard so many things about this brand. Most of them are positive ones so this makes me so curious about it. I guess its about time to try it out.

Sara Kye said...

Oh my gosh! The brushes!! Now that one I am extremely excited about!

Maya said...

I went to the counter at Takashimaya just now. It's just beside the Koh Gen Do one. I wanted to get the same blush colour (Ponceau) but it was out of stock. :(

Among the lipsliques, only Rubis called out my name! Glad it was still available. I thought the texture would be like my CDP lipstick (i.e. slippy and melty) but it is more like a heavy balm feeling. Which is great! So glad I came across the info in your blog, Iris! :) You are feeding lemmings even from a distance, LOL.

Haru said...

hi Maya,
wow, the counter must be doing well if there are some products that are already out of stock! Hope Rubis works out well for you!

Hi Sara,
yes, they felt amazing when I played with them at Liberty, definitely worth checking out. Just hope the prices aren't too killer!

Hi birkinbagbeauty,
Addiction has a much larger range of eyeshadows compared to Surratt, which is understandable since Addiction has been around for a few more years. I find both Addiction and Surratt eyeshadows have that soft melty and ultra-blendable texture but Surratt is a tad more sheer although that could be just the shades that I picked. I didn't have time to swatch the rest of the Surratt range so I can't say for sure.