This is such a gorgeous brand. It has been flying under my radar until now for a silly reason really – the packaging is beautiful art deco inspired pieces, but a lot of it is glass. So since my injury it’s too heavy for me, and it’s been languishing in all it’s French Art Deco gorgeousness, at home. That is, until I had the inspired idea to decant the foundations and eye makeup remover into lightweight plastic Muji bottles! Now I have the lovely packaging on my dresser instead, because it really is too pretty to hide away.
The brand is the makeup offshoot of Sophie Albou’s Paul & Joe, the French clothing label, and its ethos is like the clothes – simple, beautiful, feminine and classic, but always cool. The idea behind the clothes is ‘Accessible Luxury’, which I think certainly comes across in the makeup line as well.
The texture of the makeup is sheer, with an almost watercolor effect on the nail polishes and cream blushes (which are one of my favourite pieces in the line. I am OBSESSED at the moment with the shimmery peach cream blush in 03). They also do lovely eye glosses which are super cute, and lip glosses in juicy, yummy colours.
The brand sells in the US at Bergdorf Goodman, in the UK at Harrods and Fenwicks, and is huge in Japan. They are an especially good line for those with pale complexions, although they do also go reasonably deep in their colour selection, which we know is always a plus in my book. I am always a bit wary of brands that think the world is one colour! (Or a maximum of six).
They have quite a few foundations in the line, but the one I like the most is the Cream foundation. It has a lovely, silky texture and a range of colors that is quite unusual – they seem to have certain colours that are hard to find elsewhere, so if you have trouble finding the right colour for your skin in other brands, this is definitely one to check out.
They do a skincare line (the eye makeup remover is a favourite) and all of their foundations and primers have active ingredients based on skincare properties. And the packaging makes me swoon! How could you resist the pearly pink eyeshadow and blush containers, the floral printed lipsticks and the glass flacons for the skincare? It’s really beautiful, and for girly girls you’ll be in heaven.
The other thing I really like about Paul & Joe is it has weird colours – as a makeup artist I love a strange colour that’s slightly off, and in keeping with the retro packaging, some of the colours are a bit 1950’s (but in a good way!) Salmon, candy pink nail varnish, unusual eyeshadow shades – it’s not your typical range of makeup. They bring out special collections each year, which all go on to become big collector’s items. The latest range is the Sahara range, with gorgeous blotting powder sheets and a shimmering body oil.
The surprise standout product for me in this line is the Moisturizing Foundation Primer, which is really surprising as I am Not. A. Primer. Girl. Up until now I have thought it was the Emperor’s New Clothes of makeup – yet one more product to buy, or think we should be using, that actually (excuse the expression), does bugger all. But I am loving the way the Moisturizing Foundation Primer feels on my skin, and it definitely makes my foundation go on smoother. Does it make it last longer? I’m not really sure yet. Primers need a rigorous testing cycle in different conditions, but so far, this guy is making me change my opinion of primers in general, which is no mean feat. I could be gradually moving over to the Primer Dark Side.
For summer they have a Protective Foundation Primer UV with an SPF of 40 (! Yes, 40. Ain’t no sun getting’ through that sucker. Fantastic). Unfortunately it only comes in two shades, (both on the paler side) so make sure you check it before you buy as it won’t be for everyone. Having said that, it is a good one if it’s the right colour for you as it leaves a great texture on the skin, a nice glow that reminds me of the Prada Tinted Moisturiser (also fabulous).
I can see why Paul & Joe has such a cult following, and the products are very high quality with a lovely texture to them. But the sweet packaging alone makes it a collector’s dream line. Worth a look.