Let’s Get Naked Honey

If there is one eyeshadow that I can’t resist it is a good bronze. And I’ll admit golden tones are right there with the bronze. Slightly below it, but still in the mix of shadows I love. Don’t get me wrong, I love other shades, but the bronze tones really draw me in.

When This Naked Honey palette from Urban Decay came out I had immediate cravings. They might as well have just sent me a note saying ‘we made this just for you’ because that is what it felt like. I did put off buying it immediately though. basically I talked myself out of it because I had an overflowing eyeshadow drawer at the time. Also Urban Decay has a habit of rotating their Naked palettes through sales so I thought I’d wait until I had decluttered some of my palettes and the palette went on sale. Also I didn’t know if I wanted the full palette or if the mini version would suit me.

I know that sounds a little strange, but sometimes I find the Naked Mini palettes suit me better than the full sized. I actually really like the Naked Heat Mini palette, but somehow the full sized one did not appeal to me. Incidentally Urban Decay just released four new mini-palettes if you are interested. In general I tend to gravitate towards smaller palettes. with larger palettes I almost have too many options and can occasionally be overwhelmed by it.

While I like the brushes with these palettes I tend to only use them when traveling

The full sized Naked Palettes are my ideal size for a palette though. (I also like the size of the older ABH Palettes like Modern Renaissance). I generally find there is enough variation with this number of shadows without being overwhelming. And when I did look at the mini version I still found myself drawn to the full one. For me the mini version seemed to have something missing, unlike some of the other mini palettes. So I planned to pick this up and told myself I had to clear out some space as well as wait for a sale. I figured both conditions would help me out. It has been on sale many times but i always somehow missed the sale. This time i caught it and ordered the palette.

Swatches go letf to right starting with Flyby (white) and ending with Sting (dark brown)

If you like brows, golds and bronzes, this is an amazing palette. If you don’t then this palette is not for you. It really is that simple. while I would happily use the dark brown of Stung, topped with the bronze of Queen with a little Flyby in the inner corners, There is a lot of variation in the palette. It still had the bronze/gold/brown theme but there are enough shades that i found this palette interesting to play with and am actually kind of sad to shift to other palettes. For me this is an everyday palette that can be glammed up for going out or toned down for office work. Sadly these days it is more office work than going out, but i like the flexibility.

I love that the shimmers are smooth and don’t have any glitter bits in them. while I do occasionally like glitter, I want that to be my option. Plus I apply glitters differently than other shadows.

In the past there have been some Urban Decay shadows that turned muddy when blended. I did not have this problem with this palette. Each color was distinguishable. I found that I only needed one dip in the pan to get the shadow on the brush. with tapping the brush off I had no fall out as I applied it. The shadows are highly pigmented. I found that I needed to apply the shadow (especially the dark brown of Sting) with one brush and then use a clean shadow brush to blend it out. while it required having more brushes on hand I can’t say I minded as I used less product.

Sometimes when you wait for something for a while you end up building it up in your mind to a level it can’t actually achieve. I planned to purchase this palette for so long I was worried that would happen with the Urban Decay Naked Honey Palette. It didn’t. This palette was just as good as I hoped it would be and I am thrilled it is now part of my collection. I would order this again in a heart beat, even when it was not on sale. I love the browns and golds so this one does speak to me, but I am also happy with the quality and ease of application and use. I think that this is a palette I will get a lot of use out of for a long time to come.

Reviewing the Iconic London Sunset to Sunrise Eyeshadow Palette

I know what you are thinking. Don’t you usually review makeup items on Thursdays? Why yes, yes I do. However two things happened. First of all, I did not wear a perfume this week, so I skipped the perfume review and second, I reached my end with this Iconic London Sunset to Sunrise eyeshadow palette.

The box is covering a full sized mirror

This was a strange one to review actually. I have tried several Iconic products in the past. I love their setting spray and I really enjoy their liquid highlighters. But I had never tried their eyeshadow. And I was very much looking forward to it.

row 1 L to R

When I went on the website I had a hard time finding this exact palette. I found it on several other sites (Amazon and Walmart most notably, so it is still available) but it wasn’t listed on the Iconic London’s Website page for their eyeshadow palettes. I don’t know if this particular palette was discontinued or if it is just temporarily sold out. I know some brands simply remove items from the page when they are currently out of stock and not simply because they were discontinued. I know both Viseart and Ciate London both have the tendency to do this. Since I couldn’t find any information, I’m guessing it was just sold out due to it being in a subscription box.

