Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Kiko Milano Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadow

Back in August 2015 I declared my eternal love for Kiko Milano's Long Lasting Shadow Sticks:

"I'm not sure I'd be able to tell them apart from my beloved Caviar Sticks by Laura Mercier if they came as identical colors in non-marked packaging (both products are made in Italy, and your guess is as good as mine about exact manufacturing locations and specs). Kiko's version is just as creamy, pigmented and tenacious as Laura Mercier's. The colors are intense, give a full coverage, and once set (within less than a minute, depending on the primer underneath, not that one is necessary) they do not budge. Removing them requires an oil or a dual-phase cleanser and letting and a little soaking."
 Nothing has changed since. I have similar products from Laura Mercier, By Terry, NARS, and Bobbi Brown, and the only differences are the actual colors and finishes. Not application, performance, or tenacity. The six shadow sticks above are the ones I picked during Kiko's Black Friday sale (it was a "buy three products, get three free ones". Basically a half off sale as long as one wanted six products. And I did.Boy, did I).

The color I chose were great companions to the other sticks I have from various brands and work together or as stand alone eye shadows.

10 is an emerald green with the faintest sheen
11 is more turquoise than teal and dries down somewhere between satin and matte.
20 is matte black, which is an essential for those of us who like to layer a duochrome shadow over a cream black base.
28 is a cream ivory with a satin finish, great for layering, mixing, or just creating a flawless natural-looking eyelid.
39 is a murky dark coffee.
44 is my comfort color in the mid of a sad sad winter. One day it will all be over and  will sit on a beach looking at the blue blue water Either that or we'll all be dead.

I've tested and timed the window for smudging and blending, and it came to six minutes for all of the shadow sticks. That's ample of time to create a look, sheer things out, do a one-and-done look or mix colors together. after the six minutes mark the eye shadows are set and become budge-proof to the extreme. That's why shadow sticks are third only to the husband and my iPad as my travel companions.

Bottom Line: There are still six or seven colors that I want to get.

Kiko Milano Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadow ($12 each, made in Italy) are available at Kiko stores at select malls (there's one at the Garden State Plaza) and online from kikocosmetics.com/en-us/. They frequently run sales or do a clearance on discontinued colors.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Edward Bess- Spanish Veil

The name Edward Bess is probably familiar to those interested in elegant makeup. In the early days of his eponymous line Edward himself used to man the Bergdorf Goodman counter and help his customers and admirers choose the right colors. If you were lucky he'd do your makeup, which was always a wonderful experience that would have left you feeling beautiful and understood. Mr. Bess has always talked about having his own perfume line one day. I remember him telling me that he mixes his own personal fragrance out of some oils, and the blend worked beautifully as a skin scent you could only smell when he was right there wielding his brushes on your face.

It took a few years and a false start (a massive gardenia called Eau La La, 2012), but now that Edward Bess hired perfumer Carlos Benaim to create the first three fragrances in the rebooted line he has matched the aesthetics of his makeup. It's the equivalent of a taupe eye shadow, black liner, and a red lipstick. I do know that not all of you reading this care about makeup. It doesn't matter. The perfumes are great on their own merit and bring to mind the golden age of beauty counters when you could get excellent and courteous service while picking your items and smelling the few highly-coveted perfumes that completed the glamorous atmosphere.

Spanish Veil was a love at first sniff for me. It's a woody oriental and only three notes are listed: tonka bean, sandalwood, guiac wood. There's a lot more there, obviously, and I smell a sheer but prominent incense in the core of the perfume. The opening is very perfumy. Not powdery, nor is it sweet or aldehydic. But it says PERFUME in the best possible way. The wood notes are subtle. I'm not sure I would have picked sandalwood had I not known it was supposed to be there, because despite the smoothness the wood is neither creamy nor has it the pepperiness of a cedar (sandalwood's common companion). I might have said cashmeran, but it doesn't matter: there are smoothed down woods like a well-worn banister railing in a beautiful old house, lace and silk worn close to the body on a hot day, capturing the scent of skin and the afternoon sunlight sneaking i through the French doors and gliding over slightly dusty potted palm trees, and the sweet scent of incense kept in a family heirloom box in one o the bedroom upstairs.

I marvel at the technical balance of using just enough tonka bean to create the "oriental" effect. It must have been tempting to go with a sweeter, more commercial vanilla (do you remember the trend of wood steeped in sugar water that was induced by Lauder's 2008 Sensuous?). instead we get a grownup and sexy perfume that wafts around, stays on skin, scarves, and coats, invites you for a hug and whispers a naughty secret in your ear.

