Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Bobbi Brown Sparkle Eye Shadow from the Brighten, Sparkle & Glow Collection

The model looks fabulous. The collection attracts me every time I walk up to a Bobbi Brown counter. So why can't I make Bobbi Brown's limited-edition Sparkle Eye Shadows ($28) work for me?

Nothing illuminates the face like a little shimmer. Bobbi Brown has brought back five of her most flattering Sparkle Eye Shadow shades, plus one new shade - Gold Star - that will make eyes pop with glitter and shine in a featherweight formula that offers long-lasting wear.

Bobbi says these eye shadows will give me a subtle shine. No matter how I apply them, I end up looking like someone threw a glitter poof at me. A wonderful Bobbi Brown representative who is no longer at Neiman Marcus showed me how to use Sparkle Eye Shadows. She told me they were toppers. She wore them over a color to add a new dimension to the color and a beautiful shine. She even showed me on her eyes (her skin is much darker than mine). She was right, so why do I keep hoping for a shade that I can wear all by itself to achieve a classy look?

When the Brighten, Sparkle & Glow Collection arrived at the counters, I saw all six shades and was tempted to try again. With Ballet Pink, Black Chocolate, Cement, Silver Moon, and Gold Star available, there's a shade for everyone. I selected Gold Star and applied it at the store. Somehow, I achieved a relatively even application with the tester. How?

For my swatch photos, I applied a moisturizer on my arm to attract the powder. I was taking no chances. I took my swatch photos in full sunlight. I tried really hard to apply the shadow evenly, using a sponge-tipped applicator to apply it heavily, swiping the applicator over and over the swatch. Here is what I got. More color than I get from some of the other shades - but still, it's uneven.

The gold shade is gorgeous. It's a nice color gold - yellow gold, not at all brassy, and definitely sparkling. It's described online as a warm gold. Naturally, it sparkles more in full sun than in candlelight, but it will sparkle to some extent anywhere.

Here's what I wanted to know. How can I get a better application of Bobbi's Sparkle Eye Shadows? Should I give up? I do wear a primer - always. Is there any way I can wear these shadows without an underlying powder? They are so pretty.

Here are two reviews published on Bobbi's Web site. Bubblehead wrote, " I am in my 50s and therefore avoid sparkly eyeshadow, but this actually makes me look younger because it brightens my hazel eyes (gold sparkle). This shadow illuminates, but in a soft way that can be worn during the day without looking overdone. Can't say enough good things!" Then Texasmom said, "SOOO Sparkly!! It looks like a five year old went crazy with glue and glitter. Way to much for me." Who's right? Is it all in technique?

I went online and had a short chat with a Bobbi Brown artist. Here is her answer. "The Sparkle Eye Shadows themselves are fairly sheer and will give more sparkle than color. We suggest they are applied either over a bare lid (for a very sheer look) or they may be layered over other shadows. Apply using the Angle Shadow Brush or Touch Up Brush. To get even color, use a pressing motion rather than a sweeping motion."

Guilty, I swept. So I'm off to press and pat. I won't give up my primer, though. What do you think? Do you wear Sparkle Eye Shadow? How do you apply it? Are you happy with it? I really want to love it.

You can find it Sparkle Eye Shadow at Bobbi Brown counters everywhere - or at her Web site.

Photos at top courtesy of Bobbi Brown; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

31 comments:

Ryou said...

Sounds like you might want to try using a sticky base underneath to keep the sparkles on your eyelids. I use Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy (which is also available in adorable sample tube, in case you're not ready for a full size), but many indie cosmetic brands make one. I think Too Faced also makes a Shadow Insurance Glitter Glue, which should also help keep the sparkles from falling all over your face.

Another trick I love is using sparkly eyeshadow only in the middle of the lid. You can always apply primer, then apply a sticky base only in the middle of the lid. I use this method when I want a hint of sparkle but nothing over the top. Hope that helps! :)

Suselew said...

I gave up on BB powder shadows years ago because they simply are not up to her standards on some of her spectacular products. There are so many better alternatives out there. A cream shadow base with some awesome loose sparkle pigments are a wonderful combo, although for us gals in our 50's, a judicious hand is best. I think just in the center of the lid is the perfect solution!

Ryou said...

And yes, pressing and patting would definitely help. Using a flat, firm brush as opposed to a fluffy brush would also help. If you just want a sheer wash, try applying the eyeshadow with your finger instead of a brush.

Marta said...

