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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Review: Milani Limited Edition Naturally Chic Shadow Eyez Collection

The Milani Limited Edition Naturally Chic Shadow Eyez Eyeshadow Pencils are available now (for a limited time) at select Walgreens, HEB, and Fred Meyer stores. The collection can also be purchased directly on the Milani website here. I received all six shades for review a while back, and since you know how much I love the permanent shades, I really wanted to put these new colors to test. There are four matte shades in this collection (mattes, I say!) so let's take a closer look:

Milani Limited Edition Naturally Chic Shadow Eyez Collection
(retail: $6.99 each, 0.1 oz)

I can't remember the last time I saw an LE drugstore collection that offered more mattes than shimmers. That's a beautiful, rare thing in my book! Keep reading for my in-depth review of all six shades...

The packaging...

If you have never used these types of pencils before, here's a tip for sharpening them. In warmer weather (it's been in the high 90s here in San Diego this week so I know this first-hand), these can get a bit soft when you're trying to sharpen them with your sharpener. So if you see that your pencil's becoming flat, pop it in the fridge or freezer for a few hours. When you take it out, it will be more solid and, thus, much easier to sharpen.

Notice that the packaging clearly states if the shade is a "metallic" or "matte":

Some swatches:

 Almond Cream, Sand Dunes, Golden Bronze, Cafe Au Lait, Espresso Line, Black Ink

What you can't see in these swatches (and believe, I tried so hard to capture this in pics) is that the two shimmery shades in this collection also contains lots of sparkle. They're almost on the level of Urban Decay Midnight Cowboy (Sand Dunes being much closer, shade-wise, to Midnight Cowboy) in terms of the amount of sparkle that's mixed in with the shimmery finish. 

But the great thing is that, unlike powder shadows that contain lots of sparkle, you'll get ZERO FALLOUT with these pencils. I've tested both of the shimmery shades numerous times I haven't had any migration issues with stray sparkle ending up on other parts of my face. .

 To underscore how much sparkle is in these shimmer shades, here's a comparison of Sand Dunes and Champagne Toast (from the permanent line)

Top: Champagne Toast (permanent shade)
Bottom: Sand Dunes (limited edition)

I think you can really see the difference in texture in the photo above. Champagne Toast is a shimmer, whereas Sand Dunes (as well as Golden Bronze) are shimmers with a lot of sparkle to them. 

Here are all six shades on my eyes. I used no primer for these swatches and I applied the pencils directly to my eyes and blended with my fingers (I find it difficult to blend these with a brush, actually, because they set so quickly. A finger is best!):

Almond Cream: Since this color is so close to my natural skintone (NC20), it's beautiful for me to use as a base to even out my skin. I also LOVE LOVE LOVE this pencil as a highlighter (for the brow bone, inside corners of the eyes, and even for contouring down the middle of the nose, etc.). This is such a fantastic multi-tasker that if you could only buy one shade in this collection, it should be this one. Even if your skintone doesn't match the color as closely as it does for me, it's still an excellent highlighter because it can be blended and sheered out, allowing you to adjust the intensity.

Sand Dunes: the cooler of the two shimmer/sparkle shades, Sand Dunes has a ton of sparkle to it (that you can't see in my pics). If you love sparkle but hate fallout, this would be a great choice because these pencils have absolutely no fallout during application. I've worn the shimmers numerous times and have never seen even one speck of glitter migrate from my eyes. This shade is like Urban Decay Midnight Cowboy, but in stick form (and minus the fallout).

Golden Bronze: the warmer of the two shimmer/sparkle shades, my camera really picked up the gold in Golden Bronze. In real life, there's really not as much visible gold to this shade--it looks much more bronze and true to what you see when you look at the pencil. It's a bit more sheer than I was expecting, and I find myself using it more as a highlight shade on the brow-bone vs. an overall wash of color.

Cafe Au Lait: Sometimes the most unassuming color in a range ends up being the true hidden gem. Such is the case with Cafe Au Lait. Just like Almond Cream, this one's a workhorse. I've been using it as a base for all of my brown powder shadows, as an eyeliner, and also as a lid color worn all by itself (I'll show you a better pic in second). Needless to say, I love this pencil and all of its matte goodness. It's super pigmented, even after blending. And it blends easily as well, as long as you work quickly (none of these pencils give you much play time, but Espresso Line and Black Ink have the least amount of play-time. The others are a bit more workable in terms of having more time to blend).

