As always, the preface is just background information or rambles about why i decided to pick up a certain product so feel free to skip this whole first section and go directly to the review.
If you’re wondering “Who in their right mind would buy a metallic, tomato red eye shadow?!” this following section is for you.
I’ve been in a classic-red cosmetic mood the last month or so, starting with my acquisition of Smashbox’s Be Legendary Lipstick in Bing. I didn’t have a red lip liner to match despite the fact that i have 5 or so other red lipsticks. I had been using UD’s ozone for literally everything because it was doing a pretty good job at it’s, well, job. After getting Bing though, I got the itch to find a red lip pencil to make it easier to do a sharply-define red lip, so i started poking around, looking for a good red, lip liner. By a stroke of Sephora’s sale section serendipity I got my hands on 6 full sized pencils from OCC’s Cosmetic permanent line of Cosmetic Colour Pencils for a whopping $22. Total. I literally could not resist a deal like that.(Full sized pencils alone retail for $16 each.) I went, “Eh screw it,” forked over the extra 6 dollars for the entire set and got NSFW, a “true balanced red” + 5 other pencils, some of which were in interesting colors.
These pencils are marketed as multipurpose for eyes, lips face and body…. BUT red based shades have a little disclaimer (*) at the end saying that the color is not recommended for use around the eye area. This cautionary line is directed for people who have allergies/sensitivities towards red pigment, more on that here. Anyways, long story short, I tried using NSFW as an eyeliner but alas, it smudged and ran like a famished dingo was after it. It barely stay put for 4 hours which just won’t do as far as my eyeliners are concerned (on the lips is a different story).
I decided that I needed a matching (or brighter) red powder to set it (same concept as foundation and setting powder) so I looked into ME-744 Poppy by MUFE and Exhibit A by NARS which are both bright, orange-based, reds. After weighing a bunch of pros-n-cons of each choice, I ultimately decided on MUFE’s ME-744 Poppy for a variety of reasons which i will get into. While there, I accidentally picked up MUFE”s Aqua Cream in #8 which I reviewed *almost* right away because i became instantly smitten by it. (In my book, reviewing something the following weekend is down right FAST and reserved only for stuff that I truly love). Anyhow, acquiring Aqua Cream #8 sorta rendered the point of getting 744 Poppy to set NSFW moot because the Aqua Cream is so effortless and sticks really damn well. But I love red so i kept it all.
I’ve linked reviews to all the red stuff I’ve mentioned except for NSFW and the rest of the OCC pencil set because it has 6 pieces. SIX! I have a lazy personality on top of my habitual procrastination tendencies so there are still two colors i have not tested and written about yet. I refuse to post the review until all colors are accounted for so yeah…. It might still be a while. Anyways, sorry for that long intro. The review for Make Up For Ever’s Artist Shadow in ME – 744 Poppy begins now.
It comes in temporary (read: shitty) packaging as a refill pan, but that’s okay, because cheap packaging keeps the cost of the product down at a reasonable range. You can buy a permanent compact for it for a whooping $1! There’s also a giant 28 pan palette for $14. I’m eyeing that one. I know that MUFE packaging in general is very economical while retaining professionalism, and i admire that, but a little voice in the back of my head can’t help but grumble that this is drugstore level. Think Maybelline eyeshadows with their clear tops and crunchy black plastic. Hell, never mind the drugstore insult. L’Oreal has some pretty nice packaging.
The letters “ME” denote the finish of the shadow: Metallic. The other Artist Shadows all have various letter(s) in front of the number code to categorize them by finish (ie: I for iridescent, M for matte, S for Satin, D for Diamond). 744 is the actual code “name” of this shadow. “Poppy” is just the nick name for convenience’s sake in case you are horrible at remembering number sequences like me. It much easier for you to remember that I’m wearing “Poppy blended over Mandarin with Buttercup in the inner corner,” than it is to remember that I’m wearing 744 blended into 722 with a little 400 at the inner corner.” Take notes Inglot.
