You know you’ve done something right with your face when roughly 12 hours after you’ve applied your makeup,
you’re receiving compliments post–sweaty Pilates class. This is a true story, folks, and it goes a little something like this:Once upon a time back in 2012, there was a magical makeup line created by one of the most illustrious celebrity makeup artists in all the land, Charlotte Tilbury. Quite quickly, sparkling members of the A-list, fellow makeup artists, beauty editors, and shoppers aplenty fell under the line’s enchanting spell, declaring their undying love for her wide assortment of cult-loved lipsticks, foundations, palettes, and even a glow-gifting wand or two. Fast-forward roughly nine years, and Charlotte Tilbury’s namesake brand has taken the industry by storm boasting some of the buzziest, most highly applauded products on the market.
And so lies the context for my opening anecdote. The brand, collectively, is known for
so many iconic products that my fellow beauty editor, Courtney Higgs, and I decided to do the ultimate experiment to test out the line’s versatility. We put 24 different products to the test, mixed and matched, wore them to work, on the weekends, on dates, etc. Here, we’re sharing some of our photos, rating every single product we tried, and delivering the tea on what we did (or didn’t) like. And why stop there? As an extra little surprise, we asked Charlotte’s very own niece, celebrity makeup artist Sofia Schwarzkopf-Tilbury, to tell us a little about her favorite products along the way. Keep scrolling!
Rating: 6/5 stars. I know I’m the last person to arrive to the party on this one, but this cream blew my mind. I’m pretty darn dedicated to my current moisturizer-and-primer combination, so I was nervous about the diversion and was worried this cream would be too heavy and greasy for my skin. Um, I was so wrong. It literally created the perfect, ultra-smooth canvas for my makeup. I kind of hate the term glass skin, but this product game me glass skin. Even BEFORE I added primer and foundation.
Rating: 4/5 stars. As I said, I’m really obsessed with my favorite primer, so switching things up was nerve-racking. Since I can get really oily during the day, I usually avoid products that promote dew and glow, and I was almost sure this primer would be too much for me. I was wrong! It actually blended in really well with the cream, and I didn’t look like a total grease ball at any point during the day. My foundation applied so smoothly on top of it, and I’m pretty sure it was a key player in maintaining the integrity of my makeup all day long. The only reason I’m not giving it five stars is that I did experience some pilling when I initially applied it. That said, it didn’t end up impacting my ultimate makeup application so it wasn’t problematic.
Rating: 6/5 stars. Shade: 3 Neutral. Well, I officially have a new favorite foundation, and I’m actually really sad I didn’t discover it sooner. Like, devastated. This is every single thing I seek in a foundation. The color and tone are perfect (there are so many options you can choose depending on your undertone), it didn’t budge (even after an early morning workout), it didn’t feel like I was wearing anything on my skin (despite how full-coverage it is), and it did its name justice by blurring away all my pores, fines lines, and other skin issues I’m self-conscious about. I’m actually dumbfounded. The matte finish is also great because it kept my greasies under control while not looking TOO flat or matte. This foundation truly is perfect. What Sofia says: “This foundation is a real red carpet secret! Charlotte was obsessed with creating a foundation that could do it all: smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, deeply hydrate and moisturise the complexion, and reduce the look of pores. I’m always wowed when I smooth this over a client’s complexion for a perfected, radiant matte look. It’s like confidence in a bottle!”
Rating: 4/5 stars. Shade: 2 Fair. I’ve been a fan of this concealer for a while now, so this CT product wasn’t a new one for me. That said, it’s one of my favorites! It can get a little creasy underneath my eyes, and I’m not a huge fan of the cushion applicator because I feel like it wastes product and is probably a scary breeding ground for bacteria, but the coverage is amazing, the formula is super easy to blend, and it also has tons of amazing skin-improving ingredients like Persian silk tree bark extract, palmitoyl glycine, and extract of wild indigo. The applicator is really my only issue with this one. What can I say? I’m a doe-foot kind of gal!
Rating: 3/5 stars. Shade: Fair. This is pretty much the only product that left me a little underwhelmed. BUT I’m insanely picky about my setting powders and have been using the same combination of pressed and loose powders since early college. So this formula had a lot to go up against! I used the brand’s cult-loved Powder & Sculpt Brush ($49) to apply the powder to all the areas I get crease-y or oily, and I think it did do a pretty good job of staving off creased and cracks. That said, it didn’t apply well underneath my eyes over the concealer, and I ended up reaching for my other powders to finish the job. I think I also just prefer translucent formulas with zero tint since I like my powder to create a bit of highlighter where I apply it on my face, as well. What Sofia says: “This is the product I always slip into a client’s clutch bag before an event. Harsh HD cameras and flashing lights mean you need a product that is best-in-class for setting and perfecting your makeup, and this powder is SO finely milled it glides on like silk. You can also reapply it throughout the night without it ever looking powdery, as it is infused with Rose Wax and Almond Oil, meaning it hydrates even as it gives you a soft-focused, matte look!”
