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.

A walk into the Desert Sunset with Athr Beauty

I have been testing out the Desert Sunset Palette from Athr Beauty. I was very interested to get my hands on this palette when it arrived in a Boxy Charm. The first reason is that I have danced around Athr Beauty for a while. I have seen them in subscription boxes, but they were never an item in my box. It’s like they were teasing me. then of course I heard some conflicting reviews. Some people loved them, others weren’t so sure. Which of course made me want to find out for myself.

Finally there was the color selection of the palette. I really like a lot of the bronze shadows, and I wear a lot of brown shadow so this looked like it would be right up my alley. I have to admit, I was even intrigued by the pop of color in the bright pink pan.

As you can see the shadow names are written on the back. what I like about this is they thought to color the squares so right away you know exactly where you are in the palette. It makes referencing colors fairly easy. Because of the palette set up, when swatching the shadows I decided to go for the mattes first and then switch to the shimmer shades. So first let’s look at the mattes.

Left to Right: Desert Sand, Sedona, Desert Coral and Mesquite

I found these shades to be interesting. I expected that they would all have the same texture and consistency, but they do not. the two brown shades, Desert Sand and Sedona are great shades. They are soft to the touch, they apply with no patchy spots and they blend well with all of the shadows. They were slightly on the powdery side. while you could get away with applying either of these shades on their own after you’ve don’t your face makeup without too much fall out, the same can not be said for the others.

Desert Coral is a great pop of color but it feels dry to the touch and is very powdery. While it blends well and works beautifully with the other shades in this palette, it needs to be applied before you put on your face makeup or you will have fall out. The same can be said for Mesquite. Mesquite is the darkest shade in the palette and it is also the most patchy when applied. As a single shade it simply didn’t work. If you put a base of the Desert coral and then darkened the outer corner with Mesquite it worked well, especially if you used something like Sedona to help blend out the patchy parts. It was a little of a disappointment though as while Sedona is dark enough to work as a blending shadow, it also has a reddish tinge to it so your look was always going to be in the red/pink range.

L to R: Twilight, Golden Hour, Sunrise, After Glow, Sunset, Eternal

Ah the shimmers. There are a lot of them. In a ten pan palette six of them are shimmers. While I like shimmers, to be honest, there isn’t a lot of difference between these. Twilight is a nice lighter color that works well on the inner corner of the eye, but the rest are varying shades of bronze. I get that it is a desert theme, and I like bronze shadows. In fact i have been known to keep palettes just because of the beautiful bronze shimmer. But all of the varying tones in one palette are a little bit of overkill. I et that it is a desert themed palette, but swapping out some of the bronze shimmers with other shades or even adding a few more mattes wouldn’t have one amiss. It would have made the palette more versatile and more fun to use. I think you could still keep with the desert theme while still branching out a little.

Perhaps I would feel better about the array of bronze tones if one of them had been spectacular. While soft and buttery to the touch, they were hard to work with as they weren’t the most pigmented and had the tendency to fall out dusting the under eye and sides of my nose with shimmer. None of them made me think,. ‘yes, this is why I will keep this palette’ as I have with some other bronze shadows I have tried. In fact it was very easy for me to use all of the shadows in this palette because none of them really called to me and tried to keep my attention.

Which sort of sums up this palette. It was okay and decent once you got the hang of using it, but in the end nothing really special. The Athr Beauty Desert Sunset Palette doesn’t make me want to pull it out of the drawer and use repeatedly. It was good enough that I will put it into my eyeshadow drawer, but I strongly suspect that in my next declutter, it will be sent on it’s way because I am just not reaching for it. Even more important is that it doesn’t really make me that excited to try more shadows from Athr Beauty either.

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Trying out Miami Nights with Shaina B

This Shaina B palette came to me in an IPSY box and I have to say it is somewhat interesting. Or at least I had an interesting time with it. Over all it is a fairly neutral red toned palette. The colors are warm and are typically what I am drawn to wearing. And then there is Queen of Diamonds Silver sparkling in the top row. Oh, the sparkle.

But we’ll get to that. This palette retails for $20 and contains eight shadows. There are four Mattes, three shimmers and that silver. The top row contains the shimmers and the silver.

Ice Palace is the shimmer I reached for the most. It was excellent in the inner corner of the eye and stayed in place all day long. Bae Harbor is a lovely coppery tone on the lids and Lincoln red is an almost metallic red that shows up well on the eyelids. All three of these shimmers are buttery soft to the touch, are well pigmented and easy to work with. They also stay where you put them.

And then we have the Queen of Diamonds. It too feels soft and buttery to the touch. Even though it sparkles like glitter it feels like velvet. Your finger tip comes away looking as though you wrapped it in tin foil rather than into a glitter shadow. On the lids it is stunning. Absolutely stunning. It applies as easily a if it was liquid.

