June 19, 2012

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow Review & Swatches

This was provided to me by a brand for review but all opinions expressed are my own

The introduction of Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow Pencils had me quite excited. I really navigate towards cream shadows nowadays so I was hyped over these particularly because I had such great success with the Make Up For Ever Aqua Creams.

With the promise of a smudge-proof formula in a long-lasting eye shadow pencil plus some rather great shades of peach (I’m all about peaches) I was well on my way to loving on these.

Take a look!

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow are…interesting. These come in two finishes, matte and pearly with a total of twelve shades to choose from. I find it interesting Make Up For Ever was so skimpy with the color selection as they are known for blowing it out of the water with variety. In my experience each pencil had different results for me. The formula did vary in both the matte and pearly versions and each had a different application, wear, and overall look and finish. In the end, I didn’t feel any one color had the smoothest most flawless finish but some did seem to apply better than others. Two examples of better formulas falls to 26E and 22E where as 30E and 28E had a more frosty, unflattering finish that was less than smooth.

The formula is indeed waterproof. They’ll wear well through a rainy day, a humid one, or a day at the beach or pool. However, this formula is far from crease proof even with plenty of prepping before application. Make Up For Ever promises a formula that blends and glides on easily however, I find you need to really put some work into application and blending. They formula just doesn’t want to budge and this causes patchy application issues, a fair bit of tugging to get them into place, and just an overall hard to apply formula in my experience with them. I guess on some levels I understand why it has this budge-proof texture as that is in fact what allows it to adhere to well to eyes and makes it waterproof but on other levels I miss the lack of a creamy formula which would ease the way for application and allow for more effortless blending on my lid. They do have a fairly quick dry down time so you’ll want to work quickly.

Swatched Left to Right: 28E, 26E, 30E, and 22E

Swatched Left to Right: 28E, 30E, 22E, and 26E

Granted, I like the idea of waterproof but I’m unsure if I’m such a diva that I need to wear eyeshadow poolside, I typically stick to cheek stain and nada else.

My main issue with the product goes above the terrible application issues. I really had a problem with the frost factor. As I mentioned above two of the four shades I tried had a super frosty finish and just looked terribly unflattering on me. You can blend until your fingers bleed and you won’t be able to blend away all that frost. That frosty finish does appear more shimmery in photos but trust me it is frost.

Pencils are not a twist up design and can be easily sharpened with a sharpener meant for chubbier pencils.

Now I wouldn’t recommend using these as a base for powders. The thing is they already look very overdone and cakey (two shades anyway that I tried looked this way) on their own so topping them with powder just lends more trouble and gives a very over done eyeshadow look.

Sadly, I only tried the pearl finishes so I’m unsure how the matte shades apply or perform but the pearl ones I found difficult to apply and saw creasing at around three to four hours in and major creasing at hour five.

Shade: 30 E

Shade: 26E

Shade: 22E

Shade: 28E

In the end I thought that Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadows were a mixed bag. I liked the ones that did work out for me but wasn’t terribly impressed with the formula even though they looked nicer and less frosty. These were far from flawless in application, wear, and just look. They do have some waterproof properties but with a formula of this nature perhaps that’s not necessarily a good thing as I’d forsake waterproof for better application and a creamier consistency. These are ok but not what I expected. I really love Aqua Creams and think those are the way to go if you really desire a long wearing, easy to apply eyeshadow cream formula.

Tried ’em?

Do share!

These are available now at Sephora and Sephora.com

This was provided to me by a brand for review but all opinions expressed are my own

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • jas

    They look stunning on you though!! Especially the 2nd one! 😀 can’t wait to get my hands on them!! I’ve been waiting for quite some time. But is the formula really that shimmery??

    • the Muse

      thanks jas you’re very kind. it’s frost, described in the review about this 🙂

  • Steffi

    The ones in the pictures are absolutely beautiful on you though! I could see how (if you were inclined to be a diva) they would look amazing pool-side or on the beach!

    I may still try them just because they’re so pretty on you and we’re similarly complected!

    Thanks for the awesome review!

    • the Muse

      hey steffi thanks chica you’re too kind! with a little tlc they do look rather nice but some of the shades are a tad too frosty for me 🙁 lol ;-D I can never see myself heading to the pool with eyeshadow, liner, mascara etc…hehe! aw my pleasure! do go for the less frosty ones, they are NICE…formula is a little iffy though!

      • Steffi

        Do you think that warming them up might help? Or did you try that and it did nothing?

        • the Muse

          tried that but not really much different the formula is drier and not melty in the least :-/


    I was just looking at these on Sephora – then I noticed that Sephora has similar jumbo pencils for 12$ each. Wonder if they are just as frosty/cakey?

    Shade 30e looks like a dupe for Too Face’s eyeshdaow Nude beach … (kinda)

  • Trillium

    I bought the peachy one to use as a lower liner, and I love it for that. It’s a beautiful color. I have several other cream shadow pencils from other brands, but none of them have this pretty peachy color. 🙂