Beauty Without Fuss

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Review: Tom Ford Eyeshadow Quads - Silvered Topaz

Oh, did I forget to mention this earlier in the week?  Oopsie ... yes, I bought an eyeshadow quad too.  It's very lovely.  Here, take a look:

A suedette pouch?  Embossed with the name Tom Ford?  Oh yes.

The same rich brown enamelled finish as the lipstick cases? Check.  For some reason, this palette kind of reminds me of a cigarette case.  I have no idea why.  It gets better when you open it though:

Palette full of taupes? Check.  What I like about this range of shadows is that there isn't really a theme amongst the palettes, some of them are all matte, some of them are all shimmer, some of the shadows are glittery, it's not strictly a one glitter, two shimmers and a matte kind of thing. This palette, however, is a one glitter, two shimmers and a matte, see below:

Clockwise from top left, there is a chunky gold glitter, a murky shimmering silvered green, a rather flat (but versatile) matte brown, and a shimmering brown-taupe.  Oh, and two sponge applicators:

Slightly less useless than usual owing to the inclusion of a brush, but still far too small to be practical.  Would you like to see swatches?  Okay, here are some swatches:

These are multiple passes on bare skin, pressed on with a finger - using the sponges was as futile an experience as I suspected it would be. The sponges you get with palettes are always rubbish, I don’t know why many top-end ranges bother.  Personally, I’d prefer more shadow and get rid of the disposable applicators altogether.  But maybe that’s just me.

Overall, I have to say that I'm not entirely blown away by the quality of these shadows for the price. Oh, they’re pretty.  They’re so very pretty!  But, for £62 (or £15.50 apiece) I'd have expected the finest eyeshadow quality I've ever seen. Or, failing that, I'd expect comparable quality with other shadows in the same price bracket, say, Le Metier de Beaute, or Rouge Bunny Rouge, or even Edward Bess/Chantecaille.   I expected buttery softness, deep pigmentation, beautiful colours and exceptional wear-time.

I find that the Tom Ford shadows aren't as finely milled as either of the aforementioned Le Metier and Rouge Bunny Rouge, (with the exception of the matte brown, which is of a very nice quality indeed), and they're not nearly as pigmented as either. I had a very hard time getting the shimmery green or taupe to show up in the swatch shots at all, which makes me suspect that these shadows will need a base to get them to show up on the eyes properly. This isn't the case with LMdB shadows, or RBR, or even the case with the most recent palette from Chanel - who have always been notorious for having poor colour payoff, when it comes to the baked European formulation we're stuck with in the UK - but even the limited edition Topkapi palette is almost £30 cheaper than these palettes from Tom Ford. Smaller shadows, thoughbut.


To be clear, this is a good palette, and there are an excellent range of shades to choose from. I'd even like a closer look at two or three others, actually. But, if you ask me, they're simply not £62 worth of good.  If this palette had been £20 cheaper, I'd have been delighted with it, I think. But, for apparently averagely performing shadows, coupled with a lack of heft in the packaging (it's feather light) it just makes the eyeshadow quads appear deeply overpriced, for me. At £62 a pop, I don't see anything wrong with demanding an ultra-luxe product to go with the ultra-luxe price, and Tom Ford hasn't (in my opinion) delivered on this occasion.  It's a deep shame, as I believe the company does deliver when it comes to lipsticks. Believe me, I’ve tried a couple of lipsticks in my time, and Tom Ford’s are good ones.

However, I believe that the eyeshadow quads are somewhat overpriced for what you get. Wonderful to get as a gift, but they’re not actually “game-changing” products.  Are they bad shadows?  No, no, very much no.  Would I be happy to own more?  Yes, indeedy – they’re gorgeous shades, and I have no doubt that a lot of thought has gone into putting those shades together, in the different finishes.

Would I buy more of them?  I’d need to think about it.  Think quite hard about it, actually.  The US price for these palettes will be $80, at today’s exchange rate, that’s around £50, and (somewhat ironically, admittedly), if I had paid around £50 for this palette, this review might have read very differently.  I don’t mind spendy products – the frequent complaints I get for “never” featuring cheap products on Get Lippie kind of bears this out, even though they’re incorrect – but I do want my spendy stuff to deliver.  In spades, and by the bucketload.


On Edit – The above review was written after swatching only. Since then, I’ve been using the shadows every day, and they appear to have softened up somewhat, making the pigment appear deeper. This is a very good thing – and something for you to bear in mind when/if you pick one of the quads up. You will still need a base/primer though, to lengthen the wear, as wear time is about average (4-6 hours) without a primer. 