Second row L to R ( adore the bronze of Summer Glow)

I very much enjoyed the formula of these shadows. The mattes look a little powdery on the brush but if you tap the brush off once before applying then there is no fall out from the application. I personally like this because it means that I can apply my eyeshadow after I put on the rest of my face. I know a lot of folks start with the eyes and then do the rest. I have done this and I don’t mind it, but it is habit for me to apply my face and then do the eyeshadow.

The reason I do this is because I like to think about what eyeshadow palette I want to use while I am applying my other makeup. Sometimes I’ll sit down and start a low makeup look and decide halfway through that today is a glitter shadow day. Sometimes I will reach for a neutral lip but be unable to resist a bright red or deep berry and need to adjust. If I am not testing a palette out, I like to think about what palette or single shadow i want to use before I get to the eyes. It is almost always the last makeup choice I make.

third row L to R

Plus sometimes I’ll run out of time and adjust shadow to what is easiest to use in a hurry.

And this palette was easy to use. The mattes were pigmented and buildable and they blended like a dream. The shimmers were stunning and offered a wide array of looks. The issue was that a lot of the mattes aren’t ones I’d use or that I like. of the 20 shadows, seven are matte. The lighter pink of Summer Lovin’ and white of Aloha worked well on the inner corners of my eyes.

Sunkissed disappeared on my lids, Tan lines mostly disappeared, Tequila sunrise looked really orange with my skin tone and the yellow of Mimosa made me look jaundiced. I am however in love with Afterparty and All Nighter. Those two shades I would use repeatedly. I would then use one of the lighter shades in the inner corner and any of the shimmer shades.

row 4 L to R

The shimmer shades were fantastic and I would use all of them.

The thing is, with only two real matte shades that I enjoyed wearing, I became really bored with this palette really quickly. I would circle back to this palette to use those two shades (and any and all of the shimmer shades) but it is not a palette i am going to dip into to play around with often. I am going to think ‘I want a purple tones look, let me go to the Iconic palette today’ not ‘oh lets play around with this palette this week.

row 5 L to r

If I had Afterparty in a single shadow it would probably be my go to one and done eyeshadow that i would keep on hand and always add to my travel bag.

And this did sort of bother me as well as give me hope. In the end I really liked the Iconic London shadow formula, I just didn’t like the mix of shades in this palette.

blends really well

Which is not, over all a bad thing to know. I had not tried Iconic’s eyeshadow formula before and now I know that I really like it. The mattes, if the brush is tapped off first, don’t have a lot of fall out and blend fantastically well and easily. The shimmers are excellent and apply lighter with a dry brush, stronger with a damp brush or a fingertip and both last all day long. For me this palette is only let down by the shade choice. In the end most of them simply weren’t to my taste. I will however be looking into other Iconic palettes and hoping that I will like other palette configurations better.

Using the Tresluce La Flor De Mexico Eyeshadow Palette

Okay before we get into the palette and its performance, just take a look at that cover. Is it not beautiful? And this palette has one of my favorite additions. The Mirror is held into the palette via magnets. It’s back is the same pattern as the front of the package. I think this is just a fantastic addition to the palette.

the mirror held in with magnets

For one, it gives you a large mirror to use when using the palette, and since sometimes it can be awkward to use the mirror in the palette while applying the shadow, letting you take the mirror out is actually quite helpful. Finally it helps with recycling. The mirror can be pulled out and continually used even after the palette has gone to the recycling bin. And with a cardboard palette it can.

So I am a big fan of the palette design.

I also like the color choice. There are enough neutral tones that it can lend itself to a neutral look and there are enough bright colors to keep it interesting.

But this palette does get interesting in its performance. There are three rows of shadows, each containing six pans for a total of eighteen shades. Ten are mattes and eight are shimmers. Over all I think that is a good variety.

with the mattes I found that they do apply deeper than they swatched. In the swatches all but the bottom row tended to swatch very lightly. While those shades are deeper, the other shadows did apply more pigmented when a brush was used on the lids.

It is a case where the swatch just doesn’t give you an accurate feel for the shadow.

