January 16, 2012

Avon Smoke and Mirrors is a Real Winner!

Seasonal cosmetic collections are ten-a-penny these days. Sure, there are always one or two nice pieces from each ensemble, products that you ooh and ahh over but, it is really, really rare that a collection as a whole makes you sit up and think, "Wow!".

Surprisingly, Avon's Spring 2012 edit, Smoke and Mirrors, has done just that for me. Everything about the collection is perfect; from the shades chosen, to the way in which all of the products can work together in perfect harmony but, are equally impressive as stand alone pieces.

Looking through the collection piece-by-piece, the same thought kept repeating in my mind; "Ooh this is just like [insert other similar product here]". I soon realised that, with Smoke and Mirrors, Avon have managed to capture the best bits of some of the world's biggest beauty brands and condense them into one cleverly thought out, easily accessibly and highly affordable collection that is totally on trend for spring 2012.

Instead of giving you the usual run-down of what the collection has to offer, I decided to do something a little bit different and illustrate how amazing Smoke and Mirrors is at providing dupes for some of the best make-up products in the world and, amazingly, making them better for the most part. I've trawled through my own stash to find the products that each Avon piece instantly reminded me of so, read on to find out how you can build yourself a high-end-worthy collection for a snip of the price!

The stars of this collection, for me, are the two True Colour Eyeshadow Quads. Available in two colour-ways; Smoke and Mirrors and Mystery, the quads are a great mix of smokey greys, peaches and purples, all of which are on-trend for the spring season.

Combing through my collection, I realised that I had high-end equivalents of all but one of the Avon shadows. Granted, the Avon shades are not all perfect matches but, they are close enough that no one would notice and that it would make little difference to your finished look while saving you a fortune in the long run!

Above is the Quad in Mystery. Opening it I thought the combination of colours was odd, especially the inclusion of the pale pinky lavender but, upon closer inspection I realised how well the palette works as a whole. The two peach shades are distinctly pink in undertone while the pale purple that initially looks so out of place has the same purple undertone as the warm bronze-brown. 

Avon, MAC Taupeless; Avon, Urban Decay Sin; Avon, MAC Samoa Silk; Avon, MAC Romp.

I had dupes for all four of these shades. Each is swatched beside its more high-end, pricier equivalent and, in all cases, I preferred the quality and pigmentation of the Avon shadows over those that are over twice the price! The lavender is spot on for MAC's limited edition shade Taupeless which was released as part of 2011's Holiday collection. The pale peach with gold glitter is not unlike Sin from the Urban Decay Naked palette though Sin is more shimmery (MAC All That Glitters is also similar). The bright apricot is a dead ringer for MAC Samoa Silk while the warm brown shade is identical to MAC Romp.

The quad in Smoke and Mirrors is really very beautiful. While I would tentatively suggest that it is a little more autumnal in tone than Mystery is, these are the type of colours; rich, warm and smokey, that work beautifully on pale Irish colourings. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a shade in my collection that the icy seafoam green in the top left of the palette was a good dupe for but, I do have great comparisons for the other three shades!

Avon, No Dupe; MAC Electra, Avon, MAC Knight Divine; MAC Jest, Avon; MAC Trax, Avon

Initially I though the grey-green shadow in the top right of the quad was a distant cousin of MAC Club eyeshadow but, it actually turns out to fall somewhere between MAC Electra and MAC Knight Divine. It is definitely more grey than green and, when swatched, mirrors the blue undertones of the MAC shadows. What looks like a grey-lilac in the bottom left of the pan, actually turns out to be a dirty gold when swatched. It is more matte than MAC Jest but, is definitely from the same family. Finally, the warm burgundy purple in the bottom right of the quad is a spot on dupe for MAC Trax. 

Each of these quads cost €11. That's €11 for four highly pigmented, good quality shadows. The MAC shadows I've compared them to cost €11 each when bought in the pan and the Urban Decay shade is from a palette that costs €40. I'm genuinely amazed that I could buy both of these Avon palettes and get eight high-end-esque dupes for the price of two MAC shadows!

Both myself and Dee are huge fans of Avon's cult-favourite SuperSHOCK Gel Eyeliner (€8.00) so, I was thrilled to see two new and limited edition shades in this collection. While it annoyed me that I could neither find nor think of a suitable dupe for one of the liners, I'm also impressed as it is quite a unique shade.

