Smokey Palettes pt.2

Last time I showed you a few of my favourite smokey palettes, some drugstore and economical, some more expensive. I’d like to cover a few more. Again, we’ll go from inexpensive and easily available, to more pricey and Limited Edition. Have you used any of these? Any preference? Leave me a comment below!

Smokey Purple by Collection

In theory, I love the concept of this palette. Portable, purples and gunmetal colours. Colour nr3 does look an interest desaturated light purple with a satiny finish that I’m not sure I’ve seen elsewhere.

I said in theory I love it. In practice, not so much. I know I shouldn’t expect much from a £3.99 palette, but the formula feels “thin”, buildable but thin. I’m also not sure that having most of the pans as satin/metallics, even the darker ones, is a good idea, as a lot of people (myself included) prefer to use non metallics for crease and outer v areas.

Don’t get me wrong, you can totally create a few pretty looks with this, and it feels soft on the skin and finely milled. But I might be spoiled as it’s proven hard to work with, doesn’t seem to blend that well, and needs a LOT of build up to have any colour depth as in the look I’m attaching below. I can see it being incredibly frustrating for less experienced users. The exact same applies for the Smokey Grey palette from the same company.

Get this if….

You know, just don’t. Don’t get this. If you have not used a smokey palette before and you want to start without spending too much, you’d only feel aggravated when trying to use it. To be totally honest I would skip it altogether, and get the Sleek one.

Bad Girl i-Divine Sleek

Now this is the opposite: super pigmented, really smooth. Great quality for the price, a nice greyscale plus a pop of soft pink, and a selection of the most common “smokey” colours for variations, two of each: purples, blues, and rather uniquely, metallic desaturated greens. All for less than £10. Not all shades apply equally. A few will need a bit of buildup once you start applying them on the eye, but they will get there eventually, and blend rather well.

My one complain with this palette is that all but the lighter purple are metallics or at least satins, so it feels like it’s missing a few mattes. If you can pair this with a neutral palette, like one of the neutral Urban Decay minis, or even the Huda Beauty I reviewed on the previous post, you could extend the versatility even further. Sleek’s own Goodnight Sweetheart might also be a good complement, although it also has far more metallics and satins than mattes.

Get this if you want to experiment with smokey coloured looks without breaking the bank.

Melt Cosmetics’ The Waiting Room

This one was a limited edition one, for Melt’s Beetlejuice collection, but they sometimes re-release colours with the same formula in other palettes later, so worth talking about. This is really two palettes in one, with a red row, and a greyscale one. The formula doesn’t swatch that well on my arm, but works brilliantly on my eyes. I’ve loved nearly every look I’ve done with it… but I find it difficult to create diverse looks. The first time I tried a red and black look I didn’t like the result. The second time I tried a different grey and red I didn’t like it either, and it was because for some reason, when going on my eyes, the colours didn’t look like they belonged together. Colours changing on my eyelids is nothing new, I’ve had that since my days exploring Aromaleigh eyeshadows, but it’s still frustrating. The greys have an almost swampy undertone, which goes perfect with the theme. I think that undertone gets amplified on my skin, causing the clash with the reds. I’m sad I won’t get to use this palette as the colour story it was designed to be, but I am happily using it with stunning results for monochrome looks, and with other palettes.

For me the showstopper is Lydia, the metallic true red. I haven’t really seen a similar colour on its own, they are all a bit more blue or a bit more orange or not metallic, but if you are after just *that* colour, you can get an extremely close dupe by using Love+ and Kiss Kiss from Sugar pill layered on top of each other.

Right now this palette is sold out and probably won’t be back on sale. But if you do find it or they re-release it, get it if you REALLY love reds, if you want murkier, grungy greys to use on their own and complement other palettes, and of course, if you are a Beetlejuice fan.

Final Words

Sadly, my favourite smokey palette is not made anymore: Urban Decay’s Naked Smoky. You can see a look I made with it on the left; it’s rich and warm, while still keeping to the fundamental nature of the smokey look with the shades of black. I really wish they brought back that palette.

And the undertones are the key for a great smokey look, I think. It’s amazing how many variations of black and grey you can find, and how different these variations can look on your skin. But you should figure out which looks best on you first, whether it’s warm or cool ones, taupes or greens, and how they all interact together, otherwise things can get very messy (or muddy) very quickly.

If you want to start experimenting with smokey looks, I think I would recommend starting either with ColourPop’s Baroque (or their recently released “of Quartz”, which seems to have a similar colour story just with a mauve undertone), or Sleek’s Bad Girl palettes, which would allow you to play without breaking the bank and are roughly around the same price point and quality. Both have good, blendable formulas that make them accessible for beginners. I would personally bypass a more expensive palette and get really good brushes, including at least one pencil brush, and one crease blending or fluffy brush, particularly if you’re closer to my age than to the average beauty guru’s. You can always get a more expensive smokey palette with different colour stories later, although to be honest, I can’t think of any available now that I would recommend above the ones I featured.

Start learning what shape works best for your eye, practice drawing the shape with a single colour and blending it all out, once you are comfortable with that use a crease colour first for the blending then fill in with your main colour and blend them into each other. Once you are comfortable with blending the two colours, you can start adding more. Or leave it at that and work with different colours to have more options. It might not be traditionally “smokey” if you’re not using greys, but the same techniques give brilliant results regardless of colour. Let me know in the comments if you’d like a video of this technique.

As with everything, practice is important! Don’t wait until half an hour before your next performance to try a new complicated technique! Get together with friends, paint each other, or do it via video chat, offer critiques, and overall, have fun!

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