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making faces :: the power of low expectations?

i know that my first thought when i heard that hourglass cosmetics were replacing their much-loved eye shadow duos with new palettes was "i don't know if i'm happy about this". i really love the duos that i have [prism, exhibition and suede] and while i desperately wanted to see an expansion of available colours, i didn't want things to just change. why mess with something so good?this feeling was amplified when i looked at the beautiful, but alarmingly impractical design of the palettes. so lovely to look at! i so don't by eye shadow to look at it in its packaging!

then, earlier this year, the reviews started to come out. and they were not especially flattering. many makeup aficionados were annoyed that the formula kicked up a lot of powder- which is an obvious problem when there's nothing dividing one shade from another. some said the shades were very powdery and were difficult to build up. some said that they faded much faster than similarly priced shadows. some complained that, of the seven palettes on offer, almost all were fairly neutral, and therefore not terribly distinct from one another. priced at $67cad a pop, these seemed like a rather expensive risk. and so i waited.

finally, i rationalised that hourglass has earned my trust. their phenomenal ambient lighting powders are an almost daily part of my makeup routine. the blushes they designed to go with them are among my favourites. i like their lip glosses and their velvet creme lipsticks, especially since they produce certain nude shades that actually work on my skin tone. i love their feather-soft brushes and plan to collect every single one. and so, i thought, there couldn't be any harm in trying just one to see if it really was disappointing. after all, i could just keep it and look at it if things really didn't work out.

i opted for the warm plum combination "exposure", which seemed to offer a nice selection of shades and finishes. i figured that, if any of them was likely to win me over, it would probably be this one.

the palette contains five shades that appear to range from a creamy highlight to a blackened purple. i say "appear to" because the lightest shade is a little deeper on me than i expected. the darkest shade is very deep, but it's also the easiest to blend, so you have to actually want the full impact to get it. before i get on to evaluating the individual shades, i thought i'd share my thoughts on the formula overall, since it's been so troublesome for some people.

is the formula very powdery?

well, yes, it does kick up a lot of excess powder, but honestly, i always found that hourglass eye shadows had this issue. the difference with these is that there's nothing dividing one shade from the other, so cross-contamination is a greater concern. powdery also means that it's pretty easy to pick up a fair amount of product without exerting much effort, so a little common sense goes a long way here: i found that patting a brush in the powder was more than sufficient to collect what i needed. there's no need to go at the pan like you're scratching a fresh mosquito bite. likewise, patting the colour on the eye and using a light touch to blend is your best bet to getting great results. consider it a lesson in refinement and delicacy: think jane austen, not the duchess of malfi. [<--- after="" all="" degree="" i="" look="" m="" p="" see="" that="" undergraduate="" using="">
does it fade quickly?

not on me. i always use a base [generally mac paint pot in "painterly"] and i didn't experience any fading beyond what i'd consider normal. even the darkest shades held on pretty well and it's my experience that purples tend to fade faster than other colours.

is there a lot of fall out from the shimmery shades?

there's only one shade where i thought this might be a concern, but in the end, i had no problems. again, apply in a light, patting motion. if you blend vigourously, you may get some fallout, but one of the advantages of such a soft formula is that the colours don't require a lot of blending. tap the excess from your brush before applying. you'll do fine.




as to the specific shades, what you see is almost what you get. i say almost because there's one colour that did come out a little differently than what i expected, but generally, if you think you'll like these colours, you probably will.

shade #1 :: this is the one that surprised me a little. in the pan, it looks like a satin cream colour, but once you swatch it, it's more like a shimmery light peach. that makes it a little too deep to work as a true highlight for me, but it's a lovely colour nonetheless.

exposure #1

true peach shades like le metier de beauté "nouvelle", shown here, or chanel "complice" do read as pinker, but i think you can still see that exposure #1 is not just a neutral cream.

l to r :: exposure #1, lmdb nouvelle [l.e.]
shade #2 :: is a deep burgundy grape with a satin finish. it is an incredibly elegant and very pigmented colour with a silky texture. it looks really luxe on the eye, not too red, but not a straight purple either. it can blend out to a softer colour if you find it too intense at full power. this might be my personal favourite in the palette, but i think it would look especially wonderful with green or green-brown eyes.

exposure #2
the warm plum shade from dior "cuir cannage" is much browner. and, um, look at how much cooler and purpler that other shade is... i'll bet it would have helped if i'd written down what that was, huh? yeah, moving on...

