So my super-awesome mom sent me a super-awesome care package, and aside from all the super-yummy food that I already ate, one of my favorite things was this Best of Ulta Palette. I appreciate Ulta for their great BOGO deals and insider perks, but I think a lot of the Ulta brand products can be really hit or miss, which is why it's great to get a bunch of their best-selling stuff in one little (very well-priced) palette. Scroll down for my review.
Best of Ulta Palette, $9.99 at ulta.com: Here's the pretty Ulta pic of their palette. It has 12 shadows, 12 lip colors, a dual-ended shadow applicator and a dual-ended little lip brush, a tiny mirror, and a magnetic closure on a sleek, swirl-embossed silver case.
Eyeshadows in order: first row: Silk, Peacock, Amethyst, Iceland, second row: Aztec Gold, Radiant, Sandstone, Granite, third row: Deep Sea, Truffle, Pink, Galaxy. Lip Colors in order: first row: Plum Wine, Mauve Shimmer, Snowflake Shimmer, Sienna Shimmer, second row: Romantic Red, Sheer Berry, Mulberry Shimmer, Sheer Pout, third row: Iced Cappucino, Wineberry Shimmer, Shimmering Quartz, Sheer Apricot.
I'm not really going to talk about the lip colors because they really aren't that interesting or impressive at all. The pigmentation is poor, the formula isn't moisturizing or long-lasting, and at best these are dull, sheer lip glosses. Sheer apricot is intriguing because it's a bright poppy orange and the lip brush is a nice touch, but aside from that the lip colors aren't worth talking about. But as for the eye shadows--those are totally different story.
The pigmentation and application are pretty good overall, the shadows blend well and have minimal fallout, and the wear (with UDPP as a base) is comparable to a MAC or NARs shadow.
-Silk is a warm, pale, golden-ivory highlighter with a bit of a frost. I might like this even better than MAC's Femme Fi--it's lighter and a little less champagne-y. I would definitely repurchase this. Ulta shadows are ridiculously cheap, and this would not only last forever, but it's a really nice, blendable highlighter that works on the lid, on the inner tear duct, on the brow bone, even on the cheekbone.
-Peacock is a medium grey-blue with a hint of silver shimmer. It's a very pretty color, but nothing something I can see myself using. But if you're looking for a medium blue shadow that doesn't scream '90s, this could be it.
-Amethyst is a very warm, mauvey purple with gold shimmer. It's definitely too warm for me, but if you're someone who can easily wear pink or mauve shadows, I think you'd like this. It really does capture the color of an amethyst quite well.
-Iceland is a very frosty, blue-based white. I can't used this unless I sheer it out a lot because it's very pigmented and definitely goes on looking WHITE, which isn't really my aesthetic. It would work on someone really pale or on someone with mad, mad blending skills.
-Aztec Gold is a lovely warm gold with gold shimmer. It's easy to layer for subtle gold sheen or an intense metallic look. I think this would be really lovely as a daytime look on olive skin or applied more heavily for a nighttime look. It would also be fab on top of a deep brown shadow to give it some life.
-Radiant is a light, golden olive with a gold sheen to it. I thought I was going to hate this, but swatched on it has a really pretty safari feel to it, and I think it would work nicely with MAC's Greensmoke or Urban Decay's Stash liner. The blendability on Radiant is fantastic, and it's one of the few shadows in the palette that isn't packed full of glitter, but still catches the light perfectly.
-Sandstone is one of my favorites from this palette. It's a purple-based taupe that actually reminds me a lot of MAC's Style Snob. It has the same sheen without being shimmery, it makes a gorgeous base, it blends well, lasts forever, and is mysteriously flattering. I would definitely repurchase this baby.
-Granite is a blue-based grey with silver sheen. It's nothing special, but it's a very nice, workhorse color that would be pretty on it's own or layered over a matte black for a deep, smoky grey.
-Deep Sea is probably my least favorite color. There's nothing wrong with it, it's a medium blue with intense green duochrome, but I can't see it being wearable at all unless it was as part of a costume. Pass.
-Truffle is another favorite--it's a golden taupe that works equally well as a highlighter, on the inner corner of the eye, or as a wash across the lid. It's very much 'your eyes but better,' with a hint of golden sheen thrown in. This is definitely worth a repurchase.
-Pink is one of those shadows that I don't see myself wearing, but even I have to admit that it goes on much more wearable than I expected. It's pretty sheer, so it goes on as a shimmery, slightly frosty icy-pink. I think it could work nicely as a highlighter. I don't really get why people wear pink eyeshadow, but I find this to be a pretty inoffensive incarnation.
-Galaxy is a medium black with silver shimmer. It's nowhere as pigmented as I wanted it to be, there's a lot of shimmer fallout, and it's hard to blend. That said, this made me realize that I want a real black eye shadow. If you're toying with the idea of black shadow, this is a cheap way to test-run it, and it works decently if you layer Granite on top of it.
Overall, I really like six out of the twelve eyeshadows, and I'd repurchase three of them, so it's still a pretty good deal for $10. All this swatching and reviewing is making me seriously crave some more dark shadows. Next up on my list is NARs' Mekong, $22 at sephora.com. Sephora calls it 'espresso fused with gold,' and it looks insanely pigmented and insanely gorgeous. I'm thinking this might be the nighttime version of my NARs Galapagos shadow, and might be a softer stand-in for a shimmery black shadow. Thoughts?
Ulta palette: ulta.com, NARs Mekong swatches in order: allthevanity.blogspot.com, temptalia.com.