Edward Bess- Spanish Veil ($175, 3.4oz) is exclusive to Aedes and select Edward Bess counters.

Photo of model Julia Stegner by  Alexi Lubomirski for Vogue Germany, 2008.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Atelier des Ors- Iris Fauve

When it comes to iris perfumes my opinion is that more is more, and even that is barely enough. I've already told you that I've been hoarding the last of my Iris Fauve sample so I can drench myself and get the full experience. It was worth it. It's also a very good way to understand what makes the newest Atelier des Ors a fauve-style creation, something that was not fully apparent to me the first few times I've worn it.

Iris Fauve creates a first impression of a soft musky iris perfume. It's when you're fully immersed in its world that the broad and forceful brushstrokes reveal themselves and distinguish the fragrance. It's almost a complete opposite of another musky iris perfume, Parfums DelRae's Mythique. The latter is soft and powdery, sheer like a tonal watercolor of an early spring garden, celadon and lavender blue with a bit of periwinkle thrown in. In contrast Iris Fauve comes at you with slashes and splashes of primary blue and red, blades of green grassy vetiver with its tips on fire. I do not have synesthesia, but I often experience perfumes as an image, color, and/or texture. It's rarely more intense than with this perfume.

Iris can be buttery, powdery, earthy, leathery, damp, or dry. Iris Fauve is none of these. It's hot and cold (see red and blue), crystalline at first before you fall into it, like in a dream sequence, finding yourself engulfed in musky pillows and duvets, savoring the sensation of familiar safety. When you cloak yourself in Iris Fauve all of it comes together: prickles of spice and dry vetiver, the warmth of wood and clean yet very human labdanum, and above all that beautiful iris.

Longevity is excellent on my skin (given a generous application). The thick and complex musk has vegetal and animal facets that trap it between body and fabric for at least half a day. I wonder what would happen if I ever get a bottle and can spray Iris Fauve in my hair: will it become  a floral cloud around me or appear slightly unwashed and costus-like in the best possible way? The first time I smelled it I suspected there was costus in the blend, but it was most likely the dirtier aspect of musk. As you can tell, I keep losing myself in the world created around me by Iris Fauve. It's satisfying and intriguing at the same time. How often can we say that about a new fragrance?

Iris Fauve by Atelier des Ors ($275, 100ml) will launch in the US next month at OsswaldNYC and Luckyscent. For more details and reserving a bottle I'd recommend calling ahead (212- 625-3111). I got my samples during the Atelier des Ors event at Osswald late last year.

Art: Henri Matisse, Vase With Irises, 1912.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Currently- January 2017

How to Party With an Infant by Kaui Hart Hemmings (the author of The Descendants). A single mother in San Francisco is working on a cookbook inspired by her life and the lives of her friends. It's witty, clever, and touching. Last week I finally made myself read Carrie Fisher's last book, The Princess Diarist. It feels unfinished and self-censored, and the saddest part is that there won't be a sequel.


This is an old favorite. Jesca Hoop also has a new excellent album, Memory Are Now.

Grimm is finally (FINALLY!) back for their final season. In between episodes we've been streaming Voyager for our escapism fill. The writing is painful at times, but I really like Captain Katharine Hepburn.

There's a new BBC documentary about the Brontë family. I hope it gets to Netflix or PBS soon.

Edward Bess- Spanish Veil. It's one of the best 2016 releases.

I can't stop reaching for the new Burberry blush I showed you last week, so I plan my looks around it.

Frequently Worn Outfit/Item
Black dresses in every fabric and length, with colorful accessories, sweaters, and interesting footwear. When I can actually be bothered to leave the house, that is. It's hibernating time around these parts.

We gave Blue Apron a try, since they have a vegetarian option and we wanted new dinner ideas. The groceries were fresh and high quality, and the recipes precise. The problem is that the high-protein food was too heavy and dense for our taste. I prefer my dinner with more broccoli or butternut squash than various extra proteins.

No kvetching and krechtzing tonight. I think I've spent all of them on the last few months.

The Blond fixed the problem that plagued the blog. Email and Facebook notifications are back, as are the related stories links. I was becoming desperate.

Valentine's Day. Corny, but it's one of my favorite days of the year.

Rag & Bone Classic Newbury Woven Leather Booties. I'm thinking spring.

Random Thought
You know a situation is dire when you can't find a fitting Yoda quote.

How are you? What's on your list of loves and banes? Any wishes and recommendations?

