Morphe Brushes Eyeshadow Review

I’m really excited about today’s review! This post has been in the draft stage for far too long, but I want to finally put in my two cents about Morphe Cosmetics. I had been stalking Morphe Brushes’ site for a while a couple months ago since they get rave reviews from beauty bloggers, but I kept stalling because I don’t need any more eyeshadow. While that is still true, I eventually caved because the eyeshadow palettes are only $20, so I somehow justified it to myself.

So first of all, these palettes look suspiciously similar to the kind of palettes you can get from sites like bh cosmetics, crown brush and coastal scents, among others. While all of those companies have branched out into creating more of their own unique products, their original focus used to be importing those Chinese 120 color palettes that were once only available through eBay. I’ve reviewed the 120 palettes before and I really like them, but they’re generally best for extremely bright looks. The reason being that while those eyeshadows are typically pretty vibrant, they also have a somewhat dusty, chalky texture. I love them because they have a great range of pigmented brights and they’re very affordable which is good since I don’t use colors like that often, but they don’t feel as good to work with. For neutral colors that I use a lot, I prefer to go with higher end shadows that are nicer to work with and easier to blend.

These palettes are NOT the same as the eBay palettes. They are made in America and the eyeshadows are (mostly) smoother and better quality. This is also a female-owned small business, so I feel good supporting them. I ended up with the 35W palette for $19.99. Weirdly, it has the exact same shades as the 35N palette, except that pallette is all matte while this had some shimmers mixed in. I actually wish I had waited to buy this because they just released some new 35 pan palettes that look amazing (the 35P plum palette, 35K smoky neutral palette and 35O orange-toned palette), but whatever. For $20 I can always buy another. Let’s talk about the one I have for now.

Let’s start with pictures of the palette itself!

In bright daylight (quarter shown for scale):
MORPHE BRUSHES 35W eyeshadow palette

Artificial light.
MORPHE BRUSHES 35 color warm palette

The second image in artificial light looks closer to what the shades look like in real life, but I thought it was helpful to show both pictures to give a better idea of which shades have shimmer and which don’t.

I also swatched every single shade, so here they are, shown in the same order they appear in the palette. Each swatch is done over a strip of primer, so you can see how each one performs with and without it.

MORPHE BRUSHES 35W palette swatches row 1

MORPHE BRUSHES 35W palette swatches row 2

MORPHE BRUSHES 35W palette swatches row 3

MORPHE BRUSHES 35W palette swatches row 4

MORPHE BRUSHES 35W palette swatches row 5

Based on my swatches, I made this chart indicating the best and worst performers. The shadows with the stars are really nice, smooth, buttery, and high-end feeling. The ones without any marks are decent, like higher quality drugstore shadows (think NYX or L’Oreal) and the X’s are for weak shadows that work like low quality cheap shadows.

MORPHE BRUSHES 35W palette eyeshadow quality

Only 4 real duds here. That’s not bad for the money I spent, right? I have had had a little trouble blending some of the shades, but overall I found the palette versatile and good to work with. The only problem I had was keeping track of which shadows I preferred working with over others. The really good ones are so smooth to work with, but sometimes I’d accidentally grab a muddier one and end up having to start my eye look over.

Here are a couple of looks to give you an idea of how they work in practice.

MORPHE BRUSHES 35W palette warm look MORPHE BRUSHES 35W palette warm eyeshadow look MORPHE BRUSHES 35W palette reviews MORPHE BRUSHES 35W palette silver look MORPHE BRUSHES 35W palette look MORPHE BRUSHES 35W palette eye look MORPHE BRUSHES 35W palette cool look MORPHE BRUSHES 35W look


Radiant Orchid Soft Smoky Eye

To go along with Spring 2014’s lavender trend (Radiant Orchid is Pantone’s color of the year for 2014, after all), I did a lavender eye and lip look. I skewed mine a little more into the smoky plum territory just because the former goth in me refuses to be silenced. Here’s how it looked:

smoky plum purple eye makeupradiant orchid smoky plum makeupradiant orchid purple smoky eye makeupradiant orchid soft plum smoky eye spring 2014


I’m wearing the shade “Sexy” from TheBalm Nude ‘Tude Palette ($36) as a base, with “Curvy Cami” from TheBalm’s Shady Lady Vol. 1 Palette ($39.50) layered over, plus “Luscious Lani” to highlight and “Risque Renee” as a liner.

