Top eye shadows, primers and exfoliants tested

 

Rachel Marie Walsh puts the latest launches for September to the test.

Maybelline The Nudes Palette, €14.99

Maybelline deserves praise for uniting 12 useful, wearable shades in one affordable palette. This one has eleven nude hues and a black that can be used as a liner. 

The shadows are all powder with a mix of shimmer and true-matte finishes. While they don’t flake, they do tend to fade as the day progresses. 

They also don’t blend very well, sitting and gathering where smoother powders would yield to a brush or fingertip.

***

Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Shadow & Liner in Classic Nude, €15.90

Top eye shadows, primers and exfoliants tested

Shimmer Strips, as the name suggests, is a selection of iridescent selection of shadows, so those wary of highlighting wrinkles should give this one a miss. 

It is otherwise an excellent budget option. Eight of the nine shadows are universally-flattering nude shades and the black shadow makes a handy powder liner. 

The silk powders can be applied wet for a more intense colour. All are easy to blend and do not fade or flake.

*****

theBalm Nude ‘Tude Palette, €33.84 @feelunique.com

Top eye shadows, primers and exfoliants tested

Nude ‘Tude is a retro pin-up girl-covered palette of 12 neutral shadows. The shade range includes pinks and browns in a mix of matte, satin, and glitter finishes. The colour pigments are strong and unfading. 

The powders’ texture is very smooth and easy to blend. This palette’s problem is shedding from the glitter and satin shadows. 

Flecks on one’s nose and cheeks is never a good look and completely defeats the understated purpose of nude eye makeup. Flecks on your lashes are physically irritating.

****

Stila Eyes Are In The Window Palette in Mind, €39

Top eye shadows, primers and exfoliants tested

This is an excellent buy, especially if you need to perfect a quick, professional-looking nude eye for work. The shadows are a high-quality mix of matte and shimmer shades that work beautifully together. 

All twelve have a buttery texture that makes them non-flaky and very easy to blend. These are great shadows that you can rely on to look great for hours without fading or creasing.

BEST BUY 

*****

Too Faced Eye Shadow Insurance Anti-Crease Primer, €20

Top eye shadows, primers and exfoliants tested

Eye Shadow Insurance has a slightly tacky texture that probably improves the adherence of eye makeup but makes you conscious of the product on your skin. 

The ingredients shouldn’t cause irritation and lids don’t feel uncomfortable, exactly, but you are frequently aware you’re wearing this primer. The cream is otherwise very useful, working well to keep shadow from fading or creasing. 

****

Clarins Light Eye Perfecting Base, €25

Top eye shadows, primers and exfoliants tested

Soothing extracts are important in any product used on and around your delicate lids, and it is great to see so many on the ingredients list for this liquid primer. 

The formula is hydrating without being greasy or promoting smudges. In fact, it keeps eye makeup in place perfectly for hours. 

Blending shadow on top is very easy. The finish is luminous matte and doesn’t crease. This base also smoothes skin under the eyes.

*****

Yves Saint Laurent Couture Eye Primer, €28

Top eye shadows, primers and exfoliants tested

This waterproof eye primer is truly long-wearing. The brand promise 16-hours of priming, and if you really need perfect eye makeup for that long you won’t be disappointed. 

Sensitive types may experience some feeling of tightness and discomfort as the day progresses. 

The formula is very lightweight and makes for smooth, even application of powder and cream shadows. 

It is available in fair and medium flesh-tones that can be worn alone as nude eye makeup or to intensify the colours of products applied on top.

****

NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base, €26

Top eye shadows, primers and exfoliants tested

NARS’ formula suits all skin-types including sensitive and especially oily, as the talc-based formula keeps slick lids matte without stickiness. 

The ingredients list includes skin-soothing extracts. The serum-like texture feels very comfortable on and around the eyes. 

The applicator is great an giving a smooth application across awkward corners. The primer is clear with a white-ish tint that’s easily hidden by eye colour, sets to a matte finish and maintains a carefully-blended makeup look perfectly.

BEST BUY 

*****

DHC Renewing AHA Cream, €41.95 @feelunique.com

Top eye shadows, primers and exfoliants tested

Glycolic and lactic acids are the most common AHAs used in skincare and DHC has gone with the latter here, enhancing an effective concentration (at least 4%) with lots of olive oil and water-binding ingredients so you awake with softer, hydrated skin. The formula is alcohol and fragrance-free.

*****

theBalm Apple AHA Daily Face Moisturiser, €28.20 @feelunique.com

Top eye shadows, primers and exfoliants tested

theBalm’s AHA moisturiser is a bargain in this product category, combining an effective amount of exfoliant with antioxidant cream. Here again, lactic acid is charged with sweeping away dead cells and encouraging healthy new skin. 

The Californian brand has also chosen to add olive oil and water-binding ingredients. The brand recommends using this twice weekly but tolerance levels vary. 

You may feel your skin benefits from more frequent use but should certainly exfoliate less if you feel discomfort.

BEST BUY

 *****

Algenist Genius Ultimate Anti-Ageing Bi-Phase Peel, €70, available at SpaceNK, Grafton Street, and Harvey Nichols Dublin.

Top eye shadows, primers and exfoliants tested

This is a wash-off treatment formulated to combine the exfoliating powers of an at-home peel with the luxurious feel of antioxidant oils. 

The formula is perfumed, which would bother me if it were a leave-on product but because this spends far less time on the skin and as I wouldn’t recommend AHA exfoliants for very sensitive skin anyway, it isn’t a star-stealer.

*****

Philosophy Hope in a Jar Night, €47

Top eye shadows, primers and exfoliants tested

This product’s cute name is backed up by a good AHA moisturiser, so customers’ hopes for softer, brighter skin won’t be dashed. It contains fragrance. 

Exfoliation leaves even normal skin slightly more vulnerable to irritation, at least initially, so perfume is not an ideal addition to a leave-on AHA product. 

Philosophy has done an otherwise exemplary job, enhancing an effective amount of glycolic acid with emollients for a luxurious overnight treatment.

****


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