I have long been a devotee of matte eyeshadow–going back to the mid 1990’s when Dior came out with their matte quads. I purchased a warm neutral in shades of peach, rust and brown that was my go to shadow for years. I could do a number of great looks and the shades made my blue green eyes pop. The shadows were perfect for work, but could go glam too. During my Dior period, I had just a few shadows, each carefully selected for my coloring, and each costing an arm and a leg.
Last year I went on a tear–I cleaned out my makeup and made way for some new things. I ended up with about eight new eyeshadow palettes, almost all mattes, almost all in the beige/brown or plum shades–colors that over the years I have learned work best on me. So my new palettes—it all started innocently enough, my daughter gave me a Naked 3 Palette which lead me to the It Naturally Pretty, which lead to Naked Basics and so on. Before I knew it, I went from having four eyeshadow quads and a couple of singles to about ten palettes.
I have been a matte eyeshadow user for about twenty five years–it just looked better on me and was more “professional” for work. Now most makeup artists say that matte shadows look better on mature women such as myself. Part of my experimentation was how well shadows blended since getting a smooth application is more challenging now. Now that I have been playing more, I do use some shimmer on my lower lid from time to time, but that’s a story for another day.
Here’s what I’ve learned about matte eyeshadow: Since my hiatus from the makeup world around 2001, some of the drug store brands have really come a long way.
1.I purchased the ELF Mad for Matte Palette for $10, which contains an array of warm and neutral browns, beiges and a grey for good measure. I was surprised at how well the colors went on and blended. It also had good staying power and did not crease, but I always use eyeshadow primer, so creasing isn’t really an issue for me anymore. This would be an easy daily go to shadow collection for someone who wants shadow that performs every bit as well as high end products.
2. Another surprise was the Milani 05 Earthly Elements Palette. I got mine for $10. This palette has a mix of shimmers and mattes–which allowed me to see that older women can wear a little shimmer and still look great. I used the shimmer on my lid and the matte shades in the crease where my skin is more textured. I have found that the more textured skin does not look good with a shimmer–it seems to enhance the texture more–at least on me. But the combination of shimmer and matte as well as the warm colors are gorgeous.
3. I purchased the Sonya Kashuk eye on neutral matte-02 palette for $20 after considering the $80 Visiart Palette. The colors are very similar, and in many of the comparisons I saw on line, the Sonya Kashuk palette was preferred over Visiart. I figured saving $60 would be a good thing and used the Sonya Kashuk palette daily through most of the spring and summer. (As you can see, I’ve hit pan!)
4. One of the first purchases I made was the IT Cosmetics Naturally Pretty palette ($42), which consists of a nice selection of warm and neutral shades, and includes violet, deep plum, navy and black along with transforming pearl which can be worn alone or over the other shades. While I loved the colors, some of them seemed to look muddy as the day went on. Some of the shades also seemed to have a grey undertone which doesn’t flatter me, but probably look good on people with cool undertones. I love the colors Sheer Joy, Sunrise, Sunset, Java, Transforming Pearl and Midnight. Love, Soft Light, Warmth and All Heart didn’t look good with my warm skin tone, even thought I thought I would love those colors most when I bought it.
5. With travel in mind, I purchased Urban Decay’s Naked Basics palette, for $30. It consists of six warm shades ranging from a light cream to black. Naked Basics 2 contains six neutral shades for cool skin tones–so if you want to simplify your options this little collection may be perfect for you.(Remember, I used a quad for years and never thought twice about it). The reason I think this palette is great for travel is that you can get a full range of looks from it, it is small and frankly, I am more interested in seeing the sights than spending a lot of time on makeup–but being able to depend on the makeup I am using–and this little collection does just that.
6. Finally, I purchased the Tartelette palette for $45 after trying a small blush and shadow collection. I love the packaging, the variety of wearable shades, the pigments blend and wear exceptionally well. They look great with my eye color and skin tone, and smell like vanilla. This has become my new favorite because they give my eyes a natural looking application that make the color of my eyes pop.
While I prefer wearing mostly matte shadows, it is fun to add a pop of shimmer, or use a shimmer shadow to define my lash line–for me it’s about function AND fun. Life’s too short for anything else.