Hourglass Graphite Modernist Eyeshadow Palette Review, Photos, Swatches

Hourglass Graphite Modernist Eyeshadow Palette
Hourglass Graphite Modernist Eyeshadow Palette

Hourglass Graphite Modernist Eyeshadow PaletteHourglass Graphite Modernist Eyeshadow Palette ($58.00 for 0.175 oz.) is an interesting mix of neutrals with two pops of bolder color–a coppery-orange and a bluish-teal. The new formula is supposed to be long-wearing, “crease-resistant,” and “richly-pigmented.” Though I am a fan of Hourglass and often think they put out excellent products, I wasn’t too impressed by this eyeshadow palette. The matte shades, while incredibly soft and finely-milled, are extremely powdery to work with. There is an excessive amount of powder kicked up just touching the brush to the surface, and even after tapping that excess off the brush, there is still fall out during application. The mattes didn’t wear well, and they were harder to blend on the skin for me.

The shimmery shades are not quite as prone to powderiness, but there is still some powder fall out during application. These shades can also be used wet or dry, and I had the best luck using them damp, as it prevented fall out and helped maintain intensity without having to build up the colors in layers. Wear was all over the place, so the eyeshadow formula on the whole seemed rather inconsistent. It is particularly disappointing, because Hourglass’ previous powder eyeshadow formula was one of the softest, most buttery and well-done, period. Here’s hoping the other palettes perform better, and this was just a one-off.

The two palettes I received as press samples were damaged on the top. I bought the four other palettes, so if those have any issues, I’ll be sure to note those things in the relevant review. A reader mentioned hers (that she purchased) also had scratches on the lid, which is an issue when you price your product at $58.

Graphite #1 is described as a “warm ivory.” It’s a very light beige with subtle, warm undertones and a matte finish. It was very dusty and was difficult to apply to the skin; it just didn’t want to stay on well, and it was faded within six hours. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Graphite #2 is described as a “copper gold.” It’s a brightened, copper with a warm, metallic sheen. Applied dry, it was very sheer and dry, even though the powder itself was incredibly fine. Unfortunately, it was only usable when applied with a damp brush and really pressed and smoothed over the skin, and then I was able to get rich, opaque color. Applied dry, it was a total mess; I could only see it working dry over a slightly tacky base. Dry, it was faded within a few hours, but applied damp, it lasted for almost seven hours. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Graphite #3 is described as a “deep brown.” It’s a dark brown with warm undertones and a satin finish. It had decent to good pigmentation, but the consistency was also powdery with a dryness to it that made it harder to blend on the skin. It just seems to stick wherever it initially lands without wanting to really diffuse or soften. It lasted for seven hours on me before fading. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Graphite #4 is described as a “gun metal.” It’s a steely gray with a hint of blue and a pearly sheen. Applied dry, it was mostly opaque but less blendable. Applied dampened, it was more opaque and deeper, and it was easier to apply to the lid and use, though it dried back down quickly and became harder to blend out the edges. It wore longer–almost eight hours–compared to other shades, at least. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Graphite #5 is described as a “silver.” It’s more of a pewtery gold with subtle, warmer undertones with a metallic sheen. Applied dry, it was semi-sheer in coverage, and it did intensify to mostly opaque pigmentation when applied with a dampened brush. The texture was soft, blendable, but it was somewhat powdery. This was the only shade I liked in the palette. On me, the color wore well for seven and a half hours. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

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Hourglass Graphite Modernist Eyeshadow Palette
Hourglass Graphite Modernist Eyeshadow Palette

Hourglass Graphite Modernist Eyeshadow Palette
Hourglass Graphite Modernist Eyeshadow Palette

Hourglass Graphite Modernist Eyeshadow Palette
Hourglass Graphite Modernist Eyeshadow Palette

Hourglass Graphite Modernist Eyeshadow Palette
Hourglass Graphite Modernist Eyeshadow Palette

Hourglass Graphite Modernist Eyeshadow Palette
Hourglass Graphite Modernist Eyeshadow Palette

Hourglass Graphite Modernist Eyeshadow Palette
Hourglass Graphite Modernist Eyeshadow Palette

Hourglass Graphite Modernist Eyeshadow Palette
Hourglass Graphite Modernist Eyeshadow Palette

Hourglass Graphite #1 Modernist Eyeshadow
Hourglass Graphite #1 Modernist Eyeshadow

