E.L.F. Mad for Matte in “Holy Smokes”: Hot or Not?

E.L.F. has been stepping it up in the makeup world lately, which has sort of taken me by surprise. I remember only having e.l.f products my first year of college, because that’s all I could afford – but I was always upset that their quality was lacking. Well, this year I went a little crazy during their spring sale, and bought a BUNCH of products. I’ve been super impressed by everything I’ve tried so far, so hopefully I will love this just as much! I pulled this Mad for Matte palette out from the back of a drawer while organizing my makeup collection, and realized I haven’t even tested it out yet! So today, I will be incorporating the Mad for Matte palette in my makeup routine. 

I purchased the “Holy Smokes” shade variety, which is a sort of cool-toned, smoky collection. Mad for Matte also comes in Jewel Pop (vibrant jewel tones) , Summer Breeze (warm pinks and beiges), and Nude Mood (neutrals). At the time, Jewel Pop was not available, so I went with Holy Smokes. I did not have any smoky, matte blues in my makeup collection, so I thought this could fill in those gaps.

The packaging is pretty simple, which I appreciate. E.l.f. uses the “less is more” approach when it comes to most of their packaging, and I think it works for them!

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Here’s a look inside the palette. It has a decently sized mirror, which is great for on-the-go touch ups. The shades are not labeled, unfortunately.

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Here are the first five shades, swatched:

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And here are the last five shades, swatched:

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As you can see, the shades vary when it comes to pigmentation. The first and last shades in the palette (white and black) are actually quite pigmented, and I like them better than whites and blacks in more high end palettes. The second shade (grey) is extremely chalky, and has a ton of fallout. Shades 7 and 8 (blue) look completely different on the palette, but are pretty much identical in swatches and on the lid.

The shadows themselves are pretty easy to work with, and they blend easily. You need to work with it a little bit to build up pigment, and these are definitely more subdued than how they appear in the pan. You won’t be getting any bright, vibrant looks out of this palette (unless you build up five layers and maybe use a wet brush.

Here’s how I did my eyeshadow today:

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I used the first shade (white) all over my lid, and the third shade (beige) as a transition shade. I used the fifth shade (medium brown) to deepen the crease, and then the seventh shade (greenish blue) in the outer corner. I used my finger to tap the second shade (grey) all over my lid, because it wouldn’t really work with a brush. I quite like how it looks! It came out smoky and blue, but without washing out my blue eyes.

I did notice that the grey faded and rubbed off throughout the day; I think that’s because of how chalky it was.

Here is how my full face of makeup turned out:

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Okay, so what are my final thoughts on the palette? Well, I really like being able to add these cool toned matte shadows to my collection, because most of my shadows are warm or shimmery. I think the colors work well together, which makes it possible to put together several looks without having to reach for another palette. Are these great quality shadows? Definitely not. Most of the shadows aren’t as pigmented as I would like, and they fade after several hours. But, 10 shadows for 10 bucks is a hard deal to beat. If you are on a strict makeup budget and you really want to add smoky cool tones to your collection, this might be worth a shot. But if you can scrounge up a couple more dollars, I would look elsewhere.

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