Let’s talk Palace Identity/Zeesea Cosmetics

I have looked at the Zeesea/Palace Identity website for years now. They did a beautiful collaboration with the British Museum for their Egyptian collection and it is just stunning. I ordered the pressed powder a while back and while the powder is a decent powder, the packaging is spectacular. I have since eyed many of their lipsticks from both the Egyptian collection and the Palace Identity collection trying to decide if they are items I want to add to my collection. As always it is the look of them that draws me in.

And that is the thing with Zeesea products. They look so beautiful that they knock most other considerations out of my head. Recently they released a subscription box. (I think May was the first one but i could be wrong. I do know it is less than six months old). The link will take you to their website if you are interested in the details of that. As I have recently been looking to shake up my subscription box list, I decided to look into it. In doing so I realized that the only item I had tried from Zeesea was their pressed powder. I wasn’t sure this was enough to commit to a $40 subscription box filled with their products each month. so I give in and purchased the eyeshadow compact that I found so pretty to give their shadow formula a try.

packaging. bag inside box inside bubble wrap inside bubble wrap inside mailer.

It is just as pretty in person as it is on the website. And the packaging was spectacular. I don’t think I have ever received anything as well packed as this palette was. I think someone decided that whatever else happened their shadow was not going to break in transit. And it didn’t it arrived safe and sound.

swatches: L to r: Coral, darker central stripe of color, shimmer, light pink flower

This palette has four shades. As you can see the flower to the left is light pink then there are three bands of shadow to the side. The top is a goldish shimmer the middle is a pinkish tan and the bottom is coral. (there are no shade names or numbers given but this is Compact #02 on their website). I chose this one as these are colors I will use. i was hoping that they would prove to be a palette I could reach for often and possible travel with. The compact is sturdy enough to be used in a purse and it would eliminate a lot of space hogging eyeshadow palettes.

The swatches look pale and delicate. This is not a palette that swatches well. I tried multiple times with both finger swatches and brushes. It simply doesn’t swatch well. However on the eye it turns out that all but the shimmer are highly pigmented. the photo to the right is just the light pink of the flower applied to the eye in a one and done look.

I applied the powder on the outer corner and blended in. I dipped the brush in the pan once. It is darker where I touched the brush down but it was able to blend out across the lid.

Is it my favorite formula of eyeshadow? No. But it is something that I will use, especially since it is here. The thing is, I will probably end up using this more than I would other palettes with just okay formulas because it is so pretty that i want to keep reaching for it. I already find myself trying to figure out where on my dressing table I can put this so that I can use it as a decorative item. And I know if it is out, i will reach for it more often simply because it is out.

Does this look better than it performs? Yes. It is simply a beautiful package. the product isn’t bad. It is a decent eyeshadow palette. Knowing this I don’t have the need to stock up on all of the other numbered palettes in the line. This one had the most shades i will use and one of these pretty palettes is enough. If the formula had been utterly fantastic I might feel the need to build a collection. But it isn’t It is just a basically decent formula in a fabulous package.

Do I regret buying it? No. And I will probably pick up the few lipsticks that have shades I will use and have fabulously beautiful packaging as well. It does however make the subscription box option less attractive for me. The pretty packaging creates the desire and the product is decent enough that I can justify it, but it also means I will be selective in the items that I purchase from them. I will probably try various items, but i don’t need to build a large collection from the brand.

I know that is probably a bit more than expected for a four pan eyeshadow palette, but the truth is that this palette can’t really be thought about without discussing the packaging as that is a large part of why I bought it. It is also a large part of why I will buy from the brand in the future. They are pretty. ZeeSea cosmetics are decent shadows so I can justify buying the pretty compact, but on their own, they are just okay. If you are looking at the brand and wondering about individual items or their subscription box,. I hope this helps you with your decision making.

JuiceBeauty.com

Let’s Talk Natasha Denona

Three Palettes from Natasha Denona: Cranberry on top, Cupid in the middle, Ayana on the bottom

Recently I received two Natasha Denona Mini Eyeshadow Palettes in subscription boxes. One came in Boxy Charm and the other in IPSY. As I have one of the mini palettes I now have a small collection of three. Each of these palettes retails on the Natasha Denona website for $27. They consist of five large pans of shadow in a durable plastic palette.

Quite honestly, I think they are realistically and reasonably priced. These palettes feel like something I would be willing to pay $27 for. I know that is surprising because if you go onto the Natasha Denona website you can find a fifteen pan palette (the Gold Eyeshadow palette) for $129 which is not a reasonable price. In fact most of the brand’s products fall into my personal ‘That’s just too much for what that is’ range. Which is why it surprised me that these palettes were only $27.

Cranberry Palette Swatches

Oddly enough, while there is an entire selection on Mini palettes, indeed the palettes having their own page, only the Cranberry palette is listed. For some reason though it is listed at $48. It is also placed on the regular palettes page rather than the minis page. While I am willing to say these palettes are worth $27 and I would pay that for them, I feel like $48 is a bit over priced for a five pan eyeshadow palette.

But lets talk about the shadows. The mattes are deeply pigmented. One dip into the pan is all you need to create a deep impact on the eye. One thing I learned very quickly is that you need to dip into the pan with one brush, tap off the excess and do one sweep to apply it on the eyelid. Then take a different clean brush to blend it out. Using the same brush you first applied it with will only deepen the entire thing not blend. I also found that if you wanted to blend more matte shades you need to blend out as you go. Apply your first shadow, blend it with a clean brush, then apply your next matte and blend with another clean brush.

