A BRUTALLY HONEST Review of the Jaclyn Hill x Morphe Eyeshadow Palette

A BRUTALLY HONEST Review of the Jaclyn Hill x Morphe Eyeshadow Palette

Nothing has been more highly anticipated in the beauty community over the past year than the Jaclyn Hill x Morphe palette. Jaclyn announced over a year ago that she was working on something huge, which many people thought would be her own beauty brand. We later learned that she was referring to an eyeshadow palette collaboration with Morphe, which was supposedly two full years in the making. I won’t get into all the drama that’s unfolded over the palette the past several months, but let’s just say that it’s made more headlines in the beauty drama community than any other topic I can remember in recent months. The drama has been due to both Jaclyn Hill’s involvement (issues on her previous brand collaborations) and also Morphe’s reputation as a company that produces low-cost eyeshadow palettes from China. For the purpose of this review, I prefer to ignore all the drama and review the palette on its own merit…  for the most part.

I spent a full day and night working with the shadows on various looks, testing the various shades, observing how they blended, and testing the wearability throughout the day. However, keep in mind that since the palette is so large and has so many different shades, it would take around 1-2 weeks to fully test it out and observe the performance of all shades over time. Most of the YouTube reviews you see are made after the influencer swatches each shade on their arm, and then they create one single look using standard colors, without truly testing out how all the shades wear on the eyes.  Because of that, reviews for this palette have spanned the spectrum between an excellent palette that is highly recommended and just plain crap (depending on who the review is from). Perhaps mine may fall somewhere in the middle, but I’m definitely leaning more towards one end of that spectrum. To find out which end, read on a little further.

Covering the Basics

The Jaclyn Hill x Morphe Palette is a large eyeshadow palette consisting of 35 eyeshadows, in a layout of 5 rows with 7 shades each row. Jaclyn named each individual eyeshadow shade, but the names do not appear on the palette itself. They are printed on a small postcard that comes with the palette. Evidently some customers didn’t receive the shade card while others did. It would be nice to have the shades printed on the palette for those who like to follow tutorials. I recommend taping it to the inside or back cover to prevent losing it.

A standard 35 shade Pro Morphe palette retails for $22.99. The Jaclyn palette retails for $38. I would expect a small price increase to help Morphe cover additional costs related to a collaboration and palette customization, but this is quite a bit more than any of their other eyeshadow palettes. Whenever I pay almost double the price for a similar item in the same brand, I would expect something really special such as upgraded packaging, extra items, and/or an improved formula. Jaclyn initially stated that this palette contained an all new formula, then somewhat backtracked to say they were just all pressed differently, then we heard it was a different formula again. The way eyeshadows are pressed is nothing special. Different pigments have to be pressed at varying levels to achieve the desire despite effect, as no two pigments behave the exact same way. When Morphe published the ingredient list of this palette to their website, it was exactly the same as all their other pro palettes… until they were called out by customers on social media. They then updated their website with a Shade Cardrevised ingredient list, but customers soon found the revised list was very similar to the smaller Morphe eyeshadow palettes. While I prefer to stay out of “drama,” this is somewhat important since we are looking for a justification for the higher price, other than the fact that Jaclyn has to be paid for her part.

The packaging is different than the standard 35 shade Morphe pro palette. Their regular pro palettes have a hard black plastic shell, have Morphe Brushes (or just Morphe) stamped on the cover, do not have a mirror inside, and do not have the shades listed on the palette or on a separate card. They honestly look like all the plain generic 35 shade palettes sold on Aliexpress.com for just a few dollars. The Jaclyn palette comes in white cardboard packaging with silver writing on the cover that says “Jaclyn Hill Palette” on the center and “Morphe” on the bottom, right corner. The inside top cover has a message printed that says “This palette is dedicated to all my loving subscribers xo Jaclyn.” That’s nice, but a mirror would have been much nicer and made the palette more convenient for travel. After just a week or so, I’m already frustrated with the matte white cardboard palette, as it attracts every speck of loose makeup or other stuff that is laying around. While some stuff may wipe off, most makeup products won’t… as I’ve already found out after having a huge portion of the backside stained. It stains very easily.  I wish they had spent a few cents extra for a glossy coating over the cardboard to prevent it from soaking up makeup and staining.  The packaging is OK but nothing impressive.

My Test and Detailed Impressions

I started working with the palette by doing the standard finger swatch test on my arm, then using a brush to swatch each shade the same way I would apply them to my eye (but without primer).  While this method of swatching can give hints about the amount of pigment and blend-ability of each shade, it’s not an accurate representation of how any eyeshadow will perform on the eye.  I have had eyeshadows that swatched horribly on my arm but looked amazing on my eyes. Always take swatches by a grain of salt. With that said, the majority of the shimmer / metallic shades swatched nicely with the finger, but they don’t work with a brush at all unless you wet the brush. Even with a wet brush (sprayed with Fix +), most of them didn’t apply with very much pigment on my arm or my eye. The matte shades were very inconsistent. Some of them are soft and have kick up, which makes them blend a little easier. Others are hard and dried out, and they apply horribly patchy no matter how you try to apply them (brush andJaclyn Hill Palette finger).

