With the rise of interest in indie makeup brands as well as some really interesting content coming from smaller creators in the YouTube beauty space, it was only a matter of time before someone decided to capitalize on that anti-makeup-establishment energy and create a collab. That collab came about 4 months ago when indie brand Midas Cosmetics teamed up with commentary YouTuber Smokey Glow on an eyeshadow palette, highlighters, and glosses, and the products have been in high demand since their launch.
The palette is an 18-pan collection of pinks, purples, and neutrals that is right on trend with similar color stories like the Natasha Denona Love palette. There is also a highlighter duo and three glosses. From what I recall of the initial launch the collections sold out in less than an hour (I think quite a bit less, but I can’t remember for sure), and they’ve restocked once or twice to similarly brisk sales. I was finally able to get my grubby hands on them on the last restock and decided to take them for a test drive. I have another palette from Midas, the High Times palette, and while I haven’t had much chance to play with it, I thought it was pretty decent.
First let’s take a look at the main star of the collection: the eyeshadow palette.
For the swatches, I followed my typical routine: swatches are done over the ABH eye primer with a finger swatch on the left and a brush swatch on the right. The top photo is under my studio lights with no flash; the bottom photo is the same lighting, with a flash.
L to R: Basic, Friends, Jump Cut
Basic is…well, probably the best name for this shade. It’s a basic matte white. It’s not the best matte white I’ve seen, but it’s not terrible. Definitely middle of the road, and can be built up fairly easily. It has a nice soft texture, so this is a great option for blending out and lightening other colors. Friends is a pretty light peach shimmer, very reflective and applies beautifully. Jump Cut is a gorgeous orangey peach matte, nice and vibrant. I really like this shade, and I think it’s a great pop of brightness, and it pairs gorgeously with the peach shimmer next to it.
L to R: Group Chat, Rose, Leno
Group Chat is a really pretty pink shimmer with a silvery flash to it. A little bit sheer, but there is some base color to it. You could use it alone, but might look better over another shadow. Rose is a cool-toned raspberry pink, very 80s, very matte, and very pigmented. Leno is a purple shimmer with blue duochrome finish. Think Urban Decay’s Asphyxia. This is a pretty good interpretation of this staple duochrome shade, and the performance is great.
L to R: Nutty, Colleague, Warrior
Nutty is a pale pink or lavender base with a greenish/bluish duochrome flash. Very light, great for highlighting and putting over another shadow to transform it. It’s a nice shade, but if you are only interested in this color, I think Good Gawd from JD Glow is a pretty good dupe. It is a great addition to the palette, though. Colleague is a bright Barbie pink, a little patchy at times, but buildable. Warrior is a bright popsicle red matte, pretty good pigmentation and I didn’t have any major problems building it up or blending it out.
L to R: Vote, Instagram Model, Amaziiing
Vote is a matte, medium brown, a little boring but a nice shade for blending things out, or darkening the crease on lighter skin tones. It’s a good neutral option (but I’m a big drag queen, so “good neutral options” will never truly impress me!). Instagram Model is a deep champagne shimmer, almost light bronze. It’s a little chunky with a brush, but with a finger or some setting spray, it lays down beautifully. Amaziiing is a deep wine shade, sort of a satin finish. I think ti’s supposed to be matte, but I find a lot of the mattes in this palette to be more satin – there was nothing on the packaging to indicate if this was on purpose or not. I don’t mind a more satin finish, but it’s something to be aware of: if you are looking for totally matte mattes, this might not be the palette for you.
L to R: Hello!, Half Pony, *A Rant*
Hello is a bright pastel pink with a lot of silvery shimmer. Half Pony is a deep brown matte that is almost perfectly neutral. If you cover up the champagne shade and look at it with the pink, it looks more cool-toned; if you cover up the pink, it looks much warmer and more chocolately. This is a great shade to pair with any of the shades in this palette. *A Rant* is a bright buttercream shimmer, very yellowy and gorgeous. It was a little flakier than some of the other shimmers, but I love the color payoff.
L to R: Cold Brew, Content, Dofa
Ok, I lied: Cold Brew would have been the perfect shade to call Basic. I am bored as fuck by cream matte shades in palettes, and this one is a perfect example of why. It might be a little bit different in that t seems to have a little bit more of a yellowy tint to it (like New York Vanilla ice cream compared to regular Vanilla), but it’s a little dusty and busted. Again, I know that I am not the target customer for this shade, so if you love it then I’m very happy for you. Me, I’m bored. Content is a bright orchid violet satin that is very pigmented but had a little trouble with patchiness. It’s easy enough to work through though – definitely not a lost cause! Dofa is one of my favorite shades of the palette, a charcoal black base but with a really nice red reflect glitter (similar to Black Tied by MAC). It’s got a nice presence and I think it’s an excellent choice for the palette.