Cupid Swatches

Done this way they blend well and don’t become muddied. Because they are so highly pigmented they really don’t layer very well unless you blend between shades.

The shimmers are smooth and buttery soft. They don’t have any chunky bits in them and they apply well with a dry brush and a little brighter with a wet brush. I found myself blending them more with a cotton swab or my finger than I did with a brush as it worked better. The brush didn’t want to move the shimmers around too much once they were applied.

I do tap my shadow rushes before applying them. It is a habit. In doing this one tap I had no fall out. As I prefer to put on my face products before working on my eyeshadow, I like that there is no fall out. In addition the products stayed in place all day with a minimal fading. The deep cranberry shade in the Cranberry palette did stain my lids a little bit so they were pink the next day, but other than that one shade I had no problems.

Ayana Swatches

The Ayana Palette is a good selection of neutrals with a pop of silver for after hours fun. The Cupid Palette makes me thing autumnal wear more than valentines day actually and the Cranberry one feels more celebrational. I think that is because it has three shimmers and two mattes while the other two palettes have three mattes and two shimmers.

I found these palettes to be well selected in their color story and it was easy to pick one up and put together a look. There was enough variation that I could change things up and each of the mattes was pigmented enough that it could be used on it’s own as a one and done look. The palettes are compact and sturdy enough to travel well.

What I find interesting is that because I am not a huge blue and green eyeshadow person, looking at the palettes (both regular and Mini) I would add the Mini Zenon palette and then pretty much had all of the shades I would use. I might feel the need to add a shimmery green for Christmas, but with the fabulous bronze of the Cupid palette i might not. with those four palettes I could get any look I wanted to create.

These Mini palettes are not only a good way to try out the brand, but because they are grouped in color ranges, it is a good way to get the shades you will use. Even if you disregard the price of the larger palettes and just look at the shades included, each palette has a lot of shades that i know I would never touch or at best only try once. With these mini palettes I can honestly say I would use every shade. They are great to use on their own and together they form a collection of just the shades I want. Which means I will use them and not waste a lot of excess product. Sometimes going mini is the best option.

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.

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.

1000x600

Spending time with The Nubian by Juvia’s Place

The Nubian eyeshadow palette by Juvia’s Place is one that I had my eye on for a while. I passed it when I went to ULTA and the neutral shades drew me in. They are the shadows I wear the most. The one thing that kept me from picking it up was that I thought the shade range might get a little dull. Then the world changed and most of my purchases (makeup and otherwise) ended up being on line. Without passing the display, I sort of forgot about it.

However this palette came in an IPSY box so even though I forgot about it, the palette, it seems tracked me down anyway. This is a twelve pan palette that retails for $20 so you are looking at $1.67 per pan of shadow, which is not a bad price at all. Surprisingly, of the twelve shades only five are actually mattes. One of the shimmers is very low shimmer and can pass sort of as a matte though. we’ll get to that though. The shadows have no names so we are just going to number them 1through 12. I will go through the palette left to right starting the numbers with the top row.

L to R: 1,2,3,4

The first row shadows one and four are shimmers while two and three are mattes. The first shimmer is a very subtle shimmer that was fantastic for a low key work look, while shadow #4 was a brighter silvery shimmer. The two mattes in this row were interesting. Shadow two is a brown with an orange hue to that I really couldn’t wear. It sort of made me look jaundiced. Shadow number three worked really well but it is almost identical to shadow #10 in the third row.

L to R: 5,6,7,8

The second row is all shimmer and they are honestly stunning. They are smooth and fantastically easy to work with. They blend well without fading away or becoming muddy. There are two bronze shades in this row and while I adore bronze, they are close enough in tone that one could have been substituted for something else. they are however a great formula.

L to R: 9,10,11,And 12

And then the third row. Shadow #9 is a shimmer. It is a subtle shimmer that can be used as a matte. It does have more shimmer on the eye than it does in the swatch though, so care is needed. The # 10 shadow is almost identical to #3. There is more difference in the swatch than there is on the eye. I did pair this shadow with the darker #11 for a lot of my looks and it was fantastic. Shadow #11 and #12are only different by minor tones and when applied and blended out tend to look identical.

I absolutely loved the formulas of these shadows. Both mattes and shimmers blend beautifully and I adore browns for an every day look. These colors are very much in my wheelhouse and I loved using them. The thing is so many of the tones are so close to each other that when applied and blended they looked identical. Which made me wonder why they were there. It is a great neutral palette and I will reach for it when I need a quick office look (and because I love the browns and bronze) but it does tend to be a bit boring. It is a good palette, but it is hard not to look at it and think that with just a few pan swaps, it could have been amazing. The formula is great, but the shadow selection is good, but not quite great. I am happy to know now that I really do love the formula of the Juvia’s Place shadows and I will be picking more of them up in the future.

BeautyCareChoices.com

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

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.

Kure Bazaar - available at Alyaka.com

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.

Order by December 13th at 11AM EST for Christmas delivery!

Sign up for e.l.f.’s free loyalty program for access to their best Holiday Sales!

e.l.f. cosmetics

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.