The next phase of my test was to create several different color combinations directly on my eyes. This is where I got very frustrated. As long as I was working with the top 2 -3 rows of shades, I could create pretty nice looks. The shades in those rows are very standard nude looks, although there’s not much variety. The quality of the shades on the top section were nothing phenomenal or worthy of me personally justifying the purchase of this palette, especially since I have a multitude of other nude palettes. Some of the shades were too similar when applied to the eye. There are subtle differences in some shades when viewing them in the pan, but those differences don’t really translate to the eyes where they would create distinct unique looks. The only way I could get the shimmer shades to pop on my eyes was to use my fingers for application. I tried a variety of different brushes with differing density to apply the shimmers, as well as dampening my brushes with Fix +. While a wet brush helps the color transfer to the eyelids a little better, it’s not vibrant unless applied with the fingers. As mentioned previously, the matte shades have a little “kick up,” but it’s nothing compared to the Anastasia Beverly Hills Renaissance or Mario palettes. I actually prefer softer shadows because they have a reputation for blending out easier on the eye. These didn’t. The lighter shades blended out decently, but I had some serious issues trying to blend out some of the darker shades. Honestly, ColourPop pressed shadows beat the quality of this palette by far.

Example of Finger and Brush Swatches of the brighter shades in the palette

Let’s chat a moment about the bottom section of the palette. Jaclyn surprised many of us by adding shades or “pops of color” that are much brighter and not found in other nude palettes. That is what makes this palette different, as the intent is to have one palette that you can create a multitude of completely different eye looks in without them being the same old nude shades we have seen in every other palette. However, what is meant in theory doesn’t always translate in actuality. I found most of the brighter colors to be extremely dry, chalky, streaky, and difficult to apply and work with. There was only one shade that applied nicely and looked good if I used my finger for application – Pool Party. If you’re looking for it to be extremely vibrant and really pop, it won’t. However, it does provide a very pretty wash of color when you want to add something a little different. The only problem I experienced with Pool Party is that it stained my eyelids green. I used eye makeup remover to take it off, but my mobile eyelid was stained for a day.  Unfortunately, the corresponding matte shade Jada is one of the worst matte shades in the palette (not the only “worst” shade but it’s near the top of the worst list). The absolute worst shade award goes to Twerk, which is supposed to be a shimmery purple shade that goes on almost see-thru, completely patchy, and is impossible to make look good. Perhaps you can try using it as a smudged eyeliner. I didn’t try that because it’s not a shade I would typically wear as an eyeliner myself. Another shade I was disappointed in was 24/7. It’s a beautiful shimmer in the pan, but I could barely get that shade to apply anywhere on my skin, with a finger or brushes. I’m not sure if I just got a bad one or if they’re all like that. The black shade called Abyss is not a deep solid black but rather a little patchy or streaky when spread out on the skin with a brush. However, I found that it works nicely as an eyeliner when pressed into the lash line with a small shader brush. Most people don’t use solid, stark black eyeshadows all over the eyes, but if you do, you will need to find something outside of this palette.

As far as wearability goes, the eyeshadow lasted several hours without transferring or disappearing. I have no major concerns about the performance during the day. Just one note about this – I accidentally fell asleep wearing my eye makeup. Oftentimes when I do that (I don’t make it a habit), I will wake up and still have a substantial amount of eyeshadow on my eyes. Sometimes, depending on the brand, my makeup will still look freshly applied when I wake up since I don’t rub my face in my pillow. These shadows were very different.  I hardly had anything left on my eyes the next morning when I woke up wearing these shadows, and they had transferred across my under-eye area. This obviously isn’t part of my test, but I thought it was worth mentioning just as an FYI.

Final Thoughts and Recommendation

By this point you could probably sense that I’m not a huge fan of this eyeshadow palette. I was frankly very disappointed. My expectations were very high for this collaboration, especially since Jaclyn stated she had 100% full creative control of everything, including the shades, textures, how they were pressed, and the packaging. Most collaborations don’t offer the influencer creative control with the formula; they can only select the shades, but this was very different. Considering the fact that Jaclyn spent 2 years supposedly perfecting her palette, I expected something damn near perfect, and that’s not what I got. I feel that at least 3-4 of the neutral shades (top 2 rows) are so close in color that it’s overboard and ridiculous to have them all. I would have preferred that some of the puke/brown shades be eliminated in favor of some soft matte peach, pink and rose toned shades. Jaclyn’s attempt to add brighter pops of color was admirable in theory but fell short in quality and delivery.

