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Nars Dual Intensity Eyeshadow Palette | Review and Swatches

Nars do always produce the most swoonworthy palettes, don’t they? This is, surprisingly, my first palette from the brand, and ever since they announced that they were releasing it I knew it had to be mine. Continue reading for a full in-depth review and swatches of this beautiful palette…

A somewhat recent release from Nars were their Dual Intensity Eyeshadows. These were a pretty big release as they were eyeshadows that were marketed as a sheer wash of shadow when used dry and as an intensely pigmented product when used wet. When you use regular eyeshadows wet, the eyeshadow then becomes unusable unless you always use it wet as it creates a hardened film over where the water has touched it. These, however, promise that they are versatile enough that using them wet will not affect, or indeed ruin, the texture of the eyeshadow. The single versions of these will set you back £21, which is rather steep for only one shade. The Nars Dual Intensity Eyeshadow Palette is £45 for eight shades, and although the shadows are are slightly smaller (1g vs. 1.5g) it is actually far better value for money (£5.63/g vs. £14/g). All of these shades, with the exception of Ursa Major, are part of the permanent line as a single eyeshadow, so if you like, or would consider purchasing, more than two shades from this palette, then it is definitely worth the investment. 


The packaging on this palette does feel really expensive. The top is mirrored which does attract fingerprints, but is much easier to wipe clean than the original rubberised packaging that Nars is infamous for. It is plastic but it feels very sturdy and protective of the shadows. The palette also comes with a travel size #49 Wet/Dry Eyeshadow brush, which I personally found much better to use when the shadows are wet as opposed to when they are dry. This is definitely a decent brush and not one that you should immediately disregard like many brushes that are included with palettes. 









































Top Row: Europe, Himalaia. Bottom Row: Andromeda, Lysithea





















Top Row: Ursa Major, Subra. Bottom Row: Giove, Sycorax

As for the eyeshadows themselves, there is varying quality throughout this palette. Some were definitely more pigmented than others, and there were some that needed to be used wet to have decent pay off. 

Europa is described as a ‘Gossamer pink peach’. As you will be able to see in the swatches, this is pretty sheer when used dry, however it could be used as a pretty wash of colour all over the lid for a natural, understated eye look. It is still not the most pigmented when used wet, but it does leave a pretty iridescent pink sparkle. 

Himalaia is described as a ‘Shimmering topaz’. This is probably my favourite shade in the palette as it is great both wet and dry. It is shimmery and pigmented when dry but becomes metallic and bold when wet. It is similar to Mac Tan Pigment in the sense that it’s a slightly rose gold-esque shade. Love.

Ursa Major is described as a ‘Chocolate glaze’. It is a cool-toned brown with silver shimmer. What is nice about this shade is that when it’s dry it can be used to build up intensity in the crease or the outer corner without being too intense, but when used wet it is a deep rich brown, perfect for smokey eyes or even to be used as a liner. 

Subra is described as a ‘Black orchid’. When applied dry it is a deep blackened plum shade, which is semi-opaque, much like Ursa Major. But it transforms when it is used wet into a pigmented plum-toned purple. When used in the latter way, this is another of my favourite shades in the palette.

Andromeda is described as an ‘Alabaster’. Because I am quite fair, this barely shows up on my skin when it is used dry, except when it catches the light. It is another shade that really differs when used wet as it then becomes quite an intense, shimmery, slightly pink-toned white. This is a very versatile shade as it can be a very soft and subtle highlight or it could be really amped up to create a lot of drama and intensity and looks especially gorgeous on the inner corners of the eyes. 

Lysithea is described as a ‘Shark grey’. When used dry it is a muted and sheer grey with an intense silver shimmer running throughout. It is fantastic when used wet as it is a metallic true silver. Although silver is not my favourite shade to wear, if I am ever in the mood to rock a silver smokey eye, this will 100% be my go-to. 

Giove is described as a ‘Navy’. This is the brightest and arguably the most hard to wear shade of the palette, but it is truly quite stunning. It is much darker and smokier when used dry, which is great for those who are new to colour in their looks. For those who are far more daring and bold, it is a vibrant but deep navy shade when wet and would make for a stunning and striking blue makeup look. I can also see this working great as a liner for both the upper and lower water lines to add an unexpected pop of colour to your look without straying too far from black. 

Sycorax, the final shade in the palette, is simply described as ‘black’. When used dry it is a really great black eyeshadow as it is not so pigmented that it is overwhelming. It is extremely opaque and intense when used wet, so would also be perfect as a liner, or if you were going for a really dark smokey eye this would be stunning. 






















