If you’ve been eyeing that beautiful $129 eyeshadow palette you’ve recently seen on social media, and you’re wondering if it’s truly worth the hype, you’re certainly not alone. Maybe you’re also wondering who’s behind this brand that has caught so much attention from beauty influencers everywhere. This brand has been the subject of many debates and conversations playing out on social media since its inception, and that’s exactly what intrigued me enough to give it a try. To be quite honest, I am very new to the Natasha Denona brand, having first heard the name just a few months ago. That may come as quite a surprise, especially since I consider myself a real beauty junkie and collector. I remember hearing the brand name when looking at product recommendations for a past Sephora VIB sale, but I quickly dismissed the idea of trying it out after seeing some of the prices. That was a mistake, and I regret not trying the brand sooner. I became even more intrigued after seeing advertisements for Natasha’s latest release… the Sunset Palette. It wasn’t difficult for me to talk myself into buying it (at full price, no less) and giving it a try! Before I get into the actual product information and review, let’s take a look at the woman behind the brand.
Natasha Denona – The Brand and the Woman Behind It
Natasha Denona may not be a household brand that you recognize as readily as L’Oreal or Cover Girl, but that makes her no less of a powerful, well-respected figure in the beauty industry. Natasha was born in Croatia and raised in Germany. Her mother was a chemist and technical illustrator, which is how she developed her love for aesthetics. She began dancing at the age of 13, painting at age 15, and elected photography as her high school major. Talk about multi-talented!
Natasha moved to Israel at the age of 18, where she danced solo in a well-known dance company. Soon thereafter, she launched her new career as a fashion model. She participated in an Israeli production of the musical Cabaret, where she learned about stage makeup from a master, actor Michael Dussarat. After that, she did all of her own makeup by herself, both on the stage and on the runway. She soon realized that she enjoyed the show preparations more than the show itself. After she got pregnant with her first daughter at age 25, she stopped modeling to focus on her new chosen career… makeup artistry. She formed her new, unique personal style and technique, which drew attention from leading photographers and helped launch her international career. Her work has graced the covers of premiere magazines around the world including Glamour, Marie Claire, GQ, and magazines I can’t even interpret.
In 2002 and 2006, Natasha Denona was elected Makeup Artist of the Year in the Oscars of the Israeli Fashion World. She became an international sensation, and many aspiring makeup artists sought her out to learn her makeup artistry methods. In 2002, that led to her establishing the Natashsa Denona Makeup Academy in Tel Aviv, where she gives makeup lessons and demonstrations. That led to Natasha creating her own makeup line, consisting of high-quality makeup products created after in-depth scientific Research & Development. She launched her makeup brand 7 years ago with the Blackest Black Matte eyeshadow. Natasha believes that makeup shouldn’t be a dominating mask that covers each person’s unique features, rather it should be tailored to the person’s unique features, tone and texture of the skin, style, personality, preferences, age, and even mood. She carries her innovative principles and vision over into her makeup products, by providing cutting-edge formulas with various textures, targeting women of any age that want to look their best day or night.
It’s important to know that all of Natasha Denona’s makeup products are cruelty-free. She does not sell her products in China for that reason. Her products can be found at Sephora, Beautylish, Beauty Bay, and the Natasha Denona website.
The Sunset Palette
The Sunset Palette is the latest eyeshadow palette in the Natasha Denona brand. It’s a Limited Edition
collection of 15 new eyeshadow shades inspired by the rich, warm hues mimicking shades of a sunset, hence the name Sunset Palette. The palette includes 4 different textures including her signature chroma crystal, matte, and metallic finishes. All shadows in the palette is cruelty-free and talc-free.
Shades include the following:
- Atmosphere 120M: Rose bronze with a Metallic finish
- Sinai 121CM: Burnt terracotta with a Creamy Matte finish
- Ice Gold 122K: Sheer golden cream with a Chroma Crystal finish
- Mandarine 123DC: Golden mandarin with a Duo-Chrome finish
- Bronzage 124K: Light copper with a Chroma Crystal finish
- Vulcano 125CM: Deep mauve brown with a Creamy Matte finish
- Aubade 126K: Warm gold with a Chroma Crystal finish
- Horizon 127CM: Warm orange with a Creamy Matte finish
- Sundazed 128K: True gold with a Chroma Crystal finish
- Terra 129CM: Mahogany with a Creamy Matte finish
- Bermuda 130CM: Pale peach nude with a Creamy Matte finish
- Morgana 131DC: Golden coral with a Duo-Chrome finish
- Panjin 132CM: Deep red with a Creamy Matte finish
- Igneous 133CM: Dark brown with a Creamy Matte finish
- Sol 134CM: Warm yellow with a Creamy Matte finish
Let’s address the “elephant in the room.” The price. The Sunset Palette is $129, but it’s actually in line with other popular makeup brands for the quality, size, and weight of product you’re receiving. I recently covered this topic in depth in a previous blog, that I encourage you to read here. Each shade in the palette is 2.5 grams, at a price of $8.60 per shadow. Compare that to Anastasia Beverly Hills eyeshadows, which are $12 for only 1.7 grams. The most accurate way to compare brands and prices actually, is by price per gram. When looking at that cost breakdown, you spend much more money per product gram weight on Makeup Geek and MAC shadow than Natasha Denona. A full comparison chart is available on my other blog. Even though the price is in line with and even better than competing brands when assessing price per gram, it’s important for everyone to shop responsibly and determine for yourself if this fits into your own budget.
