Bella Eyes Gel Powder Eyeshadow looks and, for the most part, acts like a powder eyeshadow—but the "gel" portion of its name is accurate, as we explain below. These eyeshadows are, in a word, amazing. Although every shade (even those labeled "satin matte") has a moderate to high level of shine, if that's what you want, get yourself to the drugstore pronto and check these inexpensive shadows out!
OK, we'll calm down a bit and finish this review. What's particularly impressive about these shadows is their enviable smoothness, perfect pick-up on the brush, suede-smooth application, and even color deposit. Oh, did we mention the formula doesn't flake, crease, or fade? No? Well, those points are worth extolling, too! OK, if you have really oily eyelids you may see a bit of creasing unless you prep with a matte finish primer.
The gel portion of the name becomes apparent when you apply this shadow. From its appearance in the compact, you'd think it would be a standard powder shadow—but not so fast!
According to Milani, the fragrance-free formula begins as a gel but is "transformed by a special process into a stunning powder eyeshadow with pure color and powder wear." That proved true in our experience, as there's something special about how wonderfully smooth these shadows apply and blend—and the color saturation is indeed stunning. Those with fairer skin tones will find these can be sheered out for less intensity, while those of deeper complexions will likely love their rich pigment.
As for the shades themselves, you'll find many good neutral options (listed below), and some colors that we strongly suspect will have limited appeal due to their boldness and brightness. But if you want a peacock blue or taxicab yellow shadow, you'll find them among this shadow's considerable color selection!
The best shades that will have broad appeal for shaping and shading the eye include Bella Ivory, Shimmering Beige, Light Red-Brown, Ash-Brown, Taupe-Brown, Dark Brown, Light Gray, Shimmering Dark Charcoal, Deep Black, Shimmering Champagne Pink, Bronze Metallic Sheen, Shimmering Off-White, Shimmering Pink, and Shimmering White.
All of the colors may be applied wet or dry, with wet application increasing opacity and intensity.
We cannot say enough about these inexpensive powder shadows. They're smooth, easy to apply, richly pigmented, build well, don't flake or crease, wear all day without fading, and offer plenty of workable shades assuming you don't mind some degree of shine. The lack of true matte options is the only weak spot, but that won't be a drawback for many people; even if you have less-than-taut eyelids you could still use the lighter shades to highlight the brow bone. Well done, Milani!
Milani Cosmetics At-a-Glance
Strengths: Inexpensive with some excellent options for women of color; good Baked Blush; silky pressed-powder eyeshadow palette; Infinite Liquid Eye Liner and Eye Tech Liquid Eye Liner have amazing staying power; Smooth Finish Cream-to-Powder Makeup.
Weaknesses: Baked Bronzer; numerous products that contain potentially irritating fragrant ingredients; several mediocre to poor products including Color Perfect Lipstick, Crystal Gloss, and The Multitasker Face Powder.
Launched in 2002, Milani Cosmetics prides itself as being an affordable beauty line with a "passion for color and a recognized need for a broader variety" for women of different ages, skin tones and income. While many brands have a limited selection of products designed for medium to dark skin, Milani has succeeded in catering to women with deeper skin tones, which is this makeup line's chief point of difference. We admire Milani for celebrating the beauty in diversity, and their dedication to providing color options that are appropriate (and appealing) to a wide range of skin tones.
Milani focuses on face and eye products, and this is where they excel. Despite being a smaller brand (compared to the likes of Cover Girl or L'Oreal), Milani products can be found tucked alongside the big makeup lines in many drugstores and stores like Target and Wal-Mart. They've definitely added a splash of color to the cosmetics aisle, and several of their inexpensive products are definitely worth a look. But as with most makeup lines, there also are some poorly executed products to avoid.
This is a diverse line with a mix of bold, classic, and trendy makeup. Although the products may be aesthetically pleasing on the shelf, their visual appeal doesn't always translate well to actual application and performance quality. In some instances, Milani's philosophy of "color, color, color and more color" misses the boat by offering glitzy, ultra-vibrant shades, instead of more options for a classic makeup application (women of color have to go to work, too, not just out for the evening). Just because you have dark skin doesn't mean your color choices need to be shocking or ultra-bold. Still, as mentioned, Milani offers some worthwhile products and their prices are budget-friendly. On balance, you'll find more to like than avoid.
For more information about Milani Cosmetics, call 1-866-789-8002 or visit www.milanicosmetics.com
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