(Dry Swatches)


























(Wet Swatches)

I am absolutely in love with this palette, and it is definitely something a little different than the average. The wet/dry formula may mean that it takes a little longer than usual to apply your eyeshadow, but trust me, it is worth it. This is limited edition so if you like the look of this, make sure you snap it up fast! What do you think of the palette? Is it something that you would splurge on?

RachelElizabeth

Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette | Review and Swatches

With the exception of the Urban Decay Naked Palettes this palette has to be one of the most hyped and talked about in the blogging world. It combines many girls two favourite things: chocolate and eyeshadow. How could that not be a bestseller?

The Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette contains 16 eyeshadows, with varying finishes. The first thing that you will notice when you open this palette is the smell. To me it smells like really sweet chocolate, something along the lines of Milka or anything Kinder. The eyeshadows are infused with cocoa powder which not only makes this palette smell delicious but has somewhat of a special quality to it. The tin packaging feels fairly robust and protective, but the closing is only magnetised rather than a click which is slightly unsatisfying. 




When it comes to the eyeshadows themselves, the formula is stunning. Beginning with the left half of the palette, pictured below, there are three matte shades and 5 shimmers. Gilded Ganache is a deep blackened brown with a golden shimmer running throughout. White Chocolate is a creamy beige which is perfect for highlighting. Salted Caramel is a warm mid-toned brown, the perfect warm transition shade for your crease. Marzipan is a champagne shade with a gorgeous metallic finish. Semi-Sweet is another great crease shade – a neutral medium slightly darker brown. Hazelnut is a shimmery bronze which really catches the light. Creme Brulee is a metallic true gold and finally Haute Chocolate is a shimmery cooler taupe-brown. 























The right hand side of the palette has a lot more of the colourful shades. Milk Chocolate is another great transition shade, but it is much more neutral than Salted Caramel. Black Forest Truffle is a deep plum with silver and gold shimmer – I actually found this one to not be as pigmented as some of the other shades. Triple Fudge is the darkest shade in the palette, but it is a deep cool brown which is a softer alternative to black. Strawberry Bon Bon is a matte baby pink shade, which can be really pretty when used as a lid shade. Candied Violet is an indigo shade with pink and silver glitter – this was another shade that ran a little sheerer but it is pretty to layer over a base due to the amount of glitter. Amaretto is a really metallic bronzey-burgandy shade. Cherry Cordial is a matte red-toned brown with tiny (almost unnoticeable) flecks of silver glitter. The final shade in the palette is Champagne Truffle which is the other larger highlight shade – a gorgeous metallic pearl. 
























Overall, I think this palette performs really well. There are a few slightly worse shades, namely Black Forest Truffle and Candied Violet, but they can be built up for higher opacity, or as I mentioned above, they can be intensified by wearing them over an eyeshadow base. I don’t think that the layout is the best that I’ve seen in a palette – the shades that are next to each other aren’t necessarily the best colour combinations in the palette. If it’s overwhelming, then it is useful to look at the palette as having two separate halves, like it was separated in this post as then you have a more neutral side vs. a more colourful side. 

Despite the negative aspects I managed to find, I really do love this palette. For the most part, the shadows are buttery and extremely pigmented. It’s also nice to see a neutral palette that has a few unique shades thrown in – it encourages us neutral lovers to experiment a little and get out of our comfort zones. Have you tried this palette? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

RachelElizabeth

Wet n Wild Comfort Zone Eyeshadow Palette | Review and Swatches

Admittedly, one thing I was so excited about when I was heading to New York was the prospect of going to American drugstores. It’s not even an exaggeration that I spent a good few hours of our trip popping in CVS and Duane Reade – especially when the one a few blocks away from our hotel was open 24 hours! I had accumulated quite a wish list thanks to all of the amazing stateside YouTubers that I watch, and this particular eyeshadow palette was especially difficult to source. It was sold out everywhere. When I finally saw one I snatched it up immediately, and boy am I glad I did…


The Wet n Wild Color Icon Palette in Comfort Zone is a neutral and green-toned eyeshadow palette retailing at $4.99(!). I knew it was going to be affordable, but when I saw the price my jaw dropped. Understandably I was a little skeptical about the quality, but the rave reviews it receives are definitely deserved. Firstly, the colour selection is gorgeous. The left hand side of the palette would be a great neutral quad on its own. The ‘browbone’ shade on this half is a stunning highlight shade; the eyelid and crease are really nice shimmery warm shadows which are perfect as lid shades, and the definer is an interesting deep blackened burgundy which could create a really striking smokey eye or could easily be used to line the eyes. 

