Sunday, October 4, 2015

First Impressions: LORAC Mega PRO Palette 2 (Ulta-Exclusive Available NOW)

As you know, this blog is devoted to affordable beauty, which means that I usually only review higher-end products if there's a sale or promotion attached to them. In the nearly seven years that I've been writing this blog, I have only reviewed ONE high-end product that was not on sale (and that was due to popular request). Well,  I'm going to add to that very small, elite list today, and share with you my first impressions of the Ulta-exclusive LORAC Mega PRO Palette 2, which literally JUST went live on the Ulta site while I was finishing this post.

Why, you ask? Well, LORAC sent me this palette (a complete surprise that I was absolutely not expecting), and we all know that the first Mega PRO was an insanely popular, much-coveted palette that sold out very quickly (I purchased the first Mega PRO when it was available and I very much enjoy it to this day). So I figured that those of you who missed out on the first one might like to know my opinion of the second one, considering that it will probably sell out quickly as well (if you decide you want it after you see what I have to say about it, please, do not wait. The first one sold out very quickly).


LORAC Mega PRO Palette 2
(retail: $59 exclusively at Ulta, 0.45 oz.)

Again, the LORAC Mega PRO Palette 2 is an Ulta-exclusive, available both in-store and online. It JUST went live on the Ulta website HERE a few moments ago (I'm posting this at around 11:00 pm Pacific on 10/3). Since it retails for $59, you will automatically qualify for free shipping with this purchase.

Back of box

The reflective nature of the outer box made it impossible for me to photograph, but basically this just tells you the shade names, finishes, and suggestions for how to use the colors in combination with one another.

Since the box was difficult to photograph, please CLICK HERE to view the full list of ingredients. 


Just like the first Mega PRO Palette, this palette has a flip top lid with an invisible magnetic closure. The palette itself is made of thick cardboard that's covered with a matte, rubberized coating.

Back of palette
(Assembled in the U.S. with U.S. and non-U.S. materials)


As with the original Mega PRO, this one comes with a nice, large mirror (sorry if it looks dirty; I didn't remove the protective coating for this photo). 


And just like the original, this one comes with a removable plastic protector sheet.


In all honesty, when I first saw sneak-peeks of this palette on social media, I was not wowed by it. There was something that felt a bit off about this palette to me, and I could not put my finger on it until I actually had it in my possession. But now I know what it is. I believe that the blue packaging has a lot to do with my perception of this palette. In other words, the contrasting blue background does not lend itself to all of the shades in this palette; I actually find quite the opposite to be true. In my opinion, some of these shades just downright clash with the blue background. I really believe that this is why, initially, this palette didn't jump out and grab it.

That said, try to imagine a black background instead of a blue background when you look at my pic above. Can you see how that may call some of these colors to your attention, or enhance the look of the palette in general? The blue background, to me, makes the lighter shades all sort of look the same, and it also makes some of the warmer shades on the right side look borderline unappealing (even though those shades are actually VERY appealing to me). So yeah...just keep that in mind as you look through my swatches.

This palette contains:
  • 16 mattes (top two rows)
  • 16 shimmers (bottom two rows)

The mattes all share the same finish (they are true mattes, not satin-mattes masquerading as mattes), however the shimmers are not all identical in finish. Some are satin-shimmers, others are straight-up shimmers, and others are more like intense metallics. 

SWATCHES:

All of the following swatches were photographed after I lightly swirled each pan with my clean finger and swiped a few times onto the back of my hand (I did not return to the pan to pick up additional shadow; I only used what was on my finger after one quick swirl in the pan). I did not use any primer for any of these swatches. These shadows were all swatched on clean, bare skin. 

















Please note that mattes in general are often difficult for me to swatch/photograph, since they tend to come across as chalky/spotty in extreme close-up. However, with the exception of two shades (as noted below), I find that the mattes in this palette apply smoothly and consistently on the eye, despite what they look like on my hand (and without primer).


