Shades from left to right: Auburn, Copper, Espresso, Brick, Champagne, and Mauve
With the nude face being one of Fall 2010’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, you’re the image of ultimate chic. But if you feel the look is too plain â€” too bare â€” and you’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 Sally’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 (I’m always convinced I’ve missed some new, revolutionary product that’s been quietly tucked in between the Cholesterol Masques and the clarifying shampoo), the only display left was the makeup.
I’ll admit it. I’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.
“Oh, those are greeeeeaaaat.” 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. “Yeah, they’re like, comparable to MAC shadows. Really pretty. Great pigment. I looooove â€˜em.” 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 it’s easier to quickly find a shade on a job, but I know plenty of people who do it by “look”, 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 don’t know where half of these names come from. Don’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 season’s orange eyeshadow look if you don’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 that’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. It’s an amazing reddish brown, perfectly reminiscent of sun-baked, natural brick. It has an odd multidimensionality about it that’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. It’s fantastic for highlighting the brow-bone on lighter skin, or placing at the inner tearduct to brighten up tired eyes. I’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, don’t change consistency during wear, rarely migrate (I’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. I’ve already had two pop off (they’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 I’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, there’s really no risk here, and your eyes certainly have a lot to gain. I mean, c’mon. These are greeeeeeeeaaaat! I looooooooove â€˜em!