Sunday, October 2, 2016


It's holiday palette season! Next up is Kat Von D's MetalMatte palette:

Kat Von D MetalMatte palette
I really enjoyed last year's Mi Vida Loca Remix palette, I have a few of the Metal Crush eyeshadows, and my only beef with the Monarch palette was that it had so few mattes, so it seemed like this palette would be a great buy despite its hefty price tag of $75. To be fair, this is a big palette (though hardly the biggest):

A few other palettes for comparison

There is 25.08 oz of product in this palette, which means the price works out to only $37.40 per ounce.  Comparatively speaking, the Monarch palette is $75.76 per ounce and the Naked Ultimate Basics is $141.67 per ounce. So the MetalMatte is actually a hell of a deal.

It's also very cleverly packaged:

But because nothing can ever be quite perfect, there are a couple of things that irk me. And no, it's not the physical size of the palette. First, the metallic shades don't line up with their corresponding matte shades. I realize this is because the mattes and metals each run along their own gradient across the palette, but I still would rather there had been some way to make them match up better (blue above blue, purple above purple, etc.)

Kat Von D MetalMatte

The other thing is that the holes for the pans are slightly larger than the pans are, leaving gaps around each. As a result, shit is going to get dusty in there real quick. Besides, it just looks sloppy - some of the pans are skewed because they shifted when they were dropped in.

Shit is crooked, man.
I'll probably get over it.

Anyway, the shadow quality does not disappoint, and that's the important thing. The matte shades are very soft and pigmented, so they apply and blend well without getting muddy.

Linen / Jet / Velour / Stone / Moss

Linen is a stark white. It applied a little patchy in the swatch, but shows up well on my skin.

Jet is a plain black. It was also a tiny bit patchy. I've used it in the outer corner for a look and had the same issue. I think it would do well as an all-over lid colour for a black smoky eye but it doesn't blend quite as well as I'd like.

Velour looks kind of shimmery in the pan, but it is definitely a matte in application. It's a very rich, dimensional colour, and it applies and blends well.

Stone is a medium grey. I was very excited at how smoothly it swatched, and it blends like a dream.

Moss is a hunter green. It was very similar in texture and application to Stone.

Ribbon / Silk / Fringe / Feather / Oak

Ribbon is a true purple. I was very disappointed in the swatch but it applied very well to the lid. It just needs a little love.

Silk is a muted fuschia purple. It applies true to colour, which can be difficult for purples. It's very smooth and blendable.

Fringe is a pale pink. It's very close to my skin tone but still applies opaque and smooth. I was pleasantly surprised by its performance.

Feather is a yellow beige. It's also very pigmented and buttery.

Oak is a plain brown. It had one of the strongest swatches, very opaque and silky. It will do a beautiful job as a crease colour or an all-over lid colour.

Suede / Bone / Velvet

Suede is a taupe beige. I mix it with Bone as a browbone colour, and have also used it as a transition shade. It blended very well in both cases. The swatch is very strong, but tough to see because it's very close to my skin tone.

Bone is an extremely light beige. I prefer it to Linen because of the hint of beige in it (I don't frequently use flat whites). It applies very smooth and near opaque.

Velvet is a dark purple. Some of the colour is lost when blended, but it can be built to get it back. There is no patchiness or chalkiness when applied.

The metallic shades are all in the Metal Crush formula, which is extremely pigmented and easy to use. One of the shades in this palette (Synergy) is also available as a single, but fortunately that is not one of the ones I already owned.

Nebula / Watt / Ignite

Nebula is a deep blue. It has plenty of depth, which will make it a great lid colour.

Watt is a vaguely teal-leaning green. It's very dimensional, almost like there is just a hint of duochrome going on.

Ignite is a greenish silver. It's extremely smooth and opaque.

Tinsel / Glitz / Twinkle
Tinsel is a chunky pewter silver. It swatched very smoothly, which was kind of shocking considering the heavy glitter, but there was no fallout or spreading at all.

Glitz is a pale blush pink. This one also has a little hint of duochrome, and looks white on the lid when viewed from the right angle.

Twinkle is a lavender purple. It's buttery smooth and super pigmented despite its pale colour.

Volt / Synergy / Flash

Volt is a medium purple with pink shimmer. It applies opaque and continues to build.

Synergy is an orangey-brown bronze. This one was the hands-down winner of my swatches, it was the most pigmented and smoothly applied in one swipe of the brush. I'm very much looking forward to having some fun with it just from how impressive the swatch was.

