I may use the same blush or same lipstick 7 days in a row but I love to play with the eyes and try something different on a daily basis. Sadly, finding eye shadows that perform well on my eyes has become such a challenge. As a result I don’t spend as much as before on make-up, which is great, but I am more willing to splurge what it takes when it makes a difference.
With regards to eyeshadows in particular, 2017 has been a fantastic year, for the very first time I found a brand that combines all the elements I want in the same product: fun, results, effortless application.
This brand is Natasha Denona, you can take any other shadows you want away from me, the only eyeshadows I’ll miss will be hers. The excitement of dipping my brushes into those gorgeous messy pans is still going strong.
I also regularly use Viseart, Make-up Atelier, sometimes Tom Ford, etc, and with the brutal arrival of Pat McGrath into my life I found myself willingly cheating on Denona shadows, however, if I had to choose only one, today I’ll stick to Denona. I’d love to share how this love affair started, some facts and why it’s so special to me.
Nils (Beautylish’s CEO) introduced me to this brand during a chat and I was really excited to try it. I placed an order for the Star palette end October 2016, I was convinced I would not be able to pull off those shimmery shades -making this palette not worth it at all for me- but I was too curious to check it out.
It resulted in the most reached for palette in 2017 !!! It doesn’t even look like it was but there are dips in there, the pans are really huge.
At first I was just using this STAR palette to go out, but never to work, I thought it wouldn’t be office appropriate. With time I was not reaching for other stuff anymore but kept going back to this, then I started wearing it on a daily basis. I felt comfortable and confident when wearing it and only this matters to me.
THE QUALITY, THE RESULTS, THE VALUE
On the STAR palette, the shades have those finishes:
Left side :
- Spectrum 101 K: Deep antique gold with a Crystal finish
- Earth 102 CM: Dark chocolate brown with a Creamy Matte finish
- Bellatrix 103 M: Rose gold with a Metallic finish
- Flesh 104 CM: Warm peach with a Creamy Matte finish
- Orion 105 DC: Deep blue brown with a Duo-Chrome finish
- Gemma 106 CM: Mahogany brown with a Creamy Matte Finish
- Atria 107 M: Copper orange with a Metallic finish
- Titania 108 CM: Taupe brown with a Creamy Matte finish
- Cosmo 109 K: Vintage brass with a Crystal finish
- Diadem 110 CM: Warm taupe grey with a Creamy Matte finish
- Vega 111 CM: Soft tea rose with a Creamy Matte finish
- Galaxia 112 K: Sheer icy white with a Crystal finish
- Phoenix 113 CM: Brick red with a Creamy Matte finish
- Supernova 114 DC: Silver taupe with a Duo-Chrome finish
- Electra 115 CM: Deep plum with a Creamy Matte finish
- Polaris 116 K: White gold with a Crystal finish
- Atik 117 CM: Sandy beige with a Creamy Matte finish
- Rhea 118 M: Peach gold with a Metallic finish
This palette has 9 Creamy Matte shades in total, it’s a great half-half balance. On some of the Creamy Matte shadows the formula slightly differs from one shadow to the other, some are more matte, others are a little bit on the satin side and I like that!
The CM (Creamy Matte) shades here are beyond amazing, I read it is an improved formula of the original “matte” formula that you can find in her 5 pan palettes or her Mono shadows, the matte shades there seem to be referenced with a “V” in their name (I guess it’s for Velvet). I own several of those “V” shades, this matte/velvety formula is more lightweight, it swatches and applies less opaque -and often more on the satin side- in comparison to the new Creamy Mattes that are now seen in the Star, Lila or Sunset palettes.
I am 46, at my age I know it’s better to stick to matte or satin shades, however, the other formulas here -Crystal, Duo-Chrome, and even the Metallic ones- are still looking good on my lids when I use them : with control and moderation. Only the shades Galaxia and Polaris are more on the chunkier side with volatile particles and may require a sticky base or some fixer, which I don’t bother for daily use, I reserve those for more crazy days.
