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A lot of you have been enquiring about the review of this one. So today, I have the review for the Pat McGrath Eyeshadow palette. In recent times, I cannot recollect, what makeup product caused as much of a furor as this launch did. The last I can think of was probably in 2016, I think, with the launch of the Natasha Denona 28-pan eyeshadow palettes priced at $239 each! The Beauty community went berserk when these got announced. The fact that these were from the Pat McGrath line, combined with the pricing of these caused quite noise. Added to it the packaging – the beauty word has been totally abuzz.
Before we get into the review itself, I would like to briefly introduce the brand to you, especially for readers who are new to it. I did share this with my review of the lipstick Beautiful Creature from this line.
Pat McGrath Labs is the brain-child of Pat McGrath. She is a British Make Up Artist who has been at the fore-front of the Beauty and Fashion for more than 2 decades. Her work includes conceptualizing, launching and developing luxury cosmetic brands, countless runway shows, advertising campaigns and editorial spreads. Her work has been acclaimed as being innovative and edgy, quite like her own makeup line. She has worked on a plethora of leading global publications and numerous brand campaigns. She has conceptualized and created beauty looks for just about every prestigious couture brand from Prada to Bottega Veneta; from Louis Vuitton to Versace; from Gucci to Givenchy!
She helped Giorgio Armani design his cosmetics line in 1999. In 2004, she was engaged as the Creative Design Director for Procter & Gamble and oversees the brand CoverGirl and MaxFactor, and created Dolce & Gabbana: The Makeup. She also designed and launched Gucci’s debut cosmetic collection.
She loves working with her fingers instead of brushes, even for lips, which is generally frowned upon in the professional makeup industry. However, in her case, she does create magic with her fingers.
She self-funded her business for nearly a year until deciding to include outside investors. The colours in her range are more suitable for photography work, such as runway fashion, rather than department-store consumption. McGrath told New York Magazine: “I felt uncomfortable doing something that everyone’s already done, you don’t want to be boring.”McGrath’s makeup line seeks to bring back artistic makeup to a broader audience who aim to invent and perform their appearance, promoting individuality. McGrath says herself, “I want to change how people think about makeup, and disrupt the status quo”.
What it is:
A wardrobe of textures and dazzling hues come together in a couture color palette, presented in a luxe, lacquered case.
What it does:
Provoke creativity and heighten beauty with rich color opulence that allows you to use makeup as wearable art. This curated collection of richly pigmented, velvety hues features vivid jewel tones, classic neutrals, and high-impact shades that glide on smoothly to highlight, line, and define eyes for unlimited looks. The hybrid cream-infused powder formulations release infinitely smooth and extremely blendable pigments to achieve seamless color transitions with unprecedented buildability. The perfect balance of gorgeous finishes blend, highlight, and adorn lids with exquisite light-reflective effects and true color radiance. Tailor-made beauty gives voice to your artistic impulses for luxury at your fingertips. Ten divinely decadent shades include vivid violets, mutational blues, sumptuous greens and iconic matte neutrals.
This palette contains:
– 10 x Eyeshadows in Skinshow Fever (champagne gold pearl), Black Metal (gunmetal black with silver pearl), Lazarus (warm pinky brown), Deep Shade (dark warm brown), Night Creature (deep magenta), Xtreme Black (ultimate black), Gigabyte (antiqued green gold), Astral Ghost Orchid (white iridescent with pink flash), VR Pink (peachy pink with gold pearl), Blitz Amethyst (deep purple with blue pearl)
How To Use:
Follow the steps to achieve these classic Pat McGrath editorial eye looks:
Danse Macabre— Metallic Pinky Bronze Eye with Glowing Gold Inner Corner:
-Using the blending brush, apply a wash of Lazarus across the lid. Use the fingertip to build colour to desired intensity.
-Sweep Deep Shade through the crease, blending outward while wrapping the color around and into the lower lash line.
-Darken the dimension with Xtreme Black blended into outer contour of the crease.
-Smudge and blend Night Creature between the upper and lower lash line to accentuate the eye shape.
