5 Nov 2013
YSL Touche Éclat is 21 years old - but how should we use it?
First off, apologies to all, it has been a bit of a berserk couple of weeks, and I didn't manage to stockpile some posts or even get any prep work done. I will be catching up over the next couple of days.
Onwards. This post is about that cult favourite, YSL's Touche Éclat, which for years has been somewhat of a bugbear of mine - but now I know how to use it properly, I'm an absolute convert.
I love that we are always and forever learning. Having attended a recent (my first!) Yves Saint Laurent event in Dublin to preview the SS'14 collection, I was introduced to Fred Letailleur, Yves Saint Laurent Beauté European Makeup Artist and Brand Ambassador, who gave a demo of the new collection and also spoke for some time about Touche Éclat, one of the brands most iconic products, which celebrates its 21st birthday since initial launch back in 1992. During this demo I learned two new techniques for applying product - one for blusher (which I'll post about when I publish the SS14 preview) and one for Touche Éclat, which I'll share here.
Originally in just one very pale pink-based shade (that really did not suit everyone, despite YSL's insistence to the contrary), this now comes in a total of eleven shades, so there should be one to suit everyone in the audience :-) For all that, for years this product has plagued me. While it is touted as the world's number one concealer, I would argue that it is not a concealer per se. It's a highlighting concealer. Understanding this is really the fundamental difference in knowing where and why to use it (which I discovered only a few years ago) and how to use it, properly at least (which I finally discovered at the recent YSL event).
The where and why are simple - once you understand that, unless you happen to be blessed with no hyper pigmentation or dark circles, this can only be used as a highlighter and not as a concealer. For all its new colour bases, unless you've got no discolouration or darkness under your eyes, this one is best used either (a) as a strategic highlighter (under or over foundation on the high points of your face, eg cheekbones, down the centre of your nose, in the triangle just between your brows, on your cupids bow, etc) or (b) as the final step after correcting and concealing first. Used this way, correctly, it really is a brilliant product to brighten and wake up your skin.
Where most of the confusion arises is from its nomenclature: try using it on its own as a corrector/concealer, and for less than perfect skin, it simply will not do the trick - in fact, used incorrectly, highlighting products will simply draw attention to any uncorrected darkness underneath your eyes, rather than minimise it. Of course, if you have no darkness under your eyes, this is a perfect product, all on its own. For me, it has been a while since that's been true.
The how, well, this one made sense when I thought about it. In general, with concealers or correctors, we want to make sure they're patted-in and blended-out. Patting these kind of products in with your (ring) finger ensures that the heat of your finger, together with the oils in those products, will meld the pigments into your skin, and likely remove some of the (unnecessary) oils in the process. This is fine as the idea behind these products is to correct and conceal.
However, with a highlighting concealer, like Touche Éclat, patting it in will likely serve to remove a lot of the pigmentation and the highlighting ingredients. What M. Letailleur showed that he found best to use was a flat paddle foundation brush and use long sweeping movements. This works with the ingredients in the product. So no to using fingers to pat it in, no to using smaller brushes that require dabbing movements, and no to fluffy brushes that blend it away to nothing. The difference, once I used it thusly, was amazing - I have finally (21 years later!) become a believer.
With eleven shades, as I've mentioned, it makes sense to go to a YSL counter to be shade-matched correctly. You may find (like me) that you need one shade for under your eyes and one for the rest of your skin (if you plan to use it for an under-eye brightener as well as an overall skin highlighter/illuminator), but you may find equally that just one might do you.
Look here for more information on Touche Éclat, and here for more information on the 2012 Christmas revision, prettily packaged in a golden Collector Edition case - both retail at €33 and are available pretty much everywhere.