Drugstore Beauty Review: Milani Everyday Eyes Smoky Essentials Palette

Nothing in the beauty world scares me more than eyeshadow. Especially dark eyeshadow like those involved in the creation of a classic smokey eye. My eyes are slightly hooded and have a tendency to look at little bit intense when they’re all the way open, so doing anything to draw a whole bunch of attention to my already expressive eyeballs is definitely intimidating. When I opened up my package from Milani and saw the Everyday Eyes Palette in 03 Smoky Essentials, I was simultaneously enticed and frozen with fear.

Milani Smokey Essentials Palette-8

Milani Smokey Essentials Palette-6

vegan product review cruelty free product review
Grey, black, electric blue, foiled silver?! There’s maybe one shade in this palette that won’t attract and reflect every light beam within 50 yards, and it’s the matte cream color. The taupe contour color is also pretty benign, but once you throw it into the crease, it seriously transforms your eye shape!

This palette has a really clever and beautiful mix of icy-cool shadows and muted neutrals that are also cool-toned, but look almost warm next to the metallic shades.

Milani Smokey Essentials Palette Swatches

Milani Everyday Eyes Smokey Essentials Palette, from top to bottom:

Base: Matte, warm-neutral white with a peach tint
Contour: Matte, cool gray-taupe with a slight pink undertone
Lid: Pewter gray with bright silver shimmer
Crease: Matte, creamy black
Liner: Blackened,metallic, electric blue 
Highlight: Bright, metallic silver

Seeing as eyeshadow makes me into a deer in headlights, I don’t have a ton of experience when it comes to applying more than one color to my eyelid, so diving into an opera-worthy smokey eye is kind of like majoring in marine biology and then applying for a job as a whale. I’m so not a whale yet.

…But I’m pleased to say you maybe wouldn’t know it after using the Smokey Essentials palette. I would rank myself at least at a medium-sized fish. (You know, if I had to choose my place on the spectrum between marine biologist and whale. Yes, the well-known biologist-whale spectrum.)

Milani Smokey Essentials Palette Makeup Look-21

lindsay ginn drugstore beauty eyeshadow palette review

It’s… definitely a new look for me and, much to my surprise, it comes off way softer than I expected. This could be in part to my furious blending while meditating on blending and also watching 16 YouTube videos about blending, but the shadow qualities themselves were very impressive. I mean, the fact that they can be blended out to such a sheer gradient at all indicates that they’re better quality than 50% of the eyeshadows I used between age 16 and 24.

I ended up lining my waterline with Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil ($20) in Perversion which is super black and it really ended up completing the non-lashes part of my eye look. I put on some NYX Lip Lingerie in Ruffle Trim (grab it from Ulta for $6.99) and there’s a crapload of Ulta Contour Palette ($18) all over my face, as well. In my brows, NYX Tame & Frame in Brunette ($7) which I think is too warm for me, and I got da glow from the NYX Strobe of Genius palette ($18.99). Oh! And Sheena Sujan lashes in Audrey Hepburn (usually $9 but on sale for only $4.50 right now!!).

Milani Smokey Essentials Palette Eye Makeup Review

Milani Smokey Essentials Palette Eye Makeup Review

Let’s talk about the texture of these eyeshadows for a second because – damn. For a drugstore eyeshadow palette, these are some seriously buttery powder eyeshadows. You can kind of see in the product photos earlier in this post that my finger swatches left a partial fingerprint in the shadow pan. I would say that they take about 1.5 swipes to be fully opaque, but the consistency is so beautifully soft and blends so easily that it’s really worth it. Once they’re on, the pigmentation and color payoff is huge!

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Milani Smokey Essentials Palette Directions

The actual packaging of the Smokey Essentials Palette is also responsible for my success in achieving… anything, to be honest. The application directions are right on the back of the palette. It gives you really clear directions including mapped out shapes of what you need to do to your eyeballs in order to achieve the intended smokey eye. I relied on these diagrams 100%, soo during application there was a lot of this going on:

Milani Smokey Essentials Palette Review: Application

Obviously you can use these shadows in any configuration you’d like, but this layer cake of chilly, smokey goodness comes highly recommended by me.

Here’s the application process aka my noble attempt to even come close to applying it correctly:

(My 1980s-style fluorescent makeup mirror is hilarious and actually really great, but the Daytime setting – one of four yes four ghastly light settings that I love – makes everything look sunburned. The photos earlier in the post were taken in natural light so you can clearly see how I failed at blending out my contour on the right side of my face a la this photo:)

lindsay ginn drugstore beauty eyeshadow palette review

Milani Smokey Essentials Palette Makeup Look-16

Honestly, I really liked this look despite how shocking it was to see such a dramatic eye look (that didn’t involve winged liquid liner) on my face. The cool tones and muted blues brought out the blue/gray in my eyes, which I haven’t really done with blue before, just browns. I almost wish that the palette has suggested a more bold use of the electric blue color. Using it as a liner kept it extremely subtle and barely noticeable, making this look more gray than blue.

This palette is one of six Milani Everyday Eye Palettes. The Smoky Essentials Palette is by far the darkest, but that’s not to say that the others don’t have their dramatic flare. Even the Must Have Naturals palette has gorgeous, cocoa browns that are far from neutral for a pale white girl like me, but I love how rich all of the color palettes are. Each palette has the capability to create a beautiful smoky eye, but they can all be mish-mashed together to make a variety of looks.

My other favorite combos include Dark Plum and Earthy Essentials.

Where to find Milani Everyday Eyes Palette:

Milani, $9.99 (+ $5 shipping)
Amazon, $10.02 (+ Free shipping)

Walgreens, $9.99 (+ $5.99 shipping)
CVS, $9.99 (+ $5.49 shipping)
Milky Beauty, $8.99 (+ $2.83 shipping)*

*Does not currently have Smoky Essentials in stock, but other Everyday Eyes palettes are available!

Lindsay Ginn

Livin' in your basement, eatin' your canned foods.