I am very excited to show you a couple of palettes from MUA that I have been playing with for the last month or so. MUA, or MakeUp Academy, is a UK brand that hit stores here in the US earlier this year. It is a drugstore brand, and I believe that it is exclusively at CVS in the States. I have seen some MUA products over the years on Youtube, but this is my first experience with the brand. I was originally only going to get the MUA Professional Metallic Eyeshadow Palette, but CVS had a Buy One, Get One Free sale, so I picked up the MUA Professional Smokey Eyeshadow Palette as well. There is also a Neutral or Nudes palette in this collection, but I passed on it. Here is what CVS says about these palettes: “This set of artist-inspired shadows is everything you need to play up your eyes. Enhance your eyelids with base shades, intensify with crease shades, and add a luminous touch with highlighting shades. Palette holds 10 coordinating shades that apply with ease for fallout-free intensity. Build, blend and play for hours in this spectrum of supreme pigmentation. Featuring pearl and metallic finishes to dress eyes up or down. Every enviable look stays put for hours on end, day or night.”
I’ll start with packaging. The MUA Professional Eyeshadow Palettes are a hard plastic palette with a clear window to the shadows. They have a snap closure. These palettes are no frills, but the packaging is functional and the shadows are nice. There is a thin strip mirror in the lid, which I don’t find useful. They also contain a shadow brush that is cheap, but will do in a pinch. They are 10-pan palettes, and the wells are an inch wide, so there is plenty of room for large fluffy shadow brushes. The palettes are $14 at CVS, but you can often find a sale. As I mentioned above, I bought my palettes on a BOGO Free deal, so they came to only $7.50 each for me. For the most part, the shadows are pigmented and wear a long time, even without primer. I think that they are a good buy.
I saw a review of the MUA Professional Metallic Eyeshadow Palette and had to know more. I loved the look of the colorful metallic shades in this palette, so I went on down to CVS to get one for myself. I have to say that I really like it. Obviously with “metallic” in the name, most of the shadows have a metallic or shimmer finish. Eight out of the ten shadows are fantastic. They are intensely pigmented and just gorgeous. They wear really well without fading, and they did not flake or crease on me. Two shadows were off for me. I am not sure if they were designed to be sheer, or if they just have terrible pigmentation. I’ll go through each shade and you can see what I mean.
- Metallic Taupe: This shade is gorgeous on the lid. It is a cool-toned taupe that leans a little bit more brown than gray.
- Metallic Rusty Copper: This shade is super intense on the lids and for a copper, does not pull too red.
- Metallic Olive Green: This is definitely an olive green shade, but it still manages to look very bright on the eyes and has great pigmentation and intensity. I love this shade. The formula is looser or grittier in the pan, so you will kick up a lot of product if you aren’t careful.
- Iridescent Purple: This is a sheer shade and not at all what I expected based on the other shades in this palette. It is a light purple color with a blue flash and can be built up for a little more intensity. It is still a beautiful shade and looks pretty on the eyes when used with a good base.
- Blackened Navy Glitter: I don’t know what to say about this shade. While I think the purple shade may have been intentionally sheer, this one just seems like a dud to me. You can build this shade up a little, but not enough to hold up to the glitter particles. I think it ends up looking patchy and I don’t think this shade is worth the effort.
- White Pearl: This pearly white shade is pretty basic, but still good to have. This is the only shade that would work as a browbone highlight. I personally prefer less shimmer on my browbone, but it is good for highlighting the inner corner.
- Metallic Brown: This metallic brown has just a hint of bronze, and is quite lovely.
- Metallic Cobalt Blue: I like to call this shade Superman blue. It is vibrant and bold on the lids.
- Metallic Purple: Now this is what I’m talking about when it comes to purple! This shade is gorgeous and intense. It has the same loose formula as the metallic olive, so be careful when applying this one to avoid fallout, but it is totally worth it. This blue-based purple will knock your socks off.
- Deep Metallic Plum: This may be the most intensely pigmented shade in the whole palette. A little of this brown-toned plum shade goes a long way. It is absolutely gorgeous.
Overall, I really like the metallic palette. There are a couple shades that aren’t great, but the other shades are wonderful. As long as you like metallic simmer shades, and can handle seriously pigmented dark shadows, then I think you will like this palette. Now on to the Smokey palette.
I honestly didn’t expect to like the MUA Professional Smokey Eyeshadow Palette. I am not a fan of smokey palettes in general, and I only got it because it was free. Boy was I wrong. I have found myself using the smokey palette way more than expected. What’s great about these shades is that, despite having a lot of pigmentation, they can also be sheered out. They blend out smoothly and evenly, even with a very light application. I’ve been using the Smokey palette for daytime looks and getting great results. The three lighter shades on the bottom row are beautiful. Unlike the Metallic palette, there are no duds. All 10 shades are “what you see is what you get” shadows.
- Satin Cream: Though it is hard to see on my skin, this satin cream shade is a great browbone highlight and something that was missing from the Metallic palette.
- Deep Brown Shimmer: This chocolate brown shadow is very dark and has some micro shimmer in the finish.
- Deep Plum Shimmer: This is a very similar shade to the plum in the Metallic palette, but it is less metallic and more of a shimmer shade. It is equally intense and a little goes a long way.
- Satin-Matte Black: This true black has an off-matte finish and makes a great liner shade.
- Metallic Cobalt Blue: This is almost the exact shade that is is the Metallic palette. This one may have a touch of purple in its undertones, but they are indistinguishable on the eyes.
- Satin Tan: This light tan shade has a satin finish and is a gorgeous lid color.
- Shimmery Taupe: This is a gray-leaning taupe shade with a shimmer finish. It pairs equally well with grays and blacks as it does with browns.
- Icy Pink Simmer: This icy pink doesn’t look like anything in the pan, but it is lovely on the lids.
- Soft Black Glitter: I think this is what MUA was going for with that dud of a shadow in the Metallic palette. It is a soft black or maybe a blackened navy, but this time there is some pigmentation, and it can hold up to the micro glitter in the finish without being overpowered by it.
- Satin Purple Shimmer: This is a similar blue-based purple to the one in the Metallic palette, but it does not have the same loose texture. Without the intense metallic finish, the shadow comes off as a little darker and less in-your-face. I think the satin shimmer finish makes this one a little bit more wearable than the other.
I am enjoying both of the MUA Professional Eyeshadow Palettes. The Smokey palette is better in quality, but the Metallic palette is good too. It really depends on how much color you are looking for. Are they as good as the LORAC palettes, or the Naked palettes? Of course not. They aren’t trying to be. They are drugstore palettes and I would put them on par with the original Wet N Wild 8-pan palettes. They are pigmented, they blend well, and they last well on my eyes without creasing or fading. Using primer is always recommended, though all of my swatches are without primer. I have heard that the neutral version of these palettes is hit and miss, but I have no direct experience with it. I don’t think I would pay the full $14 for one of these palettes, and definitely not for the Metallic palette. But if you can find them on a sale, I would say to give them a try.