There's a lot going on at Estee Lauder. So much that it's hard to keep up (looking at my planning lists, I have four more Lauder posts in the pipeline). Some of the newly-launched products get more attention and fanfare while others just appear at the counters. The new Magic Smoky Powder Shadow Stick is among the latter. It looks kind of humble, if we're being honest, the presentation is borderline drugstore, but it's an eye shadow in a pencil, so how much glitz can there be? And you know that I'm a sucker for shadows in a stick, so I did an eeny, meeny, miny, moe to choose a color for testing and came up with Scorched Gold 06.
The first thing of note, and I can't stop stressing it, is that this is a POWDER eye shadow. It's not a cream shadow and neither is it a gel. It's powder. Dry and slightly stiff, which is why I broke the tip of this Estee Lauder pencil as soon as I got it out of its box and handled it. I was not expecting that (why? It says on the packaging that it's a powder. I should have listened). Since this is an eye shadow, not a liner, a wider and more blunt head is actually better, but when it's time to sharpen the pencil you will find that most of your chubby sharpeners are still too small for it (including NARS and Rouge Bunny Rouge). The ones that worked for me are UD Grind House and my ancient (and discontinued) Sue Devitt.
Now for the pencil itself. As I mentioned above, the formula is of a powder eye shadow that has been tightly packed into a pencil. This means that a) color payoff is very impressive, and b) you do not need to apply any pressure when using it. I would have said 'glide the pencil over the lid' but "glide" is the wrong term for this texture. Just run it softly and smoothly, like you would do with a high quality color pencil on a delicate piece of paper. You can build intensity if you want, but as you can see above, using a blending brush disturbs the smoothness of the surface. What you can do instead, especially if you want to run the pencil under the bottom lashes or in the outer V is pick up the color with a small detail or smudge brush from the pencil, and apply it to your eyes that way. There's a learning curve here, but not a bad one. Once you get the feel of the texture it's all good.
The color I picked, Scorched Gold, is a beige kind of thing that my skin translates as more neutral than gold (the green undertones in my skin amplify the scorched aspect). The finish is shimmery and almost metallic if intensified, but there are no particles and no fallout. Using a primer is a must for me, otherwise the color fades after several hours. I'm curious to know how the darker colors perform.
Bottom Line: nice to have but not groundbreaking.
Estee Lauder Magic Smoky Powder Shadow Stick ($22, made in Germany) is available at the counters as well as online.