All shadows swatched on bare skin (no primer)

Mattes:
All of the mattes in this palette have that signature LORAC buttery texture and wonderful pigmentation, with the exception of Burlap and Cabernet, which I found to be on the dry side, with weaker pigmentation than the rest. But looking at the photos above, remember that my swatches were done without the help of primer. With primer, Burlap and Cabernet do become more pigmented and I can get a more even application with primer as well.

Shimmers:
Some of these shimmers are so intense, they're really more like metallics. My photos don't do the shimmers justice, but Moonlight, Dark Sienna, Penny, Olivine, and Blue Quartz in particular are quite intense in person and very metallic-like. As for texture and pigmentation, there's not one stinker in the bunch when it comes to the shimmers. All of them have excellent pigmentation and a nice, buttery texture. Although I do want to mention that some of these shimmers seem more delicate than the shimmers in the first Mega PRO palette. I was a little heavy with my finger and also my brush on a few shades, and I noticed some of the shades did crumble a bit and I accidentally left marks/indentations in the pan after just a few swipes with my brush. So if you purchase this palette, remember to use a very light hand with your brushes, until you identify which shades have that softer texture. Actually, since all shades in this palette but two have excellent pigmentation, you'll probably want to go lightly with your brush anyway.

I can't tell you how all 32 shades wear throughout the day, since I have only really tested about half of the shades in this palette in terms a full day's wear. But so far, these shadows seem to have the same staying power as the original Mega PRO palette for me. I can easily get a full day of wear when I wear these shadows over primer. I also have had no issues with blending these shadows.

Is this palette worth $59? I can't answer that for you, but hopefully I can give you enough info to help you determine that for yourself. I think a lot of it depends on the types of shadows you already have in your stash, and how much you're drawn to the colors in this particular palette. What I CAN tell you is that I find there to be some unique colors here that we don't often see at the drugstore level (or even in other mid- to high-end palettes). In particular, the olive-pewter metallic shimmer,  forest green matte, and midtone dove gray matte are the types colors that I would usually have to purchase individually from brands like Inglot, etc. So to have them all in one palette is great, and of course the Signature LORAC buttery texture and pigmentation adds to the appeal as well. Again, I only encountered two sub-par shades in this palette, but both can be improved by using primer first. I do feel that this palette is a bit heavy on lighter shades, so if light shades aren't your thing, then that's also something to consider (personally, I feel that 11 of the 32 shades fall into the "light" category). Overall, I find this palette to contain some beautiful colors, with a nice balance of work-friendly shades and fun shades,. with the absence of anything too extreme (no neons, mega-chunky glitters, etc.). There are also a few shades here that I find to be rather unique, but the abundance of lighter shades is something to note.

I hope that this post helps give you a better idea of what you can expect if you decide to splurge on this one. If you do take the plunge, I would absolutely love to hear how you like this palette once you get it.

A sample of this product was given to Nouveau Cheap for editorial purposes, either directly from the manufacturer or from the agency that works on behalf of the manufacturer. All reviews on NouveauCheap.Blogspot.com are the honest opinion of its author and editorial samples do not, in any way, affect the outcome of product reviews. For more information, click here.
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40 comments

  1. Hi G!! Just want to know is this pallette limited edition? Not sure If I missed in somewhere or not

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    1. Lydia, I'm so sorry that's unclear in my post! LORAC didn't actually call this limited edition in their press material, but it Is part of their Holiday 2015 collection (thus, the blue packaging like the rest of the holiday items this year), so yes, it's limited edition. Thanks!

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    2. As of today 10/4 @ noon it is still available. Just bought it.

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  2. wow! the colors are pretty. I've missed the first palette but this time I think I'm not gonna pass on this one. The problem is Lorac isn't available here. Hopefully the online sellers would sell this soon.

    thanks for the lovely review:)

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    1. Aaaah, I'm sorry you don't have access to this in your country. :(

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  3. Great review! I'm passing on this one.

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  4. Replies
    1. Lol! I'd love to know what you think when you get it. :)

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  5. Beautiful swatches! You are so right about the blue clashing with the shadow colors! I will have to see if my Ulta has it today and start swatching myself to decide. Thank you for the review 😁

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    1. Thank you! And I'm so glad you understood what I was trying to say about the blue packaging. I think once you see this in person and swatch some colors, the beauty of these shades will be more apparent. Would love to know what you think when you see it!