But then the clock starts ticking. I tried lid primers and setting sprays, but the truth is, you have about two hours before the silver stages a hostile take over. It will first migrate across the lid obliterating any other color you applied. Then it will go both up and down simultaneously. Your eyebrows are the last line of defense for your forehead. Once it becomes blocked by the brows it ill migrate down your nose and spread out in a silver spangled array across your cheeks.

And it doesn’t” like to give any ground back. You will need every makeup remover in your arsenal to get it all off, and even then three days later you are still likely to find something silvery and sparkly on your cheek or chin. Also if you are using any reusable makeup removal products, take them directly to the laundry, don’t let them hang around or the silver will simply spread.

However if you apply it carefully and sparingly, for the first two hours of wear it is absolutely stunning.

The second row is less problematic.

The second row is where the mattes live. Are they spectacularly unique shades? No. But I would happily use this as an everyday palette. Space is one I could wear as a one and done easily. Blending Vino and Venetian Gray can create more dramatic but still acceptable for the office looks. And MIA Mauve is a great neutral transition shade. The shadows are soft and not very powdery. I did knock my brush off once before applying because that is just habit and some powder did fall off the brush. When I made an effort not to tap the brush off, I still didn’t have any issues with powder going anywhere except where I put it. With the exception of Vino which comes across strongly, the colors aren’t super saturated when they apply. They are buildable though and they blend nicely. They also lasted through the day with minimal fading. The mattes work really well with the shimmers, both in formula and shade. I think the palette was very well thought out actually. Everything works well with everything else. I suppose the silver could be considered the surprising pop of color in the otherwise neutral palette.

It is a very pink toned palette. I happen to like that but Venetian Gray and Queen of Diamonds are the only only non-pink tones in the palette. If you don’t wear warm pink tones, I would skip this palette. As for me, I really enjoyed using it, I will be sparing and strategic when I reach for the Queen of Hearts, but the other shadows in the Shaina B Miami Nights palette are ones I will reach for on a regular basis. And I have to say the formula makes me want to check out more of Shaina B’s eyeshadows.

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A Tale of Two Quads

Recently I have been going through a lot of my smaller eyeshadow palettes in an effort to look at the ones more suitable for travel. At least I think that is why I have found them so attractive as of late. There is the possibility that as my schedule has tightened up and I have less time to actually spend I have been drawn to the smaller eyeshadow quads because they are quick and easy.

while I like the smaller palettes, one of the things I like, beyond their compact size, is that you don’t have a lot of thought when using them. Typically they have a small range of application patterns so they are quick to grab and apply. Two eyeshadow quads recently came into my collection and on the surface they appear to be very similar. They are both brown neutral palettes with one matte and three shimmers. But let’s see how they compare.

The first up is the Oryza Beauty Nude Shimmer and Contour Eyeshadow. It has one matte brown and three shimmers.

When applying it, I found the matte is not all that pigmented and tends to be a bit on the patchy side. while one matte is not enough to fully judge an entire line of eyeshadows, I can’t say it impressed me enough to want to try out other shades. The shimmers applied more easily and in fact did help the matte out a bit when blending. The matte shade had almost no powder fall out, which was nice, but did tend to fade out more over the course of the day. As it wasn’t very pigmented to start with, this didn’t make it a favorite. The brighter copper shade (lower left hand corner) tended to migrate down and I ended up with some copper flecks on my cheeks by the end of the day. It was only visible when the light hit and made me shimmer, but I wasn’t expecting it in the shimmer.

The second Quad I used was the Chella Manifest Bronze eyeshadow Palette.

It too had one brown matte and three shimmers. The shadows did feel buttery to the touch and softer than the Oryza shadows. They were also more pigmented and applied smoother. with the matte, I did not have the patchiness. The brown applied well, but has a bit more of a reddish undertone than I expected. It stayed in place longer and while it still faded over the course of a day, it stayed in place relatively well. I also had less fall out from the shimmers. I really like that this quad had one bright shimmer that went well into the inner corners of my eyes. I felt this was lacking a little in the other quad. And as always I adore copper shadows and the darker copper (upper right hand corner) is exactly what I love in a copper shade. Over all it was a pretty good quad.

Here is the thing though. When looking up the Oryza Palette I found it for sale on Amazon for $10.99. (I know usually i go for the brand website but I couldn’t find the price listed in US currency and it wouldn’t convert. The actual site is here.) When looking up the Chella site, I found this quad sells for $20. (I received both as part of subscription boxes – Chella with Glossy Box and Oryza with IPSY).

