Shades from left to right: Auburn, Copper, Espresso, Brick, Champagne, and Mauve
With the nude face being one of Fall 2010â€™s hottest trends, it would be easy for you to just turn to your favorite shimmery champagne shadow, swipe a bit over your lid, and run out of the house. Skin glowing and cheeks instantly tinted red by the late-autumn chill, youâ€™re the image of ultimate chic. But if you feel the look is too plain â€” too bare â€” and youâ€™re tempted to reach for that black liquid liner and slap on a thick cat eye, why not turn to your earth tones instead?
On one of my monthly trips to Sallyâ€™s a while back, I had just finished my hair product shopping and was waiting for my father to pick me up. Having already examined the aisles twice (Iâ€™m always convinced Iâ€™ve missed some new, revolutionary product thatâ€™s been quietly tucked in between the Cholesterol Masques and the clarifying shampoo), the only display left was the makeup.
Iâ€™ll admit it. Iâ€™m a makeup snob. Seeing price tags of $5.99, $2.99, and, it pains me to say, $0.99, I was more than skeptical of these modestly packaged beauty items. I reluctantly bowed my head down towards the bare-bones rack.
I skimmed over the cheap looking glitters, eyeliners in simple glass pots, and miles of mini-palettes that I was sure contained less pigment than a freshly washed brush.
â€œOh, those are greeeeeaaaat.â€ I snapped my head up in time with the bursting of the clerk’s gum bubble. She sucked the pink goop into her mouth between pastel lips and nodded. â€œYeah, theyâ€™re like, comparable to MAC shadows. Really pretty. Great pigment. I looooove â€˜em.â€ She went back to examining her nails.
Comparable to MAC shadows? I thought she had to be exaggerating, but fortunately for me, there was one shadow available for testing.
And she was right.
From left to right: Auburn, Copper, and Espresso
I bought 20. For less than a dollar each, I could afford to take the chance that the tester I had swatched was simply some mistake; a high-end department store brand shadow that had been cleverly or accidentally swapped into a Sally Girl compact to fool makeup enthusiasts like myself. How glad I am that this complicated confabulation was completely wrong.
I purchased a huge variety of shades, from blues and navies, to purples and magentas, to forest greens and day-glo limes. But being the season it is, the six earthtones I hauled have taken a semi-permanent spot in my kit (at least until purple becomes de rigeur again). Fortunately, these little marvels (1.1 grams, to be precise; for comparison, MAC shadows are 1.5 grams) come in connecting compacts, so you can organize them any way you want (I do it by color family so itâ€™s easier to quickly find a shade on a job, but I know plenty of people who do it by â€œlookâ€, like putting all the shadows they use for a smokey eye in one palette). My earthtones palette contains the shades Auburn, Copper, Espresso, Brick, Champagne, and Mauve. Honestly, I donâ€™t know where half of these names come from. Donâ€™t trust them. Go by the actual shadow. Each of them has a very fine shimmer, which turns metallic when applied wet.
Left to right: Brick, Champagne, and Mauve
Auburn is a sort of orangey burnt-copper shade, perfect for this seasonâ€™s orange eyeshadow look if you donâ€™t want to be so in-your-face about it. This shade looks stunning with green eyes, and works well as an eyeliner if you want a no-fuss, simple-chic look for days when you have minimal time but need to look put-together.
Copper is actually more of a burnished, almost-antique gold (but with a bit more brown in it). The finish on this is absolutely gorgeous, and creates almost a slick sheen thatâ€™s nearly impossible to duplicate without the use of creams or gels.
Espresso is a slightly more matte (though still shimmery) coffee-brown. Nothing especially different about this one, but it is simply a fantastic, all-purpose brown that would be great for creating a more played-down smokey eye.
Brick is possibly my favorite in this palette. Itâ€™s an amazing reddish brown, perfectly reminiscent of sun-baked, natural brick. It has an odd multidimensionality about it thatâ€™s hard to describe. The closest I can relate it in words is that it looks like a really expensive gel-pen, one that you would have to send away for from a specialty art supplier, and you order it on its own, not as part of a set. You keep this pen hidden away in your drawer to make sure that no one grabs it to scribble down a quick grocery list or hasty phone message; this is for your use only.
Champagne is actually more of a frosty white-gold. Itâ€™s fantastic for highlighting the brow-bone on lighter skin, or placing at the inner tearduct to brighten up tired eyes. Iâ€™ve also used it as a base color for a more natural, light-hearted Daughter Earth look.
Shades along the top are applied dry, and the ones below them applied wet
Mauve is a pinky-beige, and possibly the most matte of any of these shades. It has a slight bit of rose in it, and is lovely as a crease color to add some depth with nothing else on your lids. Pair it with Auburn for a fantastic, low-key, yet eye-popping look.
I prefer all of these shadows when applied wet. This method intensifies the color without deepening it (a problem I find with a lot of other shadows), and increases the wear-time twice over. Applied dry, these shadows wear for about three hours before beginning a slow fade. With a primer, expect to at least double this time again.
Formula-wise, these are all simply gorgeous. They apply like silk, donâ€™t change consistency during wear, rarely migrate (Iâ€™ve only ever seen this happen once), and produce barely any fallout.
My only gripe with these is the packaging, which looks rather cheap. And although I like the linking ability of these little compacts, the lids are rather flimsy. Iâ€™ve already had two pop off (theyâ€™ll snap back on again, until you open them). Beware of this when travelling (I always pack mine separately from the rest of my kit, in a ziplock bag, just in case one of them decides to open itself all over my products.) And yes, perhaps Iâ€™d like a bit more wear-time. But with a small dab of primer, this minor complaint is locked away.
So, for less than a dollar each, thereâ€™s really no risk here, and your eyes certainly have a lot to gain. I mean, câ€™mon. These are greeeeeeeeaaaat! I looooooooove â€˜em!