Flash is a dark gold. It was almost as perfect as Synergy when swatched.

Flash is extremely similar to Thrasher, one of the single Metal Crush shadows:

Doce / Synergy / Flash / Thrasher
Dose looks somewhat similar to Synergy in the pan, but as you can see from this photo, they are quite different. Flash and Thrasher are much closer, but Thrasher is slightly darker, more of an antique gold. You definitely wouldn't need both, though.

Overall I'm very happy with the quality of the palette, especially the metallic shades. This palette is so big and varied, there is a huge number of looks that would be possible.  The large selection of mattes makes this palette extremely versatile, with the metals for alternative looks or some added fun in a more subtle look. I've tried a couple of arty looks (one mostly metal and one mostly matte), and more softer more romantic look which is a fair mix of both metals and mattes.

Suede, Bone, Nebula, Volt, Velour, Silk, Velvet, Twinkle

Suede / Bone / Stone / Moss / Watt / Feather / Flash
Suede / Bone / Silk / Fringe / Glitz / Jet / Ribbon / Twinkle

Like Mi Vida Loca Remix, the palette comes with three looks you can copy, or use as a jumping-off point for your own creativity. My second took inspiration from the yellow lid and grey cut crease look in the guide, but I went a little more geometric with mine (using Kat Von D tattoo liner in "Trooper").

I actually appreciate these being in here, because having this many shadows in one place has the potential to be overwhelming. Try one out, have some fun, mess around. That's the whole point of a palette like this!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Naked Ultimate Basics

I use Urban Decay's original Naked Basics palette a lot. A LOT. It works great, travels well, and is oddly versatile considering it's only six neutral shades. Light nude eye with winged liner? Check. Heavy smokey eye? Got it. Anything in between? No problem. It's good shit. So when Urban Decay put out an ULTIMATE version, obviously I had to have it.

There are a few pros and cons, as with most palettes.

First, while the packaging is certainly gorgeous...

... it's got a few drawbacks. The shape and size are great, and there is a massive mirror inside which is always handy. But where the original palettes are made of a very hard case with a rubberized coating (which is what makes them awesome to toss in a purse or carry-on bag), this one is just normal plastic. Any undue pressure on the middle of the case is going to crack it, and as such, I don't consider it to be travel-worthy. Which is annoying, since the shades inside would have been perfect for that, as it has slightly more range than the smaller palettes. Besides, it doesn't match the rest of the line, and I don't understand or like that because I'm anal about things like that.

I also don't like that the inner case is super cheap plastic, especially since I paid like $70 for this thing:

I mean, come on.
But whatever, since I can't travel with it anyway, I guess that's not important. Moving on.

The shadow quality is pretty good overall. I don't personally think it's up to quite the same level as the original palettes, but it's pretty close, and at least it isn't obviously cheap and crappy (which can be a concern with limited edition or specialty releases). They build and blend well, so they're definitely good to use without frustration.

It also comes with a double-ended brush, which I will never use (mostly because I'm opposed to double-ended brushes on principle for no real good reason), but some people might be into that.

As for the shades themselves, I love them.

I particularly love that orange shade (and have been buying pretty much every version of it I can find, and thankfully it applies like a dream. The dark purple and slate grey were also high on my list of reasons to buy this, but they apply somewhat patchier than the rest of the colours, which is unfortunate. Again, they build and blend okay, so I'm not upset.

Urban Decay Naked Ultimate Basics: Blow / Nudie /  Commando
Blow is the only shimmer shade in the palette. They call it a matte palette despite this shade, but I'm okay with that because what use would the palette be without a shade to highlight the brow and inner corner? It applies smooth and shiny, and the pale champagne colour is lovely.

Nudie is a light taupe nude. I use it on my brow bone, because it's so close to my skin tone that it wouldn't be good for much else.

Commando is a taupe. It's great for transition or an all-over lid colour if you're going light.

Urban Decay Naked Ultimate Basics: Tempted / Instinct / Lethal
Tempted is my favourite transition shade. It's a slightly darker taupe and it blends beautifully.

Instinct is a dusty pink. It's a good lid colour, but doesn't really stand out enough to be obviously pink anymore once it's blended.

Lethal is an eggplant. It goes on a bit patchy but can be blended to work.

Urban Decay Naked Ultimate Basics: Pre-Game / Extra Bitter / Faith
Pre-Game is a yellow beige nude. I love it for the brow bone, and as an all-over lid colour when I'm doing a look more focused on liner or lips. It applies smoothly and blends well.

