It’s been a few years since NikkieTutorials ventured into the world of eyeshadow…and that last foray, the Power of Makeup palette with Too Faced Cosmetics, has been a dark cloud that no one can seem to get rid of completely. But recently, Nikkie announced that she was once again partnering with a makeup company to produce an eyeshadow palette, and assured her viewers that this time would be different: this time would be a chance for her to reveal the palette that her audience wants and deserves, brought to you by UK-based brand and makeup retailer Beauty Bay.
Before we even get into the review, we have to acknowledge that the pressure is really on for this Beauty Bay; if Nikkie had just collabed on a crap palette with Too Faced back in the day, it would have been the scandal du jour and faded away without much hype. But that palette took on a life of its own, and none other than drama vampire Jefferson Starship used the palette and his alleged knowledge of Nikkie’s contracts with Too Faced to garner additional clicks and revenue from his infomercial – oh sorry, I mean “docu-series” – with fellow leech Shame Flotsam. It’s become the go-to product for people to talk about when they want to reference makeup brands being shady, influencers wanting to cash in on a cheap product to make a quick buck, and whatever other makeup-related demons they feel like exorcising that day. And Nikkie herself has weighed in on the scandal (as much as her shrewd legal team will allow, of course) and claimed that the sample products she received for promotional purposes were not the same quality as those released to the public and that everything happened without her knowledge
Frankly, I don’t care who knew what, and when, and all of that shit. Too Faced has been shady for a long time, and they will continue to be shady. I’ve generally enjoyed Nikkie’s content, and I really liked the quality of the M-M-M-M-Mitchell collab palette that Beauty Bay had previously released, so I decided to give this a chance. Further, I decided to judge it on its own merits, rather than forcing a comparison with a different product from a different company that doesn’t mean shit for this release.
The NikkieTutorials x Beauty Bay palette is a 20-pan eyeshadow palette that has a french door cover design with one side decorated to represent Nikkie’s brighter, more colorful interests, and the other side showing off her darker side. There are only 8 shimmers in the palette, with the rest of the shades being matte; I think this is pretty representative of how Nikkie structures her looks, I just prefer more shimmers in a palette. Not surprisingly, there are a good number of neutral shades in here, but also quite a few pops of color and even a couple of unexpected shades (I mean, did anyone expect Nikkie, hater of green eyeshadows, to put on in her palette? Really though?!).
For the swatches, I did them over the ABH eye primer with a finger swatch on the left and a brush swatch on the right. The top picture is the swatches under my regular studio lighting with no flash, and the bottom photo is the same lighting with a flash.
L to R: Redemption, Blend & Snap!, Ivy, Slasher, 5 AM
Redemption is a bright orange matte. It sheers out a lot more than I would like, but you can get it built up with more tapping motions than swiping, just know that it has a tendency to disappear, as do a lot of the brighter colors. Blend & Snap! is a bright bubble gum pink matte, another one that can be a little sheer, though I found this one to be much more consistent than the orange. Ivy is a shimmery white metallic. It tends to be a little chunky, more with the dry brush but even with the finger, and it needed a bit of finessing to even get the level of swatch quality that we have here. I would suggest using some spray to foil this and get it to move more, though I wonder if you’ll lose some of the opacity. I need to play with this more…perhaps in an upcoming YouTube video. Slasher is a deep berry wine matte that was pretty consistent overall, maybe a little lighter around the edges, but not in a way that really worried me. 5 AM is a medium to dark warm brown matte, pretty basic, but good for darkening up your neutrals or taming some of the pops of color.
L to R: Roxy Catan, Vla, Mikai, Mila, Underground
Roxy Catan is a gorgeous pinky coral shade with bright yellow gold shimmer. This reminds me of Burnout lipstick – seriously Urban Decay, will you EVER bring that back?! It’s gorgeous as a shimmer, and this one applied fairly smoothly, though it did go on a little thicker, bordering on chunky, with the dry brush. Vla was a bit of a disappointment; it’s a bright yellow matte, and I think you’re going to need a white base to really get a lot of color from this. It builds up alright, but you can see from the finger swatch that you really need a brush to get it to apply evenly, but then you have to worry about losing the color. It’s ok, but it’s not giving me all that I hoped for seeing that lovely yellow in the pan. Mikai is a bright red matte, a little fuzzy around the edges of the swatch, but blends nicely and has pretty good color payoff. Mila is your regulation basic bitch matte tan shade. It goes on nicely and it has good coverage, but in terms of excitement, it’s a straight up yawn. Underground is an amazing taupe shimmer with little hints of pale gold shimmer in the metallic.
L to R: Plot Twist, Aura, Basic Trut, All-In, Ew
The real plot twist of Plot Twist is that it almost disappears when you apply it and really needs to be built up. Nikkie swears that it’s perfect to blend out the royal blue matte on the next row, so I’m going to play around with it and give her the benefit of the doubt, but I wasn’t impressed with this very pale blue matte. Aura, however, is a stunner: peach/pink with golden reflect, this slightly chunky shimmer applies beautifully and only needs a little work to get smoothed out. The color is gorgeous, easily my favorite shade in the palette. Basic Trut (“trut” is Dutch for “bitch”) absolutely lives up to its name: it’s the typical pale creamy beige transition/highlight shade. Nikkie mentioned that All In is an oddball shade, and I have to agree! It’s got gold and silver, hints of mauve, and a greenish sort of shift. It’s weird af, but it’s also really pretty, and a fun duochrome addition to the palette. Ew is a bright green matte, almost neon. In a lot of the promo photos it looked sort of turquoise, but it is definitely bright ass green! This is fun, but it definitely sheered out like the other brights in the palette and needed to be built up a lot. This is another shade that would benefit from a white base.
L to R: Pride, Zomer, Mama Tutorials, AmsterDamn, Mr. Tutorials
Pride is a bright pink shimmer with silver and pale blue reflect. Zomer is a bright peach matte. Mama Tutorials is another great shade, a pale blue shimmer with strong silver reflect, a little thich to apply, but eacy enough to blend out. AmsterDamn is a bright blue matte, and while it’s very pigmented, and goes on with great opacity, it’s also drier and a little more powdery than some of the other mattes. You can see how little control I had over the finger swatch. It’s a great color, and they definitely give you great payoff, but it can be messy so watch for fallout with this shade. Mr. Tutorials is a light olive brown shimmer with green reflect that is inspired by Nikkie’s finacee’s hazel eyes.
Is this palette perfect? Of course not. The light, bright mattes all struggle and tend to go on somewhat sheer and sometimes a little patchy. The shimmers are very creamy, but this can lead to a chunky application that needs time and attention to really blend out and make seamless. But is this on par with other palettes of this size and price point? Definitely. I think that it’s problems are not insurmountable, and even though it’s a little pricier than other palettes from the Beauty Bay store brand, it’s not a bad price for the quality that you get. It’s an interesting color story that has a few of the standard shades to keep the Basic Beckys from getting their heart rate up, but also has some really beautiful shades. The shimmers are the standouts for me, and I’m definitely looking forward to using them more.
I also ordered a few other palettes from the Beauty Bay line (since the only comparison I have is to another collab palette) so be on the lookout for a follow up where I review those palettes and talk about the differences between the collabs and the regular line. Personally, I think this launch was very successful. It wasn’t perfect, but I don’t expect it to be perfect. I think it’s a solid makeup product that has some things about it that I’m really going to enjoy when I get down to playing with it.
I’m sure that people will have all kinds of things to say – there are always people looking to punch up at the people on top – but for me I think that the power of makeup is in playing and creating and enjoying, and this has plenty to help me do that. And that’s all that matters.