With so many eye shadow palettes now on the market it can be hard to know when it’s worth splashing the cash & when you’re better off saving, especially when spending more doesn’t always mean better value for money. Today I wanted to look at two of Stila’s palettes: In The Light & In the Garden, both of which originally retailed for £25 although In The Light is currently unavailable & In The Garden is available for just £12.50 which is great value but suggests it will soon be out of stock too.
Because of this, I won’t be focusing so much on the palettes themselves as the overall quality of the shadows, & hopefully answering the question Do Stila’s eye shadow palettes really offer value for money?
First up, the packaging.
Both palettes come in lightweight cardboard packaging although Stila appear to be moving to more robust plastic casings which is good to see. While cardboard makes palettes good for travelling with, it doesn’t offer great protection & can quickly look scruffy unless you’re incredibly careful. That aside, I’m generally a fan of Stila’s sleek aesthetic & it’s nice to see a brand including larger than usual pans of shadow as standard.
The In The Light palette immediately caught my eye as I love nude shades & this is packed full of them. I’ve seen a lot of people referring to this palette as a dupe for the Naked palettes (which seems to be what happens every time a brand brings out a neutrals palette these days) & while I wouldn’t say it’s a straight up dupe, it’s definitely in the same ball-park with a combination of matte & shimmer shades which can easily be mixed & matched for a range of looks.
What lets this palette down is the inconsistency in pigmentation. While some shadows such as bubbly & luster look great with one swipe, others are barely visible or super patchy. Generally the shimmer shadows perform better than the mattes but I found there to be a lot of fall out which is less than ideal (if not super surprising). Probably the biggest let down is gilded gold which in the pan is a warm-tone brown with flecks of gold glitter but which swatches as a patchy warm brown with not even a hint of shimmer.
You may have seen better looking swatches of this palette out there & it is possible to improve its performance with a good primer & steadily building up the colour, but it’s hard work.
In contrast, In The Garden is a collection of bright shades which although less obviously wearable are all stunning in their own right, & perfect for more dramatic evening looks. While In The Light falls down on its pigmentation, all of the shadows in the In The Garden palette pack a real punch, with even the weakest – rosette and bark – still performing well.
Probably this palette’s only weakness is the lack of shades to suit darker skin tones. While freesia, honey, & sage would all look incredible – particularly if supported with a good primer – chinois, breeze, bark, & nectar all risk looking chalky on medium to deep skin.
Both of the palettes comes with one of Stila’s Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liners which I haven’t swatched because the shades are reasonably similar. In The Light comes with Damsel – a dark reddish brown – & In The Garden comes with Starfish – a black with green pearl. I’m not a huge fan of pencil liners but the Stila Smudge Sticks are buttery & smooth, making them a dream to apply & they’re surprisingly long-lasting, even on the waterline.
The real take-away from this review is that Stila can produce some great quality shadows but they’re not consistent meaning buying one of their palettes is always going to be a bit of a risk. Thankfully, you don’t have to buy online as both M&S & Boots (as well as some high-end department stores like Harvey Nichols & Selfridges) stock Stila so you can pop in & swatch products for yourself.
Please leave a comment below if you found this review helpful & let me know if there are any other products you’d like me to try.