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Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Ford Farewell III: Tom Ford Cognac Sable Eyeshadow Quad

Cognac Sable is actually the fourth Tom Ford quad I've owned. The earlier three (Sahara Haze, Silvered Topaz and Titanium Smoke) were basically cool-toned versions, and based on counter visits, the majority of quads seem to be similar plays on the dry, tightly pressed, silky combinations of shimmer/satin/glitter. The exceptions were two soft 'n' smooth frosts (Enchanted, Cobalt Rush) and the mostly-matte back-to-the-90s Cocoa Mirage.

Specifically, Cognac Sable consists of (colour / finish / pigmentation):
Top left: warm, sandy gold / satin with subtle shimmer / medium
Top right: warm copper / glitter topcoat / sheer
Bottom left: warm, medium chestnut brown / metallic shimmer / pigmented
Bottom right: cool, deep brown with multitonal shimmer / shimmer on a matte base / pigmented

Tom Ford Cognac Sable Eyeshadow Quad palette
natural light, sunny

Swatches are one-swipe with sponge applicators onto bare arm
Tom Ford Cognac Sable Eyeshadow Quad palette swatches
natural light
Tom Ford Cognac Sable Eyeshadow Quad palette swatches
natural light, sunny
Tom Ford Cognac Sable Eyeshadow Quad palette swatches
artificial light + flash, deliberately fuzzy

I think the last picture best illustrates why it took me so much longer to bid Cognac Sable (vs. True Coral or Narcissist) farewell -- I love some multitonal microglitter, especially the hints of cornflower, copper and lime hiding in that darkest cool brown. In general, I found this quad shone most (pun intended) in low, artificial light; in daylight or brighter artificial light, the copper glitter (top right shade) has to pull more than its fair share of the weight in making for the kind of texturally complex neutral look I like.

Some looks as examples:
1. Copper-Heavy
Lightest sandy gold all over lid and lower lashline, medium chestnut brown in outer v, darkest cool brown to line, craploads of copper glitter over all.

Looks pretty in the closeup, and when I go to look at my pretty lids to cheer myself up midday, it's mighty sparkly. Yay. But this much orange on my eyes leads to the same problem I had with Shiseido Fire: what cheek/lip colours to pair with it that will either be interestingly/intentionally clashy or pleasingly harmonious without tipping into that large intermediate zone of vaguely jarring slightly-off ick?
With nothing tonally harmonious to hand, here are the best clashes I managed: a mild version with Tom Ford Narcissist blush and my naturally very cool pink lips (slick of balm):

And a stronger take, with Wet'n'Wild Megalast lipstick in Cherry Bomb:

Yeah.... not ideal, right?


2. Copper-Free
Without the copper glitter, Cognac Sable becomes a versatile backdrop to whatever bold, bright or even subtle lip I feel like, such as BITE High-Pigment Matte Pencil in Tart [some older shades swatched here]:

Darkest brown mixed with chestnut brown on lid and chestnut mixed with sandy gold on lower lashline, both darkened towards outer corner and angled out slightly, outer corner left 'open'.



Unfortunately, I am a demanding kind of wench and this kind of eye is just too much neutral, not enough kick. 

3. Balanced
It actually proved surprisingly tricky for me (aren't neutrals supposed to be no-brainers? jeez) to find just the right way to balance/place the shades in this quad so that I could wear it as a palette and not have it wear me (look 1) or (look 2) make me wonder why I'd bothered when a smudge of brown/gold crayon would've sufficed :P
This ended up my favourite combination, and is further proof that red lipstick (Dolec&Gabbana Attractive Monica) makes everything better. Blush is Dolce&Gabbana Nude.

Lightest sandy gold mixed with darkest cool brown over the and lower lashline, warm chestnut mixed with the sandy gold to softly shade edges into socket, copper glitter dabbed into the centre of the mobile lid and lower lashline.


This is my kind of neutrals with a kick look. It partners a strong lip rather than just milksoppily not-competing (gor forbid, she's wearing too much makeup, painted jezebel etc.) However, loving it also means I have no shortage of such variously kicky neutrals....


