An item that had been on my Sephora wishlist for a long time, was the Kat Von D Monarch eye shadow palette. So when I want to the US last summer it was the first item I put in my shopping bag when I decided to go ahead and splurge and let some major make up madness happen. The result of which you can find here. What appealed to me about this palette was the fact that it is neutral, but not like your bog standard neutral or warm eye palette. This palette features a good mixture of both warm and cool toned shades and promises buttery soft shadows that are highly pigmented and of a great quality. Time to find out whether that is truly the case.
Kat Von D Monarch eye shadow palette
One reason why I hadn’t reviewed this yet, despite the fact of it being at the top of my wishlist, was the simple fact that I find this the overall color palette very fall appropriate. So I didn’t really start wearing this until fall hit in October. It retails for $46 and is only available at Sephora.com.
Let’s first admire the packaging of this palette. Both the box and the palette itself are absolutely stunning. Inspired by the Monarch Butterfly this palette, the little critter is featured prominently on the front of both the box and the palette and its predominant orange color is artistically weaved into the mix.
Some information on the back of the box: the ingredients and the shade names. As you can see this palette features 12 shades and each shade name refers to butterflies in one way or another. Clever and cute at the same time. The eye shadow names are also printed on the back of the palette so if you’re like me and do not keep boxes, you will not be stuck once you toss the box. The theme of the palette, ‘A metamorphosis of color’, is also printed onto the side of the box. A nice touch.
The palette itself is made of a sturdy cardboard material. It is lightweight and has a magnetic closure. I think if you travel with this it will get grimy and might break more easily, so I do think you have to be careful with it if you do take this along with you. For a cardboard palette, I find this has a nice weight to it.
When you open up the palette, you will find a good sized mirror in the lid, always a plus. The 12 shades are laid out with 3 highlight type shades a the top, which have larger pans, but according to the information I found do not contain any more product than the smaller ones at the bottom. The main colors are the 9 shades at the bottom. No space is wasted for any extras such as brushes or liners, again a plus: it’s all about the product as is.
When you look at all 12 shades in the palette, you can easily see this is mostly a warm toned palette. And that is also how this marketed, however I find that depending on how you look at the shades, there are also plenty of cool toned shades to create a nice balance between the two. So I wouldn’t necessarily call this a warm toned palette, even though it may look like it at first glance. Let’s have a closer look so you can see what I mean.
Entymology: matte cream
Wrath: warm orange with a hint of shimmer
Papilio: shimmery brown
Summerfly: metallic gold
The first block of 4 shades is mostly warm toned. The main reason why I was drawn to this palette was the stunning deep warm orange shade on the left. How amazing is that color? It is also unique as I have not yet found a shade like this in any palette and I have a lot of palettes. The matte cream is the only matte highlighter in the palette and a shimmery brown and a good straight up gold shades are always welcome for spicing things up a little bit.
Telepathy: shimmery champagne gold
Killing jar: metallic rose toned copper
Delaney: metallic silver
Vanish: matte light grey/ taupe
Looking at the second, middle block of 4 shades, I would no longer call this palette warm toned, as these are all very cool. Even the rosy shade, which Sephora describes as a copper, but which I think pulls a bit more rose gold, pulls a lot cooler than I would expect a full on copper to do. Accompanied by a silver, a taupe and a champagne highlight, I no longer find this to be overly warm toned. I love the matte taupe as a transition shade for the crease and Killing Jar makes for the most stunning all over lid color.
Tiny death: cream with silver glitter
Disintegration: shimmery taupe brown
Shadow Box: matte dark brown
Deadhead: matte black
The final block is again not overly cool nor warm toned I find. The shimmery taupe pulls more brown and the highlight shade is definitely warm (and insanely pretty in the inner corner), but these shadows will also work really well with the silver and practically all the other shades in the palette. Any self-respecting neutral palette needs some dark matte shades and Kat Von D got it just right by not just putting in a matte black (which every palette has and I hardly ever use, just for liner), but also a matte dark brown, which is my preferred shade for darkening up the crease.
Of these 12 shades, I count 4 straight up mattes. Then there are two shades that have more of glitter to them (Wrath and Tiny Death). All the other shades are either shimmery or metallic. And I like that. Because it gives you just enough different textures to play around with and create tons of different looks.
Moving on to swatches. I first swatched the three highlight shades and then the rest of the shades. As you can already see from this first picture, the pigmentation is off the chain. All it takes is to dip your brush into this every so slightly and you get the most intense color pay off. The shadows are buttery soft, apply smoothly and intensely and blend like a dream. You do not easily kick up too much powder, which I did experience with the Lorac Pro 2.
Entymology, Telepathy, Tiny death, Wrath
Papilio, Summerfly, Killing jar, Delaney
Vanish, Disintegration, Shadow Box, Deadhead
Close up you can see even better how amazing these shadows are. Even the mattes glide on smoothly and the matte black is that: an intense matte black. Wrath is still my favorite shade of the palette, as it swatches exactly as it looks in the pan. Then there are 4 very shimmery/ metallic shades that remind me of the Marc Jacobs Starlet palette I bought last year. The highlighters are stunning and the darker final 4 shades, which are mostly mattes, all swatch out nicely. I do have to say that Disintegration swatches a little darker than it looks to be in the pan.
As per usual, when I review an eyeshadow palette, I include 3 different looks. Each of these looks focuses on one of the 3 ‘boxes’ of the palette, that I also used for describing the different colors. So one is very warm, one is more cool toned and one is more every day and neutral. The only shade I do not wear on my eyes in these pictures is the gold.
Killing jar (all over lid)
Entomology (brow bone)
Papilio (outer V & lower lash)
With the first look, I tried playing around with Wrath. I thought it would make for a stunning crease shade and it is. This blended out so nicely. It truly adds a little bit more interest to an otherwise basic look.
Telepathy (all over lid)
Shadow Box (liner)
On my lips: Kat Von D Vampira liquid lipstick
This second look I wore when I went to see the new James Bond movie Spectre. I knew I would be wearing quite a bold lip, so I figured it would be perfect for trying out some of the cooler shades in the palette. I used a very basic approach with a light shade all over the lid and a darker shade in the crease. Sometimes an eye look like that makes for a very classy and effortlessly chique look and that was what I was going for.
Disintegration (all over lid)
Delaney (pressed on middle of lid)
Tiny death (brow bone & inner corner)
On my lips: MAC Impassioned
For this last look, I tried using all the other shades in the palette. I ended up pressing the silver over my lid, to create a little more shimmer effect and dimension. I wore this look to work and I find it is a very neutral, every day look that is easy to wear. Tiny Death barely show up against my skin, but it is less intense than the other two highlights in the palette, despite it having glitter to it, but I find it creates a perfect base for all over the eye to layer shadows on top.
In conclusion, the Kat Von D Monarch eye shadow palette does not only look stunning, it is stunning. From the packaging, to the quality, to the color selection: this is a great all round neutral eye shadow palette that allows you to do a little bit more than your average neutral palette. And that is why I love this.
Would you purchase this palette if you could get your hands on it?