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With the success of Urban Decay’s Naked series, it seems like everyone wants a piece of the neutral palette action. The hype is understandable. While bright, bold colors are fun and can add some serious punch to a look, neutrals have a certain versatility that makes them the bread and butter of the eyeshadow world. While there are many an offering among prestige brands if you’re looking for a do-all palette, affordable options have been lacking.
Enter, Maybelline’s newest offering – The Nudes Palette. Priced at a very reasonable $14, you’ll get your choice of 12 different neutral shades in both matte and shimmer formulations.
Now, I’ve only had this palette to play around with for a few days, but in that time I’ve decided my feelings towards it are relatively…mixed.
Let’s first take a look at the color selection.
Colors & Textures
Out of the 12 shades, I would say that 5 are truly matte, and 7 have a bit of shimmer. I personally like to use both kinds of formulations (mattes to do double duty as brow color, eyeliner, and to blend into the crease, shimmers for all over lid colors and highlights) so I appreciate it whenever a palette offers a balanced selection. This is actually probably my biggest gripe about the original Naked Palette (which, don’t get me wrong, I totally love). It’s a lot more shimmer heavy than I would have liked.
There is also a decent balance of warm and cool shades, which I think harmonize decently well together. If you flip the palette over and take a peek at the back side you’ll find that the colors have been purposely arranged into three quads of complimentary colors. There are also diagramed instructions on ways you can apply and use the colors to create different looks. While I’m one that likes to mix and match as I please I probably won’t pay too much attention to these suggestions, but I can see how they might come in handy.
Quality & Performance
That all being said, there is still the question of how the shadows actually perform. This is where the disappointment starts to kick in. It appears that Maybelline has used the same shadow formulation found in their normal line, which is inconsistent at best. In sum, the lighter shades were lacking in pigmentation, and the matte formulas were a bit chalkier and more difficult to blend than the shimmer ones. In the end, I think the swatch speaks for itself
I’ve swatched the colors from left to right, starting with the top row. I used my NYX HD Eye Primer as a base under the colors to make them pop.
As you can see, the first shadow in the top row is a huge flop. There is a bit of golden shimmer, but essentially no pigmentation. The next two shades are also barely visible, even after several swipes. Once we start hitting the midrange and deep shades, though, I think the bar was raised. The mid toned shimmers were especially pigmented and blended decently well. The matte black shade had decent pigmentation, but could have been a bit creamier and easier to blend.
Packaging & Design
Last but not least, let’s talk about the packaging. This is where prestige brands often blow the drugstores out of the water. And while the product itself and how it performs is ultimately most important, there is something to be said for buying a product that looks beautiful, and doesn’t feel like it’s going to fall apart in 3 seconds. I like that this palette is thin and relatively sleek. The individual pans are a decent size, but the palette as a whole will have no problem fitting in your makeup bag, making it a great option for traveling. My biggest gripe is that they left a huge well for one very small and very useless foam shadow applicator. If they were hell bent on adding extra space to accommodate the label on the lid, a dual ended brush applicator would have been a smarter choice. Honestly, though, I think most of these included applicators are of such low quality that I’d rather they not exist at all.
Final verdict? It all comes down to a matter of expectations. It’s exceptionally difficult to find eyeshadows at the drugstore that have the same buttery, creamy, beautifully blendable quality some prestige brands do. But that doesn’t mean that drugstore offerings aren’t worthy of a try, especially if you’re shopping on a budget. For less than $15 I think Maybelline made a pretty solid attempt at making an affordable option for those seeking a neutral shadow palette.
Have you tried this palette yet? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Or, if you know of any other inexpensive palettes you think are worth investing in, I’m happy to hear recommendations.