Nuance Salma Hayek Beautiful Blends Eye Quad in Neutral
(retail: $8.49 at CVS, 0.35 oz)
If you caught my initial post about the products I've purchased so far from the new Nuance Salma Hayek collection at CVS, then you probably know that this Beautiful Blends Eye Quad is the one I've been the most excited about. I'm a sucker for unique packaging, and you KNOW I'm a sucker for a beautiful earthtone palette, so this pretty much jumped into my basket all by itself when I was at CVS.
As I mentioned before, I love that this little "pod" can be opened in a variety of ways. You can pull down just one shade at a time, or you can pull down two, three or all four.
In the center of the quad, there is a little sponge-tip applicator. The shape of this applicator isn't really conducive to applying shadow to the lids, but I think it might work for applying crease shades or maybe for lining (if you'd like to use one of the shadows to line your eyes).
To give you a better idea of the size of this "pod" and the shadows inside, here are a few pics for perspective:
Some of you expressed concern about this "pod" taking up too much space in a makeup bag, or being bulky in general, and all I can say is that my eyelash curler actually takes up more space in my bag than this quad does. When you see it in person, I think you'll be surprised by how small it is compared to how it comes across in photos. Put it this way: if I were to see an avocado this size, I would say, "Wow, that's one SMALL avocado!"
So let's take a closer look at the shades:
Toasted Almond is the only satin in this quad (the rest are shimmers). In the pan, it comes across as cooler than it does when it's on my skin. On my eyes, it's actually more of warm beige, and it's lovely as a base color. It's too close to my natural skintone to be able to wear alone, but it's a lovely color to build upon with other shades in this quad.
What a PERFECT name for this color! It is truly a champagne gold shimmer, and in certain lights you can see a lovely touch of taupe in this one. It's more complex than it appears and it's not just a straight-up gold. I think this is probably my favorite color in the quad and I would pay $8.49 for this shade alone.
Shimmering Bronze is a tad warmer in person. This one isn't a straight-up bronze though--I think I might classify it as a rich chocolate brown shimmer that has lots of red undertones. It's truly gorgeous.
I love that this shadow is called Frosted Blush, because there's a pink undertone to it that really comes out when it's on the skin (thus, the word "blush"). In certain lights it looks like a champagne-pink, while in other lights it looks more like a brownish-beige (think Stila Wheat). For a highlight shade, it's surprisingly complex. You don't see too many highlight shades at the drugstore that have this much dimension.
And now for what you've probably been waiting for: swatches!
(click to enlarge)
I took these pics in two different forms of lighting, just so you could see how the colors tend to change a bit. For the pics taken with primer, I used Urban Decay Primer Potion in Eden. You can see that the color of my primer really altered the color of Toasted Almond. When Toasted Almond is on my bare skin, it's MUCH warmer, but the primer made it a lot more neutral. Plus, primer seems to bring out the satin finish of Toasted Almond as well (it looks more like a matte on bare skin).
After using this quad for several days now, I am absolutely delighted with my purchase. I do find that the texture of these shadows is a bit more firm than the texture of the shades in the Nuance eyeshadow duo I purchased (review to come), but that does NOT mean they're difficult to work with. Using either my e.l.f. or EcoTools eyeshadow brushes, I found all four of these shades incredibly easy to pick up onto my brush, and the color payoff for each shade was impressive even without primer.
I want to make sure that you know that even though the pigmentation looks kind of weak in the pics above (on my arm, taken without primer), when I actually apply these shadows to my eyes without primer, they are extremely vibrant. Of course they're even MORE vibrant over primer, but honestly? They're pretty fab without primer, and I can get about seven hours of wear without primer before I see fading or creasing.
I also would like to mention that none of these colors are muddy when blended. I can't stand drugstore eyeshadows that lose their vibrancy when blended and all seem to blend together into a weird shade of brown, but that's NOT the case with these. Each color stays vibrant after blending, with or without primer.
The texture of these shadows is incredibly impressive for the drugstore. I find all four shades to be finely milled, silky, and a joy to apply and blend.
FINAL VERDICT: The Nuance Salma Hayek Beautiful Blends Eye Quad in Neutral might look like a gimmick when you see it, but this is the kind of gimmick that I welcome with open arms. I love its unique packaging, and the shadows inside this "pod" are a downright steal for $8.49. In my opinion, these shadows rival some of my shadows from NARS, MAC and Stila in terms of complexity, ease of use and color payoff. I think this is a fantastic quad to add to your collection if you're drawn to shimmery earthtones--each shade has a subtle elegance to it that I think supports the brand's philosophy of "enhancing the nuances" of a woman's beauty.
Have you purchased anything from the Nuance Salma Hayek collection yet? Please check back soon for my reviews of the other products I purchased!