I’d really love to see here a matte black and a satin white, I would trade the two chunkier shimmers for those, that swap would make this palette perfection to me, however, in spite of not having those two shades that I need for daily use, in 2017 I was taking only this palette with me on both short and long trips and I used only this. I felt “reasonable” again in front of my relatives, I didn’t need 5 trips to the bathroom to move all my stuff, I saved time and I was having even more fun!
This palette has become a huge holy grail must have, the pigmentation of each shadow is beyond amazing, the application and blending are effortless, but the strangest thing happens when I use those shimmers, metallics, duo-chromes, or top coats, these remain wearable and elegant. Other shimmers, even from very expensive brands tend to sit on the surface of my lids, emphasizing the not-so-smooth texture. This is an issue I don’t encounter with Denona shadows, they merge with my skin in a much flattering way and fade evenly throughout the day, they don’t leave behind a patchy or grainy mess and when they reflect the light, they do so in a more subtle elegant manner.
While assessing what eyeshadow base products work best with these shadows, I have noticed that the Nars Pro-Prime eyeshadow base is what makes these shadows last longer, both the mattes and the shimmers fade in a more controlled sequence with no need to check what has happened on my lids until I take my make-up off in the evening. I have also noticed that in some occasions the Urban Decay Primer Potion Anti-Aging made the shimmers look more vibrant at first, but at the end of the day the fading did not happen equally for all the finishes so the appearance after 8 hours was more clean with the Nars.
I also did some kind of “research” throughout 2017, I bought some similar shimmery and metallic shadows from other high end brands just to confirm that Denona was really different in the way those performed on my eyes, I definitely confirm. When doing one eye with Denona and the other with similar shades from other brands, the looks with Denona were so much more refined, stunning, flattering.
I compared with Shu Uemura, Tom Ford, and Huda for example. Regarding Huda I have to say that her matte shades are really very nice, love them, and her palette Desert Dusk is a lot of fun but the shimmery shades in there are a no go for me. They are unlikely to be an issue on younger lids but since it’s an issue for me, Denona always won.
I purchased all Denona palettes myself except for the Lila which was sent to me by Beautylish PR. I wasn’t even able to write a review because finding enough time to sit in front of my computer lately was so difficult. I hope this post can encourage you to check them out, if you are in the USA you can try them at Sephora.
The Natasha Denona STAR palette costs 169$, some will find this really expensive, I’d say that with the needs and requirements that my eyes have today I am ok to pay a higher price tag if this shows up in the results, my expectations are really high, the way these shadows make me feel at my age is priceless and the amount of fun I have with them is consistently massive.
I also have to say that buying make-up in Switzerland is really expensive, it makes this price tag look cheap. Here, a Dior quint costs 94USD, a Chanel quad costs 84USD, because of this gap in prices it’s easier for me to justify spending 169$ in the Star palette.
Let’s have a quick look at the product quantity on each Chanel quad just for a laugh. Depending on where it was made and what formula it is, a quad can contain either 0.24 oz (in the past!), 0.14oz or even 0.07oz nowadays (the latest City lights quad)… that’s the total amount you get for the 4 shadows in the quad.
In comparison, a single mono shadow from Natasha Denona contains 0.08 oz
Now, keep in mind when you do your shopping that today, ONE ENTIRE Chanel quad contains LESS product than ONE SINGLE Denona eyeshadow!
This Denona STAR palette contains approx the same amount of product that you get if you buy 22 Chanel quads. For a laugh, but for real, 22 Chanel quads would cost me in Switzerland: 22x84USD= 1848 USD, hence, paying 169$ for this amount of product and quality doesn’t look crazy anymore 😀 I stopped buying Chanel by the way.
The Natasha Denona SUNSET palette costs 129$ (shows currently out of stock but I read somewhere it may become permanent in the future, I don’t know for sure).
This palette is too warm for me, neutrals and cools are my thing. As a result I use only some of the shades on myself but in terms of quality, I have swatched and played with many other warm palettes but nothing compares to this Sunset, seriously, the quality of the shadows is mind blowing!
