I had a feeling that the Make Up For Ever Artist Volume 1 (Nudes You Need) palette ($44) was going to be a bit warmer than I wanted but I got it anyway during the Sephora VIB sale back in December. My only excuse is I can’t resist nudes and everyone I watch on YouTube raves about the MUFE Artist shadow formula.
As far as I know, all of the shadows in this palette are permanent but the singles (0.07 oz each) retail for $21 apiece. The shadows in the Artist palette are a little smaller (0.06 oz each) but that’s still plenty of product and you get nine colors in a variety of finishes making the palette an awesome value. For someone like me who’s never tried MUFE Artist shadows, this is a really great introduction to the formula.
The palette itself is made of a thick cardboard material that feels sturdier and more substantial than the likes of the LORAC PRO or Stila palettes which in my experience feel a lot flimsier. Inside there’s a decently sized mirror that’ll come in handy should you choose to use it as a travel palette.
As for the shadows, the Artist Vol. 1 palette contains shadows in four different finishes: Satin (S), Diamond (D), Iridescent (I) and Metallic (ME). I wish they had thought to include at least one matte shade because that way I would’ve been able to try all of the finishes they offer.
As with any palette, there are no rules and you can mix and match the colors in any combination you want. However, for those who are at a complete loss as to where to start, MUFE suggests three easy looks that can be achieved using the palette: a Chic look, a Natural look and a Smoky look which are basically composed of the three shadows in each column. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me but the Chic look seems like a smokier combination than the Smoky look combo. Just saying.
My expectations for these shadows were extremely high. All of the reviews I’ve seen and read have given the impression that the MUFE Artist formula is game changing, the best EVARRRR, etc. As such, I think my disappointment was not only inevitable but expected. In hindsight, I doubt it could’ve ever lived up to that level of hype.
The Artist formula is interesting. It kind of feels like a cross between a pressed pigment (e.g. L’Oreal Infallible) and the Tarte Clay of Life quad I tried awhile back. When you touch the shadows there’s a bit of squishiness and give to them and the surface texture looks soft, like suede or velvet fabric. The powders feel very smooth and silky when I rub the powder between my fingertips but I wouldn’t go so far as to call them creamy or buttery. They’re not as dense as I thought they’d be and actually feel a bit thinner and drier than I expected.
The shadows are okay but I don’t think they’re the best shadows I’ve ever tried.
- The entire top row of the palette was a huge disappointment. My skin is ultra dry and all three colors swatched and applied really sheer on me. Not only that but on my skin tone the lightest shades looked too similar for my liking.
- The black shade had great color payoff; however, I never use black in my makeup. That’s not a strike against the palette. I knew when I bought it that aside from swatching the black for the blog it was going to remain untouched but I’d hoped that the other eight shadows would make up for the loss.
- The three shades I was the most interested in using were S-556, D-562 and I-544 (basically the cooler taupe shades). Unfortunately, S-566 and I-544 applied really sheer on me (nowhere as bad as the top row though) and I had to layer and build them up for them to even be visible on my skin. The shiny D-562 shade was pretty but average. Definitely nothing to write home about.
- Hands down the best two shadows in the palette for me were ME-644 and D-652, D-652 especially. If the other six shadows had been as pigmented as these two (and the black) I would’ve been pleased. I had difficulty getting the other shadows to even adhere to my skin (a sticky base or primer is definitely necessary) but these went on easily.
- These shadows develop hard pan really quickly just like the Tarte Clay of Life shadows which also have a silky, dimethicone type formula like these MUFE Artist shadows. My skin is ultra dry and I wash my brushes often, so I don’t think it’s an issue of skin oils causing a hard layer to form on the surface of the shadows but pressure. I noticed that if I tried to pick up product as I normally do (by sweeping the flat side of a brush against the surface of the eye shadows) that even that tiny bit of pressure caused hard pan to form immediately. However, if I held the brush perpendicular to the shadow pan and gently stabbed at the powder, I was able to loosen up some powder and pick it up on the tips of the brush bristles. That’s fine if I’m using a crease brush to apply color but it’s a bit awkward when I want to use a flat eye shadow brush to lay down a lid color and I can only get product on the tip of the brush. Frankly, formulas like the Tarte Clay of Life and MUFE Arist shadows are simply too fussy and finicky for my liking.