Top row

While the mattes were a bit powdery on the brush, a quick tap before applying meant there was little fall out during the application. Here is the thing, each individual matte worked well. It went onto the lid and blended out beautifully on it’s own. It just didn’t like working with the other mattes. Whether I used an eyelid primer or not, if more than one matte shade was used, it didn’t blend well. It either remained two separate shadows or it became a somewhat muddy mix. Occasionally a darker shade could be layered over a lighter one and the lighter shade was just obliterated.

the mattes just didn’t want to play with each other.

middle row

When adding a shimmer over the matte, I generally found I had to blend out the matte shade to where I wanted it and then add the shimmer on top. I tried blurring the lines between the shimmer and mattes. Some of the shimmers would let you, others wouldn’t. Usually you could still see the line where shimmer stopped and matte started.

bottom row

However the shimmers were absolutely stunning. They applied well and stayed in place all day with little fall out. And the colors were amazing. I absolutely fell in love with the stunning green shimmer of Nopal. And even though it is probably mu favorite because I don’t really have that shimmery green, all of the shimmers were beautiful.

As with the mattes, the upper two rows were lighter and more delicate shimmers while the third row was the deeply pigmented shimmers. Even though there were some blending issues I really enjoyed this palette. It is a palette that I will reach for to use the shimmers and it is also a palette I will use when I want to use one of the mattes as a stand alone one and done look, or perhaps paired with the shimmers. I couldn’t get the mattes to blend all that well, but I like this palette enough to hope that it is my technique that is lacking and keep trying. For now, single mattes and shimmers. But I have my fingers crossed that someday I will find the magical blending technique.

LovelySkin

Testing out The Balm and The Beautiful Episode 1 Eyeshadow Palette

For the past two weeks or so I have been using The Balm and the Beautiful Episode 1 Eyeshadow Palette from The Balm. The Balm is a make up brand I have used for years. Their Bahama Mama Bronzer was my go to for a long time and I like the formulas for their eyeshadow. It is an interesting formula actually. But we’ll get to that in a minute. For me the trick with The Balm is getting the right palette. I have one palette that is all mattes. I have a face palette that includes a few eyeshadows.

For me, this was the right mix of mattes and shimmers and all in a new Clean and Green package. There is no mirror and the packaging can be completely recycled. Inside there are eight shadows, Four are mattes and four are shimmers. Over all it is a neutral palette, but there is quite a bit of interest about it.

(Top row: L to R: Cut, Green Screen, Autograph, Makeup Artist)

The first row has a matte shade on either end and two shimmers in the middle. Even though the rows are mixed I am going to talk about the mattes first and then the shimmers. The two mattes in this row are Cut and Makeup Artist. On my skin Makeup artist matches my skin well enough that it goes away completely. It can be used as a blending shade but not alone. On the other hand Cut is a shade I could easily wear on it’s own. Over all the mattes are well chosen. There is a white and and a much darker brown in the lower row (Chick Flick, and Cliff Hangar)Together the four mattes alone are a good mix of tones for creating several different neutral looks.

Second row L to R: Roll Credits, Red Carpet, Chick flick, Cliff hangar)

When you dip in, the mattes feel a bit powdery but if you tap off your brush before application there is no problem with fall out. While the top row is lighter and the second row darker, all of the shades apply lighter than you would think. They are buildable however. Personally i like this as it gives me more control. I am not a huge fan of high pigment right out of the gate. I really prefer to be able to choose how deep i want my colors. These shades blend really well also. I tended to apply the mattes and then reach for a clean brush to blend. then if I wanted to apply the shimmers I did so after blending the mattes.

In the second for the two shimmers are on the left and the mattes on the right. With the shimmers, they swatched really well. They applied tolerably well with a dry brush, better with a wet brush (sprayed with a little setting spray) and fabulously well with a finger tip. One in place they stayed in place with no glittery cheek dusting. If I tried blending them with the mattes then the shimmer got lost in the mattes. So what I ended up doing was applying the mattes, blending to where I wanted them, applied the shimmer and then with a separate clean brush blended them around the edges. I found this worked best for me. To be honest that was the only ‘difficult’ part of this palette.

I really enjoyed using it and suspect I will reach for it often. It has a good mix of shades in both mattes and shimmers. While it is neutral it is not a boring neutral. It has enough difference between the shades for it to be interesting to use over a longer period of time. It has shades I like wearing as a one and done and each shadow blends well with the others.

