I've been sitting on this blog idea for awhile as I wanted to document my love for neutral eyeshadow palettes and to also take a comprehensive look and see if I had a lot of dupes without realizing. While I also love blushes and lipsticks, neutral eyeshadow palettes are kinda my thing. I LOVE them. When I see one that catches my eye, it makes me drool all over my keyboard and rack my brain trying to justify whether I have some as yet unfulfilled color niche in my rainbow of neutral shadows. There's just something about a beautiful array of neutral tones, so perfectly blendable and so easily matchable, that makes my heart beat a little quicker and my fingers stretch for my wallet. Holding a palette in my hand, with makeup brush in the other, I almost feel like an artist, working magic on my face to create depth, light, and an array of looks to match my mood and outfit. Can a blue shadow do that? I think not!
Cargo The Essentials Palette in Dark Neutral
The Cargo The Essentials palette is the oldest palette in my current collection. I'm not sure why Cargo doesn't get more love online, as I've always had good results with their products and I was choked when Sephora stopped carrying them. This palette is one in a series of quads designed for beginner eyeshadow users. Each pan is etched with a label telling you were to place each color. As well, the pans are physically laid out in the order that you'd apply them. The shades are all matte and have medium color payoff, making them easy to layer and blend out. All the shades in this palette lean warm, so they'd probably suit light to medium neutral or warm skin tones. My only complaint about this palette is that the plastic lid snapped right off after a while, but since this happens to all my plastic packaging, I didn't find this surprising.
The shade breakdown:
- a matte ivory highlight shade
- a matte/satin warm beige lid shade
- a matte slightly darker beige lid/crease shade
- a matte dark brown outer corner shade
You can purchase this palette for $32 wherever Cargo is sold.
Stila The Natural
Next is Stila's The Natural face and eye palette. Sadly, this palette seems to be discontinued, but I think the colors are fairly dupeable. The Natural contains a mix of six different pink toned shades, alongside a warm bronzer and a super shimmery pink highlight. I've always loved a good pink neutral palette, so of course this one was right up my alley. It's a gorgeous mix of matte and shimmer shades that can be worn wet or dry. The sleek palette also comes with a small enclosed mirror and instructions on the lid for two different looks.
I love to use this palette for easy weekend looks by swiping Pure across my brow and Innocent all over my lid. The mattes are kinda powdery, but they last for hours without primer. The mattes are also slightly less pigmented than the shimmers, but can be built up easily; the swatches above for example, are with 3 swipes of my finger.
The shade breakdown:
- Pure - a matte ivory highlight shade
- Linen - a matte soft mauve pink
- Innocent - a matte dusty rose
- Element - a shimmery bronze
- Demure - a frosty mauve pink
- Silk - a shimmery dusty rose
Urban Decay Naked 2
The Urban Decay Naked 2 was the palette that really was the gateway drug to my current collection. It was with this palette that I discovered that there really was a difference between high and low end shadows. All the Urban Decay shadows I've tried are amazing; they give you rich, pigmented color with just one swipe of a brush and when worn with a primer, that color doesn't fade or transfer all day. Each of these shadows feel buttery soft and blend fantastically. I would recommend everyone try one of the Naked palettes. The only downside to these shadows, is that they have a ton of fallout, so you must always tap the excess off your brush before applying.
The Naked 2 contains predominantly shimmery tones starting from soft golds to bronzes, and then transitioning to taupe and plum, giving it a diverse range to work with. Between the Naked 2 and the Naked 1, it's said that the former is better suited for cool skin tones, but I've found most of the shades easy to work with on my NC 20 skin.
The shade breakdown:
- Foxy - one of the lone mattes, Foxy is a yellow-white shade that exactly matches my skin - you can't even see it in the swatches!
- Half-backed - a shimmery gold
- Bootycall - a shimmery soft white pink
- Chopper - a shimmery peach copper
- Tease - a matte tawny brown
- Snakebite - a rich, shimmery chocolate brown
- Suspect - a shimmery golden beige
- Pistol - a shimmery gunmetal with taupe undertones
- Verve - a shimmery cool silver
- YDK - a shimmery pink gold
- Busted - a shimmery plum
- Blackout - a matte black
You can purchase the Naked 2 at Sephora for $64.
Urban Decay Naked 3
Since I was so in love with the Naked 2, I knew that I had to get my hands on the Naked 3 as soon it was released back in 2013. Naked 3 is big departure from the other two Naked palettes as it's decidedly within a certain color spectrum, but it has become my favourite of the Naked palettes. The Naked 3 is dominated by soft, dreamy pink, mauve and gold tones, making this palette perfect for creating romantic, feminine looks (think: BRIDAL). Just like the Naked 2, every shade here is soft, blendable and very pigmented, but they also experience a similar level of fallout.
