The Sample: Kevyn Aucoin The Essential Eye Shadow Set in #1 (Review, Swatches & Photos)

1 Sep

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.

Click image to enlarge


*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. 

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge


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)

»»Availability:, and Kevyn Aucoin counters ( only carries palettes 2, 3, 4, and 5 at the moment)

»»Recommended for: anyone looking for an outstanding neutral palette; particularly flattering for warm skin tones

»»Overall Rating: A-

48 Responses to “The Sample: Kevyn Aucoin The Essential Eye Shadow Set in #1 (Review, Swatches & Photos)”

  1. Paris B September 1, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    Mmm I love how this palette looks and how creamy the swatches look too! I guess at that price, I’m sort of glad we don’t get Kevyn Aucoin here :P But uh… I happened to see them online. Oops!

    • becca September 1, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

      LOL–if you can, DO IT!!! You will not regret it, the texture is insane!!! And of course, if you ever need any help, do let me know Paris! ;)

  2. Sunny September 1, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

    I like this one, but a pearly off-white is not really a shade I’d use too often. The only off-white I own is something I use every day to highlight my brow bones (Bobbi Brown Bone). I like how it has some kind of sheen but definitely is invisible on the face. But then again maybe if you use this pearly one with a light hand it’d be great for the brow bones too :)

    • becca September 1, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

      Oh you can definitely use this one to highlight the brow bone–all the swatches above were done with an extremely heavy hand and a sponge-tipped applicator, so they definitely are much lighter and more subtle when used “normally”! Hmm…maybe I should post a few more swatch pics today with the shades applied lighter…

  3. Joyce September 1, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    oooo I want to see this on you! I love neutral shadows too, but really i don’t need anymore shadow forever lol.

    • becca September 1, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

      Haha to be honest, I kept promising everyone I’d have face swatches up soon, but I kept practicing with it and getting frustrated that I decided to give up…at least for now. How on EARTH do you guys do it?!?

  4. svetlana September 1, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    fall is heeeeeere! i want to try the charcoal color tho i am not that great with smudgy smoky look. darn not being able to makeup shop for another month!!! darn it darn it darn it! seems like kevin is a good product, STILL haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing the products. :(

    • becca September 1, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

      Arrrgghh–don’t say that!!! :P I honestly cannot believe that it’s September already. Jeez…

      And maybe when your buying-ban is over, you can check this one out?? Using dark shadows in place of liner is a great way to create a natural, smudgy look. All you do is take the applicator/brush you used to apply the color, smudge it out a little bit, and voila! Effortlessly cool looking eyes!

  5. Teri September 2, 2012 at 1:06 am #

    Oh yeah, that’s a common mistake when you’re a beauty addict/hoarder, haha! I never tried the brand yet, but it really appeals to me! I love all shades, the finish is gorgeous! Great neutral palette!

    • becca September 2, 2012 at 1:18 am #

      LOL–happens to you too, huh?! Embarrassing!!! :P

      It really is a great neutral palette though–I love the addition of that camel-brown. It’s just SO rich and unbelievably pigmented but maintains its soft, subtle beauty. GET IT, Teri!!! You will adore it! :D

  6. Larie September 2, 2012 at 4:43 am #

    I like that they aren’t too shimmery and that it’s a nice mix of shades without becoming overwhelming (hello, Naked Palette. Seriously. Who needs that many browns?). Boo parabens, but I’m glad you’re enjoying it!

    • becca September 2, 2012 at 10:42 am #

      LOL–the answer to that is NO ONE! No one needs that many browns, but I do have the Naked Palette and I STILL can’t seem to stop myself from purchasing brown shadows :P It’s a serious problem…

  7. Emi at Project Swatch September 2, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    This is so pretty – definitely the type of colors I wear! And I know what you mean about losing track of purchases – that’s starting to happen to me, and I always feel so guilty about it!

