Before we get into the review let me spill a little tea…. Last week I made possibly the greatest discovery of my blogging career! Beauty bloggers take a ton of product and swatch photos. And if you want to stand out amongst the sea of competitors, you need to take eye catching photos. I’m always struggling to find different backgrounds so that I’m not always using the same thing. A lot of bloggers/YouTuber’s use those big ass vinyl backdrops with the 6 foot polls. But fuck that. I don’t need some big bulky set up. I don’t have the space and I don’t stay in one spot when taking photos. I follow the sun.
So the other day I came upon this etsy store that sells 2ft x 2ft vinyl backgrounds with thousands of different designs and they’re less than $10 each!
***UPDATE- after they saw my post on ig, they made a 30% off code for us: ANGELAMARY (non-affil)***
It’s called Swanky but I’ve linked it here so that you don’t have to hunt. They actually sell backgrounds in all different sizes (12in x 12in, 3ft x 3ft, 5×7 etc) but for blogging purposes, 2×2 is perfect! Vinyl is a flimsy, fabric like material. So for flat lays you can lay them on the floor or a table. For swatches you can hang or tape them to the wall but I prefer clamping them to a piece of poster board.
Yes I’m using chip clips. What of it? Then you can just prop the poster board against a wall or use an easel. And then when you’re done, you roll or fold them up and violà!
This isn’t an ad btw. I found the store myself and ordered, they didn’t approach me. I’m just excited af because this product is a total game changer for me and I figured that it might benefit you as well! On to the review…
Milan Rowe is a new indie brand from Florida and I believe that they’re black owned but don’t quote me on that. Their first product release was liquid lipsticks and the second was this eyeshadow palette. According the website, it features 7 soft matte shades and 3 buttery highly pigmented foil shades and 2 shimmer shades. I disagree with this assessment slightly but we’ll get into that a little later. The palette is vegan, talc free, cruelty free, gluten free and paraben free! The packaging is pretty standard. Thin cardboard with magnetic closures and a mirror. The placement of the shadows is a little unusual, which will probably trigger OCD in some of you. The pans are full sized (.05 oz each) and the palette was made in the US.
The brand sent the palette over a few weeks ago and I’ve been using it constantly so I feel very well prepared for this review. I’ve got a LOT of makeup so if I use one palette consistently for weeks, that’s really saying something! But as much as I’ve been loving it, I don’t think that it’s going to be the palette for everyone. Firstly it’s not a palette that I would recommend for beginners. Not that you need to be an expert or anything. It’s not difficult to use per say but the three glittery shades should really be used with a glitter glue and the mattes are very pigmented and require a light touch. If you like makeup enough to be on a beauty blog reading this review then I’m sure that you can handle it.
Let’s start with the shimmers. There’s 5 in total with two different formulas. Here’s where I disagree with the website. They’re calling Poison, Wink and Fantasy ‘foiled’ shadows. Imo those three are pressed pigments and the other two shades, Flawless and Destiny, are foiled. Flawless is a warm golden bronze and Destiny is a blackened emerald green. They have a fairly dense, lightly creamy formula with excellent pigmentation. They apply well with a brush and don’t crease (at least on me). Very nice, easy to use shadows.
The other three are very sparkly with larger pigment particles that are loosely pressed in the pans. Aka pressed pigments. Shadows like this are my favorite. They’re super dramatic and so damn pretty if you them right. I recommend using pressed pigments the same you’d use a loose pigment: with a glitter glue. Fantasy is a gorgeous mixture of blue, purple, pink and teal with a very flaky texture that doesn’t adhere well to a brush. But if you lay down a tacky base and use your ring finger to gently tap the product on to your lid, you’ll get a gorgeous look with (hopefully) minimal fall out.
Poison is a super glittery, bright yellow gold. It’s not as chunky as the other two so it applies pretty well with a brush but I would still use a glitter glue for maximum intensity and to prevent fall out. Lastly Wink is a peachy pink with a gold shift. It’s not as loosely pressed as Fantasy but if you start jabbing at it with a brush, it’ll get crumbly. Just use your fingers! Remember when the original huda rose gold palette came out and people were fucking outraged at the suggestion that they apply the shimmers with their fingertips? Like it was barbaric or something. Wash your hands first and it’ll be aight. 😁
Onto the mattes… they’re very soft with a good bit of kick up and excellent pigmentation. Think Anastasia Modern Renaissance mattes. I love this type of formula but it’s not for everyone. The only shade that I found to be excessively powdery is Twinkle, the soft pinky coral. It’s such a gorgeous color with nearly opaque color pay off in one light layer and it blends out with minimal effort. But there’s just a ton of kick up, even when barely tapping the brush onto the pan. It doesn’t negatively impact the performance, imo but I feel like I’m wasting product, if that makes any sense. The rest of the mattes had some kick up too but not to the same level as Twinkle.
Also because I’m so fair, Twinkle is my only option as a transition shade. It works perfectly with all of the other shades in the palette and I find it to be a flattering color so I like using it. But I wish that Vanity was a lighter orange so that I’d have a second shade that would work as a transition color.
Vanity, Runway and Diva are midtoned shades perfect for adding definition to the crease. Diva is the perfect burgundy. If you use it sparingly and blend well, it buffs out to a dark pink color. But if you stamp the product into position and blend gently, it maintains it’s intensity.
I would consider Forbidden, X Rated and Faded to be dark mattes. X Rated in particular looks a lot darker on my skin than it does in the pan. That’s not a bad thing, just an observation. X Rated is a more cool toned, deep brown with slightly mauvey undertones. Like a darker version of MUG vintage. Faded is a deep red brown. And lastly Forbidden is a deep plum. All of the mattes blend easily with minimal fading. To prevent fallout, I’ve gotten in the habit of ‘stamping’ the color where I want it to be the most intense and then very gently softening the edges.
This is one of those rare palettes where I love every shade. The inclusion of the blue duochrome and deep emerald adds some versatility to the mostly warm toned color story. Matte formulas are highly subjective and I happen to love soft mattes but I know that other people will feel differently. Same goes with the pressed pigments. I’m obsessed with them but a lot of people don’t feel like messing with a glitter glue and using their fingers. Hopefully this info will help you to decide whether or not this a palette that you’ll enjoy. This and Nabla’s Secret palette are my two favorite palettes so far this year. I would love to see Milan Rowe release another palette just like this one but with different colors!