Estee Lauder’s Pure Color Five Color EyeShadow Palette in Extravagant Gold ($42 for 0.27 oz.) is one of several warm golden toned palettes offered by the different lines for Holiday 2010. When I tested this in the store this weekend, I was impressed with its soft, shimmery texture and remarkable pigmentation. As the palette is warm-neutral based, it is absolutely a color palette that can be used year-round. The quality is excellent, the blendability is beautiful, and the price is right for the generous amount of high-impact color in this palette.
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Le Metier de Beaute’s Fall 2010 collection includes a Kaleidoscope Eye Kit in Le Cirque ($95), a soft, cool and beautiful collection of four colors. The pigmentation in these pans is superb–there is light reflectivity without metal or glitter. Instead, the shadows provide a reflective glow using only the thinnest layer of this finely milled powder. The colors are beautiful and subtle, and seem to strike a nice neutral balance in a season where we’re seeing a lot of more dramatic warms and cools.
Like the other Kaleidoscope palettes, Le Cirque is packaged as a small, round compact for easy packing and storage.
This compact expands and opens to reveal the products inside, together with a mirror to ease application. The closures rely primarily on friction and magnets, which makes opening up each individual layer easy to do with a gentle, though deliberate, touch (translation: you will not chip nail polish on this thoughtfully designed palette).
This picture shows the overall structure of the package, but what is more difficult to show is that these shadow change almost magically in the light. They have a reflective quality that is not as obvious as a duo-chrome, but a much more subtle (and attractive) change as the colors interact with light. It’s stunning–not overwhelming, but subtle and with an elegant shimmer. After the fold, I’ll explore each of these layers in more detail.
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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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