I’ll admit, after I ordered the Sunset Palette, I got scared and instantly questioned my decision. As I started looking at some of the featured looks on Instagram that Natasha created, I got scared. I’m 41, and I have never ventured out and used any real colors in my eyeshadow looks. As a matter of fact, I only recently learned how to blend multiple shades together to create a complete 3 or 4 shade look like you see all the beautiful people on Instagram wearing. My entire life, I’ve just thrown a single shade over my eyelid, applied eyeliner and mascara, and ran out the door with a simple look, mostly due to the fact that I’m a career professional who works in a corporate environment…. also due to the fact that I was never taught how to apply makeup growing up. I had to figure it all out on my own. They didn’t have YouTube (or the internet) when I was a teenager. When the palette arrived, I opened it up immediately, swatched it with my fingers, took photos, and set it to the side…. still scared. I instantly made up my mind that I could never use the bright yellow shade, or the white, or the red, or the gold….. why did I buy this again?
Initially, I played it safe and created a somewhat standard nude look but with a little pop of color and beautiful shimmer on the middle of my eyelids. It was beautiful, and it wore perfectly throughout the day without ever budging on my eyes. There’s a huge difference between wearing the ND eyeshadows vs. a brand like ColourPop. The ColourPop pressed shadows slowly faded throughout the day, even while wearing primer, while the ND shadows stayed vibrant all day and night until I removed them with eye makeup remover.
A few days later, I decided to take the palette out and just play around with it, at a time when I didn’t have the pressure of going anywhere. I stayed up all night just experimenting, surprisingly with the brighter shades that I swore I wouldn’t use. I created a look that I loved, truly inspired by a sunset, or my version of it anyway. Try not to judge my makeup applications skills, or lack thereof. This is when I completely fell in love with the ND shadows. They are all very highly pigmented, creamy, blend easily, and are very easy to work with… even for the novice makeup user.
The Sunset Palette contains eyeshadows with 4 different textures, providing a nice variety of looks that can take you from day to night. There are 8 Creamy Matte shadows, 4 Chroma Crystal shadows, 1 metallic shadow, and 2 duo-chrome shadows.
Creamy Matte Eyeshadows
The 8 Creamy Matte shadows are incredibly creamy, pigmented, and blend out like a dream. Don’t be fooled by finger swatches. When I initially used my finger to swatch them on my arm, a few of them appeared very streaky or patchy, which made me really nervous. I’ve senough other reviews saying shades like the red one are “streaky.” However, we obviously don’t wear eyeshadow on our arms, so that’s not a fair representation of how they’ll perform on the eyes. When applied to the eyes with a proper brush (I used Wayne Goss and Sigma brushes), I didn’t experience any issues with the mattes at all. None of them appeared streaky (with one exception I’ll mention shortly), and all of them were very highly pigmented, including the red shade. Red is a difficult shade for most brands to properly formulate. All pigments are not the same and some are known for their challenges. That’s why you don’t see many good red-based shadows. This one blends out beautifully without leaving streaks of heavy pigment in some places that are difficult to blend out, as is often the issue with red shadows.
The shade Igneous is my least favorite matte shade. I was nervous about this shade after initially swatching it with my finger. It swatches very patchy on the arm and hand. Even when using a brush, it is difficult to blend out. It takes quite some time to get an even appearance and get rid of the heavier patches that appear. It looks heavy in some areas and lighter in others. I still haven’t mastered a perfect blend for this shade. Because of that, I will probably not use this shade unless I’m just playing around at home with nowhere to go. I definitely need some more time to figure out how to make this shade work.
The shade Horizon is one of my favorite mattes, despite being scared of it initially. It appears as a very stark burnt orange in the pan, but don’t let that scare you. If you’re expecting a bright, glaring orange pigment, this shade doesn’t provide that. Instead, it is a beautiful, somewhat muted, soft burnt orange shade that makes a stunning mid-transition color. It’s highly pigmented and isn’t streaky at all. It’s just a bright “in your face” shade. It’s something that is wearable for people of all ages, which is why I became a quick fan.
Shimmer, Duo-Chrome, and Chroma Crystal Eyeshadows
I didn’t notice a significant difference in the textures or finishes between the shimmer, duo-chrome, and Chroma Crystal eyeshadows. They are all very creamy and feel very soft to the touch. There are some nuances that I’ll cover. Some shades appear very different in the pan vs. when you apply them to your eyelid or swatch them anywhere on your skin. Shades that may scare you initially when you view them in the pan, look absolutely stunning and a little different when applied to the eye. Don’t let any of the brighter shades scare you away from trying them.
