When I bought those I also got one of the eye shadow palettes, Smoky & Smudgy. There are two others, Nude & Neutral and Marvelous Mattes. For N&N, see this great review at Nouveau Cheap. For MM, there are several reviews online and all of them that I’ve seen express disappointment because the shades are not matte. They’re pretty, but not matte. Be forewarned.
The palettes have unique packaging — shaped like and with the picture of a large butterfly wing, they are actually like an artist’s palette. You know the stereotype.
Curved, holds your colors, has a hole or two for your thumb or other fingers for a good grip. I LOVE this idea. When I’m applying makeup and am holding a big honkin’ heavy palette in a metal tin, I’m always afraid I’m going to drop it and ruin it. And you just know if I did, it would be a $50 one and not a $3 one.
The Colour Prevails palette is made of heavy, die-cut cardboard, not plastic or metal. That’s good on one hand because it’s eventually recyclable or biodegradable and keeps the costs down, but on the other hand it doesn’t look or feel as fancy. It closes and stays closed with a hidden magnetic catch.
Oddly, though, the palette seems to be put together upside down. The shadow pans and included brush are in what you’d think is the lid, so if you open it with that half facing up, which is the natural and expected way to do it, the brush falls out and the shadows are upside down. You need to open it with the back of the container facing up. This is so counter-intuitive that I wonder if it was a mistake.
Here it is on my fabric cutting grid so you can see the size, about 8″ x 5″. It’s still in its shrink-wrap, hooray for nobody being able to mess with it before buying! Click on any of the following photos for a larger view.
Here it is with the shrink-wrap removed and open. DO NOT take these colors as accurate; better pix are a few paragraphs down. I just want to give you an idea of what the inside looks like on the grid.
A closeup of the note from Colour Prevails founder Nonie Creme, with one suggestion of a look to try:
One of my all too common, rambling asides: I generally do not try for a smoky eye look the way it is popularly thought of — lots of heavy, black eye shadow all the way around the eye and heavily in the crease. People, I am 56 years old. Such an eye shadow application would not make me look like Mila Kunis; it would make me look like Skeletor.
But I do like gray, silver, and purple shadow used lightly, and I like dark blue to line my lower lash line which makes my brown eyes pop. Black works as liner too.
As you can see, there are eight shadows. The non-removable pans are slightly smaller than a quarter at 7/8ths of an inch wide. They’re obviously round, a shape I prefer. I loathe weird triangular or rhomboid eye shadow pans because it’s so hard to get in the corners to use the product. Btw, I want brownie points for using the word “rhomboid.”
The shadow names in the Smoky & Smudgy palette are all related to smoke, fire, or ephemeral weather stuff: Vapor, Soot, Smolder, Haze, Wisp, Fog, Ember, and Coal. There’s a simple picture of each color on the back of the palette but I feel they only give a general idea of the color and don’t tell you what the finish (matte, shimmer, glitter) is at all.
I had a heckuva time photographing the shadows accurately, as my old digital camera can be cranky when it comes to purples and grays and wants to make them all look bright blue. I tried several different lighting conditions and had the best luck with direct morning sunshine (thank you, Karen Falcon of BeautyGeeks, for the suggestion!).
All the shadows are shimmery to various degrees, no mattes or chunky glitters, so I won’t describe each one as a shimmer.
Vapor is a medium silver-gray with a slight blue and purple multichrome sheen.
Smolder is a medium-dark blue.
Wisp is the lightest of the colors, a light but bright silver, also with a blue-purple sparkle.
Ember is a very interesting plum with a slight brown tone.
Soot is the darkest of the four silver-grays.
Haze is a blue-toned purple, or violet. (Kudos to Colour Prevails for the retro music reference, Purple Haze!)
Fog is another silver-gray that seems to have the most blue and purple sparkle.
Coal is the darkest of all eight, a black with the least apparent shimmer in the pan.
Swatches? But of course. I swatched all eight on my inner arm, both over bare skin and over eye primer. I put a thin black line on these photos — above is no primer, below is with primer. The shadows adhered much better with primer and also looked more pigmented. Indoors with the camera flash and then outdoors under direct sunlight:
When I removed the swatches, the un-primered ones brushed right off but the ones over primer stayed put until I washed them off with soap. In other words, use primer! My go-to eye primer is the budget $2 one from e.l.f. which I get at Target.
The included brush is OK, not great. The bristles seem too soft and bendy, and they really kick up a lot of loose powder. I have some other brushes I like better and also sometimes use sponge-tipped applicators and/or my fingers.
The more I look at this palette, the more I’m glad I got it. I really like that, for a smoky palette, the shades aren’t all super-dark nor muddy. There’s a good variety of colors. Finally, someone realizes that silver is a smoky color too!
At $19, it may seem expensive for a drugstore palette. Only you know if that matters to you. But I tell you what, if I found this at Ulta for the exact same price I’d be thinking what a screaming deal I was getting.
I haven’t worn these shadows on my eyes yet, but plan to this evening. I’ll report back on what I like or don’t like, and how the wear is. Have an awesome weekend!