While watching Jaclyn create demo eyeshadow looks with the palette, as well as other YouTubers, I realized that they all kept their looks extremely simple, using only 1 or 2 shades in the same tone/range (look at her collab video with Kim K as an example), and there’s definitely a reason for that. This palette isn’t as versatile as it would seem to be on the surface, especially after you eliminate the shades that perform poorly. I outright don’t believe that some of the swatch photos I’ve seen on social media weren’t enhanced with filters or created using sprays, primers, and other tricks. I could flat-out not get my palette to create swatches that were remotely similar in quality to the ones that Jaclyn and her close friends published online. Just keep in mind that some YouTubers have an invested reason to push this palette (as well as many other products they recommend) because they are top Morphe affiliates who profit substantially whenever customers utilize their discount code so for purchases at Morphe.

Do I recommend this palette? NO, I absolutely don’t. There are much better palettes that outperform this one by a mile, for the same price range. If this palette were in a Sephora store or other store where I could actually play around with it in the store or return it after a 30 day assessment period, I wouldn’t own this palette right now. A good alternative palette to check out within the Morphe brand (for less money) is the 35F (fall palette) or 35W (warm palette), both comprised of mostly nude shades in both shimmers and mattes. To be blatantly honest, I will probably never again pick up the Jaclyn palette to use again. However, if you’re a huge fan and supporter of Jaclyn Hill, who am I to tell you not to grab it? You may absolutely love it, and that’s the beauty of makeup. Makeup is never “one size fits all.”  One person’s “oh no!” may be another person’s cherished treasure.

 

Did you get your hands on the Jaclyn x Morphe palette or is all the drama and hype keeping you away? Comment below and let me know or head over to my Instagram page and let’s chat! 

 

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21 Comments

  1. Christina
    July 18, 2017 / 5:34 pm

    I’ve been avoiding this palette because of all the drama and the huge price jump in comparison to Morphe’s other palettes! I’m so glad that you’ve done such a thorough review (thank you!!) because it’s truly set in stone what I’ve been thinking (it’s just an overhyped collaboration that really isn’t anything special). 🙂




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  2. July 18, 2017 / 6:17 pm

    Really good post! I almost bought this palette but I couldn’t get past the price point. Thanks for your honest detailed review. -@Thebrowngirlswatches




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  3. Emily McMullen
    July 27, 2017 / 2:28 pm

    I LOVE YOU for this review. Your review pretty much matched ALL of my thoughts exactly. I thought I was just being super picky because I was so disappointed with the palette. I have posted comments and thoughts on Youtube reviews and was honest but not bitchy or negative and I ended up being called names and harassed by Morphe and Jaclyn obsessed nutjobs. I bought this palette and ended up selling it to my friend for $20. I just was so unsatisfied. You’re better off buying something from colourpop if you’re looking for inexpensive. Made in the USA, adorable packaging, great prices and their shadows actually work!




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  4. October 5, 2017 / 4:57 am

    .I would really appreciate your work .Thanks for useful information,Great that you shared your opinion on this Palette.Good job!!




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  5. Iq
    October 22, 2017 / 7:45 am

    Hi! What does the back of your palette say? I got mine from the launch and it just says morphexjaclynhill and mothing else. Newer dates have batchcodes printed on them at the back :/




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  6. Mercedez
    February 22, 2018 / 9:51 pm

    If anyone is considering buying this really take what she’s saying seriously lol. The swatches don’t transfer well on the eyes. The colors or so alike it’s sad. They don’t blend as well either. I used primer on my lids and you definitely have to use your finger to make some of the colors pop. Idk but I’ll defin be returning. Sad because I love how pretty the colors look. Anyone know a similar looking palette of better quality ?




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    • My Beautiful Flaws
      Author
      February 24, 2018 / 3:58 am

      Thank you so much for your feedback and comments. That means a lot to me. I had high hopes for this palette, but it just didn’t meet my expectations by even a little. You may think this sounds silly but you can find many of the same shades in a better quality in the recent ColourPop eyeshadow palette collab with Kathleen Lights. It has those stunning greenish shades in it, as well as the other shades you need for the transition colors and pops of color. It’s a much smaller palette, but I grabbed a couple of their mini palettes and combined them into a magnetic palette to make a customized palette for myself. The Kathleen Lights palette is $16 regular price. Sometimes it goes on sale. They also have other palettes you may like such as “Give it to Me Straight” and “You Had Me at Hello.” I waited until they had a sale and stocked up on a few at the same time. You can look at my Instagram page and see a photo of what they look like after I de-potted them. The quality of these is so much better than the Morphe Jaclyn palette. If you want other suggestions, just let me know. There’s more expensive options, but these are low cost options that are great dupes. Thanks again for writing and for your support.

