Monday, April 6, 2015

Hourglass Modernist Eyeshadow Palette Haul and Swatches: Atmosphere,Obscura, and Exposure

When I saw the Hourglass Modernist Eyeshadow Palettes on, I knew I had to try them. These 5 color eyeshadow palettes look like solidified silt on a riverbed. (Or ribbons of thick fudge in multi-flavored ice-cream.)

These shadows come in a range of gorgeous neutral tones, and the formula is INCREDIBLY pigmented. Almost to the point where they are a bit tricky to use without making a mess. They don't feel like traditional pressed pigments, and they aren't baked. You barely need to touch them to get lots of pigmentation.

But the problem is also that they can go on patchy or give you tons of fall-out simply because so much of it comes up once touched. If you are using brushes to apply these, be careful to use a very light touch or you will use up the palette in no time. And these don't come cheap at USD$58 (around SGD$66) per compact.

I picked 3 of the 5 available palettes:

  • Atmosphere - matte Neapolitan ice cream colors of vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, dark chocolate and one satin-textured chocolate fudge color
  • Obscura - warm rich brown tones with 1 satin creme brulee shade, 2 metallic bronzes and 2 satin/matte dark cocoa shades
  • Exposure - rosy-plum and wine browns in shimmer and satin textures

I've got the 3 palettes swatched for you here.

As you can see, the colors are beautiful. So are the textures. But you DO need to know how to work with them or you can make a mess. The best thing you can do is to treat these like loose pigments. The shimmery shades can be applied damp (although I suggest picking up the colors on your brush before misting the brush - not applying moisture to the palette directly), and can give you a molten look. But whether you decide to use them dry or wet, I would highly suggest putting on a primer or base first so the pigments have something to grab and cling on to. Otherwise, they can dust and blend right off your skin.

And try to pack on the colors using a firmer, flatter brush just so you don't whip up pigments all over the place. It is quite a waste when you dip a fluffy brush in and see the colors fly everywhere.

Do I recommend these?

If you're a real collector, an Hourglass fan, or you love the look of these palettes, and you don't mind the price or working with loose pigments, then go for it. 

If not, these are very expensive for what they are, and I will say the formula isn't as "sophisticated" as I expected them to be. They are pigmented if you touch them, but they are finicky and trickier to apply than other high-end shadows. Basically they aren't as easy for makeup newbies to use as - say - a Marc Jacobs, Chanel or Dior palette would be. I personally feel if you're paying so much, you should expect products to be MORE foolproof than usual.

I don't regret getting these but I won't repurchase. And if you're on a budget, I wouldn't suggest you get these, even though they're real pretty to look at in the pan. You can get far more bang for your buck with any of the Urban Decay palettes.


  1. Excellent and wonderfully written review!

  2. Thank you for the review. $66 safe in my pocket then!

    1. LOL!!! Yeah it's a bummer. They're nice - not amazing. Maybe I was unrealistic for expecting Ambient Lighting Powder quality from these...

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