I have several warm palettes at home, from many wonderful brands, putting aside the fact that I can’t wear warm shades, could I achieve the same results with my other warm shadows or palettes? My answer is a clear no. My eyes need “more” and this more I find it only with Denona, this longevity, stability, the overall appearance that is more forgiving on mature lids.
This SUNSET has a whitish shade and also a very dark brown that could tentatively cover for the lack of white and black in the palette. The creamy mattes have the same formula as in the Star palette, just amazing. Some friends asked me “So…. do you prefer Denona or Viseart??” This is my answer: I could live without Viseart but I could not live without Denona, I love Viseart A LOT but if I have no other choice I would stick to Denona. I think this is also because the Denona matte colors appear a bit more complex or unique to me. There is also another reason that now brings me to mentioning Suqqu here. When I take a Denona matte and pair it with a second shadow that has a different finish, BOUM, I get insane results, these allow me to play more with layering and remind me of the old Suqqu formula, but it’s Suqqu on steroids.
The Natasha Denona LILA is THE palette if you love purples, seriously, it’s porn for purple lovers. Again, I have tried so many other purple palettes -the counters are just filled with those nowadays- but nothing ever compared to this. The layering capabilities with this palette make this 15 shadow pan palette an multi-level playground. Some shadows are a bit too much on their own for my daily comfort but I layer them and the color becomes more wearable and pretty on my older eyes.
Today I don’t own the big 28 pan palettes yet, (Green-brown or Purple-blue), my experience is based on the Star, Sunset, Lila and some of the 5 pan palettes (mostly for the V shades).
The looks I create involve max 3 shades, a transition (V or Creamy Matte), a darker for the outer V and also to deepen the crease and a sparkly/metallic on the mobile lid. Then I play around with those shades for the bottom lash line to add definition, I also add a touch of shimmer in the center of the bottom lashline.
I have not used the 10 pan palette enough; I would not use it on its own because there are no matte shades in there, it really is to combine with other shadows -at least for me- but I have to start using it on a more regular basis.
A CUSTOM NATASHA DENONA PALETTE
When I do my make-up in the morning it has to be quick, on most days I don’t have the time to open 1+ palettes, so I wanted to do something about this.
I recently purchased the Natasha Denona empty 28 palette (38$) and I thought it would save me time if all the preferred shades were stored TOGETHER, in one single palette.
I sat down with the 3 Denona palettes open, I started filtering the shades from Sunset, Lila and Star to move all my favs into one single palette but when I had to filter the Lila, it was so difficult to narrow it down to not the whole palette! This ended up being more difficult than expected.
The ones that moved to the main palette are the ones missing on the 3 palettes below but I had to do this selection process twice. After 2 weeks I realised that some shades that looked similar between the Lila and the Star or the Sunset and the Lila were not that similar and I had to switch some of them. Some shades appear really close but the undertones are definitely not.
The pans on the Star, Sunset and Lila are magnetized and can be removed easily without damage, I tested also the 10 pan palette and they also can be removed easily. However, the 5 pan palettes should not be depotted, they are glued in, same applies to the Mono shadows, I asked and they do not recommend it. I am mad about this because I love many of the shades from her 5 pan palettes and I wanted to put them all together.
I have just purchased the Green-Brown 28 pan palette because many of my fav V shades are in there and I need them on a daily basis for transition and combination with the most shimmery ones, then I guess I will travel with two Denona big palettes unless I manage to squeeze all my favs in a single 28 pan… this will be torture.
My question is: why can we buy the empty palettes if we cannot depot the mono shades? Can you buy refills somewhere?
I take this custom 28 pan palette with me EVERYWHERE, I take only this on my trips so I wish I had a matte black in here.
I know I will love the V shades on the 28 Green-Brown palette because I have been using those same ones that are in the 5 pan palettes a lot and was constantly reaching out for them. I am not sure how much I will use the other more shimmery shades on that big palette but the fact that I cannot depot the Mono shadows makes the daily usage too bothersome, I just decided to go for the whole palette instead. It’s a lot of money since that big 28 pan palette costs 239$ but on the other hand, I “saved” a lot when I decided to stop buying those tiny Chanel quads 😀
I just got some new studio lights and maybe this will improve my future pictures, we will see, for now until I can install those lights properly, I cannot take nice pictures of swatches but I recommend you to visit Christine from Temptalia who has simply the best ones, here are her links for the Star, the Lila, the Sunset, and if you have the possibility to test these shadows in person, I think you should probably run and do it.