I know this is a rarity for me, but I honestly have nothing bad i can say about this palette. I thoroughly enjoyed using it, will enjoy using it again and love that the packaging is fully recyclable. With The balm and the Beautiful, The Balm has a hit.

Eyeshadow Palette Review: The Mirage by Sandbar

I have to say I was thrilled when this Mirage Palette from Sandbar Beauty palette came in a recent IPSY box. It looks like it would be a good neutral palette. It looks like it is a palette that can easily be picked up and used with little thought. I know that it not the most exciting description of a palette, but let’s face it, some mornings, that is what you need.

While I do like sitting down and taking some time with my eyeshadows, playing around with color and trying new things, weekday mornings, I generally go for simple and easy. Having a palette that I can reliably pickup and use quickly before I run out the door is often key to my morning getting ready process.

The image is a little off kilter because I was trying to play with the light so the names were visible in the photo. They are really hard to see in real life.

So let’s see how this palette performed. First the swatches. I started with the upper left (Mahogany Rose) and then worked my way around clockwise.

L to %R: Mahogany Rose, Marron, Shell, Clove, White Gold and Veil)

This was an interesting palette to swatch actually. I used the palette before swatching, not wanting to be influenced by the way things swatched. On the eyes the two brown mattes, Marron (the reddish brown) and Clove were intensely pigmented. They were powdery on the brush but when tapped off and applied to the eye they were highly pigmented with little fall out. You just have to remember to tap the brush first.

It was very easy to go over board with these two. I found I had to do a double brush application. One brush to apply and a second clean brush to blend out and tone down before applying a second shadow. If you don’t tone them down, no other shadow will appear. I found it was very easy to go over board with the shimmers too actually. I applied what I thought was a little with a brush and then blended with my finger and the shimmer took over. Restraint is the byword when applying these shadows.

They blended well together and while there was a little shimmer fall out from White Gold, everything else stayed in place all day. there was a little fading around the end of the day, but by the time I was ready to remove my makeup, it was still in place.

The swatches being so pale was surprising. it actually applies much darker on the lids than in a swatch. The thing is Marron and Clove swatch as very different shadows but on the lid they look virtually identical. While the pink tones of veil were a nice contrast for the inner corner, those are the only mattes. While there is some variety with the shimmers, there was really very little visual interest. All of the looks came out more or less the same.

Which is not a bad thing if you need a neutral look for your work day it is a great little palette to have around. It does get a little boring. With the shades so similar I would not have minded if they changed out one for a pop of color. Or even added on pop of color in the center where the gold sun icon is located.

While I will use this palette, I probably wouldn’t purchase this palette again. I would however look into single shadows and other palettes from the brand. As this is my first use of any product from Sandbar Beauty, for me that is good to know. I like their formula and wouldn’t mind trying out more from them. It is a good little palette that introduced me to the brand and let me know that the shadow formulas are ones I like and that aren’t too difficult to work with. While the palette is not a bad one to have around it isn’t all that thrilling. It is reliably decent though. Just remember it has a high pigmentation on the mattes and it is a good set of office neutrals.

Let’s talk Defiance (by Karmela Cosmetics)

This Eyeshadow palette, Defiance from Karmela Cosmetics came in a recent IPSY bag. I actually chose this item because this sort of palette is in my everyday wheel house. It simply looks like an everyday palette that can be jazzed up a little with the various shimmers. I really like the color selection. Before we get into the performance, let’s take a brief look at the palette.

The exterior palette sleeve is covering up the mirror

It is a longer skinny palette with eight shadows. Five are mattes and three are shimmers. The Palette is cardboard with a mirror across the top. It does lay flat but the mirror won’t fold back. The palette retails for $39. This cost came as a surprise to me. Without trying it, I would say this would be more of a $25 palette. It only has eight pans. I should point out that this is the first item I have ever seen from the brand and the first time I’ve even heard of them Perhaps there is a reason the cost is so high, but before I even try the shadows, it does not feel like a $39 palette.

For $39 it means each pan is worth $4.87. (or there about) Which seems a little high to me. Perhaps it is justified somehow with ingredients or something that I am not seeing, but it isn’t in the packaging. But then I will admit i often find some products are over priced. And then again I will justify what might seem like an over priced item if it performs really well or conforms to a specific ethical and sustainability standard. I simply didn’t see that on the site. As for performance, let’s get into that shall we?

