Hello there, lovelies! If you’ve been following my YouTube channel (and if you haven’t, I highly recommend getting on that. I’ve got some fun things going on over there) you’ll have already seen me swooning over this latest launch from LORAC. The Pro 3 Palette is finally available for purchase online from Ulta, and will be coming to stores on June 26th. I managed to snag mine during a Platinum exclusive presale (#ispendtoomuchmoneyonmakeup) and filmed my very first impressions and a little tutorial when it came in. I was totally blown away by how pigmented and buttery soft these shadows were, and promised a full review after I had a little more time to play with things. And thus, here I am! We’re going to talk pros and cons, swatch things out, and even take a look at how these translate to the eyes. Excited? I know I am.
Just like the first two LORAC Pro Palettes, the Pro 3 contains 16 gorgeous eyeshadows (8 shimmers and 8 mattes) and retails for $44. The shade selection in the Pro 3 is a bit more warm toned, and has a nice mix of highlighting, transition, and defining shades. It does not contain a brush, however, each palette does come with a deluxe sample of LORAC’s Behind the Scenes Primer.
To start things out, let’s take a look at how this palette swatches out. As a note, these swatches are on a bare arm sans any kind of base or primer. I’ll swatch everything out in the same order as it’s laid out in the palette so it should be easy for you to follow. As a somewhat organizational freak, I greatly appreciate how LORAC chooses to lay out their pro palettes. The entire upper row is comprised of matte shadows, and the bottom shimmers, mostly transitioning from light to dark.
For the most part, these swatches speak for themselves. You can tell that these shadows pack a decent amount of pigmentation, and that they apply relatively smoothly. The only two shades that were a little weird for me were Medallion and Dark Mocha, both of which were a bit chunky to the touch and uneven in application. With a dry brush I think these two shades are a bit tricky to work with, so I would suggest either using your finger or applying them wet. It’s a shame because the colors themselves are stunning, and the rest of the shimmer shades are perfectly buttery smooth.
Of course, finger swatches aren’t everything. How things actually apply with brushes to the lid and blend together can be more telling. Here’s a smokey look I created to give you guys a feel for how these operate.
In this look I started by applying the shade canvas all over the lid and through the crease to work as a base, then I applied the shade Cool Taupe in the crease as a transition. Then I applied Light Pewter All over the lid with a flat brush to build up the intensity of the color, and used the shade Truffle to darken the outer corner and deepest part of the crease. I also brought truffle under the lower lash line to smoke things out. Last, I used the shade Almond Pearl to highlight in the inner corners of the eyes and along the lash line to brighten, patting it in with my finger, and Blanc along the brow bone to soften out any harsh edges.
Follow it up with some winged liner and falsies and BAM. Smokey eyes acquired.
All in all I found these shadows really easy to work with. With a brush the application is a little less intense in pigmentation, which is nice if you’re looking to blend or slowly build up color in specific areas. If you really want to pack on the shine or color, your best bet is to use your fingers or a dampened brush. On their own these shadows also have pretty decent lasting power, although I think using a primer does help. The one included with the palette is decent (although perhaps not my favorite) and reminds me a lot of Too Faced’s Shadow Insurance.
The one thing I’ll also note is that since these shadows are very soft, they do kick up quite a bit of powder when you dip your brush into them. The shadows themselves are by no means dry or chalky to the touch, but you’ll definitely deal with quite a bit of fallout around the actual pans themselves. Long story short, admire the pretty new packaging before you start in on this bad boy, because it’ll never look that pristine again.
Since they’re so highly regarded in the makeup community, I thought it worth taking a moment to see how this palette sizes up to those from the Urban Decay Naked series. The tones in this particular palette are probably most akin to the Naked 3, although they are certainly not dupes of each other. You get 4 more shades in the LORAC Pro 3 than you do in any of the Naked Palettes, and it retails for $10 less, however you are also getting about half as much product. Each of the pans in the naked palette weigh 0.05 oz, while the LORAC pans are only 0.02, giving the Naked palettes a net weight of 0.6 oz and the LORAC Pro palettes only 0.32. The Naked Palettes also include a brush, while LORAC palettes do not. However, this also means that the LORAC palettes are much more slim and compact (although the cardboard packaging leaves a little to be desired).
Quality-wise I think LORAC and Urban Decay both make pretty amazing eyeshadows. I think LORAC’s mattes are a bit more silky and smooth than Urban Decays, but their shimmering shades are a bit less consistent. Either way, you’re going to get some beautifully pigmented, blendable eyeshadows to work with.
So how do you choose? Ultimately I think it comes down to a matter of personal preference. While Urban Decay gives you more bang for your buck in terms of cost-per-ounce of product, I find the lack of matte shades in each palette a bit more limiting. If you want a one-and-done palette, I think LORAC is a better option, as you’ve got a ton of matte highlighting and transitional shades to work with. But it’s truly up to you!
Final verdict? I’ve been using this palette pretty much non-stop since I got it, so I’m feeling confident in my decision to pick it up. I’ve held off on purchasing a LORAC Pro Palette for years, mostly because I knew I didn’t really need another neutral eyeshadow palette in my life, but I’m happy that I decided to splurge and treat myself.
That being said, this is another neutral eyeshadow palette. The colors are beautiful, but they aren’t earth shatteringly unique. Of the three LORAC Pro palettes, I think this one is the softest and most daytime friendly, although you can obviously also use it to create some sex-i-fied, dramatic looks too. Basically, if you already own and love one of the Naked Palettes or the original LORAC palette, this would probably be a superfluous addition to your makeup collection. If you’re as nutty about makeup as I am, you might not care, but if you’re on a budget and trying to take the more minimalistic approach to things, you aren’t going to be hugely missing out by not having this palette in your life.
If you are, however, lacking a solid neutral eyeshadow palette, and/or are newer to makeup in general, I think this is an awesome option to consider.