But, cynicism aside, over the past four years I have met the most amazing people, in real life and virtually, I've been supported by the blogging community when I was diagnosed with cancer, I've spent thousands on make up and I've discovered some amazing products.
I think blogging is dying. I think Youtube has pretty much taken it's place along with Instagram and Snapchat. We're all so busy that we crave quick, bite sized pieces of info. We like to look at pictures. I'm still more likely to read a blog than buy a magazine but I don't commit regularly to my favourite blogs as I once did. Many of my friends say the same.
Yet something keeps me writing. Being 36, a blogger who does this for fun, who can't remember the last PR sample she received, doesn't give a crap about numbers, who just loves make up and spending money on it and knows how to pronounce micellair water correctly, I think I have a voice. And that my opinions are valid. One thing you will always always get on these pages is an honest opinion. If you need it, I'll urge you to give it a go. If I think it's utter rubbish I will tell you. I love writing about what I want, when I want to. I have no PR promises to keep or loyalties to nurture. And I genuinely think people appreciate that.
So on my 4th blogging anniversary, I'm sharing with you my thoughts on the very hyped up, incredibly hard to get hold of, Huda Beauty eyeshadow palette. I did a mini review on Snapchat and so many people actually messaged me and thanked me for being so honest that I decided to do a full review on my blog.
I had such high hopes for this palette that I purchased three. One for me, one for my friend for Xmas and one for a giveaway on my blog. But I'm so underwhelmed by it I'm not sure whether to gift those other two palettes. Why would I give something to you that I don't love myself?
I have a lot of thoughts on this palette so grab a coffee and read on.
I'll start with the packaging. Such a let down! This is drugstore packaging at best-a cardboard palette with a flip top lid and a cardboard sleeve. It feels cheap and I would expect something like this from Superdrug in the UK or Walgreens in the US and I just don't get how a $65 palette can look and feel so cheap. One of the pans in my palette has already fallen out because the glue underneath isn't holding it. It's like a cheap Z palette. I look at Violet Voss which also has cardboard packaging but has a huge mirror built into it, has 20 shades in it and each pan in the Violet Voss is 1.8g of product whereas the Huda is 1g each. And it's $45. Now I will be honest, I think that the Violet Voss is an exceptional palette and I literally can't put it down. I've hit pan on 4 of the shades because I use it so much. I love my eyeshadows to be sparkly and shimmery on the lid with matte transition shades in the crease and so both the Huda and Violet Voss palettes tick all this boxes-visually in the pan anyway.
You can read my thoughts on the Violet Voss Holy Grail palette here.
My disappointment started with the Huda Beauty palette the moment I swatched the shades. I bought these palettes in Sephora Dubai Mall and was so happy to see them I just grabbed three and headed for the counter. I didn't swatch in store. I was just so sure they were going to be amazing.
I'm going to start reviewing them from the bottom upwards, leaving the foiled shadows until last given they are the ones everyone seems to be so hyped about.
Bottom row: All 'deep matte' shades
L-R- Sandalwood, Henna, Maneater, Coco, Suede, Black Truffle
I've watched Huda's videos about this palette and she says the two key shades she wanted to build this palette around were Flamingo and Maneater-the red and bright pink. Not your everyday wearable shadow combo. I get that there is an abundance of neutral eye palettes out there, and I also get that warm reddy tones are very on trend right now-look at the recent all matte red toned Chanel palette, Modern Renaissance by Anastasia and the Tom Ford Honeymoon quad-warm red toned shadows are everywhere. But they're also very difficult to make due to the pigments needed-they tend to be very stiff to work with, especially matte formulas and in some cases, red eyeshadows can cause major irritation because of the high levels of pigment in them (Carmine is the specific irritant often associated with red toned eyeshadow ingredients). And overall this palette learns very warm-which will look amazing on some people but there is not enough cool toned shadows to add balance to the palette.
Sandalwood and Henna don't swatch brilliantly but they're not horrible to work with on the lid. They're very warm and I tend to mix the two together to use as a transition shade. It's what I used in the picture below topped with a little Coco and #Blessed pressed on the lid.
There's actually very little fall out from the matte shadows and these three shades aren't too tricky to blend on the eye as long as you're patient and take the time to build up the colour. And that's one of the problems with this palette overall-you need to spend time working with it and to blend and build and perfect the application. I found Maneater to be very dry and chalky personally and difficult to work with-having said that, it's unlikely I will dip into Maneater very often at all. Suede probably blends the easiest and is the smoothest of the matte shadows although I also found Shy and Bossy to be fine too. Black Truffle was chalky and uneven again-and is a shade I'm unlikely to use a lot. There are definitely smoother, creamier matte blacks out there.
