Round-up: Hourglass Modernist Eyeshadow Palettes Overview & Thoughts

Hourglass Modernist Eyeshadow Palettes

Hourglass Modernist Eyeshadow PalettesHourglass Modernist Eyeshadow Palettes ($58.00 for 0.175 oz. each) debuted this spring as a new formula from the brand. There are seven variations, and each palette has five different shades. I didn’t like any of them, and I would never use any of these again personally, because they’re just far too time-consuming to work with. I’m a fan of Hourglass, and I loved their previous eyeshadow duos (some of the best eyeshadows on the market), so I was incredibly surprised to have such a poor experience with their newest formula.

The main problem with the formula is that it is so soft and finely-milled that it turns powdery, sometimes chalky, and doesn’t hold together well. In turn, that powderiness translates to poorer color payoff, poorer adhesion, and shorter wear times. The eyeshadow tends to dust off the skin without a tackier base to hold it there. Many shades sheer away to some degree with a few sheering away to near nothingness. Some of them are drier, some may be powdery but blend poorly. Even if you prefer a softer or sheerer look, you can easily achieve the same look with hundreds of other products that are easier to use.

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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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Agreed. Hourglass generally has such stellar products with such a well-edited range. I don’t understand how they released such a subpar line of shadows.

So disappointing 🙁 It’s kind of nice that they suck, though, because now I’m not tempted to buy them anymore!! Because ouch, $58 a pop…

Its so sad that these didn’t perform well.
They look so good and I really like Hourglass as a brand. But I’m happy that I didn’t buy them before reading your review, because here in Europe they are crazy expensive.

Thanks for your honest review of these palettes. Let’s hope Hourglass listens to the feedback and launches better shadows or brings back their old formula. If it’ ain’t broke, don’t break it!

I seriously don’t understand why these brands try to “improve” their products when there is absolutely nothing wrong with them… I never delved into Hourglass, but I saw it happen with Lancome, Estee Lauder, and most recently, MUFE (I know alot of people like them, but there is a lack of cool neutrals, and I really preferred the old formula, based on what I’ve personallyswatched).

Awesome round up post! These are so pretty, but if the product is poor then certainly not worth the money .. oh, well .. better luck next time Hourglass 😉


Ugh, they’re so beautiful! They had so much potential, and I was so excited when they were announced. I’m glad I waited on reviews though because grades in the C range for such a pricey palette is just unacceptable!

These seem to me very polarizing products, people either hate them or love them (I’ve seen both for weeks now). You description makes me think of last years Bronze Goddess palette and the mattes in Lauder’s new Envy eyeshadow palettes; the textures are very soft but have the same problems when you try to use them without a lot of work and a good primer. If the color is amazing I don’t mind the work but it’s a shame that the trending focus seems to be on a beautiful texture and not on performance.

These reviews make me sad. Hourglass is one of my favourite brands and I hate to think that we gave up their amazing shadow duos for these palettes.

It’s sad they are such poor performers but I’m not going to give up on the brand, just these. On another notes the UK seems to love these. I guess with all the products we have available in the states, we are a little spoiled.

I think I finally made the decision to return. And that’s not something I do lightly. In the 15+ years I’ve been shopping for makeup at Sephora, I can count on one hand how many times I’ve returned something.

I love this new format for a summary review of a line of products Christine! Graphically, it’s beautiful, but as someone who frequently looks up reviews as I’m shopping in store I really appreciate the concise breakdown of pros and cons right at the top of the post where they’re quick to find as well as the pictures of the products (as opposed to just their names) with their grades. It’s the perfect format for when you’re standing in a busy store trying to get information quickly while avoiding parking yourself in one spot for too long and getting in someone else’s way!

I’m starting to think that there’s a batch problem with these palettes, because I played around with the Infinity and Atmosphere palette at Sephora, and was blown away at how much better the shadows were than I expected. These shadows still performed better than a number of the light shades in my NARSissist palette. Even without primer, they worked well when I used the slightest dab in the color with my brush and gently worked the colors onto my lids (which isn’t the case for my NARSissist palette; always need primer for that palette).

I guess these shades are a little fussier, but I got great color pay-off with and without primer with most of the colors in the Infinity, Monochrome, and Exposure palettes. The biggest problems I had were with the lightest shadows in each palette. Only one of the cream shades had easy color payoff, and the other two needed to get built up on my lid when I used them. So let’s hope it’s a batch thing, and that they’ll modify their formula to work consistently across all shades?

Such a disappointment that the formulas on these shadow palettes aren’t better coz they are so lovely to look at! But at least I will be saving by not purchasing them, and I really don’t “need” any of these shades.

Does anyone else feel like this isn’t uncommon for brands? Like they’ll get really big over one line of products (say, Ambient Lighting Powders/Blushes) and then they’ll put out a crap follow up line because they know people will buy it because it’s [insert brand here that did the really cool original thing].

I purchased 4 of these, Infinity, Monochrome, Atmosphere and Exposure, after fiddling with each of the for way too long, the regret in buying them weighed heavier and heavier until today I went into Sephora and returned all 4 of them. Somehow (except for Exposure) I kept ending up with the same look over and over regardless of the palette I used, and they all turned muddy when blended, or like you said blended away altogether. Not one of the palettes worked as a stand alone for me, I had to pull other shadows in every time I used one. Such a HUGE weight has been lifted from me now that I returned them all and bought the things I really wanted, like the new NARS Duel Intensity Palette for one and more Makeup Forever shadows which I absolutely LOVE!!

I actually LOVE Infinity. Yes, it’s true, it’s a powdery mess (but I manage to keep mine clean, just as easily as all my other palettes; I hate messy, nasty looking palettes), but once it’s on my eyes, it’s phenomenal. I’m not a make-up artist, but I manage to create beautiful looks with it, they blend like a dream (I use Nars pro prime), and it has become one of my favorite neutral palettes. I’m obsessed with the middle shade (it’s possibly the most beautiful eyeshadow I own), and I use the second shade as my crease / transition shade on pretty much every eye look I wear. That dark brown makes a fantastic liner. I think it’s beautiful . Next I’ll be getting Color Field, though not anytime soon (I’ll be on a low buy for eyeshadows this year).

Are they intended to be so sheer? I’m surprised Hourglass released them performing so bad in the first place. Odd.

I hated the packaging from first glance. The colors would all mix together and that would do my head in. Such a shame that these were such an epic fail.

Aww. These were so sad! I haven’t personally been much into the Hourglass hype (It’s relatively hard to get here/v. expensive), so that might have protected me from some of the disappointment, bit it’s still awful to see such anticipated and pretty items turn out to be so underwhelming.

Hopefully they were just trying something new (which we should want brands to do!!), and they’ll learn from these – maybe even reformulate them a bit if they want to keep these as permanent items?

Christine, do you still love Hourglass’ Gypsy duo? Does that formula still impress you? I’m trying to decide whether to grab it before it’s gone forever…..(actually suede would be my first choice but it appears to be already sold out everywhere). Thx!

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