Stila’s In The Light eyeshadow palette retails for $39 at Sephora. Let me apologize right up front for the signs of wear and use on the palette. I did take pictures of it when I first got it, before I’d ever touched the shadows, but those pics were from my old camera and the colors were so misleading, I thought it was better to re-take them with my new camera. So the colors are right on, but you can tell I’ve used the shadows. A lot.
This palette comes with ten eyeshadows, a waterproof Smudge Stick eyeliner in “Damsel” and a booklet with instructions on how to create six different looks with nothing but the shadows and eyeliner. I’m absolutely loving the shadows and the liner. I have a couple of mind issues with the packaging (nothing that would stop me from buying it), and you should also be aware most of these shadows are very soft and easily breakable. (Fortunately, you can just kind of press them back into place. Oops.)
I bought this because I fell in love with the colors in this palette. They weren’t quite like any other brown/neutral palette I had.
The formula is generally very soft, creamy, blendable and opaque. They wear a long time without fading – even without primer. The colors with glitter behave much better than most. Some colors are slightly more dry/hard than the rest, but overall, I will definitely be looking to Stila for future eyeshadow buys. I love the formula. The shadows themselves are slightly fragile, as I mentioned before – just accidentally jabbing your brush in too hard can dislodge a lot of shadow. It does press very nicely back into place, though. It’s a tradeoff – you can have this kind of creamy high pigmentation without the shadows being soft. (For contrast, Urban Decay and Kat Von D are both a tad drier, but still very creamy and pigmented, and Mac is drier but still very pigmented and blendable. They’re all good in different ways.)
So let’s jump right into the swatches, and I’ll tell you about each color as we go.
Bare probably shocked me more than any other color in this palette, or any other color this year, because it is an incredibly rich, opaque matte color. The color is very similar to Urban Decay’s Foxy in the Naked 2 Palette, but it’s so much more pigmented. I actually use this as a lid color sometimes, which I never expected – I assumed it would just be a highlight color. There’s just something almost magical about this one, though.
Kitten is a highly recommended color from Stila. Sephota describes it as a “shimmering nude pink”, which is accurate. I think of it as champagne with a little pink in it. It has a nice amount of shimmer, and it’s a beautiful color that goes with lots of other colors.
Bliss is another gorgeous matte. Stila calls it “beige pink” but I think it’s a little more brown than beige. It’s dark enough to make a beautiful crease color on lighter skin tones. The pink undertone adds definite warmth, but doesn’t clash with yellow-based or taupey colors. It’s a little less creamy than Bare, but it goes on amazingly for a matte.
Sunset is described by Stila as a “shimmery canyon pink”, but I’m not sure they had the same shadow in mind when they wrote that, because this is definitely more coppery. It’s almost exactly the color of a brand new penny, but shimmery. Some coppery shades make me look like I’ve been crying, but this one’s awesome as a crease or corner color, and on some skin tones, I bet it would be beautiful on the lid. Maybe someday I’ll get up the nerve and see how it goes.
Sandstone is another beautiful matte shade, this time the color of milk chocolate. This one performs just as well as Bliss. It’s great as a corner or crease color. These mattes also make a wonderful base for other colors – apply them all over the lid, and they’ll alter whatever colors you lay over top of them, which makes it as if you have a whole other bunch of colors to work with.
Champagne is a shimmery pale gold – it’s like they took the pink tones out of Kitten and replaced them with golden yellow ones, and Champagne was born. Like Kitten, this is an easy color to work with, with a nice amount of shimmer.
Gilded Gold is a warm medium brown with gold shimmers in it. I thought at first it was a glitter fallout bomb, but you know how sometimes the top layer of a color is misleading at first? Once I’d swatched it and dug beyond the first layer, it turned out to be amazing. This is one of the glittery colors I mentioned that works surprisingly well. I don’t even have to pat it into place or use a primer to get it to stick to my normal/dry eyelids. I just sweep it a little bit slowly when using it in the crease or as a liner, and it’s almost as if the glitter melts into place. So fantastic!
Luster is a deep, slightly plummy brown with fine gold shimmer particles. It’s a little drier than the other colors – more like a Mac formula. But like many Mac colors, you can build it up to be as bold as you want. This actually makes it flexible, because you can just use a little to get a lighter shade than you see in the swatch (yes, it spreads and blends nicely), or you can build it up to the swatch shade.
Night Sky is a blue with shimmer, but there’s a definite purplish undertone, or at least that’s how it looks on my skin. It’s the one color that doesn’t quite look on the skin like it does in the pan, but it’s absolutely gorgeous on the skin. It has such dimension, and the fact that it’s not simply a bright blue makes it more wearable. I would highly recommend this color to anyone who’d like to wear blue eyeshadow, but is scared of it. Just start by trying this one in the corner or crease at first, get used to it that way, and then try it on the lid. It’s stunning!
Ebony isn’t the blackest matte black I own – that honor still goes to NYX, which goes on so dark and opaque. With the right brush, Ebony does as well as NYX, but with some brushes, you have to build it up a little. It does line just fine, however, and that’s the most important thing for a matte black to do. I think every palette ought to have a matte black, and this one does the job.
I’m not wild about the packaging. I may even end up depotting these. It’s one of those souped-up cardboard numbers that – well, I assume they’re supposed to be more environmentally friendly. I think these do hold up reasonably well in the bathroom, but I don’t know how I’d feel about traveling with them. This palette does not close magnetically, so if you do carry it in your bag or suitcase, make sure it can’t come open.
The back of the palette gives the color names:
And that little sticker says “Made in U.S.A.”, which blew my mind because I can’t remember the last time I saw that. I thought maybe we’d sent all our manufacturing jobs overseas!
Instead of a mirror, you get a cute little quote that… really doesn’t mean a thing to me. Not that I mind being without a mirror – I never use the ones in palettes. But some of you might miss it.
This palette comes with one of their waterproof Smudge Stick eyeliners in Damsel, which is a very dark tobacco brown. It’s one of those that you roll up and never have to sharpen, like Revlon Colorstay liners. This liner has turned out to be so good, I may actually consider repurchasing – and I generally think you can do just fine with a cheap liner. But this one glides on so smoothly, and deposits so much color – I’ve never had any other liner do that well.
It also comes with a booklet that shows you how to get six different looks, using nothing but this palette. It’s not a bad little booklet, especially if you’re new to eyeshadow. Some of you may just toss it, though.
The big question
I know some of you are going to want to know: Stila In the Light, or Urban Decay Naked 2? They’re more different than you might think – Stila’s more pink toned where UDN2 is more beige-taupe. Stila has a blue, where UDN2 sticks strictly to the brown family. If I absolutely had to choose, I’d go with Stila. I know that’s probably an unpopular choice, but I find it a richer formula, and I like the way it shimmers. It’s totally a matter of personal taste, but I just find myself reaching for Stila more. Stila also has an advantage in providing a full-size eyeliner, whereas UDN2 just gives you a tiny lippie sample that I can dupe with an NYC product.
But if you’re drawn to the colors in both palettes, I don’t think either one will disappoint!