Patting and layering has worked for me, and it did look great. Unfortunately, I have very sensitive eyes and wear contacts, and am not that good at precision patting. I use a firm brush or my ring finger, but I always seem to get some on my lashes and in my eyes.

There are so many beautiful effects you get with layering shadows/powders, and Bobby Brown makes some beautiful ones that work better than others. I just can't make them work for me. Sad.

Brenda Penton said...

These are so pretty. I really like the Cement color. Keep us updated on whether or not you can get them to work with the patting. I wonder how they would be on top of a cream shadow?

I can't do the patting as I have hard contact lenses and it is just too uncomfortable.

Charleston Girl said...

Hi Ryou,

Thanks for the expertise/advice! Do the epoxy/glue products feel sticky?

Charleston Girl said...

Hi Suselaw,

As you know, I am a huge fan of cream shadows. I just hate feeling like I can't master a product. I am able to wear sparkle under the crease - as long as it stays there. :)

Charleston Girl said...

Hi Marta,

I always apply my eye shadow and other products, e.g., liner, before I put in my contacts. It's the only way.

Charleston Girl said...

Hi Brenda,

See my comment about contacts above. As long as the product stays put, it works for me if I insert my contacts after my eye makeup is done.

I get the feeling from the BB advice that they don't recommend using these over cream shadows, but I should try that too.

Eileen said...

It seems to be unanimous---pat, never sweep, glittery shadows over a base using a firm packing brush (MAC 239 is a good one). There are several good sticky bases on the market, but my all time fave is Pixie Epoxy. It holds the pigments and enhances their color.

I've never had any problem with pigments or glittery shadows by using the patting technique, but nowadays it is more a question of what is attractive on my old eyes. When it comes to sparkle, I usually start on the ball of the lid and extend towards the outer corner. I use a soft-shimmer, satin, or satin-matte formula in the inner corner.

Eileen said...

Hi Charlestongirl,

Pixie Epoxy is sticky when you first apply it. Just use the tiniest amount imaginable and let it set a moment applying your glitter or loose pigment. Once the "epoxy" sets, it is no longer sticky.

You don't have to give up your regular primer. Apply primer, your regular shadow, and then just a bit of Pixie Epoxy where you want to apply the fairy dust :-)

Charlie said...

hi! I have this exact shadow, the gold one and I love it. I just pat it on my bare lid for a daytime-appropriate wash of sheer glitter. I absolutely adore it! I tend o just use a Mac Paint pot underneath in my skin tone (the ochre one).

Charleston Girl said...

Eileen,

I knew my wonderful readers could solve this dilemma. I must buy some glue to hold down my fairy dust.

Charleston Girl said...

Charlie,

When your comment came up, I did a double-take. My Charlie has been pestering me to leave the computer for about 15 minutes. I thought, "My God, he found a way to comment on the blog!" Right now, he is sitting in my lap, in the way of typing. Purring. I still think he had a chat with you. :)

I'll go grab a MAC Paint Pot and try it. Thanks!

mkdallas said...

Hi, CG! As a "woman of a certain age" (54), I now veer away fromm anything with sparkles. I've also lessened my usage of shimmery eyeshadows, although certain HG products like Corinthian are subtle enough to still work for me. It's just my own opinion about my own appearance, but I think they look weird due to my age. I wish I could wear them, though!

Marta said...

Hi Charlestongirl-

I'll have to practice doing that. I've tried to put my contacts on _after_ makeup, but I am rubbish at putting on contacts and I tear up like I'm watching a bad Lifetime movie.

I'm also blind as a bat without my glasses, so having my contacts on helps with the makeup application. It's worth trying though-- I'm avoiding way too many beautiful shadows.

grlnxdor said...

I wish I had some advice for you, Charlestongirl, but I don't. I don't have the patience or skill level for anything like this. I'm quite happy with the shimmer shadows I have that apply like a dream. The minute putting makeup on gets difficult or weird I'm like "OK that's enough of that!" Also, I can be a bit of a perfectionist so these types of eyeshadows have "fail" written all over them for me.

Anonymous said...

Agree 100% that these elicit oohs and aaaaahs at the store but then.....the fun ends. I had a similar issue with a few of her cream shadows. All dazzle - no real substance......xx Carolina

mamavalveeta03 said...

To be completely honest with you, whenever I've asked the reps about these (and when I was in "insider" for them), NO ONE really liked the formula of these shadows. And that's why I can't quite figure out how come they're still around. Even Bobbi doesn't wear sparkle! Not my faves...by a long shot!

