Aerin Beauty Fall Style Palette: Weekend

What a befitting review to write on the weekend. The final product of my initial purchase of Aerin Beauty is the Weekend Palette. It is the pièce de résistance, the one item that ties all my other purchases together. Or is it?

For $70, you get a highlighter, a blush, and two eyeshadows housed in a chic compact. This palette is thoughtfully designed. First, this palette has it all, sans lipstick/lip gloss, so no fall out powder stuck on the lipstick/lip gloss like Bobbi Brown palettes. Having separate lipstick/gloss is not that much of a hassle and is preferable for touch ups. Second, while the colors are coordinated beautifully with each other, they are neutral enough to coordinate with your existing makeup. Third, the mirror inside the palette is nice and wide, very functional for application on the go. Finally, the comparative surface size of each items are just perfect for the intended brushes: the highlighter is arranged vertically as to fit the narrow and long foundation brush, while the blush is rather square-ish to fit your blush brush. Same idea for both eye shadow wells.

The packaging looks luxurious: I love the high shine gold with linen texture on top, it is quite beautiful to look at and very unique. The pink suede pouch is a very nice touch, reminds me of Tiffany’s pouch. Such an eye candy!

Unfortunately, consistent with other Aerin Beauty products, it only looks luxurious. It is rather lightweight and the plastic feels cheaply made. In fact, I’m having a hard time opening up my palette each time due to faulty snap mechanism. While the pouch is cute, you can’t really pull the drawstrings on top because the palette fits snugly right up to the top. It comes with a useless but obligatory sponge applicator that can be tossed right away.

The palette is made in Canada. I always wonder why an American company like Estee Lauder, have their products made in Canada. Nevertheless, the highlighter and blush are generously sized, while the two eye shadows seem like an afterthought.

Here’s a close up look into each color wells. I’ve been using the palette for two weeks now so it is no longer pristine. All of the items in this palette is rose scented ("Hmm, honey, your eyelids smell good!").

Perhaps you can see from the picture above that the highlighter’s texture is cream. I’d like to say that it’s a cream-to-powder finish but it never set on my skin. It is silicone-based type of cream, similar to Edward Bess All Over Seduction. The effect is also the same as EB: very understated, non-glittery/shimmery bronzy glow. A very office-friendly highlighter. Although it looks bronze on the pan, it goes on very sheer. It does impart some color on my NC 20 skin, so lighter-toned ladies will notice a bronzing effect while someone NC 30-35 and above would probably only notice the highlighting effect.

The blush is a sheer matte peach with minimal pink undertone. Compared to Chanel Joues Contraste Espiegle (now I wish I do a comparison swatch) it is very similar, except I much prefer the pigmentation and the texture of the JC. As the blush is matte and powder, it presents a conundrum: you normally would layer blush on top of the highlighter, but if so, the matte finish of the blush would nullify the glow underneath. So, do you use the blush first, then the cream highlighter on top (which would be incompatible texture-wise)? I don’t know, I don’t have a good solution, but I put the highlighter on first, then put the blush as a pop color on the apples of the cheeks. 

Another thing about the blush: it is quite waxy to use at first and quite hard to pick up with a brush. I thought there may be a protective overspray on top, so I brush the blush briskly with some of my coarser brush to remove it. Upon further inspection, there is no protective overcoat, the blush is just a tad waxy but improves as I take off layers from the top. I think the waxy texture affect the pigmentation as well, it goes on sheer but buildable.

One last thought about the highlighter/blush combo: as you can see on the swatch, the color is both of the same tonal quality. One is not brighter than the other, therefore when used together, they seem to blend into each other. Normally, a bright pop of blush color would offset the bronzy underneath, not so with this combo. In fact, if applied too heavy-handedly, the two can become a muddy mess on the skin. Best to apply thin layers and build up if needed.

Here are the arm swatches of the highlighter (heavy, sheer), and the blush. The effect is quite lovely and subtle in person. I used fingers to swatch the products.

Under direct sunlight, notice the low glow of the highlighter and how the highlighter and the blush are of the same tonal quality as I described above.

Under the shade with natural lighting. They are sheer.

Another look, under the shade with natural lighting.

The waxy problem is the definite deal breaker on the two eyeshadows. There are two shades: a satiny beige and a brownish bronze with golden shimmer. I cannot stress enough how hard and waxy the shadows are, I cannot even get powder on my brush to pick up. As with the blush, I did the brisk brushing and backcombing motion with some of my coarser brush to remove the top layer. No luck. Next, I resorted to cross-hatching the top with fine needle and even then only very little powder ended up on my brush.

And even with some powder on my brush, the color is extremely sheer that I could hardly see anything on my lids. I stopped short of using eye lid primer to get the shadows to show up. If practicality and ease-of-use are the goals of this palette, then using a product such as primer would defeat the purpose. It would be too much work to make this palette work! Perhaps Aerin Beauty intended for the shadows to be sheer so that women cannot overdo on colors but in this day and age, understated eye color and high pigment payoff (AND finely milled, buttery texture) are never mutually exclusive (hello Burberry eye shadows! to name a few). I’m sure many of us can find a much better, suitable alternatives to these very waxy eye shadows with poor pigment payoff.

Keep in mind, to get these swatches to show up, I have to literally scrape a bit of the powder shadow with a metal spatula and mush it on my skin. Otherwise, even vigorous finger swipe failed to produce any visible color.

Under direct sunlight.

Under the shade with natural lighting.

THM: a big pass. I’m so turned off by the quality of the eyeshadow. Yes, the compact is chic, the highlighter is lovely, but I want my money to be well-spent and there are so many other options out there to choose from. 

I’m sure you already have some peachy-toned blush in your collection, and if you haven’t gotten similar highlighter, I’d steer you towards Edward Bess and I think you’ll be more satisfied, both from the price point and performance.

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