Hourglass Graphite #1 Modernist Eyeshadow
Hourglass Graphite #1 Modernist Eyeshadow

Hourglass Graphite #2 Modernist Eyeshadow
Hourglass Graphite #2 Modernist Eyeshadow

Hourglass Graphite #2 Modernist Eyeshadow
Hourglass Graphite #2 Modernist Eyeshadow

Hourglass Graphite #3 Modernist Eyeshadow
Hourglass Graphite #3 Modernist Eyeshadow

Hourglass Graphite #3 Modernist Eyeshadow
Hourglass Graphite #3 Modernist Eyeshadow

Hourglass Graphite #4 Modernist Eyeshadow
Hourglass Graphite #4 Modernist Eyeshadow

Hourglass Graphite #4 Modernist Eyeshadow
Hourglass Graphite #4 Modernist Eyeshadow

Hourglass Graphite #5 Modernist Eyeshadow
Hourglass Graphite #5 Modernist Eyeshadow

Hourglass Graphite #5 Modernist Eyeshadow
Hourglass Graphite #5 Modernist Eyeshadow

Hourglass Graphite Modernist Eyeshadow Palette
Hourglass Graphite Modernist Eyeshadow Palette

Hourglass Graphite Modernist Eyeshadow Palette
Hourglass Graphite Modernist Eyeshadow Palette

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About Reviewer
Review FAQ

Christine Mielke is the editor-in-chief and has been reviewing products for over 14 years.

She has normal-to-dry skin with occasional dryness on cheeks and nose. She has a light plus skintone with subtle, warmer yellow undertones (view her foundation matches here).

Learn more about her review process here.

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This is the palette I wanted the most. It’s disappointing to see its poor quality. I didn’t expect it from Hourglass but thanks for saving me some money.

What a shame because the compacts look so lovely 🙁 … I read other reviews saying they were a powdery mess and had fall out so I hesitated ordering at Sephora. I think I’m going to skip these over and wait to see what Tom Ford has out for us this Spring.

In a way, it is similar to the softness of the Ambient Lighting Powders, but it is harder to work with on the eyelids, because you do actually see and contend with the fall out.

So glad I didn’t spring for these before I saw your review. I knew when I saw the sneak peak the quality wasn’t what I’d expect from Hourglass, and certainly not for this price point. Too many excellent choices on the market for top quality to choose something like this.

Wow – very disappointing rating for a brand with such other amazing products! I love the Ambient Lighting Powders & the blushes. I’ve recently found a really nice foundation routine with their veil mineral primer & immaculate foundation. So happy I waited for the reviews! I shall wait patiently for the others 🙂

Aw man, I was expecting so much more from this one 🙁 Powderiness and fall-out are not good! And the fact that the lid was scratched is a real shame, let’s hope the lid of the other palettes is intact.

This probably sounds shitty, but I’m hoping that since Graphite was a Sephora exclusive it’s a lower-quality fluke. I’ve seen rave reviews for the initial release of Infinity via Barney’s, so they can’t *all* be bad, can they?

For all its hype, this palette sounds like it’s incredibly disappointing. I’ll be watching to see how you rate the other palettes. Those colors do look amazing though.

That’s completely unacceptable for such a high priced palette! I had one in my cart, but it is now being removed. Maybe the other ones will perform better?

I totally agree Andie! I had such high hopes for this product too!

I am glad Christine mentioned that she did purchase the other pallets in this collection too. I really really hope some of the other colors perform better!

Good thing I’ve been sitting on my hands. lol I’ve got my eye on those same 2 palettes, hope they will perform better. If not, my wallet thanks you. 🙂

Oof, glad I listened to my brain instead of my eyes and waited for reviews of this before purchasing. I’m not sure I’m willing to spend nearly $60 on a palette of such mediocre quality.

Yup this rates about what i expected after seeing the preview! Too bad, but interested to see if the olives or plums fare better. Side note – Christine, are you doing the editors or readers choice awards this year? I know you have done the top 10 in many categories but wondering about the older format! I really enjoy reading and researching those. Have a lovely day!

Hi Johanna,

We are working on some crazy stuff right now, so the awards are a wee bit delayed (I’m pushing 80-100/hours a week since November), but they are coming.

I believe you!! I knew that had to be the case but wasn’t sure if you were scrapping it altogether. I was thinking to myself last night, Christine needs to hire an associate tester to help review and write things! You are the face of your brand of course, but it isn’t humanly possible for one person to do it all! You are a superstar doing all of this…. are we sure you aren’t twins??? Or triplets??