I’m also wearing Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Rapture ($22). By the way, this shade is nearly identical to OCC Lip Tar in Lydia.

radiant orchid lips - urban decay rapture

It Cosmetics Luxe Eye Shadow Palette Review

I was looking for a taupe-y matte crease color at Ulta the other day and ended up walking away with a whole palette instead. It’s the It Cosmetics Luxe Anti-Aging High Performance Eye Shadow Palette w/Dual Brush ($38).

it cosmetics Luxe Anti-Aging High Performance Eye Shadow Palette

These colors are highly pigmented and easy to apply, plus they’re smooth and really last. The mirror is a good size and the brush is good for something packaged in a compact. It isn’t the best brush in the world, but works well enough and I’d rather have a brush than not.

The faux leather packaging does feel cheap, however. I don’t know why they didn’t just use a standard slimline cardboard case if they were cutting corners, but honestly I’m buying this for the product more than the case. I don’t mind that the case isn’t as nice as an Urban Decay Naked palette when it’s also so much cheaper!

The best thing about this palette? Practicality! The eyeshadows on the top row are highlight shades, the middle are lid colors and the bottom row are liner colors. They can all be used in different ways, but it’s nice that they included all the colors you need for several complete looks. There is also a good balance between shimmer and matte finishes.

Bottom line: matte and shimmers in a range of tones with a mirror and brush for under 40 bucks? This palette has everything I need in one place (and I own a LOT of eyeshadow palettes).

Here are is a basic neutral look using the palette:

neutral cat eye pink nude lipssoft smoky cat eyeliner it cosmetics Eye Shadow Palette swatches

And a smoky look:

it cosmetics smoky eye it cosmetics Eye Shadow Palette smoky eyeit cosmetics Luxe Anti-Aging High Performance Eye Shadow Palette swatches

As for the longevity, here it is 7 hours later, still looking vibrant:it cosmetics Eye Shadow Palette longevity wear test

Also pictured in both looks: Rimmel Lasting Finish Matte Lipstick by Kate Moss in 105 ($5.49).

rimmel lasting finish matte lipstick by kate moss 105rimmel lasting finish matte lipstick kate moss 105

Sparkling Smoky Eyes with Stila Jewel Eyeshadow

I’ve mentioned before that I sometimes get fixated on a certain look. Right now, I’m into shimmery, dewy looking eyes. I’m into this as a neutral/retro eye (more on that soon), but this post is about the most dramatic version, perfect for a night out.

sparkly black smoky eye stila jewel eye shadow

To pull this off, I used Stila Jewel Eye Shadow ($20) in Black Diamond on most of the lid. This shadow is PACKED with beautiful micro-glitter that is so shimmery it almost looks wet. It’s very similar to Urban Decay’s Moondust shadows, but it’s a bit more opaque. Really pretty if you love dramatic glitter or metallic looks.
stila jewel eye shadow black diamond

I also patted a few Urban Decay Naked 3 ($52) shades around for accents: I brushed Nooner along the crease for a soft halo, plus I pushed Buzz into the inner corner and blended halfway up the lid to slightly soften the look. I finalized the eye with Stila MAJOR Major Lash Mascara ($22).
sparkly smoky eye with stila black diamond eyeshadow

I’m also wearing a natural, peachy-nude matte lipstick that I love, Buxom Full-On Lip Stick ($19) in Amsterdam.

dramatic glitter smoky eye with stila jewel eye shadow

Dramatically Naked (3)

I know, Naked 3 is old news by now and I’ve already posted about it a ton. However, I’m really trying to test it’s versatility, so here is another Naked look. Sorry not sorry.

This time I tried a dark, moody, dramatic smoky eye using the darker brown and taupe shades from the Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette ($52). I layered Darkside over Liar, concentrating the darkest color on the outer half, then fluffed Nooner just above the crease and swept Burnout along the inner half of the upper and lower lashlines. This palette is so versatile that it’s the only eyeshadow I packed for a three week stay out of town (that I am still on)! UD Naked 3 forever! ❤

urban decay naked 3 smoky eye black messy topknot bunurban decay naked 3 shades darkside burnout liar nooner  urban decay naked 3 smoky eye darkside burnout liar nooner urban decay naked 3 dramatic smoky eye darkside burnout liar nooner

Buxom Color Choreography Palette in Tango

I can’t stop. I held off on buying makeup for a few months, but my shopping addiction has returned with a vengeance as of late. I hope I can stop soon. I placed a few Black Friday orders, so mayyyyybe that will tide me over for the rest of winter? Fingers crossed.

