By now, I think we are all aware of the mixed reception surrounding the release of the Hourglass Modernist Eyeshadow Palettes. I purchased before seeing any reviews, the day they were released for VIB Rouges on Sephora. However, my palette just arrived last week because I had to wait for a friend in the U.S. to send it to me.
According to Hourglass, these “palettes flaunt five complementary shades of soft and airy, finely-milled formulas in a curated selection of shades, finishes, and textures” designed “with the innovative multi-press technique”. They promise to be “exceptionally buildable in color…giving you unprecedented control over the intensity of your look”. The are seven Hourglass Modernist Eyeshadow Palettes offered and Sephora describes them as follows:
- Obscura (Earth Tones) – cream, smokey brown, rose gold, coffee, cool bronze
- Monochrome (Rose) – warm ivory, rose nude, peony pink, light mauve, dark chocolate
- Infinity (Warm Neutrals) – warm ivory, dusty rose, bronzed mauve, cool taupe, dark cocoa
- Graphite (Smokey) – warm ivory, copper gold, deep brown, gun metal, silver
- Exposure (Plums) – champagne, aubergine, bronze, black violet, lilac
- Color Field (Olive) – warm ivory, champagne gold, taupe brown, golden olive, forest green
- Atmosphere (Cool Neutrals) – pale ivory, pale pink, taupe, espresso, charcoal
With a price tag of $58.00 USD and considering my current low-buy, I settled on one: Exposure. If you’re interested, Temptalia has posted her round-up of all seven (7) here.
Having had to wait a while to receive Exposure, I had time to catch snippets here and there of the reviews on the Modernist palettes as they rolled out. And it wasn’t looking good. Of course, I’ve not read every review that’s out there but based on the dozen or so that I’ve seen, its clear that feelings are mixed. There are those that love it for its subtle, creamy formula and those that think it is a powdery pigment-lacking mess.
The packaging is signature Hourglass (and notoriously difficult to photograph!)
Unless you see these in person, most will be surprised by how small they are. Despite seeing comparison photographs of the eye shadow palettes next to the Ambient Blush palette, I was still shocked when it arrived. I put mine next to a MAC lipstick:
Does that help?
Anyway, the first night I got it – I took the photos right away so I could have a play with it – not on my eyes, but just using a brush to my hand. I just had to know for myself – was it that bad?
Using a fluffy blending brush to pick up the product, I definitely noticed the kick-up/powder that everyone was talking about. When I tried to apply the shadow onto the back of my hand, I watched as the pigment blended away into almost nothing. At that moment I thought, oh no, this ain’t going to work. Then, I tweeted. 🙂
Here are the shadows swatched using fingers and swatched using a fluffy brush. Bear in mind, the skin on the hand is different in texture than the skin on the eyelids (and, actually, I think texture on the lids helps colour cling better).
The next morning (first time applying to my eyes), I happened to use a different crease/blending brush that’s denser and it worked much, much better. I actually experienced absolutely no fall out and great pigmentation. However, I did notice, as others had said, that the colour in the pan doesn’t show up quite the same way on the eyes. The deepest purple almost looked brown. Nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised as I was expecting some horrible experience. And, it’s worth noting that the softer finish of the shadows will appeal to those who have that preference.
The brushes I used:
As I applied the shadows that morning and as they went on smoothly, I thought, “oh, I’m going to keep this after all”. But then a strange thing happened. To finish the look, I smudged the aubergine shadow onto my lower lash line. Immediately, my eyes began to water and burn like crazy. This has never happened to me with eye shadows. After about 5 minutes, the sensation became bearable (allowing me to take photos), but there was definitely a dull sting that lasted for the next 20 minutes. It was insane.
This is look I came on with on my first go with the shadows. I used the first four (champagne, aubergine, bronze, black violet). In both looks, I didn’t use anything else besides the shadows in the palette and mascara:
The next day, I tried again. This time I was very careful when applying the shadow to my lower lash line. It didn’t sting as badly, but I definitely experienced some moderate irritation. For the second look I used the first two and last shadows (champagne, aubergine and lilac):
As far as my reaction to the shadow goes, I’m not sure if it’s chemical or physical. In other words, if it is an ingredient or the nature of the product being so fine like dust…thus mimicking the effect dust would have when it gets in your eyes.
Unfortunately, this was the deciding factor for me. The powdery-ness of the formula didn’t bother me. I was satisfied pigment-wise. Application (on the eyelid anyway) was normal – very smooth, even. I enjoyed most of the colors. Lilac, in particular, is stunning and multidimensional. But at the end of the day, I cannot deal with something that’s going to burn my eyes the way that it did. Sadly, therefore, I’m going to return this. This is not a decision I take lightly. In fact, I can count on one hand in the 15+ years I’ve been shopping at Sephora, how many times I’ve actually returned something.
My final thoughts are: the shadows in the Exposure palette performed well enough on the eyes but based on the irritation I experienced, I would suggest testing first if you can.
Did any of you pick up the Hourglass Modernist Eyeshadow Palettes? What are you thoughts? Please share in the comment section below!
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