There's no doubt that matte eye shadow palettes are having a moment as far as people who actually buy makeup are concerned. From Urban Decay Naked Basics 2 and even the weaker NB1, to several larger palettes from recent months. I may or may not have gone a bit matte-crazy myself recently, partly because I've been wearing so many bright lipsticks (remember these?) that I needed to balance that. The other reason is a friend who turned me into the cult of Viseart, a professional makeup brand that is not available at department store yet has been gaining traction as a prime quality and utterly gorgeous must-have. Viseart eye shadow palettes (they also have lip and concealing ones) tend to sell out quickly; I get the feeling that they make them in small batches, so it took me a while to get my hands on the one I wanted most (for a start), 01 Neutral Matte.
Twelve seemingly basic matte colors, mostly brown, in an unadorned utilitarian plastic compact (cheap looking, really). The magic is in the texture, the depth of color, and the way the super finely milled powder behaves on skin. Matte eye shadows can be rather problematic: too chalky, too hard, difficult to blend, patchy looking... I've seen it all. The most modern formulas seem to have gotten over this hurdle, but it's not an industry-side achievement yet. That's what makes Viseart such a sensation, and 01 Neutral Matte into the desert island product that it is.
The colors in this palette are really the most essential in anyone's collection:
1 A rich warm beige.
2 A cooler beige. Reminds me of lipsticks favored by J Lo
3 Kind of a doll-face apricoty beige.
4 A bright almost-white that I actually use as a sort of highlighter.
5 Dark coffee
6 Terra cotta, though it's more muted on skin than in the pan.
7 Warm cocoa
8 Cool medium brown
9 An almost black and a true matte. The finish is borderline satin.
10 True medium gray
11 Cool taupe (great for filling eyebrows)
12 Warm(ish) taupe.
I know that at $80 (Sephora) or even $75 (AlconeCo.com) it seems a bit crazy, especially since this is not a big palette ( 24 grams/0.84 oz of product, with talc as the main ingredient). But the superb quality and usability make it a really good buy, especially if there's a gap in your eye shadow wardrobe of matte wearable colors. Performance is phenomenal, and the joy of creating so many combinations, layering the colors, taking them from day to night... you know the feeling. A palette you don't want to put aside is a great thrill, and Viseart got me completely hooked on this one. The thing is that they have more (Dark Mattes, and Cool Mattes), and I haven't even gotten to the satin ones that are drop-dead gorgeous. I've had the chance to gawk and swatch a friend's Paris Muse palette, and loved it (Michelyn of CaFleurBon has swatches). But my next one will probably be 05 Sultry Nudes. I think. Maybe.
Viseart palettes are made in France and are imported here in frustratingly small quantities. Both Sephora and AlconeCo.com (the latter has, in theory, a greater selection) let you get on a waiting list to be notified when they're available. At this very moment 01 Neutral Matte is actually available from both ($80 or $75, respectively), so you can go for it.