When it comes to eye shadow, I haven’t really got a clue.
Despite being a beauty journalist, a touch of brown blended into the outer corner with a dash of shimmer is about as adventurous as it gets I’m afraid. I also have oily eyelids (yes, it’s a thing), meaning even if I do try, everything seems to slide off in a few hours anyway.
So when the Morphe x Jeffree Star Artistry Palette (£35) landed on my desk – full of neon brights and glittery metallics – I was excited, but also slightly nervous to try something completely out of my comfort zone.
If you’re new to Morphe (pronounced Morfy) it’s gained cult status in the beauty world, due to collaborations with popular YouTubers such as James Charles, Jaclyn Hill and, most recently, Jeffree Star. It’s also pretty affordable with standard palettes costing around £24 for 35 shades, which is good considering you can pay over £50 for fewer shades at Tom Ford and Charlotte Tilbury.
Morphe is only going to get bigger in the UK, after Boots announced it will be stocking the brand from September this year, previously fans would have had to buy direct from the site.
Armed with the palette, the Eye Brush Collection, £40, and a Set and Refresh Spray, £18 (to combat my oily lids), I headed straight to Instagram for inspiration, beauty vloggers Chloe Morello and Celine Bernaerts to be exact, determined to come out of this a fully-fledged pro at blending, buffing and perfecting a colourful look. And with 30 shades to play with, I had my work cut out. Here’s how my week went.
I play it safe to begin with, resisting the temptation of going out in public with neon pink eyelids straight away. Instead I opt for a beige shade (Lynn) as my base colour, applied with the JS6 brush, and a reddish brown shade (Boss Angeles) that was the closest to my usual look, blended into the outer corner using the JS8 brush. Given the colours on offer, the finished product feels a bit “too safe”, so I add a shimmery shade (Dog Mom – cringe!), dabbing it on with my index finger.
The shadow blends really easy, which is great for an amateur like me who is constantly fixing mistakes. But I already feel completely overwhelmed by the number of brushes to choose from – nobody needs eight brushes for one look, surely? I’m impressed by how long it lasts, it still looks flawless in the evening and my lids didn’t crease much either.
One thing to say is that the photos don’t do the colour blend justice, a peachy orange with glitter over the top. Still, the impact is still a little lacklustre – only one person comments on my new look, so I resolve to go brighter tomorrow.
Today I’m determined to make an impact, so I go full glitter bug. I wake up too late to do my hair, so I put all of my effort into my makeup instead. It seems only fair.
I start with my trusty beige base shade from yesterday (Lynn), adding a glittery top layer (Millions) – not shimmery, subtle colours, but full-on gold flakes. This time I use the JS11 brush, with short, densely packed bristles to pack on the colour and get as much glitter on as possible.
Having tried many a glitter eyeshadow before, mostly mucking about at Christmas, this takes the biscuit. It is SO pigmented, there’s no bits flaking together or sparsely stuck across my entire face. It’s easy to control application, with no specks falling onto my eyelashes. I pair it with a glossy pink lipstick to avoid looking too Christmassy – it’s only autumn, after all.
I meet my friend for lunch who doesn’t notice until I prompt her. While they seem almost overwhelmingly bright to me, they don’t have quite the impact I’d hoped for. However I put this down to having hooded lids, so when my eyes are open, there isn’t much eyelid on show.
It is unmovable throughout the day, nothing will move this showstopper - if I say so myself. When it came to removing it, I was sceptical, but with one cotton pad of eye-makeup remover, it was gone. Hurrah.
Neon pink for day three. While Jeffree Star is a pro at creating a rainbow delight on his lids, I certainly am not. How does anyone with fair skin wear pink eyeshadow without looking like they’ve got an eye infection?
My aim was to recreate this look from Bea Sweet Beauty, in one block colour of pink colouring my eyelid and lashings of mascara with my signature cat-eye flick liner. My plan was to apply, even if it was messy, then tidy up around the edges before putting on my foundation.
I initially use just my finger to get the surface area covered, but has to switch to a JS13 brush to get it really precise in my inner corners and lash line. I use a cotton bud to tidy up around my eyelids, there’s no way I could pull of pink eyeshadow up to my eyebrows. The one plus is that it’s so richly pigmented I barely use any – looks like the colours are going to last a long time.
To be honest, I love the finished look. Much more than I thought I would, my only problem was that it’s very difficult to match a lipstick to it. Everything clashed so I settle for a nude to be safe but something seemed a little off.
I don’t venture out too far with this look, my local Tesco express being the only place I decide to brave. I get a couple of strange looks from people, but wonder if I’m just being paranoid. My mum, in true mum style, doesn’t hold back her opinion: “It’s.....interesting,” she managed, after physically recoiling. At least it turned someone’s head.
Finally I go for the purple-pink shade (Pink Fleet), which is slightly darker than the hot pink I tried the day before, but no less striking. I figure I might as well add glitter into the mix too, rather than just having a solid block of colour on my lid, so I use the palest shimmery shade on the palette (Welcome) on my inner eyelids and blend it into the purple. It blends easily and the glitter doesn’t get lost in the purple, instead creating an iridescent pop.
I feel like I’m a walking highlighter, and am conscious that people are staring on the commute to work. I spend the entire time spent so squished on the central line that one jolt of the train could mean a splattered mess on the back of someone’s jacket.
Although when I get to work, the general feedback is positive. One even says: “You’ve made a neon colour suitable for work.” Even if it’s not for me, at least someone likes it.
The two shades held up well too, with little creasing by the end of the day, despite the majority of eyeshadows smudging off within hours.
While the palette is full of intimidating shades (the neon green did not get a look in), it’s actually pretty wearable. The £35 price tag may seem like a lot for one makeup product, but there are 30 shades to play with – from neutral beiges and browns, shimmer copper colours and glittery golds and silvers, and I do think if you’re invested in creating fun eyeshadow looks, is worth the price tag.
The brushes however are excessive, and I don’t think there’s a need for eight, especially as you can buy them separately from £6, which I will definitely be doing. The Set and Refresh Spray is very on-brand for Jeffree, who coats himself in one in every video he makes, but I didn’t see much difference. The eyeshadows stay perfectly fine without it anyway.
Each eyeshadow shade is richly pigmented, blended seamlessly and lasted all day, despite my oily lids, and even a novice like me managed to make good use of a variety of colour and looks. Expect to see me in glitter a lot more often.
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.