Another day, another drama!
When Jeffree Star announced part 2 of his collaboration with Morphe, including a 30-pan artistry palette, people were a little surprised considering that JStar’s own brand is known for their high quality, high performance, higer price point eyeshadows. I’ll include the reveal video below so you can watch the whole thing if you want, or you can skip to the quote that seems to have fueled the latest made up scandal in the beauty community: at 2:58, Jeffree says
- When me and Morphe were talking about what I wanted to create, I wanted to create an eyeshadow palette. And a lot of them were like, “Really? Jeffree Star Cosmetics, you kill the eyeshadow game. Blood Sugar, Blue Blood, Jawbreaker.” Like, I’m doing my own thing. But I really wanted to bring the Jeffree Star experience to a different price point. And I could never do this unless I collabed with another brand. So, we all know that I live, and I know how to make an eyeshadow, but Morphe? They really kill it on makeup too, and their eyeshadows are unreal.”
I think the exact wording of this is important, because wherever Jeffree Star goes, controversy is sure to follow, and this collab release is no different. There were a lot of people who were claiming that this was just a cash grab (which, on a deeper level, isn’t that kind of true of every product, ever – people only make it because they think people will buy it…with their cash?!) and that Jeffree Star was claiming that this was going to be the same as his brand, and they were disappointed that the formula wasn’t the same quality as products from his own brand.
Listen, Jeffree said that he wanted to bring the “Jeffree Star experience” to a different price point, but he is also very clear that this is not his own formula – that’s why he points out that he could only do this with another brand, and he brings up the fact that he loves Morphe and their eyeshadow formula. It’s not that you are getting the exact same thing as you would get from a product from his line, but rather that he worked with Morphe to create a product that would have a similar look and feel to something from his brand (hence the pink and holographic silver packaging, a mirror in the palette, the selection of shades, etc.) but in a Morphe formula and using their manufacturing techniques.
And isn’t that what a collab should be: combining the style of the collab artist with the products from the base brand? I actually really liked the design of the palette, and I think the pink packaging is a nice compromise between the colorful nature of Jeffree’s own brand while being a little less intricate and easier/cheaper to manufacture. I like that the palette stands out from the other palettes made by Morphe, something they’ve done for all of their collabs (even Jame Charles’ palette, which has the same base component of their other 39-pan palettes, has his glossy, embossed signature across the cover).
Enough with the invented drama – let’s talk about the collab!
As I mentioned above, this is part 2 of the collab, and it features the 30-pan Artistry palette, a 10-piece brush collection, and a new scent of the Morphe setting spray. Part one of the collab was a 7-piece brush set and also a 3-pack of blending sponges. I didn’t pick up the sponges (I’m thinking about trying a couple of the Real Techniques sponges like the really large size and the microfiber sponge, but I don’t have any need to buy other general use sponges ever since I found the $1 sponges on Shop Miss A – they are bomb!) but I have all of the other products.
I do have both sets of brushes from the JStar collab; the top picture is the first set, a 7-piece collection of both eye and face brushes, and the bottom picture is the second set, a 10-piece set of all eyebrushes. The first collection had pink metallic faceted handles while the second set had pink painted wood handles with pink chrome ferrules; in both set, the pink fibers are synthetic and the white fibers are natural hair. The newer collection does have three repeats from the first collection, the three shown on the left side of the photo (the JS4, JS5, and JS7), that are done in the new wood-handled brush style.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time on these. They are Morphe brushes. If you like Morphe brushes, you will like these brushes. If you hate Morphe brushes, you will probably hate these too. Morphe is a low cost brush manufacturer, so if you buy these expecting them to perform like high end brushes you have no one to blame but yourself. I don’t really do brush reviews on this site for two reasons. First, I’m not a makeup artist or a brush expert, so I don’t feel like I have the language to really talk about how they are made, how to use them, etc. I know how I do my face and how I use them, but I don’t think that will translate well enough into words to make it actually useful to a reader. Second, brushes are tools, and as with most tools for any type of project, it’s often more about how you use the tool than the tool itself. I’ve known queens that can take janky kid’s art brushes from Michaels and Dollar Tree makeup and paint a fucking masterpiece on their mug, while I’ve got enough cash sunk into makeup and brushes that I could have probably bought a small used sedan (not joking) and I struggle to beat this ratchet face into something presentable.
