When I heard the news about the Clarins Limited Edition 'The Essentials Palette' (Boots, £35), I was almost like a girl possessed. I adore Clarins eyeshadows and find them to be some of the best, so to have a whole palette with more than the usual four or five shades, well, I was sold! Just a few days after finding out about this luxurious Clarins palette, it was in my basket and on it's way to me. I hadn't really seen any reviews, so I was going into this blind, but with the high quality of Clarins products I knew I wouldn't be disappointed. As with all Clarins products, the palette came in an exterior signature Clarins red box, with the palette neatly tucked away inside. The size of the palette is very decent, being just a smidgen bigger than the Urban Decay Naked palettes, but with larger pans and ten shades housed within. The palette itself isn't in the usual gold casing of Clarins products, but a fairly sturdy cardboard casing with a lovely chocolate, red, taupe and gold stripped colour theme on the outer packaging and a compact mirror on the inside. The packaging is OK; it's sturdy and light-weight, great for travelling, and it's held together with firm elastic, as it doesn't feature a magnetic close so needs something to keep it from opening whenever it pleases. But there's a feature to the packaging on the inside which I really don't like; the shadows and dual ended brush this palette comes with, are cased inside plastic packaging. To me this takes away some of the luxury of the palette and of a Clarins product overall, and I hope if they make more palettes like this in the future that they will have better packaging for the entire palette, opposed to a nice outer packaging and cheap inner packaging.
The shades are just absolutely stunning; I think the shade selection is perfect. A lot of people have compared this palette to the Naked palettes but personally, I think they are very different. Perfectly named, The Essentials Palette really does have all the essentials for a multiple of looks and needs and the shades are beautiful, rich and deep, but with a natural depth to them that sometimes, the shades in the Naked palettes lack. There's a lovely variety of finishes in the palette; matte, satin and pearl, and each is a dream to work with. Let's delve into the shades, shall we? There's no specific shade names, so we'll work from left to right, lightest to darkest.
The first half of the palette is mostly pale, natural and highlight shades.
Shade # 1 is a lovely pale, yellow-toned beige with a super-soft buttery formula and satin finish. The pigmentation isn't the best on this one, so a primer is a must, but I love it for an inner-corner highlight to brighten my eyes and it's subtle enough to use lightly swept across the brow bone.
Shade # 2 is a super pretty opalescent white, with flecks of pink pearl running through it. Much better in pigmentation than the first shade, this is also great for an inner-corner highlight.
Shade # 3 is a very pale taupe with a frost finish, one of the most used shades in the palette for me, I love this for all over the lid.
Shade # 4 is a matte brown shade that has the warmth of peach running through it and works lovely for a simple wash of colour over the lids when used alone, or perfect for adding definition in the crease on those 'no-makeup' makeup days.
Shade # 5 is a deeper taupe than shade 3, with shots of silver running through it, which catches the light beautiful. Another frost finish, with great colour pay-off.
The second half of the palette is where the shades start to really fit the bill for this time of year and the shades I naturally gravitate towards.
Shade # 6 is a gorgeous warm copper toned brown with a frost finish and incredible colour pay-off. This looks beautiful teamed with any shadow from the palette, and I love the way it brings out my deeper, darker brown eyes.
Shade # 7 is darker brown, almost like chocolate with undertones of deep plum and a frost finish. It's a stunning shade and beautiful worked through the crease, the pigmentation is incredible!
Shade # 8 is another taupe shade with a dreamy frost finish, but with much better pigmentation than the two paler taupe shades in the palette. It's soft enough to be used for day time looks, but built up can easily transform a look from day to night.
Shade # 9 is a really gorgeous warm rose gold shade, with a frost finish. Another one of my most-used shades in the palette
Shade # 10 is the perfect mix between brown, moss and olive. With amazing colour pay-off, this stunning shade with a frost finish completes the palette perfectly.
A must-have palette? I think so.
Apologies for the finger mark on the mirror!