Image: January 1917 Vogue cover via Conde Nast Archive.

Friday, January 20, 2017

An Iris in Winter- My Top Modern Picks

We're at the dead of a winter full of unease and discontent, and I'm looking for comfort, though not in any of the usual places. No sweater scents or smoldering ambers. Instead, I'm going with the icy chill and otherworldly beauty of iris. This top ten perfume picks for winter this year is an addendum to my old list of favorite iris fragrances, with the focus being newer brands and more recent releases.

Iris Fauve by Atelier des Ors will be available in the US next month. I've been sitting on a sample (hoarding, really), enjoying the hot and cold effects created by contrast of spices and roots, fiery vetiver and damp iris. It's quite spectacular.

The Peradam by Apoteker Tepe is more floral than my usual choice of iris, but somehow this one has shot towards the top of my wishlist.  The Peradam is ethereal yet grounded with a good base of cedar/sandalwood. It also spells winter with a transition from a gray and murky light of an early morning to the Northern Lights as seen on a crystal clear icy night.

Nothing feels more appropriate today than Etat Libre d'Orange's La Fin du Monde (actually, any ELdO perfume will do). Buttery, popcorny, warm, and bizarrely comforting. I own many bottles of orris-based perfumes, but nothing comes even close to this one. In today's market, this is one of the biggest compliments I can give.

Staying in the warm iris category, Khôl de Bahreïn from Stéphane Humbert Lucas 777 is a golden honeyed iris that wraps you up in luxury fabrics and transports you (first class, naturally) to an exotic paradise. It almost glides on the skin in the most sexy way.

Thinking of Khôl de Bahreïn, I am reminded of two delectable body products: Golden Iris by Sabon. The shower oil and body cream are still available, and I need to do something I tend to avoid: pick up a backup. They make a hot shower that much more pampering.

DSH Perfumes- Metropolis. In a sharp turn now we go to a cold alien world of metal structures and geometric art deco shapes. Perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz has a knack for using iris in her creations, and Metropolis is a standout among them in its chilly aura.

Inlé by Memo is a cool and clear iris that feels like staring at the mirror surface of a lake that reflects the blue skies and white clouds. The inspiration was a place somewhere in Myanmar, but to me it's a cool day in the Italian Dolomites.

The standout for me from the Le Galion modern reboot was Iris. It's crisp, cool, and tinged with bitter galbanum and infused with old world elegant floral notes. It's the kind of perfume that makes you stand a little straighter, your outfit smarter, and your mood determined.

My previous iris list included Heure Exquise by Annick Goutal, a perfume in the classic style of Chanel No.19. I'm not sure why I didn't mention the other Goutal iris, Mon Parfum Cheri, Par Camille. This is a are beauty that seems to go out and back in production. The many changes in branding and distribution the company has undergone in recent years didn't help this fragrance with its vintage vibe and heavy plummy presence, but all I can say is that if you come across a bottle (discounters are your friends) grab it. The eau de toilette has more orris than the eau de parfum, so take that into account.

Iris de Nuit by Heeley is definitely not new (it was one of the original 2005-6 Heeley releases) but it's modern, sparse, and cold. Imagine a large wall-to-ceiling window on a top floor of a highrise building looking down on a gray rainy city anywhere in the world. It's late afternoon and the light outside is fading fast. Will you hurry out to catch the rain or will you stand there, mesmerized by the tiny cars far down below, the lights that start appearing in other windows all around you, and the lightning that strikes the darkening skies?

What are you wearing today and what were your perfume choices throughout this winter?

For more winter picks please visit my friends at
Bois de Jasmin * Grain de Musc * Now Smell This * Perfume Posse

Image: The Iris Chandelier- a sculpture by Craig Mitchell Smith,  photo by Gary Anderson, 2010, via 360 Main Street.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Burberry Silk and Bloom Blush Palette

You know I had to.

It's the color. And the embossed pattern. And the gleam. The packaging didn't hurt, either.

Burberry Silk and Bloom Blush Palette isn't really a palette in the sense of having multiple colors. It's just one product in a compact, but the blush itself is one the prettiest around. There's also something about the formula that makes it perform well both as a standalone blush and as a blush topper that adds an extra glow to the skin.

At first glance Burberry Silk and Bloom looks like a medium pink blush with a shiny finish. I had to check and verify that there's no overspray or actual metallic glitter on the surface. The effect comes from the embossed pattern and the light-reflecting is part of the blush itself. The product is actually much more sheer than it appears at first, but it's still a blush, not a highlighter. Of course, color intensity will vary by skin tone and depth, and I can't predict what will be the effect for women of color. I'm somewhere between NC30-35 with a distinct green undertone, and I love the look I get from this blush.