And here’s how the MUFE Nude palette looks compared to the other palettes in my stash. Have I mentioned that I got the Too Faced Chocolate Bon Bons palette? Well, I did and I’m liking it more than the MUFE palette. I know shocking, right? I’ll go into more depth about the Bon Bons palette in a separate review but I prefer the array of neutral/nude shades in it, they apply more easily to my dry skin and I find the color payoff of the shadows to be a lot more consistent. They’re not super duper pigmented and have a traditional powder formula but they’re good and I don’t have a problem with some of them being extremely sheer and others being really pigmented like I do with the MUFE palette. It also includes a few good mattes.
Viseart makes the best matte shadows that I’ve ever tried but I still decided to sell off my Cool Matte palette because I realized that I only ever reached for the same four shades in the top row. The other shades are beautiful and I’d originally hoped I’d reach for them (even though they’re darker than I’m used to) because of the fantastic formula but I think I’ll always prefer lighter colors. Yes, I’m boring, I know.
I decided to swatch some of the cooler and/or taupe-y shades from several of my palettes for comparison.
Top row: MUFE S-556, MUFE I-544, Viseart Cool Matte (row 1, column 2), Viseart Cool Matte (row 1, column 4)
Middle row: bareMinerals Romp, bareMinerals Treasure Hunt, bareMinerals Flash, Too Faced Almond Truffle, Too Faced Cafe Au Lait, Too Faced Pecan Praline
Bottom row: bareMinerals Schmooze, bareMinerals Get Ahead, bareMinerals Fuse, bareMinerals Libation
I hope you can tell from the swatches that the shimmery/metallic bareMinerals and Too Faced shadows are a lot shinier than the iridescent MUFE shadow which looks flatter and duller in comparison. The satin MUFE shadow is also noticeably sheer and patchy compared with the other matte/satin shadows that I’ve swatched.
I don’t know if I received a dud or what but these MUFE shadows are nothing like what other people have raved about and described.
Top row: MUFE ME-512, D-562, ME-644, D-562
Middle row: Ciate Shaken, Ciate Prosecco, Ciate Glazed, bareMinerals Cognac, Too Faced Satin Sheets, Too Faced Molasses Chip
Bottom row: bareMinerals Schmooze, Sonia Kashuk Chic Luminosity Bronzer, Sonia Kashuk Chic Luminosity Highlighter, e.l.f. Cruisin’ Chic
I also decided to swatch some of the warmer metallic/shimmer colors from my palettes.
Hands down the shiniest, richest, and most pigmented color here is bareMinerals Cognac. The Ciate shadows came out a little blurry in the photo but after Cognac they’re the next shiniest and pigmented followed by the Too Faced and e.l.f shadows. For me the MUFE shadows don’t really compare.
I know it works well for others but the MUFE palette was just really underwhelming for me and it was so easy for me to purge it from my stash. I purge often because I love trying new makeup but I’m serious about keeping my collection small and manageable. There have been a lot of times I’ve been hesitant about purging items but the MUFE palette was a no-brainer for me.
In my opinion, the palette’s name is a misnomer because these shadows were definitely NOT nudes that I needed. I feel like I’m the lone dissenter but I didn’t really care for this palette and I don’t understand the hype. These days I only keep eye shadows that are able to work without primer/base and unfortunately the majority of the shadows in the MUFE palette failed to meet that criterion.
Eye shadow primers are great and I use them with the few shadows/palettes I’ve kept sometimes but prior to my huge purge they were an excuse for me to hold onto some really sucky shadows.
All eye shadows work better with a primer but in my experience very few perform well without one. I feel like people are too reliant on primers nowadays. There once was a time when people judged whether an eye shadow formula sucked or not by how well it performed on its own. As someone who’s trying to be very strict about keeping her makeup stash small and select these days, I’m only interested in keeping eye shadows that can stand on their own and this palette simply failed to meet the bar that I set. Since it was only usable for me with a sticky base, it had to go.