CustomEyes: The Latest Wave In Build Your Own Palettes

Published on August 22, 2015 by   ·   1 Comment

Let’s get this straight: customizable palettes aren’t exactly new.  As long as I have been a drag queen, MAC cosmetics has offered empty palettes and eyeshadow refills.  It used to be a hallmark of their Pro program, but slowly moved out into the mainstream collection as more people, thanks to YouTube videos and Pinterest, began to build Compact 01their personal makeup kits the way makeup artists do.  Urban Decay also has offered the option of customizable palettes: all of their shadows are able to be popped out of their individual containers and placed into one of UD’s 4-pot palettes (they have had different varieties of palettes, some of which come empty and some which come with a limited edition shadow already inside).  A couple of years ago, Sephora updated all of their store brand eyeshadows to be removable from their individual containers, and you can purchase small trio compacts (or get one free with the purchase of two shadows).

But lately I feel like customizable eyeshadow palettes have really become “a thing”: more of the big luxury brands are doing them, and many are offering great deals along the way.  The two I want to focus on for this post are the most recent entries that I’ve seen into the market: Make Up For Ever and Buxom.

Make Up For Ever launched their Artist Shadows within the last year, and when they decided to do this the theme was “go big or go home.”  They have nearly 200 shades available on the Sephora website (and at launch, I believe the number was over 200; it seems some have been discontinued) and the empty compacts are available as singles, doubles, and trios.  Each of the individual shadows retails for $21, but you can get three shadows of your choice plus the trio compact for only $44.

Compact 04The shadows themselves come in a range of finishes: Matte (pretty self-explanatory), Satin (sort of a velvety finish, one step up from matte), Shimmer (a more glittery finish), Diamond (the most glittery bang for your buck, incorporating glitter and metallic elements for lots of shine), and Iridescent (shimmer, duochrome finishes).  The different finishes mostly play well together, though I did try out a look using a matte with a diamond and had trouble blending them together – I ended up using another shadow to bridge the two.  The diamonds are probably my favorite (no surprise there!) but the metallic shadows do pack a pretty mean punch of color and I love that they are actually a super metallic finish (sometimes shadows that claim to be metallic just have a light shine to them – not these!).  Make Up For Ever is all about bright, vivid colors and are delightfully creamy and blendable.

Over the last year, I’ve put a couple of these together to try different looks.  I put together a collection of 3 purple shades that can be used to create a great purple look or combine with others for more vibrant looks: ME930 Black Purple (Metallic, deep grape), I922 Electric Purple (Iridescent, vivid neon purple), and I916 Frosted Mauve (Iridescent, light shimmery lilac).  I also created a bold patriotic sort of theme with color blocked metallic shadows perfect for Independence Day, nautical looks, or Lichtenstein-inspired looks: ME216 Electric Blue (Metallic, true blue with great metal shine), ME122 Snow (Metallic, gray-white with opal shimmer), and ME744 Poppy (Metallic, true red with intense shine).  I definitely love the way these shadows apply, and they play well with other products in my kit. I’ve included a review by vintageortacky – enjoy!

Compact 03Buxom has also jumped on the cutomizable bandwagon with their eyeshadow bar customizable palette.  These are actually an amazing deal: each of the single shadows cost $12 and the 6-pan empty palette is priced at $13 which means to buy everything separately the retail would be $85.  The whole set with the compact and 6 colors of your choice is only $40.  This is a fantastic bargain and with 40 colors to choose from, you shouldn’t have too much trouble picking out some lovelies that will work for you.

My one complaint?  Demand for this was probably higher than expected so the Sephoras in Grand Forks, Fargo, and online were all sold out of 2 of the colors I wanted in the mix: Room Service (iridescent mint) and No Faux (dark iridescent green with brown tones).  Since you end up only getting the discount if you buy the whole shebang, I ended up buying two colors I wasn’t super excited for to complete the compact.  Since the total price is more than half off the retail, and since the two colors I selected are pretty versatile and should give me plenty of use, I wasn’t as crabby as I probably should have been.  For another perspective I included this short review/mini-tutorial by Kglamourxo.

Compact 02I put together a Halloween-themed palette with an orange (It Crowd – shimmering cayenne), a green (Prenup – shimmering emerald), and two shades of purple (Posh Purple – shimmering violet; La La Lavish – iridescent lavender); someday I hope to be adding the two colors noted above as well, but for now I went with a great white option (Diamond Darling – shimmering frost) and a fun super-metallic silver (Pure Platinum – metallic silver).  If I like how these wear once I get to play with them more, I can order a set of solid neutrals plus my two greens (once they are back in stock) and just switch them around.

That’s the great thing about customizable palettes like this: first, you only get the colors you want (no more palettes with one or two empty pans next to colors sitting unused), and second you can easily replace an empty space with another of the same color or perhaps a new color to try.  Customizable allows you to get more bang for your beauty buck, though it may also encourage some to be less adventurous; sometimes it’s that sketchy looking shadow in the corner of the palette that you try on a whim that ends up being your new favorite.

Make Up For Ever and Buxom are definitely doing customizable right, and with the price breaks they offer through Sephora, you just can’t lose.

Now Go Forth And Get Painted!

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