I think it's more of a chiffon than a straight up silk, because the blush is sheer. You see the skin through a pink luminous veil that catches the light just so. I had to play with my lighting, angle, and flash to give you an accurate swatch, because just looking at from the front you don't see shimmer. There are no shiny particles and the face isn't awash with a metallic coat the way some Instagram-friendly highlighters make it appear, so skin texture isn't emphasized or compromised.

As a blush topper Silk & Bloom adds life to flat matte colors if needed, or lightens plummy colors to make them more pink and bright. It also works over cream blushes, as long as they're not still wet. I get the best results when using a small dense and round blush brush (MAC 109-type, the old Hakuhodo 210 or newer G506). You'll get more pigment from buffing with a flat-top brush and more sheerness if you swipe it with a Yachiyo or another fluffy brush.

Bottom Line: a collector's item that asks to be used. A lot.

Burberry Silk and Bloom Blush Palette ($68, made in Italy) is a limited edition item, currently available from us.burberry.com.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

MAC Brushes Linear 1 & Oval 3

A couple of weeks after posting my review of Artis Oval 8 I ordered these two MAC eye brushes on the advice of a reader. If you recall, as much as I enjoyed the performance of the gigantic Artis face brush I've found it high maintenance and finicky tool that demands its own entourage just to keep it happy. Still, there's something about the concept and the shape that made me want to try more. MAC offers a very limited selection of oval brushes. There may have been more of them in the past, but right now all we can get are the Linear 1 and Oval 3 that you see here, as well as the Oval 6 face brush brush, which I'm guessing is smaller than my Artis Oval 8 as it's supposed to be suitable for blush application. In any case, I picked 1 and 3 so I could experiment with new techniques.

Linear 1 is supposed to be a mega multitasker: "...delivers a firm, precise stroke to line lashes and lips. Also defines and fills brows.". I've had this brush for the better part of a year now, and have used it for all of the above. I can tell you that there's no chance I'm ever filling my brows with it again. I have all kinds of eyebrow brushes, including the very wide Hakuhodo G524 (and see also this post for more shapes and sizes), and each one of them serves me faithfully. I don't have the steadiest had around, so applying brow powder with such a long and inflexible brush falls under Not A Good Idea. However, the weight and balance of the handle are fantastic, so I don't feel cheated by relegating the Linear 1 to other tasks. It works alright for the lips, though once again my preference is for precision tips that allow me to get a perfect cupid bow and a crisp bottom line. The brush does an excellent job, though, in working color into the lip for evenness and longevity.

With that said, MAC Linear 1 now resides with my eye brushes. It's a spectacular tool for the lash line, no matter if you're smudging a pencil, diffusing an eye shadow, applying color to your bottom lashes, or going grunge with a cream eye shadow all around. It takes a some practice to get the handle of it (no pun intended) because you're holding and moving the brush parallel to the skin, which is not necessarily intuitive after three decades of classic brushes, but it's worth the effort.

Oval 3 is described as "A brush that smoothly shades and blends shadow, powder and liquid or cream concealer". The flat and dense surface helps product apply evenly at first stroke. The slightly pointy shape is crease-friendly, and the size makes it fit almost everywhere. Here again you need to adjust the way you hold the brush and move it across the lid or elsewhere on the skin. Once you do you'll realize that buffing is easy and quick, as is creating a uniform wash of color. Just as so many regular eye shadow brushes can be used for applying concealer or setting powder to tiny areas, MAC Oval 3 is the same. It's a matter of preference and technique. My favorite use for it is with a cream eye shadow. My go-to has always been MAC 217, but the Oval 3 covers more surface with one swipe and feels softer. I've heard that some makeup artists use this brush in the crease, but here I'm a traditionalist. I prefer a lot of movement in the crease, circular or windshield wiper, and I do that with a soft domed or tapered brush. As usual, your mileage will vary.

My biggest complain about the massive Artis brush was cleaning it. It takes me forever to wash all the foundation out of the face brush and several more forevers until this thing dries. Smaller brushes are obviously easier in this regard. Also, I find that gel and cream eye product don't sink into the fibers as much as liquid foundation does, so it's much less of an ordeal. I don't know if it's the nature of the pigments or the fibers used by MAC are much different than Artis's, and the comparison isn't really fair unless we go head to head withe brushes of the same size that have absorbed the exact same foundation. In any case, MAC's oval eye brushes are less fussy than I've feared.