However, I really fell in love with this palette because of the right half. I’m not the biggest colour-wearer, but these are really wearable yet interesting shades, that I can definitely see myself rocking. The browbone shade on this half is actually quite neutral, and this is one I have worn quite a lot all over my lid. The eyelid shade is a green with slight gold undertones, which I find make it far more wearable. The final shades are stunning – the ‘crease’ shade is a deep dark green with gold shimmer running through and the definer (arguably my favourite, and a dupe for Mac Club) is a warm brown with a bright blue duochrome. That shade worn over a black base is such a stunning smokey eye without being too garish and colourful. 

The formula of these are really quite amazing, regardless of the price. They are smooth, buttery and incredibly pigmented – I think the swatches really do show how great the quality is. There are some downfalls but nothing that would make me discourage anyone from buying this palette. The first is the packaging; it is obviously not luxurious or robust. It feels as if it could break very easily, but at this price-point you can’t really expect much more than that. It also is lacking in matte shades but these are easily supplemented with other palettes and eyeshadows that you may already own (check out my review of the Makeup Revolution Essential Mattes Palette for an affordable option). Yet as a set of shimmery eyeshadows, you really can’t beat this for the price.























I am thoroughly impressed with this palette, and am actually so shocked at how affordable it really is! If you live in the States, and I envy you strongly, you have to pick this palette up if you haven’t already. Have you ever tried anything from Wet n Wild? Let me know your experiences and faves!

RachelElizabeth




Mac Keepsakes / Plum Eye Bag | Review, Swatches and Eye Look! Blogmas Day #4

























I have to admit, I don’t usually pay much attention to the Mac Christmas collections. They come out with so many collections these days and I’m just not as into following them as I used to be. That being said, I was very pleased and excited to receive one of the eye kits for my birthday from some lovely friends as I hadn’t tried any of the products that came with it…
The Mac Keepsakes / Plum Eye Bag contains three eye products: an Extra Dimension eyeshadow duo in the shades Triple Impact and Round Midnight, a powerpoint eye pencil in the shade Permaplum, an In Extreme Dimension Lash mascara and they all come in an amazing limited edition glittery black makeup bag. Only the eyeshadows from this set are limited edition, so the eyeliner and the mascara are available to purchase all year round. 
I’ve always been intrigued by the Extra Dimension eyeshadows that Mac often bring out with collections. They always contain this stunning raised swirl pattern, and the formula is very unique. It feels somewhere between a cream and a powder – it feels much creamier and smoother to touch that a standard powder eyeshadow but it isn’t actually a cream product. Triple Impact is described as an ‘Opalescent Pink’ – it has a pale pink base and with a blue-purple duochrome running through it, so it looks different colours when it catches the light. Round Midnight is described as a ‘Rich Reddish Plum’ – to me it is a blackened purply-plum shade, that also catches the light beautifully. These are both metallic and shimmery eyeshadows, so if you’re not a fan of sheeny glittery lids then these may not be for you. They are both nicely pigmented, although I would say Round Midnight is more so, and it is definitely my favourite of the two.
I’ve actually never tried an eye pencil from Mac, let alone a Powerpoint Pencil, so I was very intrigued about this one. Permaplum is described as a ‘Deeply Plum with Dark Shimmer’, but to me it is a blackened very blue-toned purple and has a soft sheen to it, rather than any noticeable shimmer or glitter. It is an incredibly creamy formula, which is easy to smudge out to create soft smokey looks. It does set, but it does give you a lot of time to work with. For me this seems like a pencil you use on the lashlines rather than the waterline. 
Much like eye pencils, I have never delved into the world of Mac mascaras as they often don’t get high appraisal in the blogging and YouTube worlds. The In Extreme Dimension Lash is supposed to be largely a volumising formula, which I would definitely agree with. I didn’t get a whole lot of length with this, and I found it a little messy to use as initially it is a very wet formula. The wand reminds me very much of the Benefit They’re Real Mascara as it’s a plastic wand with short bristles and has the extra bristles on the tip of the wand to aid lower lashes and inner corners etc. I don’t think I’ve quite made my mind up on this one, as I feel that if may get better once it has dried up a little. Right now I think it’s okay; it’s not my favourite.
Below I’ve included pictures of all the products used on my eyes. I used Round Midnight all over the lids and Triple Impact  on the inner corner. I blended a little of Mauve from the Lorac Pro Palette (full post here) into the crease and along the lower lashline. for some added definition and to ground the look. I lined the upper lashline and the outer half of the lower lashline with Permaplum and finished off the look with the In Extreme Dimension Lash.  

