In my quest for the perfect neutral palette, I investigated Giorgio Armani’s Eyes to Kill Palette in Steel Black ($59).  This palette was released some time ago, but I recently acquired it.  As we head toward Fall, I’m leaving my bronzer behind and investigating soft washes of dark eyeshadows.

This is my first (but not my last) eyeshadow palette in the concentric circle target “Eyes to Kill” format.  In fact, my last Armani eyeshadow palette purchases were an older formulation that was quite hard and required a very stiff brush to mine the pigment.

As with all Giorgio Armani powder products, Eyes to Kill in Steel Black comes in the delightfully sturdy and packable round palettes.  I’ve dropped these into every conceivable packaging situation, and they always come through perfectly.  These palettes don’t waste space on a brush that you’ll never use, instead they can be tucked virtually anywhere and withstand almost anything.

As a neutral basic for everyday (or travel), Steel Black offers the potential for a toned-downed professional look or an amped up evening look. The two outermost colors–the grey-taupe and cool cream–have shimmer bits.  The center is matte.  Unlike the old maestro quads, I was pleased to see that my standard eyeshadow brushes pulled pigment out of this palette.

  • The star of this show is the shimmery grey-taupe in the outer ring.  This works really beautifully as a lid wash.  Because this is my favorite of the three colors, I was happy that the palette includes the greatest amount of this color.
  • The cream color is a low-toned highlighter.  Unlike a bright white that might be found in many palettes, this highlighter is a deeper tone.  Although not as dark as a mid-toned highlighter, it applies deeper (and more golden) than Nars Abyssina.  Steel Gray’s highlighter has small glimmery-shimmery bits.  This cream shade was not as pigmented as the grey-taupe, application was sheer-to-medium.  A tapered blending brush (MAC 226 or equivalent) worked fine to cover my brownbone and inner corner.  This lighter tone applied far more smoothly on my eye than it did on an arm-swatch, so if you are looking at this at a counter, ask for a brush and a demo.
  • The center black is best used to smoke out the crease, or smudge into a liner or under-eye.  This black is not deep enough to wear alone as a liner color, even wet, so if you like a very black liner (like I do!), supplement this with a pencil, gel or liquid.

Here is a comparison of the Eyes to Kill Steel Black taupe, compared to MAC Satin Taupe, Shu Uemura Silver 945, Addiction Flashback and Chanel Safari.

Overall, I found Giorgio Armani’s taupe to be more glimmery, on the warm side and less plum than others in my collection. I am glad that I tried Steel Black.  I place a heavy emphasis on the quality of any line’s eyeshadows, and Armani’s eyeshadow line is certainly extensive.  I was impressed with the complexity and quality of Steel Black, which I’m sure that I’ll use extensively.  At the same time, Steel Black made me more interested in looking at the other eyeshadows in Giorgio Armani’s collection.

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