Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Sleek Au Naturel Palette Review and Swatches and Sigma E35 Tapered Blending Brush First Impressions

Today my order from arrived in the post. I ordered the Sleek Au Naturel i-divine palette and a Sigma E35 Tapered blending brush. These are two items i've been wanting for forever, I've been hmmming and hawing about the palette since it came out because I have so many neutural eyeshadows including Urban Decay's Naked palette and I just didn't think I needed it, but I saw a few swatches on other blogs recently and decided it was different enough from my naked palette to warrant me buying it! I've wanted the E35 brush for the past year, but any time I've gone to order it from the site it's been out of stock, so hooray! I finally have it! 

Sleek Au Naturel i-Divine Palette

The picture above is of the outside of the palette, thought i'd stick a picture of it in the post, as Sleek have changed their packaging recently, and I have to say, while I had no problems with the old look, I do prefer this new look more, it looks neater and less in your face.

Au Naturel Palette Shades

The shades in the palette are a mix of light and dark shades, made up of mostly beige, browns and purple shades. There are 8 matte shades and 4 shimmer shades. As usual, the shadows are buttery smooth and really easy to blend. Sleek have also got rid of the 'waffle' design on their shadows and they are now just pressed flat, and there seems to be less fall out with these compared to their other shadows that I own.

Left Side Of Palette

So the photo above is of the left hand side of the palette, the descriptions of the shades are from left to right, starting with the top row:

Nougat a matte white shadow. Feels really creamy and easy to blend. Pigmentation isn't great in this one.

Nubuck is a  matte grey shadow with the slightest lilac undertone to it. Again a really buttery consistency, but not very pigmented at all.

Cappuccino a light beige matte shadow. Great flesh coloured all over lid colour. This one is lacking in pigmentation also.  

Conker a shimmery brownish purple. This is a beautiful colour, one of my favourites.Amazing colour payoff with this one.

Moss is not the deep green colour you would expect. It is more of a brown shadow with a hint of shimmery olive green thrown in, still very beautiful and another of my favourites in the palette. Great pigmentation here too.

Bark a lovely deep matte brown. Great pigmentation, perfect for smudging along lash lines and to deepen the crease, great payoff.

Swatches of left side of palette

I know in the swatches it looks like I have only swatched the darker shades on the left side of the palette, but i assure you that above the shades that are visible, I really heavily swatched Nougat, Nubuck and Cappuccino and they just did not show up at all. So what you can see on the bottom are from left to right Conker, Moss and Bark. Cant tell you how disappointing the lighter colours in this palette are turning out to be.

Onto the right half of the palette...

Right half of palette

Again descriptions and names will be from left to right, starting with the top row.

Honeycomb is a matte beige shade (though it looks white in the photo) it's a little yellower toned than cappuccino. The pigmentation on this one is a little better than the other light matte shades, but still nothing to shout about.

Toast is a peachy, orangey matte shadow. I cant see myself using this one all that much as I think it may be a bit too orange for my pale Irish skin, but i'd say this would be a great all over lid colour for more tanned girls. This one has the best pigmentation of the light matte shades but its still someway off Sleek's usual pigmentation standards.

Taupe is a light shimmery champagne colour with hints of brown and peach. I do really like this one, probably my favourite out of the bunch but I wouldn't call it a taupe. If you compare it to MAC's satin taupe this really is a champagne colour, however it is a beautiful eyeshadow none the less!

Mineral Earth is an awesome shimmery deep brown. It's what soil would look like if there were glitter in it! Great pigmentation with this shade and it really is one of the best in the palette.

Regal a matte deep purple. I don't own too many purple eyeshadows and this one is just beautiful. Can't wait to use this one in a smokey eye. Fantastic payoff with this shade.

Noir is Sleek's famous matte black. I have always loved the black shades in these palettes but is it just me, or has Sleek's repressing of their shadows made this one even more amazing!? It definitely seems extra dark to me compared to the other black shadows I have from other Sleek paletttes, this one is so amazing!

Swatches of right side of palette

As you can see from the swatches the light mattes aren't great again, but are showing up a little compared to the other ones but they're still not great. So not happy with the light matte shades and that is mostly the reason for me buying the palette in the first place. However I do really love Taupe (last swatch, top row) even if it isn't really a taupe shade. 

So even though this isn't my favourite Sleek palette because of those dud matte shades, there are still some amazing deep purples and browns and get a load of that black! So to some it up, I kind of love and hate this palette at the same time, and I am determined to make myself fall in love with those light matte shades and I will make them work!

I don't think the Au Naturel i-Divine should be written off for those of you who want it, I am still very glad that I purchased this as the quality of Sleek's shadows is top notch and you get a lot for your money, this is a great way of dipping your toe into the whole neutural/naked craze that has been so popular for the last while, especially if funds are low and you cant afford to splash out on Urban Decay's Naked or Naked 2. In my opinion, the Au Naturel palette may actually be more versatile than the Naked palette as there are more matte shades, so if you already have Naked and are lusting after the Au Naturel too, they're different enough to warrant owning both of them. 

So, marks out of 10 for Sleek's Au Naturel palette? 6.5/10 
Purely because the majority of the palette is made up of those light matte shades that just aren't good enough.

