I hope you're ready for some serious shimmer.
I've been hearing about Adept Cosmetics and their amazing shadow palettes and singles for a while, but I was hesitant to pull the trigger. Their palettes are on the expensive side, for sure, but price alone isn't enough to deter me from a product I'm really interested in. They are less expensive than a brand like Pat McGrath and it's very clear that you get more impactful shimmers and "special" shades in these palettes than you do at a much lower price.
I think what kept me away was that I had a hard time looking at the color stories and seeing how I would use it or what looks I would create. There were lots of really beautiful shades, but as someone who is less experienced with multichromes, I wasn't always sure how I could take the shades in the palette and create looks with them. Now, I'm no "one palette wonder" and I have no problem going to multiple palettes to create looks, but as I'm shopping I like to be able to at least see an idea and a direction in the group of shades. It's harder for me to do that with multichromes because I'm not as good at figuring out how the mattes and other shades are going to pair with all the colors and shifts of a truly gorgeous multichromes.
Along came Makeup By Torrence. He does some gorgeous tutorials on his channels (check him out if you haven't already!) and his looks with both the Heather Austin and House of El palettes were inspiring to me and helped me better understand how to work with these complex and interesting color stories. And those two palettes were the first two from the brand that I decided to add to my collection.
The heather Austin palette is a 12-pan palette with some gorgeous shimmers and four mattes to help with building your looks. I prefer a palette that's a little more shimmer heavy, so this was great, and I'm always in love with greens so those were a big appeal to me.
For the swatches, I did them over the Ulta Matte eye primer with a brush for the mattes and a finger for the shimmers. These shimmers are creamy, sometimes a little bit chunky/flakey, and they really apply best with a finger or a wet brush. The top photo is under my studio lighting with no flash, and the bottom photo is under the same lighting with a flash.
Video Chat is a super metallic copper orange shimmer with some really yummy red undertones. This one has a very creamy and smooth application.
Passport is a slightly chunkier shimmer with a gorgeous flip from the orchid violet base to a shimmery turquoise blue. This shade has a really lovely glittery finish.
So Excited is a really beautiful shade. Sometimes I look at it and it's a gorgeous metallic champagne taupe. But there are notes of purple and gold. In some ways, it reminds me of an old favorite MAC shadow: Trax. That shade is a plum purple with a strong golden duochrome shift. This feels like that, but the shine and the metallic is amped up, and it gives it this whole other look. I am going to be staring at this for hours trying to figure out how to best describe this shade!
0603 is a deeper plum brown with a gorgeous glitter shift of blues and purples. There's a beautiful iridescence to this that is glittery and gorgeous, and the base has a great metallic finish for lots of shine.
Magnolia is the first of the mattes, a lovely forest green that silky and smooth and blends out nicely. These mattes blend together effortlessly.
Mythology is a swampy acid green. This one was just as easy to work with as Magnolia and these two greens together are an absolutely stunning combination! The shimmers in this palettes are so good, it can be easy to overlook how amazing these mattes really are.
PA02 is a warm plum with a brownish tone. This is a great deepening shade and has a strong red undertone that works well with the copper tones of Video Chat.
Atlas is your typical medium tan brown matte. I'm a technicolor nightmare and this shade is ubiquitous and never that exciting in the makeup world, but this one performs beautifully and is just as silky and blendable as the others. It's a great shade, it's just never going to be one that really gets me panting.
Scrubs is a gorgeous multichrome shade, and it's impossible to photograph in a way that really shows it in all its glory - at least with my limited skills anyway! This shade flips from some deep red and violet undertones into a royal purple and lighter, glittery notes of blue and turquoise. This shade makes me really understand why people have been talking up Adept so much.
Hey Y'all is another shade that reminds me of Trax from MAC, even though it looks completely different than So Excited. For this one, the plummy purple base tone is much stronger and the golden shift is much richer gold and gives that yellowy gold sparkle. This is another creamy shimmer that has a gorgeous metallic finish.
Austin is one of my favorites in this palette, a multichrome shade with lots of pastel shifts. Sometimes it looks like a pearly white with a golden glitter shift, sometimes the base looks more pink, and from certain angles you get this really lovely mint green base. At more extreme angles, the glittery golden shine takes on almost a blue tone. So many pastel multichromes that I've seen have very subtle, delicate shifts - not this one! This one gives you a gorgeous range of fully realized colors.