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    2. I will let you know, by the way, did you realize that this Mega Pro has less product than the first Mega Pro? This one is only 0.45oz while the Mega Pro one is 0.62oz. The pans look the same size to me but if there's less product, that's why you may be seeing the shades crumbling since it may not be pressed as tightly.

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  6. Boy, that top row of shades is just crushing me it's so gorgeous. On the other hand, this brand's eye shadows get under my contact lenses worse than any other and that's painful. What to do,what to do....

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    1. Aaaah, I'm sorry to hear about the contact issue. I don't wear contacts, so I unfortunately can't tell you if that's the case with this palette. Maybe try googling for additional reviews and see if any contact lense wearers mention it?

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  7. There's so many palettes out that I don't know which one to choose from lol. I'm really liking the way this looks but I think I want the UD Spectrum palette this year too. Decisions, decisions..

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    1. It's a daunting task, for sure! Especially this time of year. I'm sure you'll make the right decision! :)

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  8. I loved/love the first palette! I didn't sleep the night before it came out, lol. XD I love the half matte/half shimmer distribution and the colors are beautiful. I remember how appealing the packaging was (and still is!)!

    As for this year's palette... You are 100% spot on, G. The blue color chosen for this year's palette is doing all kinds of wrong to the shades inside. The fact that it is an ultramarine/blurple kind of blue (a.k.a., The #1 Most Difficult Color to Capture in Photographs) makes this even more painful. It was/is an incredibly poor choice for a palette interior. I wonder how the blue would affect use of the palette over time as it literally distorts every single shade.

    The image of all the swatches together is IMMENSELY HELPFUL. Thank you for getting the shadow colors away from that blue! There are lots of pretty shades! I wish Lorac would have given us a blue matte that "matched" the palette though (like last year's Mulberry). Blue Quartz is a great shade but it loses out to the intensity of the palette's blue. *sigh*

    I am feeling the mattes more than the shimmers overall. Sorbet, Melon, Tangerine, Goji, Lavender, Purple, Ash, and Custard - loving them! As for the shimmers my favorites are Peony, Soft Plum, Dark Sienna, Penny, Olivine, and Blue Quartz.

    Lots of great shades...ahhh I can't decide whether to take the plunge or not. If there was a blue that matched the palette in both a matte and a shimmer I'd probably be buying this right now. It is so wrong to say that but Mulberry was significant part of The Reason last year even though I love and use the whole palette. This second edition is missing that one color that stands at the helm. That blue packaging has me thinking UD Chaos.

    If I had to pick a color for the palette... A rich, deep green would have worked wonderfully as a backdrop for these shades AND complimented last year's palette. I always get deep green leafy stems to go with flowers - it makes every flower pop! I can see that green making these shadows pop in the right way in the same manner. I also would have kept the box black and the palette lettering gold.

    Phew omg my comment is way too long I'm so sorry. >.< I am a "color addict" so I had immediate thought overload on this, lol. XD Many many thanks, G! <333



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    1. Aaaah, thank you so much! I'm so glad you understood what I said about the blue packaging. And yep, that's exactly why I included that collage of all the hand swatches. I really wanted to try and capture the colors away from the blue, so I'm absolutely thrilled that you found it helpful. I think the choice for blue comes down to the holiday collection in general. Everything is blue for holiday 2015, and this is technically part of the holiday collection, so yeah. I totally see why they did it.

      I think that since many of the shades are appealing to you in photos, you'll probably enjoy them even more when you see this in person. My photos really don't do some of these colors justice. In person, the shimmers really come alive, and some are more multidimensional than they come across in my swatches. I hope that helps, and please do let me know what you think if you end up taking the plunge? :)

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  9. This looks like a great all-in-one palette. If I didn't have a million palettes already I'd probably have gotten it. (My big splurge is the Profusion palettes have landed at Walgreens, so I plunked down $3 for a 24-color smoky eye one.)

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    1. Lol I totally understand what you mean, Heidi. And the Profusion holiday palettes have arrived? Thanks for the tip! Can't wait to see them!