Now just a quick initial first thoughts on the Sigma E35....

Sigma E35 Tapered Blending Brush

I have a fair amount of eye brushes. At the minute I'm using the Real Techniques eye starter kit, which is great, but I have small eyes and the crease brush is just too massive for me to use so now I have this to try! It seems like its the right size for my eye, I haven't actually used it yet so I cant say for sure yet. The tapered shape means that I'm going to be able to get right into my crease which I haven't been able to do with the real techniques brush, so now if this one works this will be my crease brush and the bigger real techniques crease brush will be used for blending out harsh edges. 
The bristles on the brush are super soft so I cant see it pulling on my skin on my eyes so I have high hopes for this brush and will post my thoughts on it soon, as well as some EOTD posts using my Au Naturel palette!

Sorry for the long post guys, just wanted to include the palette and the brush in one post seeing as I got them together.

Talk soon!


Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Z Palette Review + Depotting Sleek Eyeshadow Palettes

Large Red Z Palette + 20 Magnetic Stickers

I have been lusting after a Z Palette for the longest time, and I finally bit the bullet and bought one! I bought mine from, where I get a lot of stuff these days. The palette I got was the large red one, as the smaller palettes just weren't big enough for what I wanted it for - which is to depot all my Sleek eyeshadow palettes into one big palette because they're not getting used so much because it's annoying having to root through different palettes to find different colours. I'll get into how I depotted the eyeshadows in a bit, first I'll tell you my thoughts on the Z palette!

Z palettes are basically an empty make up palette, they are sometimes referred to as freedom palettes meaning that you can place any shape or size of pans in there in anyway you like. The base of the palette is magnetised, the idea being that the pans of eyeshadow pans, blush pans etc, are supposed to stick to the bottom of the palette and stay there without moving around and getting broken. The only downside to this is that a lot of eyeshadow pans wont stick as they aren't magnetised, that's why they include the magnetic stickers, which is pretty cool.

The Z palette is made of really sturdy cardboard with a clear, plastic window that you can see through. Its a lot sturdier than I thought it was going to be, and I can see that the palette is going to be able to take a bit of a bashing but you should still be careful with it if you get one of these. Id definitely say that as it is cardboard that you should keep these away from any liquids, so if you're a girl who keeps your make up in a bathroom, these probably should be kept out of there to minimise damage from water and steam. 

Now onto the depotting....
Bear in mind that this is the method of depotting that worked best for me, and what I thought was safest and easiest for Sleek eyeshadow palettes. There are tons of ways to do this that all seemed too dangerous to me, and also a lot of the time destroy the original packaging of your shadows. I wanted to keep the original packaging so that I could put the shadows back if I wasn't using them. 

What you will need:

The palette/shadows that you want to depot
Z Palette or other palette for placing shadows into
Magnetic stickers if eyeshadow pans aren't magnetised (Sleek pans aren't)
A metal nail file
A needle/clothes pin
Source of heat - I used a hairdryer as I thought this was the safest way


1. Take your hair dryer and put on the highest heat setting. Heat the back of the palette for 20-30 seconds. This melts the glue that holds the eyeshadow pan to the palette.

2. Open the palette and examine the eyeshadow for a gap between the pan and palette where you can slide the clothes pin down into it, and gently wiggle the pin to make the gap larger.

3. Take your metal nail file and wedge it in the gap you just had the pin in. You could skip the step with the pin if you like, but I find it makes it easier to place the file in and give you a bit more room to get the pan out.

4. Really Gently, wiggle the nail file down to the bottom of the gap, and gently wiggle and lift the pan. This may take a while and it really is best to be as gentle as possible or you may break your shadows. 

As you can see from the above photo, the pan will eventually pop out. It just takes a bit of time and patience. At this stage pull off any remaining glue off the bottom of the eyeshadow pan, if its being stubborn use a cotton bud and some nail varnish remover to get it off.

So all you have to do now is carry on until all of your eyeshadows are out of their original palette and stick them in your Z palette, or onto your magnetised stickers and then into your palette and you should get something that looks like this...

Z palette with depotted Sleek shadows

In my palette I have my Sleek Storm and Oh So Special palettes, I'm planning on depotting a few more of them and sticking them in but I only have a few magnetic stickers left so I think I'll have to get some more before I depot them. I love my z palette, but I hate the way the magnetic stickers are so big and that you cant cut them smaller, because the Sleek pans are so small you can see them and it just looks messy, so I'm currently in the process of trying to find a shop near me that sells sheets of steel plated aluminium so i can make my own perfectly fitting magnets, as I've seen this being done on you tube and it seems to work pretty well, it would just be great for it to look neater. 

But that aside, I absolutely LOVE my Z palette and will definitely be getting more, I might get one of the small ones which would be perfect for my handbag so i can pick and choose what shadows I want to bring with me but for now I'm happy to have them all in one big palette. I'll really be putting how sturdy it is to the test soon as I will be doing a lot of travelling over the next month or so, incuding a few flights, so I will post more of an update on how sturdy the palette is then - but so far, so good!

So hopefully this post has been helpful, and I honestly think everyone should own a Z Palette! 

X o X

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