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You know that luxe eyeshadow palette or that embellished lipstick bullet that makes you feel like a million dollars? Frequently, it costs about that. Here are my top luxury picks if money were no object – the ridiculously pricy yet undeniably beautiful.

If money were no object…

SUQQU – Cheek Brush

If we were having one of those pointless hypothetical if-you-won-the-lottery debates, the SUQQU Cheek Brush would take first place. If you asked me how much this sucker cost, I would draw a blank; it’s almost a subconscious self-defense mechanism to shield me from the horror (I just checked, 182USD *furiously forgets*).
In all seriousness, the SUQQU Cheek constitutes the most pleasurable part of my makeup application. I kid you not, I catch myself smiling as I dust the baby bunny across my face. Pleasure aside, the outcome is unparalleled: perfectly diffused blush/powder/bronzer, as if the powder melted into the skin.

Tom Ford – Eyeshadow Quads

When I whip out my TF quads, my brain starts pumping endorphins like it’s a party. While I own a fair few, my favourites are Cocoa Mirage and Cognac Sable – both offer high contrast neutrals in beautiful formulas.

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive: Between Cocoa Mirage and Cognac Sable, which one is best? Which is nicer?

Cocoa Mirage and Cognac Sable are like cheese and chocolate; both are amazeballs yet entirely different palate experiences (geddit geddit?!). If you’re seeking a warm luxury palette to bust out on the daily, Cocoa Mirage is one of the best matte formulations on the market. Looking to invest in a statement palette to reserve for a glamorous nice out? The glistening copper topcoat in Cognac Sable has you covered.

Chanel – Le Blanc De Chanel Sheer Illuminating Base

I have a real soft spot for expensive looking skin – you know, those backstage runway shots where the models appear soft focus and creamy? I’m convinced that Le Blanc De Chanel is to thank for that.

Le Blanc is not a primer, it doesn’t enhance foundation longevity. Le Blanc is not a highlighter, there is no discernible shimmer. Le Blanc is not a BB/ZZ cream or whatever they’re calling it now, it doesn’t offer coverage.

It’s a complexion perfector. It’s luminosity in it’s most elegant form – free of gloss or shimmer. When mixed, it improves every foundation. It’s like those days when the stars align and the warmth of the sun melts your base a little, so that it seems in synergy with the skin as opposed to sitting on top of it. Essentially, it’s expensive skin in a bottle.

Guerlain – Meteorite Perles in Teint Dore

Yet another expensive skin complexion perfector. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: not everyone can see the beauty in this one. Not a setting powder and not a highlighter, Guerlain Meteorites offer an ultra subtle veil of luminosity only apparent when sunlight touches the face.

I gravitate towards these ballz when my skin is looking blotchy or dull and while it doesn’t offer crazy transformations complete with before/after shots, it is beautiful. The very definition of luxury.

Guerlain – Terracotta Four Seasons Bronzers

Everyone looks better with a bit of bronzer – said every YouTuber ever.

Rubbish. I would go as far as saying that I don’t like bronzers, yet here I am listing a bronzer as a top luxury pick, why?

Guerlain Four Seasons Bronzers changed my outlook on the whole bronzing powder scene. Firstly, the texture is like damn buttuh; so silky that I genuinely see an instant improvement in the texture of the skin. Secondly, the formula is undoubtedly the best matte option that I’ve encountered in any blush or bronzer. Finally, the colour families are ingenious, a light dusting of all four shades imparts an interesting nuance of bronze or pick and choose a quadrant for the desired effect.

Never orange, never flat, never muddy. Now a staple for warmer looks, a light dusting on the neck also warms the cooler/paler parts of my body to match my limbs. Bonus: they also perform brilliantly on the eyes.

Yves Saint Laurent – Nail Lacquers

Without a doubt my preferred line for nail varnish: the wide brush allows for application in a single stroke, perfectly opaque (you could even get away with a single coat) and a tremendous range of glossy crèmes, which I almost always prefer to shimmers.

My favourite shade is Jade Imperial, an off-beat dusty jade. Good god, so chic.