-Take it to the next level by pressing Astral Ghost Orchid into the lid with the fingertip until reaching desired effect.
-Finish the look by illuminating the inner corner and brow bone with Skinshow Fever.
Eye Envy—Gorgeous Blackened Purple Sparkling Smokey Eye:
-Apply Blitz Amethyst to the entire lid, and press the pigment into the lid with the finger to build intensity.
-With the blending brush, sweep Deep Shade though the crease of the lid, outer corner and near the lower lash line, blending it out to accentuate the eye shape.
-Further the dimension by blending Xtreme Black into the outer contour of the crease, softly diffusing the pigment for an elongated effect.
-Press Black Metal into the lid with the fingertip until reaching desired sparkling intensity.
-Using a dampened brush, dab Skinshow Fever to the inner corner for an exhilarating, eye-opening effect.
Obsessive Decadence- Multi-Dimensional Golden Green Eye with Smokey Magenta:
-Use Gigabyte to build the base, blending outwards and upwards to the brow bone.
-To create subtle death, add Lazarus to the crease of the lid.
-Create opulent definition by generously blending Night Creature into the lower lash line.
-Illuminate the inner corners of the eye with Virtual Reality Pink for captivating luminosity.
-Finish the look by sweeping Skinshow Fever across the brow bone with the blending brush for decadent illumination.
Packaging: The packaging of the palette is par excellence and the most innovative packaging that I have come across for an eyeshadow palette ever. It reeks luxury and is really hefty. The palette has a metal plate at the bottom which has the details etched in. The top is black and has a golden inlay with the PMG logo. The top is quite a finger print magnet and I am constantly trying to keep it clean. The palette comes packaged in a cardboard outer cover with such stunning artwork. Each of the palettes in the series have totally different artwork.
The palette has an insert card with the shade names on it. This is a bit of a bummer that the shade names have not been printed on the palette next to the individual shadows. Yes, this is an additional cost in production. However, considering the price, would have wanted shade names on the palette itself. The other thing is that the individual palette does not have the palette name mentioned anywhere. So, if you have more than one of these, you will need to open each and check the shades to know which palette you are using.
The palette itself has 10 shadows in decent sized pans. There is a full size side-cut mirror. There is no brush/applicator with it.
My Experience with Pat McGrath Mothership III Eyeshadow Palette Subversive:
PMG Labs released 3 eyeshadow palettes – Sublime, Subliminal and Subversive. Initially, when I saw details of the palette, I was not keen to pick up any of the palettes. The price obviously was a huge deterrent. $125 for a 10-pan palette is a big ask. Then, the initial reviews started coming in. While some people loved it, others didn’t care for it much. Now, logically, if the reviews aren’t consistently good, a sane person will skip the product. However, we beauty bloggers aren’t “sane”. I think that got established quite some time back. When a product gets mixed reviews, what I wanted to do was to try it for myself and see what the fuss was all about. Also, around that time, I was going through my outs of melancholy, when nothing excites you. So, I thought, let me try this and it seems experimental. And, that’s how it landed up in my Sephora Cart.
So, let us discuss the palette in detail. The palette consists of 10 eyeshadows in a variety of finishes. As per the brand, there are 2 types of finishes:
1. Powder luxe Pressed Eye Shadows with matte, pearl, and sparkle finishes
2. Modern, hybrid pigmented formulas with metallic, satin sheen, iridescence, and holographic brilliance finishes.
From playing with these and from the perspective of application, I found them to have 4 different finishes – matte, metallic, glitter and what I’ll term as transformative shade.
Let us discuss each of the shades individually. I will go row-wise:
1. Skinshow Fever: This is a light, soft yellow gold shade with warm undertone and a metallic sheen. Very smooth, creamy and easy to work with. This is like a normal metallic shade, which can be easily applied with a brush. You can use it wet, which will intensify the metallic sheen. It is perfect for inner corner highlight or even all over the lid shade. A bit too metallic for a brow bone highlight. Gives me about 8-8.5 hours wear.
