Applying the eye shadows from Giorgio Armani's Manta Ray collection is like working with pressed raw pigments. The silky texture is incredibly saturated with color, and it takes a little practice to get it perfect when using the dark colors of Manta Ray 1 and 2. If they had asked me, I'd have suggested making these eye shadow sets into trios: both could use a light base color to help with the blending part, and duo no. 4, Stone, has exactly the right shades for each set: a light stony blue and a sandy beige.
But, let's focus on what is actually on hand: No. 1 is called Natural and has a very dark, almost black charcoal and a dark dusty brown with a hint of taupe. The first is perfect for lining, the second looks fabulous in the crease. They are soft, smooth and blendable to the max. I use a thinner brush than I'd normally choose for the crease because of the amount of pigment it deposits.
No. 2, Ocean, offers two of the loveliest blue eye shadows I've seen lately. The dark one is a very rich navy, the other is an ocean blue/green (more blue than teal, I think). The color is very intense, and when blended just right it's very flattering and brings a lot of life to brown eyes. I use a simple matte nude/beige base with both duos (and an eye primer, to ensure I don't end up with any smudges by the end of the day), and love the results.
Bottom line: would have been perfect if a lighter color had been included in these sets and if not for the learning curve in using them (seriously, don't attempt applying them for the first time ever when time is pressing).
Giorgio Armani cosmetics and the Manta Ray eye shadows ($32 each) are available from Saks and Barneys.
All photos are mine.