For me, if you are trying to decide between this palette and the Natasha Denona Love palette, I personally think this one is the better choice. Using Theresa Is Dead’s code GARBAGE, I was able to get the whole PR kit (which includes the palette, glosses, and highlighters) for $60, $5 less than the Love palette alone. I find these shades to be more saturated, and the shimmers and duochromes are more rich and interesting. Now that I think of it, I’m not sure if the Love palette is even still available, but if it isn’t, you don’t need to get FOMO: this palette is a very similar vibe and is a little cheaper and overall a better option.
Speaking of the glosses, there were three in this collection:
Before we get to the swatches, I do have to say that the packaging was a bit of a letdown – this is total generic, white-label style packaging if I’ve ever seen it. The plastic is fairly lightweight, the edges are poke-y if not actually sharp, and the caps feel particularly flimsy. The doe foot applicators are weirdly pointy and have no flexibility, and I didn’t find them at all comfortable or enjoyable to use. But enough bitching, let’s look at the shades.
Ok, let’s just once again acknowledge that not all products are for me, and that’s just fine. To me, Never Dull is the Basic of the glosses. It’s a nice pink-infused nude with a subtle gold shimmer, and it’s a nice option for adding a sheer wash of shine and glitter over for favorite nude lipstick, but there’s just nothing super impactful about it.
Now, Sparkle On is much more my style! This is another fairly sheer gloss, but it has a ton of purple and gold sparkle! If you’re from the Minnesota area you might be worried (or excited, depending on how you feel) that this would give it Vikings vibes, but the colors actually contrast and play off each other enough to build visual interest without looking like clownery.
Hi Friends is a bright coral red, lots of pigmentation. You can definitely wear this on its own and get a beautiful wash of color, or pair it with a lipstick, but be aware that this color is very pigmented, so it’s best paired with something in a similar shade, maybe a little lighter or darker, but not do different that it appears patchy where it shows through the glass. This is a great color, and I love a deeply pigmented gloss.
Finally, the collection also included a small palette with two highlighters.
They are both a powder formula, but the pink shade, Slayyy, is a much creamier formula (it reminds me a lot of the Natasha Denona highlighters that sort of squish around in the pan, like the gold duo that they put out around Christmas).
Slayyy is a pale pink with silvery shimmer. It’s a lot lighter than I thought it would be looking at it in thepan, but it’s also more sheer than I anticipated. This is the option for those who want a subtle, “wet look” kind of glow. It’s pretty, but I would use this as a base for blending my blush into my highlight and then hit it with a much more blinding option.
Yasss is a golden highlighter that is a drier formula and much more impactful. It’s still a little more subtle than I usually like, but I’m an absolute clown when it comes to highlight, so there is that. The gold is also pretty brassy, so it is a better match for warmer-toned looks.
So final thoughts? I think it’s a pretty good collection, and you definitely get your money’s worth. The eyeshadow palette is the clear standout in the collection. If you use an affiliate code, you can get the whole PR box collection for only $60, but if you were unsure about the highlighters or the glosses, those are pretty easily skippable. They exist in that middle space where if you have them, they perform and you can easily get your money’s worth out of them, but if you don’t get them you aren’t missing anything revolutionary. Just depends on how you want to spend your money. But that palette is pretty bangin’ and I think I might do a comparison trying to create similar looks on different eyes using this and the Love palette.
Overall, I think the quality of this collab is pretty legit, and Midas is a brand to keep your eyes on. Also, I think the “vibe” of this collab is pretty great: I mean I get that it’s still a brand working with an influencer to try to attract their followers to support the brand (that’s pretty much what all collabs are, and I don’t think it has to be bad!), but this pairing doesn’t has the same impersonal slickness that I feel when major brands collab with larger influencers. It’s still a collection of products, yes, but it has the flavor of the person who helped create it, the way that they use makeup and the products that they actually enjoy.
I’ve been feeling some collab burnout the last couple of years, but this is the kind of collection that reignites my interest. If brands can keep up this sort of energy, it’s definitely going to lead to way more Yasss than Pass!