Ulta occasionally has these deals on the prestige brands that they carry. I've picked up the Tarte Park Avenue Princess Bronzer on one such occasion. A couple of weeks ago, I tweeted about the Cargo Essential Palettes which were half off at Ulta. They had the palettes in the store and online. I got two of them, one intentionally and the other quite by mistake.
So first things first, what is the essential palette? It's an eyeshadow palette with four shades. When you open the compact, you'll see the instructions for creating an eye look with the four colors in the palette. There is a large mirror which I love using so I appreciate that this palette has it.
The Cool Neutral palette features a beige, a sheer rosy taupe, a cool grey taupe and a charcoal shade. I don't think that any of them are truly matte since they glint a little in the sun but they all look matte when applied.
The colors seem to be on the sheer side. It took a bit of building to get them to an intensity that made me happy, even if I had put on primer first. That said, I think it's easier to work with colors that are slowly buildable than intense pigment that I can't control. The powder is smooth and blends nicely so I was able to achieve a very natural look with a little effort.
|Cool Neutral L-R: Outer corner, Crease, Lid, Browbone|
I don't believe that we have to limit ourselves to cool colors or warm colors only. Personally, I think I'm more warm than cool but wear both types of shades comfortably. I had originally attempted to purchase both the Cool Neutral and Warm Neutral palettes. For some reason, I grabbed the Dark Neutral palette by mistake. This, however, turned out very well for me because the Dark Neutral palette seems to be composed of mostly warm colors so I get both warm and cool shades in the end.
|Dark Neutral L-R: Outer corner, Crease, Lid, Browbone|
The Dark Neutral palette has heavier pigmentation than the Cool Neutral palette. If that's your basis for good eyeshadow then this palette is better than the Cool Neutral palette. The browbone and lid shades are distinctly shimmery. All of the colors applied smoothly and did not pose a problem when blending. I didn't try using the palette without primer as I rarely do a full eye look without some sort of base. I went with a colorless/beige lid primer and thought that the shadows performed well, lasting me well through the day.
It's hard to say which of the two palettes I prefer. There are three other palettes that I did not get but I tried to stay away from the very shimmery looking ones. I'm glad I got the two that I did because I can mix them, using the browbone and crease colors of the Cool Neutral with the outer corner and lid shades of the Dark Neutral palette.
I'd say that the color selections on these palettes are good basics and the quality is definitely there. You get a substantial amount of product in each palette, making your $34 seem a little better by the ounce. If you're the type who can hit pan on full-sized eyeshadows, then you'll get your money's worth out of these, even without a discount.