The Sample: Hourglass Visionaire Eye Shadow Duo in Suede (Review, Swatches & Photos)

2 May

I know that Hourglass’s Visionaire Eye Shadow Duos have been around for a while…and while I have always found them to be quite intriguing and put both Suede and Dune on my wish-list (aka: “lemming list”), I never really felt an urgency to get them…until now. With so many beauty bloggers posting about their newfound obsessions with these duos, I knew I had to make one mine asap. I ended up with Suede–but definitely plan on purchasing Exhibition and Dune (and possibly Gypsy…) as well. Have you seen how gorgeous Dune looks on Karen from Makeup and Beauty Blog?!? ’nuff said.

Suede is described as an “ivory shimmer” and “light beige shimmer”. Out of the 6 other duos offered by Hourglass, Suede is the most understated and neutral of the bunch. That’s not to say these are in any way boring, though. On the contrary, I think that if ever you could call ivory or beige exciting, now would be the time. These are so gorgeous! The beige shade has a gray undertone and can look almost grayish-purple in certain lighting (see swatch photos). Actually the lighting in the Sephora that I purchased this at was so dim, I thought I had bought a purple shade at first (think Laura Mercier’s Sable eyeshadow). Still, I wasn’t disappointed because the colors are beautiful nonetheless. The lighter shade is a creamy ivory with a very slight hint of pink-champagne. It has a lovely, pearly finish that makes it absolutely gorgeous as a highlight.

Click image to enlarge


I wouldn’t really call these two shades an “ivory shimmer” and “beige shimmer” though. If you look at the photos taken in the sun (below), you’ll see that the beige color is the only shimmery shade. While it is shimmery, I wouldn’t call it a “shimmer”–if that makes sense. The color is much more prominent than the fine, gold shimmer. When applied, the shimmer is very subtle unless you apply it over a primer so that it really sticks. The ivory, in my opinion, is more satin-finish than shimmery. Both colors blend flawlessly together when applied on the eyes. They’re so smooth, they practically apply themselves!

They come housed in Hourglass’s snazzy “mini 360° swivel compact”. I was a bit concerned when reading reviews on this duo that the swiveling mirror might be kind of poorly made and not swivel smoothly. Wrong! This thing swivels like it’s nobodies business!! It’s smooth and very well-made. You can just flip it up (like you would any other compact) to reveal the mirror, or you can swivel it to the left or right and twist it around in a full circle. The compact itself is a metallic bronzey-gunmetal color. It’s made of plastic but looks a little more “chi chi” due to the color and the reflectiveness. The small dual-ended brush that comes with the shadows is surprisingly good. The bristles are actually very soft and not at all scratchy. It’s the first brush applicator that’s come with an eyeshadow that I actually don’t mind using. One side is a bit firmer than the other–so you can use it to pat on the color while the softer side can be used for blending the color out a bit.

Taken in shade

Taken in direct sunlight. See how it almost pulls a little purple? Especially in comparison to the photo above


The Visionaire duos come with 0.2 oz. of product, which is a buttload considering that Chanel’s Ombres Contraste Duo contains a measly 0.09 oz. and Nars’ duos comes with 0.14 oz. So you’re really getting your money’s worth with the Visionaire duo–both in quality and quantity.

By now, most of you know that I have a problem with oily lids. So, in the interest of testing only (because Hourglass does not make long-wearing claims for these shadows, I didn’t critique these on their longevity without a primer), I applied these on my bare lids. Surprisingly, they lasted almost an hour and a half without creasing–which is really good, for a powder shadow on my eyes. Over a primer (I used my trusty Nars Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base), they lasted 12 hours easily. They showed no signs of fading and/or creasing. The Visionaire duos can be applied wet or dry–but as I never apply any of my shadows wet, I didn’t feel a need to test it that way (if any of you are just dying to know how they wear wet, however, let me know and I’d be glad to do so for you).

L to R: Ivory shade over bare skin, beige shade over bare skin, ivory shade over primer, beige shade over primer

*side note: once again, it has been cloudy every single day this week–looks like june-gloom has decided to come early this year. This weather forecast is predicting a partly cloudy day tomorrow–so hopefully I will be able to take some better swatch photos. Until then, sorry for the photos taken in super-cloudy lighting. Do note, though, how gray the beige shade really appears. Almost purplish, right?