L to R: Intuition, Ethereal, Elevate, Desire, Mystique, Charisma, Empower, Infinity

Okay First the mattes. There is a white (Intuition) which applied fantastically well to the inner corners and I really enjoyed using. There was a soft pink (Desire) which applied in a soft pink on the lids. It was in no way buildable. It was how it applied. Mystique simple matched my skin tone so well that it disappeared. When blended with other shades though it became muddy. As pink with either brown or black are kind of one of the everyday looks i go for I was very excited that a dark brown (Empower) and a black shade (Infinity) were included in the palette. I was less thrilled when I applied them. They were a bit patchy to apply and blending didn’t so much as blend them in as blend them off. Empower especially had the tendency to disappear on me. The one thing I will say about infinity is that it was the one shade that I could actually build up to a deeper pigmentation. However it then swamped any other color applied and obliterated them.

With the Shimmers, you may notice that Ethereal barely showed up in a swatch. Applying all of them with a dry brush was the same thing. All of the shimmers disappeared into the depths of the brush if I tried to apply them that way. They did much better with a wet brush and they applied well with the finger. When I use my finger to apply shimmers though I can get a bit messy. It’s a bit like finger painting in my world.

I have to say this palette almost made me mad. Looking at it, this is almost exactly what I would have put into an everyday palette. I would have added a real bronzy color, because that is just me, but over all this could have been a real go to palette for me. Given the color selection this should have been one of those palettes I kept out on the dressing table so that if I needed to get ready quickly I could grab it and go.

Instead the shadows were finicky and even basic looks took extra time. They took something that should have been easy and simple and somehow made it difficult and time consuming. I think this also might be why the cost bothered me so much as well. $39 for an eight pan palette like this is always going to trouble some deep part of my thrifty soul. A $39 palette that makes getting ready a little more difficult? That really bothers me.

I think my hopes were really high based on the shades in the palette. It looks perfect, but perfect can be deceiving. There were two shades (Intuition and Desire) that gave me no troubles. (and amusingly enough in all of the pictures on the site, they are the ones most heavily used in the photos). But a white and a soft pink aren’t hard to find. I own several versions. And they are parts of palettes that I like better.

This Defiance Palette looked good, but in the end was rather disappointing.


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Trying out the Huda Beauty Mercury Retrograde Palette

For the last week and a half I have been trying out the Huda Beauty Mercury Retrograde palette. This palette retails on the Huda Beauty Site for $67. Currently it is on sale for $33.50. In general I like Huda Beauty’s eyeshadow formula. I have several of the brand’s palettes and really enjoy using them. Typically I find them highly pigmented and easy to blend. This however was an interesting palette to test.

Before we get into it, I will say that the packaging is really nice. The palette feels nice and heavy. It feels like an expensive palette. When you open it you realize that the mirror it the heavy part and the rest of the palette is kind of light. I don’t mind this because it means that when you open it the palette lays flat and is pretty stable. You can set it on the table and dip a brush into the shadows without the palette moving.

The mirror kind of holds it into place. It is a 20 pan palette. Of these pans nine are matte, one is a glitter and the rest are shimmers. It is not a bad mix as far as matte to shimmer ratios go. There are three rows of seven shadows each and we’ll start with the top row and work our way down. The shadows do have names so I will list them under the photos in case you can’t read them on the palette. (even in person they are hard to read on the palette). A word about the swatches. These shadows swatch far better than they actually apply on the lid.

L to R: Cosmic, Utopia, Ultraviolet, Nebula, Mercury and Haze

In this first row, Cosmic, Ultra Violet and Mercury are the shimmers, Nebula is the palette’s one glitter shade and Utopia and Haze are the mattes. Nebula is very much a glitter shade. It is blue and silver glitter and you will need something to help stick it down if you want it to stay in place more than an hour. An eyeshadow primer will give you more time, but I think it is a shade that needs some glitter glue. I am not a huge fan of glitters and this one isn’t my favorite so after tying it out, I tended to skip it.

With The mattes in this row Utopia tended to blend out into nothing without a lid primer and when it had a lid primer it was a bright peachy shade that didn’t want to blend into anything. Even though I don’t care for blues as a rule Haze worked well for me as a pop of color. Without a lid primer it was a soft blue that gave me Easter egg feels. It blended better than any of the other mattes in the palette actually and I found myself enjoying it.

