Palette Review: Studio Makeup On-The-Go Palette in Cool Down (Boxycharm, November 2016)

Studio Makeup has done it again–they’ve created another palette that has quickly become my go-to for cool-toned eyeshadows. I received the Studio Makeup On-The-Go Palette in “Cool Down” in this month’s Boxycharm (a full review of that box will be up next week) but I wanted to review just the palette here, since it was the star of the box and truly is a stunner. (This “Cool Down” palette is not currently on the Studio Makeup website, but you are still able to subscribe to Boxycharm to receive this month’s box. If the palette is still available it will be in that box.) In this post I’ll review this palette, compare it to the “Warm Up” palette that was in the Septmeber Boxycharm, and discuss why these palettes might be preferable even over some more well-known high-end brands.

What’s in the palette?

There are 9 shadows in this palette: 5 mattes, 3 satin-shimmer shades, and 1 foiled shade. All of the shades are, as the name suggests, distinctly cool-toned. There are cream shades with pink undertones, taupe with lilac undertones, and cool browns, berries, lavenders, and grays. It is beautiful to look at–very Fall/Winter appropriate. Here are the swatches:

How does the “Cool Down” palette compare to the first Studio Makeup palette we received in the September Boxycharm, the “Warm Up” palette?

First, both palettes have incredibly high quality shadows. (I’ve done a full review of the “Warm Up” palette here.) I think I prefer to work with these as much as–or even more than–some of my other high end palettes. (At almost $50, I think we have to consider the Studio Makeup palettes to be high end even if we don’t recognize the brand as much as, say, Lorac or Too Faced.) I like the formula better than my Tartlette palette, which is good but Tarte’s shadows are a bit stiffer. The Studio Makeup shadows are not quite as soft as my Lorac shadows, but there is also less fallout and the color payoff is the same, so the two are about even in my mind. The shimmers, especially the coppery shimmer in the “Warm Up” palette, is actually very similar to the almost gel-like feel of the Makeup For Ever shimmer shadows.

The foiled shade in the “Cool Down” palette (second row, left), however, is not quite as good.

You can see the pieces of silver glitter in the center shade.

This is really my only major criticism of the quality of this palette. This shadow has a bit of chunky silver glitter fallout, and really needs a dab of glitter primer to avoid getting glitter on your face. (Or you can do your eye makeup before your foundation, but I just can’t get into this method.) This is a big issue for me, especially for a palette I’d likely to use for daytime looks when I’d have less time or patience for extra steps.

My other critique of the “Cool Down” palette (versus the “Warm Up” palette) is that because all of the shadows have a cooler, lavender undertone, all of the looks I create veer lavender, which makes the palette slightly less versatile for me. It will create a variety of subtle or dramatic lavender or berry-toned looks, however. Perhaps if I had cooler undertones, these might look natural on me, so if you have a cooler skin tone keep this in mind. This is the same issue I had with the Cover Girl TruNaked Roses palette: The shades are beautiful and the shadows are a great quality, but I just can’t do as much with it as I can with a warm neutral palette.

Swatches of the “Cool Down” palette

Swatches of the “Warm Up” palette

When I reviewed the “Warm Up” palette, I noted that the shade range was impeccable–there were multiple lid, transition, crease, and browbone shades for any skin tone. The “Cool Down” palette is not set up as well, in my opinion. There’s really only one shade–the taupe in the center of the palette–that is a clear transition shade. The rest of the mid-toned shades that could work as transition colors are satins or shimmers. Typically transition and cease shades are matte, so that the lid or outer corner colors can stand out more. It does have several possible browbone highlights, in both matte and shimmer, and two deep matte shades (a berry and a gray) for deepening the crease or outer corners, or to smudge along the lash line as liner. And the satin-shimmer shades are beautiful–any could work as lid, crease, or outer corner shades. So my only gripe is the lack of multiple transition shades. There is one good one if you have a light to medium skin tone, but there are not really other good options for deeper skin tones.

Ultimately, if you want to buy one of these palettes, I would say that unless you just strongly prefer cool-toned shadows or have a distinctly cool skin tone (not neutral or warm), to go with the “Warm Up” palette. The shadows are slightly more consistent in quality, and the shade range is a bit more versatile for someone with neutral to warm undertones.

This palette retails for $49.95. That may seem high for a 9-shadow palette with cardboard packaging and no mirror, but that’s actually quite comparable to the Kylie Kyshadow palettes ($42) and the Make Up For Ever palettes ($44, though this does have a mirror). I think the major difference is that this brand is not as well-known or as hyped as Kylie or Make Up For Ever, so we expect it to cost less. We might even be more critical of it because we’re not (dare I say told to be?) as excited about it. But the quality is undeniably there. These are just really, really good shadows. They are creamy, blend beautifully, and are incredibly pigmented and true-to-pan (meaning the color in the palette is exactly what appears on your lids). You can build them up for more dramatic looks or apply them gently for more natural looks. I just love them and would recommend them to anyone looking for a good, neutral palette to use everyday.

Finally, why would you pick a Studio Makeup palette over a more recognizable brand like Lorac or Kylie?

The “Cool Down” palette is beautiful, and I can’t think of another palette that has this shade range, this quality, and is truly catered to cool skin tones. Most companies try to reach a wider audience with their palettes so they include a mixture of tones, and it’s up to the user to decide which shades are best for them. If you want to take the guesswork out, go for the “Cool Down” palette.

The “Warm Up” palette, as I’ve said before, is just one of the most well put-together palettes I’ve ever used. The shade range could suit many skin tones and offers a variety of potential day or night looks. If I could only choose one palette to take with me when I’m traveling, it would be this one. (The “On-The-Go” name really suits it!) It is compact and has everything I might need for any occasion or event, but is not so large that it bogs me down with too many choices.

I hope you found this review helpful, and if you received this palette in a subscription box this month, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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