Exhibit A (A for AWESOME): the Smashbox Heat Wave Eyeshadow Palette from this summer's collection.
Summery external plastic packaging and a practical, simple aesthetic for the palette casing itself. A trifle unassuming, right?
And inside? One row of warm, sunny shades in a mix of satin/matte and shimmer finishes, and a row of cooler toned neutrals, mostly shimmers. (And also a dual-ended brush, which is better than the usual palette add-in, but nothing special.)
This palette is so very good. I can't overstate it. The shimmers all have that soft, creamy texture that smooths on like butter. You just kind of want to keep patting the eyeshadow. Like a kitten. Because they are so soft, they kick up some debris, so go in with a gentle hand. Pigmentation is excellent for most, with the grey and the blue in the bottom row having slightly sheerer payoff, though building them up is not difficult.
The two matte/satin shades are equally soft, not chalky at all, with a similar creaminess. They have a very faint sheen, so they don't look flat on the skin. They feel a lot like the Inglot mattes. They applied beautifully and without any powderiness, and no problems adhering to the lid, though there was a bit of fallout during application. They wore well - no creasing and next to no fading - for 8-9 hours without a primer. For me, that's noteworthy.
The shades are really beautiful.
The top row has a light peach in a satin finish, a metallic bronze, a very pigmented light brown that makes for an excellent transition colour, a gilded pink-peach (similar to MAC's Expensive Pink, but warmer) and an antique gold that is so creamy it's kinda ridiculous.
The bottom row boasts a silvered pink champagne that is reminiscent of Stila's kitten, a dove grey and a slate blue shimmer, a lilac shimmer with an undertone of taupe, and a greyed brown that looks more matte in the pan, but actually has a low-level shimmer.
I love that this palette combines both warmer and cooler tones, but that they don't exist in isolation to each other. Combined in a variety of ways, you can have anything from the most simple, neutral eye to something sultry and smokey or colourful and vibrant. If you're looking for a cover-all-the-bases palette, the only shades missing are a pale highlight shade and a black or near black. For summer, though, I like these kind of tones when playing up burnished skin and taking advantage of that hazy evening light.
Availability: Available at Sephora, and certain Pharmaprix/SDM and Murale locations may still have it. Price is 54$ CAD, and 48$ USD.
Pros: Sleek packaging, and great arrangement of shade range. Very good pigmentation across the board, with soft, dense, creamy textures, including the matte-satin shades.
Cons: Soft texture translates into fall-out when picking up with a brush and some during application.
(Purchased this from Pharmaprix with my Optimum points.)