Day after day after day of overcast gloom is crushing my creativity, and I can't think of a jazzy title for this post. Don't mistake that for my being unenthusiastic about this eyeshadow palette. I've been having a lot of fun with it, and the quality is remarkable. I do recommend it.
There have been lots of drugstore nude palettes released in the last year or so in apparent competition with the mega-popularity of Urban Decay's Naked line and other higher end palettes. Most of them, from L'Oreal, Revlon, Maybelline, etc., have received pretty lackluster reviews, doing nothing to improve the reputation of drugstore eyeshadows, so I hadn't been at all interested in getting them. But then last month swatches of CoverGirl's new TruNaked palettes appeared on a few blogs, and they looked much more promising. They each have 8 pans and there are three varieties: Goldens, Nudes, and Roses, corresponding to Naked 1, 2, and 3, it seems. The comparison with Urban Decay is made pretty explicit by the marketing for these CG palettes, including the sticked on the front that reads: "shades like a leading $50 eye shadow palette." UD Naked palettes are usually $54, but close enough. It turns out that these eyeshadows really are quite comparable to the UD eyeshadows I've used--for better or for worse.
I was most tempted by the Roses palette, in part because I have been curious about Naked 3 since it came out, but not enough to spend that much money on it. Pinks and reds, and even reddish-purples, in eyeshadows tend to look dreadful on me, despite all the usual tricks like separating them from my eyes with thick black liner and so forth. $12 feels like a much more reasonable gamble than $54. The Goldens palette was also stunning under the drugstore lights, but I'm pretty sure I have dupes for all of its shades. Roses was the most appealing. Look:
Here it is in direct sunlight to show off the sparkle:
The back of the palette has names for all of the shades, which are, left to right: Almond, Champagne, Baby, Rose Gold, Copper Rose, Dusk, Mauvergine, and Mousse. The matte shades are Almond, Baby, and Copper Rose, though they are more of a satin matte than completely flat. In the pan, Champagne, Rose Gold, and Mousse have the most sparkle--in use, however, all four of the darkest shades look mostly matte. You can see what I mean in my swatches on bare skin (no primer):
I think that most of the swatches I've seen elsewhere must have been done with a finger rather than with a brush, like I used here. With a finger they would be smoother and more opaque, but they are still nicely pigmented no matter what. There is none of the patchiness that appears in these swatches when I use them on my eyelids. (Almond is invisible only because it's the same color as my skin.)
You can see that the darker shades in particular are a bit crumbly and messy. That's what I meant about these being similar to UD for better for for worse. I've had a number of UD shadows, both a number of singles and the Dangerous Palette (reviewed here), and my main complaint is that they are excessively pigmented and messy. They have a lot of fallout. More pigmentation is usually considered a good thing in eyeshadow, but it does mean you have to be careful, especially if you have limited eyelid space for blending like I do. You have to use an extremely light touch and blow excess off your brush, etc. I actually didn't have nearly as much of a problem with fallout with these CG shadows as I've had with UD, but they are very soft and crumbly in the pan. For that reason, and because this type of clear plastic packaging is prone to cracking in my experience, this palette probably wouldn't be the best choice for travel.
I originally planned to include photos of all the looks I've created using this CG palette--and I've done a lot, because it's really fun to play with--but it soon became obvious that this long stretch of overcast days combined with my shitty camera doesn't make for attractive or useful photos of that sort. But I will show you an outtake to illustrate what I described above.
This photo was taken the first time I experimented with the palette, before I'd really got the hang of it. It shows the downside of impressive pigmentation, I think. See that stupid-looking line of dark brown shadow across my crease? My usual technique is to use a slightly pointed brush to draw a sort of line along the crease and then to use a bigger, rounded brush to blend. That doesn't work very well with this stuff, especially if you use primer. This photo shows the result after a ton of fucking blending. It was not going anywhere. I recommend using a very small amount, adding more only if you need it, and using a fluffy, not dense, brush to apply it. The Real Techniques Base Shadow brush (part of the Starter Kit), which has a sort of duo fiber thing going on, works well. If you don't need to use primer to prevent creasing and fading like I do, then you might just as well go without. These shadows don't need any assistance in the pigmentation department.
Here are the swatches in direct sunlight, again to show that when you actually apply these shadows, it's really only Champagne and Rose Gold that are particularly shimmery.
Most of these shadows, even those that look very pink in the pan or in swatches, come off as more mauve or brownish with a purple tinge on me, which makes them very wearable. I was really pleasantly surprised by how much I love the colors. You can use them to create some stunning, not-too-sickly, gothic romance heroine looks.
I had a $5 CVS coupon that I used on this palette, so I got it for $8 and some change, which I think is very reasonable. The only place I've seen it online so far is at ULTA, where it's priced at $12, which is cheaper than CVS at full price.
ETA: You can now get this palette for just $10 at Target. Much better!
Because sometimes I can be fooled by an overall lower price, I was curious how this palette compared per ounce to the value of Urban Decay Naked 3. Naked 3 is $54 for 0.6 oz. of product, which makes it $90 per ounce. CoverGirl Roses is 0.23 oz. for (about) $12, which makes it $52 per oz. Significantly cheaper! Phew. (With UD you're paying more for sturdier packaging, blah blah.)
All in all, this is an unusually impressive eyeshadow palette from the drugstore and well worth the price. It is on par with Urban Decay and as good as just about any other more expensive eyeshadow I've tried. Highly recommended--just use a soft touch!