By Terry – Rouge Terrybly Lipsticks

Whince. I know I talk about these an awful lot but I just couldn’t write a luxe list without including the Rouge Terrybly lipstick formula. At 50 bucks a pop and few stockists, the range embodies exclusivity.

Nothing disguises my battered lips like the By Terry lipsticks. View my entire collection here. Phenomenal.

 

If you won the lottery tomorrow, what would be at the top of your luxe list? Or alternatively, what is that special something that makes you feel like royalty?

xxkarima

NB: I have great anxiety upon recommending ridiculously expensive products, I would hate to be party to any disappointment. Wherever possible, grab a sample or test in store. After all, your mileage will always vary with cosmetics.

NB#2: Notice I didn’t mention packaging? Couldn’t care less.

Complete list of products mentioned

Nail Lacquer
Nail Lacquer
Illuminating Base
Illuminating Base
Meteorites
Meteorites
Cheek Brush
Cheek Brush
Bronzer
Bronzer
Terrybly Lipstick
Terrybly Lipstick
Eyeshadow Quad
Eyeshadow Quad
* Denotes products sent for consideration. I’m always honest with my reviews :)

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  1. Sigh. If ONLY money were no object. I’m with ya on the Chanel Le Blanc…and I will rejoice when they put a pump on the original formula…GAH! Also the Guerlain bronzers. I’m a sucker for Guerlain shadow quads…buttery, blendable and delicious. Givenchy nail enamels have a similar brush and texture to the fabulous YSL ones (yeah I’ve got the Jade one too hehe)…my perennial fave is the elegant smoky purple shade Lilas d’Exception. YUM!
    Rouge Bunny Rouge…the cream shadows and glitter pigments are delicious…why the hell doesn’t everyone use a genius packaging and applicator like that for loose pigment??? Seriously. KARIMA MADE ME DO IT. My bank account wishes I’d never heard of RBR…
    I’m currently loving (bordering on obscenely)my Chikuhodo powder brush (here bunny bunny)- not just the feel but the gorgeous floral artwork on the handle. So pleasing to hold, look at, and, of course, to use to pet my face for five minutes. KARIMA MADE ME DO IT. I’m a total brush whore.
    I’m also a newly minted fan of cushion foundations, and find the Amore Pacific one to be lovely in texture, finish and, surprisingly, in coverage. Although I had high hopes for your vaunted tapping technique, it hasn’t worked for me, GF! I find myself ending up with splotches of pigment dabbed on my face while the moisture in the product mysteriously poofs. :((. Maybe it’s my choice of foundation, or (probably) I’m just doing it wrong. Finally, for skin care my chronic cleanser obsessions are the Fresh soy cleanser and Eve Lom cleansing balm, plus the Sunday Riley Good Genes serum. I’ve repurchased all of these and had many a bathroom smackdown in those departments! Thanks for a fantastic blog and keep the vids coming! You make me laugh out loud.

      1. Erm…depends on the day? (*blush*) Chances are, I used a moisturizing primer with heavy sunblock like Dior Dreamskin SPF 50, or Chanel UV base SPF 50, as I’ve been experimenting with these. Maybe it’s the SPF stuff?

        On a completely unrelated note…is anyone else out there using their refrigerator to store unused product (read moisturizer, foundation) that there’s NO WAY they’ll be using up soon? I love to try stuff. ESPECIALLY skin care and foundation. Not a professional, not a blogger, just a makeup junkie. I’m running out of room for food…
        AM I STANDING ALL ALONE HERE? Waaaaaaaaa……

        1. I don’t own those SPF’s so I can’t say, but I find that a slightly slippy base works well with the foundation pressing method.
          PS: I store makeup in the fridge, many of my foundations :)
          x

  2. Hi Karima! I think you are very talented and funny… I live in argentina and most of the products i would love to have (if money wasnt the object) arent available here so i just read your post and wait for a hlpefully near in the future trip to NY haha..
    i would die to buy some Charlote Tilbury make up…oh specially the filmstars bronze and glow palette…and the lip liner in pillow talk…and well

    Maybe her revolution lipsticks too…ahahaha

    Xx

  3. “Everyone looks better with a bit of bronzer – said every YouTuber ever.