For the Glitters in this row, Cosmic and ultraviolet worked really well. They were able to highlight the mattes and work well with them. Mercury on the other hand kept trying to take over. With Cosmic and Ultraviolet a brush will give you very little color or shimmer. If you damp down the brush you get more, however I found they work better if you just use your finger to blend them in.

L to R: Off Balance: Galaxy, Libra, Crash Momentum and Supermoon

In the second row, Off Balance, Libra Crash and Momentum are the mattes while Galaxy and Super moon are the shimmers. With the Shimmers, these two blend better with your fingers and worked pretty well. Supermoon has a bit of a dual chrome nature to it. it shifts between white and pink.

And then there are the mattes. Crash was close enough to the color of my skin that it disappeared. Momentum was good for the inner corner of the eye but tended to fade to nothing when blended. Libra looks lavender in the pan and applies more pink toned on the lids. Off balance looks like a soft pink in the pan but applies as more of a mauve. The mattes blended well but it generally gave a muted look until you use a lid primer. The primer brightened the tones as more pigment stuck to the lid, but then they didn’t blend.

L to R: Vortex, Hot Mess, Supernova, Karma, gold Glitch and Frazzled

And then there is the third row. The mattes are Vortex, Hot Mess and Karma. While they are the darkest mattes in the palette, they were also the most disappointing. Hot mess was the best of these three, but it still blended out to a lighter pink and to be honest had less pigment than off balance. Vortex just blended into nothing. It slightly darkened things a bit but otherwise was not much of a shadow.

The two shimmers, Supernova and Gold Glitch are the type of bronze shades I usually am over the moon about. They performed like the other shimmers in the palette. While I have palettes I have kepd simply because I adored the bronze shades, this isn’t one of them. The bronze shimmers were okay, but not the best.

Over all, this palette was a bit disappointing. It is the kind of palette I might reach for in creating a pastel look since i don’t have many shadows in that range. The shimmers were far better than the mattes and the mattes were a bit of a trial. All of the mattes have a pink undertone to them, and while they blended well they were a soft pastel that easily faded by the end of the day. With a lid primer they brightened in their pigmentation but they lost their blendability. In all honesty I am keeping this for the shimmers. I don’t keep a lot of shimmers so these are nice to have. However I will be pairing them with more strongly pigmented mattes from another palette. For me the palette is worth keeping for the shimmers since I don’t have a lot of them, but I don’t think I would pay full price. The discounted price for the sale they have going on now might tempt me to buy it, but I certainly wouldn’t pay the full price for this palette. It is worth $33.50. It is not worth $67.

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Trying out the Gen Nude Natural Oasis Eyeshadow Palette from bareMinerals

For a long time bare Minerals powders were my go to face products. While I varied every other product I kept the face powders consistent for a long time. Time passes, habits change and I began experimenting with other products. Slowly bareMinerals fell off my radar. It has been slowly creeping back in lately and a lot of that has to do with the Gen Nude Line.

As with most makeup in my world it starts with the lip products. bareMinerals drew me back in with the lip gloss and liquid lips as well as their bullet style Mineralist Lipstick. I actually adore their formulas. The colors are great but even better, they are comfortable to wear and never dry out my lips. Then, a few weeks ago I was in the store and saw this Natural Oasis Palette and realized I had never tried any eyeshadows from bareMinerals. So I bout the palette and have been using it for the past week and a half or so. If you are interested in tis palette while normally $29 it is now on sale on the bareMinerals website for $23

This six pan palette lifts up easily from the front. There is a little plastic tab to hold as you lift so you can open it without breaking your nails. I personally appreciate that a lot since often with those clasp closures I do end up breaking a nail trying to get them open. This one is easy. And the entire inside lid is mirrored. It is a very easy palette to use as a compact.

But while packaging is great, it is the shadows that matter. I found them interesting. Let’s take them by rows.

Row 1

The first row is composed of Sandy beach (L) and Papaya (R). Sandy peach is fabulous for the inner corner of the eye or to highlight under the eye brow. Papaya is a peachy shade that almost blends into my skin tone but is also great for blending the darker colors down and working under my eyebrow.