Bottom Line: brush nerds should give it a go.

MAC Brushes Linear 1 ($25) and  Oval 3 ($32) are made in China and sold exclusively at MAC stores (not department store counters) and maccosmetics.com.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

FotD: Bright Blue Eyeliner for The Middle Aged Face

I haven't done a FotD in forever. It was not for the lack of makeup old and new, nor was it for lack of creative experiments. I just was not feeling the need for documenting my face every time I buffed on a new highlighter or got ready to leave the house. Maybe it's a lingering effect of another birthday, the current disturbance in the Force (in every possible meaning and then some) and the winter blahs. In any case, I was looking over these photos from a few weeks ago and m notes about the makeup and decided it was worth posting. Because we can all use a hint of bright blue liner. Speaking of liquid liner, I really need to write a detailed photo-tutorial for doing a thin (and even somewhat winged) line on eyes that are set so deep one needs Lassie to rescue the from the well. It's somewhat of a technical challenge (an initial attempt was an epic fail), but I promise to get there. In the meantime, here's my bright liner for the middle aged face look:


  • Strivectin High-Potency Wrinkle-Filler from a sample that I used as a face primer. I have no opinion one way or another, since it was a one use sample packet and that's not exactly conducive for a real review. I've worn the look for six or seven hours, things stayed in place, it might have been too matte for my personal liking, but I (over) compensated for that. Whatever.
  • Guerlain Baby Glow in #3 Medium. It's still a favorite tinted moisturizer and I just cracked open a new tube (probably my third). It's the perfect thing for a good skin day and looks completely natural. And, yes, 'm aware that my hyperpigmentation is showing, but sometimes I don't care.
  • It cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Illuminating Concealer. I have a mini or a deluxe sample or something which I was eager to try. However, the formula is way WAY too dry for my undereye area (not to mention that the caverns of deep set eyes cannot be concealed, only somewhat brightened). It is a good full coverage concealer elsewhere on the face due to its thickness.
  • NARS Light Reflecting Loose Powder. If it ain't broke, etc.


  • NARS Eye Base. Opened a new tube. I guess I really really like it.
  • All eye shadows by Anastasia Beverly Hills: Stone, Victoria, Buon Fresco (the latter is available both as a single and in the Modern Renaissance palette). I was going for a tonal look that didn't focus on the eye shadows and only created a bit of depth. Any two to three neutral satin or mattes that blend well together would work.
  • The eyeliner I used was a limited edition Lancome liquid Artliner, but many brands have similar products (Urban Decay in Chaos, Make Up For Ever in Diamond Blue, Stila Cobalt and Nyx Extreme Blue or Vivid Sapphire. Speaking of those Nyx bright liners, I actually have Vivid violet, which on my relatively dark lid looks very tame).
  • It Cosmetics Tightline-whatever (see review. It was utter crap).
  • Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme mascara. Still working through Mt. Sample here.


  • I started with Benefit Gimme Brows in Light Medium, which is my go-to when I want to tone down my color a bit, but decided to add a little texture with Suqqu brow powder in 01 Moss Green.


  • Shiseido Blush in RS302.
  • Barry M Illuminating Strobe Cream Stick #2 Iced Bronze. For someone who owns some gorgeous and elegant highlighters in every texture it was an utterly ridiculous purchase that looked even more patchy, cheap, and uneven on my skin. 


Other Stuff

  • I was wearing a short sweater dress by Comptoir Des Cotonniers which I later topped with a cardigan, I think.
  • Vintage earrings (yes, they were animal print).
  • SotD was Iris Silver Mist, which has probably saved the day, because that's what Uncle Serge used to do.
  • Here's Josephine, judging the world and finding it severely lacking:

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Clinique- Aromatics In Black

I realize that I'm one flanker behind. Aromatics In Black was a 2015 release, followed by Aromatics Black Cherry last year. Prior to that Clinique has released Aromatics In White (2014) which I couldn't stand because of its generic musky rose note and the extremely limited Aromatics Elixir Perfumer's Reserve (2011) which I should have bought but didn't (kicks self). The regular Clinique Aromatics Elixir is still a great perfume, even if only loosely related to the original 1971 version.  When I first heard about Aromatics In Black I sort of expected (hoped) that it would take the easygoing modern Aromatics back to darker and sexier realms. The listed notes could have gone many ways: Plum Leaf Accord, Pink Grapefruit, Bergamot, Osmanthus, Jasmine, Neroli, Myrrh, Vetiver and Tonka Bean. The actual perfume surprised me by being a floriental, kind of like a light and non-funky Black Orchid.