    Rubbish. I would go as far as saying that I don’t like bronzers, yet here I am listing a bronzer”

    Hahaha – yes!

  4. Karima, Love the post…I’ve asked you before (on twitter) regarding Le Blanc de Chanel….I have swatched it (twice) and as a person who constantly tans herself, I am sort of scared to buy something I wouldn’t use (but buy anyway cos of great reviews, ie, MIGHT be of use, hehe). I was thinking…there is also the Soleil Tan de Chanel Illuminating Sheer Fluid…….the way it is described on the Chanel site is exactly the same as with the Le Blanc……..do you think this is the “real” alternative for people who are not fair? Like, if you are tanned, would you buy this instead of Le Blanc Fluid and use it in exactly the same way?

    (As far as I know, Le Blanc de Chanel acts as a lot of things I don’t even dare label it as a primer….dyou think Soleil Tan de Chanel Fluid is the same thing for deeper colored women? I ask cos there arent a lot of write ups about it). Thanks!

  5. Hi Karima,
    You were saying that your nails chipped, mine used to chip a lot until I used OPI Nail Envy for weeks non-stop, it has been a few months and my nails never chip anymore, it is a miracle! Have you tried it?
    x

    1. I have not tried that one! I’ll give it a go :) Lately I’ve been wearing glue-on nails, great option for weak nails! My nails look awesome all the time now ;)
      x

  6. Ugh, the TF quads will be the death of me. I have three and counting. I totally bit on Nude dip due to the raves and hunted it down like crazy. Found it and had them ship it. I can’t wait till it arrives. I also bought one of the contour palettes. Though really it’s a blush… Ugh, something about certain TF products that I can’t resist. I’m getting a lip stick sample to see how they are. I’m still very hesitant to spend $50 on a lipstick. I try to pretend the by terry ones don’t exist but why must you rave?? :(

    I have a lot of Karima made me do it products…

    1. Let me know how you like Nupe Dip when it arrives! I’m trying to convince myself that I don’t need it and that it will be too shimmery for my liking (I always prefer a matte thrown in).

      The Tom Ford lipsticks are kinda mediocre in my opinion, especially at that price point. The shades are beautiful but something the formula seems very stock standard to me.

      xx

  7. I’d like a big up for the Chikuhodo 2-4 which is the closest thing you’ll find to the Suqqu. Cost me $63 with free shipping and a $10 discount. Same gray squirrel loveliness for a fraction of the cost. I should have ordered another one.

  8. Karima, I really love your blog and am normally a big fan of yours but I think your phrasing in this post is very snobby. Why are you saying that you would buy these products “if money were no object” when clearly it IS no object because you’ve already bought them?

    1. Hey Sarah,

      Sorry you perceived it as snobby! That was definitely not my intention. The concept of ‘if money were no object’ was tongue in cheek, my acknowledgement that these products are ridiculously pricy.
      These are rare purchases for me, after all.

      xx

  9. Loved reading this post. Wouldn’t mind By Terry, Suqqu or Koh Gen Do errythanng if money were no issue.

    Really really curious to know how you compare the Tom Ford Quads to Viseart? I will probably end up buying from both brands (excuse: it’s for the kit!) but just curious because I’m eager to buy one from either brand this week/next.

    I really love visiting your blog for the wealth of information you provide. You are like my secret weapon. I’ve only been doing makeup professionally for less than two years so I seriously bow down to your knowledge!

    1. Hey Carly :)

      I can only really compare the Tom Ford Cocoa Mirage to the Viseart Matte Palette, because they’re both matte formulations. I’d say they’re similar, Viseart offers cooler shades where Cocoa Mirage is very warm. I think the Tom Ford might be a touch creamier in formula, although that’s not always a good thing (I find it easy to over blend).

      I’m glad you love the blog as much as I love writing it :D
      xx

  10. I am a total brush freak and would probably grab my Chikus, Hakus, and Koyudos before my passport in the event of a fire D: (do NOT recommend this level of insanity.) Suqqu and THREE eyeshadow palettes go next, along with my 3 RBR matte e/s and Addiction Fudge and Truffle singles, all of which I never want to live without now (all depotted cause screw the pretty cases, I want to SEE what I own, amirite?) And thanks to you my lovely Karima <3, by Terry lipsticks and Guerlain 4 seasons go in the list too. Oh, oh, and RBR liquid highlighter and bronzer. Gosh my list is ridiculous!

