About a month ago, one of my favourite skincare brands launched their own makeup line. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the NIP + FAB Sculpted Eyeshadow Palette. I ordered it the day after the launch so I’ve been testing it for three weeks. I’m finally ready to make my mind up about it.
The Sculpted Eyeshadow Palette seems like major value for money. You get 12, generous pans for just £10.95. I was initially concerned about the price because the size of the pans, the soft, buttery shadows and the trendy shade range, give the impression that it should be more around the £20 price mark.
I put all my doubts aside and decided to test the palette thoroughly, keeping an open mind as I went.
Shade Range of the Sculpted Eyeshadow Palette
There are two shimmer shades (Cleopatra & Ignite), two demi-mattes with a bit of shimmer (Duchess & In Vogue) and the remaining eight are mattes.
Monroe and Suede make for a great base to apply all over the lid and to brighten up the inner corners. There’s a gorgeous warm caramel transition shade (Camel) and a trendy burgundy (Duchess). Let’s be real, red eyeshadow shades are having a moment. The two shimmer shades are neutral, allowing them to be extremely versatile.
My first issue comes in with the browns. Eight out of the twelve shades, are browns. This is not a bad thing. I love brown eyeshadow, and I’m sure many people will agree that a neutral brown is their most reached for shade, but, of these 8 brown shades, Mink and Biscuit, and then Heat and In Vogue, are so similar, that you can barely tell them apart. (Well, at least I can’t tell them apart.)
Say you want to forgo using Camel then you have no other options for a transition shade. Using even the lightest brown (Mink) in the palette creates too much contrast between the only two lighter shades, muddying them up.
If you want to create an all brown smoky eye look, gradually making your way through Biscuit, Chocolate and In Vogue, the colours are so close together that once blended, it looks like one, single shade that you swiped over your whole lid. I know that the point of a great smoky eye is to blend the different shades into submission so that you can’t tell where one ends and another begins, but you DO still want to see the gradient, with the inner corner being lighter than the outer corner.
Pigmentation of the Sculpted Eyeshadow Palette
When I first got the palette, I did what everyone does. I stuck four fingers into four different shades and swatched them on my arm. A lot of “Oh, wow, that’s so pigmented” and “Ooooh they are so soft and buttery” comments flowed out my mouth in admiration. I was genuinely impressed. Truly. I thought I had hit the jackpot… but then, I decided to use a brush and see how well they blend and this is when the real problems started.
The shadows all blend beautifully. In fact, they bend so well, that they disappear completely.
They have no staying power, whatsoever.
This is the first eyeshadow palette that I own that is completely useless on its own.
You HAVE to use these shadows on top of an eyeshadow primer and preferably with a wet brush (using a primer or setting spray) to make them show up.
Swatches of the Sculpted Eyeshadow Palette
To demonstrate just how much the shades disappear upon blending, I swatched two shades, with an eyeshadow primer, and without a primer underneath. For each swatch, I swirled the brush around the pan twice, and swiped up and down twice on my arm. The darker swatch (to the left) is applied over a primer.
To me, the difference is insane. I understand that eyeshadow primers exist to make eyeshadow “better” – more pigmented and long lasting, but I’ve never, ever, had a palette where using a primer, is an absolute necessity.
Maybe this is just be a problem that is unique to me. I often don’t wear a full face of foundation. I just dot on a bit of concealer here and there, where it is needed most, swipe on some eyeshadow (with nothing underneath), add mascara and a lippie and call it a day. I couldn’t be bothered about applying anything to my eyelids beforehand unless I was going out that evening and needed the extra staying power.
Using the shadows wet
Now, NIP + FAB’s website doesn’t mention anything about using the shadows wet but on Superdrug’s website it says “add our Primer Water and mix for a more intensified look”.
I don’t have NIP + FAB’s Primer Water, so I experimented with ordinary tap water, sprayed onto a brush, and my NYX Dewy Finish setting spray. On both occasions, it caused the shadows in the pan to seal. I did not use a lot of liquid, but since you have to dip into the pan about six times to build up the colour, I think it made the shadow in the pan too wet, causing the problem.
Morning VS Evening Check In
On one eyelid, I used primer (Wet n Wild Photo Focus Eyeshadow Primer) and none on the other.
I applied Suede all over my lid and brow bone.
Camel all over my lid up to my crease as a transition colour.
Chocolate in my crease and In Vogue on the outer corner.
I tried to place Ignite (a shimmer) on the middle of my lid WITHOUT wetting the shadow beforehand (because to me, it’s just a shimmer shade, not a glitter, so it doesn’t need anything to make it stick) but as you can see, it just rubbed off the existing eyeshadow on both my eyelids.
On the side with no primer, it took eight separate applications to build up the colour. (Eight layers of each colour. I gave up with the shimmer shade because it was just undoing all my hard work.)
On the primed side, it took four applications of each colour. That’s still too many layers in my opinion.
The side with no primer didn’t stand a chance and faded away quite drastically.
The primer held up beautifully. (This was expected though because I used my trusty Wet n Wild Photo Focus Eyeshadow Primer which is like eyeshadow cement.)
There’s a reason, at least in my opinion, that this palette is the price that it is.
I have many other eyeshadow palettes (drugstore and high end) and none of them require me to use a primer beforehand. A primer definitely helps, but I can still use the palettes without one, with no issues. I can’t say the same for this NIP + FAB palette – it just requires too much work to get a decent amount of pigmentation which is so frustrating because the pigmentation is there, but the shadows blend away into thin air.
On the one hand, I think they can be forgiven because this is their very first eyeshadow palette, ever.
On the other hand, I can’t let them off the hook because their sister company, Rodial, has been in the makeup game for a while now, so I feel like they could have taken a few notes.
I wanted to like this palette so much. I adore the colours. That delicious, warm brown and that pretty burgundy, have me smitten, but I can’t get over the lack of pigmentation once you start blending. It’s honestly like a magic trick. Now you see it, now you don’t.
Aaaand because I’ve (objectively) moaned so much already… I don’t understand why they released these particular colours in spring? They’re very autumnal, don’t you think?