Drugstore Beauty Bargains: Battle of the Nude Palettes!

There’s been a real upsurge of drugstore makeup palettes in the U.K. lately; it seems that they are aiming a bit higher/ trying to compete with other, more expensive brands. Every time I venture into Superdrug or Boots I’m greeted with endless new varieties. This plethora of palettes has proved too much of a temptation lately for me, hence this post! The most expensive palette I own is a Stila one that fell apart within a couple of weeks (Yes I taped it together, I’m nothing if not thrifty!) and was a mixed bag quality wise, so I really don’t care where a palette is from so long as it’s good. 

Of course I’ve eyed up the infamous Urban Decay Naked (3 and counting!) palettes, but aside from the third one the colours aren’t really for me. I have green eyes that don’t suit the super warm neutrals that proliferate most palettes. I generally need cool-ish shades that are harder to come by. 

Anyhoodle I thought I’d do a comparison of two purse friendly palettes that are relatively new – the (Superdrug only but they also have a website) Makeup Revolution in “Girls on Film” (as an 80’s child I admit the Duran Duran lyric was what first grabbed my attention! :-) ), and the recently arrived in the U.K. Maybelline The Nudes eye shadow palette.

I’ve had the Revolution palette for a wee while, about a month , so I can comfortably recommend it. It’s not revolutionary, per se (sorry!), but it is a quite remarkable value, with 18 shades on offer for £6 (!!!) and a mix of matte and shimmer shades. It has a decent mirror in the lid and comes with the usual pointless sponge applicator. It’s a tiny bit pernickety to get open – nothing major but not good for fresh manicures, etc! What drew me to this palette were the mix of soft neutrals and a couple of purple and gray shades thrown in.

Of the shades, I would say the mid to dark tone shimmers have the strongest payoff, with the highlight shades being weaker/slightly chalkier – but still buildable enough to work with. Many of the shades are surprisingly creamy so there is a bit of fallout but you know, face wipes. The shimmer purple is probably the most disappointing – the purple shimmer looks multi-tonal in the pan but is rather a muted affair on. The greys are lovely and silky, and the taupe shimmers my usual go to. That said, I don’t have a favourite taupe shade here, nothing wrong with them but there’s not a colour in the palette that is like “I can’t live without it!” if you know what I mean. The grays are dark and blend nicely, and the matte purple has really grown on me. It's a fairly muted affair, this palette. It's perfectly fine for a neutral or smoky eye - they do have many other colour combinations in the range though for the more adventurous!

They’re not too ott with the glitter at all, far less so that Urban Decay imho, but if you’re a matte only girl it’s probably not for you as most of the shades have shimmer. The mattes are slightly chalky but decent pigment for the price. I have to say these palettes are so bargainous that I can see myself collecting them all…eek. Has anyone else tried them? What did you think? I also like the look of their blush/highlighter-y ones.

The Maybelline The Nudes palette contains 12 neutral shades:

So I had a wee play on my face with all of the colours (yes I still play with makeup the minute I get it like a 10 year old!) and swatched it both with and without primer (primer an essential with this one, whereas you could get away without it with much of the Revolution palette). Sadly I think it is a slight let down. For £9.99 I wasn’t expecting miraculous quality but I had hoped it would be a bit better. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few shades that are smooth and lovely with a primer, but the highlights are a flat out disappointment in my opinion – chalky, dry, and difficult to blend. There is too much glitter in them, with little pigment or payoff. The matte highlight  is a real pain to even get to show up.

I do adore the size of the Maybelline palette, it is the perfect size for taking on a wee break (as I had planned for when I bought it), and I could function with this just fine if I had to.

But I’m really not impressed with the highlight/paler shades at all and would have to bring my own (I'm currently obsessed with reducing all baggage as I'm flying with Easyjet to London on Sunday, who I always get amnesia about the minuscule baggage allowance/hefty check in fees, seat fees, breathing fees, you name it - grrr! Seriously just flying BA next time, the Easyjet  "savings" are so not worth the hassle! And I'm pretty sure by the time I check a bag will have cost the same. Doh). I digress, sorry!

