Surratt Beauty in Singapore & Meeting Troy Surratt

Surratt Beauty in Singapore Beautique Takashimaya

A few months ago, Surratt Beauty quietly opened a counter—the first in Asia—on our little island.

Until its arrival here, the brand could only be found in the US and the UK, and was exclusive to Barneys New York and Liberty in London. Thus it was with great surprise and pleasure to come across the brand at Takashimaya here.

Created by Troy Surratt, a protégé of the legendary Kevyn Aucoin, this eponymous line has its origins in the Land of the Rising Sun. Whilst under Kevyn’s tutelage, he was exposed to a slew of Japanese makeup, including products from the now-discontinued Inoui ID range. This prompted him to raid the beauty counters in Japan, and draw inspiration from beauty formulations and methods there. No wonder then that the refined quality of Japanese cosmetics is reflected in his products.

I had the privilege of meeting Troy one weekend and spent an illuminating afternoon filled with makeup musings and beauty discourse with him, while product-gazing at the Surratt counter.

Surratt Beauty Eyes, Cheeks and Complexion

The first display to catch my eye was that of the Artistique Blush (S$42). Created using ‘slurry technology’ in which a colour mixture is poured into a pan like a batter and gently pressed in before being left to evaporate (versus the conventional method of pressing powder into a pan), the cheek colours have an ultra-silky texture that’s characteristic of Japanese powder makeup.

There’s also a touch of velvety density, thanks to the way they are formulated. Troy believes that “all mattes should have luminosity”, hence the matte colours aren’t flat and have a satin—if not, radiant—finish.

Surratt Beauty Artistique Blush Swatches

Here are swatches of the blushes.

First column from the left, top to bottom:

8 Ponceur

6 Canteloup

7 Parfait

5 Duchesse

10 Grisaille

Second column from the left, top to bottom:

4 Vreeland Rougeur

2 Se Pomponner

3 La Vie En Rose

1 Guimauve

9 Auréole

Soft, smooth and mostly subtle, they are superb selections for understated and refined looks.

Troy mentioned that Grisaille, a contour colour, took a long time to pin down during its development because he craved the perfect blend and tone. In the end, he created this lovely shade that acts like shadow on skin. What impresses me most is its ultra-soft yet not-powdery texture.

He also wanted Auréole to be a universal highlighter that enhances all cheek colours. Formulated with a careful balance of pigments, it works well with both warm and cool blush colours, setting them off with an illuminating kiss.

Surratt Beauty Eyes and Lips

Created the same way as the blushes, Artistique Eyeshadow (S$33) also has a similar refined feel and an almost-creamy texture that heightens blendability.

Despite the tactile treat, the eyeshadows range from sheer to medium in colour payoff as a whole. Don’t be misled by my somewhat strong swatches – I’d made them after cleaning off the blush swatches and I believe my skin was a touch moist when I swiped the colours on.

Troy emphasised that “eyes need reflection”, thus his eyeshadows have some light-reflecting effect, be it from the bed of ultra-fine pigment or the shimmer infused within. I think I saw complex multi-coloured shimmer in some of the shadows, with a few bearing finely-milled micro-glitter.

Surratt Beauty Artistique Eyshadow Swatches 2

Here are swatches of the eyeshadows.

First column from the left, top to bottom:

3 Chamois

7 Idéaliste

11 Grey Gardens

15 Envier

19 Haute Chocolate

23 Enchanteresse

Second column from the left, top to bottom:

4 Poudre

8 Ravissante

6 Doré Rose

16 Minuit

20 Truffe

24 Noir Le Plus Noir

Surratt Beauty Artistique Eyshadow Swatches 1

First column from the left, top to bottom:

2 Soie

12 Doré

10 Gréige

14 Marron

18 Tyrian

22 Brun Noir

Second column from the left, top to bottom:

1 Scintillante

5 Ingénue

9 Ombre

13 Cuivre

17 Fee Dragée

21 Patine

Sorry for the somewhat confusing swatch order. As you can tell, the swatch columns are reversed from the display order. Not sure why I’d swatched them this way; I might’ve been overwhelmed by the luxe lovelies! ;)

The pigmentation level falls below that of Urban Decay and even Addiction eye colours, and the sparkle factor is mild. They appear more intense over a good eyeshadow base and even the fine shimmer shows up, but don’t expect obvious peekaboo twinkles when you blink. ;)

On their own, they are perfect for conservative settings or when you want a polished, understated look.

A-England Tess DUrbervilles and Surratt Beauty Holo-Iridescent Compact

Both the blushes and eyeshadows are sold singly in snug cases but can be fitted into customisable palettes. They click and lock into place, with a delicate piece of adhesive to prevent the colours from shifting. A blush pan is equivalent to 2 eyeshadow pans.

These compacts come in 2 main sizes, a Small Compact/Petite Palette (S$33) and a Large Compact/Grande Palette (S$42), both of which can house varying combinations. The small one can store 4 eyeshadows/2 blushes/2 eyeshadows + 1 blush, whilst the big one can hold 6 eyeshadows/3 blushes/2 eyeshadows + 2 blushes/4 eyeshadows + 1 blush. Palette Tetris!

