I’ve spent the last couple of weeks trying to rationalize my urge to purchase Dior’s Golden Savannah eyeshadow palette by telling myself that it’s okay because I haven’t purchased a new neutral palette in a while…yeah, turns out I kinda sorta forgot about the brand new Kevyn Aucoin The Essential Eye Shadow Set in #1 that I had sitting in the disaster-area that is my “beauty closet”. That’s when you know you have way too much makeup. *ahem* Anyway, when I “rediscovered” it, I was ashamed, first of all–but I also instantly fell back in love with it. It really is a stunning palette, you guys.
Have I told you that I am quite partial to a pearly pink/peach and minky-brown color combination (remember my review on the YSL Ombres Duolumieres Eye Shadow Duo in #23 from way back when?)?? I think the combination is stunning and is so simple but really works well on the eyes (I like to apply the brown all over my lid and blend the pink/peach shade on the inner third of my lid and dab along the inner corner/tear duct of my eye for a fresh look. Throw a black/dark brown/charcoal shadow in there to use as a soft, smudgy liner and you’re set!). Well this eyeshadow palette combines all three of those shades and adds 2 more lovely colors, resulting in the most quintessential neutral palette I’ve laid eyes on and one easy-to-put-together, gorgeous look.
The Essential Eye Shadow Set in #1 contains the following shades: (top left) pearly, creamy-white; (top right) a satiny, minky-taupe; (bottom left) rich, medium camel-brown; (bottom middle) a semi-matte charcoal with a hint of brown (I know it looks like it could be a bit shimmery in that photo above, but it doesn’t show up on the skin that way); (bottom right) a light, pearly, peachy-pink shade. I am completely head-over-heels in love with these colors. I think Kevyn Aucoin hit it out of the park with these perfectly paired down basics. These stunning shades are subtle and versatile but never boring. At this point, I own so many neutral shadows that it’s a little ridiculous, but even I haven’t been this excited about a neutral palette in a very long time (I know–all this after I just told you guys I forgot I even bought it. Ah, I’m such a fickle creature :P).
The texture is utterly divine. It’s so buttery and insanely smooth and silky…everything you want from a shadow–plus no fall-out! As expected with such lovely textures, it glides easily onto the lid and blending is a breeze. I had no problems with these shadows in terms of application and pigmentation. The different shades do vary a bit in texture, though they are all equally indulgent. The charcoal shade is the hardest in texture, though it’s not “hard” by any means–just firmer than the other 4 shades. After that are the cream and peachy-pink shades, then the taupe shade. The softest out of the other 4 by far is the camel-brown shade–that color is soft! It quite literally feels like a cream–it’s so incredibly velvety and smooth. The only downside to that is if you press a little too hard with your brush or applicator, it does have a tendency to smoosh into itself and slightly crumble, so be careful! But the rich, luxurious texture is so worth it–I only had to lay the applicator that I used to swatch these on top of the surface and I came away with enough product to do one eye!
In terms of wear, it lasted all day long on me (always over a primer–because 99.9% of powder eyeshadows out there don’t stand a chance on my small, oily lids!) without any problems whatsoever. So yeah, I’d say this is a pretty fantastic eyeshadow palette all around. The only real con for me? I wish there were a bit more product for $55.
I will also say that the packaging does feel a teensy bit flimsy to me–the plastic is definitely not as thick as it is on the The Celestial Bronzing Powder compact. Not a huge deal though. I still really like the overall look of the compact and am very partial to the red color. This compact also opens a little differently than the Celestial Bronzing Powder as well. Instead of you average lid that clicks shut, The Essentials palette features a long, slim push-button closure. It’s well-made though and does feel pretty secure, though I would still be careful when travelling with this compact. It also really bothered me that my sticker-label on the back of the compact was applied with a huge air-bubble right in the middle. I paid $55 for this eyeshadow palette, which, to me, constitutes it being a high-end brand. I expect my high-end eyeshadow palettes to be made with the utmost care and attention to detail. It might not seem like a big deal but as I said, if I pay that much for a palette, I expect not to come across any flaws in something as seemingly simple as a sticker. A sticker label should be applied correctly–always.
*Side note: I tried my hardest to capture the surreal glow emanating from the taupe and camel shades but was unable to. Seriously guys, you need to see these in person. I mean wow! They have a gorgeous, glowy satin-finish–but they’re so insanely satiny that they should be in a category all their own. These swatches were applied heavily and with a sponge-tipped applicator, so they’re quite opaque and you can’t really see the lovely finish. They’re pretty enough on my arm but on my lids, that beauty is taken to a whole other level.
I’d also like to quickly point out that, on the box, it states that the net weight of the palette is 0.4 oz.–or, 1 gram. Now that is an extremely small amount for a 5-shade palette like this one. I looked on Nordstrom and saw that they had it listed as being 0.2 oz., making each individual shade 0.04 oz. It also would make more sense. Obviously, I know that it’s probably the case that they made an error and meant that each shade was 0.04 oz., but I emailed Kevyn Aucoin just to verify that. They still haven’t emailed me back after 2 emails, so we’ll see I guess :/ I’ll update this post if I do hear back from them.
So, do you need this? YES! If you love neutral shadows and are looking for a fantastic set with a heavenly texture, you will fall in love with this palette. Kevyn Aucoin’s eyeshadow formula has quickly become one of my absolute favorites–it’s incredible! If you aren’t looking for another neutral palette, check out the other 6 palettes they have available. Seriously, do it!!! I have found my newest addiction and will require #4 immediately. That is all.
Pros: incredible texture; gorgeous colors that are wearable and flattering for all; ultra pigmented; did I mention the phenomenal texture?!? :P; lasts all day (with a primer); clings well to the skin but still easy to blend; no fall-out issues
Cons: poorly applied sticker does not say “high-end” to me; slightly flimsy packaging; camel-brown shade is so soft, it can smoosh/crumble if you press it too hard; pricey
»»Pricing: $55/0.04 oz. (1 g.) (*per the information on the box)
»»Recommended for: anyone looking for an outstanding neutral palette; particularly flattering for warm skin tones
»»Overall Rating: A-