Row 2

The second row, Cabana (L) and Red Hibiscus (R) are slightly darker. The brown is a soft brown that isn’t highly pigmented but can be build up. It will never get very dark but it is perfect for a natural look. The Red Hibiscus is a stunning shimmer. it is a an almost ruby shade that can be used to create a nice contrast with the brown shade of cabana or used for more impact with the Palm leaf green in the lower row. It can be left high impact or be blended down for something more subtle. I really liked that all of the shadows had the capability of blending down without becoming muddy.

Row 3

The third row contains the darkest shades and has the deepest pigment. The left shade is Simmering Sunset and the Right is Palm Leaf. Shimmering sunset is a shimmer shade, but it is a light shimmer that works just as well as a dark brown matte. It does not have the shine of red hibiscus. Palm leaf is the most pigmented. It actually came as a bit of a shock the first time I used it because the rest of the palette is more buildable than pigmented. The green is very pigmented but also buildable if you want to go for a super deep green look. While it does blend down a bit, if you use even a smidge of this green it will be a green based look. It is just more highly pigmented and will be the feature color.

Surprisingly, all of the shadows swatched looking more powdery than they do when in use.

I really enjoyed using this Natural Oasis palette and feel that I will reach for it mostly when i want a light easy look. The shadows have almost no fall out (I do automatically tap my brush after dipping into any pan). I did find that towards the end of the day they did tend to fade a bit, becoming a little bit more washed out but never actually quite disappearing. They also never muddied. They all faded together but you could still pick out palm leaf or cabana. They stayed their own shades as they faded. when applying, I liked that they were buildable and that they blended beautifully with each other.

I would like to try more highly pigmented colors from bareMinerals in the future to see how they play together. The only really strong color in this palette was Palm Leaf. It would be nice to see how that green did with an equally pigmented shade instead of the more neutral shades in the palette. I’m sure I’ll pick up another bareMinerals palette and that is definitely a test i will do at that time. For now I am happy with this palette, plan to keep and use it and plan to pick up more bareMinerals shadows in the future.

bareMinerals

So Pretty, or is it? Trying out Formula Z’s So Pretty palette

I was very excited to choose this Formula Z So Pretty palette for my January IPSY box. Okay, I saw the bronze glitter, started drooling and clicked add to choice items. I knew it was a palette with other colors in it, I just lost my head when it came to the bronze glitter. And surprisingly enough, the bronze glitter did not disappoint. It’s the other shadows that had issues.

So let’s take a look. As you can see there are six pans in this palette. I don’t know why but lately I have really been digging the smaller palettes. the issue here is that with the exception of the two glitters, all of the other colors, both mattes and shades are shadows i have in other palettes. Some of which are really good palettes. Both in those colors and as in the palette as a whole. This palette has two mattes, two shimmers and two glitters. Each row has one of each, so lets look at the rows.

L to R: Opulent, Empire, Regal

The top row has the shimmer on the left (Opulent), Glitter in the middle (Empire) and matte on the right (Regal).Opulent swatched well and was okay on the lids. It is a bronzy gold shimmer, which I like. It feels soft in the pan, but was a little powdery applying and tended to blend away into nothing but a slight shine.

Empire was this row’s glitter and it was really hard to work with. It didn’t want to leave the dry brush when I tried applying so it was very patchy. Spraying the brush with setting spray really helped. It also helped to use a lid primer and to apply it when the primer was still tacky. and then to spray it with setting spry to keep it in place. It was a lovely color on the eyes and in general it will stay in place for about three hours before it begins it’s slow descent down your face. Be aware that when you remove it, if you are using a reusable makeup wipe, like a Makeup Eraser, then once you have finished removing your makeup then that cloth needs to go directly into the washing machine otherwise you will end up putting glitter on your face the next day. If there is one product you keep the occasional disposable makeup removing cloth around for, this would be it.

You will still find glitter in random places three days later.

Which is very different to the matte shadows. The third shadow in this row is the matte, Regal. It blends into my skin tone so it is really hard to see. It is also powdery, patchy and prone to blending away into nothing. I used it in conjunction with the one other matte from this palette (Legend). They seemed to work well together but it was an effort and as they are both shades of brown it looked like Regal lightened up Legend somewhat but the two just sort of muddied together. The big benefit was that one matte covered up the patchiness of the other matte.

