Expertwear Eye Shadow is a notable improvement over previous versions of Maybelline powder eyeshadows, though it doesn’t surpass the top picks in this category. What’s missing from these shadows is that lush, almost suede-like smoothness and impeccable blending found in superior options. Expertwear Eye Shadow does have a nice silkiness, but also has a waxy feel that prevents smooth, even blending. Pigmentation has improved, as have these eyeshadows’ ability to cling to skin. You won’t get as much color payoff as you will with eyeshadows from M.A.C. or Stila, but the sheerness is bound to please those looking for softer eyeshadow shades.
There appear to be some matte options among the singles, but closer inspection reveals that even these have some shine, so avoid them if matte is your goal. The almost-matte single shades include Vanilla, Earthy Taupe, Champagne Fizz, and Creme de Cocoa. All of the duos have a soft shine, but if that doesn’t bother you, the best pairings are Indian Summer, Browntones, and Grey Matters. Two of the three shades in each trio set are shiny, but again, there are some attractive combinations, including Almond Satin, Chocolate Mousse, and Impeccable Greys.
Among the quads, most sets have at least one matte shade, and at least one shade is suitable for use as powder eyeliner. Half of the quads are assembled as "Smokes," and each contain a thoughtful combination of shades (along with imprinted guidelines) to create a smokey eye.
Maybelline is one of the best-known and most recognized mass-market makeup lines in the world—it's available in 90 countries. Throughout its long history, which began in 1915 when T. L. Wilson founded the company and named it after his sister, Mabel, and Vaseline (which he combined with coal dust to concoct a mascara for her), the company has prided itself on bringing innovative products to the marketplace. L'Oreal purchased the company in early 1996 and that's when things really started getting much better. Both companies specialize in offering a large selection of lipsticks, nail polishes, and mascaras, and many of their foundations have the same strengths and weaknesses (smooth textures and finishes plus the inclusion of sunscreens that are often without much-needed UVA-protecting ingredients).
The powders, several mascaras, pencils, matte-finish concealers, and Superstay Lipcolor are impressive and inexpensive. Although L'Oreal remains the more sophisticated and refined of the two lines (and now they have credible products, not just sleek ads, to back this assertion), Maybelline's latest urban image is a positive step, as many of their latest launches have been innovative without resorting to "been-there, done-that" gimmicks. Price-wise, Maybelline is the least expensive of the L'Oreal-owned cosmetic lines (which also includes Lancome, Biotherm, Vichy, and Kiehl’s), and smart shoppers will note the similarities among brands that, with conscientious shopping, can really save you money without sacrificing quality or performance.
For more information about Maybelline New York, owned by L'Oreal, call (800) 944-0730 or visit their interactive Web site at www.maybelline.com.