On the plus side, the taupe shimmer in this palette is pretty, it has a nice matte-ish effect with tiny specks of glitter at the same time, and the mid grey is nice and silky, and the sparkly warm brown shade (top third from right….) is a real standalone bobby dazzler. I will never understand how much eye shadows can vary so much in quality in one palette - I’ve seen it with more expensive brands too. This also comes with a small sponge applicator but unlike the Revolution palette doesn’t have a mirror.

I like the guide on the back that tells you which shades would be a good combination for duos, trios, and quad’s - it’s very cleverly organized. This palette really could have done with a bit more depth/contrast, the black is not something I would wear but is quite dry and chalky, and the shades are kind of samey without complementing each other in any interesting way. The gold is not great, quite grainy which irks me as the shimmers are doing most of the work here (I know they look pretty in swatches but on actual eyelids they're a bit dry to work with).

I’m not begrudging this one too much as I will get some use out of it I’m sure, and to be fair I got it for essentially half price in the 2 for £10 offer on in Superdrug just now (I also picked up the Maybelline Dream Nude Foundation, which I think I LOVE but will wait a bit to review it properly). All in all it’s fine, but in a market that is so flooded with new palettes I think Maybelline must do better to compete. I don't think it's quite worth the £9.99 price tag.

Something about buying these blimming things does make me want to find the perfect one though, so annoying! (hint: I don’t think it exists – I do think at some point I will fork out for a magnetised empty palette and de-pan shades I actually use into one and chuck the rest).

So in summary, if you’ve got a tenner or less to spend on a palette, I’d plump for the Makeup Revolution palettes over the Maybelline – the shadows are more blend-able and pigmented on the whole; when comparing these two similar toned palettes, anyway. They have quite a wide selection and you could actually get two for almost the same price as the Maybelline, with far more shadows to play with it’s a no brainer. BUT The Maybelline is such a lovely little dinky size that I have a feeling I will be using it more for travel, so it does have it’s merits.

By the way I'm a rookie at beauty blogging stuff, you would not BELIEVE how many pics of my arm I took to get these semi-decent shots, ack! Um and apparently I have hairy ape arms, I never knew I had hair on my inner arm, wth - I guess beauty bloggers wax their arms? Or I'm just a freak?! ;-0 I don't know how people do it, it's hard work this makeup photography lark!

How about you, have you got any handy palettes you would recommend/can't live without? Thanks for reading! :-) 


  1. Thanks, Good info! I pinned your blog! Girls loves beauty! :)

  2. Great post!! I am in love with that Makeup Revoloution Palette, may have to pick one up!! My favourite palette at the moment is the Coastal Scents Revealed Palette.

    1. Thank you! I have heard good things about Coastal Scents! :-)

  3. The Makeup Revolution Palette looks gorgeous, I've been obsessed with their blush palettes lately! XO -Kim

  4. Both those palettes look really nice! I am wimpy and stick to just a few colors and not very often (mainly because I am guilty of rubbing my eyes a lot). And I have trouble photographing any reflective surface myself, or if there is awkward lighting. Eh. The point gets across. :)

    1. I rub my eyes too, mascara disasters abound!

  5. Good reviews! I would have been wary of cheap makeup but will now try! Don't worry about your arms no way as gorilla hairy as mine.

  6. I always find eye shadow palettes so pretty but I don't really use them. If I wear any at all I use taupe-ish shades. I bought a palette of mixed greys from Maybelline but they look a bit dico on me-sort of silvery and intense. Revlon has individual ones you can click together and I bought three different taupe/browns to make my own nude palette but I tend to use only one of them most often.

    I remember buying palettes of purples in the eighties. I won't be revisiting that one! xoxo

    1. It's a fine line between disco and subtle shimmer I find, and the older I get the less disco I can afford to be (sadly!). The Revlon clicky ones sound neat, not sure I've seen them here!