Espresso Line: A darker version of Cafe Au Lait, this one is also great for wearing as a base for powder shadows. My one issue with this color is that it sets VERY quickly, so you don't have much time to blend (aka: no time at all). It's been difficult for me to use as a shadow all by itself  because I can't blend it up into my crease (which is why I pretty much stopped at my lid in the above photo). I would suggest applying this just to the lid and then following it with a powder shadow in a similar color that you can blend up into your crease. This one's also a bit challenging to wear as liner because the point is not fine (duh, these are jumbo pencils!) and if you don't get it right the very first time, you don't have much time to blend it or correct it.

Black Ink: Notice that I didn't even attempt to blend this in the pic above (I've tried in the past but now I know better!). Just like Espresso Line, this is a rich, highly-pigmented (borderline intimidating!) shade that sets very quickly and doesn't allow much play-time for blending. So again, I think the two darker matte shades in this collection are best for lid-only, and to wear as a base for powder shadows that you can blend up into the crease. I don't care for Black Ink as liner, but that's perfectly OK because there are a zillion black matte liners out there. The point isn't precise enough for me and, coupled with how quickly it sets, it's not a liner I can easily smoke out or play around with. It does work nicely on the waterline though (which you're about to see).

Here's a simple eye look I created using all four of the matte shades in this collection:

For this look, I applied Almond Cream under my brow and on the inside corner of my eye (blended just with my finger). I applied Cafe Au Lait all over my lid and then blended it up into the crease using my finger. I also applied Cafe Au Lait as liner, underneath my bottom lashes (again, blended with just my finger). I then applied a tiny bit of Espresso Line to the outer "V" and quickly blended that with my fingers as well. For the final step, I applied Black Ink to just my waterline.

Aside from some fading on my waterline, this look lasted all day and into the night. I honestly cannot rave enough about Almond Cream--it effortlessly makes my brows pop when I wear it on my brow-bone. And it perks up my tired eyes when I use it on the inside corners of my eyes like you see above. What I love the most is that it's not an obvious highlighter. It gives the skin some lightness, but in an awesome, very subtle way. 

If I could, I would marry Almond Cream. The End.

FINAL VERDICT: Milani did not disappoint with this collection.  If you're looking for a multi-tasker that can be used as a highlighter, base or all by itself, Almond Cream is the one pencil that should be on your must-have list. My second favorite shade is Cafe Au Lait because I love it worn alone, as eyeliner and also as a base for other powder shadows. The two shimmery shades are also great because they both contain lots of sparkle with ZERO fallout. If you love the look of shimmery shadows with sparkle but hate fallout and glitter migration, those are the pencils for you. Espresso Line and Black Ink are both nice as well, but for me they serve very specific needs and aren't really multi-taskers like the other shades. Both work best as lid colors to be worn underneath powder shadows. If you can only buy one shade from this range, make it Almond Cream. If you can buy two, I'd consider Cafe Au Lait or one of the shimmer/sparkle shades, depending on if you're a matte person or sparkle person. Either way, I don't think you'll regret your purchase. I'm already plotting my order for back-ups of Almond Cream and Cafe Au Lait and I'm praying that Milani makes these permanent!

Milani Limited Edition Naturally Chic Shadow Eyez Eyeshadow Pencils are available now (for a limited time) at select Walgreens, HEB, and Fred Meyer stores. This collection can also be purchased directly on the Milani website here.

Do you own any of the Limited Edition Shadow Eyez? What do you think of them? 

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 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.


  1. I completely agree with your rave about Almond Cream! I bought that shade as well as Sand Dune yesterday, and I am completely floored! It matches my lid color much better than any of my high end eyeshadow bases, and I'm so impressed with the formula. Glad to hear you love it too! I'm thinking of going out and getting a few backups...I hate that this is limited edition!!

  2. The only thing disappointing about these is that they are limited edition. Think we can get a letter-writing campaign going to make these permanent? (I'm only half kidding ;-) I'm just mad about the mattes. Good mattes are so hard to find, especially in cream shadows.

  3. I have to get back and stock up on the Almond Cream. I also want to grab a Cafe Au Lait as I had passed on them previously.

