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Girl Gone Neutral: Spring’s Top Natural Eye Palettes


Silk Teddy, Champagne, Honey Pot, Gilded Gold, Luster, Sexspresso, Bellisima, Kalahari, Galapagos, Coconut Grove, Cocoa Puff—with an influx of names, soon a naked eye shadow palette sounds like an oxymoron. Who knew going au naturale in the breaking summer sunlight could be the source of so much indecisiveness? Though the highlights, shadows and bases of the eye shadows should blend, the names of the variety of palettes should not. Presenting: a breakdown of spring’s newest neutral eye shadow palettes, so that each collegiette can navigate the pigments of the nude spectrum:

1. Kat Von D’s True Romance Eyeshadow Palette—Saint ($36)

A cross between tattoo artist Kat Von D and a natural eye palette yields an edgy, pearlized collection of cream, taupe and browns. Reminiscent of colors from a vintage horse stable, the highly-pigmented palette is praised for its blending ease to create an entrancing yet natural look. The True Romance Eyeshadow Palette was designed specifically for Sephora, and has eight shadows, including shades <3, Caravaggio and Downtown. Compared to other palettes, the colors are a bit tinted with silver frosts to create a cooler look in the approaching summer.

THE CLASSIC ALTERNATIVE: Stila’s In the Light Palette ($39) is a well-loved classic for makeup artists leaning towards the darker, browner end of the natural eye spectrum. Best-selling gray shade “Kitten” is also included in this 10-toned palette with rich, smooth shades for all skin tones.

2. Bobbi Brown Lilac Rose Eye Palette ($60)

For the soft-spoken spring girl, Bobbi Brown offers a subdued neutral eye palette that sweeps a light layer of blush-toned shadow on eyelids. The Lilac Rose Eye Palette has an expansive spade of eight muted beiges, browns, purples and pinks, including a built-in mirror. Inspired by rose florals, the palette reflects intonations in pink for all skin tones, bringing out the natural, individual beauty Bobbi Brown bases her beauty philosophy on. Collegiettes looking for a minimally pigmented fresh shadow this spring may find bliss in this beautifully crafted palette.

THE CLASSIC ALTERNATIVE: For a palette featuring similar pearlized pinks and beige sheens, Tarte’s NeutralEYES Volume II Natural Eye Palette ($44) has 10 naturally pressed eye shadows made from Amazonian clay ingredients and an accompanying vitamin E-infused gel eyeliner.

3. Urban Decay Naked2 Palette ($50)

The most anticipated sequel of the decade, Naked2 revamps its twelve stunning shades to feature a finer gradient of mauve beiges designed for lighter-colored eyes. More metallic and shimmery than golden compared to the first palette, Naked2 is compatible with its original with no repeat colors except Half Baked, and introduces new favorites Snakebite (a shimmery dark plum) and Chopper (a copper, silver-hinted shade) to the line. Naked2 also includes a double-ended shadow and crease brush plus lip gloss, allowing collegiettes to blend to their heart’s desire.

THE CLASSIC ALTERNATIVE: Urban Decay’s Naked Eye Palette ($50) is the well loved and arguably most renowned neutral eye shadow palette. Although half a Benjamin can be quite a splurge for the set, the twelve swatches of beige, browns and grays including Sidecar, Half Baked and Creep prove well worth the investment. Go glitter or go matte, this palette has it all.

4. Too Faced Boudoir Eyes Soft & Sexy Eye Shadow Collection ($36)

French for “a lady’s private bedroom,” this sulky set is the newest addition to Too Faced’s collection of nine-set pigmented eye shadows. Advertised to create a seductive, come-hither look, the Boudoir Eyes collection is an ideal palette for collegiettes seeking a natural look with faint traces of pink and gray. Boudoir Eyes comes with three matte shades—In the Buff, Fuzzy Handcuffs and Garter Belt—and six shimmer eye shadows that glide on rich and smooth. As if that weren’t enough, Too Faced also includes a show-and-tell centerfold Glamour Guide to create a daytime, night and “fashion” look step by step. It’s a good starting point for beginners who want to rely on tried-and-true combinations, but also a good stepping-stone for makeup-savvy individuals who want to mix and match the different shades. Unlike previous cardstock cases, this set is encased in a tin box to doubly protect the shadows, no matter how overstuffed your purse is.

THE CLASSIC ALTERNATIVE: Not that adventurous? For a well-loved original, go for the Too Faced Natural Eye Neutral Eye Shadow Collection ($36), an essential nudes and browns palette for rich, all-over lid color. 

5. Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Shadow & Liner – Nude Collection ($10.99)

Collegiette hesitant about high-end eye shadows? Makeup fanatic tempted to add to already-extravagant shadow collection? Broke? Luckily, Physicians Formula offers a thrifty alternative of nine colors that’s worth every bang for your buck. Offered in four spectrums of Natural Nude, Warm Nude, Classic Nude, or Smoky Nude, collegiettes can choose a wide variety shades best for their skin tone, without feeling guilty. Each palette comes with (matte fans, be warned!) nine shimmery, glittery and glam shadows all in a travel-friendly box. Even better, Physicians Formula is considered a higher-end drugstore makeup that has comparable swatches and quality to a palette like Urban Decay’s Naked Palette. This window-box neutral palette is perfectly complementary and tied together with a bow, literally.

THE CLASSIC ALTERNATIVE: Minimalistic still? Rimmel London has its own pressed powder Glam Eye Shadow Quad-Smokey Brun ($5.99) that can be used together or separately for a silky, simple look.

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Alice Zhang


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