I haven’t bought any of the compacts/palettes because I plan on popping these into a larger magnetic backed palette. Like Inglot palettes, Artist Shadows palettes are magnet- compatible. The pan that holds the shadow single has a brassy looking bottom that is attracted to the magnet on the bottom of the compact and thus holds it in. The shadows can be removed and changed out by holding a semi-strong magnet over the closed lid of the palette and executing some black magic or by pushing it out with a needle.
What It Is
A highly-blendable, gel-powder eye shadow and powder blush with vivid color payoff.
What it does:
Effortlessly create endless eye looks that range from beautifully natural to highly artistic with this unique eye shadow palette. With its breakthrough, gel-powder formula blended with ultrafine pigments, Artist Shadow leaves a smooth, even result that gives lids super-saturated, lasting color. An easily-blendable formula that features diamond, iridescent, matte, metallic, and satin finishes, it is an accessible shadow for the professional makeup artist and the everyday woman.
What else you need to know:
“I wanted to combine intense color payoff with super-blendability—and this breakthrough shadow has both!”—Dany Sanz, MAKE UP FOR EVER founder
What It Is
Poppy is marketed as a blush because they don’t want people with red dye sensitivities/allergies putting this stuff near the eyes and potentially suing the company. I’m using it as both eye-shadow and blush because i have no such allergies but as with all products, proceed cautiously. The vivid color payoff for Poppy is no joke as you will see in the swatches later on. According to Wayne Goss and his sources, artist shadows are apparently composed of up to 88% pigment but this fact is unconfirmed. Inglot claims their AMC Pure Pigment Eyeshadow has up to 90% pigment.
What It Does
Everything you may desire it to do. Except establish world peace. Because let’s face it, humanity is more likely to figure how to travel at light-speed squared before it figures out how to co-exist without strife.
What else you need to know
These shades come packaged in a temporary case+pan as I have already mentioned; There are customizable palette cases are sold separately in single, duo or trio configuration for $1 no matter which you but. The more Artists Shadows you buy, the more you save as detailed in the Sephora Listing:
STEP 1: Add a 1-pan, 2-pan, or 3-pan MAKE UP FOR EVER Artist Shadow Custom Palette Case to your cart for $1.
STEP 2: Add 1 or more MAKE UP FOR EVER Artist Shadows to your basket.
STEP 3: When you add 2 MAKE UP FOR EVER Artist Shadows and a Duo Palette to your basket, a $9 discount will be applied automatically at checkout. When you add 3 MAKE UP FOR EVER Artist Shadows and a Trio Palette to your basket, a $20 discount will be applied automatically at checkout.
What You Get
Each artist Shadow pan contains 0.08 oz. of product which is bigger than the kinda standard 0.05 oz.
One pan costs $21 putting it at $262.5/oz
Two pans for 0.16oz of product cost $34 or $212.50/oz.
Three pants for 0.24 oz of product is $44 or $183.33/oz.
For Comparisons to other eyeshadow singles, though none of these other brands (aside from Inglot, Kryolan and MAC limited editions) carry true red shadows:
Inglot Eyeshadow Singles are $7 for 0.09 or $77.78/oz.
Kryolan Viva Brilliant Colors are $13.10 for 0.12 oz or $109.97oz.
Cargo Eye Shadow Singles are $16 for 0.12oz or #133.33/oz.
MAC Eyeshadow Refill Pan Singles are $10 for 0.05oz or $200/oz.
Stila Eyeshadows are $18 for 0.09 or $200/oz.
Bobbi Brown Shadow Singles are $24 for 0.08oz or $300/oz.
NARS Single Eyeshadows are $25 for 0.07oz or $357.14/oz.
Urban Decay Shadow Singles are $18 for 0.05 or $360.00/oz.
Ardency Inn MODSTER Manuka Honey Enriched Pigments are $21 for 0.06 or $360/oz.
NARS Dual Intensity Eyeshadow Singles are $29 for 0.05oz. or $580/oz.
The other red powder option i had been considering was NAR’s Blush in Exhibit A which is $30 for 0.16oz or $187.5/oz.
I probably would have gone for Inglot’s shadow single if I had a store near me to swatch their different reds. I dislike buying blind.