There are 2 duo-chrome finishes in the palette, and my favorite is Morgana. It’s a beautiful coral with rose tones. Out of all the shades, it reminds me of a beautiful sunset with pink rose colors on the horizon. One thing I should mention is that some shades appear very different in the pan vs. when you apply them to your eye or swatch them anywhere on your skin. Shades that may scare you initially look stunning and a little different when applied, so don’t let any of these shades scare you away from trying them. The 1 “metallic” shade is Atmosphere, and it’s a beautiful rose bronze shade that has a metallic finish, but it doesn’t have the same mirror-like shine that the others have. It’s not dull, but rather just a half-notch down on the “blinding” scale compared to the Chroma Crystal shades.
Mandarine, which is a golden orange duo-chrome shade, is my least favorite of the duo-chrome and shimmer shades. The duo-chrome appearance is very subtle, by definition of what a “duo-chrome” should look like. It loops more like a single tone rather than a 2-tone metallic shade. The pigment isn’t the greatest, but it’s certainly not the worst either. When swatched on my arm or any other skin area, my skin tone peeks through from underneath it slightly. It’s not streaky but rather just a little dull. I used it on my eyelids, but it just didn’t impress me because of the duller appearance. That’s really the only metallic/duo-chrome shade that I’m not a huge fan of from this palette, but I can’t say that it’s the worst or is a “bad” shade either.
There are 4 Chroma Crystal shadows. These have a high shine, mirror-like finish that will make your eyelids pop. They’re very creamy and absolutely stunning. Sundazed is a true gold Chroma Crystal shade that is creamy but has more glittery fallout than the others. For this reason, I highly recommend that you complete your eye makeup first before doing the rest of your face. I had to clean up quite a bit under my eyes after creating my eyeshadow look, which doesn’t bother me personally, but it’s worth noting. It’s easy to use a makeup wipe to clean away all the fallout under your eyes, or else place a lot of powder under the eye to make it easier to swipe away with a brush.
I recommend applying the shimmers/metallics with your fingers or with a flat brush dampened with MAC Fix + or your choice of sprays/drops. This will enhance the pigment, make it appear more vibrant, and also help the shadow adhere to your eyelids better. It’s certainly not a requirement, but you will achieve a more vibrant look when using those methods instead of using a dry, flat brush. When you use a dry, flat brush, you will achieve a soft, subdued wash of color vs. a shimmery pop. Another tool that I’m a fan of using is a foam eyeshadow applicator, i.e., the kind that often come in small drugstore eyeshadow palettes. Usually people throw them away immediately, but they’re a perfect tool for applying metallics if you don’t want to use your fingers. You can use it dry or slightly damp. To be clear, I don’t think that these recommendations/techniques are unique to this ND palette but rather they apply to most shimmer shadows I’ve worked with across many brands.
The mattes apply very easily using either synthetic or natural hair bristles. I was testing my new set of Wayne Goss eye brushes at the same time that I was testing this palette, and the Goss brushes worked perfectly. If you’re not in the market to spend over $100 on brushes, rest assured that you should be able to use whatever you have on hand to blend out these shadows. I also tested them with my Sigma brushes and my cheaper Crown brushes.
Overall, I highly recommend this palette, especially if you can get your hands on it. It’s truly opened my mind to creating eyeshadow looks with colors I wouldn’t have used before. I think it’s because these colors, although they appear bright in the pan, are actually wearable and blend out beautifully without making me look like a clown. I believe people of any age can wear the shades in this palette. They’re very easy to work with, especially for someone who isn’t an “expert” at using multiple shades in a look. I put these on par with the Anastasia Beverly Hills shadows, which I rank at the top as far as wearability, ease of application and blendability… not to mention they are just stunning shades that last all day and night without fading. I was so excited after experimenting with this palette that I purchased more Natasha Denona shadows when I went to Sephora. That actually says a lot. As I mentioned before, given the price, everyone has to make decisions on makeup choices based on your own budget. If this falls outside of your budget, don’t skip rent or food to buy it. However, I would definitely consider saving up to buy this vs. buying a lot of cheap eyeshadows that are of low quality and may not last as long. Again, be sure to check out my previous blog on makeup prices for more information to keep in mind.
This set of swatches was made with my fingers. No primer.
The following swatches were made with a dry brush. I used my Color Switch to clean the brush between shades so that I didn’t get it wet. My rule was to dip into the eyeshadow pan only once when creating each swatch. Note there’s one swatch where I show it side by side with a finger swatch of the same color, to show the true difference between applying the metallic shades with a finger vs. a brush.
Where to Purchase: Sephora, Beautylish, Natasha Denona Website (currently out of stock. restock unknown)
Additional Reference: Why That $129 Eyeshadow Palette Isn’t So Expensive: Understanding Makeup Prices
Have you tried Natasha Denona eyeshadows? What are your thoughts? Comment below or join the conversation on my Instagram page!