Comparison Swatches
Top left sandy gold with Rouge Bunny Rouge Sleeping Undeneath a Mandarin Tree pigment and Angelic Cockatiels eyeshadow; the orange (top right) from Suqqu Komorebi; the rosy brown (mid right) from Shu Uemura Prestigious Bordeaux.


Top right copper glitter with Shu Uemura G Orange 251 (god I love this, btw) and the gold glitter (bottom left) from Prestigious Bordeaux; RMK Ingenious Powder Eyes SH-01 Shiny Brown Gold; Chanel Vision Illusion D'Ombre.


Bottom left chestnut brown with Kiko eyeshadow sticks in 06 Golden Brown and 04 Golden Chocolate [these look so much cooler-toned next to Cognac Sable vs. earlier swatches here]; the bronze (top right) silk smooth pan from Shu Uemura Prestigious Bordeaux; the warm bronze (top right) from Suqqu 03 Matsukasa and cooler bronze (top right) from Suqqu 01 Kakitsubata.


Bottom right dark cool brown with Rouge Bunny Rouge Blackpepper Jay; the darkest (bottom left) matte brown from Suqqu 03 Matsukasa; the cool taupe (starred) from KATE Deep Trap Eyes GY-1; the medium neutral taupe from Maquillage Alexander Wang BR 365.


Even one by one, three of Cognac Sable's shades have a lot more (specifically orange) warmth than the rest of my stable of warmer neutrals. In combination, this pulls the palette far, far warmer than my other brown options, which is why I find it so tricky to pair with the lip/cheek options in my wardrobe.
With Visee Smacky Glam BR-7 Bitter Brown; Suqqu 03 Matsukasa; Maquillage Alexander Wang BR 365.


So this isn't really a truly negative review; while True Coral and Narcissist just didn't work on me, Cognac Sable kind of does, or at least can -- I just happen to own other products I prefer, both tonally and texturally. My personal rule is that I need to be able to pull at least three distinct looks from each palette worn as a palette, to go with lip/cheek shades I already own -- obviously individual shades can then be picked'n'mixed with anything else but them's the ground rules for anything that stays in. This one just requires too much work for too little reward -- it's out.

Tom Ford quads retail for £62 each in the UK.

47 comments:

  1. Wow, you did such a detailed post about the quad I can really see your point. I am not a big fan of copper, so this particular quad isn't for me. So sorry to hear TF is dead in your book, but there are definitely great brands I just can't get into as well!

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    1. XD I can't believe someone actually scrolled to the end, lol

      TF is not quite dead ^_^ I have a rave yet to come

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  2. I do understand your problem with the warmth of this palette, it's not that easy to pull off although it looks great on you tbh. I think the biggest issue with this quad is that it's maybe too dupeable and you might tend to use other products instead of this one. Thanks a lot for sharing your detailed vision about this!

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    1. exactly! At the end of the day I'm just not that crazy about neutrals-that-aren't-taupe.

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  3. Such a great post Kate! Makes me look at my Cognac Sable and go...hmmm. I find I am pretty lax and not very discriminating though I try to be. I'm sort of please at how neutral it is without the glitter topcoat that I kind of like it. I did really like Charlotte Tillsbury's tutorial with this for that incredible smokey look that it sort of seems to make this whole palette worth it for me. :)
    But now I have some additional ideas on how to wear this from you, so thank you!!

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    1. I'm sure it looks muuuuch prettier on you :) The problem is partially that neutrals for most 'normal' skintones as the makeup market sees them aren't necessarily going to read as neutrals on me -- these don't, without a lot a work -- but they're not poppy enough to be bolds or whatever either.
      ....Articulate XD

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  4. I have the same feelings towards most palettes leaning very warm - while supposedly Urban Decay Half Baked is one of their most popular shades, on my lids it's a bit - WT...?! It's even worse with coppers. There's something intrisincally clashy about my skin and those shades and unfortunately, not in a very good way.

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    1. Oh Rocaille, almost all of the Naked palette was a giant fail on me! I think it's a textural thing as well -- these TF are drier/silkier which helps a bit. I don't think I could swing a full on solid frosty-metallic copper, ever.

