I originally took this eye shadow palette with me to Palm Springs and got my hands dirty with it down there. What I liked about this palette right off the bat was that it’s much more appealing for people with light eye colors – there’s a nice combination of colors that are good for day wear, or easily built up or smoked out for night.
I know there have been mixed reviews about this palette, and some people commented on my Instagram about how they returned it because the color payout was no good. Yes, I think some of the shadows are slightly brittle to work with, but I also found it varied based on which brush I was using as well – don’t discount the quality of your brushes. What’s the point of buying nice eye shadow if you can’t take advantage of it? Just something to think about… For the most part, I found the pigmentation and color payout was solid for the majority of the shadows.
I think there’s a really nice range of options to create a friendly to moderate to intense smoky eye in here as well. I also swatched most of the palette out to Instagram and remarked at how nice this performs wet, which is an idea more people should try with all kinds of shadow – I think it looks much sharper, and it gives extra staying power.
Shadows, from L-R. Top Row: Eve I, Madrague II, Fez, Bali, Cocoa Grove. Middle Row: Madrague II, Nepal, Ashes to Ashes, Brousse II, Mekong. Bottom Row: Bellissima I, Lhasa, Bad Behavior, Dogon II, Pandora.
I think most if not all of these are available in singles or duos, so if you’re valuating this for its variety, then the palette is well worth it. Since I swatched the shadows wet, I decided to stray from my normal look and do a smoky eye for beginners using the colors in there, and I worked on perfecting my nude lip as it’s the one color (uncolor?) that still has me figuring out the best ways to wear.
how to: easy smoky eye
For this look, I tried to keep the colors neutral so any eye color could mimic the shades and application process. Before I break down the step by step, let me share a few pro tips… I watched a great tutorial by Lisa Eldridge about smoky eyes in preparation for this. She made a great point in it, about how those with deeper set eyes should focus on drawing their smoky eye lines out rather than up. I was definitely doing it wrong, and now I understand why all of my attempts ended up looking funny on my face and washing out one of my favorite features – my green eyes. Definitely check out her channel, I love watching any video of hers and seeing what I can learn. Another tip is to make sure that you’re dabbing/patting the shadow onto your lids and deposting it directly – not brushing and swirling it off and around the rest of your face.
What I started off with is using Madrague I as sort of a prep color all over my lids, then lightly highlighted my brow with Bellissima I so I had a “finished,” but bare lid. Here’s the detailed breakdown of how I built up to the rich yet wearable look above.
- After prepping my lids with Madrague I, I dabbed Nepal (soft, sheer rose) across most of my eyelid as a base color. I think this shade would look phenom on any skin tone, with any eye color – it’s beautiful. I drew a thin second line across right into my lash line to draw an extra bit of light there to balance the darker tones I would layer on and out.
- I applied a light dusting of Bali, a neutral brown, around my eye socket line to set the upper limits of where I would draw any color – this is where I used Lisa’s tip in application to ensure I wasn’t going to pull the smoky colors too high, but out instead.
- After lining, I filled in the outer edges of my eyes and drew the Bali shadow in to about the middle of my lid, blending with Nepal and deepening the tone toward my outer lids.
- Next, I dusted on a really light layer of Fez all over my lid, to blend everything back together – you don’t need this step – I was second guessing my skills and this was a safe way for me to foolproof the look not working out. If anything, I could have removed the excess shadow and done a heavily shadowed crease with a metallic shade – line, mascara and go. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve bagged a smoky eye attempt in favor of that look!
- Realizing that I neutralized an intentional smoky eye, I used a fat shadow brush to deepen it by blending a combo of Coconut Grove with Mekong – CG is a great rich color and Mekong has shimmer, so it built into what I had on quite nicely. I went in and carefully patted down each eye in REALLY light layers… I went back and did each three times. The reason for doing the last bit of “smoke” in cycles, for me, is because I wanted to ensure the appearance of the shadow would look smoky, not just how I felt it looked when I applied it with my eye shut. I reverse brushed the shadow in and down towards my lashes for extra precision and safety – definitely the way to go with the darker colors. That way, you’re leaving your brow line intact from any errant shadow, AND you can easily clean up excess from under your eye before finishing the rest of your face!
- I lined my inner lash lines with black liner, and put on two thick coats of mascara to finish the look. I dabbed on just a bit of Tom Ford’s Nude Vanille lipstick as a way to play down my lips but not wash them out entirely, and I really like the sheer nude look it gave me.
I feel like this is easily wearable for work/during the day or built up more for those with darker eyes or a night out. As far as the palette – I think it gives me more color options and variety than Naked 2 – specifically for me, but there is more variation in the quality as well, I will admit. Using a damp brush seems to mitigate those that gave me a little trouble dry, but all in all I think this is a great variety palette. I definitely want to play around with the shadows wet more, and see what kind of looks I can create and share with everyone.