I admit, I’ve been putting off swatching Make Up For Ever’s powder eyeshadows. I was discouraged that Sephora’s brick and mortar stores carry only a fraction of the line (just 24 of 113 shades), and the way Sephora suggests that these powders can be shadow or blush kind of blew my mind.
Well I’ve finally accepted that my immediate future may not include a weeklong, nonstop swatching vacation to the MUFE boutique in NYC, so I buckled down to swatch what was in my local store. (I’m really glad I did; more on that in a minute.)
Two things worth mentioning: (1) Sephora.com does carry every single shade of Make Up For Ever powder eyeshadow. Mysteriously, four shades (52, 71, 93, and 99) are listed only among the blushes — though, according to MUFE’s website, these are all eyeshadows (and thus, presumably, eye safe). 93 doesn’t even make sense as a blush… unless you’re the Wicked Witch of the West. (2) The eyeshadow/blush duality of these powders seems to be a Sephora invention. Make Up For Ever’s website does not list these as blushes. They list another product, Sculpting Blush, which Sephora does not carry (Sculpting Blushes are also numbered, but the numbers don’t correlate). But there’s no reason why you shouldn’t use these “eyeshadows” as blush: many of the shades are matte, and those that have some shimmer are subtle — meaning they’ll work well on the cheek.
Now, back to why I’m so glad I finally swatched these. It seems easy for cosmetics companies to make a shadow that’s super pigmented, creamy, and smooth… if it’s frosty. Just speaking anecdotally, it seems harder to make a luscious powder shadow that’s matte. Make Up For Ever’s shadows are delightful. As always, I swatched with a sponge-tipped applicator, on a bare arm (no primer), and layered my swatches.
82 is cool, reflective, shimmery grey-silver. 144 is softer, a slightly purply-grey satin. 4 is matte black. 127 is satin rose-taupe. 139 is cool, dark brown satin/matte. 84 is a very dark, slightly olivey blackened green. It’s shimmery and complex and really lovely in person. 35 is a bright matte beige (ever so slightly pink compared to number 3). 129 is a finely shimmery rosewood. 17 is warm, matte, wood brown. 3 is another matte beige, very slightly yellow compared to 35. I might call it ecru.
I wanted to swatch the browns again without the distracting shades (the new-to-this-photo shades are 126 and 76). Every lover of Stila Kitten: just LOOK at 126. It’s a softly shimmery light peached pink. So sophisticated! 76 is also gorgeous, a matte peach-sand. Love.
And then the arm that everyone expects when I say “Make Up For Ever” — the screaming brights. 2 is a yellow-mustard matte. 5 is day-glo peach matte. 18 is matte orange. 26 is matte, day-glo violet. 75 is matte neon pink. 99 is matte warm red. 9 is matte lavender. 92 is matte royal purple (and the darling of purple eyeshadow lovers everywhere). 81 is a shimmery dark navy/denim blue. 10 is a shimmery dirty yellow. 93 is a matte teal green (that color is so hot right now!). 72 is matte turquoise.
I really do think Make Up For Ever has something for everyone. Yes, they have some crazy colors, but they also have some really gorgeous nudes and neutrals, and the texture of their powders is delightful. Everything you see here is $19. My sales associate also recommended pressing these shadows in, rather than sweeping them on (particularly for the brights).