Extra Bitter is a gorgeous burnt orange. It's best used as a lid colour, but I've also used it as a crease colour with brown on the lid and it still looked gorgeous. It's super smooth and blendable.

Faith is a warm taupe. It's buttery and can be used for any purpose.

Lockout is a darker brown, even if it doesn't really look it in this photo (Sorry). It's also super smooth and works great for a work-appropriate brown smoky eye.

Magnet is a bluish grey and I would love it a lot more if it were as blendable as some of the other shades. But because I adore the colour, I plan to make it work.

Blackjack is a soft black. It blends well and I usually use it to darken the outer corner or to smoke out a smudgy liner look.

Blow / Nudie / Commando / Tempted / Instinct / Lethal
Pre-Game / Extra Bitter / Faith / Lockout / Magnet / Blackjack
As you can see the swatches for Nudie and Pre-Game are tough to see, but that's not because the quality is bad, it's just because they're very close to my skin tone.

I've had this palette less than a week and I've already gotten a ton of use out of it.  Here are just two:

Pre-Game, Tempted, Lockout, Extra Bitter (lid), Blackjack (liner), Blow

Pre-Game, Nudie, Tempted, Faith, Instinct (lid), Lethal, Blow
The versatility of the original palettes is further expanded with the option to add a little colour, yet the neutral purpose of the Basics line isn't lost. Despite my mild annoyance with the packaging, I definitely like and recommend this palette to anyone who doesn't like searching through their makeup for a pop of colour, or who has a job where they can't get too crazy every day. Depending on how you use it, this palette can create barely-there looks, soft professional looks, or glam smoky looks.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Take a Tour

While I was reorganizing my collection, I couldn't help but take a few photos of some of the great stuff I've amassed. Without going into any great depth, here's a little overview of my basic layout.

In my acrylic desktop organizer, I have several lipsticks I've either used recently or want to remind myself to use soon, as well as my collection of Jeffree Star Cosmetics lipsticks (which I actually use mostly for eye liner). There are also several MAC loose pigments and a bottle of Fix + with which to apply them.

The bottom two drawers are things I may need on any given day, but am not guaranteed to use (pulling things out of drawers is a pain), such as a Vera Moda colour switch tin, brow scissors, and a few tubes of sample mascara.

The top drawer is full of ColourPop singles.

Out in front is MAC "Give Me Sun" bronzer, and two Jeffree Star Cosmetics skin frosts. The black cup on the left holds lip liners, liquid eye liners, and eye shadow crayons.

The glass jars hold brushes and eye liner pencils. There is a stack of palettes that won't fit in my train cases (where I keep most of my makeup). From the bottom up are Kat Von D "Mi Vida Loca Remix", a custom Make Up For Ever metal palette, Jeffree Star Cosmetics "Beauty Killer" and Kat Von D "Monarch".

Make Up For Ever custom palette
Anything I might need to use daily, or might want to use on any given day, is kept in a train case under the table. In columns starting from the top left is blushes / bronzers / theBalm "mama" powders / Fresh lip scrub and balms / false lashes and glue / pencil sharpeners, cream shadow, finishing powder / foundation brush / eyeshadow palettes, highlighters, body bronzer / single shadows, gel liners and cream shadows / single shadows and MAC paint pots / concealers / brow products and eye primer / highlighters:

Hidden under the trays in the centre palette section are a custom MAC palette used to hold various things I've depotted, the Urban Decay Electric palette, and these:

Left: custom MAC / Right: MAC Cool Neutrals

LORAC Pro 1 & 2

There are no lip products in there because it was way too full and I have far too many lipsticks. Those get their own case. In columns from top left are pink liquids / nude solids / pink solids / nude glosses / purples / nude and pink glosses / fashion colours like black and green / red solids / coral and oranges / red liquids / soda pop lip balms:

In my storage cabinet I have backups and duplicates of products already in my collection:


Plus a whole drawer of samples and travel sizes:

Two drawers of nail polish:

Greens, Purples, Reds

Supplies, top and base coats, Yellows, Blues, Silvers, Golds,
Greys, Blacks, Whites, Nudes and Oranges

A drawer for empty makeup bags (used for travel or saved to be given as gifts):

And one with empty palettes waiting to be filled:

For the bonus round, a Paul & Joe eyeshadow that looks exactly like my cat:

Because makeup should be fun, even for kitties.