If I were blindly testing this fragrance I doubt I'd ever find the Aromatics Elixir connection. It's just not there. It doesn't matter, though. In Black is right up my alley with its satisfying sweetness and rich floral heart that are quite perfumy and velvety. It gives me a feeling of biting into something juicy (fruit, not steak) without being too literal. The fruit facet is abstract enough, the flowers well-blended with the osmanthus leaning to its peachy side. I think that's what made me fall in love with this fragrance from the very first go and why I bought the larger bottle (which I rarely do). I want to feel like that (and smell like that), and I want to do it often.

The base in the late dry-down is more tonka than myrrh, though I do get a hint of the latter here and there. The composition ends up as a warm and inviting, reasonably sexy, and comfortable to wear for those who like me enjoy this style. It's more modern than the lush florientals of the late 80s or early 90s (I'm thinking of Jil Sander No.4), since there's no trace of a cannibal tuberose. I'm okay with that and with the polite projection, but I do wish it lasted longer. As it is, Aromatics In Black retreats to skin-level after less than three hours and stays there for the rest of the day or night. Those who  faceplant into your neck/cleavage will still get a good whiff, but I want more of scent bubble, especially this time of year when I'm covered in layers of clothes and outerwear.

Clinique- Aromatics In Black ($59 for the 50ml or $79 for the 100ml) is available from clinique.com, most Clinique counters, and various online retailers.

Artwork: La Garçonne by Jean-Gabriel Domergue, 1925

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Stila Matte 'n Metal Eye Shadow Palette

Stila Matte 'n Metal Eye Shadow Palette was my last purchase of 2016. I decided it would be a good companion to the two Stila Eyes Are the Windows palettes I already have, Mind (all matte) and Soul (half matte, half shimmer). I like the texture of Stila shadows, because the mattes blend well and the shimmers are long-lasting (I lay them down with thick soft brushes, so the finish is consistent, and blend the edges into the mattes). I use them mostly for subtle tonal looks with or without a burst of brighter color in the form of blue, green or purple liner.

The check pattern makes the palette stand out from the  Eyes are the Window series

Ingredients. It includes carmine.

The new palette introduces what Stila calls a metal finish. The lighter three are of a fine high shimmer, unless you use them with a damp brush (a face spray, preferably one that contains glycerin or other moisturizing agent, is best for this. Do try to touch the brush to only half of the pan, as it might change the product's consistency). I find them less metallic than Tarte's metals, Tom Ford quad in Nude Dip or several cream eye shadows that give a smooth almost mirrored finish. The darker three metal shadows definitely look more metallic, even when applied dry. Any way you use the metals, they're pretty and flattering. There's something for everyone in this combination of muted neutrals, though I'm not sure if they're saturated enough to have a good impact on women of color's skin.

Both finishes/textures are very soft and buttery. They also kick quite a bit of powder, so a cleanup is required under the eyes. I don't mind, but I know some people hate it. My advice is  never skip your eye primer and find which ones of your brushes work best with this formula.

The shades in the Stila Matte 'n Metal Eye Shadow Palette are (left to right, by row)-
Top row (matte):

See? They aren't really sheer

  • Vintage- neutral cream
  • Velvet- lightest pinkish cream
  • Feathered- yellow toned light beige

Second Row (matte):
  • Fringe- a slightly rosy beige
  • Suede- mauve
  • Velour- camel

Third row (metal):
  • Bohemian- lightest silvery taupe
  • Retro- shimmery rosy copper
  • Sequin- shimmery golden peach (leans yellow)

Bottom Row (metal):
  • Smolder- metal dark taupe that leans gray
  • Sizzle- metallic terracotta
  • Flare- copper
As you can see, the top row is very light. My eyelids are much darker than the rest o my face (or my arm), so when I apply any of these three they even out the lid and provide a good starting base, If your skin is very very light and almost sheer you will get quite a bit of pigment from them and will probably want to use the fluffiest brush when dusting them over the lid. Smolder, that dark charred taupe at the bottom row appears flatter than I expected when applied, while Sequin is quite yellow (great for the inner corner if you're olive-skinned). 

Bottom Line: not very original but fun and usable.

Stila Matte 'n Metal Eye Shadow Palette ($49, made in USA) is available from Ulta online and in store.