Tuesday, October 8, 2013

theBalm Nude 'Tude

I picked this up from Birchbox several months ago when I had a coupon. I'd heard good things about it, and I was wanting a replacement for my Too Faced Natural Eye, which has deteriorated in the pigmentation department over the years.

There's a pretty nice variety of shades and the texture is overall soft and pigmented, though it's not completely consistent.

Top row, left to right:
Sassy: Bright white shimmer; this is a nice inner-eye highlight, and is quite pigmented but can be blended out easily.
Stubborn: Pretty neutral-warm pink satin. This is one of my most-used shades; I wear it on my lids as an alternate to the usual beige wash. It is quite soft, though, so I pretty much always have to tap off my brush before applying.
Selfish: Gorgeous grey taupe shimmer. I like this in the crease with Stubborn on the lid: defined, simple, pretty.
Sophisticated: Okay, even though this, Sultry (bottom 3rd from left), and Seductive (bottom 4th from left) look very different in the pans, and even different swatched, whenever I try to wear them together, it ends up a muddy mess. For some reason, they just end up all looking the same! That issue aside, Sophisticated is a medium-dark warm brown with gold shimmer. It's not the kind of color that looks particularly good on my skintone, so I don't wear it very often, but the texture is really nice.
Sexy: Rich dark burgundy matte. I love this as a crease shade for an unusual smoky eye; my complexion goes well with warm purples (cool ones make me look like I'm bruised), and it's nicely pigmented, though it could be a bit more blendable.
Serious: Matte black. Pretty standard, but I have somehow managed to accumulate 3 matte blacks in spite of rarely wearing them, as they're quite harsh on my pale skin.

Bottom row, left to right:
Snobby: Yellow-gold shimmer. It swatches okay, though somewhat powdery, but it just will not build up on my eyes. The most I can get is a slightly yellowy sheen and even that fades within an hour, and it pisses me off. I want to be able to do Duck eyes! Blegh.
Stand-Offish: Very shimmery light peach-pink. This is warmer and more shimmery than Stubborn, but I use them for similar purposes. This one goes well with Sexy. It's also very soft and even just tapping my brush against the surface gives me an excess of product, so it's another I have to tap off before applying. Super pigmented, though!
Sultry: Matte warm medium brown. One of the trio that ends up muddy on me. Very, very pigmented and soft, and nicely blendable, but the color isn't the best for me.
Seductive: Shimmery golden-bronze brown. The last of the uncooperative threesome, though this one works better on my skin than the other two, so long as I pair it with a beige. Fantastic texture and pigmentation!
Silly: This shade makes me angry. Look how pretty it is in the pan! It would be fantastic with Sexy for a night out. But Silly is stupid prone to fall-out. Even tapping off excess glitters doesn't prevent glitter from falling under my eyes for the next 6 hours. The glitter and the matte base just aren't bound well together, I guess, or maybe theBalm is trying to make me crazy. I wore it once, haven't touched it since (except to swatch it, above).
Sleek: Dark matte brown. Soft, gorgeously pigmented, but could be a little more blendable. I like this with Seductive; Sophisticated and Sultry are too similar for me to be able to wear them with Sleek without it turning into a big mess.

I tend to be somewhat lazy when it comes to my eye makeup, largely because I am effectively blind when applying so I can't do anything too adventurous without it becoming a giant nuclear fallout zone. I usually apply something dark in my outer corner/half, then sweep something of medium depth into my crease and finish off by patting on something light and sheeny on my lid and something matte and beige on my browbone. This palette provides a pretty nice selection of colors with which to follow that pattern, with the left 4 shades for the lid, middle 4 shades in the crease, and right 4 shades in the outer corner/as liner. Of course, Snobby is too sheer to really be worth anything on my skintone, Sophisticated and Sultry are too dark and muddy to work as crease shades, and Silly is just a piece of crap. That leaves me with 8 workable shades, which isn't bad, so I certainly can't say the palette isn't a welcome addition to my collection. One major oversight, though, is the lack of anything that could be considered a browbone shade: the inclusion of a sheer neutral beige/tan neutral would really complete the palette, since I can't use this without also pulling out my handy Inglot 352. (I do realize that what is a good browbone shade for me isn't so for everyone, but even the brown mattes here are too pigmented to really work as such for anyone, though if you find they do for you, please let me know and I will amend my opinion!) I do plan to depot the shades I like and get rid of the rest, and not just because it saves space, but also because I fucking hate this packaging.

I get that it's supposed to be cute and tongue in cheek or whatever, but I gotta say, objectification of women is not high on the list of things I want my eyeshadow to provide me, not least when all the women are thin and white––simultaneous sexism and racism! It's easy! The slim profile and big mirror, while nice, do not make up for it. It angers me every time I use the palette (I'd like my makeup vanity to be a sexism-free zone, thank you very much), so I should really just depot it already, but I'm lazy (and I shouldn't have to depot my makeup to enjoy it, damnit!). Anyways. It's a point of much frustration for me, and it definitely taints my view of the palette. Of course, you can order the Nice version from theBalm, which comes without those pictures, so I'm annoyed at Birchbox for false advertising, too. There's a lot of annoyance going on over here, y'see.

That aside, here's a couple of looks I've done!

Sultry Burgundy
Sexy in the outer 2/3, Selfish in the crease, Stubborn in inner 1/3, Sleek i-Divine Original dark blue on lower lashline

Jaundiced Yellow
Sleek in outer 2/3, Sultry in crease, Snobby on inner 1/2, Sassy patted on center. Snobby is super sheer and fades quickly, plus the whole combination made me look vaguely sickly. Good times!

In sum, I like the palette but I don't love it. I think if you're darker/don't have my weird undertones, you may find you get more use from it, since there is a pretty nice variety of warmer shades, and the quality is overall there!

$36 for 0.382 oz, available from theBalm, Birchbox, Nordstrom, and Beauty.com

Quality: 8.5
Effectiveness: 4.5
Ease of Use: 4.5
Senses: 5
Pigmentation: 4.25
Duration: 4.5
Consistency: 4.25 (some are too powdery, some are too dry, but most are perfectly workable)
Price: 2.5
Value: 4.5 (the fact that several shades look identically crappy on me brings this down to a 3.75 for me personally)
Packaging: -0.5 (not everyone will be as bothered by this as I am, though!)
Grade: B

Have you tried Nude 'Tude? Do you ever pass something up because of packaging? What's your favorite nude shadow palette?
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