Eyeshadow palettes are one of the priciest makeup items to buy, no matter of which brand you choose to go for. In a way it makes sense, as it is an item that will last you for a long time but on the other hand, the ingredients contained really do not justify the prices.
In my mission to find cheaper products that are actually high quality, I turned to Nyx, a drugstore brand with a twist. It sells cheap makeup but also has a much more focused expertise, making their cheaper products to often work as well as some high-end brands. The brand name “Nyx Professional Makeup” is often justifiable and therefore, their very cute looking Nyx eyeshadow palettes were very intriguing.
So are the four Nyx Ultimate eyeshadow palette any good and are they worth your cash? Let’s find out.
All 4 eyeshadow palettes have the same palette packaging and do not come with outer packaging. However, they come wrapped in plastic so you can still rest assured that they are new and no one touched them.
The actual palettes come in a very simple, square black plastic packaging which is sturdy and although it doesn’t look specifically expensive, it definitely doesn’t feel particularly cheap either. It looks and feels mainstream and that’s great. I personally think they look cute!
On the down side, they are drugstore palettes and in that sense they look the part as they do not come with a mirror or a brush like the high-end palettes.
Each palette contains 16 colours of 0.83g each for a total of 13.28g. The Nyx palettes do not come with colour names so I will be referring to them as 1-16 counting from the top left to right (for example, in the first palette below, the Smokey, the bone colour at the top left is number 1 and the green at the bottom right corner is number 16). The Nyx palettes also contain 3 different finish types of shadows: matte, shimmer and matte with small glitter pieces.
Smokey & Highlight USP01: This is as the name suggests, a smokey eyeshadow palette, focusing on shades that will give you smokey looks.
On first glance, as they sit in the palette, it looks like there are 9 shimmers and 7 mattes but actually when swatched:
Matte: 1, 3, 8, 9, 12, 15.
Shimmer: 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 16
Matte with small glitter pieces: 11, 13, 14.
This brings the palette to 6 mattes, 7 shimmers and 3 mixed.
The colours are in general quite nice and you can potentially create a lot of differnt looks from them but for such a small palette there are also many shades that are too similar and shouldn’t really be in the same palette, like for example the multiple bone shades, the three very similar burgenty colours and the greys. They are different but not different enough to make a huge difference when present in a small 16 colour palette.
Cool Neutrals USP02: The names of these palettes are very self explanatory and this palette does indeed contain cool neutrals.
On first glance, as the colours sit in the palette, it looks like there are 5 shimmers and 11 mattes but actually when swatched:
Matte: 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16.
Shimmer: 1, 6, 7.
Matte with small glitter pieces: 14.
This brings the palette to 11 mattes, 3 shimmers, 1 mixed and 1 dual-chrome.
The colours are beautiful and although it is a cool toned palette it doesn’t look as boring as other cool tones palettes. There are a couple of colours that are similar but not as similar as the palette above and are acceptable. They could have created a little more colour variation but the palette works as it is.
Warm Neutrals USP03: This is as the palette name suggests a warm neutrals palette. It is the one that I thought was most attractive and likely the one sold the most.
On first glance, as the colours sit in the palette, it looks like there are 8ish shimmers and 8 mattes but actually when swatched:
Matte: 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16.
Shimmer: 2, 4, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15.
Matte with small glitter pieces: N/A
This brings the palette to 9 mattes, 7 shimmers and 0 mixed. Not far off from what the colours look like in the pan!
This palette is gorgeous and it feels like the best well-put together one as well. The colours are complimentary to each other and although there are some similarities they are all different enough to offer something else.
Brights USP04: I love looking at this palette but not so much wearing it! It contains bright colours that can be handy for accenting a look but for me at least it’s not a palette that I would create an entire look from. This is a palette I would come for a nicely coloured, under-eye line.
On first glance, as the colours sit in the palette, it looks like there are 4 shimmers and 12 mattes but actually when swatched:
Matte: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15.
Shimmer: 8, 10.
Matte with small glitter pieces: 1, 14, 16.
