Clarins comes up with these ten shades eye palettes called The Essentials every year around the holiday season. In 2014 this palette was all plum. In 2015 it was nude like. And we’ll talk about what it’s like this year a little later. As far as I’m concerned, it’s just always nice to have an eye palette with enough shades in it to create several looks that will be different and won’t feel all the same. The fact that this palette shows up on the counters only once a year makes it even more desirable to me, because I don’t get a chance to get majorly bored with it. The shades in these batches of eyeshadow by Clarins are usually truly essential like. Not too bright, not too artsy, more like understated and elegant. It’s the kind of thing you can stick in your purse – if it’s big enough 🙂 – and be always ready for anything that might come. What does it mean, you’ll ask? To me, it means that this is one of those rare products from holiday collections that you can actually use, once the festive season is all gone and over. Because a lot of those holiday products look very celebratory and glamorous, but have so much glitter and pearl in them and what not, that it will take some brain racking to come up with an occasion they are suitable for in our non holiday life.
In terms of quality, there’s something you absolutely need to know about eyeshadow in this palette. Because this something might be a huge advantage or sort of a disappointment, depending on your taste in makeup. And life 🙂 The eyeshadow is The Essentials palettes by Clarins is always very soft. Not just soft, mind you, but very very soft. So very soft. I have a feeling it might be because it’s mineral. Somehow mineral eyeshadow formulae tend to be on the softer side. I don’t know why, it’s just what I feel from having used a whole lot of eyeshadow, including its mineral variations 🙂 In case you never thought about how soft or not too soft your eyeshadow is, let’s try to reason and see what it being so-o soft involves. And then you can decide for yourself what’s your preference here, basically. When the eyeshadow is not soft enough, I, personally, don’t like it, because it’s hard to apply it, distribute it on the lid, mix it with other shades. Although some people like it. When the eyeshadow is too soft though, I seem to have application issues too. The eyeshadow goes all over the place, it doesn’t mix well with other shades on the lid, and it’s just hard for me to use it. So, I prefer it medium 🙂
The question of to have your eyeshadow soft or not to have it soft is a very personal one. I just want you to know that the shadow in this palette by Clarins from this year – and The Essential palettes, generally speaking – is on the softer side for sure and softer than average, I’d say. And you know best, whether it’s something you want or not. Just be forewarned. Now let’s talk about the shades, and what they look like this season. First and foremost, this palette from 2016 is cooler than the one last year. And, as far as I’m concerned, it makes it more interesting. Especially as last years this palette was nude. I’ll explain. There are so many neutral palettes around us. So many. Nudes rule the world. I think you’ll agree. They do. So, even if you’re a big fan of nudes, it’s nice to have a pleasant distraction sometimes that has some colour to it. Especially if this colour is as flattering as the colour in this holiday palette by Clarins. You know what this colour is? It’s a cooler pink lilac, and it’s not that common, which makes the palette even better, in my opinion. I like variety. Also, I think behind all the nudes and bronzers we lost track of how flattering some of the cooler shades are for a lot of us. Say, pink and lilac. And The Essentials by Clarins we got this year is a great reminder.
In terms of design, these palettes come in a red box with white lettering, typically Clarins. The palette case is cardboard, not plastic like most of makeup cases out there. And it’s as chocolate brown as it always is. This year it has a bunch of golden flowers on it that look very nice. The pattern on these palettes is always golden, but it changes from year to year. I do like this one. The brush is wooden and dual ended. Both sides are brush brush, no sponges here. And they are both pretty small. Which immediately indicates more precise application, by the way. I like that 🙂 The brush on one side is an eyeshadow brush. On the other side the brush is so much smaller. You can use it even as an eyeliner brush, probably, if you’re deft enough, when it comes to application. I definitely couldn’t use this brush as an eyeliner brush, I’m too clumsy to do that 🙂 But this brush being so small makes it a great brush for colour clash technique, framing or ombre, which is trending in beauty, in general, and in makeup, in particular, right now. Ombre is a subject in itself that deserves a closer inspection. So, we’ll talk about it later. As for the brush in The Essentials palette, I think it’s efficient enough and works well.
We’re about to go shade by shade here 🙂 You know that. We always do.
Here’s the first one. Wanna take a guess? It’s the kind of shade that usually goes first in eyeshadow palettes. Uh-huh. It’s matt and off white. You know what, this would be yet another non colour base shade, if it weren’t such a clear white for something that’s off white in essence, a shade without much stuff or almost any stuff at all mixed into it. It’s so crisp and so cool that it even looks satiny texturewise.
Next. And it’s a beauty. A pearly and satiny light shade that was supposed to be a light pink, which is great because fresh pinks look so nice. But there’s not enough colour or barely enough colour in it to be pink. I mean, if you look real close, you could, maybe, make out some pink there. But, hey, who’s going to lean that close to you and look? Not many people, probably. So, instead of being pink it looks more like a shiny white. And that’s good too, but not as awesome and as rare as shiny pink.
