When it comes to makeup, you could call me a junkie, an addict, a sucker even. But you could never call me a snob. I am an equal opportunity makeup user and wearer. WITH THAT BEING SAID, credit where credit is due. Some things are done better when done bougie-ly.
The phrase “you get what you pay for” never really struck me as true, especially when it comes to makeup, since I entered the game when the industry had grown big enough that the ‘little league’ was putting out not only items comparable to the bigger players, but better even. The little gems at the drugstore, if you will.
Dior, for a significant amount of time, had not been one of the high-end brands I would gravitate towards. And with good reason. Up until 2018, when Dior Backstage launched, the brand registered as mind-numbingly boring. Passing by a Dior counter at the mall, their entire line read old lady makeup to me. Most department stores have Dior neighbouring Lancôme, so I would change route completely. While on the topic of boring old lady makeup, Lancôme has yet to convince me to buy anything else than Monsieur Big Mascara. As long as they keep scenting every single product they carry with rose, they will not see any of my hard earned moolah.
I digress. Back to Dior Backstage.
The ‘younger, cooler, trendier extension of the classic Dior makeup line, as Harper’s Bazaar introduced it, caught my attention immediately. It was like a breath of fresh air to the locked, mildew filled attic that was the Dior original line. I have to mention that I didn’t dive head first into the waters of Dior Backstage, because I am at a point in my life where makeup takes up more space in my home than any other category of items and that, as I am typing it, feels significantly overwhelming. So, as a reasonable adult, I held back until I could read a fair amount of unbiased reviews before I took the leap.
First came the Dior Backstage Foundation. The hook that reeled me in. If you wanna talk unique, let’s talk about the texture and feel of this masterpiece. If silk and velvet had unprotected sex and produced a strikingly beautiful offspring, this would be it. How can I even start to describe the feel of this foundation? It’s lightweight, smooth, silky with an uncanny natural finish on the skin and an almost unbelievable balance between subtle glow and velvety matte effect. I sound like a lunatic, I know, because all those terms seem completely opposing and contradictory to each other, yet they are, in fact, all true.
The coverage it provides is actually buildable, ranging from light to a good medium plus, depending on your tool of choice. Brushes and conventional beauty sponges (which I do not recommend, as it is a watery foundation) will only get you so far. But opting for a microfiber sponge such as the Juno & Co. will truly astonish you. To quote a legend, John Maclean, ‘seamlessness’.
Adding insult to injury to every other makeup brand (apart from a select few that paved the way) the shade range is IMPECCABLE. With a whopping 40 shades and 6 (!) undertone subcategories, honestly I can’t imagine a person not being able to get a colour match. Remember the bad old days when sales assistants would blatantly tell you “yeah, you are in-between shade 3 and 4, you need to get both”? Well, good riddance, Brenda! I don’t. Especially since the Dior Backstage packs 50 ml of gorgeousness in that perfectly minimal rubberised bottle. So, bye!
Now, let’s talk highlighter. Frankly, I don’t have any beef with the original Nude Air Highlighter formula from Dior, it’s fine. But the Backstage Glow Face Palette is something else. It never leaves my kit and I keep reaching for it again and again, since it doubles as eyeshadow beautifully. The size of the palette is perfect as well, slim and compact, great for travel and storage. The aesthetic of the clear packaging is very practical, especially for people like me, i.e. hoarders, that cannot keep track of their collection so they need to be able to see everything.
Our last stop at this lollapalooza is the newly launched Dior Backstage Face & Body Powder-No-Powder. And this is where the waters turn a tiny bit murky. I don’t know If I had really high expectations from it because of the rest of the line. All I know is that there’s something missing. Let’s dissect the matter.
It’s a…hybrid powder, I guess? It’s definitely not a classic pressed powder, I can tell you that much. It resembles a baked powder, but then again it’s not quite the same. It’s almost translucent, with just a hint of colour. It’s available in 9 shades, all Neutral for reasons that still remain a mystery. (maybe next season of Buzzfeed Unsolved will look into it, who knows at this point).
The critique of this powder will stand on two legs, not unlike the homo s. sapiens that is writing it.
Leg 1 : What is actually up with the shades?
I mean, honestly, what is happening Dior? I was rooting for you, we were all rooting for you, how dare you? LEARN SOMETHING FROM THIS! Ok, I’m done channeling Tyra.
I bought 3 shades in total, since I bought them at a time where stores were closed due to the pandemic. The darkest shade, 4N, I got for natural contouring purposes and it has served those purposes like a soldier. The other 2 shades, 1N and 2N, I got because I wasn’t sure which one would suit my pale ass after months of not seeing the sun because of lockdown. And, frankly, I still cannot tell you which one matches me because they are pretty much identical.
No idea what on earth is going on, I’m either going blind or someone made a horrible mistake. It still remains
Leg 2 : The texture.
Not of the powder itself, but the face upon application of said powder. I am not an overly-textured individual, let’s start with that. My skin, when not aggravated, is a mix of normal and dry with sensitive tendencies. Which, on paper, would make the ultimate breeding ground for this powder, since it is not meant for oily skin, that’s for sure. If Oil Absorption 101 was a class in middle school, it would most definitely get an F. But, for an almost invisible veil of hybrid formula powder with an ever so slight sheen, this little number emphasized every single pore and bump on my face. Fix + didn’t make any difference whatsoever, either. I wasn’t ready for this…
A few micro-criticisms as a side to the main dish, the compacts are the same as the Glow Palettes, which now instead of practical are nothing but. When it comes to powder, you need to be able to toss it in your purse and have it readily available for touch-ups throughout the day, none of which you can do with this packaging. Yeah, it’s a great design for a palette but not a powder compact. No mirror, no room for a puff. What am I supposed to do? Not me, specifically, I hardly ever touch-up, but the rest of the world does.
Not that you could easily touch up with this powder. It’s a tad hard to the touch, meaning you have to dig in a little to pick up product. Not ideal for quick blotting. To be fair, the texture of this powder is nothing but ideal for blotting, so if you were going to buy it having that in mind, don’t.
The Powder-No-Powder came with an assigned kabuki brush that is absolutely stunning. I had to hunt for it, make a few calls, beg a little, but I got it. Aaaand, it came broken. So I had to order it again and go to the store to pick it up myself in order to make sure that the replacement wouldn’t be broken too. Talk about a let down.
It’s a wooden handle kabuki brush, with a stunning set of cloud-soft bristles and a far from ergonomic wooden handle. The awkward shaped handle is covered with a matte black paint which is so delicate that it chips just because you looked at it the wrong way. Stunning as it may be, it will remain a collectible piece, in box, or on display in the beauty room. Sad…
There are quite a few things I have my eye on from the Dior Backstage line. Rest assured that the powder and the brush did not make a dent to the appreciation I have for the line. So…
*Arnold voice* “I’ll be back!”