A confession: I’ve been using the same L’Oreal eyeshadow set for the past…many years. It has four colors, one of which (a sparkly champagne) I used quickly, and two that I now use regularly. It does not inspire much creativity by now. It does not make me excited to play with makeup in the morning. It’s now gone. Goodbye, L’Oreal Mila Kunis palette, you’ve done your job admirably, but there’s a new shadow set in my drawers. Well, two new sets.
Review: Etude House So Hot Play vs. So Chic Play Eye Shadow Palettes
I wasn’t intending to buy the Etude House Limited Edition So Hot Play and So Chic Play palettes. Granted, I had seen great reviews and the colors awakened something creative in me that had been tamped down since high school, but my priority these days has been care for my wrecked skin. When I saw the HonestSkin grand opening sale happening a few weeks ago, which offered the So Hot Play palette for under $16 plus a very reasonable shipping fee, my resolve snapped and I decided to go for it.
I’m glad I did. The shipment arrived carefully packaged with all of the pans intact 26 days after I placed my order. My first reaction to the bright red was “what am I going to do with that?” but it has turned out to be my go-to cosmetic for testing cleansers. The rest of the colors are exactly in my “dramatic and/or glittery at all times” comfort zone.
When swatching the So Hot Play colors and using them I was impressed that Etude House managed to include the well-pigmented shadows and the tiny multicolored super sparkly effect that I associate with high-end brands. After years in an eye shadow desert I reached an oasis and I couldn’t stop drinking the water.
I decided to order the So Chic Play palette on impulse, since I worried that if I delayed it would no longer be available. By the time I made my purchase, I could only find So Chic Play for a reasonable price on Amazon (eBay has since been restocked), for which I conveniently had a gift certificate. Amazon is not always a go-to place for the best deals on Korean cosmetics, but when one has a gift card and Prime Shipping, what the hell why not. This time my package took just a few days to arrive, not weeks. The packaging left something to be desired, but the box and pans of shadow were intact.
The qualities of the shadows range from smooth and pigmented mattes to slightly softer mattes with sparkles to fairly flaky 100% shimmer shadows. One thing to keep in mind is that the light colors will act like magnets on the nearby darker colors, of course. I wish Etude House had grouped the light colors together to prevent the smoking up of the silvery/white shadow, for example, but I get that some differentiation makes the palette prettier in promotional photos.
My Choice: So Hot Play
I’m pretty sure that part of the reason the So Chic Play collection sold out so quickly is due to its resemblance to the Urban Decay Naked3 palette, a collection of gorgeous, rich neutrals. The So Chic colors are all wearable at all times of the day, making this a collection that I’d give to a friend looking to start wearing eye shadow, but not necessarily yet a technique master or a beauty junkie who can’t justify the Naked3 price tag. In contrast, the So Hot Play is saddled with a bright red that is simply impractical for most faces. I tried to get creative and wore the bright red to the office one day and I swear that one of my co-workers not only refused to make eye contact with me that day, but every day since.
I now have 20 new eyeshadows. The first order of business is primer. I’m using Etude House’s Proof 10 Eye Primer that I picked up on sale. It’s thinner than the Urban Decay Potion Primer and dries faster. I find myself missing the superior staying power of the Urban Decay version from time to time, but I’m going to use the Etude House primer for now because it’s usually up to the job.
The next issue is what to do with my newfound wealth of color and sparkle. Since I haven’t had so much fun eyeshadow since I plowed babysitting money into every beauty aisle in a twenty mile radius of my house in high school, I decided to throw it way back to my god of beauty, the man who defined makeup for me as a pleasurable, creative art: Kevyn Aucoin. The world has lost Kevyn since the time he published my favorite book on makeup, Making Faces, but his spirit lives on in his photos, watercolor tutorials, and the faces he made for some of the most fabulous people on earth.
I think that the most important thing I learned by reading this book to shreds as a young woman is that makeup is not something inherently feminine or masculine. Nor should love of makeup be something shameful or dismissed. Kevyn Aucoin wasn’t big on rules–but he was a fan of creative play. And that’s the best part of having a whole lot of pretty, good quality eye shadows with which to play. Etude House So Play Eyes is aptly named.
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Where to find the Etude House So Chic Play palette: sold out
Which Etude House limited edition palette is your favorite? And any recommendations for great eye primers? Give me a yell in the comments below!
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