I like these brushes. I think they are cute and pink and girly.
I also bought two cans of the Set & Refresh Mist with the new Star-Berry scent. I’m not sure what a Star-Berry is, but my guess is that it’s something made out of pink Pez and a bunch of chemicals that might be giving me cancer. I do like the Morphe setting spray, which is why I bought two cans (I go through setting spray like crazy!), but this smell is not great. It’s not terrible, but it’s not great. In the video, Nate says that the scent reminds him of strawberry Pez, and there is a little bit of that fake strawberry candy kind of smell, but there is definitely an undertone behind the fragrance that is just kind of chemical and not entirely pleasant. I sprayed some from both bottles to make sure that this smell was consistent, and it was. It’s not terrible, and I checked over the ingredients and there is nothing that causes me any concerns so I’m definitely still going to use it, but I feel like they missed the mark with the scent. In the future, I’ll stick to the original setting spray.
All right, let’s move on to the bad bitch, non-commital: the 30-pan Jeffree Star x Morphe Artistry palette.
I think the packaging is cute, I love the pink and holo vibe, and I love that there is a mirror on the lid and the shade names on the palette – why can’t we just do that going forward, huh Morphe?! I generally like cardboard palettes between than other types of packaging, and this one feels like nice quality and the magnet closure is pretty good. But ain’t nobody here to talk about magnets, so let’s get to the swatches!
The swatches are all done over a primer (The Crayon Case Eye Glue Stick) with a finger swatch on the left and a brush swatch on the right. The top photo is my studio lighting with no flash, and the bottom photo is the same lighting with a flash.
L to R: Welcome, Back, To, My, Channel, Wand Noise
Overall, I think the shades in this palette perform on par with most Morphe palettes. Welcome is a bright pearl white shimmer, a little chunky with a brush, but that should even out if you wet it because the finger swatch didn’t really have the same problem. Even without wetting the brush you can get pretty good coverage. Back is a muted pink matte, a little dustier and almost leaning toward mauve. To is a pale pink shimmer, with the same sort of performance as Welcome. My is a light bubblegum pink; both Back and My look much lighter in the pan than they actually swatched. They are also fairly similar. There are definitely differences between Welcom and To, and Back and My, but not enough to really justify having all of these shades in the palette. It would have been more interesting to flesh out some options to go with the greens at the bottom of the palette, or maybe bring in some other, more vibrant colors. Channel is a burnt orange matte that’s kind of interesting for a more neutral shade. Wand Noise is a really nice blood orange shimmer, very smooth and consistent.
L to R: Lynn, 1985, Mogul, Self-Made, Dog Mom, Honest Truth
Lynn is your basic white girl browbone highlight, a matte bone shade, yawn-inducing but it performs nicely. 1985 is a baby pink matte, sort of muted, a little inconsistent with the finger but looks great with a brush. Mogul is a bright, violet purple – very smooth and consistent! Purples can be tough, and this shade is an example of what he meant about bringing the JStar experience to Morphe because this applies really nicely. Self-Made is a violet-adjacent fuchsia pink, also very clear and consistent. Dog Mom is a peachy champagne shimmer. Honest Truth is a peachy nude matte, a little grabby with the primer underneath, but not unworkable.
L to R: Designer Label, Mr. Diva, Boss Angeles, Pink Fleet, Calabasas, Don’t Know Her
Designer Label is a bright champagne shimmer, very nice coverage and a buttery feel. Mr. Diva is a peachy tan matte, didn’t really like the primer that I had but not bad, can definitely be worked into submission. I suggest a patting motion to apply and then blending the edges rather than dragging the color if you use a tacky primer base. Boss Angeles is a warm, deep terra cotta. Pink Fleet is a matte very blue-toned pink, almost electric violet. Calabasas is a matte mulberry shade, needed a little building but blends out nicely. Don’t Know Her is a shimmer pink metallic, very blue-toned like Pink Fleet.
