I was so pleasantly surprised by the Ciate Smokey Suedes palette that I placed a second Sephora order for The Smouldering Eye palette ($39). Since both palettes are limited edition I wanted to snatch them up before they’re gone. In hindsight, I probably should’ve passed.
The Smouldering Eye 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
- Camo (deep olive pearl)
- Double Denim (blue shimmer pearl)
- Butler (bone matte)
- Amaretto (aubergine/brown matte)
- Blondie (camel matte)
Smaller pans containing 0.042 oz
- London (deep gray matte)
- Pisces (light gray pearl)
- Mulberry (cranberry pearl)
- Penny Jar (purple gray shimmer pearl)
Just like the Smokey Suedes palette, The Smouldering Eye palette comes in a lightweight, slim, pebbled, black and gold compact. Both would make great travel palettes because of how small and compact they are. But don’t let the sizes of the palettes fool you into thinking you’re not getting a lot of product. For reference, a standard MAC eye shadow single is 0.04 oz. Compare that with the Ciate eye shadows which are either 0.052 oz (the middle and four outer corner eye shadows in the palette) or 0.042 oz each.
Ciate has crammed a ton of eye shadow into these tiny compacts.
I’m a natural, no-makeup makeup kind of gal, so I knew before making this purchase that The Smouldering Eye palette was out of my comfort zone. Not only are these colors in this palette seemingly a lot more colorful than the neutral and earthy tones I usually gravitate towards but they’re also a lot deeper and smokier too. Despite all of that, I wanted to give the palette a try because I was so impressed with the smooth, velvety texture as well as the beautiful colors and pigmentation of the shadows in the Smokey Suedes palette. I convinced myself that the quality would somehow make up for everything else.
Yes, the colors are pigmented and swatch great on the skin and the textures of the shadows in The Smouldering Eye palette are lovely but I find them lacking compared with the Smokey Suedes palette. The shadows are better than a lot of palettes I’ve tried but after my overwhelmingly positive experience with the Smokey Suedes palette, I have to say that The Smouldering Eye was a bit of a disappointment.
Blues aren’t really my thing but I expected more out of Blue Denim and the silvery, pale blue gray Pisces. They swatched wonderfully but went on the eyelids a whole lot sheerer. With the exception of the Butler and Blondie shades which were very opaque and rich on the lids and blended really well — surprising for mattes on my dry skin — the other shadows all came across as very muted and hazy looking on my eyes. If I wanted the shadows to look true to pan on my eyelids, I had to really pack them on and blend as little as possible because the danger of overblending was always there.
I tend to be very gentle with my makeup products and always use a light hand when I grab products with a brush and apply to my face. That’s why a lot of the items that I purge, despite being used, are in great condition. However, I had serious issues blending with a majority of these shadows. No matter how gently I blended these shadows on my eyelids, they constantly buffed away to the same murky, gray haze. It didn’t matter if I used the blues, cranberry, eggplant or neutral shades, I would keep on getting the same result which was a real bummer. For example, the blues which looked so interesting and inviting in swatches were pale, smoky, muddy shadows of themselves on the lids.
Full disclosure, I swatch and use all of my eye shadows on bare skin. No primer. It’s something I started doing once I made the decision to pare down on my makeup collection. One day I realized that I was hanging onto a lot of mediocre shadows and palettes because of eye shadow primer. Yes, eye shadow primers make eye shadows that are already great even better by extending their longevity and intensifying color payoff but they also fool you into thinking that mediocre shadows are great. If you’ve been thinking about reducing your stash or have had difficulty purging, try going a week or even a month without eye shadow primer and you might be surprised by how unimpressed you are by the pigmentation, wear time and blendability of some of the shadows in your collection. Nowadays, I only own, use and keep shadows that work well, blend well and last well on their own on my dry skin and only use primer for special events when I want some extra, but totally unnecessary, insurance.
Unfortunately for me The Smouldering Eye palette didn’t pass the no-primer test which is really surprising given my positive experience with the Smokey Suedes palette. The only shadows that I really enjoyed using and had no issues with in this palette were the middle Butler shade and the Blondie shade in the bottom right corner.
Of course, this is just my personal experience. Take it with a grain of salt. I took a look at sephora.com and The Smouldering Eye palette appears to have a higher customer rating than the Smokey Suedes palette so, depending on your skin type and whether or not you choose to use a primer, you may end up having a much better experience with the palette than I did.
tl;dr: Yes to the Ciate Smokey Suedes palette. Skip the Ciate The Smouldering Eye palette.
The matte bone Butler shade in the center of both the Smokey Suedes and The Smouldering Eye palette are supposedly repeats but I own both and I find that the Butler shade in The Smouldering Suedes palette to be a bit darker and peachier than the one in the Smokey Suedes palette.
If you already own one palette and want to buy the other one specifically for the Butler shade, you might be disappointed that they aren’t exactly the same. However, if you hate repeats in palettes, you’ll probably be thrilled that the two shadows are a little different.
The similarity in colors between the Ciate palette and my Viseart Cool Matte palette is another reason I decided to the purge The Smouldering Eye palette. The neutral shadows with pops of purple and blue that attracted me to the Ciate palette can also be found in the Viseart palette. However, the cooler tones of the Viseart shadows are a lot more flattering on my skin tone than the warmer shades in the Ciate palette. Plus the pigmentation and blendability of the Viseart shadows are just so much better in my opinion.