Probably will announce the beginning of the nominations process this week, I just know I won’t have a moment to handle the data nominations generate for at least another week or two, so I didn’t want to push them out earlier and then sit on them! I’m lucky two have two developers (my husband and brother-in-law) who at least are able to help behind-the-scenes on that stuff!

Aww..Take a break! Why don’t you just announce a week or two OFF..after you finish the hourglass palette reviews,lol.No one is going to die if a few or a million makeup products go un-reviewed or are reviewed later. You are still the best beauty blogger out there..no doubt about it. I spend so much time going researching through your older posts for things I am interested in on top of your daily posts. I am sure others do too. We could get our fill that way. You deserve a personal life too Christine. let me tell you,life is short… and it can be shorter. Live it!
And hey..you know what..it may actually benefit you because cosmetics sales are going to come to a screeching hault worldwide when you take that break. So you are going to get more free stuff than you do! TAKE A BREAK!

You are very sweet! 🙂 Thank you, Nicole! I honestly enjoy most of the time I put in, and there’s not much else I’d rather spend my time on, haha. I will ease up a bit come February (well, back to my regular schedule!).


I understand. I would love to be able to do what you do half as well as you do! But, If you need it, just ease up. I understand this is a busy time and it seems like a heavy hitting spring right after right after a heavy holiday..I hope it does ease up. Hopefully they don’t do “summer” lines too heavy as well!Take it easy girl! All your subscribers understand that you are a person just as they are. You have to take care of you to do your job well. That’s what we need…you happy ,healthy, functioning at full power. (: xoxo

Ouch! Any time I see this low (or lower) a score for an expensive product I’m both dismayed and slightly relieved (oh, the money I save!). I was eyeing these and so appreciated your swatches, up early, which left me underwhelmed. But my biggest issue is that the shades aren’t separated. So pretty to look at but not so practical. I’m not compulsive about things not touching but don’t want to deal with making each eye look the same when the shades are running together.
Thanks for getting the review up fast! I’ll be curious to see if the others perform better (the other palette swatches that you showed looked better than this one).

They shades didn’t seem to overly blend easily into each other, but with the excessive powderiness, you will get dust all over – so some of the light beige might travel to the brown etc.

Here’s to hoping the other palettes perform better! I have such high hopes for these, especially after seeing Wayne Goss rave about them being one of the best shadow formulas out there. Ah well, I suppose it’s money well saved if this is the case for the lot. 🙁

I’m amused that after all the hype and how beautiful they are in the case, this particular palette underperformed, a lot! Do the companies ever write to you to about your reviews?

Very rarely, but it has happened. Sometimes they just apologize, sometimes they thank me for the feedback, and very, very, very rarely they’ll tell me that’s how it was intended to perform.

Sign I hate when my fears with products are confirmed…. mixing finishes like these means that the base formula has to be the same or similar to get the shades the pressed together.

Although the colour looks impressed compared to MAC baked mineral eyeshadows, it still suffers for the formulation on these.

Hard Candy, 2nd love, and Sephora seems to be hitting out better baked products lately, and all are made in Itally I’m wondering if there is more then one formulator company working with these brands. Hard Candy is made in Chin as an example.

But I still hoping some of the other palette might perform better. The pink one has caught my eye.

Oh no! I really was expecting to see an amazing review, since I know their powders and blushes are so great. I’ve ordered Infinity and Monochrome, I also hope that this one palette is a one-off, it would be a real bummer if you’ve ordered so many and all of them have a so-so quality for that price! And thanks for the scratches tip, I’m going to let you know if I will have any if mine come through the mail.

I’m so gutted to hear about the packaging issue and the lukewarm performance! I’m hoping these are exceptions! It’s a pity tho: I really like the color theme here.

I’ve been looking forward to the release of these palettes but it is intensely disappointing to hear how unimpressive they are. I’ve ordered two from Sephora but will be returning if they aren’t worth the $58.

I’m super disappointed in the performance of this $60 (include tax) palette. For $60, every single color should perform well. I have $2 eyeshadow pots from Coastal Scents that perform better than these do. Price does not equal quality…

There is a lot about the texture that really feels like their Ambient powders, but I don’t think that is what makes a stellar eyeshadow formula, unfortunately!

at this price point, it should be flawless. thankfully, this wasn’t one of the ones i was interested in so i’m hoping at least one of the two i liked aren’t terrible

This is so disappointing. I bought this palette a few days ago and have been eagerly awaiting its arrival. The colors are such a nice mix, it was the most interesting one to me out of the mix. Really too bad about the performance. Thanks so much for the review!