However, whilst all the shades are now offering deeper pigmentation after a few days use, I have noticed signs of “glazing” (hardening) on one of the shadows, and this worries me a bit. Normally when a shadow glazes it means it is on its way to becoming unusable without scraping first, and I don’t think I could bear that kind of wastage at this price!

So, essentially, I find myself on the fence about the Tom Ford shadows, as some of you who have read this far might have noticed.  I already know some of you think I’m “mental” for having bought anything from the range in the first place (thanks, mum!).   I like them, but I wanted to love them, and I find I don’t. This saddens me.  Other people, however, will love them. They’ll like the name, the status, the pure luxe factor of how they look, even.  They will even like the things I don’t, and I shall love them for disagreeing with me. I may even change my mind in time - unless that glazing gets worse, that is.  Then, oh yes, there may be trouble.

But I’m just flinging this review out there regardless, and letting the chips fall where they may. I suspect Mr Ford won’t be sending me a Christmas card this year, let’s put it that way.  However,  I’m looking forward, very much, to hearing what other purchasers think… even if you think I’m mental.

The Fine Print: Purchase.  I apologise - deeply and sincerely - for the use of the phrase "gamechanging" in this review.  In my defence, I am spending this week mainly auditioning auditors and I suspect that this has frazzled my synapses.  Or something.  I've just realised I have no idea what a synapse is**. 

** Okay, THIS is how frazzled my "branes" are, I've just spent the last ten minutes figuring out how I can work in a joke about "synapse, crackle, pop" into this footnote.  This was the best I could do. I've gone all meta - it's time to log off.  I'm very, very sorry.

This post originated at: All rights reserved.


  1. I laughed at the synapse crackle and pop joke. It's early though and I may be delirious.

    Just because I'm a nerdy type, a synapse is the connection between two neurons (i.e. how brain cells talk to eachother).

    As for the eyeshadows, they do look rather beautiful. The matte brown looks especially nice and a useful colour to have. It'd be the packaging that gets me though, its gorgeous.

  2. Love the packaging! The Matte colour looks amazing but not 100% sure on the other three.

  3. I would agree that even though the eyeshadows are lovely and still good quality I was expecting more along the lines of LMdB or RBR quality.

  4. Lovely packaging. This was an excellent review providing a brilliant summary of the product which I really enjoyed reading. Thanks!

  5. I don't think you're mental at all! I think the point about being pleased with it at the US price but not the UK price sums it up for me. At the price point, I'm expect Kaleidescope quality too. This review is very useful for me as I have been considering a purchase too. I like spendy but I don't have oodles to spend so I want to truely love the pieces I have. I know I'm going to need a good play around with these before buying.

    This review reminds me a lot of my initial disappointment at my Rue de Passy palette. I wonder if you will warm to this one in time too?

  6. You are not mental. This was a perfectly logical and well thought out post. If you were not to have purchased this palette some one else might have, and THEY might NOT have done as excellent a job as you did reviewing it. You, my dear, have not only saved me $80 (Which is an INSANE price for eyeshadow) but you have been elevated to the Sanest woman I know category. You were not blinded in your love for Tom Ford or Taupes! That is an achievement!

    P.S. I'm slightly sad that this palette isn't worth the $$ even though I wouldn't have purchased it anyway.

  7. I was so interested in these palettes even though they aren't available in the US yet. You've written a great perspective though so I will tread cautiously. If I'm going to spend that kind of money, I want quality.

  8. I have also bought this (haven't tried it yet, so can't comment on the quality) but I thought the packaging was quite heavy? It's noticeably heavier than my Suqqu quads, although not as heavy as the Guerlain palettes (which you could practically use as weights).

    I'm going to have to go and weigh it now....>is bonkers.

  9. Thank you so much for such a detailed and honest review. I was going to order one of the palettes this month, the one you feature actually, but will have a re-think. For the price it does need to be high quality and I would expect it to be similar to Sisley/Chantecaille/Le Metier who are in a similar price range.
    There is so much hype with this range, I do wonder if I got caught in the concept that because its so expensive it much be so much better

  10. Thank you for this post. I find the price to be ridiculous, and I don't think I could ever shell out that much unless the shadows were made of unicorn blood (actually no, that would be really gross). Hopefully he reformulates or something because that's disappointing as all hell :(

  11. Thanks for your honest assessment. Though put off by the price, I considered ordering one of the quads because the colors looked interesting and unique. But at this price point, it's especially disappointing to read that that these shadows aren't as richly pigmented as they could be, which is critical for my skintone. And glazing!!! Oh well.


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