L to R: Rolls With It, Millions, Girrl, What’s The Tea, Vroom Vroom, Custom Rims
Rolls With It is another champagne shimmer, a little cooler and more on the taupe side than Designer Label. Millions is a pressed glitter, a pretty gold but still a pressed glitter so it can fuck right off. For real. Girrrl is a bright orange copper shimmer. What’s the Tea is a weird mossy brown that hit the primer and freaked the fuck out. I don’t know what happened exactly, but it turned all kinds of weird colors! Vroom Vroom is a cool-toned grayed brown matte. Custom Rims is a shimmery silver metallic, and bonus points for staying bright and shiny. Most silvers will look that color in the pan and then darken into more of a gunmetal sort of color when applied, but this stays nice and bright.
L to R: Glam Rapids, Wake & Bake, Nate, Drive Thru, Hi Dude!, Fast Lane
Glam Rapids is a light yellow gold shimmer. It’s a lovely gold, and a reason for that awful pressed glitter not to exist! Wake & Bake is a swampy green that stuck to the primer and got weird, kind of like that brown in the previous row. I would suggest patting this one as well, or setting your primer. Nate is a bright blue-toned green, a little patchy with a finger swatch but the brush swatch was workable and blended out fairly well. It’s one of the drier mattes in the palette, which tend to make them grab the primer, but you can work with it. Drive Thru is a brassy olive-toned gold shimmer. Hi Dude! is a deep chocolately brown matte. Fast Lane is a matte black, pretty pigmented and buildable.
So what do I think about these shadows? I think they are overall pretty good. Are they the same quality as Jeffree Star Cosmetics’ shadows? No, of course not. But I think they are on par, even a bit better, than Morphe’s typical formula. The collab palettes from Morphe tend to be better than their usual palettes, and this is in the same sort of league as the James Charles or the Jaclyn Hill white palette. A lot of the people that I see swatching it and complaining about the quality are people who are putting a finger in one time and just dragging it across their bare arm with no primer. I’m not going to tell anyone how to do their swatches – you do you boo – but there is no way any of those people are putting a bare finger into a matter shadow and finger-banging it onto their eye with one pass. Not gonna happen. Swatches are never going to be a perfect comparison to ho things work on the eyes, but it’s helpful if you try to at least replicate the way that you would apply it to your eye.
That’s why I always swatch over primer. Yes, I understand that not everyone does use or even wants to use primer, but I do. Since I am the one doing the swatch, and since I need to be able to compare the performance of the swatch to my experience with how things tend to apply on the eye, then it makes sense for me to follow the same steps as I would on my eyes. That way I can make the comparisons based on my own experiences not only with the palette but with other palettes that might have similar colors or formulations. I generally using swiping motions as that is how I prefer to apply eyeshadow, but I recognize that there are times where a different application technique might work better, and I try to call that out. I feel like there are a lot of people who just like to bash either JStar or Morphe, and if it was warranted then I would say, “Bash away!” But this is a decent palette. Some of the shades are a big repetitive, and there are way more light creamy, pinky, champagne kind of shades than I need so I think the color story overall could have been improved, but I think he’s right that this is in line with the Jeffree Star experience, it’s a good price point, and it gives you some compelling options as well as some standard “building block” shades.
What do you think about this collab? Are you living for these colors, or are you going to pass and thirst for the next JStar release instead? What products did you pick up, or are there some you’ve waited on to see some reviews? Which shade in the palette is your favorite? Let me know all of your thoughts in the comments below!
As for me, I’m going to add this to my collection of Morphe products. I don’t think I’ll reach for it all of the time, but I’m not sad that I picked it up. It’s pink, it’s colorful, and it performs. What else do I need? Less drama, more pigment!