Perhaps it was my Mom’s innocent, last-minute slick of red lipstick on me at age 4 or so before a dance recital.  Ever since, I’ve been fascinated with makeup.

And I guess I’ve come a long way from secretly applying makeup in the bathroom in junior high when Mom wouldn’t let me wear it on a daily basis, haha. Sometimes she’d give me some huge bonus makeup collection that Estee Lauder or whomever was offering around the holidays and would let me wear makeup for special occasions like a party or night out.  By around 9th grade or so, I was wearing it daily and have pretty much done so ever since!

I’m just going with this fascination, addiction, obsession – whatever you want to call it.  I have no reason for where it comes from but it’s been a lifelong joy.  Maybe it’s partly because my eyes are fairly deepset and round, so I have a lot of ‘room’ so to speak of to experiment with eye makeup.

The pic here is my latest eyeshadow collection – believe me it’s come and gone over the years but I’m very proud of it. I know, I know…it’s a lot.  Well, actually this is pretty small potatoes to some of the other collections I’ve seen online and elsewhere.

So what do we have here?

On the far right are the 3 Urban Decay Books of Shadows.  Yes, I am proud to say I have acquired all 3!  The most recent NYC themed one just recently launched and after much debate I caved and purchased it.  For those who have not seen these books, they not only have a pull-out drawer of 16 shadows with samples of their 24/7 liners and Primer Potion, but also a decorative popup with a mirror.  Great fun – what’s not to love about pop-up?  Didn’t we all love pop-up books as a kid?  Not to mention the shadows are incredibly pigmented and gorgeous.  There are a few with a lot of shimmer and glitter and that can be a problem with ‘fallout’ onto your cheeks as it’s called, but if you use a good primer such as Urban Decay Primer Potion or MAC’s paint pots it really makes a difference.  Remember to pat on the shadow on the lid at first with your brush…don’t rub or sweep it on the lid.

Urban Decay is “beauty with an edge,” as their tagline says.  And, it’s true.  Look at those shadow colors.  They aren’t for the faint of heart.  BUT the great thing is that while many of them look very bright or intense, they’re very layerable.  And I love to pair up a bright shade on the lid with a more neutral color for the crease or outer v of my eye.

Now, the Urban Decay Naked palette is at bottom center of the picture.  This one has been flying off the shelves and has been all a-twitter out there on the blogs and chitchat I’ve seen/heard.  And, without question, it ROCKS.  These shadows are some of Urban Decay’s more neutral shades, and the case is a gorgeous brown velvet with a magnetic closure – perfect for travel or in your purse for touchups.  It also comes with a sample of their Primer Potion and a dual-ended 24/7 liner…one side is Zero (jet black) and the other is Whiskey (a rich brown).  The 24/7 liners are super creamy and perfect for lining the waterline (the area between your lashes and your eye itself), as they go on wonderfully without any pulling or tugging necessary.

The large, black, rectangular palettes at top and center are from MAC. I was a huge fan of MAC (and still am), long before Urban Decay started sneaking onto my radar, and, ultimately, into my wallet.  Hey, a little competition never hurt anyone. 

MAC also is known for dramatic and theatrical makeup, but if you scratch below the surface they are wonderful with great, basic neutrals too.  Again, I enjoy pairing up something more dark or dramatic with a neutral to temper it down.  I work in a corporate – and very casual – environment and my style is not what I’d call super trendy but a teensy bit of edge is fun.  MAC shadows come in individual black plastic pots with clear, plastic lids.  Awesomely bullet-proof for travel or just throwing in your purse.  The problem is, when you’ve got about – ahem – 50 or 55 of them, they take up a lot of real estate on your dresser. 

So, I purchased the black empty palettes you see in the picture and started de-potting.  Yes, this is an actual term…do an online search for “depotting MAC eye shadows” and you’ll likely see quite a few results. It involves knives, a flat iron and purchasing some flat magnets to stick on the back of the shadow pans once they’re depotted. Long story short it was a project, but I am very glad to have de-potted all of mine now into sleek, black palettes.  Going forward I will only purchase their pan eyeshadows – already depotted and magnetized – to just plop into that one palette that only has two lighter shades in it.  And, I have to say it, I only purchase MAC online or at my favorite MAC counter at the Bellevue Square Nordstrom, because those girls are fabulous.  The MAC store near me in Seattle…wayyyy too much attitude. I have no time for that shizz.

Oops, wait, I see there are a few MAC quads in there too.  One was custom (the palette came empty, the one that has the brighter blue/green/yellow shades in them…part of my de-potting project) and the other two were special edition collections…Spiced Chocolate (the browns/berries) from the Cult of Cherry collection, and Photo Realism (the soft greens).  The danger with pre-made eyeshadow quads is that there is at least one of the shades that is a total bust that you never use.  So, a waste of money.  However, these pre-made palettes are the exception so we’re good there.

The 4-shadow MAC quad directly above the Naked palette is from MAC’s Hello Kitty collection, which was another major hit in early 2009.  My quad is the Too Dolly quad and I really only use the light creamy shade right now (Yogurt, which is also in MAC’s permanent eyeshadow collection).  Yeah, I fell for the cute packaging and all – rare for me but I admit it.  C’mon, it’s Hello Kitty, people. What’s not to love?

Let’s see, what else do we have here…oh, just to the left of the Naked palette is LORAC’s Color Me Couture.  It was a special offering from Sephora awhile back and I jumped all over it.  Never mind the gorgeous velvet and sequin packaging (which you can’t see in this picture)…LORAC shadows are amazing.  In fact, I was seriously into LORAC well before MAC come to think of it.  As you can see, these shadows are rich, smokey neutrals and are just amazing to play with.  The dual-ended brush that comes with it is a little dorky (most are dorky with palettes like these – invest in your own wonderful brushes and skip the chintz) but the shadow quality is excellent and the shades are wonderful.

Above the LORAC palette are two Stila quads…one pre-made and one I built custom.  The Stila Original Smokey Eye Talking Palette is a novelty out there, as you press a button inside the palette and a pre-recorded voice tells you how to use the shades!  Love this!

I guess the smokey eye trend is still alive and well even after a couple or three years.  It’s a very fun look, but it takes a lot of practice, good brushes, technique and blending.  I used this “original” palette tons of times when I was job interviewing over the last year or so…doing my signature “corporate smokey” look…meaning, a little makeup for punch/panache but not too dramatic.  And it was always a hit for work travel too.

The custom Stila palette (built from me choosing the shadows I wanted to plop into the magnetized palette) are more metallic neutrals and a wonderful shimmery plum shade that is great with my hazel colored eyes. I got inspired watching a YouTube tutorial by someone who has similar coloring!

And continuing upward in the picture are the two small Chanel quads, both from special collections.  I hate to admit I spent nearly $60 on these – apiece – which is less than I spent on the Urban Decay Naked palette or any of the Books of Shadows. 

Chanel, I expected more.  Your products rock – love the makeup primer, mascaras and perfume.  The eyeshadows, notsomuch.  These have been far too powdery and flyaway on me – disappointing for sure.

And beyond this there are many more eyeshadow brands I’m intrigued with…Kat von D, Smashbox and Makeup For Ever for starters.  I am a fan of their other products but haven’t ventured into the eyeshadows just yet.

On the other hand, I’ve got enough to keep me busy for awhile.