Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadows Review & Photos

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow
Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadows

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadows Review & Photos

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow ($20.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a new product that’s supposed to be a “smudge-proof, long-lasting eyeshadow pencil that enhances and intensifies the eyes.” It’s also “intensely pigmented, “waterproof,” “will not smudge, crease, or fade,” “glides effortlessly,” and “blends easily.” This review is disappointing for me to write, because I love Make Up For Ever as a brand, and they have some really incredible long-wearing products, but these are so-so to good–they’re not excellent and they don’t raise the bar.   Photos, swatches, and individual color descriptions/reviews will follow in two separate posts.

There are twelve shades in total, with five shades being creams (no shimmer) and seven shades having a very frosted, almost metallic-like finish. I’ve been testing these shades for the past two weeks, part of that is because they did not perform flawlessly as I expected them to. These are the ways I have tested the product: alone, three pencils together (but over bare lids), over primer (NARS Smudgeproof, Too Faced Shadow Insurance), as a base (with powder eyeshadow on top), and as eyeliners.   Each pencil is packaged in a plastic pencil, and they are meant to be sharpened–they do not twist-up.  I used Urban Decay’s Grindhouse, and I didn’t have any problems sharpening the plastic exterior off.  In fact, when I tried it, I had nearly no waste.

The creamy shades will crease after four to five hours and be majorly crease and flaking after eight hours, and worse yet, there’s a noticeable amount of smudged product underneath my lid, along my lower lash line, along with flakes of product trickling down my cheeks. It’s creamy yet dry; it applies fairly easily and evenly, but I do recommend going back for a couple of touch-ups because there is slight skipping depending on where your eyeball maneuvers itself while you’re applying the product. It has a quick setting time, and it’s a pain to blend out the edges even if you do so immediately, it will still slightly crease if you don’t let it set for about 5-10 seconds. Over a primer, the creasing was lessened over eight hours, but there was still some noticeable creasing. The best way I found to use the matte shades was as a base with powder eyeshadows layered on top–then I didn’t have any creasing after eight hours.

On the other hand, the frostier finishes hold up much better. They dry very quickly, don’t crease from the get-go, and they don’t crease after eight hours. All of the shades are stiff and more difficult to blend, but with enough elbow grease, it can be done. I wore three shades (#32E, #20E, #2E) together to see just how blendable they were, and I think I managed to get a fairly well-blended look. It’s much more difficult than using three eyeshadows together, though. The frostier shades wear the same whether they were applied to bare lids, over a primer, or underneath eyeshadows (no creasing).

The matte shades are more water-resistant than waterproof, while the frostier shades are pretty waterproof. I took a shower with these on (tests both the effects of humidity as well as waterproofing claims) and had a little smudging from the matte shade I used (#6E) but the frosted shade was fine (#24E). There is a touch of transfer if you press your fingertip against your lid, but it’s very, very subtle. The fact that blending is difficult because the product doesn’t want to budge is both a blessing and a curse! As eyeliners, these are good, though #6E and #8E were more prone to slight smudging and some fading after six to eight hours, but #0E and #2E were fine. It’s not my favorite use for these, because the tip is so large and the formula isn’t as creamy as the Aqua Eyes Pencil, so it doesn’t glide on as smoothly.

These are nicely pigmented with some shades having excellent color payoff and a few having decent to good color coverage, but nearly of the ones I tried were buildable with little trouble–#32E was a trouble maker, though. It was very dry, seemed to apply unevenly, and did not want to build up at all. I was going to use it as a base, but it was horrific that way. The only way I could use it was alone, but even that looked like my lids were dry and flaky.  I recommend MAC #242 and Make Up For Ever’s #14S with these–you want really firm, stiff brushes so you can move these around (at least a little).

Overall, these aren’t flawless.  They don’t provide for immaculate wear–I have normal-to-dry lids, not at all oily–and I do get immaculate wear out of Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Cream formula, which is a bit easier to use because it’s more blendable.   The frosted shades are difficult to blend but are long-lasting, while the matte shades are difficult to blend and crease after a few hours of wear.  I can recommend checking out the frostier finishes, but if you have oily lids, you may want to be a little more cautious with the matte shades.  Please note that the rating is based on an average of all twelve shades; you will see that there’s a difference in the ratings when the finishes are separated, which you’ll see when the next two posts are published.

See more photos & swatches!

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow
Make Up For Ever #8E Aqua Shadow (2 minutes)

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow
Make Up For Ever #8E Aqua Shadow (8 hours)

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow
Make Up For Ever #8E Aqua Shadow (8 hours)

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow
Make Up For Ever #8E Aqua Shadow (2 minutes if you aren’t careful)

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow
Make Up For Ever #20E Aqua Shadow (2 minutes)

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow
Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow (8 hours)

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow
Make Up For Ever #32E, #20E, #2E Aqua Shadow (8 hours)

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow
Make Up For Ever #32E, #20E, #2E Aqua Shadow (8 hours)

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow
Make Up For Ever #20E Aqua Shadow as a base, Giorgio Armani Ecailles Palette on top

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow
Make Up For Ever #20E Aqua Shadow as a base, Giorgio Armani Ecailles Palette on top

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow
Make Up For Ever #20E Aqua Shadow as a base, Giorgio Armani Ecailles Palette on top (8 hours)