Smith is a olive to deep forest green base with golden and sometimes almost orange highlights. This is another really stunning multichrome shade that is shifty and delicious, and I can't wait to create a dirty martini sort of look with this and the two green mattes!
The second palette I added to my collection was the House of El palette. I am a comic book nerd, and even though I'm not particularly into Superman lore, I appreciated the nerdy inspiration for this. But what sold me on it was the color story - you know I can't resist beautiful greens, and the combination with the oranges in this palette really inspired me. Once I saw the look that Makeup By Torrence created, it was game over!
This is another shimmer heavy palette, which I love, but I think that the mattes, for the most part, are well chosen. Erok-El and Mon-El can be used together to create some depth, and Kon-El is a nice mid-range matte if you just want a colorful crease and a shimmer or two on the lids. Mon-El is still fairly light, so it's hard to get much depth from this palette, but for a 9-pan palette I would rather have interesting, impactful colors that make interesting looks, and then just bring in a dark matte from somewhere else if needed. We all own all of this makeup, we have to stop acting like it will kill us to grab a deepening shade or a highlight from another palette.
Jor-El is a minty green with a pearly glitter shine, and there are definite hints of a candlelight gold. This one looks more green in the pan than it is on the eye, as the base sheers out quite a bit, but you still get a lovely, light pastel moment and the glittery shimmer is phenomenal.
Lara Van-El is a light lime green shimmer metallic with lots of golden sparkle. This is a lovely lime moment and I love the strong metallic shine on this one. This has nice opacity and is very creamy and smooth, though the formula is a little chunky, so using a little liquid or a finger to smooth it out is especially important with this. I know, smooth and chunky sound like opposites, but the chunkiness melts away with a little moisture to help it move, and the slick payoff that you get is totally worth it.
Kal-El is sort of the odd one in the bunch, a bright red base - very Superman, but seems out of place with this green, orange, peach color story. But this red is delightfully misleading: it has a strong coppery orange shift and some golden glitter flash.
Zor-El is a blackened base with red and orange and copper tones and a strong glittery finish. This one sheers out a bit, but the black base is still there to give the colors a little boost. At certain angles, you get a brassy gold and the base almost looks like a blackened green. This is one of the most interesting multichromes between the two palettes.
Alura Zor-El is a coral orange base with pink and golden glitter. On the surface it looks a bit like Kal-El, but this has a more coral pink finish, whereas Kal-El is more of a play of red and orange shiftiness.
Kara Zor-El is a pinky lavendar pastel base that has a lot of sheerness, and then just a ton of sparkle in pink and yellow gold. This is a great inner corner highlight shade and the sheerness will allow it to really morph if applied over another shade, especially a yummy pastel.
Now for the mattes! Erok-El is a light peachy matte, a little bit inconsistent on the first swipe, but extremely blendable and builds up really well.
Kon-El is a bright blue-leaning green matte, a lovely emerald that is smooth and silky.
Mon-El is a bright true orange. This shade and Kon-El are both pretty medium in tone, but you can get some great saturation and color from them. If you use a very fluffy brush you can blend it along the edges to get a sheerer application and create a small gradient.
If indie brands have taught us anything over the last few years, it's that's life is far too short for boring shimmers! If you are a matte lover, the mattes from Adept are silky and gorgeous; the formula feels fairly dry, but never chalky and they blend so effortlessly. If you like a silky, buildable matte I think you will really love these as they are a pleasure to work with.
But come on - the real stars of the show are these shimmers. These shades have such a unique collection of finishes from more of a solid metallic to a light sheer base with tons of glitter. These are so beautiful. The multichromes give you some really interesting flips and shifts, and with all of them I feel like you get a full, vivid representation of each color. Some of the newer "mainstream" multichromes have been ok, but somewhat more muted. Not these! There is a ton of color, vivid shifts, and they really perform well during application.
Life is too short for boring shimmers, and I'm kicking myself that I let these sparkling, shimmery delights from Adept Cosmetics pass me by for as long as I did. I think I'm going to be need a second look at their inventory. I can always use a little more shine in my life!