Monday, October 12, 2015

MUA Professional Smokey Eye Shadow Palette Review & Tutorial

Happy Monday, friends! I don't know about you, but my weekend went by insanely fast. I had a ton of blog related work to catch up on, as well as stuff to do around the house, and somehow that combination of activities basically created a time vacuum where you can blink and 6 hours have gone by. Such is the story of my life. Anyway, after all my hard work I've got a ton of awesome posts planned to share with you guys that will hopefully go up over the course of the week.

To kick things off I've got this sexy little number to tell you about. Now, I have to admit that my impression of Makeup Academy as a brand wasn't so great prior to my purchasing this palette. I had only ever tried one product from their entire range (a makeup brush), and it sucked so hard that I just didn't have all that much of a desire to try anything else. Alas, Tati and her magical powers of persuasion got me to give them a second chance after she raved about their eyeshadow palettes. From what I can tell, there are three different varieties to choose from - a Nude Palette, a Metallic Palette, and this little beauty, the Smokey Palette. I knew I didn't really need another palette of nude shades, and the metallic palette, while pretty, had a lot of colors I probably wouldn't wear often. This one, however, found a perfect middle ground (a very Goldilocks-esque situation, I realize).

For those of you who may not be familiar with MUA, its a very popular UK brand that's had a limited release over here in the states. Currently you can only buy MUA products at CVS, and they are on the pricey side for a drugstore brand. Fortunately CVS frequently has sales and extrabucks promotions, so if you're patient you can easily snag this palette or any of their other products at a discount. Looking at their UK site, MUA has a massive selection of single shadows, palettes, lip products, and more, so here's to hoping they'll expand their US offerings down the road. I also could not find any of these palettes on the UK site, which leads me to believe that they were a stateside specific release. I know that the US and UK markets do have variation sometimes, even within the same brand, I just hope that the MUA products we get here are on the same level of quality as they are overseas. Maybe some day I'll get to go to London and find out for myself!

Each of these palettes retails for around $14 and contains 10 different eyeshadow shades. The pans are a good size, and in comparison to similar palettes from Maybelline and L'Oreal I'd say the price point is fair. The packaging does have that trademark drugstore feel with its black plastic casing, however I do appreciate that they tried to keep it looking a little bit more sleek and streamlined. Inside you will find a mirror and a brush, but both of them are too thin to truly be practical for use.

For a palette aimed at creating a smokey eye, I think MUA picked a pretty lovely range of colors. You've got a few lighter and mid-range neutrals that are good for highlighting and transitioning, and a beautiful mix of deep shades to add the drama. I also appreciate that they give you a few pops of color to play with, including a vibrant blue, a smokey plum, and a moody violet. They describe the shadows as having either a "pearl" finish or a matte finish, with pearl having a very sheen-y metallic sort of look.

Performance-wise, these shadows are a bit inconsistent. Some colors are amazing, while others are a bit more chalky and patchy. In the upper row you have a matte cream shade, a chocolate pearl shade, a plum pearl shade, a matte black shade, and a blue pearl shade. Both of the matte shadows were a bit lackluster to me, as matte drugstore shadows often are. They both were sort of dusty and didn't offer a lot of pigmentation. The brown and purple shades were a little bit better, but still were a bit hard texture-wise, and swatched patchily. The blue, however, was totally stunning. It was incredibly creamy and pigmented, and the metallic sheen you get off of it is gorgeous.

In the second row you have a satiny caramel shade, a taupe pearl shade, a pink pearl shade, a black pearl shade, and a violet pearl shade. This second row was way more impressive than the first. The three neutral shades were all very creamy and pigmented and swatched out beautifully. The black metallic shade was still a little sheer, although much smoother than its matte counterpart, and the violet shade was very much similar to the blue in the upper row.

It's a little disappointing that some of the shades have this amazingly buttery texture, while others are sort of powdery and blah, but I'd still say they work well together overall. I would recommend using some kind of primer or cream base underneath these shadows to help give them a little boost. To show you guys how these actually wear on the eyes I've filmed a tutorial using 5 of the shades in this palette to create a neutral smokey eyed look.

Fortunately I think these shadows performed better on the eyes than they swatched out, especially having primed first. In a way its also not a terrible thing that some of the darker shades are slightly more sheer in application, because you can more easily build up the color without going overboard.

Of the three MUA palettes available, I would say that this one has the most versatile color range. You can just as easily create a natural, everyday look as you can something sultry and dramatic, and you get a nice balance of neutral shades and pops of color. I also think that palettes in general are a great value, and give you a lot of options without having to invest in a ton of single shadows.

If you guys have tried other products from MUA I would love to hear your recommendations as to what I should try next! I know Tati raves about their lipsticks, so those might have to go on the shopping list. And if there is anyone out there who has tried both the US and UK versions of their products I'd also be curious to know if you think there's any difference between them. In the meantime, I hope you all have a great week ahead, and I'll be back to chat with you soon!

What makeup look should I create next?