Burberry Complete Eye Palette in No. 07 Pink Taupe - review and swatches

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Around two weeks ago, I introduced this product into my Project Dent series (see here). 

I did this because I must have owned it for over a year now and I hadn't used it enough to review it, so considering that it's the most expensive eyeshadow palette I own - and also the smallest, if you can call a quad a palette - it was high time I bought it into frequent circulation.


If memory serves me correctly, last year I only bought two blushes and one eyeshadow palette for the whole year, and they were all from Burberry. (Oh, hang on, I did buy the ABH Modern Renaissance palette in the Black Friday sales, but let's forget that for the purposes of this story ; ))

Reason being, I'd heard so much about Burberry's Earthy blush and its Pale Barely eyeshadow, that I figured I would be lost without them. While I didn't buy the Pale Barley single, I did see that the highlighter shade in this palette is a dupe for it and I also loved the rest of the palette, so I thought it would be better value to buy a quad.

I even went into Sephora and swatched the quads that tickled my fancy, and this one won hands down. Plus I swatched all the blushes and settled on two: 06 Tangerine and 07 Earthy. I'd worried that Earthy might be too pale to show up on me, but then I'd seen youtubers with my colouring rave about it and it looked dark enough (just) on my arm.


The result? Earthy is too pale for my colouring (light-medium to medium) unless I layer on heaps, in which case it looks super powdery on the skin because I'm wearing too much of it. This eyeshadow quad is also a huge disappointment because it doesn't perform well on its own: the colours tend to look muddy on the eye and I can't get a good look from it unless I pull in other shadows - and even then two of the shades do nothing for me (more on that below). 

But I do love Tangerine. Do I think it's worth the pricetag? That's a story for another day.

The only saving grace for this sad trio of questionable purchases is that I bought all three products during 20 per cent off sales, so I didn't pay full price for them. 

They were still expensive.


Burberry claims/product details:
  • Introducing Complete Eye Palette, a four-shade eye set with a luminising base to highlight, two buildable colours to add shape and an intense liner to define
  • Allowing you to effortlessly create multiple makeup possibilities, the four silky-smooth, blendable and layerable runway-inspired shades give a lasting, highly pigmented finish
  • Packaged in a travel-friendly pouch, the set includes three brushes
  • RRP $90 AUD for 5.4g, but do wait for sales


There's the quad in indirect sunlight:


In direct sunlight:


And in natural light:


I'll go from top to bottom:
  • Shade 1 is a pale golden brown. It does contain very fine shimmer but in practice it's more of a satin finish on the eye. In the pan the colour reminds me of wheat, but on me the shade offers a barely there sheen and the colour does not show up. It has a beautifully smooth, silky texture and it applies and blends well.
  • Shade 2 is a gorgeous, soft mossy green in the pan and it's one of the reasons why I wanted this palette: it's just a beautiful shade (in theory). It also has very fine shimmers and gives a satin finish, but it doesn't have as much of a sheen as Shade 1. In practice, this has the worst pigmentation of the four shades and I can't get it to look green on me: on my eyes it looks like a flat, drab, dirty grey. It has a gorgeous, soft and silky texture and it applies and blends well.
  • Shade 3 is the best of the bunch. It's a dusty mauve/rose pink and it's the saviour of the whole palette. It has good-enough pigment that it shows up well while still giving the soft, diffused look that I was hoping for from these shadows. It's matte but it's not a flat matte and it has the same beautiful texture as the first two shades.
  • Shade 4 is a medium-dark, matte brown that looks like it has slight, rich plum undertones in the pan, but on the eye there's more grey to it so it's quite cool and it's not a flattering eye colour on me (I have warm yellow undertones). I had some blending issues with this when I first used it, but those have calmed down now that I'm past the top layer of shadow. It has the same divine texture as the others and it's cool enough that it makes a good brow colour for me, although it's a touch too dark.

Ok, swatches. Below I've done finger swatches on the left and brush swatches on the right. The brush swatches show the pigmentation issues on the green and highlight shades in particular - and I layered them a lot.

