Yves Saint Laurent is jumping on the multitasking makeup bandwagon with this version of a combo lip and cheek product, and their contribution is good!
Baby Doll Kiss & Blush comes in a container that looks like a nail polish bottle, with a small screw-top wand. The wand has a small sponge tip that you can use to directly put this product on your lips or cheeks.
What makes this interesting is its texture: it's not a liquid or gel, but a lightweight cream with a feel we'd describe as "powdery." This texture makes sweeping it across cheeks very easy, and prevents a splotchy application.
Just a few dots applied onto cheeks results in a sheer, pretty, matte flushed look that can be built up with more product for stronger color. This sets to a powder finish that lasts throughout a work day, and works just as well applied over makeup as it does on a bare face.
This also works well as a lip product, though it's not nearly as long-lasting. It feels light on lips and has an attractive soft matte finish. It does fade away after only a couple of hours and isn't particularly moisturizing, though it's not drying, either. This combo product also comes in an attractive range of colors which work on very fair to medium-dark skin tones.
The only true drawback is that it contains a small amount of fragrance, which isn't good for skin because fragrance is a source of irritation. While this does fade after about an hour of wear time, it isn't necessary in what otherwise is a standout product.
- Smooth, powdery texture prevents a splotchy application.
- Sheer, buildable color that lasts on cheeks throughout a standard work day.
- Lightweight feel on lips with a pretty soft matte finish.
- Attractive shade range.
- Only lasts a couple of hours on lips.
- Contains a small amount of fragrance, which can irritate skin.
We have never reviewed an expensive cosmetics line with the intent of criticizing it based on the price tags alone. Our standard for reviewing all cosmetics remains the same whether the prices are rock bottom or stratospheric. What cannot be denied is that there are many consumers who just refuse to give up the notion that, in terms of cosmetics, expensive means better. If you're one of those consumers you may have been curious about our take on Yves Saint Laurent's makeup, which by far outshines their skin care.
In the past, as we surveyed the other French-themed lines at the department store (including Lancome, Chanel, Dior, and Guerlain), YSL almost always came in last, barely stepping up to the plate to compete in any category. Lately, we've been pleasantly surprised to find several impressive products, along with some needed improvements for many of their previously lackluster options (whose price-to-performance ratio was depressingly low). YSL still isn't the French line to set your sights on and fill your makeup bag with, but there are enough positives to make a trip to their counter worthwhile, assuming that your budget extends far enough to comfortably afford these items. (Even the best products from this line have less-expensive counterparts, but if you're label-conscious, you should know what to focus on.)
What's not so great is the lack of sufficient UVA protection in products with sunscreen, or SPF ratings that are too low given what we know about the need for a sufficient level of daily sun protection. Adding sunscreen to many of the foundations and lip products was a smart move, but doing so without getting the basics right doesn't get a passing grade. Most of the mascaras are surprisingly average also, yet on the other hand the foundation and powder shade selections have improved considerably. It's this off-kilter blend of outstanding and boring products coupled with steep prices all around that earn this line an "approach with caution" statement. However, careful shopping from YSL will undoubtedly net you some wonderful products you'll be pleased with, at least until the credit card bill comes due!
When it comes to skin care, Yves Saint Laurent relies heavily on its fashion heritage to convince consumers to give these products more than a passing glance. Based on the formulas and outlandish prices, we see no reason for anyone to admire, let alone purchase, most of the skin-care products this brand sells. The claims are nothing short of ridiculous, especially for any YSL product designed to minimize wrinkles or stop sagging. It's good that all of the sunscreens provide broad-spectrum protection, but the cost means you'll be replacing them quickly (if you're being diligent about liberal application, as you should be) and, of course, all of them contain wafting fragrance. The moisturizers are much less impressive, but carry some of the most too-good-to-be-true claims imaginable. None of what they're said to do in terms of wrinkles, skin regeneration, firming, and sculpting skin is the least bit reliable, though many of the moisturizers have luxurious textures.
What's missing is a focused approach to provide skin with what it really needs to thrive and remain healthy. Some of the basics are covered, but antioxidants are seemingly an afterthought, water-binding agents and skin-identical substances are mostly lacking, and once again fragrance takes precedence over advanced ingredients with substantiated research to support their use. If your skin-care routine must involve a designer brand, you'd be better off shopping Chanel and only considering YSL for the makeup products they have that, cost notwithstanding, are worthy of the attention they get in, where else, fashion magazines.
For more information about Yves Saint Laurent, call 800-399-0929 or visit www.ysl.com.