Rating: 4/5 stars. Shade: Light to Medium. I like this bronzer-and-highlight palette, but my mind wasn’t blown over it like it was over some of the other CT products. The formula is nice, the color is flattering, and I think it added some pretty, natural definition and contour where I applied it on my face—along my jawline, the sides of my nose, underneath my cheekbones, and around my temples and forehead. The highlighter was pretty, and I was impressed with how shimmery and pretty it looked when I used the Powder & Sculpt Brush ($49) to dust a little over the areas I had added some highlight using either the Beautylight Wand. (I’ll get to that one shortly!) What Sofia says: “I love to use the iconic Filmstar Bronze & Glow to create really glamourous, glowing supermodel bone structure like the looks I’ve created for Shanina Shaik, Irina Shayk, Sienna Miller, and Candice Swanepoel lately! It is so easy to use, easy to blend, and it looks incredible on the red carpet! I use the Powder & Sculpt brush to glide the contour shade beneath the cheekbones, along the jawline, and across the temples. Then I use a Blender Brush to define the sides and tip of the nose. The highlight has a really light golden base that flatters every skin tone and reflects the light for a gorgeous, radiant finish when applied to the high points of the face.”
Rating: 5/5 stars. Shade: Pillow Talk Original. I LOVE this blush/highlight hybrid palette. By swirling your brush into both, you get the perfect mix of matte and glimmer, and I found this color just looked so natural and beautiful. I love blush, but I don’t want it to overtly LOOK like I’m wearing blush. (If that makes sense?) And this product nails that aesthetic superbly. I used this on the tops of my cheekbones and apples and added a tiny bit to my chin, the tip of my nose, and around my hairline to balance and warm up my face a bit. It’s also really easy to layer and build so you don’t risk overdoing it. I’ve been wearing it every day post-experiment!
Rating: 5/5 stars. Shade: Pillow Talk Original. So what’s interesting about this is that normally, I prefer powder highlighters to liquid or cream formulas because they make me look too melty or greasy by lunchtime. However, I actually preferred this handy wand to the Filmstar Bronze & Glow Palette! Instead of swiping the cushion applicator across the areas I wanted to highlight, I put some on the back of my hand and dipped my Beautyblender in the puddle of product for a more precise application. It delivers such a diffused, candlelit glow, and it didn’t look overdone or overly shiny or sparkly. I can’t say enough good things, honestly.
Rating: 3/5 stars. Shade: Pillow Talk. Just like Courtney, I’m not a big eye shadow person—especially powder formulas. However, Charlotte Tilbury’s are so sparkly and neutral that they’re pretty hard to mess up. I loved using this definition to add some depth and definition or even just a pop of sparkle. Plus, they catch the light SO prettily.
Rating: 5/5 stars. I almost exclusively use liquid eyeliner in either black or brown. This one is phenomenal. Not only is it perfectly sized for optimum precision, but it’s also super inky-black (and stays that way!) and doesn’t budge. It was almost TOO hard to remove, but I was fine with it considering its stellar performance and how perfectly it accented my eyes.
Rating: 5/5 stars. It takes A LOT for me to fall in love with and recommend a new mascara, but when I tried this one from CT, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Unlike almost every other mascara on the market, it actually does what it says it will. It kept my long, droopy lashes perfectly curled in addition to adding some impressive volume and length. I’ve been getting so many compliments on my lashes since I started wearing it regularly.
Rating: 5/5 stars. Shade: Grace K. Funny thing—I really didn’t think I was going to like this eyebrow pencil. I have tried so many formulas over the years, and it’s really hard for me to nail down the right shade. Basically, I need the perfect shade of taupe that’s not too warm nor too cool and a formula that doesn’t lay down too much or too little product. (See how picky I am?) This shade, however, was PERFECT. It didn’t look too dark or intense, but I was effortlessly able to add depth and definition.
Rating: 5/5. Shade: Pillow Talk Original. I don’t know what else to say about this iconic product except I’m convinced it might actually be witchcraft. It’s the only lip liner I use regardless of what color lipstick I’m wearing. It defines your lip line and really emphasizes the shape and pout of your lips, which I love. It wears well, doesn’t seep into lines or outside of where you apply it—it’s everything you could want in t a lip liner. Plus, it lasts FOREVER.
Rating: 4/5 stars. Shade: Pillow Talk Orginal. I’ve had this cult-loved lipstick forever, and I wear it at least once a week—usually more. It’s the only nude I can stand on my lips, and the formulation of these lipsticks is just so good. Truly, it’s one of the only lipsticks I don’t have to keep reapplying and that actually keeps my lips super hydrated and plump-looking. (Even though it’s technically a matte finish!) It’s perfect for long workdays or if you’re going out and will be doing lots of talking, sipping, etc., and don’t want to have to sweat about what your mouth looks like. This is a classic for a reason! And for the record, I’ve also tried the new Medium and Intense shades and they’re stunning.