Today’s review covers my new Buxom Color Choreography Eyeshadow Palette in Tango ($36). It isn’t a new product, but that’s ok. I get around to buying things when I get around to them.

Buxom Color Choreography Eyeshadow Palette in Tango

Here are the shades lightly swatched without primer (except for the red, which I layered to see how the color would build up):Buxom Color Choreography Eyeshadow Palette in Tango swatched fair pale skin

My feelings about the palette: Ironically, the burgundy shade that initially caught my eye most was the only disappointment. It’s sheerer than anticipated (I really had to layer it on for the swatch) and more of a reddish-brown than the bright oxblood/burgundy shade that I was expecting. It truer to pan shade when applied wet, so I’ll probably use it most frequently as a liner. While useable, it’s not the star of the show, so this shade’s value is really a matter of perception.

Beyond that, the gunmetal grey and the silvery-taupe are sooo creamy and dreamy and lovely. They’re pigmented and multi-dimensional with gold micro-glitter and they’re gorgeous and I would have bought the palette for them alone. There is slight fallout from the glitter, but nothing unreasonable. The matte grey-brown is an excellent color for definition and also very pigmented. The white highlighter is somewhat sheer (especially on my very fair skin), but I think that’s on purpose since a super pigmented matte white would be distracting and wouldn’t work well to highlight. While not the most exciting shade on the palette, I’m glad they included a matte highlight shade (I’ve mentioned before how important those are to me for both highlighting and blending edges).

I think it’s brilliant how versatile these four neutral shades are. Red shade notwithstanding, the palette features two light and two dark shades in both shimmery and matte finishes and they work well in any combination together. A kit that versatile is a great find.

Sample look using all five shades (the red color is both blended into crease as a halo and applied wet as a liner). I’m also wearing Nyx Powder Blush in Angel ($4.99),  Laura Mercier Stick Gloss in Courtisane ($22 individually or $48 for a set of four) and Juice Beauty Reflecting Gloss in Fig ($15) on top (one of the only glosses that I can stand!).

Buxom taupe grey brown smoky eye black cherry burgundy oxblood eyeliner linerBuxom Color Choreography Eyeshadow Tango smoky eye
grey taupe smoky eye laura mercier stick gloss courtisane juice beauty reflective lip gloss fig

Bottom line, this is a great everyday set with a good sized mirror and a small, but useable brush. The shades are neutral enough for work, but moody enough for a night out. However, if you were looking for something really dramatic with a bold pop of color, this is not the right palette.

Sultry Parisian Smoky Plum Eyes

This is actually from last night, but that’s ok. I’ve been using my portable makeup kit a LOT lately (always on the go!) and wanted to share a sample look. After experimenting for a few weeks, I’ve updated the go bag with a few different products. I swapped the Revlon Quad for the more pigmented and better wearing  NYX Love in Paris Eye Shadow Palette in Je Ne Sais Quoi ($9.99) and switched out the Lipstick Queen Oxymoron Matte Gloss for a brighter blush (it’s been so chilly and I needed to warm my complexion up!). I used both of these new additions, plus the brow pencil, concealer and mascara from the original kit.

So here’s the look. I wish I had captured the original, work-appropriate look, but this is after I amped up the smokiness for nighttime. I’m also wearing  Laura Mercier Stick Gloss in Peony ($22 individually or $48 for a set of four), which has a subtle sheen and seems to change color depth in different lights. I really like the NYX palette because there’s a really good variety of dark and light colors in matte and shimmer textures. It’s compact and super versatile, I love it! There’s a closeup of the shades from the palette in my smoky cat eye post from last week. I know it’s just because the palette’s name is French, but using it always makes me feel very Parisian Chic. With that in mind, I layered the plum color over the brown shades for a look that makes me think of dimly lit foreign films.

Enough sparkle for bright light, enough depth for low light:

brown plum smoky eye nyx love in paris eyeshadow palette sheer laura mercier stickgloss peony brown plum smoky eye nyx love in paris Je Ne Sais Quoi sheer laura mercier stick gloss peony brown plum smoky eye nyx love in paris Je Ne Sais Quoi brown plum smoky eye nyx love in paris eye shadow palette Je Ne Sais Quoi