Color Breakdown and Swatches
Poppy can be described as a poppy-red or a tomato red with super fine scarlet, silver and crimson shimmers. The base is a satin-y medium-dark, orange based red which appears bright. In direct light, there will be an orange lean. When diffused though, there is a neutral rose color on blended edges.The finish is somewhere between a highly frosted shimmer and metallic because the sparkles scatter and catch enough light to be visible. The final surface isn’t uniform doesn’t reflect the way a foil would.
In the pan, the product is very dense and not powdery at all. The product feels dense and creamy, like how a compact powder foundation behaves. As for the gel-powder thing, this shadow doesn’t quite feel like a gel because it doesn’t have that signature emollient-like slip or a wet-feeling blend-ability. It’s more like a very-compacted “wet” powder if that makes any sense. When I accidentally chipped it (I’m accident prone in the mornings) i just pressed the product back in and smoothed the over. There is a small, but mostly negligible dent that i can smooth over with a bit of pressure and rubbing. I find this property true of many of the MUFE shiny artist shadows.
Application wise, Poppy does have the tendency to drag a bit when being swatched with a finger onto bare skin. When being applied on the eye this simply will not do, though. You’ll have to pat and smooth your finger gently to transfer color from. There is no tugging. The color is build able from medium-full intensity, and not opaque from the get go. I did have a little trouble blending this one when dampened and applying it over primer. It takes patience and some time to smoke it out if used in the crease unless youuse a very strong/dense brush. Even though it’s supposed to turn to powder on skin contact, the pigment and shimmer particles adhere very well like a cream pigment. There was absolutely no fall out to my delight.
Dry: the color payoff is more than acceptable in one stoke. It’s mostly true to color as in the pan. but there is no richness and the finish is more like that of a frosted shimmer. It wears for about 6 hours before fading though it starts creasing on my oily lids around hours 4. With two swipes of color it becomes very rich and nearing metallic in finish. It wears for around 6 too but will crease at my inner corner around hour 5. Strangely it doesn’t really fade (intensity wise) normally. It first loses it’s shimmer (like many other frost eyeshadows) then lightens in color to a warm rose color.
When blended out dry, the color has diffused shimmers and actually appears more red than the one swipe swatch. I think most of the crimson shimmers that contributed to the orange lean were lost during blending. Surprisingly, the blended patch had awesome staying/staining power. Face performance is similar. Blended out on the cheeks,Poppy is pretty much a staining blush. I’m a pretty oily person but the color stays for 10+ hours before fading. The frosty shine wears off pretty quickly though with the majority of the shimmers gone by hour 6. On my skin the color that it fades to is a beautiful natural flush that makes it look like I’ve been skiing for hours. I’m completely enamored.
Wet: when water is involved, Poppy turns into a thick, red colored paste. It becomes a little harder to blend and spread evenly. One swipe is pretty good and gives shimmery orangey red that’s slightly more intense than one swipe dry. It wears for 8 hours before it starts to fade to orange. With two swipes, Poppy goes pan color with excellent coverage and divine opacity. The high shine must be seen in person to be believed though it still isn’t a true metallic. It wears for 8 hours before it starts fading but I notice creasing at hour 10.
Over Primer Dry: metallic red goodness. One pass over primer is like two passed over bare skin: the color becomes true to pan. Even more reason to prime! use less product, save money. It easily wore for 12 hours before i took it off because it was starting to look a little dry and emphasizing fine lines. Two passes is not necessary unless you want even more intense shimmer. It wore for around 14 with minimal loss in color intensity
Over Primer Wet: bulletproof/cry proof/sweatproof in one pass. Nuff said. I took a shower at the end of my day without washing my face, it was still there afterward: shimmer, red and all. I usually take my showers after 10PM so yeah, loong day. Two passes is over kill and actually kind of hard to blend evenly because the pigment is pretty much caked on. However, this application yields the closest to a true metallic finish you can get. I’m starting to feel like a broken record so I’m just going to say that wear time is ridiculous (14+ hours) though it’s so caked on that it creases and cracks at hour 12.