2. Night Creature: One of the reasons I picked this particular palette. It is a medium, warm toned purple with bright purple shimmer particles. This is kind of thicker in texture. It seemed to work better with fingers or with a wet brush. It is easy to blend but causes some fall out. This too gave good wear time for about 8-8.5 hours.
3. Deep Shade: This is a medium to dark, coffee bean brown with warm undertones and a matte finish. It has a lighter texture which is smooth, but not creamy or thick. The pigmentation is semi-opaque but easily buildable and easily blendable. I feel it is easy to work with and stayed put for good 9.5 hours.
4. Gigabyte: The other reason to buy this palette! This is a medium, glittery antique greenish gold shade with a sheer olive base and a super glittery finish. It looks more greenish golden in the pan. When you apply, the glitter particles spread out and the sheer olive base seems more prominent. This did not seem to work even with the wet brush or finger application. It took me a while to realize that it is a transformative shade. You can see it in all its glory when you apply it over a deep matte base. So, I have shared swatches of this shade on its own and over the matte black shade. This tends to have fall out.
5. VR Pink: This is a medium, warm toned pink with a duo chrome peach shift with purple and fuchsia micro glitters. This is also a transformative shade and turns more purple to peach on a matte black shade. However, the glitter particles in this one aren’t as loosely packed as the ones in the shade Gigabyte. The shine intensifies a bit when applied with a damp brush. Also, the fall out can be reduced.
6. Xtreme Black: As the name implies, it is a deep, intense black with a matte finish. The texture is smooth and easy to work with – to apply or to blend. It does not kick up powder in the pan nor does it feel thick and heavy. This shade is present in all the 3 palettes released by PMG Labs. There was a huge hue and cry about the fact that one, there was a colour wasted in the palette by putting a black eyeshadow because, everyone already has atleast one matte black in their stash. And two, why repeat the shade because, if someone buys more than one palette, they have a repetitive shade. Which doesn’t seem fair keeping the cost of the product in mind. Under normal circumstances, I would agree to this. However, considering that the black is essential as base for the transformative shades to work, each palette NEEDS this shade in the array.
7. Lazarus: This is a deep, warm brown with red undertones and a pearly sheen. This has excellent smooth texture which is pigmented, easy to apply and easy to blend out. The shade itself lasts for the whole day.
8. Black Metal: This shade is similar to the shade Night Creature. It is a medium to dark, warm to neutral grey with silver sparkle. The shade has fallout plus, it is difficult to build up when dry unless used on a tacky base or used damp. The silver glitter causes fall out during the course of the day. Else, the shadow itself remains put for 8-8.5 hours.
9. Blitz Amethyst: Another eye catching shade from the palette. It is a medium silvery violet with light blue and pink sparkles/micro-glitter particles. This is again a transformative shade. When applied over a matte black, the shade appears intense violet and the light blue and pink sparkle seems more vibrant against the blackened base. The challenge with this was in application. It tends to have a lot of fall out unless used damp or over a tacky base.
10. Astral Ghost Orchid: The only other shade in the palette which repeats in one other palette, apart from Xtreme Black. The shade looks like a silvery white in pan, but has a pink shift to it. It is a light, silvery pick with pink and purple sparkle. When applied dry on its own, it seems to have dismal performance as neither does the base or the duo-chrome really stand out. However, used over a black base, it transforms into a pink to purple duo chrome shade with intense pink to purple sparkle. This shade works best as a top coat, rather than something one could really build up and intensify. It definitely applies better with a damp application than a wet one.
Texture: I have discussed the texture of each shade individually. The texture varies based on the finish as well as the intended application. This is definitely not a one and done palette. However, all things put together, each shade performs as it is designed to. So, if a shade is glittery with a sheer base or high shine, it is designed like that and not really a hit-and-miss in production. Having said that, one needs to be cognizant of the fact that each texture involves different application. While this is not a necessity of the texture, it is more a requirement to get optimal effect from that particular shade. So, if you are used to one-and-done palettes like say the ABH Modern Renaissance or say Tarte Tartellete in Bloom or UD Naked Heat palettes, this may not be your cup of tea. You will need different brushes, fingers, tacky bases, damp brushes, etc to get optimal value out of this palette.
