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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Review: Ulta Eyeshadow Singles in Mystique and Sable

A while back, I visited my local Ulta and picked up some Ulta brand products to try. It has been a long time since I tried anything from Ulta's house brand (I live pretty far away from the closest Ulta in my town), but I've had several readers request of review of these shadows, and they happened to be BOGOFREE (they still are, by the way). These eyeshadows normally retail for $7, but you can currently get them BOGOFREE making them just $3.50 a piece. They are 0.08 oz; a pretty good size for the price (for comparison, MAC shadows are 0.05 oz).

I thought I would get one shimmer and one matte, just to see how both finishes perform. Let's take a look:

Mystique is a brownish-taupe shimmer.

Sable is a warm camel brown matte.

Swatches applied on bare skin, no primer:

What really surprised me about Mystique is that it contains a lot of loose, silver sparkle. I didn't anticipate that, given how it looks in the pan. You can see the sparkle more clearly if you look at the right-hand side of this swatch:

 Sadly, both Sable and Mystique left me disappointed. Both shades are weakly pigmented, although you can build for intensity. The problem is that even after building and building, the level of pigmentation still doesn't come close to just one application of some of my Wet n Wild shadows. The texture of these shadows is a bit hard, so I found myself having to really "dig in" with my brush to pick up a sufficient amount of color. And I didn't care for the fallout when applying Mystique--I thought it was going to be a good work-appropriate shade, but the loose sparkle makes it a challenge to wear to work.

One thing about Sable that I do like is that, for a matte, it's easily blendable and the staying power is nice, even without primer. However, I just couldn't get the pigmentation to a level I was happy with, even with primer.
One more thing: I thought that MAYBE, Sable might be a more affordable dupe of MAC Wedge. I used to use MAC Wedge as brow powder (you can still see my brow brush marks in the pan below) when my hair was a different color, so I pulled it out for a comparison:

In the pan, it seems like they might be quite similar. But on the skin? Not so much:

Oh well. You can't blame a girl for trying, right?

Do you own any Ulta Eyeshadow Singles? If so, what shades do you own and how do they work for you? Perhaps there are other shades in the range with better pigmentation? I'd love to hear your thoughts.


  1. I bought a couple, once. Same as you I couldn't get them to show up and I have very fair skin. I'm temped to try some of their darker shades that I normally couldn't wear just to see if they would show up light enough to work for me.

  2. I bought some of their mineral eyeshadows, and one of their pressed. I had the same experience as you, with both types: no pigmentation to speak of. I get more pigmentation from some of my less-pigmented indies - and those cost less! A bit sad, as the one Ulta pressed that I got was a really amazing-looking blue with gold-fleck highlights. Kind of a mermaid-y turquoise/teal. (At least in the pan, it was...)

  3. I bought a dark green so that I could do a green smokey eye and I was not so happy with the results. Once on it looks black. And I completely agree that the Wet n Wild pigmentation is much better! The only in house Ulta product that I really love is their face primer, very close to Smashbox's Primer!

  4. lol, I too did not like their eye shadow. Their brushes are great however!

  5. A while back, they reformulated their eyeshadows. They used to be my favorite & now they are just terrible. I have been writing the company, trying to get them to go back to the old formula ever since the switch.

  6. That's a shame, because it looks like they may have reformulated their shadows! I have many of them, but we're talkin' "old skool" Ulta shadows lol, and they're simply phenom, IMHO.

  7. That's too bad about the pigmentation. I've been eyeing them for awhile but am glad I didn't waste my cash.

  8. I will say that I bought a couple new Ulta shades and returned them b/c of lacking pigmentation :(

  9. My local Ulta has eyeshadows available to swatch, and I noticed a couple of them seemed just so-so. I have Seashell and love it, though; it's not too far off from my skin tone, but does look opaque on me, and I also have a dark shimmery brown (forget the name of it!) that is very pigmented. I guess they're hit or miss :( Too bad these didn't work out for you!

  10. maybe this is why they are BOGOFREE?! Thanks for the review...I was going to try these next time I went to Ulta. Now I won't waste my money.

  11. I really like Ulta's shadows! I have about 15 different shades that I've bought over the last year or so, and I've only had pigmentation problems with 2 of them (both purples, one of which I also have to fight with to get any color out of the pan).

  12. Out of curiosity, *have* you ever been able to find an economical match for MAC Wedge?

  13. Oh, that's too bad! I have yet to purchase singles, but I have 2 of their multiple "kits" - one came in a traincase (which rocks) and a round hatbox and I LOVE them. I've had problems with maybe 2 or 3 out of the 25+. The formula in the hatbox seems to be better than the traincase.

    I've found almost dupes of UD's smog, the taupe in WnW "walking on eggshells" trio. I'd forgotten how great these were until I dug them out again a few weeks ago.

  14. Have you tried them wet? I got one of their Christmas kits, years ago, and those textures are way softer. I bet they changed the formula.

  15. Have You Ever Tried One Of The Sleek Palettes (Au Natural Palettle Has A Shadow That Looks Like Sable) I Know They Are Quite Expensive To Ship To The US Compared To Just Getting Them From Superdrug Over Here BUT They Are AMAZING The Pigment Is Incredible For Something Of That Price Some Shadows Are More Pigmented Than Others Though! Also The MUA Store (REALLY Cheap Brand) From Here Now Ships To the USDont Know How Much But The Prices Start From £1 And I Think The Most Expensive Is Around £5 So Really Cheap But AMAZING Quality;)

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  17. I just bought 8 of them for $2 each and they are weak at best. Mostly bought matte shades and 2 shimmers. I would take them back if I lived near an Ulta. Maybe I can use them when I want to sheer something out or use a base for darker colors. The color Bone seems to be a bit better than the others. I will see if they work wet. I should have bought the NYX that I wanted to try but the Ulta ones where cheaper.
    Also bought some lip-liners, nothing special. Will not buy any more Ulta brand products. A waste of my money.

  18. I loved the coral-camel color "Knit" but it has of course been discontinued. I am always trolling for it on eBay. It did break apart easily, but I am conserving the bits I have left, to compare to new colors to find something similar.


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