October 05, 2014

Shu Uemura Brave Beauty - Green and Orange Eye Palettes

(Press samples. Affiliate links.)

I don't know if Shu Uemura has made better palettes than the Brave Beauty ones. I think sometimes the concepts behind the Shu collection don't always translate to an immediately accessible product...and that's cool. That's sort of to be expected with a brand that is grounded in both makeup artistry and the art world in general. I like that there's a brand on the makeup field that's in it for the risks and the high concept and the artistic vision. (Much in the same way that I appreciate the existence of Prince.)

And when all that comes together with great performance and top-notch execution? Perfection.

Shu Uemura Brave Beauty - Green and Orange Eye Palettes

The packaging is the classic hard plastic casing with an abstract print that somehow looks vaguely botanical. I personally love the packaging, because it is sleek, simple, and practical. It's also completely convertible, as the pans can actually be removed by pulling on the piece on the left side of the palette. Each pan then slides out and can be added to a z-palette or what have you. (You can also theoretically mix and match your shades in these palettes if you so choose.)

Exteriors aside, it's all about those colours.

Shu Uemura Brave Beauty - Green and Orange Eye Palettes

It all starts with the incredible evergreen matte shade in the Green Eye Palette.

Shu Uemura Brave Beauty - Green and Orange Eye Palettes

I have a vast and varied collection, but I can honestly say that I don't own anything that comes close to the intense and utterly gorgeous depths of that green. I'm a bit of a dramatic gasper by nature, but when I opened this palette I think I knocked myself back by a pace or two. 

The texture is firm and almost a touch dry feeling, but it puts out the pigment like nobody's business. Due to the opacity it can be a bit tricky to work with in terms of blending out, but no more so than the mattes in the Lorac Pro 2, for example. 

The olive shimmer right next to it is actually my second favourite, and it has the kind of rich, smooth texture that immediately telegraphs both high-quality formulation and artist-friendly functionality. Very lovely to work with, and great payoff as well. The third colour is a interesting variation on the classic shimmery beige, with that slight khaki undertone. Smooth and soft, slightly sheerer but easily built up. The very pale, slightly minty frost is also dense, with a high-gleam intensity. The chartreuse and forest green shades have a more subdued shimmer, and a similarly smooth, easy texture with great pigmentation.

Shu Uemura Brave Beauty - Green and Orange Eye Palettes

The Orange Eye Palette is no less awesome, and includes an incredibly vivid tangerine orange. I like that they went with complimentary shades of coral and plum rather than more orange tones (as they did with the Green palette), because it can take some serious stones to rock a blazing orange eye. This palette actually winds up being the more versatile one, strangely enough.

Shu Uemura Brave Beauty - Green and Orange Eye Palettes

The orange has that same matte finish as the evergreen, and can build up to equally amazing pigmentation - but best represented over a primer. Otherwise it can look dusty.

The mahogany shimmer is gorgeous, and also follows along with the formula of the olive in the Green palette - smooth, dense, rich, easy to blend. The beige shimmer and champagne frost are similarly textured, though the beige is more sheer and can apply a bit flaky. The light coral pink satin is very smooth, though also a bit sheerer. The plum shimmer at the end reiterates the texture and pigmentation of the mahogany, and actually leans almost metallic. It's definitely my favourite from the palette.

Shu Uemura Brave Beauty - Green and Orange Eye Palettes

Compared to the wondrousness that is the palettes, the Lasting Gel Pencil Eye Liners do, unfortunately, feel like a bit of an afterthought. The formula is waterproof and smudge proof (though not quite the 12 hours claimed, at least not on me), but I find the pencil doesn't apply all that smoothly or opaquely. It requires several passes and still looks a little feeble, yet the formula is firm enough to make that a little uncomfortable, especially on the waterline. If you're a completist and want to have the eyeliners to go with the palettes, then by all means - but I think if you're in the market for a long-wearing eye pencil there are more impressive options out there.

Shu Uemura Brave Beauty
Top to bottom: Lasting Gel Pencil Eye Liner M Green and M Violet
Top to bottom: Lasting Gel Pencil Eye Liner M Green and M Violet
Availability: Currently on the shuuemura.ca site, as well as at Shu counters. The palettes are 90$ CAD, and the eye pencils are 36$ CAD.

In all honestly, my jaw did drop a little when I saw the price for the palettes. The individual eyeshadow pans available on the site are 19$, so the palette is 24$ less than buying six pans would be (plus the cost of the empty case). Still that's not an insignificant amount of money, certainly placing it in the realm of extra-fancy for a lot of people, me included. If I splurge, I tend to go for a top-notch formula in conjunction with the kind of packaging that could knock someone's teeth out. As lovely and practical as the Shu casing is, it doesn't fall into that latter category, so I'm left wondering if I would spend that much money on the eyeshadows alone. If I consider the great balance of textures and colours in each palette (especially those incredible mattes), and weigh it against the cost of each pan (12-15$ each, depending whether you take the cost of the case into account), then I definitely think the value is worth the price, despite the initial sticker shock. (Though I do recommend signing up for the newsletter, as there are the occasional promo codes that can lessen the sting.)

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


  1. These palettes are really pretty and the colours look great, but I don't think I love them enough to drop that much money in one go on a palette like this.

    1. Oh yeah, I think that would be my feeling too, I hadn't had the opportunity to try them for free. I do think the quality is worth the price (especially if you were to compare a pan of equivalent size from, say, MAC), but it IS a lot of money to drop on a palette. Especially one that doesn't have some of that fancy pants bling going on.


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