BH Cosmetics Smokey 28 Palette Review

Is anyone else getting tired of neutral eyeshadow palettes? And warm tones? Everything in makeup is warm-toned orange or taupe, and if I see one more warm-toned smokey eye tutorial, I’m giving up on makeup altogether. While I’m not ready for ice-blue eyeshadow (not sure I ever will be), I’m definitely ready for some more exciting eyeshadow palettes.

My Galaxy Chic palette from BH Cosmetics definitely qualifies as exciting. But despite the fact that there’s 18 shadows in that palette, they’re all the same finish: shimmer. I don’t hate shimmer (20+ years of documented style history definitely confirms that), but I need a little variety. Isn’t it some kind of eyeshadow palette #goals to have a palette you can travel with? Well, 100% shimmer shades will not be giving me that.

So I jumped on one of the many BH Cosmetics sales and picked up the BH Cosmetics Smokey 28 Palette – yes, 28 eyeshadow pans.

BH Cosmetics Smokey 28 Eyeshadow Palette

The Smokey 28 is far from a new palette, it’s been around for at least 5 years! That being said, I think it might be one of BH Cosmetics’ strongest offerings in the mega-palette department. There were three major factors that sold me on this palette.

  • First, there was the scope of colors. While most palettes seem to give you one or two power colors, the Smokey 28 palette gives you at least five. Bold green, red, purple, hot pink, and bright blue are all represented here, each surrounded with a few similar tones. Even the neutrals are varied between orange, taupe, cool grey, and brown. 
  • Second, the variety of finishes. The Smokey 28 has mattes, shimmers, and despite BH not recognizing metallic finishes on the product page, I still think some are present. I feel like I would reach more often for a palette that had this kind of variety.
  • Third, and lastly, the price was an undeniable factor in my decision. After all, when there isn’t a BH Cosmetics sale (never seen it), this palette is $12.50. Right now, of course, it’s only $8.13 because (how many times in my life will I have to say this) BH IS ALWAYS HAVING A SALE. Always. Alwaysalwaysalways. And 5% cash back with Ebates you get on almost all BH Cosmetics products. 

Once this palette was delivered, I was incredibly eager to whip it open and start touchin’ stuff. In the past, I’ve used my hands and arms to open eyeshadow palettes, but the Smokey 28 didn’t let me off that easily.

I couldn’t open this palette to save my life. There was something about the very basic-looking closure system that lead me to crack the lid of the palette while trying to wrench it open with my hands. Eventually, I got it open and immediately used an old, crappy emery board to file that sucker down. Now it opens and closes just fine, but after scouring the internet for reviews saying something like “OMG I CANNOT OPEN THIS PALETTE?!?!” and coming up empty-handed, I figured I should mention it in case someone else is in my shoes.

BH Cosmetics Smokey 28 Palette Swatches

BH Cosmetics Smokey 28 Palette: Top Row

BH Cosmetics Smokey 28 Palette: Second Row 

BH Cosmetics Smokey 28 Palette: Third Row

BH Cosmetics Smokey 28 Palette: Bottom Row

Yeah. So, obviously, there are some clear winners and clear losers here.

I was totally saddened by the first row’s lightest shade – you know, where it looks like I missed a swatch? Yeah, that’s supposed to be a light, barely-tinted-green grey shadow. I’ve tried using it as a setting powder for my lid, as a transition color, and as a weird, dead-person highlight and it didn’t really give me any life. It’s sad, too, because with the deep teal right next to it swatching so poorly, that first row is kind of a big letdown.  (That darker teal applies better with a brush than it swatches, but it’s still sad.)

Predictably, the most shimmery shades are also the creamiest, softest, and most easily applied. They all finger-swatch beautifully, and I’ve had only good experiences playing with them on my eyes. Standouts include the olive-gold shade in the bottom row and the entire fourth & third columns from the left. For some reason, those are all super-easy to work with.

BH Smokey 28 Palette: Performance

Before I go any further, I want you to remember that this palette is less than the price of some drinks at Starbucks, and it comes with 28 shadows. I’m bringing it up because even the worst shortcomings of this palette pale in comparison to its overall value. That being said, I’m going to give it to you straight. I’ll scrutinize this palette as though I paid more than ten freaking dollars for this palette, which I most definitely did not.

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After all, I couldn’t even open the damn thing for a good 25 minutes after I got it, and if you can’t open a palette, it doesn’t matter if it’s under $10 or not.

First of all, when it comes to creative freedom, this palette is awesome. There are so many color combinations that you can swing out of these 28 pans, and the variety of finishes really assists in that department. The first thing I did was swatch everything, of course. Some of the shades that I expected to be shimmers ended up having a glorious shift, and some that I expected to be flat, matte, and dusty became incredible, buildable shades as I used them.

My favorite shades after swatching were purple and grey-toned, so the first thing I tried was a lightly shimmery, amethyst-esque smokey eye.

The most important thing I learned during this process was that the inner corner highlight (second from the left, top row) deserves some kind of award. After seeing the swatch, I knew a little would go a long way, but even just a dab made a huge impact! The best part was that, despite it being highly reflective and clearly ivory-white, it didn’t look chunky. It did its job perfectly.

The second and third shades that really stood out to me were almost the same, but different enough to be perfect together. Both have grey bases, one darker than the other, and each contain a beautiful, magenta pink shimmer. The lighter grey (top row, third from the left) has the stronger shimmer while the darker (bottom row, third from the left) has a deeper – almost grey-brown base.

I was going for more of a cool-toned smokey eye, so when some of the purples and pinks showed up a bit warm, I needed an adjustment. There are two tinted silver shadows (second row, third and fourth from the right) which read very cool. One shows up downright ice-blue shimmer while the other maintains a nice pewter sheen. I added a very light dusting of these over the top of the pinks and purples to bring the temperature down.

Right at the base of my lashes, I smudged in the darkest color I could find. My first attempt was with the deep, deep blue (bottom row, third from the right) which is a true matte. It definitely felt like a matte. It was so dry, it was almost sandpaper-like, and definitely went on sheer and dusty. Despite my efforts, I could only build it up to be more blue – not darker like I wanted.

In an attempt to fix, I tried the shadow above it (third row, third from the right) which was a deep blue shimmer. The difference in texture is almost jarring, the shimmer is so much softer and creamier. It went on my lash line perfectly and showed up much darker than the matte below it.

BH Cosmetics Smokey 28 Palette: Final Thoughts

Buy it. I mean, for real – buy it. It’s just over $8, and it’s got enough good performers in it to completely warrant that price. Even at $12.50, I’m not sure the shortcomings of this palette would render it worthless.

Sure, some of the mattes were borderline unusable and the palette, itself, is obviously cheap plastic… but the price-per-use is going to be insane on this palette. If you’ve been looking for a palette that will accommodate your penchant for daily – often daytime – smokey eyes, then pick this up. You can create so many different, high-impact eyeshadow looks from this one, single palette that it would honestly suffice as a core palette with the addition of some solidly performing matte shades.

Check out the Smokey 28 Palette on BH Cosmetics!

Do you have this palette? What do you think of it? Or if you think this palette is a struggle-bus waiting to happen, tell me!

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