As if you needed another reason to hotfoot it to Zara, the brand-new collection of makeup just launched and it looks gorgeous.
The Zara Beauty creative director is Diane Kendal, who is the fashion industry’s go-to for Vogue covers, Louis Vuitton ad campaigns and Bottega Veneta catwalk shows, as well as being the person who helped develop makeup lines for Marc Jacobs and Calvin Klein.
And then there’s the packaging: it’s chunky and weighty with a glossy white exterior, all sharp lines and angles.
It also has a satisfying clunky click when you shut a compact or the magnetic lid of the lipstick slots into place. This is what you expect when you spend £28 on a Burberry lipstick, not £11.99 on a Zara one.
This initial drop includes lipsticks in satin, matte and demi-matte, lip glosses, oils and balms, eyeshadows in 45 different shades (including shimmer and glitter formulations, as well as a liquid eyeliner and metallic powders), bronzers, blushers and highlighters, nail polish in 39 different colours and six makeup brushes too.
A promising range, then — but does it actually do the job? I tried a selection of products…
Confusingly, the standalone bronzers (£14.99, refill £11.99) are different shades to the bronzers in the cheek colour palette (£17.99, refill of three £12.99, individual refill £4.99).
However, all of them — bronzers, blushers, highlighters — are packed with buildable pigment and have a shimmer without that tacky sparkle budget versions can sometimes have.
The full-sized lipsticks are the Ultimatte and the Cult Satin (£11.99 each, refills £6.99).
There’s stacks of pigment in both but the matte one really blew me away. Creamy and moisturising, it gives a stunning matte finish and reminded me of Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution lipsticks (£25).
I also tried the Stiletto Demi Matte lipsticks (£9.99, refills £5.99) in skinny tubes reminiscent of Hourglass’s Ultra Slim and, as the name suggests, a hybrid of satin and matte.
I think these are going to fly off the shelves.
The six-pan compact (£17.99, refill of six £12.99, individual refill £3.99) I tried had it all — muted matte neutrals, subtle shimmer, OTT glitter and metallics including Psychedelia, a gold that makeup artist Lisa Potter-Dixon compared on her Instagram to ‘Pat McGrath gold’ (£24).
Whether your eye makeup needs to say boardroom or disco, you’re covered.
A bit of a mixed bag — the large powder brush (£12.99) was a bit too flexible and not dense enough for my liking but I liked the large shader brush (£10.99) and the smudge brush (£5.99, right).
Do I think they’re better than the similarly priced Real Techniques offering? Nope, and the selection is much more limited. But if you had to grab one in a pinch, it would do.
Eye on the planet: How eco is it?
Zara’s website proudly proclaims: ‘We have carefully chosen each of our ingredients for clean formulas with no animal testing.’
However, these products deserve better than this sort of lazy marketing. ‘Animal testing’ of cosmetics has been banned in Britain for more than two decades — and what does ‘clean’ mean anyway, exactly? Still, the range has been designed with sustainability in mind.
Not only is Zara planning recycling bins in store for the packaging, but the designs are also clever. The interior casing of the lipsticks pulls out and clicks back in to allow for refills. Magnetised trays pop out of cheek and eye palettes, and little holes in the base allow you to switch out individual colours. It’s all really well done.
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