The truth is that when using them I was comparing them to a similar quad with one brown shade and three shimmers. This was the ELF Bite Sized Palette in Cream and Sugar. Even before I checked the prices, the ELF had them both beat with performance. When you add in that the ELF palette is only $3 (and that’s $3 with no sales going on. They do have a sale going on now and I’ll link it below), it really sort of seals the deal with ELF. I liked the ELF bite sized quad and have used it for a while. Recently the dark brown shade smashed (user malfunction. I dropped a brush and the handle smacked into the center of the pan cracking it.) so I was thinking I might replace it. then I thought ‘wait I have these other two similar quads, let’s try them first’.

In the end while the Chella performed better than the Oryza, I will be replacing the ELF and will end up reaching for it more. This is one case where the less expensive option, is actually the best.

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Reviewing the No 7 Eyeshadow Trio Pink Blossom

As the time for travel draws near, I am testing out smaller palettes in an effort to find something compact that i can quickly slip into my travel makeup bag without overstuffing the bag and without risking damage to the palette in transit. I never like traveling with a large palette, yet I do like having some room to play around with colors while I am traveling.

The main issue when traveling and staying with family, or at least my family, is the small shared bathroom that I will be using while i am there. Items don’t get left in the bathroom unless they are shared use items. essentially the rule is that if it is in the shared bathroom then it is there for everyone to use.

while a good general policy, it has provoked arguments in the past, mostly about hair products left in the shower. But that is not what this post is about. One of the things I find helpful, especially on short trips, is to take one or two eyeshadow quads or trios along. If each small palette is solid for one or two looks then I can rotate between the two easily, just taking the one I want to use in to the bathroom mirror when I want to use it. Recently I have been trying out the No 7. Pink Blossom Trio.

while I have the No 7 Perfect Light pressed powder on repeat purchase (and have for years) going through countless compacts and I have recently fallen head over heels in love with their serum foundation. I have never tried any of the No 7 Brand’s eyeshadows. I thought a trio was a great way to start. I will say though, it small trios are not your thing, but you do like these shades, these three are also part of a larger eight pan Smoky Palette.

Also at the moment No 7 has a sale going on. Buy 2 save 20%. It is site wide and not just for their eyeshadows.

But on to the trio.

not the most dramatic swatching

First the case. It is a hard plastic oblong that is quite sturdy. I could see the front clear window getting scratched up with repeated travel and under duress possibly getting a crack, but I think it is the sort of plastic that would almost spiderweb across the top instead of breaking through and destroying the shadow inside. I’m not testing that with a hammer of course, but I have every confidence that it would survive my journeys in tact. The lid also fastens down securely. It is not going to fly open at the least little touch.

Normally, packaging is a pleasant distraction, but I find when traveling, it can also be the key to a good travel piece and whether or not i take it with me. This packaging is a bonus to travel and not a detriment. It is also aesthetically pleasing and I like that I can see the shadows through the clear glass so I know what shades I am picking up, making it easier to grab and go. As all of the eyeshadow trios have the same shape, this would be especially helpful should I decide I like the shadows enough to pick up more pans. The clear window simply lets me see what I am picking up.

But will I be picking up more?

Let’s talk about the shadows themselves. As it is a trio, there are of course three. One matte and two shimmers. One of the shimmers, the lighter pink is very low shimmer and close to being a matte. The darker pink has more shimmer to it. It means that the lighter pink can be used for the inner corners of the eye without getting too over the top shimmery. In a simple three pan product, I find this quite useful.

with only three pans, there aren’t a ton of variety between looks, but there is some room to play. All of the shadows can be used alone. They will stay in place for about eight hours. The shimmers do fade a bit more towards the end of the day, but the one matte remained in place until I took my makeup off.

The shadows blended well together without becoming muddy. when applying them there was little fall out from the brush so I could, if I so choose, apply my face products before working on my eyes, which is actually my preferred method when possible.

These shadows are not highly pigmented. The dark matte applies more as smoke than as charcoal. It is buildable but it is never going to give you a saturated color. However what it does give you stays in place. It may not be a deep color, but one applied it remains. while I may touch up my makeup before dinner, I actually prefer makeup that I can put in place and then forget about. Especially when I am traveling. I don’t mind the occasional powder pat to reduce shine, but I don’t want to have to haul out my eyeshadow and it’s brushes.

Over all I was very pleased with the way this shadow performed. It applied well, even if it wasn’t highly pigmented. It stayed in place without fading to nothing. It blended well and I was able to create a couple of good basic looks with it. The trio has a limited range, but is a good travel item and I think I would look at picking up several more of these trios simply for grab and go types of mornings as well as travel. These No 7 Beauty Shadows require little thought to apply and I think a range of colors wouldn’t be a bad thing to have on hand.