Happy December y’all! The magical season of Christmas is upon us, so what better time to talk about a Holiday exclusive. Today I have the Ulta Artistry Eye Shadow Kit to show you. Though it is hard to tell on the website, this is a limited edition set that Ulta put out for the Holidays. The Artistry Eye Shadow Kit retails for $20 and contains three small palettes with 5 shades each. I had to get this eyeshadow set. The palettes are pretty, and moreover this is an obvious attempt at duping a high end product so I had to try them. The Artistry Eye Shadow Kit is Ulta’s attempt to dupe the Hourglass Modernist Eyeshadow Palettes.
The seven Hourglass Modernist Eyeshadow Palettes launched in January 2015 and I was very tempted to get them until I saw the $58 price tag. Even I couldn’t justify $58 for five shadows, but I thought that they were gorgeous. When reviews started rolling in, the Modernist palettes weren’t quite the smash Hourglass intended. The shadows didn’t perform as well as they should have for the hefty price, and they left a lot of customers disappointed. Still, their beauty won a lot of people over despite the flaws in formulation. Enter Ulta’s Artistry Eye Shadow Kit.
Here is what Ulta has to say about this set: “Ulta Artistry Eye Shadow Kit includes 3 eye shadow palettes. Each palette combines a range of matte and shimmer textures for all occasions. Beautiful wave pressing pattern makes this set an extra special gift or luxurious treat for yourself.” The palettes are very small. If I lay all three down next to each other (top to bottom) they are the size of my iPhone 6 Plus. I don’t own any of the Hourglass palettes, so I can’t truly compare the two brands, but I would say that Ulta’s version might be a dupe in that it is also disappointing. The three palettes are pretty hit and miss. Each palette contains a mix of mattes, satins, and shimmers. The matte shades straight up suck. All of them are truly terrible. The shimmer shades are all pretty decent, and the satin finish shades vary in quality. The palettes themselves also vary in quality. The blue palette is the worst, which funnily enough I believe is also true for the Hourglass line. I like the green palette and, while the shades aren’t the most unique, I think most of the shadows perform well. The plum palette is a mixed bag, but I can get a good look out of it if I am willing to work for it. Let’s take each palette individually from worst to best.
There are two matte shades in the blue palette, which is unfortunate because they aren’t very good. The five shades from left to right are as follows:
- Matte cream shade- This shadow came with a hard layer that is sometimes found on cheap matte shadows. Even after scraping down through the layer of film (or whatever), it had no pigmentation and I had to layer the hell out of this to get it to show up on my skin for the photo. It is completely useless.
- Gold shimmer/glitter shade- This is a very pretty gold, but it is more of a glitter than a shimmer and can apply a bit patchy.
- Sheer dark brown matte- This shade confuses me. It looks like it is a dark slate in the pan, but it swatches like an extremely sheer brown with no pigmentation. It’s patchy and difficult, not worth the effort.
- Blue metallic shimmer- This stormy blue shade is actually not bad at all. It’s a lovely smoky tone, but you have to love shimmer. It is probably the best shade in this palette, though that’s not saying a lot.
- Icy Taupe shimmer- This cool-toned icy taupe is another good shade and more wearable than the blue.
Two good shades out of five is pretty terrible. This blue palette is garbage. Luckily the other two palettes do better.
The plum-toned palette is an improvement over the blue palette for sure, but there are still some dud shadows here as well. The five shades are:
- Icy lilac shimmer- This is the only palette that doesn’t have a matte highlight shade and it is much better for it. This icy lilac shade is subtle, but pretty.
- Off-matte mauve toned plum- Again, a sub-par matte shade, or rather off-matte finish. This mauve toned plum is a lovely color, and it can be built up to a certain extent like it is here in the swatch, but the lack of pigmentation makes it a frustrating shade.
- Sugar plum shimmer shade- It is hard to describe the color of this shade. It’s like a mauve toned plum and a rose gold had a love child. It is beautiful, and a winner.
- Royal purple shimmer- A true purple shadow is actually a lot harder to produce than one would think, so I am astonished that this set got it right. It is lovely.
- Sheer mauve satin finish- Ulta, you are killing me with these sheer shades. What is that about? This satin mauve could have been great but, again, I find the lack of pigmentation frustrating. It just ends up looking like my eye is bruised.
There are two fantastic shades in this palette, one good shade, and two disappointments. I do find that I can work with this palette much better than the blue one, even with the duds. If I didn’t have any other shadows in these shades, I may consider keeping this one. Ultimately, though, I have these shades in better formulas. I don’t think it’s trash like the blue palette, but I am probably not keeping it.
The final palette in this set is actually pretty good. There is one dud, but the remaining four shades are pigmented and smooth. Here are the five shades:
- Matte cream shade- I think this is the exact same shade that is in the blue palette, and it is just as useless. This one also had that hard layer or “film” on top and scraping down through it still wasn’t enough to help this crappy shadow.
- Khaki satin-shimmer- I really like this shade on the lid. It has a subtle shimmer and is a unique and rather unexpected color.
- Brown shimmer- This is a simple brown shimmer shade, but it is done well. There are subtle bronzy undertones.
- Metallic olive- I love this shade. It is a beautiful olive green with emerald undertones and golden micro-shimmer. Great pigmentation, and it applies well. Winner-winner chicken dinner.
- Soft black shimmer- This is a simple soft black shade with subtle shimmer. You can tell in the pan that it is not meant to be pure black, so I am okay with the charcoal tones. It’s a good shade.
With the exception of the matte cream shade, I am a fan of this last palette. I am a sucker for these earthy tones, so I am probably keeping this palette despite my hordes of green and brown shadows. I have created a couple different looks with this palette, and I liked them quite a bit. It definitely works and is the best of the set by a large margin.
I am sure that it will be no surprise that I do not recommend the Ulta Artistry Eye Shadow Kit. I am not sure why it is so highly rated on the website. I got it on sale for almost half the price, and I still don’t think it was worth it. It looks like a great gift idea and can be broken up into three really pretty stocking stuffers, but unless you are buying for a very young girl who doesn’t need a lot of pigmentation and won’t know any better, skip them. There are so many other options available for even less money that would be better than this. I had high hopes, but the Ulta Artistry Eye Shadow Kit is too much of a mixed bag for me to approve.