Review: Hourglass Obscura Modernist Eyeshadow Palette

After weeks of playing around with this, I can finally write up a review on yet another highly coveted product from Hourglass, the Obscura Modernist Eyeshadow Palette. I actually purchased two, but my mom wanted to take the other one (I forgot the name), so I’m left with this Obscura one although I honestly prefer the one my mom took! LOL.
Hourglass Obscura Modernist Eyeshadow Palette Review
Hourglass Obscura Modernist Eyeshadow Palette


Shades: Obscura is a warm, earth toned palette so the main color theme here is brown.

Check out the swatches below.

Hourglass Obscura Modernist Eyeshadow Palette Review
Hourglass Obscura Modernist Eyeshadow Palette

From left to right, the colors are:

1. A satin-matte cream. Perfect for the inner corners and the browbone.

2. A matte smokey brown. This had the worst color payoff as I will explain later.

3. A shimmery-metallic rose gold with copper-bronze tones. Absolutely gorgeous all-over-lid shade.

4. A satin coffee brown, much redder than the second shade.

5. A metallic cool bronze, the only cool-toned shade in the palette.

Texture: The texture is, of course, powder and although they are very soft and finely milled, they are disappointingly dry, over-powdery and dusty. They make the biggest mess when applied with a brush. If you apply these shadows after doing your face makeup, then you might need to re-do most of it!

Just take a look at how crazy powdery and dusty this is:

Hourglass Obscura Modernist Eyeshadow Palette Review
Hourglass Obscura Modernist Eyeshadow Palette Review

The most annoying part is that the shadows are not in individual pans, they are all fused together, placed immediately side by side in a rectangular pan, which is undeniably beautiful but…

Take a look at this:

Hourglass Obscura Modernist Eyeshadow Palette Review

Look at how the powder from the second color, a dark brown, migrates on to the lightest shade on the left?

Every single time I pick up some of that dark brown color, powder will get on to the cream shade and it’s difficult to clean up! So, although they’re beautiful to look at, it really is a pain to work with. So instead of using a brush to pick up the colors, I’ve just been using my fingers to pat the color on my lids, and once they set I blend them out with a blending brush.

Color Payoff: Taking into account the hefty price tag, the color payoff is quite mediocre.

The middle shade, described as the “rose gold” has the best pigmentation and smoothness of them all.

However, the second shade from the left, the dark brown, is very patchy upon application. It also barely stuck on to the skin despite my greatest efforts to pat the color on to the lids with my finger. It all seemed to fly away in the blending process.

The satin coffee brown shade was also a pain to work with because it didn’t adhere to the skin well.

Hourglass Obscura Modernist Eyeshadow Palette Review
It just won’t stick!

Everything else were just meh.

Longevity: All colors lasted for more than 5-6 hours without primer, which is pretty impressive, given they were so difficult to work with.

Price: I purchased them at Mecca Cosmetica for AU$76 each, equivalent to about US$60. It retails for US$58 pre-tax at Sephora, and about US$63 after tax, so the prices are actually similar.

Final Verdict: Although the palette is a pain to work with, after a huge amount of effort, I could still make it work and the results are honestly beautiful. It’s not too over-the-top shimmery, it’s not too can-be-barely-seen sheer. It’s a brown, earth-toned palette with a finish that is a perfect balance between satin, semi-sheer, luminous and matte.

So I’m giving this 3 buttons. I’m being nice here, I could just give it a 2 or 2.5, but I can’t deny my love for the design and packaging. And the fact that once you’re able to work with it, the end result is actually pretty nice.

The lighting today is a bit wonky, so I will upload an eye selfie soon!

Stay tuned, dolls! ‘Til next time!


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