August 13, 2014

Makeup Revolution - Essential Mattes and Shimmers Palettes, Baked Blusher

(Press samples.)

In case you've missed the social media blitz, Makeup Revolution is a relatively new drugstore brand out of the UK, setting up shop in Superdrug locations (and online) this past March, and combining very attractive pricing with an on-trend and rapidly expanding range.

They are very known in the youtube world for making spot-on dupes (colour-wise, anyway) of the three Naked palettes from UD (their versions are named Iconic). I only have Naked 3, so I wouldn't be able to compare them for you either way, but I did receive two of the other palettes in their Redemption 12 Shade Palettes range: the Essential Mattes and Essential Shimmers. I was also sent two of their Baked Blushers to try out.

Makeup Revolution - Essential Mattes and Shimmers Palettes,

In terms of packaging, it's exactly what I expected for a brand at this price point: simple, inexpensive but sturdy plastic, and unfussy font. The eyeshadows in the palettes are arranged in narrow strips, but not so narrow that you can't fit a crease brush comfortably. The long sponge tipped applicator is of negligeable value, but the space for it is perfect for stashing an eyeliner or a smaller, good quality eye brush. The variety of shades and non-flimsy packaging makes these nice for travel, but a mirror on the inside would have been a nice feature for that purpose. The blushers also lack a mirror, the clear flip top lid showing off the admittedly gorgeous swirls of colour.

Makeup Revolution - Essential Mattes and Shimmers Palettes,
Essential Shimmers, Essential Mattes
I was really, really hopeful about the Essential palettes, and I have to say that, for the most part, I was pleased with them - especially considering the price point. I don't think they are the be all and end all that some breathless posts on Twitter have claimed, but they are indeed good, and certainly better than a lot of palettes put out by "big-name" mass market brands. (For comparison, I'd much rather use these than the Maybelline the Nudes.)

In terms of straight on pigmentation, I put these at a solid medium-to-great. They don't have quite the same level of intensity as, say, the Urban Decay eyeshadows do, but I think that has more to do which how they adhere than strictly speaking with how they cover the skin. (More on that further down.)

The only ones that gave me significant trouble in terms of going on sheer or patchy were the black in the Mattes palette, and the glittery plum brown in the Shimmers palette (third from the right, felt a little gritty too). The pale mattes also could have a bit more punch, but for using on the brow bone or as a base, they're fine.

The texture of these is lovely to the touch - the mattes feel smooth and silky, the shimmers quite creamy. Honestly, I wasn't expecting them to feel so nice!

I think were they do fall a little short is in how they adhere, both to the brush, the "themselves" and to the eyelid. (It's also where I personally see the difference between a product with a more stripped down, albeit a very nice-feeling formula, and something comparable from a higher-end brand.) The Mattes, for example, kick up a ton of powder when a brush is dipped into them, so I had to be careful to really tap them off. As beautifully as they swatch, they can over blend when they're applied to skin or to a dry-finish primer (like the Too Faced Shadow Insurance). The Shimmers have the opposite issue - I found I had to rub my brush in there to get the right level of product, and when applied to bare lids, the intensity was muted. (Compared to a UD or Lorac shimmer, which you have to be careful to barely tap with a brush or you'll wind up with way more than you need.)

That said, the solution is super simple: a tackier base. A paint pot is fine, but I actually got the best results using my regular primer and then applying a thin layer of liquid concealer, and then the eyeshadows over that. The pigmentation showed up true to swatch, there was no fallout or over blending, and the finished look was beautiful, and lasted 8 hours without a problem.

And for palettes that come out to 7.40$ CAD? I really don't mind changing up my usual eye base.

I think in terms of overall quality, they're very comparable to my Sleek palettes, though a different kind of texture altogether.

Makeup Revolution - Essential Mattes and Shimmers Palettes,
Essential Mattes
Makeup Revolution - Essential Mattes and Shimmers Palettes,
Essential Mattes, first 6 shades on the left
Makeup Revolution - Essential Mattes and Shimmers Palettes,
Essential Mattes, last 6 shades on the right
Makeup Revolution - Essential Mattes and Shimmers Palettes,
Essential Shimmers
Makeup Revolution - Essential Mattes and Shimmers Palettes,
Essential Shimmers, first 6 shades on the left
Makeup Revolution - Essential Mattes and Shimmers Palettes,
Essential Shimmers, last 6 shades on the right

The Baked Blushers aren't quite what I expected either. I imagined them to function more like traditional blushes, but they actually go on more sheer and shimmery. If you are fair, you might be able to get away with wearing them softly as a glowy blush. On my skin tone, I found that getting the colour payoff I wanted translated to a bit more shimmer than I generally wear during the day. Bang Bang You're Dead is a vivid cool medium pink in the pan, and goes on paler. Hard Day is a cool tan with incredible mauve iridescence in the pan, and swatches, strangely, as peach.