There is an amazing complete review done by Stephanie Nicole that you need to watch, it’s so informative, an absolute amazing research work. Please hop here to watch it.
I cannot guarantee the Natasha Denona shadows will work for everyone the same way they work on my eyes but I have applied them on so many friends and relatives, on both young and older lids, and it was always a success.
SUMMARY OF THE SHADOWS ON EACH PALETTE
|Spectrum 101 K: Deep antique gold with a Crystal finish||Atmosphere 120M: Rose bronze with a Metallic finish||Per Se 135 CM: Smoky lilac with a Creamy Matte finish|
|Earth 102 CM: Dark chocolate brown with a Creamy Matte finish||Sinai 121CM: Burnt terracotta with a Creamy Matte finish||Viola 136 M: Magenta violet with a Metallic finish|
|Bellatrix 103 M: Rose gold with a Metallic finish||Ice Gold 122K: Sheer golden cream with a Chroma Crystal finish||Amara 137 CM: Rusty berry with a Creamy Matte finish|
|Flesh 104 CM: Warm peach with a Creamy Matte finish||Mandarine 123DC: Golden mandarin with a Duo-Chrome finish||Cyclone 138 DC: Pink copper with a Duo-Chrome finish|
|Orion 105 DC: Deep blue brown with a Duo-Chrome finish||Bronzage 124K: Light copper with a Chroma Crystal finish||Nude Vino 139 CM: Tan mauve with a Creamy Matte finish|
|Gemma 106 CM: Mahogany brown with a Creamy Matte Finish||Vulcano 125CM: Deep mauve brown with a Creamy Matte finish||Layla 140 M: Deep brown mauve with a Metallic finish|
|Atria 107 M: Copper orange with a Metallic finish||Aubade 126K: Warm gold with a Chroma Crystal finish||Amethyst 141 M: Cool purple with a Metallic finish|
|Titania 108 CM: Taupe brown with a Creamy Matte finish||Horizon 127CM: Warm orange with a Creamy Matte finish||Magentic 142 M: Bright fuchsia with a Metallic finish|
|Cosmo 109 K: Vintage brass with a Crystal finish||Sundazed 128K: True gold with a Chroma Crystal finish||Magnolia 143 K: Peach champagne with a Chroma Crystal finish|
|Diadem 110 CM: Warm taupe grey with a Creamy Matte finish||Terra 129CM: Mahogany with a Creamy Matte finish||Nude Mauve 144 CM: Dusty mauve with a Creamy Matte finish|
|Vega 111 CM: Soft tea rose with a Creamy Matte finish||Bermuda 130CM: Pale peach nude with a Creamy Matte finish||Juneau 145 S: Sheer icy lavender with a Metallic finish|
|Galaxia 112 K: Sheer icy white with a Crystal finish||Morgana 131DC: Golden coral with a Duo-Chrome finish||Livid 146 DC: Silver amethyst with a Duo-Chrome finish|
|Phoenix 113 CM: Brick red with a Creamy Matte finish||Panjin 132CM: Deep red with a Creamy Matte finish||Purpure 147 M: Berry burgundy with a Metallic finish|
|Supernova 114 DC: Silver taupe with a Duo-Chrome finish||Igneous 133CM: Dark brown with a Creamy Matte finish||Dragon Bite 148 DC: Green red with a Duo-Chrome finish|
|Electra 115 CM: Deep plum with a Creamy Matte finish||Sol 134CM: Warm yellow with a Creamy Matte finish||Helio 149 M: Soft rose with a Metallic finish|
|Polaris 116 K: White gold with a Crystal finish|
|Atik 117 CM: Sandy beige with a Creamy Matte finish|
|Rhea 118 M: Peach gold with a Metallic finish|