  4. wow I really like those! Thanks for sharing :)

  5. I can't wait to get my hands on these. I plan on buying at least 2 of Almond Dream and Sand Dunes. Here's hoping they make a few of these permanent!

  6. I bought all six of these when I saw them and am seriously considering backups for Almond Cream and Cafe Au Lait! (Also, G, I sent you a pic I took with all of them swatched a while back but never heard from you about it, so figured it either got lost in cyberspace or you didn't need it. I think I emailed you?)

  7. Can't wait to get my hands on these. Guess I'm gonna order them from the Milani website since my Walgreens doesn't even carry Milani! Thanks for the great review, G! :D

  8. Ahhhh! Thanks for the freezer trick!!! Your a genius, and all those shades look extremely good on you.

  9. I've been teetering between buying these or not buying these and you just pushed me over the edge! If Milani doesn't eventually make these permanent I'm going to riot.

  10. SIGH...I havent spotted these anywhere.... :(

  11. The Walgreens in the Denver area do not sell Milani. Boo! When I asked the store about it they looked at me funny and said they hadn't sold Milani in years! Horrors!! I understand that a couple of KMarts (the only ones left in the city) that are located way north of Denver, carry them. Only problem, I live way south of Denver. Alas, I have been back in Orlando for 2 weeks and you can guess just where I headed! I got these pencils and a restock of my beloved mascara. I know I'll have to order online after I leave Orlando.

  12. They NEED to make these permanent.

    I also had problems blending the mattes before they set, I highly suggest working in small sections and blending as you go because once they set they do not budge. They are worth the effort though.

    They do make great inner eye liners and the larger size is not an issue in application. I TL/WL everyday, and these are the most comfortable liners I have ever worn, zero irritation and they do not feel heavy or sticky when you blink which is a problem I have had in the past. I did not have any smearing or "oozing" at the corner of the eye, there was a very slight amount of wear after several hours however I have never found any liner that is 100% on my eyes all day.

  13. Hope to find these soon! Thanks for the review G.! Mattes ftw lol xxx

  14. I bought Almond Creme and Sand Dunes, and I love them. I passed on the mattes, but after seeing your eye look using all four, I think I'm going to have to get the other three.

  15. Wow, I love this whole set! The matte black and brown are fine, but I'm really loving the other shades.

    I need to find this collection soon. >w<

  16. I really wish these weren't limited edition. :(

  17. I dont think ive been this excited for an ENTIRE collection... now I just need to find them and wait for a sale!

  18. Yeah these should definitely be permanent. I think Cafe Au Lait would be my pick

  19. I am gutted that these aren't permanent. I have backed up my favorites.

  20. G, have you tried the LE color tattoos over black ink? I know you tried the color tattoos over black shadow, but was wondering if they were done over black ink, and if there's any creasing that way?

  21. They have them online at cherry culture for $6.99 each!

  22. Im in love with these...For every eyeshadow review you do nowadays,im expecting a "on top of black eyeshadow" nowadays...The color tattoo effect..Love your blog....

  23. What's it like to blend powder eyeshadows on top of these? I'm thinking Almond Cream may be a good eyeshadow base, but I'll get it only if it plays well with powder. :)

  24. I'm really sad that I can't find these in store. I'd love to pick up Black Ink. Also, it's very strange that they'd make neutrals like these LE. I think these would be quite popular.

  25. For any Ohio people, we have them at Drug Mart and they're on sale for the month of May. Drug Mart is only in Ohio though :( But I thought I'd throw it out there anyway.

  26. For any Ohio residents, these are available at Drug Mart and are on sale for the month of May. Drug Mart is only in Ohio though so no good for anyone else. I thought I'd throw it out there though.

  27. Hi G,

    I also live in the SD area and can't seem to find these anywhere. Do you happen to know where might have them here?



    1. If anyone in SD finds them, I'd love to know where as well!

  28. Your review totally convinced me to buy the Almond Cream and Cafe Au Lait!! I was so excited to try these:) Did you set them with a powder of some sort? I used NYX eyeshadow primer and they creased within a couple of hours? I was kind of bummed! I know you have oily skin so I was wondering what your tip was for staying power? I check your blog everyday, such a fan!

  29. I found these on the Cherry Culture website yesterday. They happen to be 20% off right now.

  30. This is so great! I especially love cafe au lait. Thanks for all of the swatching.


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