The cases are lighter than I’d expected. Troy mentioned it was for the sake of portability but I wish they were a touch heftier. I do like the holographic nature of the compacts – the green, black and purple iridescence is beautiful to behold! Above is A-England Tess D’Urbervilles nail lacquer which I happened to be wearing when I met Troy. He remarked that it was the colour of his compacts but the polish doesn’t have the pretty purple reflects of the palettes. :)

I was initially put off by the sticky tape that affixes the plastic pans to the compacts and wondered why Troy hadn’t thought to use magnetised cases. He later revealed to me that he preferred resin bases for his products to pans made of aluminium (the material of choice for magnetic palettes) as the latter has a cheap feel and look. In addition, he wanted the borders to have a seamless appearance: The resin pans fit flush and blend perfectly into the cases but the metal would create an unwanted space between the edges and show up starkly against the black base of the compacts.

Surratt Beauty Smokey Eye Baton Display

If you’re baulking at the softer finish of the shadows and have a penchant for more strongly pigmented eye colours, then you must try the Smokey Eye Baton (S$55). Troy developed this almost-foolproof smokey eye pencil/shadow duo as an answer to a request he often received: How do you do a smokey eye?

Surratt Beauty Smokey Eye Baton Swatches

With a retractable intense eyeliner on one end and a twist-off light-reflective shadow pencil on the other, each duo effortlessly creates sultry smokey eyes. I not only enjoy the molten texture of the creamy eyeliner, I also love how buttery its counterpart feels, the shadow-coated nib blending into/over/out the liner with ease.

Surratt Beauty Smokey Eye Baton Swatches Blended Out

 Here are swatches of the liners blended out; I didn’t manage to swatch the shadow ends separately.

Surratt Beauty Autographique Liner in Chat Noir Swatch

Inspired by Japanese calligraphy craftsmanship, Autographique Liner in Chat Noir (S$55; S$28 for the refill cartridge) is an inky black liquid eyeliner that promises indelible wear.

Made with minimal and recyclable materials, it epitomises Troy’s philosophy that “all good design eliminates excess waste”. Described as ‘rechargeable’, each pen can be fitted with a refill cartridge once the original is used up.

Troy demonstrated the versatility of the brush on the back of his hand, building up to a heavy movie-star flick from an ultra-thin winged line.

Surratt Beauty Lipslique Display

I don’t have swatch photos of the Lipslique range (S$50) but they have a melty texture similar to a few Japanese lipsticks I’ve tried before.

Surratt Beauty Lips Lustre Display

The Lip Lustre range (S$45, the same price as the Automatique Lip Crayon) has interesting transformer hues of grey (Lip Lustre in 14 Ton) and white (Lip Lustre in 2 Teinte) that work to smoke up and tone down other lip colours. There’s also Lip Lustre in Amethyste, a sparkly lavender infused with multi-coloured shimmer, one of the more popular colours from the range, thanks to its girly hue.

Surratt Relevée Lash Curler

Feted by many, including Allure and Refinery29, Surratt Relevée Lash Curler (S$33) is a mini engineering marvel. I asked Troy how it compares to the iconic Kevyn Aucoin and Shu Uemura versions and the first thing he said was that his curler has a flatter curvature which minimises pinching. I’d love to compare it to the free-edged Maquillage curler that’s no longer in production.

He also mentioned that the iron handles are double-looped for a better grip, requiring less pressure for bend-and-lift action. Hand-calibrated, every piece is also hand-tested to meet stringent requirements. Should one not make the cut, it is discarded and recycled – all imperfect pieces are melted down and recreated into new curlers. :)

The powder-coated matte black finish sets it apart from the typical shiny steel curlers out there, though I still have a special fondness for the red rounded rubber pad of the Kevyn Aucoin version.

Surratt Beauty Artistique Makeup Brushes

Arriving here this month are the Artistique Brushes, much-lauded by the online beauty community. A set of 12 plush and supple hand-crafted artisanal tools, the soft yet pliable bristles are made of blue/grey squirrel hair, Canadian/pine squirrel hair, as well as kolinsky hair. Their handles bear the same chic blackened green/purple holo-iridescence found on the compacts; the colour gradient a beauty to behold.

I don’t have the exact ETA or prices just yet but you can expect these Kumano-made brushes to be quite costly. As a gauge, they range from US$45 to US$230 (!) in the States.

Troy Surratt and Mag

Prior to beauty-gazing at the Surratt counter, I took Troy and his partner Nathaniel on a makeup reconnaissance of sorts – we visited a handful of beauty counters and stores with a focus on Taiwanese and Korean brands.

It was from this short beauty jaunt that I felt the force of his passion, underscored by his warm and humble nature: Despite having his own luxury line, he was curious about other East Asian beauty products, gladly playing with several testers. As he explored, he revealed that if Kevyn Aucoin were still alive today, he would happily continue to assist him. As for me, it was a pleasure and privilege to meet Troy, who is clearly continuing the legacy of that revered beauty doyen.

In Singapore, Surratt Beauty can be found at Takashimaya Level 3, within the enclave of niche brands that local company Beautique brings in. Surratt is right next to the Kohgendo counter. There are plans for expansion in other parts of the world – I can’t reveal much but those of you Down Under might rejoice sometime next year! ;)

My pals Iris and Sara both have excellent write-ups on the brand and beautiful product photos/swatches, so be sure to check out their blogs. :)

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