This brings the palette to 11 mattes, 2 shimmers and 3 mixed.
There is no denying how amazing the colours look but this is not a palette for all. On the plus side, there are a lot of colours to choose from and you could even mix some to create more.
Pigmentation and texture
All four palettes are generally, the same quality and there isn’t one that I would recommend over the other (based on quality). Most colours feel either buttery or powdery-buttery when swatched and only a couple actually feel a little harsh. Obviously swatching is not the same as using them on the eye but it often gives a good starting feeling to the quality of the shadows. These palettes are an excellent case of them feeling and looking really nice when swatched but not really translating as nicely on the eyes. That’s why you should never just rely on swatches!
Overall, I have to say I was disappointed as these palettes were not any better than the cheaper Nip + Fab ones or other drugstore palettes. Sure, Nyx is a drugstore brand also so in a way this is expected, but the brand often has higher quality products and the expectation was high. Sadly though, the pigmentation is mostly not there. All four palettes look and swatch great but do not translate as nicely on the eyes.
Lets have a look at the swatching details of each palette:
Smokey & Highlight USP01: Colours 8 and 9 are patchy.
Cool Neutrals USP02: No patchy colours. The colour 1 is a gorgeous frosty white.
Warm Neutrals USP03: No patchy colours. Colour 2 is very similar to 1 from the Cool Neutrals palette in terms of giving a frosty shade. Colour 9 needed a couple of swatches to get some colour payoff.
Brights USP04: No patchy colours.
Of course, you can enhance some of the shadows with a setting spray (for a good setting spray check out: Showdown: Urban Decay All Nighter vs MAC Prep and Prime Fix+. Are They Both Setting Sprays and Which One is Best? In-depth Review and Ingredient Analyses) but they are still not the palettes I would go for glamour or intense looks.
All shadows blend easily and well, but this might also be due to the fact that there wasn’t much pigmentation to blend anyways. If you blend for too long you will loose the little colour intensity too. You can eventually blend them away if you spend enough time, which might actually be a good thing for beginners.
I always use the Urban Decay original eye shadow primer and with that the shadows last all day, do not crease and only loose minimal colour intensity.
Transfer proof tests
These shadows do not transfer if you touch them but of course, if you rub them they will quickly fade away.
These palettes are not bad quality but they cannot compete with higher-end products. The colour intensity pay off will annoy you sometimes but at least they are easy to work with and you will create some nice looks with them for less money.
If you are only looking for palettes for every day/casual use then these will do the trick but so will the Nip + Fab ones and they are cheaper. Check out: Cheap Makeup – Nip + Fab Eyeshadow Palettes – In-depth Reviews and Ingredient Analysis
One Nyx Ultimate eyeshadow palette retails for £16 which makes them £1.20 per gram of product.
For comparison, a Nip + Fab palette retails for £1.08 per gram of product and an Urban Decay for £2.99. Obviously the Nyx Ultimate palettes are not as expensive as the high-end ones but neither as cheap as other drugstore palettes, even though they have a very similar quality to the latter.
These eyeshadow palettes have a very faint solvent or powdery type scent which is neither pleasant or unpleasant (they all smell slightly different). However, you have to literally put your nose very close to a colour to smell them, so you will likely not notice a thing!
These palettes last for 24M which is a good amount of time. If you haven’t used up a palette in two years it’s time to declutter!
Here’s what the brand say’s about the palettes:
“We named this collection the Ultimate Shadow Palette because that’s exactly what it is–a pro-level palette packed with 16 high-performance eyeshadows in a rainbow of tone-inspired shades. Available in four striking color combinations–Neutral-Cool, Neutral-Warm, Bright and Smokey/Highlight–each set features a vivid mix of velvety-rich textures and mesmerizing finishes that range from mattes and satins to shimmers and metallics.”
Eye shadow palettes don’t often contain any “nutritious for your skin” ingredients but rather just the ones required to create the formulation and pigmentation. As a result, there isn’t really that much to say here other than these palettes contain very basic ingredients and formulations, as expected by their price. While all 4 are slightly different they all mostly contain the same ingredients.