Cleaning time: ME-744 Poppy is one persistent little fucker. The arm swatches below is what it looks like after scrubbing a bit with DHC cleansing oil. I had to go in with African black soap to remove all traces of it when my secondary foaming cleanser didn’t work. This means trouble for your face since you can’t scrub at it like I can with my arm without going raw and red. You’ll need cotton pads marinated in waterproof remover to get rid of this completely. It’s actually a little easier to remove if you use it dry with primer underneath as seen in the picture below. Primer forms a barrier between the skin and the shadow so less of the pigment is able to stain your skin. Every other combination is a total pain to remove, literally (kinda). The scrubbing involved would be rather unpleasant to delicate facial skin
Usage + Tips: The density of this product makes it hard to pick up with certain tools. If you want to pack on the product for opaque payoff, it’s best to use a firm or stiff brush. I love my whisper soft squirrel and white goat hair brushes very much but they don’t work as well as pony, sable or badger. Synthetic brush hairs are almost too “slippery” to pick up this product well. I have to stab at the surface and pick up the product to get desirable payoff. If i want to get a sheer wash or build/blend color as i go along, i will opt for the softer haired brushes. That all being said, my favorite tool with this is still the pad of my finger.
No matter your application method you use or how you use this artist shadow, it would be in your best interests to use a that you aren’t afraid of hurting. Synthetics can take more rigorous washing so you can really rub the core bristles together to ensure that all the pigment has been gotten rid of. I personally prefer using my lower priced, densely packed, natural bristle, paddle brushes (what a mouthful) because they pick up the color better and apply it more evenly.
As Blush: there are three fool proof ways to go about using Poppy as a blusher and avoid clown cheeks. Example here.
- tap a blush brush into the pan twice
- lightly stipple and distribute the color onto both cheeks
- if you are fair – light skinned or less experienced, take another (clean) brush to blend the color. If you use the first brush to blend, it might deposit more color onto your face and you might end up with too intense of a flush. If you have medium-darker skin coloring or are used to working with very pigmented face products, carefully blend the color out however you want.
- repeat 1-3 until you reach the desired intensity
- swirl a fluffy brush in a bit of translucent or colored setting powder of your choice
- tap off the excess
- swirl/swipe your brush in the color pan once
- apply like you would a normal blush on one cheek
- repeat 1-4 for the other side
- grab a fan brush
- Swipe in pan
- Sweep on cheeks
The second method is for those of who who don’t have a small army of brushes at your disposal and don’t have the time to be as careful or precise about color placement. I personally prefer the first and third because they give me more control. The third method is not really a method so much as a tool not everyone may have. I feel like fan brushes are one of the very last things that people invest in because they seem so mysterious and niche. Fan brushes are good for applying sheer washes of very pigmented face products, but are not necessary like a powder or blending brush. That being said, they’re pretty much fool proof.
As a Eyeshadow: Have at it with your favorite brush or fingers. Using another, clean brush for a different color is preferable because this stuff is potently pigmented. Even alcohol wipes can’t reset the brush to blank state, only deep cleaning can.
As a Liner: scrape a tiny pile of pigment onto the back of your hand or a clean surface. Dampen your brush with water (for convenience) or a mixing medium (for a long lasting liquid liner). Go.
If you want a statement red eye shadow, ME-744 Poppy is it though I’m still going to check out Inglot’s offerings when i get the chance. It’s a bit of a pain when it comes to diffusing and washing off but it’s such so pigmented and performs so well that I forgive it. Did i mention that there’s no fall out despite the super shimmery finish? The products goes where you want and stays where you want. Is it worth it for me? Absolutely. Is it a necessity? Absolutely not. It is merely an intrigue that is fun to play with if you like reds or other wacky colors.
I got MUFE’s Artist Shadow in ME-744 Poppy as opposed to NARS’s Exhibit A even though the latter is cheaper per ounce because i don’t think that i could go through a whole 0.16 oz pan of fire engine blush.Also, Poppy is a frosted shimmer while Exhibit A is a matte. I like shiny things more – as a general principle. ME-744 is also less orange and more red toned in person which is what i was looking for. Exhibit A was silky but the texture was also thinner so it wouldn’t have multi-tasked well for eye wear.
All in all, no regrets.