I have a soft spot for Armani makeup but when I really challenge my emotional inclination, I discover that I’ve only been blow away by their basics – foundations, mascara, pencil eyeliner and such. Armani colour products don’t often get me hot and bothered; the Eyes to Kill Eyeshadows are nice and all but get thrown to the back of the drawer, the lipsticks are a little slippy for my liking and my eyes tend to glaze over the cheek colours.
Recently I popped by the counter to snoop the new Eye & Brow Maestros, I followed my heart and not my mind and decided upon three shades: Wenge Wood, Ambre and Gold.
These cream pots are designed to be long wearing and multipurpose: brow shaper, eye liner, eye shadow, hair root touch up and contour. I think Armani might be grasping at straws to beef up that list because personally, I look for entirely different textures for said purposes.
02 Wenge Wood – A deep taupe/grey with a reddened micro shimmer that lends a slight purple lean. Low level shimmer.
04 Ambre – Medium warm brown base with green iridescence, together the shade leans khaki. Medium level shimmer.
09 Gold – Yellow gold shimmer suspended in a clear base, this shade is sheer and tends to apply patchy (visible in swatches above). High level shimmer.
Right off the bat, I had no intention of using these on my brows. Under harsh store lighting, it became evident that all shades are infused with a micro shimmer and some exhibit downright reflect. WHY. So unnecessary and limits versatility. If you’re puzzled by my strong aversion to shimmer in brow products, let me explain:
- It’s distracting, natural brows are not shimmery. If that isn’t adequate justification alone then…
- Shimmer in the brows can pose a risk for photography, especially when flash enters the equation. When certain portions of the brow reflect more light, it can result in the illusion of a patchy brow.
Can we omit shimmer in brow products now, pretty please?
Take a finger to the pot and you’ll immediately recognise the silicone slip – dense but velvety. It’s not a million miles away from the Shiseido Cream Eyeshadow formula, although the Shiseido is a wet silicone whereas the Armani is a distinctly dry silicone, reminiscent of Hourglass Veil Primer and the like.
The Maestros swatch well, one swipe is opaque and true to pan but finger swatches are not always indicative of how the product will perform on the eye/brow. Before we go any further, here is the product on ma face…
Despite the shimmer situation, I’ve applied Wenge Wood to the brows (with sighs and scoffs). On the eyes I applied Wenge Wood at the lash line, Ambre all over the lid + lower lash line and Gold as a central lid highlight.
My first application experience was sucky to say the least, I skipped eye primer because long wearing creams shouldn’t require one, right? I found that even when I packed the product on the eye, much of the intensity was buffed away as I attempted to diffuse the edges. I layered and layered with the same results. After a few hours, all shades had faded significantly – this is very unusual for me, my face is a magnet for makeup.
It would appear that the Eye & Brow Maestros alone don’t exhibit a strong setting power, pair that trait with a heavy silicone formula and the product tends to slip around.
Take two – I applied the shadows over one of my strongest eye primers (NARS Pro Prime) and thank goodness, a much better result; I was able to build to a stronger smokey eye whereas sans primer, all attempts stop short at ‘soft and hazy’. I had a quick dip in the pool (Australian summer is torture) and my eyeshadow remained mostly intact. Perhaps the only issue I encountered was blending – it’s a bit trickier to diffuse edges over a primer.
I had the same experience with Maestros on the brows – when used alone, I couldn’t build the desired opacity on very sparse areas and if I were to comb the brows with a spoolie, much of the intensity was brushed away. If I applied a bit of NARS Pro Prime to the brows prior to application, the product set to a bulletproof waterproof finish. Additionally, I couldn’t detect any shimmer in my brows, even when I inspected the brows in sunlight – though I still wouldn’t recommend them for flash photography.
Like most cream brow products in a similar vein (Make Up Forever Aqua Brow & Anastasia Dip Brow), the Maestros are a bit fiddly and require more time and precision than your regular brow powders/pencils. If you’re looking for a 2 minute brow solution, you can safely skip these.
When applied over bare skin the Armani Eye & Brow Maestros kinda sucked, too much silicone slip to adhere and set on the skin. It was only with the addition of an eye primer that the waterproof claims held true – knowing this, I would absolutely purchase more shades.
Ultimately I prefer Maestros as a cream eyeshadow but brow wise: if you can get over the shimmer (note that shimmer level varies per shade), find a decent shade match and don’t mind priming the brows, it’s worth a shot.
Have you tried these? I’d be very curious to hear your thoughts!
EDITED TO ADD: Wowwww, my lip colour in the picture above is causing quite the commotion in the comments lol. It is the It Cosmetics Your Lips But Better Lipliner in the shade Romantic Rose. It’s awesome, go buy it.