    • becca September 2, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

      LOL I know–when I realized what I had done, I felt SO guilty!! But in my defense, I’ve been super busy and it wouldn’t have happened otherwise because I am usually so excited about new beauty purchases that it’s all I can think about :P

  8. Liz September 2, 2012 at 4:13 pm #

    Oh man. I want a neutral shadow palette so badly right now and this one looks fantastic. I love that really yellowy camel shade because I rarely see a shadow that warm and it looks perfect for blending and sheering out the darker colours. This is going on THE LIST!

    • becca September 2, 2012 at 9:58 pm #

      YES–vindication!!! :D

      Truly though, the camel shade was the surprise winner here for me–I absolutely LOVE it. Just as an allover wash of color, it provides a gorgeous satiny-sheen to the lids and a hint of color and definition–definitely the kind of shade you want to be wearing on those no makeup-makeup days. And you’re right, it definitely works beautifully to blend out other colors too–love it!

  9. Appu September 2, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

    Hi Becca! You have a lovely blog! This is such a gorgeous palette! I’m a neutrals gal & I’ll be sure to check this out. The taupe is just fantastic :)

    • becca September 2, 2012 at 10:00 pm #

      Thanks Appu!!

      It truly is a gorgeous palette–if it will get a LOT of use since all the colors are so wearable. The taupe and camel shades are my favorite–you’ll love it. :)

  10. trishie September 3, 2012 at 5:01 am #

    I’m a neutral eye palette kind of girl, and these shades look beautiful – something I would be happy to wear everyday. I think it’s a good buy!

    • becca September 3, 2012 at 10:11 am #

      Exactly how I was able to justify spending the $55 for this–they’re basic but they’re basics done RIGHT, and I know I will get a lot of usage from this palette! The quality is fantastic!

  11. Sukie September 3, 2012 at 9:16 am #

    Kevyn Aucoin! One of the many brands I have been lemming after yet cannot get my grubby hands on them due to the lack of a counter over here :( also, one can never have too many neutral palettes and I think this is perfect size for travel too! xx

    • becca September 3, 2012 at 10:11 am #

      Aw, can you order online Sukie? I usually hate to order makeup from online, but this palette is SO worth it!! :D

  12. Memoiselle September 3, 2012 at 9:30 am #

    My heart immediately jumped when I saw this post! Wow another Kevyn Aucoin product! After reading your review, I feel like I want to try Kevyn Aucoin product more and more! It looks very elegant and the quality seems to be very good! I can always get this online but I will wait for free shipping promotions :)

    • becca September 3, 2012 at 10:12 am #

      LOL you’re too cute :P Let me know if you do get it–or anything else from KA. I am loving everything I’ve tried from the line so far and next on my list is the Candlelight highlighter! :)

  13. Claire September 3, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

    I love KA concealer a lot, never really played with the palettes though (just swatched here and there, lol). the eyeshadows look very pretty, everything seems so high quality … I especially love the peachy pink shade and the texture looks so smooth in your swatches.

    • becca September 3, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

      Ooh, I haven’t played with any of his base products yet, but I really want to now! I have been searching for a new concealer lately, so will definitely try that one out!

      • Claire September 3, 2012 at 10:13 pm #

        The Sensual Skin Enhancer is fantastic, can be sometimes drying on my dry skin though. I heard mixed reviews on this one, some people broke out or it just didn’t work out. I hope you can grab a sample first (hehe, the beauty sample!). You only need a tiny amount (the little pot is really small) but lasts forever.

        • becca September 3, 2012 at 10:31 pm #

          Drying wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing for my VERY oily skin–so I will definitely check it out! I’ve heard amazing things about it to and have seen videos where girls use literally a pin-sized amount and it spreads across their entire face! I don’t like a heavy coverage though–is it easy to sheer out with a moisturizer or something, Claire??

          • Claire September 4, 2012 at 5:29 pm #

            hm, I use vaseline D: because my skin is so dehydrated. It can be easy spread though, if you have oily skin, there shouldn’t be any problem. You can warm it up in your hands/fingers and then use on blemishes, etc. It doesn’t really give a heavy coverage unless you apply it heavy D: when I first used this concealer/skin beautifier, I used way too much – and it felt heavy. Its main ingredient is paraffinum liquidum, if you react to this or get clogged pores … oh, I never tried it with a moisturizer actually, only vaseline, but I think it should work.

