Smashbox Reign Monarch Eyeshadow Palette ($42.00) is a trio of eyeshadows housed in a leather flip top palette. Each eyeshadow has a shimmery outer ring with a matte center. Majesty features a soft, pale white-gold; a frosty copper bronze; and a grayed brown.
Like the Majesty palette, the outer rings are more pigmented than the center counterparts. The centers are merely sheerer and have a matte finish. They do have a tendency to mix, so it can difficult to keep the shimmer from the mattes. Make sure you take care of your palette and clean it regularly so you can actually have two different shades rather than one big one!
This is definitely the more neutral one of the two, and you can easily wear these shades together to the office or out (just go heavier on the dark brown). This palette feels very warm-toned, whereas the the Majesty palette felt more neutral or just slightly cool-toned. The shadows do feel soft and smooth, particularly the outer rings of color, but the mattes are not chalky either. I found the Monarch palette to be much better in terms of overall quality, too — the shadows just seemed to go on smoother and more pigmented.
Again, the value is just as good on this palette as the Majesty palette (same amount, same price). These eyeshadows are about $100/oz. compared to MAC at $290/oz., Urban Decay at $320/oz., and Make Up For Ever at $240/oz. You’ll either love the packaging or it won’t make or break the purchase for you; for me, it was more the latter.
Ease of Use: 7/10
Recommendation: For an affordable palette of slightly amped-up neutrals, Monarch offers an answer!
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Smashbox Reign Majesty Eyeshadow Palette ($42.00) is a trio of eyeshadows housed in a leather flip top palette. Each eyeshadow has a shimmery outer ring with a matte center. Majesty features a pale peach, a reddish copper, and a black.
I found that it was difficult to keep the matte and shimmers separated from each other, because inevitably one would mix with the other. This sort of rendered the matte center to be a little useless, just because it ended up looking much like the outer ring. I was testing a tester, so it was even worse than a palette with normal usage (e.g. the one you’d buy!), so do keep that in mind while browsing the swatches! I will caution you to dust off your palette regularly to avoid shimmer getting into your matte centers!
The first shade is a soft, shimmery peachy-gold. The middle eyeshadow is more of a burnt brown with reddish shimmer. I know Sephora describes it as a “plum burgundy,” and I didn’t see that whatsoever when I swatched it. The center of the middle eyeshadow was similar, just more of a matte finish, and it applied sheerly (as did all of the centers). The rightmost eyeshadow in the palette is a blue-shimmered black, which isn’t as smooth as I’d like — I did get a little drag when I swatched it. Again, the center is a sheerer, matte-r version of the outer ring.
I’m disappointed that the center of each eyeshadow shade didn’t swatch better, and I’m not thrilled that they go on sheerer than the outer rings either. The colors are wearable, but they don’t seem out-of-the-norm, and I’d say Smashbox single eyeshadows feel smoother, silkier, and I’d probably opt for one or two of those instead of the palette, if you already have these shades covered! These three shades work well together, and you can easily create a few smoky eyes with this one.
However, there is one big selling point to this eyeshadow palette that shouldn’t be overlooked — it’s very high in value! With 0.423 oz. of eyeshadow in the palette, it brings your cost down well below costs per ounce in any other high-end brand of eyeshadow. These eyeshadows are about $100/oz. compared to MAC at $290/oz., Urban Decay at $320/oz., and Make Up For Ever at $240/oz. You’ll either love the packaging or it won’t make or break the purchase for you; for me, it was more the latter.
Ease of Use: 7/10
Recommendation: If you like products high in value, this palette is well worth the investment, particularly if you want to add more neutrals to your collection.
Illamasqua Hussy Powder Blush ($23.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a matte, bright coral-pink. It’s smooth, intensely pigmented, and blends easily. It can be applied more subtly by using a stippling brush like MAC’s 187, or you can always tone it down if you’ve over-applied with a light dusting of powder.
It wears well and won’t fade on you throughout the day, and the color is not so cool to be unwearable for warmer skin tones, but it is also more pink than coral, making it easy to wear for cool skin tones, too. Sephora describes the shade as “petal pink,” which isn’t inaccurate, but I just keep seeing a bit of coral in it, too. The best part about this blush is the intensity of the pigmentation, because you definitely don’t have to worry about it not showing up on your skin tone! I’d compare the pigmentation to that of NARS’ blushes.
I’m a bit disappointed in the value of these blushes, though. They’re more expensive than NARS blushes, and nearly double the cost (per ounce) of MAC blushes. They’re priced just under (again, per ounce) Stila and Smashbox blushes. I do think they could have given us a little more product for the $23 price tag!
Ease of Use: 9/10
Recommendation: Have trouble finding blushes that show up on you? Illamasqua’s are richly pigmented making them good choices for those who like to put the spotlight on cheeks!