While many complained that the Naked 3 has less versatility than the other Naked palettes, I would beg to differ. I love how focused the Naked 3 is. If you're a pink/mauve/gold tone lover like I am, it's amazing to be offered such a wide variety of shades within that color family as opposed to same baby pink and plum mauves all the time as in other palettes. These types of colors are hard to overdo and can be worked well by anyone, making it an easy palette to use whether you're a beginner or a professional. While a lot of the shades are shimmery, they aren't as metallic looking as those in the other Naked palettes, which also means this one works better for day and for creating subtle smoky eyes. In my opinion, it's a rookie mistake for people to think a rainbow of colors = value, when what you should really be purchasing for in a palette is to maximize the amount of shades you will actually use. I use every single shade in this palette and I couldn't be happier.
The shade breakdown:
- Strange - a matte ivory
- Dust - a glittery pink
- Burnout - a soft satin cherry blossom pink
- Limit - a matte dusty pink-brown
- Buzz - a shimmery dusty rose
- Trick - a shimmery champagne-pink
- Nooner - a matte medium brown
- Liar - a shimmery light brown
- Factory - a shimmery chocolate brown
- Mugshot - a shimmery light metal grey
- Darkside - a shimmery dark grey
- Blackheart - a shimmery black shot through with pink sparkles
You can purchase the Naked 3 at Sephora for $64.
Urban Decay Naked 1 Basics
2014 was all about the matte for me and after purchasing both the Naked 2 and 3, I had reach max shimmer. I was done with shimmer. 2014 fall and winter was all about matte everything for me. I was all about having matte creased eyes and nude/pink-brown lips care of Kylie Jenner's ode to the 90's. How sad am I? So I went on a hunt for a matte, neutral palette and inevitably it led me right back to the UD aisle at Sephora. I swear that I didn't intend to purchase yet another Naked palette, but goddamnit they are just too good to resist!
The Naked Basics palettes aren't what I first expected them to be, which is capsule versions of their larger counterparts. The Naked Basics are basically all matte shades and the colors are quite muted compared to their predecessors. The Naked 1 Basics is made up of cool toned shades ranging from a pearly white to a flat black. Half of the palette is made up of highlight and base colors, while the other half can be used as crease and liner shades. My favourite shades to use are Venus (brow), Naked 2 (lid) and Faint (crease) to create a perfect sculpted eye.
The shade breakdown:
- Venus - a shimmery pure white
- Foxy - a dupe from the Naked 2
- W.O.S (walk of shame) - a matte ivory
- Naked 2 - a matte light taupe
- Faint - a matte medium brown
- Crave - a matte black
You can purchase the Naked 1 Basics palette at Sephora for $34.
L'Oreal LA Nude 2 Palette
My most recent addition to my neutral palette collection is the L'Oreal LA Nude 2 palette. After reading all the rave reviews, I was really curious to see how this drugstore palette performed against its higher end counterparts. There are two renditions of the Nude palettes: Nude 1 features more brown and gold shades, while Nude 2 has more pinks and purple tones. Of course you know by now which I went for!
Telling myself that I was lacking purples, I opted for the Nude 2. I've only had this palette a couple weeks, but so far I'm impressed! The pigmentation and texture of these shades is really stellar; in fact, there are some shades that are even more pigmented that I would have guessed! The shadows also experience little fallout. Unfortunately, you definitely need a primer with these as they crease horribly, but other than that I'm really happy with this purchase. It probably helps as L'Oreal owns a whole family of higher end brands and was able to take advantage of that for these, but hopefully this means more expansive palettes like this one will be appearing on drugstore shelves in future.
The shade breakdown:
- a matte yellow-pink
- a satin pink rose
- a matte light taupe
- a matte dark brown
- a satin silver-grey
- a matte red-brown
- a satin red-brown
- a matte baby pink
- a matte plum
- a matte deep grape
You can purchase the L'Oreal Nude 2 palette at drugstores in Canada for around $30, but if you live near the border, I'd recommend purchasing it in the US where it's as cheap as $15!
Burberry Complete Eye Palette in Pink Taupe
Last, but not least, is the Burberry Complete Eye palette in Pink Taupe. I received this after visiting the new Burberry boutique in Richmond Centre and I haven't been able to stop using it since. This is my first time using Burberry eyeshadows and I'm in love. Each color in the Pink Taupe palette is true to pan. The shadows are soft, pigmented and experience little fallout. My collection was lacking in green shades and I'm so glad I chose this one as its mossy green tones are super flattering. Besides having high quality shadows, what really marks Burberry as a high end product, is that the palette comes with included brushes that are actually useful and not just after thoughts and the whole thing is encased in a velvet dust bag! It's details like this that really make products special.
The shadow breakdown:
- a satin dark brown
- a satin soft pink-mauve
- a satin mossy green
- a satin brown taupe
Now I want to hear:
What are your favourite neutral palettes?
Tell me in the comments!