*update: YAY! the sun decided to come out for about 15 minutes, so I very quickly threw some more swatches on my arm and was able to take the photos shown below

These shadows are a bit on the pricey side, but they are SO worth it in my opinion. They’re buttery, smooth, silky, pigmented, have no fallout issues, and come in such beautifully paired shades that they flatter virtually all skin tones. To say I freaking love these would be a serious understatement! Suede has quickly earned a top spot as one of my all-time favorite eyeshadows. Hourglass did a phenomenal job with their eyeshadow formula. I’d say it’s even better than any Dior, YSL, MAC, and Nars shadow I own! I am so bummed that I didn’t discover these sooner–but now that I have, I can’t wait to expand my collection! If you haven’t checked these out yet, I would do so immediately. But beware: once you try these, you will want to buy them–so have your cash/credit card/first born child handy. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Pros: has a formula that is literally soft as silk, smooth as butter, and blends like a dream; no issues with fallout; though pricey, these come with quite a bit of product; super pigmented; come in flattering and perfectly coordinating shades; long-wearing; accompanying brush is actually soft and usable; swivel packaging is well-made

Cons: my only “con” is that I wish there were more shades available–kinda like Nars does with their duos. That would be so amazing! Who’s with me?!?

»»Pricing: $38/0.2 oz. (6 g.)

»»Availability: Sephora, Barneys, and

»»Recommended for: EVERYONE. That means you! Go out and purchase one immediately!!!

»»Overall Rating: A+

The sun was only out long enough for me to get a few shots in. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. I’ll post a few comparison swatches of Hourglass’s Suede and Laura Mercier’s Sable. Sable is very similar to the “beige” Hourglass shade, minus the gold shimmer.

12 Responses to “The Sample: Hourglass Visionaire Eye Shadow Duo in Suede (Review, Swatches & Photos)”

  1. Tracy@Beauty Reflections May 3, 2012 at 6:14 am #

    I’ve never tried these but always want to. It’s the price that keeps killing me and I shy away. Here in Canada I think they are around $45. OUCH. But that’s it-you’ve convinced me. Next time I cross the border-mine!

    • becca May 3, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

      Sorry for the late reply, Tracy!! For some reason, your comment was in the spam box :/ But YES! I’m glad you’re going to finally take the plunge. I honestly have never been so pleased with spending that much on an eyeshadow before!! You won’t regret it!! (and if you do, you can blame me fully)

      Let me know if you do end up purchasing one, I’d love to know which color you get and how you like it! Thanks for reading!

  2. dani@callitbeauty May 3, 2012 at 6:39 am #

    Ooh, the beige shade is PERFECT for crease work! But I really love how the beige looks over primer. What a transformation! <3

    • becca May 3, 2012 at 6:42 am #

      I totally agree! I really love the beige shade by itself, but over primer the gold in it really stands out and makes it fun! LOVE this duo!

      Thanks for reading, Dani!

  3. svetlana May 4, 2012 at 3:02 am #

    i like all the taupe colors you have going on. will they take blood sample for payment? as i have traded in my first and second borns already… ;P

    • becca May 4, 2012 at 7:35 am #

      Did you already hit your spending limit for the month? lol well whatever you have to do to get your hands on one of these, I suggest you do. I love this eyeshadow and have been wearing it every single day since I bought it. They’re truly amazing!

      Thanks for stopping by, Svetlana!

  4. Michaela May 4, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    Oh man, I’m really lemming these right now. Maybe it’s a good thing they’re not available in Australia, especially as they’ll be 3x the US price!

    • becca May 4, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

      Oh no, I’m sorry Michaela!! But maybe you’re right…if you tried Suede, you’d obviously HAVE to try Dune…then Gypsy and Exhibition and Lagoon…then pretty soon it’s been a month and you’re out on the streets. At least you would look fabulous–right? :D

      All kidding aside, I’m not sure I would even pay 3x the amount for these–but if you ever get a chance to get one as a gift or something, DEF keep these in mind. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Shivani May 5, 2012 at 12:35 am #

    Ooh, want! This is too lovely to pass – too bad about the price.

    • becca May 5, 2012 at 4:12 am #

      Hm…that definitely seems to be the general consensus about this duo–”lovely but too expensive”. I guess I probably should feel that way too, but I love it so much that the price just isn’t a factor for me :P Bad, I know…

  6. Rads June 3, 2012 at 8:02 am #

    Was just catching up on all your posts…love your photos!

    • becca June 3, 2012 at 8:22 am #

      Thanks Rads!! :D

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