Charmel Paris Haulage

I’ve only ever heard horrible things about Charmel in Kuwait; things like they are shady, sell expired products, sell knock-offs as the real thing to unsuspecting buyers, etc… Supposedly, this one girl got a nasty eye infection after purchasing DUO Lash Adhesive from Charmel and that’s only one of the many, many horror stories circulating about the Kuwaiti Branches of Charmel. Personally, I try to stay as far away as possible from any brand that seems remotely Arabic, just to avoid any funny business. I might’ve been coerced into getting my makeup “professionally” done at Charmel Salon (way back when I was a kid, it was a disaster, more on that below) but I can’t confirm if the two are affiliated with each other or not. I was at the Perfume & Makeup Exhibition (Mishref Fair Grounds, October-November) when I came across the Charmel booth. I’ve never ever purchased anything from the infamous Charmel before (neither the in-house brand products) or anything else they sold. As such, I decided to pick up a few things at their booth. I ended up getting a stunning pigment from the brand Make-Up Atelier International Maquillage Paris in the shade SL02 Blanc/Bleu, another adorable EOS Lipbalm in the flavor Pomegranate, the cult classic Ben Nye Banana Luxury Powder and lastly a gorgeous Anastasia Glow Kit called That Glow.

Once upon a time (when I was a teen), my mom took me to Charmel Salon to get my hair and makeup done for a wedding. The “Makeup Artist” was supposedly, quite well-known in Kuwait. I knew I was in trouble when someone applied a blatantly pink foundation to my face. Apparently, this “artist” was so in demand, that the salon had someone else other than the “artist” herself (basically, whomever was free at the time) apply a makeup base and foundation to customers (one size fits all; everyone got a horrid light pink foundation regardless of their undertone) while they would wait their turn for the “artist”. Once my turn came up, I was moved to another room where the “artist” applied no less than a hundred colors to my eyes making them look small, beady, and sunken. Even a pair of false lashes couldn’t help. Ashy, clashy foundation. Check. Cake face. Check. Overly filled in and ridiculously thick block brows. Check. Rainbow-vomit eyeshadow. Check. Stark white liner on the lower rim (to widen the eye). Check. Wonky false lashes. Check. Frosty highlight going down the bridge of my nose (“nose contour”). Check. Uneven lipliner. Check. Unflattering lipstick. Check. Sticky lipgloss. Check. Everything was over-drawn and over-exaggerated (not in a good way) that I felt extremely self-conscious. I straight up looked like a drag queen (no shade if that’s the look you go for but for someone who doesn’t even wear foundation, it was traumatic lawl) and even then, the application was quite sloppy! I washed my face immediately (which upset my mom because she’d already payed beforehand, cash upfront policy and all) and opted to do my own makeup, vowing to never again get my makeup done “professionally” in Kuwait! I believe that salon was called Charmel. Now I’m not quite sure if they are affiliated with the brand Charmel or if the salon (like most in Kuwait) just copied the name. In any case, I honored that vow, up until October ’16 (for yet another wedding) where another “makeup artist” made me look like a less sloppy drag queen… but a drag queen nonetheless. As I said earlier, I’m not sure if Charmel Salon is actually affiliated with Charmel but I purchased a few products at the Charmel booth, regardless.

They had a whole bunch of Anastasia products, including their Glow Kits, and even though Anastasia is one of the very few websites that I can still order from online, I just had to snap up a Glow Kit. I mean That Glow (warm highlighters) and Gleam (cool highlighters) were limited edition (Holiday 2016) and if I passed on getting either one, then and there, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever get another chance again. Plus, That Glow Glow Kit looked absolutely beautiful in person!