Amanda said...

Hi CG, While it seems you may have solved your dilemma, in the interests of research i tried out a couple of BB sparkle eye shadows that i own, Gold Bar from the Sand Tortoiseshell palette, and Dusk from the Desert Twilight palette.
I read your review of the Desert Twilight and followed the advice to layer over another powder shadow but had given up as it didn't work for me. Trying the sparkle shadow directly over the primer (Nars eyeshadow base) works very well, so that i am now able to use them sucessfully! Thank you! It is a sheer application, but i'm so pasty pale, that it shows ups and is subtle enough for day. many thanks!
And thanks to your readers for their advice too!

Christy said...

These look so pretty! They remind me of Stila's Jewel Eye Shadows. Do the BB ones have any fall-out?

Christy x

Eileen said...

Hi Christy,

Yes, the BB sparkle shadows do have fall out if you don't use something under them that will hold the sparkles in place. As you can tell from the comments, those of us who have been able to make them work are applying them over something.

Julia said...

I use sparkle eyshadows A LOT and have been since I was 15 (I'm 24 now). There are lots of different kinds out there, and I wouldn't let the fact that they're sheer get you down! It comes down to preference. There are some glitter eyeshadows that go on immediately thick (like the Naked palette by Urban Decay) and there are others that need to be built up (Laura Mercier, Bobbi Brown). I think this is done so you can achieve whatever level of "pop" you want!

I think the brush and application technique is crucial here. I use the mac 217 blending brush and it's been a lifesaver. Seriously, I recommend blending brushes highly because suddenly, I could shape and create more depth with my shadows! Swipe can be a good technique, but I agree, taking some on the brush and patting it onto your eyelid in a small pattern that gradually grows is a great idea!

I hope some of these comments have helped. Good luck, they will look gorgeous on you, age is nothing!

Ryou said...

Hi CG,

Like Eileen said, Pixie Epoxy is sticky only when you first apply it. The formulator of the product always stresses that you should use the smallest amount imaginable.

I love that it keeps sparkles in place and give my eyeshadow a foiled look without the messiness of water (it is the most amazing thing a duochrome eyeshadow could ask for). It does interfere with blending a tiny bit, though, as well as not playing well with mattes, so keep that in mind. Good luck! :)

angusmum1 said...

I wanted to mention that I have a product from The Balm called overshadow which seems to be designed to be worn the same wy as this. I have two shades a goldish and a champagne with pinkish. I do like them as they give a nice shimmer without all the concerns of this type of shadow, settling in lines, being unsuitable for anyone over ?. I usually use a light wash over a neutral colour, often mattte shade or satin, nothing with shimmer or sparkle. It can take a bit of practice but I would describe the effect as a sheer overcoat drawing attention to the eye as it is pretty yet still soft and a bit of a mystery as well since the questions I have gotten are what colour are you wearing? or how do you get such a sheer wash of shimmer like that without any setling into the eye contours, it floats atop. Not sure if this makes sense but I do enjoy using it for something different and keep rest of my face neutral

Paula said...

I am approaching 50. They just dont show up on my eyes and Ive skipped looking at them when I go shopping :) I think they have to get a bit darker or reformulate ?

Beauty Box said...

I use the L'Oreal Infallibles that way too - apply them on top of regular eyeshadow to give it a shiny dimension, esp love Iced Latte. It really does take your eyeshadow from "meh" to "wow". I feel that these Bobbi Brown shadows do just that as well. I'm not so sure about using a sheer sparkly shadow on its own though...

Charleston Girl said...

Interesting observation, MamaVal,

I talked to a new BB rep who had recently gone to training. BB was asked abut sparkle and at what age women should stop wearing it. She said 100. Then she explained how to wear it. :)

Charleston Girl said...

Thanks, everyone, for your comments and advice. The saying that comes to mind is, "It takes a village to decode BB's Sparkle Eye Shadows!"

bisbee said...

I have this in Bone - got it to just brighten. I put it on today with Nars eye shadow base - and used my finger to pat it on. I didn't like it applied with a brush, but with a finger, I was able to just get enough on to do the trick. I just checked - no fallout, but unfortunately, I should have patted a bit more on my left eye, which doesn't match the right!


I like it - just a bit of sparkle, but it's quite subtle.

Liz Fahy Scott said...

For sparkly shadows like this I have the best luck using a sticky base and patting it on using a slightly damp brush. Less fallout and a much more even application.