L to R: Legend, Icon, Star

The matte, Legend is the first shadow in the second row. It swatched better than it applied. It was patchy, and powdery. It only worked well because I used the other brown matte to cover up the patchiness or slid the bronze glitter of Icon over it so that it was no more than an accent. A matte punctuation at the end of a glitter sentence.

Icon was the bronze glitter and the reason I chose the palette in the first place. I was hoping that the matte shades would be everyday usable, but I’m not a fan of them. Using the bronze of Icon, I forget all about the other pans. I love this glitter shade. Usually golden shades are too brassy for me and tend to look odd with my skin tone. This is the exact right shade of bronze for me. It has some of the same issues as Empire, the other glitter shade, but it does apply slightly better. It has a slightly smoother formula which makes application easier. You still need the lid primer and the setting spray, but it does stay in place a little better. You are still looking at only about four hours before fall out begins, but quite frankly, I love it.

The final shade is Star. It is a decent shimmer. It doesn’t blend away as much as the other shimmer shade, Opulent, but it can blend down a lot. It is one of those shades I would use if i had the palette open so that I didn’t have to go hunting for another shadow, but not one I would actually pull this palette out for. It works, but I have this exact same shade in several other palettes, many with better formulas.

I’ll be honest, this is a palette I am keeping for the glitters. Primarily the Bronze of Icon, but I do like the sparkle of Empire as well. When I get this palette out, I will get out another palette and use the mattes from it. I will probably use other shimmers as well. Normally this is where I would ask myself if I would buy this palette again. As and IPSY choice, I am happy with my choice. This palette however retails for $25. It is not a $25 palette. Even if I really liked the mattes and shimmers I don’t think it would be a $25 palette. It seems more like a $15 palette.

I don’t know very much about Formula Z. While I loved the bronze I also chose them because I had not heard of the brand before. If they sell individual shadows, their glitter shades would be worth picking up. As both of these shades did well, I am sure any other shades they have would probably do as well. I would not buy the palette and if they have singles, I would pick up the glitters and leave the rest behind. I may be happy to have the glitters, but many other companies also make glitters and I would not rebuy this palette just for those glitters. I will however use it until those two glitters are gone.

Find Your Strength; Know Your Strength

A walk in the Moonlight with LA Splash

I know what you are thinking. This LA Splash Face Palette didn’t get the full week to a week and a half testing. What gives? I’ll tell you. I couldn’t take this palette for a week and a half. I made sure to use all of these shades repeatedly and I just found it annoying. But let’s get into details.

First off the palette contains two blushes, Midnight Rose and Blushing Luna. In the pan one looks bright pink and the other looks neutral. On the cheeks they both show up as bright pink and extremely pigmented. a delicate dip into the pan, produced a lot of color on the cheeks. The neutral blush looking only a shade less pink than the bright pink shade.

L to R: Midnight Rose, Blushing Luna, Bronze Goddess and Ethereal Highlight

Now I am not opposed to high pigmentation as long as it blends really well. This one blended, but as soon as you started blending, the blush more or less disappeared. So I was left with either very pink clown like cheeks or looking like I applied no blush at all. There was no happy middle ground with either of these two blushes.

And then we had the bronzer. It is called Bronze Goddess. In the swatch above I had to do a double swatch just to get the bronzer to appear on my arm. And that is sort of how it performed on the cheeks. It was a very pale bronzer with very low pigmentation. It could be built up, but it took time.

A lot of time.

And I found the pigmentation level compared to the blushes rather shocking. Perhaps the low pigmentation wouldn’t have seemed so bad if it was just a pan on it’s own, but its low pigmentation was just brought out by the super strong blushes. It did blend well and it didn’t disappear when it was blended, but it was a bronzer that you had to work for.

The Ethereal Highlight was fine. I adore bronze highlights so this should have been right in my wheel house. The color is fine, but as a product it is more or less forgettable. It has a light shimmer on the skin and if it were on it’s own I might find it more appealing. But as this palette is more or less a bust for me in the other products, the highlighter isn’t enough to save it.

One of the reasons that i am not going to continue using this is because I have a very pale friend (strawberry blonde with skin to match) who is always complaining about bronzers being too deep for her. I’m going to pass this along and see if the issues with the bronzer are just because of my skin tone. Perhaps with lighter skin this palette would be fantastic. For me, the Moonlight Glow Palette from LA Splash is just not worth keeping around.