Jane Iredale and Chanel, you need to listen to this dark-skinned gal

I’ve been caught out twice this year, buying a finishing powder that wasn’t the right shade for me. Yes, I did look in the mirror at the time, but the lights in department stores are horrendous and it felt like the assistants would say anything to make the sale. This isn’t true for all assistants, of course – the ones I have encountered at MAC and NARS counters tend to be make-up artists and have told me the truth, even if it meant a lost sale. Love their honesty. There may be others.

Back to Jane Iredale and Chanel. In both cases, I had voiced my concern that it looked dark or light in the compact itself, but was told that it had transferred well to my skin and blended fine. OK, they’re the experts and must know what they’re talking about. Silly me.

Dear Jane Iredale

don’t want to look like I’ve just come back from holiday. That’s not what I asked for. I know you only have 1 (?!) shade of dark to cover the myriad of dark skins that are out there, and I have no idea how you managed to make it look like it matched my skin tone on the day (perhaps just a very light dusting or nothing at all?), but now that I have used it at home, it is just as I suspected – too dark. I did point out, at the time, that the shade looked dark in the compact, but you told me it was a good match. Did you assume I wanted to look like I had a tan, despite me asking for a powder to match my skin tone? My bad. I should have trusted my instincts and not bought it, instead of listening to you. And now I am stuck with a powder I have no use for (I bought it at the Olympia beauty show, so cannot return it).

Dear Chanel

Well, what can I say. Every girl deserves to have some Chanel in their make-up bag. I’ve got a limited edition illuminating powder (route des indes de chanel) and powder brush, which I chose myself and love. But when I come to you looking for a finishing powder to match my skin tone, why recommend one that is too light for my skin? I don’t want to look like I have highlighter all over my face because you think the finishing powder should be brightening. And besides, I don’t look brighter, I look lighter – you can’t use the same approach with dark skins as you do light ones. Please don’t ignore my request when I ask to match my skin. At the time, I bought into the idea of brightening, but once used at home my suspicions were confirmed – I was using a shade too light for my skin, and it was obvious. Again, my bad for being swayed. In this instance, I brought it back to you and complained that it was the wrong shade – you cannot equate brightening with matching. I won.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been convinced by a particularly enthusiastic sales assistant – they’re just trying to make a sale, but is it worth it to the brand now that I am disappointed? I tend to avoid beauty counters in department stores for just this reason, unless I know exactly what I am looking for, or am getting a feel for a product, or have my bestie with me so she can give me her opinion. I prefer shops like Space NK, where the lighting is better and the assistants / make-up artists seem to be familiar with all the brands stocked, and they’ll tell you if they aren’t able to help with your specific request; the only downside is they don’t stock all the mainstream brands.

So, Jane Iredale and Chanel, tell your counter assistants that sometimes they need to tell their customers they don’t have the right colour for them, but can offer to make them look like they’ve just come back from holiday or that they’re about to head off for a halloween party dressed as a vampire 🙂

I’ll keep searching for the perfect shade of finishing powder, armed with a soupçon of cynicism and a better ear for my instincts.

Anyone want a Jane Iredale Beyond Matte HD Matifying Powder, along with the compact?