Direct sunlight:


Natural light (outdoors):


Natural light (indoors):


Verdict

This quad doesn't work for me and for this reason I've given it a disappointing products tag. Am I annoyed? Absolutely. I've gotten a lot better over the years at making sure I buy things that I'll love, but unfortunately this was a mistake - and at $72 AUD (on sale), it was a big one.

Needless to say, I now know that you can't rely on finger swatches alone. I learned that lesson once with the Nars duos I bought years ago, but I've now learned it again. With some things, you need to test them on the eye. Not an easy thing when I'm invariably rushing through Sephora with a pram, but I'll have to make do in future.

So, I've used this palette every day for almost two weeks and this is what I've learned:

The pale golden brown doesn't show up on me no matter what I do. I've used it wet, I've packed it on and I've paired it with a cream shadow underneath to help bring out the colour, and I just can't get a good look from it. The best use I've found for it is as a highlight shade for the face, since it does add a natural glow without emphasising texture, so that at least is one way I'll be able to get through it.

The green is the biggest disappointment in the palette. It looks so gorgeous in the pan and when finger-swatched on my arm, but you'll see from the brush-swatches above that it starts to look like a muddy grey when you try to apply it on the eye with a brush (and it looks even worse on my eyes than it does on my arm). Again, I've tried applying it wet, I've tried packing it on, and I've even tried mixing it with Shade 1 to try and get it to look more green. No luck. Lord knows how I'll get through this shadow: I might try mixing it with a bright gold to see if that helps.

The mauve/dusty rose shade is fantastic and, as mentioned above, it's the saviour of this palette. The pigment is good and it's the kind of versatile shade that goes with plenty of looks. I use it mostly in the crease and I love the diffused wash of colour it gives. What's also good about this shade is that it works well as a blush if you're in a pinch.

The brown shade looks beautiful and rather complex/interesting in the pan, but on the eye it's too grey and I don't think it suits me. Fortunately it does work fine on my brows and I may find in future that it will work well to 'cool down' any eye look that's starting to look too warm. This is the only shade I had issues blending but, as mentioned above, I think that was just a problem with the top layer because it's started performing much better.

What else can I say? You need a primer with these. I've tried them over a cream eyeshadow base, a liquid eyeshadow that I often use as a base, and over a dedicated eye primer. They perform at their best over a dedicated primer so that's how I would recommend using them. I have budget eyeshadows that work better over my cream/liquid bases than these do.

You do get three small applicators with these (not pictured) but I haven't yet used them so I won't comment on those, other than to say that I've heard they're better than most.

For those of us over 30 like myself, these do not look ageing on the eye, nor do they emphasise texture. That is, unless you have to start building them to get them to show up, and then they make my eyelids look like the desert. So I'm stuck between the proverbial rock and hard place when it comes to getting a good colour from the first two shades in particular.

Honestly, the best thing about this quad is the packaging and at least I now have three gorgeous Burberry compacts to display on my shelves. Since Burberry packaging is my favourite to look at, that's something at least. But it's not enough. Of course it's not. My golly.

Otherwise I can't recommend this palette: it just doesn't do what I need it to do. Yes the shadows are beautifully soft and silky and they blend and apply well (I have no complaints about the texture/feel of them at all - they're gorgeous), but if something retails for $90, then it had better be bloody good and the shadows should perform without issue. That hasn't been my experience at all. There's been a steep learning curve with this quad and I need to pull in other shadows to make it work, and even then the green and highlight shades do nothing for me.

I should also note again that I have light/medium to medium skin with yellow undertones, so this quad may work a lot better for someone with paler skin than mine. I wouldn't gamble on that, though: I would absolutely test them on the eye to see whether they'll work.

For anyone interested, this quad is heading straight for Pan that Palette 2018. I did attempt to depot the shadows but they're glued in tightly so my instrument couldn't get them to wiggle in their spots, and I don't want to ruin the gorgeous packaging so I'll keep them as they are.

A disappointment, and an expensive one at that.


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