    Cocoa mirage… I have chased you for so long, why do you insist in giving me a cold shoulder? :'(

    1. Hey Cat!

      Passport would be cheaper to replace ;) LOVE the RBR Matte shadows! I’m also a furious depotter, I never remember to use singles and they’re such a hassle to organise.

      You can’t find Cocoa Mirage? :(

      x

      1. Karima! I FOUND IT :D After leaving my comment this weekend I stopped by my local counter and they finally had it in stock! Yayyy, thanks for reminding me at just the right time. Hugs!

  11. So many shinies! No joke, I tried to buy the Chikuhodo Z4 last night from visageusa.com and spent 45 mins trying to get the damn checkout/shopping cart process to work >.< I gave up and spent monies on new Hakohodo brushes instead :)

    ooh any thoughts on the hakuhodo G5520 powder brush?

    oh and speaking of Coco Mirage vs Cognac Sable, I went to DJs in Perth as their website listed them as stocking TF cosmetics so I could swatch before taking the plunge (snet had a special on) and they didn't freaking have them!!!! le sigh….so I'm still TF-quadless :(

    Bambi x

    1. Hey Bambi!

      Beautylish now stocks Chikuhodo and they ship to Australia :) Might be worthwhile checking that out.

      G5520 is a precision eye brush (that I don’t own), maybe you’re thinking of another Hakuhodo brush?

      Strangely, some DJ’s stock all TF makeup, some only stock lipstick and nail polish, while some only stock the fragrances! It’s so frustrating!

      x

      1. Hi Karima

        I meant the Hakuhodo B5519BkSL lol! Never mind, I ended up getting the B5521BkSL instead which is a blue squirrel and sokoho pointed highlighter brush – its so soft and lovely, I’m totally stoked with it :)
        I also got the blakc fan brush which is a blue quirrel /sokoho mix and is sooooooooo lush n soft!! I can’t stop touching it!

  12. thanks to you, I’ve just made my first big purchase of high end brushes from chikuhodo (18% off, free shipping was too tempting). i also wanted the suqqu cheek brush but it’s all sold out at the moment on selfridges.com. shamelessly, also ordered guerlain 4 seasons and just received cocoa mirage… yikes.

    anyway, i was wondering if you have used rms products? I don’t think I’ve ever seen you mention them. i have numerous little pots – they’re compact and easy to travel with, and i really enjoy them (especially the luminizer, lip2cheeks and lip shines). they have a new color out called ‘curious’ that is next on my list. anyway, just very curious to know what you think of them? also the idea of seeing them being applied with your impeccable skills really excites me!

    1. Hey Meg :)

      I hope you love your brushes :D Great brushes totally changed the way I do makeup. Let me know how you like the Guerlain Bronzers and TF Cocoa Mirage!

      I actually haven’t tried RMS products yet, a lot of the reviews I’ve read have been rather mediocre but I’ll probably try out one product to see how I like the brand :)

      xx

  13. I’m guessing there is no dupe for the Le Blanc, and that’s why it’s so good, but I wish there was! I love the idea of that product but I only buy cruelty free… oh well maybe something will come along one day *ever hopeful*

    1. Hey Imogen!

      It’s not an exact dupe but the L’Oreal Lumi Magique Primer is very similar to Le Blanc de Chanel (the latter is a little more emollient). I’m pretty sure L’Oreal is not cruelty free, huh? Sorry :(

      x

  14. I don’t know if you already know but Chanel is going to relaunch their Le Blanc, just adding a pump, which is great I think ;) probably this fall :D

  15. Fantastic picks! I agree with you with everything you’ve listed that I’ve tried.

    If money were no object, I’d collect Tom Ford quads. There is something magical about them – something I haven’t felt with any other eyeshadow palette before. They make my heart flutter! So much impact. So glamourous. I’ve been loving Cocoa Mirage for several months straight. I’ve been lemming Cognac Sable, Titanium Smoke, Emerald Lust and Sahara Haze forever.