The liner that I did have similar, more expensive, versions of was Blackberry; a blackened plum brown that is entirely matte. On the left of the Blackberry swatch is MAC Technakohl liner (€18.00) in Purple Dash while on the right is Urban Decay 24/7 Liner (€15.50) in Corrupt. It's not a perfect dupe for either of the high-end pencils, I accept but, it incorporates the mainly purple hues of MAC and the mainly brown tones of Urban Decay to create the most gorgeous deep plum shade that is a nice and softer alternative to black.

The liner which wasn't a dupe for anything (To the best of my knowledge!) is Golden Fawn; a pewter base with gold undertones. There has been nothing like it from either high-end or similarly priced brands in recent years and it's one well worth snapping up while it's out!

Avon do lipstick really, really well and the three Ultra Colour Rich Lipsticks (€9.00) included in this collection are no exception. Now, I will say that, formula-wise, it is hard to find a higher end lipstick that they imitate as the Ultra Colour Rich line are extremely light and with a balm/gloss finish that is not prominent in the cosmetics industry today. Instead, I found more pricey lipsticks that were from the same colour families as the Avon offerings.

Apricot Mystery looks like an intense coral orange in the bullet but, when swatched is no more than a sheer nude. It is the most pigmented out of the three lipsticks in this collection and has no shimmer. It's not at all unlike Dior Addict (€28.00) in Beige Casual or MAC Ravishing (€17.50) though for less than half the price!

Dior Addict Beige Casual, Avon Apricot Mystery, MAC Ravishing

I only had one shade similar to Avon's Purple Hazed which is amazing since I am a purple lipstick junkie! Dior Addict in Millie bares the same glossy texture and micro-shimmer as Purple Hazed though is just a touch more pink. Purple Hazed is a very sheer, true purple.

Avon Purple Hazed and Dior Addict Millie

This last lipstick was a toughie to find expensive equivalents for. Nude and Infused is a warm bronzed nude that is not something I would usually gravitate towards. I had nothing in a similar sheer, glossy, shimmery formula but, MAC Shy Girl is a slightly more pigmented version of the same shade while YSL Rouge Pur Couture Golden Lustre in Rose Boréale (€31.00) is closest in formula but, with a slightly redder undertone. Close enough if it can save you €22, right?!

MAC Shy Girl, Avon Nude and Infused, YSL Rose Boréale

The final part of this collection are the Nailwear Pro (€8.00) nail polishes in Star and Apricot Mystery. I love, love, love the quality of these nail polishes. This is the nail polish in Apricot Mystery, a warm creamy peach that will suit all skintones. 

Apricot Mystery is uncannily similar to two hugely high-end nail polishes that I already have in my collection; Lancome's Rose Tangerine (€20.50) from the current Roseraie des Delices collection and Chanel Orange Fizz (€21.00). As you can see from the swatches below, each polish is the same peachy orange shade with the same opaque and glossy finish. Divine!

Lancome Rose Tangerine, Avon Apricot Mystery, Chanel Orange Fizz

In creating Smoke and Mirrors, the people at Avon have really struck gold as far as I am concerned. The entire collection is absolutely gorgeous with top quality products for exceedingly good prices, I really cannot fault it. I hope that this post has shown you how it's not always necessary to pay huge bucks for make-up and, if you've been lusting after some products to embrace spring 2012's pastel colour palette, Avon have got you covered for a fraction of the price of some of the higher end brands! It's a win all round in my book!

Avon Smoke and Mirrors collection is available from February 2012. Find your nearest Avon representative at


  1. Fantastic Sinéad, love that you've such top notch comparisons already when this collection is not even available yet. I'll definitely be picking up one or two pieces x

  2. Really nice collection, nice fresh colour's. Great comparisons with the eyeshadows really gets you thinking about the price of high end cosmetics when you can get a good quality palette with versatile colour's for €11!! Will definitely be picking some of these up.

  3. Have my order in for one of each quad 6.60 euro and one each of the gel eyeliners at 4.00 euro what a steal thanks for the fab review as always

  4. So totally grabbing a palette and a liner! :)

  5. I have the current catalogue on my knees now (no 05) and was after some reviews and swatches, as I was tempted but am unfamiliar with the quality and pay off of Avon shadows. The quads are currently £5, so after your endorsement I'll be purchasing these pronto :) thank you.


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