Rating: 3/5 stars. Shade: Pillow Talk. I’m not a lip gloss person, but I’ve found myself applying this plumping version almost every time I leave my house lately, which leads me to believe I’m becoming a lip gloss person. Or at least, a Collagen Lip Bath Gloss person. The color is so pretty layered over the other Pillow Talk lip products, and I appreciate the super-shiny finish that’s not all that sticky. I’m a little nervous because it says it contains coconut oil (which usually breaks me out around the lips), but I haven’t had any problems yet. Fingers crossed because I really want to keep using this gloss!
Rating: 5/5 stars. Shade: 13 Neutral. I need to preface this by saying that I’m not easily impressed when it comes to foundation. There are so many boxes that need to be ticked in order for me to get on board: the shade range, the consistency, the blendability, and the finish all need to be on point. I’ve been an Armani Luminous Silk girl for as long as I can remember, but this foundation came really close to claiming the top spot in my book. No exaggeration, it’s like an Instagram filter in a bottle. I applied it with my fingers, with a foundation brush, and with a sponge, but each time I got a completely even, flawless application. It also smells really nice, which may or may not be a good thing, but I enjoyed it.
Rating: 4/5 stars. Shade: 12.5 Tan. Again, this concealer is now neck-and-neck with my longtime go-to, Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer. The consistency is perfect for brightening up the under-eye area, and it blends out so easily and beautifully. My only critique is that the click mechanism used to dispense the product is a little strange. It just seems like the sponge head that the concealer comes out of traps a lot of product and ends up wasting it. What Sofia says: “If I could use this concealer as a foundation, I would. In fact, I often do! I never go anywhere without Magic Away. It smooths and stretches over imperfections like a dream, and it never looks heavy or cakey. I like to use two shades: a lighter shade to brighten the under-eye area and around the mouth and nose, and a true match to just cover any little blemishes or areas of redness.”
Rating: 3/5 stars. Shade: Dark. So this powder smells really funky. At first, I thought it had to have somehow spoiled, but a quick scan of online reviews of the product confirmed that it’s just plain smelly. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but my partner in beauty, Erin, was able to identify that it smells like a box of crayons! Odd. As far as setting concealer, I didn’t love this powder. I felt like it looked kind of “crunchy.” But I did dust it over my bare face one day and really liked how it slightly pulled my face together for the perfect no-makeup glow.
Rating: 4/5 stars. Shade: Medium to Dark. This is a decent contour duo. It’s nothing super special, but I do like that the compact houses both the darker pressed contour powder and the pressed highlighter so you can quickly and easily create a little dimension.
Rating: 4/5 stars. Shade: Queen of Glow. I’m not great with eye shadow, so I typically reach for shimmery ones, as they’re a little less intimidating and much easier to use. Every color in this mini quad is stunning. I got the hand of the matte maroon shadow after a couple of tries, but it’s the shimmery bronze, gold, and rose-gold shades that really stole my heart. I love them! What Sofia says: “I used this gorgeous, golden palette to create a look inspired by Old Hollywood glamour at the Temperley London show during London Fashion Week recently. I love how it gives eyes the effect of dripping in gold! Those molten shades suit every skin tone, and the deep plum smoke shade is a stunning contouring hue for deeper complexions and brown eyes!”
Rating: 6/5 stars. Shade: Foxy Brown. Yes, you read that score correctly. This lip liner is everything. I didn’t even know I needed lip liner until I tried this one. I can’t really put it into words why it’s so impressive, but if I had to try, I’d say that it’s because it has this way of making it look like you’re pursing your lips even when you’re not. It creates such subtle definition that completely changes the look of your lips. Ten out of 10 would recommend. What Sofia says: “I wear the Lip Cheat in Hot Gossip every single day! It really is my go-to nude liner for a kissable, tawny-rose look. When I apply lip liner, I like to focus on the Cupid’s bow to enhance the shape and look of the lips. Then I top it with a glossy, lustrous lipstick.”
Rating: 4/5 stars. Shade: Black Vinyl. I love this mascara! It creates such an epic lash look, which I’m really into. My only qualm is that it always looks like a major lash moment, and there’s really no way to tone it down. Maybe that’s not the point (after all, it’s called Legendary Lashes, not Ordinary Lashes), but it would be nice to be able to tailor the intensity to different scenarios. I guess the solve here is to invest in other mascaras that do a tad less for those times when you’re not in the mood to be a bombshell.
Rating: 5/5 stars. Shade: Barbarella Brown. I’m more of a liquid eyeliner girl, but when I use pencils, I like for them to be buttery smooth and easy to smudge out for a nice smoky effect. This eyeliner glides onto the eyelid and is so easy to smudge. Once it dries down, it’s beautifully matte. I’m a fan.
Rating: 5/5 stars. Shade: Pillow Talk Intense. The originally Pillow Talk looked ashy and just not right on my skin tone, so I was really excited to see that CT recently created this slightly darker one. It’s beautiful! It’s the perfect mauve for brown-skinned women. It’s lightweight, but the color payoff is awesome. I’ve worn it to work several times now and have never felt too preoccupied with it, which I tend to feel whenever I commit to wearing lipstick to work. Up next: These Are the Only Products We’d Buy from 20 Top-Selling Skincare Brands. This article was originally published at an earlier date and has been updated.