l to r :: cuir cannage #1, exposure #2, i should write this shit down

shade #3 :: i expect that this will be the most divisive shade of all, because it's the one with the most sparkle and therefore the one that's most likely to produce fallout. when i swatched it on my skin, i was nervous because the texture seemed almost crumbly. plus, of course, it looked so frosty, i thought that even if it didn't disintegrate all over my face, it would look terribly heavy on my eyelids. but that turned out to be wrong.  crumbly though it seemed [and i think that you can see this in the swatches], i had no trouble getting it to adhere to the lid and, surprisingly it doesn't look heavily frosted at all.

it's a medium-deep, muted rose gold that reads as more tarnished than molten metallic in use.

exposure #3

i pulled two shades from urban decay's naked 3 palette for comparison purposes: "buzz" and "trick". the former is pinker while the latter is more copper and both are noticeably brighter than the "exposure" shade.

l to r :: u.d. buzz, u.d. trick, exposure #3

shade #4 :: the darkest shade, this is a deep eggplant-brown mix with a very low-level shimmer. it looks more shimmery in the pan, but in use, that reads more as subtle luminosity in practice. this shade is extremely smooth and soft, but it's also the one that has the greatest tendency to sheer out if blended to much. that's actually helpful if you want to use it just to deepen one area rather than to add colour, but as long as you're careful with it, it can look great on its own. i've managed to use it as a liner as well, which is nice since it harmonises with the colours in the palette [of course].

exposure #4
the dark eggplant from hourglass "exhibition" is cooler and the sparkle is less refined. mac "shadowy lady" is matte and cooler and, i think you'll agree based on these swatches, has much poorer colour payoff.

l to r :: hourglass exhibition #2 [d.c.], exposure #4, mac shadowy lady

shade #5 :: rounding things off we have a lovely cool mauve with a shimmer finish. i'm a little annoyed at the placement of this one, because it seems like its place should have been switched with the dark eggplant. [i also would have reversed the order of the first two shades.] it's a nice colour for the lid that shows a little pink, a little purple, but remains neutral enough that it's not going to attract lots of attention.

exposure #5
rouge bunny rouge "solstice halcyon" is lighter and browner. the lighter shade from hourglass "exhibition" is a little lighter and pinker.

l to r :: rbr solstice halcyon, exposure #5, hourglass exibition #1 [d.c.]
to give you an idea of how i've been working with this palette, here are a couple of looks i've tried.  first up, this was an attempt at doing a soft gradient, with a little more blending. i didn't use shade #3 at all here and shade #5 was limited to the outer corners, so most of what you're seeing is a transition from shade #1 to shade #5 and then to shade #2. i used mac "vanilla" as a highlighter.

 


i'm using a base of nars luminous weightless foundation in "gobi" and radiant creamy concealer in "vanilla". the cheeks are a combination of nars "day dream" and hourglass "dim light" and on the lips i'm wearing chanel "fiction".

and this is a look that's more typical for me: a soft cut-crease sort of placement. i wanted to show you this one, because it backs up two of the assertions i've made above. first and most importantly, the colour over the inner portion of my lid is shade #3. see how it's not all flaky and frosty and ick? it's just a nice warm glow. second, this is what happens when you apply just a little of shade #5 to increase definition rather than add colour. it's there, but it's really not obvious, especially compared to how dark it is on the outer corners of my eyes in the first look. [i've applied shade #2 on the outer part of the lid and into the crease and used shade #5 to soften the edges of #2 and to contour the inner crease, along the brow bone.]

 


i'm sporting the same base as above and in this case i have used a pencil liner, urban decay "demolition", along the upper lash lines. the blush is hourglass "mood exposure" [hm... should get a review of that one up!] and on the lips is guerlain rouge automatique "rendez-vous". 

maybe it's the fact that my expectations were lowered by reading a lot of bad to "meh" reviews, or maybe i just have different standards, but i'm really pleased with "exposure. i feel like it's quite versatile, but that it still reads as neutral enough to be work/ normal people friendly. it's not that there's nothing to the common criticisms, it's just that how much those things bother you is going to be an individual decision. i don't have a problem getting them to look as good as any other eye shadow palettes in the same price range [dior, guerlain, ysl], which means that this gets a thumbs up from me. i suspect this won't be the only one of the new modernist eye shadow palettes that makes its way into my collection. 

Comments

I like the looks you have created. I avoided these because of the bad reviews but these sound workable. I still think it a shame they no longer make the eyeshadow duos as I did really like them.
Kate MacDonald said…
Yes, I don't know why the shadow duos had to go to make room for these.
I don't know if it's just because of the low expectations I had, but I really did like this palette and I do want to try another. I have my eye on either Colour Field (mixed greens) or Monochrome (soft pinks and browns).

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