    I also adore my Tom Ford 13 Blending brush. I love how it’s very dense and firm but not scratchy. It’s not the softest brush out there but softness isn’t always my top priority. It’s soft enough for my liking. And it looks so damn gorgeous – even more so than expensive Japanese brushes IMO. I feel like Tom Ford is a very glamourous and luxurious brand in general.

    By Terry lipsticks are incredible. I absolutely agree with you on that. It’s literally the only lipstick formula that doesn’t cause my lips to peel in sheets or settle into lip lines after a few hours. Every other so called ‘moisturising’ lipstick does that to me :( The formula is quite unique in my experience. I’ve only tried Terribly Nude but 21VD and Frenetic Vermillion are next on my list thanks to your posts.

    Armani Luminous Silk is another luxury product that blows my mind. At $92 it’s one of the most expensive foundations I have ever tried but totally worth it. A lot of people tend to reserve their HG foundations for special occasions only but I have an obsession with having perfect looking *skin* every single day so I can really appreciate a great foundation. No foundation has made my skin look more beautiful than this. I really have to give Le Blanc a go. I’m just waiting for the new packaging to come out because I hate pumpless bottles.

    And wow look at the all the stuff you’re making me want haha. A lot of my discoveries were caused by reading your blog.

    1. Hey Jen :)

      I know what you mean about the Tom Ford quads, they excite me too! The Tom Ford 13 blender is so functional. I wish my eyes weren’t so sensitive because I find it does irritate my eyes if I use it carelessly but I still use it and love it :)

      Good to hear that you also love By Terry lipsticks! I think they’re a great option for moody/sensitive lips, no peeling whatsoever!

      92 dollars for an Armani Foundation… You must be Australian? :P Luminous Silk is such a classic and my ultimate favourite for flash photography, PERFECT.

      Sounds like we have similar tastes ;)

      x

  16. I definitely agree that Tom Ford palettes are absolutely exquisite but I would add the lipsticks as well! I would also include the Cle de Peau concealer, Chantecaille tinted moisturizer and Chanel eyeliners.

    1. Tom Ford lipsticks don’t really tickle my fancy actually :( You’ll read about it in the next post (luxury letdowns).

      Thanks for your comment!
      x

  17. Lovely picks, though I haven’t tried all of them. For me, the two most luxurious types of items that come to mind are brushes and anything with gorgeous packaging.

    For brushes, I use anything from a $1 brush to the Suqqu Cheek, but I adore my Suqqu, Chiku, and Wayne Goss brushes most of all, due to the excellent construction & all black look. While I love the function of my Haku and Tom Ford (and ELF and Real Techniques) brushes and wouldn’t give them up, the most luxurious feeling are all-black and matching :)

    I also find that good-quality items in the best packaging “feel” more luxurious to me than best-quality items in normal packaging. Here, again, I wouldn’t give up the normal items even if I could get all-luxury items, but I enjoy having and using the pretty, pretty ones. A few that hit the packaging/product appearance/quality mark for me are Guerlain Parure de Nuit highlighter (my first over $50 purchase) and Armani ETK Intense shadows.

    1. The Wayne Goss brushes are really growing on me, I reach for them a lot! Sadly the Tom Ford brushes were mostly misses for me, they didn’t match my preferences due to the density (I don’t hate them but at that price…)

      You’re definitely not alone regarding pretty packaging! For whatever reason, I’m really not fussed about compacts and glass bottles and such. My favourite casings are usually black/sleek/simple.

      I really enjoy Armani ETK Intense eyeshadows too but I always forget about them because they’re not in palettes! BOO me.

      x

  18. Well I didn’t win the lottery but I did splurge, yesterday my first ever Rouge Terrybly arrived!!! You sold me and felt inspired after reading and reading and re-reading your blog post. Plumped for 21VD but now a dilemma….to lipline or not…..hmmm

  19. If money were no object, I’d snap up Le Blanc de Chanel, Tom Ford Nude Dip, Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder foundation & K.I.S.S.I.N.G. lipstick, and the Suqqu powder brush.