Shade three. A cooler matt beige shade with a lilac and pink cloud hovering right over it and threatening to shed some lilac and pink raindrops on it. A stunning shade. Lilac greige. Purple beige. Depending on your colour perception. So becoming. So calm. So beautiful. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an eye shade quite like it. So, I’m excited. This shade is truly sophisticated and truly chic. Special. And almost universally flattering. Yes, if your eyes are green or blue, you can use it too 🙂
Four. A pearly and sparkly cooler pink shade. The sparkle and glow, or else, pearl in it is silver and whitish. It swatches cooler than it looks in the palette somehow. Finally, I get my shiny pink here, and I’m very happy. This cool pink shade is very flattering and can help you look well rested, romantic or about to celebrate without looking overmadeup. Any of those things will be achieved in ten minutes. You don’t think it’s possible? But it is. Here, it’s right in front of you, in The Essentials palette by Clarins.
Five. A moody satin lilac shade. Cool. So cool. Marvelous. Elegant. Even more than just elegant. Special. Exquisite. Which is rare. And this satiny sheen in it makes it even better. This shade gets released very rarely. And it’s a pity, because it’s one of the great ones. I keep wondering why warm purples are so popular, why they show up so often in all kind of makeup ranges, while cool purples, lilacs and violets seems to be underestimated and forgotten a lot of the time. They are gorgeous. And they’ll become a lot of us. Most of us, in fact.
Six. A satiny and pearly greige with a handful of light golden sparkle in it. You know how I feel about greige eye shades. Greige was not love at first sight for me, by a long shot, but once I got into greige, I stay loyal to it. It’s exquisite, chic, not too on the nose, understated in the best possible way. Think about it. How many shades are there in the world you can easily say all of that about? And this version of greige in particular is just so delicate. It’s elegance with a little bit of a sparkly twist to it making it relevant and coquettish.
Seven. A very loose satiny dark violet shade with a bunch of silver lilac sparkle in it. Moody like rainy weather. Not when it’s raining, but when it’s just about to rain. Sometimes, when we get lucky, we get clouds of this violet colour. Love the colour, but, to my taste, this shade is too loose. It’s hard to get enough colour out of it. Takes too much effort. Too many swipes. If it weren’t for that though, this shade would be a fabulous eyeliner shade bringing out the best in your blue, grey, green or brown eyes.
Eight. A surprisingly warm shade for this, in essence, very cool eyeshadow palette. Golden plum, to be more specific. A satiny plum shade with quite a bit of fine golden sparkle in it. It’s an odd man out surrounded by all the pinks, lilacs and greiges. This shade is a nice counterpoint for all those cool ones we’ve seen here already. It will be nice to clash some of the cool shades against it in one makeup. You could get a very exciting result by doing that. Special occasion is written all over this shade.
One but last. A dark dark and deep deep and matt matt ink purple shade. You know what, it’s probably too dark for me to love it. But… it can be a good eyeliner option, if you want to take a baby step away from black and venture into some new territory. Or you can use it for artsy smoky eye look that will be purple rather than black. Or, if you’re bold enough and don’t mind a super sultry eye makeup option, you can go right ahead and use it as eyeshadow.
The last shade. This ink purple is even darker and even deeper than the one before it. Truly off black. With a surprising navy blue undertone. And matt as matt can be. There’s purple pink sparkle hidden in it though, not too much, but enough to say – hey, there’s more here than just off black. The contrast this sparkle provides is exciting. It really is. Still, it’s not enough for me to love this shade. And the two matt ink purples are just too close, in my opinion, and too much for one palette. I wouldn’t have both.
That’s The Essentials by Clarins from 2016. I do like this palette. It has this cool feel about it and this cool quality to it that makes it stand out among other eyeshadow palettes. Also, it makes it flattering across the board or mostly. Almost anyone can find something here that will look good on them. I like it that this eyeshadow palette is not an exclusively holiday palette. You can wear it all year round. There’s a bunch of styles and fashions wrapped in this palette. So, you’ll be able to create a lot of looks with the eye shades in it. This palette by Clarins is worth it to me. It’s pretty, and the shades in it are off the beaten track, but not too much. To put it simply, there’s something about this palette. There’s a zest there. That gives it an interesting perspective without making it too artsy. Also, these shades are not the shades that will make you look a certain way. They are more the kind of shades that will work with your looks, your beauty, your skin tone, your eye colour, your hair colour, you, to create something new and to be truly yours.
Here’s one last thing for you. I want to show you how The Essentials by Clarins this year are different from The Essentials we had last year. The Essentials 2016 are on top here. The Essentials 2015 are on the bottom.
First the cases. Both are chocolate with golden pattern. The pattern is different though.
And here are the palettes proper.
And the shades. See how the one from this year is cooler?
And, finally, let’s see the shades one by one. On the left I have shades from The Essentials 2015. On the right I have shades from The Essentials 2016.