Sharp-eyed beauty geeks remember a brief time when Bourjois Paris was in Canada, a few years back when Sephora opened its first Great White North doors. It disappeared quietly soon afterward, but now the colourful line of cosmetics is back with a new shining presence at select Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix locations (as well as Murale by year’s end).
France’s oldest and largest cosmetic brand, Bourjois revolutionized makeup in Paris with the first powder blush. Invented by Alexander NapolÃ©an Bourjois in 1863 as an alternative to the fat-based greasepaint of the day, the little baked coloured-powder dome took makeup from the theatre (and, er, ladies of the evening) to mainstream.
Still the finish of choice for Bourjois shadows and blush, baked powder (standard is pressed) allows for a high-pigment intensity, plus easy workability when shadows are applied wet. (Attention beauty junkies: baked powders are also part of Italian makeup line Pupa, The Body Shop’s Fall collection, and makeup artist Laura Geller’s eponymous line.)
Bourjois Paris is known for its cute blush and eye shadow containers coloured to match the shade inside, a why-don’t-more-companies-do-this concept the company implemented in 1914. Textures include matte, shimmery and girlish glitter for both, complete with wee applicators curved to fit the pots.
The large, definitely contemporary collection also includes mascaras such as Volume Clubbing Mascara with rub-resistant vinyl, and Liner Effect, which gives an eyeliner look as it lengthens lashes. A Mineral Matte mousse foundation delivers a velvety finish when applied with a kabuki brush, and the shimmery DÃ©lice de Poudre Bronzing Powder tempts with a chocolatey scent.
As well, bourjois.com features an excellent variety of “makeup class” videos, about which I’ve already geeked out, for easy-follow learning.