    I currently own the Suqqu cheek brush and Charlotte Tilbury’s The Uptown Girl palette, and those make me feel incredibly luxurious when I use them.

    1. I’ve actually been looking at the Tom Ford Nude Dip, but I know that all shimmers and no mattes will probably leave me disappointed.

      I went to the London Selfridges store and would you believe that I didn’t pick up any Charlotte Tilbury? Regretting it now, it was just so overwhelming!

      x

  20. If money was no object I would definitely buy the ByTerry lip balm – have tried it a few times in store and it is so lovely but sooo very expensive for just a lip balm.
    The Tom Ford foundations are lovely too and equally as expensive, but have a good colour selection for pale skins.
    I would also buy the NARS matte lip pencils in EVERY colour – man those things last!!

    Great post Karima, although I feel slightly enabled….haha!

    Joanna xx

    1. Hmm I am yet to try any of the Tom Ford Foundations but I agree, the shade range is appealing (I see a few cool yellows there? maybe a match for my olive-ish skin?).
      xx

  21. Karima, how do you feel about the new formulation of the Guerlain Les Meteorites? I’ve heard that it’s a lot more powdery and comes with less product; a lot of reviews have been mixed, especially from diehard fans of this product. Which version do you have, by the way? Frankly, I thought the reformulation was uneccessary…

    1. Hey TP!

      I actually haven’t tried the reformulation, I’ll add that to the original post. No idea why they changed the formulation but I’ll try pick up a new one for SCIENCE.

      xx

  22. I heartily second Lena’s shout out to Serge Lutens lippies and eyeshadows.

    I have both SL eyeshadow palettes and they are my favorites hands down, no contest. I get soooo many compliments whenever I wear these – the colors are perfection! I wear one of these palettes almost every day and have to encourage myself to branch out. They can also be used together as the shades are complimentary!

    The SL lippies are also my very favorites. There are two formulations, one that is more opaque and *extremely* long wearing (but not drying) and a second which is more glossy. The 2 formulations are meant to be layered to create different shades. For example I have 10: Garde Rose which wear alone for drama, layer with 6 Mauve de Swann or 8 Compliment Biege for different, softer shades. I am having to restrain myself to keep from buying every shade. I also adore ByTerry lippies.

    Nails: favorite formula is ByTerry Laque. Favorite colors are Chanel and Tom Ford. I wish I could get the ByTerry formula with Chanel colors – heaven.

    Sisley So Intense Mascara is so glossy and black OMG I love it. You can also get verrrrry close to the lashline with this. (The SL Oeil pour Oeil and TF mascaras are also amazing)

    Another luxe fave is ByTerry Enhancer. I love this product and will never be without it, at any price. I’m terrified it will be discontinued.

    I better stop right now in case my boyfriend is reading this :-)
    xoxo sj

    1. Noooo don’t tell me about Serge! *unreads*
      That would be a pricy endeavour.

      I’ll check out you recommendations, Tom Ford Nail Polishes sound nice, sadly I have crappy nails and everything chips in <48 hours :(

      xx

  23. Beautiful picture!

    Do you know of any slightly less pricey alternatives for the SUQQU brush here? I’ve been looking for a good, natural hair blush/bronzer brush forever but haven’t found one. Any thoughts on the Chanel brush line?

  24. I too love my guerlain meteorites. Thankfully I’ve had them for over 8 years & I don’t think I’ll need to replace them anytime soon. I did go through a phase when I stopped using them as, unlike yours, mine are quite sparkly & I believed myself to be too mature for a glittery face. But then I saw some older photos of me & my skin looked awesome so they are back into my routine.

  25. 1. The entire Suqqu brushes lineup
    2. All Tom Ford eyeshadows, lipsticks and perfumes
    3. Frederic Malles perfumes
    4. Serge Lutens lipsticks and eyeshadows
    5. THREE eyeliners

    x

  26. Oh yes yes yes! Totally on board with you on this! Although the Suqqu brush is far far away from my radar I can vouch for the Guerlain bronzer, Chanel illuminator and YSL nail laquer! They are so damn AMAZING!