Middle row: 1 3D metal shadow, 4 deep mattes, one pressed pearl shadow
L-R Moondust, Bae, Shy, Flamingo, Bossy, #Blessed
Firstly, I'm really confused why the #Blessed 3D metal shadow isn't with all the other 3D metal shadows on the top row-that's personally where I would have put it.
Moondust and Bae are very similar in tone-a very yellow'd cream but one is matte and one is shimmery. Bae hardly shows up on me and can only be used as an eyeshadow base and Moondust feels a little gritty. These two shadows are so similar though that I think one of them could easily have been dropped. Shy and Bossy are warm toned transition shades-they're the best mattes in the palette and Flamingo swatches evenly but I just won't use it.
Let's skip ahead a little and talk about the pressed pearl shadows. Moondust is very blah-it's a quite a flat one dimensional yellow gold and it isn't very pigmented. Angelic is a lot more interesting-it's a pink/gold duochrome and this applies quite nicely when layered over a cream eyeshadow base-this makes the shade last longer and gives it a bit more pizzazz. On it's own it does look a little wishy washy so use something underneath to prime the eyelid. I'm wearing it here over a Bobbi Brown cream eyeshadow stick in Golden Pink with the shades Bossy and Shy blended into the crease. The pressed pearl shadow will last all day without creasing when used with a cream eyeshadow base but you can see from the first picture the crazy amount of fallout on my lashes from the shadow.
Ok let's talk about the 3D metal shadows because this is where it all starts to get a little weird.
L-R Angelic, Trust Fund, Rose Gold, 24k, Fling, Dubai
I do love the names of this shadows. That's about all I love. When I swatched these I thought they were a really odd texture-almost wet and spongy but when I lifted my finger, the outer parts of where I had swatched were flaky and dry. They kind of feel like Colour Pop shadows but more dense in texture. Now, the Colour Pop shadows come packaged in a tightly sealed pot specifically to keep the air out of them and stop them drying up. If you're going to use this palette occasionally (and let's face it, this is not a daily use palette), I suspect these Metal shadows are going to dry out really quickly because they're not packaged the right way to keep the moisture in them. I could be wrong but that's my gut feeling. Having had this palette a week, the textured shadows already feel considerably drier than they did last week when I first swatched them.
These shadows are really textured-and by textured I mean chunky and flaky. Rose Gold, Trust Fund, Dubai and #Blessed are the worst for this at the moment. The smoothest by far is Fling but as a deep cranberry, how much usage will I realistically get from that shade? Rose Gold is actually the worst of them all-it's so dense it feels like a chunky paste-but none of them apply smoothly and cleanly to the lid-and I've tried my fingers (recommended), a dry brush and a brush sprayed with Fix Plus. I've tried them on bare skin, on a primer and on a cream eyeshadow base and they just look an uneven mess-with a lot of fallout. They also just look like they sit on the lid and don't blend well at all.
Overall I feel this is a confused palette. With 3 different textures, the inclusion of some really unwearable shades on a day to day basis, a texture that will dry out very quickly, an extremely warm tone to the palette and really drugstore packaging I almost struggle to look at this palette and think how did Huda approve this? I don't really understand the thought process behind it. I know this is her baby and she has probably invested thousands into developing it but part of my wonders how she even thought the packaging was in line with her brand let alone the contents.
I guess I just expected-and wanted more. I've lived in Dubai almost 12 years, there are amazingly inspirational entrepreneur women here and without doubt Huda is one of them. But for me this just doesn't work and I feel disappointed.
I'm really interested in your thoughts on this-have you tried it? Do you like it? Do you think when bad palettes are released the brand should stand up and say 'ok we got it wrong' like Becca/Jaclyn Hill did over the summer or should they stand by their conviction that this is the best thing since sliced bread?
My final word today is to say thank you. To you reading, to those who watch my rambles on snapchat, to those who click like on my instagram photos or leave a comment down below, on instagram or on twitter. To those who stepped up when I was diagnosed with cancer and said 'I'm here'. To those who boost my confidence, who offer support and kind words or a shoulder in difficult times. To those who encourage my make up addiction and to those who encourage me as a person. Thank you for being part of my life and thank you for being here xxx
PS (if you're still reading!) There'll be a little revamp of my blog this weekend-I bought a new template weeks ago and just need to install it......