YSL Beauté Mascara Vinyl Couture will soon return with an even better formula.
One of my very favourite beauty launches of 2016 was YSL’s Mascara Vinyl Couture, a highly-pigmented mascara with a vinyl-like effect on lashes. It offered the most vivid colours I’ve seen in mascara thanks to some very advanced technology. Two weeks after the launch, there were two reported reactions to the formula in Europe so YSL pulled the product from shelves instantly and set about reworking the formula to make it more gentle. The YSL chemists in Paris succeeded and the edgy mascara has just started to appear online and will arrive in complete on beauty counters in January. You’ll notice the packaging stays the same. The only difference is in the formula. Here’s the story behind the product.
YSL’s Caroline Negre
YSL’s International Communications Director Caroline Negre
YSL’s International Communications Director Caroline Negre is jetlagged this morning. She’s flown overnight from Paris to Toronto for the official unveiling of one of the most interesting beauty launches of the season: Mascara Vinyl Couture. Perched on a stage surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows in the Royal Conservatory of Music, she begins the tale of how a mascara is created.
“When we began more than four years ago to design a new mascara, we started with the idea of lashes that are as shiny and supple as vinyl. That really was the starting point,” she explains. The base formula is what beauty chemists begin with. They want to make sure they develop a stable, safe product first before they attempt to add any colour or effects.
Ysl vinyl couture mascaraIt is translucent liquid technology and pure pigments that makes this mascara formula different from competitors’. The liquid technology allows for the merging of a higher level of lacquer pigments than was previously possible using traditional methods of formulation. Add in four biomimetic oils (argan, carthame, sweet almond & castor oils) to condition and protect lashes and you have a truly unique mascara.
“The base formula took two years to complete but the colour pigments took another two years. That is because colour pigments in mascara become unstable when exposed to UV rays. They break down quickly. That is why you rarely find a coloured mascara with truly vibrant pigments that stay that way throughout the day,” says Negré. Of the nine colours in the collection it was blue, pink and green that posted the biggest challenge. “That is because they are so pigmented. They are really vibrant shades you wouldn’t expect in a mascara. And these colours react most with sunlight.” It took a full 24 months to stabilize these colour pigments in the formula. “We also discovered that the heat generated by the brush when applying mascara, makes the vinyl coating more supple.”
Surprisingly, it the confectionary industry that is fueling the most inspiration for beauty products these days. “We were eating a bag of M&M’s one day and noticed the shiny vibrant colour of the candy. The cellulose coating on M&M’s led to our Vernis A Levres launch a couple years ago,” she laughs. “And last year’s Pop Water lip colours and eyeshadows were inspired by gummy bears. The vibrancy of those candies is what we wanted for eyes and lips.” Studying the gellified, “rolled-in-sugar” texture of sour candies resulted in last year’s Belle de Nudes collection. “You can tell we like candy,” she laughs.
YSL’s former Creative Director of Makeup, Lloyd Simmonds was quick to explore the cutting-edge possibilities of these mascara shades. He quickly created a multitude of looks and designs. “Give a classic smoky eye shape and edge by matching the colour of your liner or shadow with that of your mascara. You can match the colour of your iris, or go with contrast, to make them really pop.” He says you can take the look one step further by reversing your liner top and bottom. For example, using blue mascara and green eyeliner on top and green mascara plus blue eyeliner on the bottom. “For a wearable, modern take on chic, shape and define the eye with black – then capture the light with gold mascara on the bottom.”
NEW: The first designer mascara fragrance
There is nothing new about scented beauty products. Guerlain, Chanel and Anna Sui all scent their powders and creams. But using classic fragrance construction from fine perfumery to scent a mascara is a first. For Mascara Vinyl Couture, YSL tapped the expertise from L’Oreal’s fragrance division to design a light, fresh scent that adds to the beauty experience. Notes of mandarin, blackcurrant, basil, jasmine, violet leaves, santal and vanilla gently scent lashes.
YSL Beauty is available in Canada at select Hudson’s Bay stores and thebay.com. YSL Couture Vinyl Mascara will arrive at select Hudson’s Bay stores and thebay.com in January. (This is a little sneak peek at what is coming)