Sunburt: Pale Yellow Gold
Bubbly: Rose-Gold
Dripping in Gold: True Gold
Golden Bronze: Orange Gold

L-R Golden Bronze (Orange Gold), Bubbly (Rose-Gold), Dripping in Gold (True Gold), Sunburst (Pale Yellow Gold)

Golden Bronze is definitely too dark to be used as a highlight… on my face. However, I’m thinking I could take one of those huge fluffy powder brushes, swirl it around in there, and apply it to my shoulders ^_~ Bubbly could be used as a topper over some of my more blah blushes for that extra oomph or even as an eyeshadow for that glowy look! Dripping in Gold is everything!!!! It’s definitely a dupe for my beloved MAC Whisper of Guilt Extra Dimension Skinfinish! Stun-ning! Sunburst looks like a delightful little multi-tasker to me (brow-bone highlight, inner corner highlight, cupid’s bow highlight, cheek-bone highlight, basically, everywhere highlight lawl)! As glow-y as they are, these highlighters aren’t glittery, meaning they won’t emphasize pores, or anything like that. You can apply these finely milled powder highlights with a light hand for a gorgeous sheen to the skin, or you can build up the intensity until they practically look metallic!

Left-Right Sunburst (Pale Yellow Gold), Dripping in Gold (True Gold), Bubbly (Rose-Gold), Golden Bronze (Orange Gold)

Top-Bottom Golden Bronze (Orange Gold), Bubbly (Rose-Gold), Dripping in Gold (True Gold), Sunburst (Pale Yellow Gold)

Left-Right Sunburst (Pale Yellow Gold), Dripping in Gold (True Gold), Bubbly (Rose-Gold), Golden Bronze (Orange Gold)

As you can tell from the swatches (both in natural daylight and fluorescent lighting for comparison) the Anastasia Glow Kit in That Glow is absolutely beautiful and a definite must-have! If you ever get the chance to buy this, don’t even think about it, just do it!

I couldn’t pass up this Make-Up Atelier International Maquillage Paris in the shade SL02 Blanc/Bleu either. For starters, I know that the brand Make-Up Atelier is legit. Another reason why I got this was because it strongly resembled MAC Reflects Blue Pigment (which is basically magic!). Sure it might look blah in the jar (I tried my best to capture the “magic”) but once you apply it over any other eyeshadow, it transforms from an ugly duckling into a beautiful swan! I just have to show you guys (y’all need to see this!) in a future blog post (with swatches and everything). I mean, I don’t even like loose pigments (because they are so messy) but this just looked so, so, so cool!

Believe it or not, I’ve never actually owned the cult classic Ben Nye Banana Luxury Powder before now. I could never find it, locally or abroad (online). Finally in 2012, I found it and ordered it from a local online store (Miss Harrods) which turned out to be a total fiasco. I’ve experienced a lot (and I mean a lot!) of unprofessional behavior in my life-time but never to this extent! I’d placed an order for several items including the Banana Powder and after a long bout of radio silence, they randomly showed up on my doorstep one day… with most of the items missing (including the Banana Powder)… and a ludicrous amount tacked on as “delivery charge”. The Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circle Concealer arrived with no expiration date anywhere on the packaging while the Skindinavia Spray that arrived was not the one that I had actually ordered (and even looked like it had been tampered with). When I called up the store to ask about an exchange/refund/missing items, the owner “Miss Harrod” was the one who answered my call, yet refused to let me speak. Right off the bat, she interrupted me and kept listing other (more expensive) products that I should purchase from her store, which I thought was not only rude but also delusional on her part (they didn’t deliver the correct items the first time around so why should I order anything else from, like, ever?) but that wasn’t the worst part. The most obnoxious thing about the woman was how condescending she was to me, even though I was not only polite but pretty amicable… considering. We never came to a resolution and after 10 minutes of her yapping, I politely ended the conversation. That was my first and last experience ordering from a local online store. As such, when I came across the Ben Nye Banana Powder in different sizes, I went with the larger one (which was only a few Kuwaiti Dinars more than the smaller one anyways) just in case I never saw it again. Also, since this thing is huge, I’m thinkin’ I could fill up a few pigment jars and share this stuff with my sister, cousins, friends, and whomever else would be interested.

Lastly, I picked up an Evolution Of Smooth Pomegranate Lip Balm because I’m a sucker for these babies! So stinkin’ cute! When Drugstore.com closed down, I figured my EOS days were over but thankfully they’re just as crazy for them in this area of the world too!

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