To keep this article short and avoid duplication I am only analysing the Warm Neutrals UPS03 palette. It contains 11 ingredients of which 5 will offer you some kind of skincare benefit (some more than others), no negatives and only 2 potential irritants. These palettes are definitely on the safer side ingredient-wise.
If there is an ingredient found in these palettes that you’d rather avoid you’d likely have a hard time finding another palette you can use, as most of the compounds contained are standard.
To keep this article short, I am only listing the skin nourishing or skin positive/negative ingredients and ignoring the ones that only play formulation or pigmentation purposes. For the full list of these products’ ingredients scroll down to the “full list of ingredients” section.
- Magnesium Stearate – A lubricating agent, amongst other formulation roles, that can enhance the silkiness of the product.
- Dimethicone – Creates a barrier and can therefore protect the skin. Also acts as a skin conditioner. It leaves a silky feeling and can even fill in lines temporarily.
- Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2 – A lipid-based synthetic skin conditioner that can bind water and adhere to the skin, creating a glossy finish.
- Tocopherol – Refers to a class of compounds with similar activities to vitamin E. A skin conditioner, anti-oxidant and fragrance agent. Check out: Vitamins C & E – Do they work in skin care?and Is mineral oil in cosmetics safe?
- Ethylhexylglycerin – A weak preservative and skin conditioner that is often used in ointments for eczema.
Ingredients that can cause irritation to some:
This is actually really case specific, as different people have different sensitivities and allergies. Just because a compound has been reported by some to cause sensitivity, it doesn’t mean you will have an issue. “Sensitizer” compounds being present is not a negative in my opinion, as this is the case with pretty much everything out there and funnily enough I’ve seen products that are targeted specifically for sensitive skin, containing some compounds that have been reported by some, or are known to be, sensitizers.
If you have sensitive skin or you are prone to skin sensitisation and unwanted reactions, try a little bit of this at the back of your hand first and consult a medical doctor if you are concerned.
The following compounds present in the 01 Sculpted palette have been either proven or claimed by some to be sensitizers, irritants, allergens etc: Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Phenoxyethanol.
Full list of ingredients for the Warm Neutrals USP03 palette:
Shades 01, 03, 05, 06, 14 & 16: Talc, Magnesium Stearate, Dimethicone, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Alumina, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Tocopherol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol. MAY CONTAIN / PEUT CONTENIR (+/-): Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Manganese Violet (CI 77742).
Shades 02, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13 & 15: Talc, Magnesium Stearate, Dimethicone, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Tocopherol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol. MAY CONTAIN / PEUT CONTENIR (+/-): Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Carmine (CI 75470), Manganese Violet (CI 77742).
Shade 04: Talc, Magnesium Stearate, Dimethicone, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Tin Oxide, Tocopherol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol. MAY CONTAIN / PEUT CONTENIR (+/-): Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499).
Overall, I can’t help but feel disappointed. I know that Nyx is still a drugstore brand but their expertise usually makes their products slightly better. When you market the palettes saying “We named this collection the Ultimate Shadow Palette because that’s exactly what it is–a pro-level palette packed with 16 high-performance eyeshadows in a rainbow of tone-inspired shades.” it feels disappointing to find out that they aren’t really pro-level. The shadows work well and they last all day while being creaseless (if you use an eyeshadow primer) but the pigmentation is mostly not there. They are drugstore quality palettes and from Nyx I expected a little more.
If you have every palette under the sun and you can spare the cash then try them, but if you are looking for high quality eyeshadow palettes you might want to give them a skip. If drugstore quality is ok for you, note that there are others that are the same quality and cheaper, like for example the Nip + Fab palettes. Even though £16 is much less than the typical £35-40 for a high-end palette, it still feels a little expensive for their quality. They should have been as cheap as other drugstore palettes around the £10 mark.
I am not affiliated with any company or brand. These are my views and experiences.
Beauty is a very personal thing, we all have different skin, requirements and biological build which can influence things. What worked for me might not work for you and vice versa. Have you ever tried these products? Did they work for you? Let me know your experiences below!
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