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    2. Yup. Spotted them at my neighborhood Walgreens on Friday, all up high. They had some similar ones from years past (the five-pans for $1), and some big $10 mega-palettes, and a good variety in between.

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    3. So look up season is starting!!!! Yay!!!!

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  10. Thank u for your impression of the blue packaging conflicting with the colors to make it less appealing. I didn't think of that and I believe u r correct. I did just purchase this palette. I don't own any Lorac products. I did return the contour palette though so I'm still uneasy with my purchase. I guess I'll just have to see. I am most interested in the mattes as I have a lot of shimmers already. I have the It Cosmetics original matte palette but I'm not impressed. I was just given the Tarte Tartlette palette. I have only used it once but liked it. I'll just have to see. Some say it's hard to blend. I'll have to see if that is just a few shades or not. Thank u for your review and swatches. : )

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  11. This looks like it would be flattering to a much more limited range of skintones than the last one. That's what I'm having trouble with, and unfortunately that seems to be the case with quite a few Lorac products.

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  12. I got the first one and love it, so I am getting this one too.

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  13. Thanks so much for your thorough review! One thing I noticed is that the size of the eye shadows is a lot smaller than last year and the pro pallets, which are .02 oz each. These are about 25% smaller at .014 oz each. By comparison, the UD naked pallet shadows are .05 oz each. So there's a good chance of using up a shadow in this pallet fairly quickly if you use it regularly.

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  14. There are too many light shades that will look the same on my eyelids in this palette, so it's a pass for me. That's one more for you guys to grab, lol!

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  15. not impress with ths one at all. Now i wish I could go back in time and grab last year LE one :( *cry face*

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  16. I'm passing on this one because it's just now wowing me. I have the first Mega pro palette and the 2 pro palettes and I'm hardly using them. I find myself reaching for their smaller palettes because I can take them with me!

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  17. I was lucky enough to get the first mega pro and I love it. I understand why people didn't like it because of all the light shades. I'm actually very pale so I didn't have an issue with them showing up on me. I definitely want this pallet as well.

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  18. Way too many colors that look exactly the same - why so many white or whitish shades? There are some really palettes out there this year that beat this one.

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  19. Sadly, I picked this up early, and I think I'm allergic to it :( I've never had this problem before but I'm actually sitting at work right now (nurse) and I want to scratch my eyes like crazy! Pretty colors but itchy eyes isn't something I want to deal with.

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  20. I just recently bought the lorac pro palette. I know I'm late haha. And that palette is so amazing. I wasn't planning on buying another high end palette for awhile but this is catching my eye.

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  21. I love a lot of these swatches but can't justify buying another palette right now! Thanks for this post. :)

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  22. You are so, so right about the blue background -- I can't believe Lorac's design team okayed that color! It's a gorgeous color on its own, but it's too bold and bright and detracts from the beauty of the shadows. I guess Lorac isn't happy with a Mega Pro release unless some part of it is bungled, lol.

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  23. You're exactly right. I saw it in the store and didn't get it. I think it's because of the blue. It just looks meh. But your swatches are gorgeous!

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  24. This palette is really versatile! I reached for it the other day to do a neutral look for work and ended up with a green smokey eye, which goes to show just how versatile it really is! The shades are gorgeous and you're right about the blue! Should have stuck to black packaging!

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  25. I finally got mine yesterday and love it. In my opinion all of the pictures circulating online do not do it justice. I've been seeing a lot of reviews online with people saying it's a cool tone palette or it's a mix of cool and warm, but I don't think it is. To me it's straight up warm. There are more lighter and mid tone shades compared to the first mega pro, but they are still warm colors. And I prefer a warm palette over a cool palette any day of the week.

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    1. I totally agree, which is why I'm passing on this. I prefer cool tones. The shades are pretty but not for me. I'm glad you love it!

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  26. Thank you SO much for the detailed review; I'm looking for a sort of "all in one" palette and I was seriously considering this one but after seeing and reading, I'm going to invest in something else. I'm already in love with the Revealed 2 palette and I'm a big Sleek fan (despite the fall-out). Wish me luck! :D

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