With the abundance of neutral palettes hitting the market lately [Lorac Pro, Urban Decay Naked etc], it was only a matter of time until a drugstore company made their own affordable version. The first one to create a palette that visually looks similar to its department store counterparts was Maybelline, when they released The Expert Wear Palette – The Nudes.
|On the outside: a sturdy slim travel-friendly case.|
|On the inside: a beautiful assortment of neutral shades!|
From the first glimpse at the palette, you can see that there are a lot of colors to choose from. The finishes vary from shade to shade, and you can find matte, satin, as well as shimmer in here. The palette also features the perfect balance of undertones, and there are four pans of each kind: warm, neutral, and cool.
|Heavy swatches over dry skin; no primer.|
Here’s my brief breakdown of shades:
1. Peachy pink with pink & light blue shimmer [neutral] – very pretty to look at, but it’s hard to blend and the pigmentation is pretty poor. I also had a lot of fallout with this shade. This color would look great in the corner of the eye, under the brow, and tapped over a solid matte color to give it some dimension.
2. Light taupe satin with rosy micro-shimmer [neutral] – feels nice and buttery, but unfortunately has bad pigmentation as well, this is one of my least favorite pans in the palette. Works as a subtle crease color, or as a base for other shades.
3. Pale ivory pink matte, similar to Pantone Ballet Slippers [warm] – extremely bad pigmentation, chalky, and possibly the worst pan in the palette in terms of overall quality and performance. Works best as a base color.
4. Bronze metallic with rose gold and iridescent shimmer [warm] – this is probably one of the best pans in this palette. It’s super pigmented, blends like a dream, has minimal fallout, and lasts all day. The quality is on par with department store brands, and I kind of wish all pans were this good 🙂 This color works as an all-over shade, in the crease, or as an eyeliner.
5. Light taupe matte [cool] – the formula offers medium pigmentation, that is fairly buildable to a certain point. It doesn’t seem to blend well, so it will work best as a base shade or in the crease.
6. Pinkish dark gray-brown matte [cool] – perfect color to use in the crease, outer corners, or as an eyeliner. It offers medium pigmentation, blends fairly well, and can be built up to achieve fuller color opacity.
7. Medium brown satin with rose shimmer [neutral] – like shade #4, this one has a really nice formula; it’s highly pigmented, blends well, and stays put throughout the day. Awesome as an all-over base color, as an eyeliner, and in the crease.
8. Dark brown matte [neutral] – the formula offers medium pigmentation, like most pans in the palette. It can look chalky if it’s overbuilt, but overall, it looks alright for everyday wear. This shade is best used as a base color, or in the crease.
9. Light antique gold metallic shimmer [warm] – I expected it to be nice like shade #4, instead it was disappointing like like shade #1. The pigmentation is very poor, with lots of fallout, but I think it would work well as a topper shade in the center of the eyelid.
10. Burgundy brown with purple & pink micro-shimmer and satin finish [warm] – pleasant buttery formula, with fairly good pigmentation that blends really well; this shade was also one of my favorites here. I think it’s a great color to apply to outer corners.
11. Pinkish cream with pink & silver microshimmer and satin finish [cool] – it was quite chalky when I initially swatched it, but that chalkiness blends away well. The color itself is quite sheer, and not buildable, otherwise you will get some major fallout. This shade is good as a sheer highlighter.
12. Charcoal black matte [cool] – I’m sure this was supposed to be black, but it really applies dark gray at best. The formula is very sheer, very streaky, and impossible to blend. This is one of the worst pans in the palette in terms of performance. Not sure what I’d use it for, maybe as a subtle tightline shade? Or to darken another shade?
As you can see, the quality varies greatly from pan to pan. Most of them felt very smooth and buttery, except for black, which was very dry. Some shades, namely #4, #7, #10 were so good, they have far exceeded my expectations. The formula contains talc, so keep that in mind, if you’re trying to avoid that ingredient in your personal products.
|On my eyes – Maybelline The Nudes palette.|
Do you need this palette? Yes and no.You don’t need it if you already have a higher end neutral palette, because aside from a few pans, the colors in The Nudes just don’t perform as well. You might need it if you are a collector, or have a limited budget, or if you simply prefer drugstore makeup. What I love about drugstore cosmetics is that you can combine local sales with manufacturer’s coupons to score some really nice deals, including this palette.
|It really looks beautiful in person. Too bad the cover is better than the book.|
While some pans are clearly better than others, most of them were very average. Maybelline deserves special cookie points for being the first ones to create a cheap drugstore palette with so many neutral shades, but unfortunately, the quality is mostly dollar store-ish. Despite my initial disappointment, I thought many of these colors performed a lot better with primer underneath [naturally]. The only pan that was straight up bad, with or without primer, is shade #12, that looked uneven and chalky regardless of the application method.
However… I can keep telling you how it’s not pigmented, chalky, with lots of fallout, and that individually most of these pans are just not up to par even with some drugstore companies, but what ultimately matters is whether or not you personally like it. I wore a neutral smoky eye look using The Nudes to lunch with my husband, and he told me that I looked very pretty and that he really liked my makeup. Trust me, he saw lots of looks on me, and rarely comments on any of them, even the most successful ones, so that compliment meant a lot, and I will definitely continue using this palette for sure, just not every day.
Maybelline also released The Smokes and The Brights palettes, but you’d have to hunt them down at your local drugstores and grocery stores, because they’re hard to find. Happy hunting!