Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Review: Paula's Choice "The Nude Mattes" Eyeshadow Palette

Neutral matte eyeshadow palettes are all the rage these days - despite my fondness for glitter, I myself now own four of them! For the first real post on this blog, I'm going to review my newest acquisition, The Nude Mattes from Paula's Choice. (The other three that I own are Ever After from MUA, Naked Basics from Urban Decay, and Meet Matt(e) Nude from TheBalm.)

The Purchase

I love Paula's Choice skincare, and I'd seen some good reviews of the palette. As I was a new customer to ordering from the Paula's Choice website (I had previously bought Paula's products from Birchbox), I got $10 off for using someone's referral link. I also got 5% cash back on eBates (sign up for eBates here), and used the code AMSPRING15 for an additional 15% off. It seemed like a great deal, so I ordered this palette (along with the Skin Balancing Toner and a free deluxe sample of the RESIST Barrier Repair Moisturizer). I paid about $25 for this palette after all the discounts, but regular price is $40. You, too, can get $10 off by using my link (click here!) if you want to order this palette (or anything else, including their fantastic skincare) from Paula's Choice.

The Packaging

(Sorry for the blurry photo.) You get 12 shades, 11 matte and one shimmer (the third from the left). I am not in love with this packaging. It's cardboard, which always feels kind of flimsy and cheap to me, and "boxy" cardboard packaging (with extra space in the bottom below the pans, vs. compact packaging that is only as thick as the pans), which this is, feels the cheapest. I also don't like the shape of these eyeshadow pans. I know they're trying to imitate the Naked palettes, but I prefer square pans to these kinds of rectangles as it's easier to get your brush in the pan and pick up color, in my opinion. I also wish the mirror were bigger; it really should take up all the space it can! This palette also comes with a synthetic brush, which is okay but nothing special. To be honest, I think I prefer my $1 elf studio eyeshadow brushes....

The Performance

To sum it up: it's okay. These are neither the best nor the worst shadows I've ever tried. Pigmentation is okay; workable, I guess, but not impressive. Now, as far as application goes, these are fairly smooth BUT there is quite a bit of fallout. Not the easiest to work with, and you have to be careful not to end up with smudges under your eye! They are workable, though.

Disclaimer: I haven't tried these wet yet (which the box says you can), so maybe they're stunning that way. I swatched them dry without primer, and then dry with primer (TheBalm's Put A Lid On It). The primer definitely helps, as you can see below! The black in particular is really excellent over the primer.  Swatches are using my finger. These photos are taken indoors with a flash and completely unedited, straight out of the camera. The first two shades don't really show up at all on my skin, but I promise they're there! Right before the one shimmery shade in the palette.

Swatches without primer:

Swatches with primer:

The Verdict

I can see why Paula's Choice is a well-respected brand in skincare, but you don't hear much about their makeup for good reason. This palette is not worth $40. It might be worth $25, though. I don't see myself reaching for it every day, but if you want a range of warm, neutral matte shades, and you don't mind using primer and having to make an effort with these shades, you might enjoy this palette. I don't see myself reaching for it on a daily basis, and honestly, if returns were a little easier (and if I didn't have to pay for return shipping myself), I might have returned this, because it's neither amazing nor particularly unique in my collection. If I didn't have any other matte neutral palettes, I could see myself being satisfied with this, especially for the price. As it is, I'll try to get some good use out of it, and I think I'll succeed, but it will take a little bit of extra effort.

For those looking for the best matte neutral palette, this is not it, but it is one of the cheaper ones (if you use the discounts mentioned above). Just going on quality, though, there are better options. Meet Matt(e) Nude is my favorite matte neutral palette, and TheBalm is on Hautelook at a discount fairly regularly. It is also available on Birchbox, for those of you hoarding points.

Have you tried this palette? What is your favorite matte neutral palette?

Note: this post contains referral links, so yes, I get something if you click, sign up, and make a purchase. I appreciate it if you do, but you can always go through Google instead if you don't want to use my links!


  1. Great post! I really like her skin care but that palette's color payoff is poor at best. At least the primer made quite a difference.

    1. Thanks! Yeah, with primer it's totally workable, I used it yesterday and was quite happy with how it turned out...but I'd be kind of pissed if I'd paid $40 instead of the $25 that I did.