BUT. I do like them as a layering, highlighting blush, something to add to a more muted, matte blush. For example, I just recently found that the bronzed-mauve shimmer of Hard Day looks AMAZING layered over Tarte Exposed blush. It's the perfect non-tanned bronzed look. :P

The texture is on par with most other baked/mineralized products, meaning they have a firm, somewhat dry, smooth feel, and kick up a ton of fine powder.

And again, the price is highly reasonable, if you're on the lookout for this sort of product, as they retail for 4.63$ CAD. (And if you prefer regular blushes, theirs are 1.85$ CAD.)

makeup revolution baked blusher Bang Bang You're Dead Hard Day
Baked Blusher - Bang Bang You're Dead and Hard Day
makeup revolution baked blusher Bang Bang You're Dead Hard Day
Baked Blusher - Bang Bang You're Dead and Hard Day, heavily swatched and buffed out.
Here is a full(ish) face done with a combination of shades from the Essential Mattes and Shimmers. I used the dirty gold shimmer all over the lid, the pale gold cream shimmer in the inner corner, a combination of the matte beige and light brown shimmer through the crease, and the two darker matte brown shades in the outer corner, layered and buffed out with a fluffy crease brush.

I also used a combination of both blushes on my cheeks, with a bit of the MUFE powder foundation overtop to mute the shimmer.

Makeup Revolution - Essential Mattes and Shimmers Palettes, Baked Blusher

So my feelings overall?

If you're not inclined to shop mass retail for your makeup, you probably won't be swayed here. This is a well put together budget brand, with a big catalogue and great performance for the price point, but I don't think it's really comparable to high-end, be it in terms of packaging or feel. However, if you're concerned about price, or just like/prefer to shop drugstore, then Makeup Revolution is a very solid contender.

I'm actually plotting my order for a few more things as I type this - I want to try their regular blushers, as well as their Chocolate Bar dupes. The shipping to Canada is a little steep, about 14$ regardless of parcel size. I would suggest following them on social media in case they run a shipping promo, but be warned - you'll be seeing A LOT of retweets of effusive reviews and the like. (Gotta respect a brand that hits the ground running!)

Availability: At Superdrug in the UK, on otherwise.

(These items were sent to me by the brand/PR to be considered for review. All opinions are my own, this post is not sponsored or compensated.)


  1. Hmmm ... you know what I've always wondered? Why do brands even bother including those sponge-tip applicators in their single eyeshadows and palettes? I mean, they're essentially useless and make an absolute mess of eyeshadow application. Just a though, you know?

    After reading your review, I truly wasn't expecting much when I came across your end look picture, but I think the shadows and blush turned out looking lovely on your skin! That's either a testament to the products themselves or your makeup-applying abilities (I'm certain it's the latter) xx

    1. Yeah, I don't get it either. I'd almost prefer to apply with my fingers than a sponge-tip, though they're surprisingly not terrible in a pinch. (I made do with the applicator in the WnW palettes in my 20$ challenge video.)

      Lol! I think I may have emphasized some of the issues, but that's because every review I read made them seem like they were outright a dupe for UD. And they're not, but that's not to say that they're not pigmented or blendable or otherwise great - they just really need the right base to get the most out of them, and once you got that, then you can definitely get a fantastic look.

  2. For products that don't really stick to your face, I think you did a great job with these, Maggie! I will personally be passing on these, but for a beginner, yeah, I can respect something like this. Using a stickier base isn't a big deal if it means you can get a really wide variety of shadows to learn with at an affordable price, you know?

    1. Thanks, Rae!

      Yeah, I really don't mind switching up my base to get greater intensity or improved blending, especially with a 7$ palette, you know? I think they're a terrific option for a beginner, and hell, even as a more seasoned makeup user, I still went ahead and ordered a few more palettes when they had their free shipping special this weekend. :P

  3. Anonymous12.12.14

    Do you think the Essential Shimmer has any similarities with MUA's Heaven and Earth?


Hi! Thank you for your comment, I love to hear back from you guys. =) I try to respond back to every comment within a few days.

Please don't use this comment form for self-promotion, though. It's bad blogger etiquette. And we don't wish to upset Emily Post. ;)