Makeup palettes are the best and the worst. They always look so beautiful on the shelf- all the shadows staring back at you with their promises and potential. But let’s be real- there are always shadows that go unloved and unused. I have several palettes that contain my most favorite shadows, and those same palettes have shades that I’ve barely touched. Therefore, logic dictates that the best palettes are the ones I can build from scratch.
Enter the z-palette. Perfect way to build a palette full of shadows I know I’ll use. For me, there is one brand that delivers on the two most important makeup factors- quality and value- and that brand is Makeup Geek.
I originally got the z-palette thinking I’d fill it with MAC shadows, or de-pot all the Balm blushes into it. After buying a few shadows from Makeup Geek, I knew the z-palette had a new destiny. These shadows. THEY. ARE. THE. BEST. Seriously. For any of you makeup-obsessed folks out there like me, you know that MAC has needed an eye shadow reformulation for a while now. They aren’t as pigmented, blendable, and easy to use as a shadow at that price point should be. Enter Makeup Geek. These shadows are dreamy. Super pigmented. Easy to blend. Lots of color choices. And at $5.99 per shadow, one of the best value-for-money products on the market.
My collection is mostly neutral. Makeup Geek has lots of color variety in the collection, if that’s your jam, but I tend to stick with the neutral family.
Ok. Let’s get down to it. Here are the shadows (and one blush):
I have 22 shadows and one blush. As you can see, there is still room to add a few, and I will probably remove the blush and fill in with more shadows. I might even challenge myself to add some more color beyond one shockingly blue shadow.
For further breakdown, I swatched them on my NC15 light/slightly cool-toned skin. I broke them down by column, starting with the four highlight shades on the far left: Top shadow is Vanilla Bean. next is Shimma Shimma. Third shadow down is Baby Face and the bottom shadow is Beaches and Cream.
As you can see, Vanilla Bean (far left) is barely visible on my skin. I use it every day over my eye primer to even out my eyelids. Shimma Shimma packs a punch. A little goes a very long way with this shadow, and I use it most often for inner corner highlight. It’s intense, but gorgeous. Third from left is Baby Face, and it’s another cool-toned highlight that I run under by brows. I don’t like to highlight under my brows with shimmer, and this is light enough to pop on my skin. Finally, the shadow on the right is Beaches and Cream. It’s warm and peachy and is a great all over lid color for low-makeup days, and it’s also a my most-used crease shade when I need a dependable transition shade.
The next column is as follows, again from top to bottom in the z-palette and left to right on the swatch: Cinderella, Cupcake, Creme Brulee and Cosmopolitan:
I have a thing for warm, peachy shades I guess. I’ve been wearing Cosmopolitan almost every day since I got it with tightlined lashes, mascara and that’s it. It’s the best summery, no fuss shade.
Third column is Purely Naked, Hipster, Barcelona Beach, and Brown Sugar.
These shadows are a must if you like to do brown smokey eyes. These are always my crease colors and they all pair beautifully with a lighter shade like Beaches and Cream or Creme Brulee as lid and transition shades. I’ve used Barcelona Beach (third from left) as contour before on my cheeks. It’s both warm and cool enough to use without looking too muddy or too ashy.
The fourth column contains Preppy, Latte, Cocoa Bear, and Mocha.
These are the outer corner, crease defining shades. Although Mocha (the far shadow on the right) doesn’t appear to swatch very deep, it’s the deepest brown in the palette, and it is great blended over brown eyeliner for a smudgy smokey effect. Cocoa Bear (second from right) is very red, and pairs well with black winged liner.
Skipping to the far right of the palette, let’s talk foil. Makeup Geek’s foiled shadows are crazy. They are so intense, and so pigmented. These are the shadows to reach for when you want DRAMA. There are lots in the collection, including some crazy vibrant colors, but I own the neutral ones since I don’t tend to do much color work.
You can see from the pan how shimmery they look. Starting at the top, the shade adjacent to the bright blue is Starry Eyed, to the right is Grandstand. Moving down it’s In the Spotlight (the orangey one) followed by Magic Act and Mezmerized.
Wanna be wowed even by a poorly lit swatch?
LOOK HOW PRETTY! As you can see, Starry Eyed (far left) best matches my skin tone, so I wear this patted all over my mobile lid when I want a glossy eyed look. I contain the shimmer with vanilla bean in the crease to help stop the shadow migrating too high up the lid giving a disco-ball appearance. Even seeing these swatched makes me regret not wearing one all day every day. Grandstand is a beautiful bronze. In The Spotlight is peachy perfection. Magic Act is the perfect gold for my skin tone. Not too yellow. Again, applied with a finger on my eyelid, this gives a beautifully glossy effect. Mezmerized (far right) is a purpley brown and it’s drama personified.These shadows are a bit pricier than the other shadows, coming in at $9.99, but still amazing value for money. Also, if like me, you tend to have problems with shadows creasing throughout the day, these will crease. Always. No matter what primer I’ve tried, no matter how much mattifying powder or shadow I apply, it creases. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a very small price to pay for such beautiful application and pigmentation.
Finally, the two outliers- the blue eyeshadow and the blush.
I haven’t yet used the blue eyeshadow- Shark Bait. I’m still contemplating how to create a wearable look with it, but it was too beautiful to not own. The blush is Spellbound, and it’s a warm pink on my skin, and I wear it the most in the spring and fall when I tend to be heavier handed with blush. Just like the shadows, it’s beautifully pigmented.
These shadows are gorgeous. Once I add Makeup Geek’s Corrupt (matte black) to the palette, I’ll never need to reach for anything else.
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