Two years ago, I went through and swatched every eyeliner I owned by color, so that they could easily be compared. It’s time for a re-do, because we have so many more shades to add to our comparisons! Our first part of this on-going series is a comparison of the various nude and champagne eyeliners I have on hand. This shade is typically used on the lower lash line or water line to help brighten and open up eyes.
BAREMINERALS 5AM is a pewter–it’s a dirty, cool-toned gold with a silvered sheen. I didn’t expect it to be similar to anything here, but it didn’t fit well with golds either.
MAC NC15/NW20 is a light beige/fleshy shade. It is a hair darker than NARS Rue Bonaparte.
MAC NW25/NC30 is a darker version of NW15/NC20. Almost looks like a darkened peach. It is very similar to Givenchy #2.
MAC NC42/NW35 is darker version of NW25/NC30. It looks a bit peachy/orange on me.
GIVENCHY #2 is a warm, peachy beige with yellow-beige undertones and a mostly matte finish. It is comparable to MAC NW25/NC30.
NARS RUE BONAPARTE is a soft beige with a matte finish. It is just barely lighter than MAC NC15/NW20.
MAC I GET NO KICK is a soft champagne nude with a metallic sheen. (LE) It is ever-so-slightly warmer than MUFE #23L but very comparable to UD Midnight Cowboy.
MAKE UP FOR EVER #23L is a shimmering golden champagne with a nearly metallic finish. This shade is slightly less warm compared to MAC I Get No Kick and UD Midnight Cowboy.
URBAN DECAY MIDNIGHT COWBOY is a shimmering champagne peach with a subtle metallic sheen. (LE) This is most comparable to MAC I Get No Kick. An alternative to this shade would be Urban Decay’s Shadow Pencil of the same name.
Behind-the-Series: These swatches should not be used to judge the quality of an eyeliner. Some eyeliners required one pass, some required five, and a few even more. It was my intention to provide heavy, opaque swatches to provide an accurate color comparison. When possible, the shade name (above) is linked to the original review. If we’ve never done a review, there will be no link. Shades that were limited edition will be marked with “(LE)” and shades that were discontinued will be marked with “(DC)” after the color description. You can also find all comparisons on The Dupe List.
I could have easily given you a list of ten, being the gold fiend that I am, but I’ll keep it to the current five that really say holiday to me. I think gold is a very versatile color. It pairs well with warmer shades like bronze, rust, and berry, but it can also work with cooler-toned shades like violet, teal, and blue. And if golds not your cup of tea, I have five of my favorite silvers for holiday coming right up. Any interest in seeing some holiday blue shades? What other holiday-themed favorites would you like to see?
Make Up For Ever #303 Holodiam Powder ($25.00 for 0.035 oz.) is described as “white with blue, green, and gold highlights.” When applied to the skin alone, it looks like a mix of lavender, violet, green-gold, and silver. Patted over black eyeliner, it looked blue and gold at one angle, then green and teal at the next. It’s somewhat like Illamasqua Beguile. I suspect MAC Reflects Transparent Teal would also be a bit similar.
Make Up For Ever’s Holodiam Powder is a new and limited edition loose powder for the holidays that’s described as an “extremely fine loose powder with a pearlescent finish.” It can be used on eyes and cheeks, wet or dry, as desired. On its own, it doesn’t stay put well, so my best advice is to use an adhesive base, cream eyeshadow, fixing spray/seal, or patted onto some makeup base before it’s had time to dry (foundation, eyeliner, etc.). It’s fine micro-glitter, and I think it works well on the eyes–so thank goodness it’s safe for the eyes–but on the cheeks, it felt a little sand-like. You might opt for one of the brand’s Star Powders for something finer.
On eyes: Urban Decay Echo Beach Eyeshadow, Urban Decay Nevermind Eyeshadow, Urban Decay Jagged Eyeshadow, Urban Decay Anonymous Eyeshadow, Tarina Tarantino Ammunition Eyeliner, Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Waterproof Mascara. On face: Make Up For Ever HD (125), Guerlain Les Voilettes (03), Bobbi Brown Pink Rose Blush. On lips: Giorgio Armani #111 Rouge d’Armani Lipstick.
Make Up For Ever Eye Prime ($22.00 for 0.18 oz.) is described as a “light nude” primer that “reinforces eyeshadow hold and intensifies its color.” It’s supposed to help your eyeshadows look more true-to-color and prevent them from creasing and fading. While it appears to be a pale beige if you swatch it on your skin, once blended onto the skin as a thin layer, it’s invisible against my skin tone. I would only imagine seeing the slightest lightness on darker complexions, because it pretty much blends to an invisible layer of product. For the purpose of this review, I used “pigmentation” as the metric to measure whether the primer made colors look true-to-pan or not.
As a result, this formula is most comparable to popular primers Urban Decay Primer Potion and Too Faced Shadow Insurance. Both have a similar consistency and look. The differences are negligible, and I don’t think most would notice unless you were really looking for them. Make Up For Ever Eye Prime seems a little wetter and more emollient in a way, as it slides across even dry areas well without emphasizing them. It helps lids look smoother, and it does prevent eyeshadow from creasing and fading. I tested some eyeshadows that typically crease and fade if worn alone over this, and I saw improved wear–none of the creasing/fading that would have occurred had I applied them over my bare lids. I don’t think it necessarily amped up my eyeshadow, but it didn’t subdue it, either, which some primers can do, depending on their coloring.
You might know this already, but Urban Decay’s Original Primer Potion creases on me after six hours or so–sometimes it holds up better, sometimes it doesn’t. Too Faced I haven’t had problems with, and I can use other shades of Urban Decay’s (like Eden). I would also say it compares favorably with NARS Smudgeproof, which looks white when swatched and goes on invisible once blended out. NARS has a slightly more velvety feel after it dries down.
Make Up For Ever’s is the most expensive of the bunch at $122/oz. Urban Decay is $54/oz., Too Faced is $51/oz., and NARS is $92/oz. Both Make Up For Ever and NARS come in an opaque tube with a doe-foot applicator, while Urban Decay and Too Faced come in squeeze-tubes.
Which of these primers have you tried? Does one work better than the other?
As always, your mileage may vary. I know the original Urban Decay Primer Potion works for many, many people. I've heard some readers say NARS was one of the worst. Others love Too Faced. Make Up For Ever is the most recent primer added to the line-up. If you've never tried any of them, all four are worth considering.
Sometimes products are discontinued or limited edition, which means that a product may no longer be available at one or more retailers so you may need to shop around for those hard-to-find shades! We try to update products as they become discontinued, and if you discover a product has been discontinued, please help us help others by letting us know.
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