All in all, I think this definitely a set worth buying if you (or someone you are buying a gift for) love purple-toned eye makeup or is looking to experiment with colour. It’s also a great way to try a few new Mac products for much better value. I definitely give this gift set a thumbs up. What are your thoughts on this year’s Mac Christmas collection?

RachelElizabeth

The Most Coveted Eyeshadow Palette | Lorac Pro Review and Swatches























For the past several times that someone I know has gone to the U.S., I have checked if there is an Ulta near to where they were staying. Who knew that they were actually somewhat of a rarity in the States?! So sadly this had made my quest for the Lorac Pro Palette seem very unlikely. However, it wasn’t until my boyfriend’s mum was about to travel to the States and, as usual, I did my background check and unsurprisingly had no luck, that my boyfriend suggested that I could have it delivered to her hotel… Brilliant! Yet this was not the happy ending to my story – both the Lorac and Ulta websites did not allow a non-US billing address. Not yet completely devoid of all hope, I continued my search and stumbled across several Lorac items on Amazon.com, realising that they actually sell their official products. With a very reasonable international shipping fee, it was in my basket and in my hands within a week. I could not have been happier…


Rambling introductions aside, the Lorac Pro Palette retails for $42. It consists of 16 neutral shadows – the top row matte, and the bottom shimmers. This is where the palette earns its well-deserved hype – the inclusion of so many mattes allows this to be a palette where you really don’t need any other shade to create so many looks. Let’s not forget the formula; it is one of the most buttery and smooth that I have ever come across. The shimmers are metallic but not filled with obnoxious glitter; the mattes are beyond smooth and apply so effortless onto the eye. My favourites are taupe (best transition shade), sable (stunning warm brown), Lt. Bronze (light shimmery gold) and Garnet (beautiful shimmery red-copper). The only shade I was a little disappointed with was white as it isn’t 100% matte – I could detect some shimmer in it, but it still performs well and is by no means a dud shade. 

The packaging also gets a massive thumbs up from me. When I opened the box I was shocked at how thin it is, making it ideal for travelling. The outside does seem like it will get a bit grubby (similar to Nars), but that can be overlooked. On the down side, I was also not too impressed with the included eye primer. I have particularly oily eyelids and am in love with the Nars Pro-Prime Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base and the Lorac offering really didn’t compare.



 


All in all, this is currently my most used and favourite makeup item. As you may be able to tell from my recent reviews, I have bought my fair share of eyeshadow palettes recently, but this is by far the best of the best. If only I hadn’t missed out on the Mega Pro… 


RachelElizabeth 

L’Oreal Paris La Nude Palette | Review and Swatches






















When I received an email from Boots that L’Oreal were coming out with a new neutral eyeshadow palette I immediately jumped on the waiting list. There are a few brands that dominate the budget eyeshadow front – Sleek and Makeup Revolution are probably the most popular in the blogging world, so when I saw that one of the big dogs of the high street brands were joining in the huge neutral palette trend, I was very exciting to see how it would compare…

The L’Oreal Paris La Nude Palette contains 10 neutral shades that err on the rosey side (do I spy a Naked 3 dupe?). There are 6 shimmery shades and 4 mattes which I was very pleased with. Overall I was really impressed with the quality of the shadows. They were all very smooth to apply and the pigmentation is decent. I would say that the shimmery shades performed a little better than the mattes, but from experience this does tend to be the case. The selection of colours are very well thought out and all the shades work really well together. Its mainly cool toned, but what I love is the inclusion of the warm medium matte brown shade (fourth from the left) which is a really nice transition shade. The first half of the palette is perfect for subtle everyday shades, but you can create some really great smokey and dramatic looks with the other half. The best part about this palette is that you don’t need any extra shades, making it a great standalone travel product.



























































































I wouldn’t say that this is the most unique palette – it has a incredibly similar tone to the Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette (check out my review of that here). However, it is less than a third of the price of the Urban Decay option, so if you don’t have that – or you’re an eyeshadow palette junkie like me – then maybe you should check this out. Regardless of the similarities, this is probably one of my favourite palettes from the high street. Have you checked this one out yet?  

RachelElizabeth