This month, Maybelline is releasing a series of mini eyeshadow palettes to the US market called the City Mini Palettes. They retail for $9.99 each, and should be headed into your local stores soon.
It seems that there are six versions most places, but Ulta has an exclusive that brings the known total up to seven at this time. Looking at the numbering, I bet someone else has an exclusive palette- and I'll explain the logic. If anyone figures it out, please leave me a comment down below.
First things first, if you're a matte-only girl, these are not for you. These are shimmery, metallic, 6-pan palettes that are travel sized. They do fit nicely in the palm of your hand. After swatching, testing, and playing for a couple of weeks, I have thoughts. Lots of thoughts.
Let's go through these in numerical order, ok?
400 Rooftop Bronzes
I have no doubt that this is going to be one of the most popular at the time of initial launch, because who doesn't love shimmery bronzes, right? The depth of how much I've already torn it up (sorry, couldn't find the pristine photo!) would seem to be a good omen. Seemed is the key word.
Let's take a closer look here- it reminds me of something... oh, wait. I have a mini Lancome palette that was a GWP (I believe it's Bronze Amour) that's very similar to this. Well played, Maybelline. I will note that this was very soft and crumbled easily.
And, some swatches:
These were taken with a 100% dry brush and isn't representative of the fact that these don't show up dry on the eye, even with primer:
These were taken with a slightly dampened MAC 242 (from cleaning it between colors):
I purposely wanted to swatch damp (these were my second swatches) because of my experiences trying out this palette. I found that these weren't terribly impressive on the lids unless they were dampened and packed on layer after layer. The highest glitter shades (1 and 4) were the easiest to work with. Shade 2 was a nice inner corner highlight.
This is why I wasn't impressed dry:
Sorry for the color balance, but I'm so over it. I'd normally try to recreate the look, but I'm so meh about this palette that it's really not worth my time. This is a pass for me, which is a shame. There are far better palettes in this color family at all sorts of price points. Find one that's better than this. It's a bottom 2 of the collection for me.
410 Chill Brunch Neutrals
I just had a feeling when I saw that this was a mauvey neutral palette that I'd be underwhelmed. Mauves/purples are notoriously difficult. Dry, this was 100% the case. But wet? That's another story that we'll get to.
I know that I'm supposed to be oohing and ahhing over this, but it just doesn't excite me. I only bought it to try the full collection.
See how it's just a whole lot of meh? The satins in this palette are some of the best, though, in the entire collection. And that first shade does some things for me.
And now, the damp MAC 242 swatches:
OK pigment, I see you. Those 3 satin shades (2,3,5) started to work nicely for me. I'm going to revisit this palette in the future because I'd written it off after first swatching (and playing with a few of these). I'm looking forward to putting this in rotation this fall and seeing what I can do with it, dampened.
And now, the green palette. You've always got to have one, to mixed results. This one, at first, didn't grab my eye. That gold should've though... perhaps, an omen?
OK, the lighter metallics look promising. Let's swatch it dry and see if it's a fail or not:
OK, that's not really my jam but I think I can see some hints of promise in those shadows. Let's hope a damp MAC 242 is just the trick that we need:
OK, dang. This is a gorgeous palette that will be heavy in my fall rotation. Where was that payoff hiding in those dry swatches? Don't sleep on this one if you like olives and khakis. Yum.
430 Downtown Sunrise
This was actually the palette that caught my eye. Like everyone else, I'm into warm eyes and that coral called my name! I was all set to test this first.... and then I swatched.
I've teased it- where's the dry swatch?
I tried a look with this dry and was so turned off by the on-eye payoff. Now that I know about the wonders of a damp brush with these shades, I'm going to go back and try that coral shade in particular. There's a pan in both the Sunset and Naked Heat palettes that are in that family.
Now, about that damp MAC 242:
Still not the most pigmented of the bunch, for sure. But a lot better. This palette in particular had so much promise and I feel like the lack of pigmentation and the streakiness of shades 2 and 5 make it a pass for me. That kind of hurts my soul a bit because of that coral (in the pan) and the payoff of 4 and 6.
440 Concrete Runway
OK, so they did a basic cool-toned one. Yawn. Oh, no. I see satins- which we've already established are a pass in this release.
Let's just get the inevitable awful swatch out of the way:
PLEASE tell me that a damp MAC 242 is just what the doctor needed....
Are you kidding me?!?! Now I can't wait to play with this. My goodness, look how that royal blue comes alive with a damp brush. This is clearly a palette made to use wet. This is stunning on so many levels and I have a feeling people are going to sleep on it if they only see dry swatches. Wow.
450 Graffiti Pop
Boy, first impressions and third impressions can be so, so wrong. When I got this palette, I scoffed at its ridiculousness and figured it was a dud. HA. The purples? They were so, so good despite being so hard to do right. This was my favorite eye look, dry. Naturally, I didn't take any photos that I kept. Sorry, world. And I have to admit after damps watching, I'm a little scared of it.
Now, onto some dry swatches. Note the payoff on that lilac shade.
This one has respectable payoff dry. I used shades 1, 2, 3, and 4 for a pretty purple look that I'd play with again.
Now, for fun, let's go in with that damp MAC 242:
BAM! OK, the satin didn't fare well- but we knew that going in.
I loved the teal color, except it stained. Look!
Let me mention that I used a Philosophy Purity wipe, Bioderma, and Urban Decay Makeup Meltdown spray before taking this photo. So now I'm terrified to use the teal again- but still really like this palette.
470- Girls Night Glimmer (Ulta Exclusive)
And now, that mysterious 7th palette of the group. As of right now, it's just at Ulta.com; I'd assume it will be rolling out to stores.
This is another cool-toned collection with serious silver sparkly vibes.
I just have a feeling this is going to underwhelm me dry:
Yes. But I see promise in shades 1 and 4 especially. Mint green, please come to Mama. I'm begging you. And that final shade is pretty good dry, too.
And with that damp MAC 242:
OK, that's just beautiful. That green is one of my favorite shades for summer in general, and I can see a beautiful look coming out of this palette. If you spot this at your local Ulta, don't sleep on it.
Now, remember when I said about 10 years ago that I thought there would be a second retailer exclusive? There's no palette 460.
Bottom Line: I think these palettes are nice for shimmer-lovers. They're not good for standalone palettes, as there aren't any mattes and the satins are so-so at very best. To really get the most of out these, dampen your brush- they come alive. At $9.99, it's worth picking your favorite and playing with it because some of these shades truly are magical.