          • becca September 4, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

            Really–vaseline?!? Wow, you must have incredibly dry skin lol! Now I’m unsure about this product because of the paraffinum liquidum though, so maybe I’ll play with it at a counter and see if it’s worth spending the money on to try. Thanks Claire!

  14. Miss Kwong September 3, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

    this is really an essential palette with all the lovely beige and neutral colours!
    its quality looks great with smooth pigmented colours.

    Say meow to me on:
    Miss Kwong: From Catwalk to Classroom
    Facebook: Miss Kwong From Catwalk to Classroom

    • becca September 3, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

      Definitely–it’s fantastic and a great buy for neutral lovers and those looking for a really good neutral palette! LOVE it!

  15. Tina @ My Highest Self September 3, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

    Really nice shades that everyone needs to own, just wish the price tag was a bit easier on the wallet! Although, I know sometimes you do get what you pay for.

    • becca September 3, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

      Haha yeah, you and me both. But I can honestly say that in this case, it was DEFINITELY worth it!

  16. Dovey September 4, 2012 at 2:41 am #

    I’m enjoying your Kevyn Aucoin reviews; I don’t have much experience with the brand, though I did look through his books a while back. This palette looks beautiful and very wearable!

    • becca September 4, 2012 at 3:54 am #

      Oh it truly is, Dovey! It may not look as “exciting” as some other palettes out there, but it’s such a stunner and by far has one of the best eyeshadow formulas I’ve tried!

  17. Makeup Morsels September 5, 2012 at 4:07 am #

    You make me want eyeshadows like NO OTHER. What are you doing to me?? The shades look so perfect, my god. Although I have to say, I’m with you on the packaging. Does not say ‘high end’ to me, especially with that sticker.

    • becca September 6, 2012 at 3:18 am #

      MM, you have NO idea–perfect doesn’t even BEGIN to describe these shades. I mean….just wow. They’re insanely gorgeous but in beautiful, soft-spoken way. I’m so impressed! But I definitely was very annoyed by that damn sticker–I mean really?!? C’mon guys!

  18. Tracy@Beauty Reflections September 5, 2012 at 6:57 am #

    This looks like a perfect neutral palette! Really worth the money for sure! I’ve always wanted to try his products, but it’s so hard to get up here.

    • becca September 6, 2012 at 3:19 am #

      Aw–your husbands next business trip maybe?!? :D haha they’re worth it!

  19. Laura September 5, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    This looks fantastic! Perfect for fall (or anytime). You’re going to have to stop reviewing Kevyn Aucoin- it’s getting harder and harder to resist! :)

    • becca September 6, 2012 at 3:20 am #

      LOL why resist?! Just do it–you know you want to!!! ;)

  20. Jacqueline September 6, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

    That is a lovely palette Becca, the pigmentation is gorgeous. I love the second shade best, eotd pretty please?

    • becca September 6, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

      Hahaha ok ok–I will definitely try. I’m so scared to put up face pictures of myself, I’ve been putting it off for as long as I can :P I don’t know when I will be able to do it though because my sisters wedding is next week and I am super busy running around trying to finish some last minute stuff, but maybe the week after? :)

  21. makeupmagpie September 12, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

    What a great palette! Love the variety of shades – you could really get a lot of different looks from this :) Thanks for posting :)

    • becca September 12, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

      Thank YOU for stopping by! I really do love this palette–it’s so perfect for the “no-makeup-makeup” look and I LOVE it. I am definitely going to pick up the Candelight highlighter sometime soon too. I know you have it and love it so I can’t wait to pick it up!

  22. Catherine (@bcrueltyfree) October 2, 2012 at 11:51 pm #

    What gorgeous shades. I literally love them all!

    • becca October 3, 2012 at 12:14 am #

      Oh it’s an amazing palette–they’re staple shades that everyone should have in INCREDIBLE finishes and luxurious textures! I can’t recommend it more!

Leave a Reply