Pigmentation: Pigmentation for most of the shades is good, except for the transformational shades which have lighter bases to ensure the shade shift is clear when the base is changed. The palette looks like a cornucopia of random shades, but the shades work well together.
Staying Power: Disclaimer – I apply eyeshadows with a primer because my lids are way too oily. These shadows lasted a good 8–9.5 hours with primer. Without primer, my eyelids turn everything to mush.
I have shared 2 looks that I created with this palette – both fairly safe and not really editorial. But, the fun of the palette lies in more editorial looks, which I will try to share with you through Instagram or maybe throught the Rati Beauty App! So excited that it finally launched for the iOS users as well. I was feeling extremely left out!!
Pros of Pat McGrath Mothership III Eyeshadow Palette Subversive:
- A beautiful array of mostly warm toned shades with pops of cool purple and violets.
- A variety of textures to create a plethora of looks.
- Most shades had good pigmentation and were easy to work with.
- Smooth texture. The mattes are par excellence, though the palette is not really about the mattes.
- Good wear time(with primer).
- Not creasing(over a primer).
- Does not transfer.
- The colours blend easily and mesh very well together without getting muddy.
- Did not irritate my eyes.
- Gorgeous Stunning luxe packaging.
Cons of Pat McGrath Mothership III Eyeshadow Palette Subversive:
- It is not a cohesive standalone palette – if that’s what you are looking for. You cannot create a full everyday look with just this palette. There is no traditional crease shade, transition shade, brow bone highlighter, etc in this palette. And this is one of the reasons that the palette got so much flack. People were upset that despite paying $125, they cannot create a comprehensive look with just this palette.
- Different textures need different application methods. It isn’t designed as a one-and-done single brush palette. You cannot use one brush and doing a full makeup with just one brush like we sometimes do with other palettes. Some shades need tacky base to show their optimal effect while other need a damp brush, etc. So, if you prefer application with normal dry brushes and don’t like all the ifs and buts that this one needs, then this is not the palette for you.
- There is a learning curve with using certain shades. You will have to try an test and realize how the application differs across textures. What shades need a black base v/s which shades need a tacky base and which shades need both.
- Not travel-friendly. It is really heavy.
IMBB Rating: 4.75/5
So, I penned down all these cons which aren’t something you can brush aside. So, why the high rating? And, why should someone buy this?
I have mentioned the cons distinctly so that you know whether it is a fitment for you or not. This palette will not work for people:
who like simple dry brush applications,
who prefer easy to wear shade,
who do not like glitter on their eyes,
who do not like to experiment too much – by choice or due to paucity of time,
who prefer neutral colours,
who prefer to work with only one palette for a complete look,
who are new to eye makeup,
Who have limited skill in eye shadow application.
Despite all the cons and all the barriers, I still rate the palette high because, it is DESIGNED the way it is. This is the way it is by choice and not by accident or a miss-hap in the production lab. The palette is totally in keeping with Pat McGrath’s philosophy to create something which is innovative and playful. It isn’t designed for everyday looks. It isn’t designed to create cohesive office looks. It is designed as a playful product to really allow one to unleash their creative side. It is designed to be fun and editorial. The different textures are designed to perform the way they do. You can bring in other shades from other palettes to create a safe daytime look too. But, that would be so unfair to the palette. It isn’t meant for that.
Is it for you? I think I have been explicit in detailing who should buy this. Do go through my overall thoughts before you put in the money. Because, it really wouldn’t be fair for you to expect this butterfly to walk just because you like walking. And, it wouldn’t be fair to mark down the palette just because you want something safe – which this isn’t. This one is all about the fun! (The shadows are eye-safe of course!!)
Do I Recommend Pat McGrath Mothership III Eyeshadow Palette Subversive?
Yes, whole-heartedly!! I can’t wait to try some fun looks with it.
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