The makeup blogging world did a little squeal when promo pics of these new palettes started showing up everywhere, because they looked like the fabulous Wet n Wild 8 pan palettes with new colors! Joy! I know I got sucked into the hype and quickly began pursuing these at various Walgreens in my area.
I came across a display unexpectedly while waiting for the photographer for my shoot on Saturday, and decided to pick up two of the three. I skipped the purple palette because I have so many of them!
I picked up Urban Jungle and Downtown Browns for $6.99 per palette. They are pretty much identical to the Wet n Wild 8 pans in size, shape, style of the shadows and weight. They just have different branding on the front (which is actually quite minimal).
We'll look at Urban Jungle first. Preliminary sightings of these palettes claimed that there were matte shades (and we again went hallelujah!) but I can tell you that there are in fact no matte shades in these palettes. The closest you'll get is a satin. (Each palette is swatched from left column top to bottom, then right column top to bottom.)
I swatched these over bare skin as the Wet n Wild palettes don't need primer to be vibrant, and I was unimpressed. The pale yellow and the grass green were pretty but I had to swatch over them twice to get this amount of pigmentation. The dark green was a huge let down as it came out patchy and much darker than it appeared in the pan. The two darkest browns are also patchy and not very interesting as so many brands do nice browns!
I figured that maybe this one was just a dud, and decided to move on to the Downtown Browns palette and see if these lovely purples and taupes would swatch better.
Hmm... yeah, not much better. The matte looking purple had the worst pigmentation of any eyeshadow I've tried in a long time; this swatch is five swipes. The burgundy-purple shades on the right came out as muddled blackish shades. I can't even really find redeeming shadows in this palette -- maybe the taupe but it still required two swipes to get to the opacity shown here.
I sat staring at the palettes, baffled as to how the same parent company who created such wonderful palettes for Wet n Wild could do such letdown ones for Black Radiance! I put primer on my lids and tried a quick look with the Downtown Browns one to see if maybe they did in fact need primer:
The colors are just lackluster in my opinion. This eye look took me entirely too long to complete for being so basic. The shadows had to be packed on over and over again and blended away to nothing but a stain of color (especially those darker shades on the right column) and the fallout was INSANE. I had so much gunk underneath my eyes. I guess the eye look is pretty, but when you look at the palette and look at my eye -- the colors just aren't 'wow', they're sort of bland and bleh.
Beyond using them on myself, I feel that these would really suffer on someone with a darker skintone, which is who is targeted by this brand. It really makes no sense to me why this brand would put out such poor colors aimed at a skintone that already has trouble finding suitable shades. The top two shades in Downtown Browns would be awful on anyone darker than NC35-ish. Even if the performance were good, I still think the selection of colors is severely lacking.
Bottom line for the performance of the shadows: I would equate them to the e.l.f. 4 pans where you get that one slightly chalky, slightly shimmery shade that just isn't that good and doesn't have the smooth, buttery quality that some of their shades will. For $7, I don't think these palettes are worth it. I can get a Wet n Wild palette that has much superior quality... for $2 less. I actually returned these to Walgreens because I felt that they weren't worth my $14. No bueno Black Radiance, no bueno.