Perhaps I should be embarrassed to admit that I have no idea who Olivia Palermo is but I’m really not. I assume the Olivia Palermo name is one of the palette’s main selling points but I was compelled to buy it because of the interesting selection colors it contained. Rather than some random colors thrown together, to my eyes it looks like two quads — an earthy quad and a mauve quad — linked together by a matte ivory shade in the center. Of course you’re not limited to using these shadows as quads and can combine them however you want but that’s just how I visually sorted the colors at first glance. Any way you look at it, the colors are gorgeous (at least in my opinion).
The Ciaté London Olivia Palermo x Ciaté London Smokey Suedes Eye Palette is a limited edition, Sephora exclusive palette that retails for $39. I purchased mine during the recent Sephora VIB sale.
The Smokey Suedes palette features nine eye shadow shades in a mix of shimmer, matte and pearl finishes. Because of the design of the palette and the way the shadows have been laid out, the shadows in the four corners as well as the shadow in the center of the palette are a bit larger and contain more product than the four shadows adjacent to the central matte bone shade.
The eye shadows in the palette are as follows:
Larger pans containing 0.052 oz
- Shaken (pearl gold shimmer)
- Glazed (pearl bronze/red shimmer)
- Butler (matte bone)
- Prosecco (pearl ivory shimmer)
- Plumberry (matte aubergine)
Smaller pans containing 0.042 oz
- Verde (pearl bright olive)
- Whoopie Pie (matte deep brown)
- Cocoa (pearl bronze shimmer)
- Macchiato (matte mid-pink brown)
The shadows come in an embossed pebbled leather patterned, hard, black plastic case with gold detailing measuring approximately 12 cm x 6 cm x 1.4 cm (4.7 inch x 2.4 inch x 0.5 inch). The compact is small, sturdy, and lightweight with a large mirror on the inside making it perfect for traveling and touch ups on the go. It’s so small it can be tucked easily into a purse, backpack or even a pocket.
I’ve come across a few online reviews complaining that the Ciate Smokey Suedes palette is tiny, so I wanted to show you how it looks alongside the popular Kat Von D Shade + Light Eye Contour Palette and Bare Minerals’ holiday palette, The Regal Wardrobe. Yes, the Ciate compact is small but, as I hope you can see, the eye shadow pans are generously sized.
Don’t be fooled by the deceptively small compact. The reason the Ciate looks so small is because they’ve wasted no space in the layout of the shadows. The shadows in the Kat Von D and Bare Minerals palettes are spaced much farther apart so, of course, they’re going to take up a lot more room and the palettes will appear huge in comparison. But if you check the product details, the Ciate shadows are 0.042 – 0.052 oz each, the Bare Minerals shadows are 0.04 oz each, and the vertical shadow pans in the Kat Von D palette contain 0.38 oz/1.1 g each (the three larger horizontal pans contain 0.081 oz/2.3 g each).
The reality is the Ciate palette actually contains a lot of product.
This is my first experience with Ciate London and I’m completely happy with the results and excited to try more products from the brand in the future. The shadows are pigmented with a
velvety suede-like texture that’s smooth and very soft but not to the point that they kick up a lot of loose powder when you dip a brush into the pans. I didn’t experience any fallout, even with the shimmer shades. The mattes applied equally smoothly onto the eyelids and weren’t patchy or chalky which is quite a feat given the dryness of my skin.
I always swatch on dry, bare skin with no primer and the color payoff on my hand was as impressive as it was on my eyes. The pigmentation and blendability are wonderful, so the shadows can all be sheered out or built up effortlessly to create a variety of looks. For example, if I wanted to I could easily lay Verde, the green shade, down on my lids and get it show up as vibrant and pigmented as it looks in the pan, but if I use a fluffy brush to apply some in my crease or dab some into the outer-V it looks more like a smoky, deeper, blackened green. Same goes for Cocoa, the pearl bronze shimmer shade that, in my opinion, is really more of a dark chocolate brown with fine, dark magenta shimmer. It creates a lot of impact if you pack it on so the magenta shimmer comes to the forefront but, blended out, most of the shimmer buffs away and Cocoa then becomes a smoky and very versatile, dark neutral brown with just a hint of shimmer.
The shimmer in these shadows is all very fine, not chunky or over the top, so I’d be comfortable wearing the shimmer and pearl shades in a professional setting. I probably wouldn’t wear all the shimmer or pearl shades together but mixed and matched with the matte shades you could achieve a variety of office and school-appropriate looks from this palette. And, of course, pack on the darker shades and/or smoke them out and this palette will take you from day to night in a jiff.
It’s a shame that this palette hasn’t gotten more buzz because it’s fantastic. The formula of these shadows is great, the colors are beautiful, the compact is travel friendly and the price is reasonable considering the quality of the shadows you get. I honestly have nothing bad to say. I took a chance on this palette and I’m glad I did. I love it!
ETA: After I posted the swatches I realized that Prosecco and Glazed, the shades in the lower left and upper right corners, were looking very similar in photos. I think that’s mainly due to how the light was hitting the swatches and the fact that my hand isn’t a perfectly flat surface because they don’t look that way in person. Here’s another photo with the two shades, this time swatched side by side. Prosecco on the left, Glazed on the right.
Note: Apologies for plastering my blog watermark in the middle of all the photos. I normally try to be as unobtrusive as possible with the watermark by sticking it at the very bottom of my photos but I found out that people have been taking my photos, cropping out my watermark and using them to sell stuff on ebay. Rude.
Although it may not seem like it, it requires a lot of time and effort to take decent photos. For a single blog post, I usually take about 50-100 pictures and go through them one by one and select the 5-10 clearest, least blurry photos. I don’t use any special equipment or lighting. No studio lighting or special lenses. I don’t even own a tripod. It’s just me holding my old Canon T3 dslr camera (usually one-handed in the case of swatches) and daylight, weather permitting. For the best results, I prefer taking photos outside on sunny days which becomes more difficult the colder it gets. Dim lighting messes with the picture quality of my camera and distorts colors. In case you’ve ever wondered, whenever there are huge lapses in blog posts it’s because the weather was too cloudy to take photos. In those cases, all I can do is wait for the sun to come out and then swatch as many products as I can while the light’s cooperating.
Swatching and posting photos is a tedious, time consuming process and it irritates me that people are stealing my work to make a quick buck. I don’t mind if people share my photos with their friends on message boards and social media, but to use them to sell stuff…ugh, not cool. That’s all.
*steps off soapbox*
It’s been cloudy for most of this week but the sun came out for about an hour yesterday and that was enough time for me to swatch enough products for the next 3 or 4 blog posts. You should the fruits of that labor very soon so stay tuned.