Sucks when a product looks so pretty in the packaging but performs hella poorly. I’m the type that picks up makeup and have high hopes. Hopes so high I don’t plan on taking it back. Then its crap, and I dread having to go to the shop again. If it’s cheap, I wouldnt mind. But this palette is hella expensive.

I had a feeling based on your swatches. Oh well, saving my money for the Nars Dual Intensity Palette – we know that one is a winner. 🙂 Thanks Christine – your look still came out lovely (as always).

I don’t really get the design of the product. It looks huge and with only five colors, there’s no way I need that much of each color. If the shadows aren’t meant to be mixed together, why are they butted up against each other? Anyway I can see a lot of people ARE excited by these so, bit of a letdown here, although you made a pretty look out of it!

It’s not too large – it’s smaller than the blush and powder palettes, and the amount is a little less than the average quad.

Thanks for the great review. I’m skipping these. I think they look pretty in the pan, but I feared that they would have the same super powdery formula as the ambient lighting blushes and it sounds like that’s the case. I like the touch of green in your eye look. It’s fun.

Wow, I didn’t expect this of Hourglass! They usually have great products. This kit sounds like a hot mess, with all the fall out, fading, difficulty blending, and powderiness. At $ 58, this is an easy skip . Hope the other kits perform better.

Kinda of what I expected after seeing the sneak-peek you posted. This is completely inexcusable. I’d much rather throw down the extra dollar and get a Marc Jacobs 7 pan palette. I mean come on, for that much money these needed to be phenomenal. Like you I’m really only digging #5 but only because on my monitor it looks like it has an extremely subtle green reflex which, no matter the subtlety, is uncommon in a silver shade.

Thanks for the warning, love.

What a shame that Hourglass couldn’t put out a more substantial-across-the-board palette. Maybe others will fare better, review wise? I agree with another poster who mentioned that the nature of this palette can make the colors eventually muddle together. But darned if these aren’t beautiful in their intent. Very nice eye looks, Christine – they always are good inspiration for those who may not be as confident in wearing some of these colors!

Oh my – a C rating with some D’s thrown in ….. I was expecting way better, based on my experience with the old Hourglass duo shadows and also having heard Wayne Goss rave about the texture and pigmentation of these shadows (not sure if Graphite was one of the ones he had, though I thought it was). In some ways, I’m relieved because it makes it very easy for me not to wan this one (part of me is hoping a few others don’t rate too highly either).

I feel like you may not like these, given that you enjoyed the previous ones – these are a lot less… dense? buttery? creamy? They have a drier feel, even if they weren’t necessarily dry.

I honestly thought, based on the previous shadows, that when they were replaced, it would be with something at least as good as the ones they discontinued. I’ll be interested to check these out in-store (I am a VIB Rouge but I’m glad that my dislike of ordering things sight unseen kept me from taking advantage of that to order these early!)

I’ll be curious to hear your thoughts, Mariella, once you check them out in-store.

When I swatched one of the shimmery shades, I even though, “Okay, maybe the mattes are a little powdery, but these will feel like the duos…”

i’m surprised with the quality on these, considering the price tag. i’m looking forward to the rest of your reviews, christine!

Aww 🙁 Such a shame! I like the colour combination sitting next to each other in the palette, but I really wanted the gunmetal/graphite colour to be more blue – more of a ‘steel *blue*’ I suppose – I think that would have looked so amazing with the gold!

It’s a shame to hear about the powderiness too, especially if Hourglass is usually good on the shadows (I’ve never tried them)!

The copper shade totally threw me off! Even though I know copper plays off of blue, I was like… hmm, this is harder to use!

Bronwyn, that is exactly my feeling. The Nars palette should be at Sephora in 2 weeks (and possibly even earlier, according to one SA I spoke with) and I know I really want that and it’s limited edition, so far as I know.

I am shocked! Hourglass should perform better. I bet these are flying off the shelves because people are used to higher standards from them . I almost bought two when I saw them up for VIBS on Sun night. I still am loving the looks of the olive and plum. But, no way can I justify $58 for for something that is just pretty to look at. I agree with the damaged cases being ridiculous. I have ordered many things from Sephora though that come damaged because they are not wrapped tight or padded enough. So, Im not sure if it is Sephora or an Hourglass issue?Thank you for reviewing these Christine! So happy I waited and didn’t get order happy! Can’t wait to see the rest!

