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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Review: Nuance Salma Hayek Beautiful Blends Eye Quad in Neutral

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.

By the way, before I get into this review, I want to let you know that the Nuance Salma Hayek collection is now officially on the CVS website, if you'd like to explore what there is to offer (there are cosmetics, haircare and skincare products in this collection).

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!


  1. this is literally the coolest palette I've ever seen... can't wait to get my paws on one!!

  2. The packaging is pretty, but it would take up way too much space on my vanity if I bought many of them because they're not stackable, so I think this is a design fail. The colors are pretty.

  3. BlushingNoir: I have to agree--it's extremely cool. :)

    J: Hum...well since there are only two of these quads right now, you can't buy too many. lol! But seriously, the circumference is smaller than a Milani Baked Blush if that helps give you perspective. To me, it's sort of like having a bottle of polish on your vanity--I don't find it big or bulky at all. But I totally understand what you're saying about stacking--you cannot stack these, and if that's a necessity for you, then yeah, it'd be best to skip it. :)

  4. hmm, the colours look gorgeous, but the design seems like a gimmick. also, when i do my shadow, i hold the palette in one hand while i use the brush in the other. this looks like it might be hard to hold without having it fold up.

  5. :O That packaging is pretty unique and innovative. Surprised that it's as tall as a lipstick. I thought it was going to be a lot larger. Definitely have to try this out sometime. My area really needs to start carrying this line soon. :T

  6. D: I actually said that exact thing in this review (about it being a gimmick). But it's actually a gimmick I LOVE, for a change! I've been using it every day for several days now and it's not hard to hold to hold at all, no matter how many of the petals you have down at a time. In fact, I actually think it's EASIER to hold when you have just one petal down at a time, because the rest of the pod fits perfectly into the palm of your hand, if that makes sense. I don't think I did a good enough job conveying in this post how small it actually is--I can hold it with all four petals down and it's about the size of my hand with my fingers spread apart. I would try it out before you write it off (especially given CVS's return policy). If you don't like it, you can always return it w/ a receipt.

  7. They just got the display up in NJ at cvs!! The girl told me should be fill up by the end of this week!!

  8. I hope that these show up in my area! That pod is just too cute! and the shades are lovely. Very wearable but certainly not boring. And the price is decent, too. :)

    Thank you for the review and swatches.

  9. The packaging is really nice - reminds me of a Givenchy (or was it Guerlain) palette of a few years ago... Love it :)

  10. wow! the pigmentation on these babaies is pretty good!

  11. I ADORE this line, and I especially love this e/s quad! G, you're right -- the quality *does* rival that of some higher-end lines, and you just can't beat the price ($8 & change for 4 shadows that totally rock? SCORE!)!

    The shadows aren't frosty, but rather have a beautiful sheen to them, giving the finish a glow that keeps the shadows from being flat.

    I've used this quad just about every day since buying it (those days that I don't, I'm experimenting w/her e/s duos lol). It gives me a polished, sophisticated look that can be built up for drama or kept simple for a more natural look.

    I LOVE what I've tried, and I can't thank you enough for raving -- I don't think I'd have given this line a 2nd glance had you not!

    Damn you, G, for being my makeup twin! ;-)

  12. Looks nice. I will have to check it out.

  13. I just stumbled across this line today in CVS. The packaging is what caught my eye. I have to say I LOVE the shadows. I also picked up the lip balm. Does anyone else have this? I cant get mine open! How many ways could one open a balm??? Hmmm

  14. I went to my local CVS today and picked up one item from the Nuance line - lip gloss in Berry. It's a cream with no shimmers or glitters. The gloss has got good pigmentation and goes on fairly opaque. The shade is a "my lips but better" shade and it is my new favorite go to gloss for everyday wear. The gloss is very moisturizing and does not settle into the fine lines. It's got a great fruity scent which I love, and it has a nice berry candy taste to it - very lickable. Overall, I am going back to stock up on this gloss because once more people talk about it, I'm sure it will be hard to find on the shelves.

  15. I think the packaging design is pretty cool! I picked up the Walnut Facial Scrub for this line today. I like it so far, but we'll see how it does.

  16. OMG this is too cool! Not like I need any more MU right now but I think I have to have this! :O

  17. Love the packaging! The colors look great too!

  18. I've had guests for the past couple weeks, so I knew I missed some posts and was thinking that you probably reviewed this by now. Yup, I specifically searched for this post! lol

    I've never bought an EOS lip balm, even though I've seen many great reviews, and it's because of the gimmicky bulky packaging. I have a feeling that this pod is about the same size as an EOS balm, no?

    The way I think about it is, different strokes for different folks. Those of us who are more practical will think this is a packaging fail, while those who like new design ideas, will like this. Neither is better or worse than the other. I can't tell you how many reviewers have said that Milani packaging is ridiculously dated, or boring, or cheap looking. While I'm thinking, "Meh. As long as it fits in my makeup bag."

    You have probably convinced me to buy this, especially if CVS runs some sales to promote the line. I still won't like the gimmicky packaging, but I do love your swatches and think even dry the swatches look good! It just won't go in my makeup bag, but instead in one of the drawers at home. (I also never take my eyelash curler with me when I travel because it is too bulky!) I'm just like all the reviewers who hate the Milani packaging, but still buy it for the great products.


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