Lab Rat: H&M’s New Makeup Line, and Other Stories

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Photo: Christina Han

Between Roland Mouret and A.F. Vandevorst, I had some spare time in Paris and decided to roll up into Colette to see what kinds of new beauty goodies they had. The first thing I noticed upon entering the jewel-box space was a stack of pretty mint-green boxes that turned out to be Carven's new fragrance, which won't be available stateside until May, but you can still buy it on Colette's eShop site now. A quick whiff of the jasmine, mandarin blossom, hyacinth flower, and sweet pea notes proved a bit too sweet for me, but the frosted glass bottle is lovely to look at.

Soon, I was standing right in front of Odile Gilbert's chic metal hairpins. One of the pretty salesgirls with even prettier shoulder-length, messy French hair just happened to be demonstrating to a fellow shopper how to use the curved U-shaped pin. After twisting her hair up in a classic French twist, she stuck the pin through and back out again and instantly looked chic. SOLD. Since my hair is still too short at a bob, I bought it for a friend's birthday present instead.

As for color cosmetics, the options are edited. There's a section of one wall devoted to Edward Bess's makeup line and for the most part, that's it. But this could be due to the fact that the main attraction in the tiny space is dedicated to H&M's new fashion concept line, & Other Stories. Their cosmetic collection is sold exclusively at Colette for the remainder of March but will soon be available at their own stores and online.

Here are the three products I snapped up while there and tested over the weekend.

Lip Colour in Cordovan Wine ($16.30): For no real reason except that it just feels right, I've lately been drawn towards spicier, chocolaty lip colors. So while the poppy reds and vibrant fuchsias looked punchy and perfect for spring, I gravitated towards this muddy Bordeaux-esque brown, which will now be a staple in my lip wardrobe for the rest of winter. The lipstick itself has a creamy texture with a slight matte finish; they seem to be hydrating enough and can be applied to dry lips. It does have a tendency to bleed a little around the outer edges of my mouth, so I guess I'll fully commit to my current nineties lip infatuation and add in a little lip-liner action.

Voile Eye Gel ($19): When I think of "voile," I think of the word veil. And who doesn't want a veil over their jet-lag-induced, dark under-eye circles. Its unscented and cooling formulation absorbs into the region quickly but leaves behind a slightly sticky residue. All the skincare products have this clean black and white packaging, which I love for its simplicity.

Total Tint Stick in Linen Beige ($13): This cream highlighter stick can be used all over the face, so I popped the subtly shimmery champagne hue on my eyelids and cheekbones. Even without primer, the formula won't melt and settle into the creases and it blends rather nicely into skin, giving me that natural-seeming radiance.