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  5. Mmmm, warm neutrals are so sexay! :)

    You're giving me the Matsukasa lems, ma fille!

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  6. kate, you still look amazing :) regardless! ummm I secretly cant wait for your next blogsale. hope i am lucky this time xx

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    1. <3 Sorry Rena, I've already swapped this one away!

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  7. You certainly make this look good :). Beautiful & creative looks as always!

    As for Mr Ford, I'm afraid I think £62 is just a step too far. For me the quality doesn't justify it & I don't find the packaging/branding luxury & delicious enough to overcome that! It's obvious from your post that there are nicer & cheaper alternatives out there -- I particularly like the look of the Maquillage palette...

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    1. Hi, Rosy :)
      I think according to makeup maths TF is priced about the same as Suqqu per gram. But texturally there is no competition!
      That Maquillage palette has the best textures/pigmentation I think they've ever released. It has a sister warmer quad which you might like :) Both pop up sometimes on blogsales/ebay.

      Delete
  8. I admire your editorial skills - I wish I had the gumption to more pro-actively edit my stash, by actually swapping and whatnot. All my editorial choices are pre-purchase (which is good, but some players really ought to be cut from the team).
    My main takeaway point from this post, however, is "damn I really should have gotten Prestigious Bordeaux".

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    1. I just like swatching similarish stuff on my hand XD The blog is just the excuse.

      And yes, yes you should've >:C

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  9. It's kind of meh for something so expensive and luxurious looking... But you still look great, especially look #3!

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    1. <3 I have recreated no 3 a few times, with my near-dupey things :)

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  10. I would probably own the Cognac palette myself if money were no object because coppers and warm neutrals are like crack to me. Texturally though, the price tag just doesn't seem to warrant what you get.

    Look #1 with Cherry Bomb rocks. You are totally channeling 90's Winona Ryder!

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    1. I love the look of copper, brass and bronze but they are tricky propositions for my skintone :/
      That is the best compliment ever. Thank you :D

      Delete
  11. For th permanent TF palettes, my biggest dislike goes to the texture thus color payoff problem as many people say. But being more yellow toned asian, I did hope before I can pull this palette off . (I wrongly think this and the matt 03 CM palette are asian girls' sure picks (or the limited Enchanted palette instead)?

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    1. I really like the tones in Silvered Topaz for yellow-toned skin, or Enchanted, as you say :) I am quite sure you could wear Cocoa Mirage -- it's just a bit boring for my tastes *hides*

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    2. I do want to support TM by buying Cocoa Mirage, hate to say I trust that Suqqu will give me better texture even when the previous permanent palettes #1-8 are not available now...

      It's still a long path ahead for me to learn better the yellow-toned/ cool-toned eyeshadow combination thing for Asian skin, sign.

      Silver Topaz is a surprise! I wrongly thought that it is too cool-toned

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    3. Have you read this post on Asian skintones? Though it applies to all ethnicities, IMO. The basic thing is that not all yellows are warm.
      http://musicalhouses.blogspot.co.uk/2010/01/undertones-for-asians-how-to-tell-if.html

      In general, I'm a believer in trusting your own eyes about what YOU like on you. Everyone has so many different tones in their skin, and it changes depending on what clothes you wear, and the season or time of day -- what the light is like how it hits etc. It's easy to find exceptions to any rule you can name.

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    4. You are the first blogger I know that has read and introduced me to this article that intense on the subject matter! Lovely.

      Other than warm/cool and olive awareness, Asian forum also complicates me with the concept of yellow & black (of which I can only interpret as dullness & grey of yellow-toned skin).

      For the above reasons, all I can do is to keep my little faith in my MAC MA for skin tone judgement.

      However, my bigger concern refers to the tone judging of an e/s palette and to match it with warm/ cool skin tones. MA often introduce neutral shades or tell Asians to stay away from certain teal/ mint colors. As for those warm-skinned girls online, they hate all purples my MAC MA always use on me.

      For my color judging flaws, suqquˊs 2013 S/S collectionˊs EX11 and 13 looks so similar to me, but people objects: EX-11 for cool-toned girls and EX-13 for warm ones only. To me, their recognizable difference comes with the pink grid only.