      Here’s a link to the Dream St. palette:
      ColourPop Dream St. Palette




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  7. Cyndi
    March 5, 2018 / 5:58 pm

    I purchased this about a month ago from Ulta. Unfortunately i threw away the box otherwise I would have returned it. It’s just horrible. It’s one of the newer ones because the names are on the back of the pallets. There couldn’t have been any improvement. I feel like I wasted $38 because I just want to toss the whole thing. By the way. Even if the eyeshadows performed better; without a mirror; it’s so cumbersome to use bb




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    • My Beautiful Flaws
      Author
      March 5, 2018 / 6:11 pm

      Wow. That’s such a shame to hear that they’re still selling crap palettes and they weren’t “improved” the way they claimed they were. I sure as heck wasn’t going to buy another one and check. Once you find a good brand and h understand how great eyeshadows perform, you recognize the crap like this much quicker. I think some of these people who sing its praises just don’t have much to compare it to honestly. There’s always the chance that they got one of only a few palettes that are great, but I seriously doubt it. I think people are just defending the name behind it rather than truly judging the shadows on their own merit and quality. Once you use something really good like Viseart, ABH (some of their palettes),a and Natasha Denona, it’s hard to say that Morphe makes a great palette. It’s cheap and performs worse than many drugstore brands. Anyway, thank you so much for your comment. At least I know it’s still the same crap it was last year when I first bought it. How sad.




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  8. Beth Amilcare
    March 19, 2018 / 11:47 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. I haven’t used the palette much yet, since it just came in the mail last week for me. I honestly didnt know about any of this drama surrounding the palette, but it’s surprising to read. I found this article because I was wondering if any others experience any of the shadows staining their eyelids. My eyelids are both currently stained a reddish/purple after using the Twerk shade to create a dramatic look for a photo shoot. I wiped my makeup off with a makeup wipe and washed my face, and they’re still stained. I look like I got punched in both of my eyes AGH




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  9. March 29, 2018 / 7:02 am

    .I would really appreciate your work .Thanks for useful information,Great that you shared your opinion on this Palette.Good job!!




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  10. Gin
    April 25, 2018 / 10:37 am

    I’ve really been looking for a reason to pay $38 bucks for a Morphe palette but I can’t seem to justify the price. I own a few Morphe palettes (paid 23-28$) and I like them but honestly don’t LOVE them. I love watching reviews on youtube but some are paid or get free products for their hype instead of giving an honest review. I’d rather spend a few extra dollars and purchase a product manufactured within the United States. Thanks for keeping it real!




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  11. July 25, 2018 / 1:27 pm

    Wow. Color me shocked to find an honest, informative and well-written make-up review. THANK YOU for sharing your experience and expertise! I will be following you from now on.




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    • My Beautiful Flaws
      Author
      July 25, 2018 / 2:12 pm

      Ah, thank you so much. That truly means so much to me. It has always been very important for me to be honest and completely unbiased, especially when we have such a large number of influencers who are easily biased or otherwise influenced by sponsorships and large amounts of free PR. I’ll always be that honest voice, at least according to my own personal experience. I take it personally when I see people working so hard and saving money for weeks or months to afford a single palette, only to find influencers being dishonest about the product’s quality and performance so they can make a profit. Some people won’t like my viewpoint or may not always agree with me (some will defend a product solely because it was a collab with their favorite YouTuber), but that’s ok too. 🙂

      Thank you again. Feedback like yours honestly keeps me going.




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  12. Tasfia
    August 1, 2018 / 1:47 pm

    Thanks a lot for the honest review.I needed to know as I was thinking of buying the product.

    Can you suggest some good eyeshadow palettes within a reasonable price range?It would be very helpful.




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    • My Beautiful Flaws
      Author
      August 1, 2018 / 5:15 pm

      Thank you for your support. I highly recommend the Dominique Cosmetics Latte Palette (a review is available on that one on my site). Also, for an affordable price, check out some of the ColourPop mini palettes on their website. The quality has improved a lot over time and the prices are along drugstore lines or even cheaper. In the drugstore, Rimmel makes some excellent quality eyeshadow palettes. Lastly, another great brand with excellent quality is Juvias Place (available directly on their website or Ulta). I hope that helps. 🙂 You’ve given me an idea to write a blog on great eyeshadow palettes, because I think this is a topic that would help a lot of people right now. Have a great day and thanks again for your support.




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    • My Beautiful Flaws
      Author
      August 9, 2018 / 5:34 pm

      Hi there! Just wanted to add… since I had a lot of requests recently for recommendations on great, affordable eyeshadow palettes, I recently posted a new review that has a list of several options. All of them are below $45. Many are between $10- 20. I hope that helps. 🙂




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