Oh, yes, no doubt they are being bought sight-unseen because of previous popularity 🙁 Here’s hoping the rest are better. These came directly from Hourglass’ press department, but they were in their boxes so I have no idea what would have scuffed them en route!

Poor QC no doubt..that’s unacceptable as you mentioned,particularly if they go to consumers that way. Love the look you made with it..as always!Let me guess… Sephora’s “Good Mood” liner on bottom? I love that one.DO NOT REPLY!!! TEAK A BREAK! It doesn’t matter which pretty green it is..ill find one comparable..rest up! hugs!

No, you don’t.I Picked up about 5-6 of the Sephora liners after you made a couple of posts about them and their good quality along with the price.I now own at leas 10-12. I had just bought a $23 coffee brown Givenchy liner prior to the first batch..It went back two days after I HATE to return cosmetics usually! But, I felt ripped off just looking at it,lol. It was awful compared to the Sephora! Good Mood is a beautiful liner at a terrific price tag.It almost really does put you in a good mood. It makes me smile when I see it,lol. I LOVE it !

It’s very disappointing to hear about the formula, because the colours are gorgeous and I love how they complement one another. I commend them for thinking outside the box in terms of packaging, but formula should not suffer as a result. I’m still interested in trying their eyeshadow duos though.

What a shame! First Guerlain, now Hourglass. I agree with Stacey above – once you have the Naked or Lorac Pro 1 palettes, you really don’t need anything else – especially as they are of much better quality. The only colour I liked was the grey – and though that was the best rating shade, it would not be enough for me to consider purchasing it.
Anyway, that was a great eye look you did Christine. Fantastic.

This was the only one with the cool tones to interest me– so I guess I am moving on from these palettes. Thank you, Christine, I was waiting for your review.

This was one of the palettes originally in my wish list, but it’s disappointing to see the poor performance. I’m hoping a few of the others are better quality (though it will save me a fair chunk of change if they underperform, as well).

I’m kinda shocked that these beautiful looking palettes from Hourglass have turned out to be a disappointment. Glad to not be lusting after them

I think I said this in your original post on the two palettes but I ordered only one, Exposure. I really wasn’t going to because of the reviews on the Infinity palette that came out a few months ago. :/ The reason I ordered Exposure is because it looked like it was mostly shimmers and the mattes seem to be the more problematic. I can’t believe it about the scratches though!

My wallet just heaved a sigh of relief. I hope the olive palette is one of the ones you will be reviewing, as that is what I had my eye on. Does anyone know when these will be available in store?

I’m glad i didn’t do what i usually do, see something new and pretty and buy it. I’m saving my $$ for the nars palette. You still managed to make a gorgeous eye look! What eyeliner are you wearing its a very interesting shade, i absolutely love it! Thanks again for saving my money and time. Sounds like you need a long quiet vacation! Your hard work is very appreciated.

It such a shame that this isn’t much better quality! I can see these palettes selling for about $80 minimum in Australia, I would not want to spend that kind of money on a palette that doesn’t perform so well.

Well, I don’t understand why they discontinued the eyeshadow duos which are probably the top 3 eyeshadow formulas on the market, I still use them regularly when I just need to grab 2 colors to work together for a simple look. Now these palettes, while beautifully designed, are powdery and messy even just to look at them, you can feel the mess it will create. Not a big fan of multiple shades in a big pan. I am just so sad that the duos are no longer available.

The duos were amazing. Hourglass’ site has a couple of them available but a few are out of stock (and I’m guessing these Modernist palettes replace those).

Thanks, Christine! You just saved me $58 I will no doubt spend on makeup elsewhere of course! Although my newest obsession is skincare. Anyway, I was waiting for your review because I was afraid the shadows would be messy all in one pan, but this is worse!

Even before I read the review, the packaging totally put me off. I can just see all the colors getting mixed together and making a mess. What a shame!!! I remember you loving the shadows that they had out before. What a fail on their part!

What a disappointment. I have enough powdery eyeshadows to last me a lifetime with UD, and they have much better colour payoff.

Do you think these would work better with a primer underneath them?

Beautiful packaging/presentation but eyeshadows are blah and don’t seem great quality. You always manage to create beautiful looks with sub-par products! Thank you for the review–money saved!

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