      Another killer question for me goes to suqqu 06 Ginbudou, MA confirmed that it can also match yellow or warm-toned girls also, but warm-toned girls give them away in blog sals, saying it is cool-toned people limited.

      So I always agree with you that we should try it on. I only hope more MA can understand too.

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  12. I kind of like how the look 1 (coppery) suited you. :) I am not very impressed with TF products. Maybe only the foundation stick.

    I wanted to ask you though: How is the RBR SUAMT pigment? I am lemming it ever since I saw your swatch

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    1. I ADORE SUAMT! This is in fact my second tube -- I used it so much and kept sending samples to friends.

      I want to sample the Tom Ford foundation stick soon :)

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  13. I love these super detailed posts! BTW out of curiosity what do you do with the 'outs'?

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  14. Rescrolling through the post and thinking about the eyeshadow i'm going to wear tomorrow (am i the only one who does that?) i've realised I love the juxtaposition of cool and warm colours! I LOVE the last look - may attempt to recreate!

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    1. My favourites are a mix as well :) It 'goes' better with my neutral skin, but I just like seeing it on everybody to be honest ;)

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  15. Aw...another too bad. I do really like the quad but I suppose I can kind of see what you're saying. But oooh that Suqqu palette....want so bad!! :(

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    1. Thank you for not declaring me mad XD I am so picky

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  16. Aw, sorry to hear it doesn't work out for you. I adore it!! Completely agree that it's not the most unique (actually I don't TF colors are special, except for his blushes, but I do love his powder texture) and flatters warm tones more. I haven't tried the Japanese brands you mentioned, hence don't know about their texture and quality. Suqqu!!!! I need one of their quads.

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    1. It's all relative, innit :) I actually hadn't noticed until your comment that all my other warm palettes are Japanese! XD They are more yellow- than orange- based, which may be why I find them easier to wear :)

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  17. Another one bites the dust... So Silvered Topaz is still in your posession yes? I'd love to see your looks on that palette. I'm thinking about that one specifically out of all the TF's old quads.

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    1. 'Fraid not, dear one :( That's long gone! I have far more cool neutrals than warm, so that spent hardly any time in my possession -- the textures just don't come up to my picky picky standards.

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  18. Thank you for such a detailed post, Kate!
    I have Cognag Sable and I have to admit that the reason that I love it so much is just the beautiful packaging and the luxurious feeling of Tom Ford makeup. The quality is not bad but for the price I am paying, I guess it's just not up to my expectation. The color is a bit too orangey for me too.
    I guess I will gamble my luck with 1 more Tom Ford eyeshadow but not sure which one. I need to do some research before paying that steep amount of money.

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    1. I love your self-awareness and honestly I don't think there's anything wrong with paying a little extra for the feeling of treating yourself.

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  19. I like cognac shades, but - as you mention - they can clash with your other makeup. I generally wear the cognac shades just in the middle of my lids, to bring out the little gold flecks in my green eyes.

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    1. I am deeply deeply jealous of anyone with green eyes, let alone gold-flecked ones.

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  20. I really like all of your looks honestly. The copper looks good on you. Thanks for my new obsession with shu uemura eyeshadows... I just spent the past 24 hours trying to find G 251!!! Gorgeous! Love your blog! xo

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    1. Thank you so much :D Sadly G251 isn't sold in the US :(

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  21. hi may i know for 2.copper free what lip color are u wearing thanks

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  22. Re-reading your post and the comments is a delight. I cant believe you have already swapped this away and now wait for me to grab... I will wait till my spending ban is over and perhaps go get some, now that there's a counter of TF in Lane Crawford in HK... Things getting pretty dangerous.....

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  23. I love TF eyeshadows. Then again, I'm not a blogger and I am willing to admit they are overpriced but since I don't buy a lot of makeup, I kind of enjoy the once in a blue moon splurge. I mean in total, I own like 10 eyeshadows though just ordered a TF quad which is on the way. Plus, I'm into neutrals. You make me really want to try Suqqu but the price makes me even swoon harder than the TF quads. Furthermore, where in heaven's name can one get Suqqu in the U.S without paying a ridiculous amount for shipping? It's just too hard to get.

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