Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cynthia Rowley: The Game Face Palette Review and Swatches

I am one lucky lady, my friends! LisaLeah, a friend of mine that I met over on the makeuptalk forums, wanted to surprise me with a holiday gift this year. She is probably one of the sweetest women I've met on makeuptalk, and I've met a lot! Christmas was tight this year (for a lot of us!) so it was such a wonderful surprise when I got an unexpected package from Birchbox in the mail! (This was only the beginning of her surprises...she completely spoiled me!)
Along with a beautifully scented room spray and 2 Illume candles, was this kind-of-amazing Cynthia Rowley palette! I haven't really tried much from Cynthia Rowley's cosmetics line aside from a lip tint and the black and silver eyeliners I've received in past Birchboxes, however I've always been curious to try more. 
This palette is called 'The Game Face' and contains 10 eye shadows, an applicator, and a mini eyeliner.
When I unwrapped the black and gold box, I found a very bright, geometric patterned palette inside. I love how unique this looks!
Here's the first look! This palette has a magnetic clasp and a nice-sized mirror, as well as two large highlight shades. It looks like the rest of the shadows are set up in 2 specific rows: warm tones and cool tones.
Look at these neutral beauties!
As I mentioned before, there was a Cynthia Rowley black eyeliner and shadow brush included as well. The brush is pretty standard for most palettes. Not the best shadow brush I've ever used, but it will do in a pinch if you don't want to lug all your brushes along with you when traveling. 

Let's take a look at some swatches!

Cool Tones
From Left to Right- Ace, Wildcard, Bullseye, Knockout
Here are the 4 cool-toned shades in the palette. These shadows are incredibly soft, buttery and pigmented. I was oohing and ahhing over them as I swatched each one!

Ace- This is a stunning shimmery taupe shade, that swatches a bit deeper in tone than it looks in the pan. This would make a fantastic all-over-the-lid shade, or even as a little shimmer on the inner corners.
Wildcard- This is a gorgeous grey/blue shadow with a subtle silver shimmer. While this shade looks straight up blue in the pan, it has a more gunmetal/teal appearance when applied.
Bullseye- This is a straight-up satin grey, although it will appear matte on the lid. These are truly some of the best matte shadows I've used in a long time. I can't get over how soft and pigmented they are!
Knockout- Of course, what's a neutral palette without a matte black? This one is a bit more fun in that it has a very small amount of silver shimmer, but not enough to detract from it's inky goodness. Beautifully pigmented and easily blended, too!

Warm Tones
From Left to Right: Rookie, Undefeated, Winning Streak, Hat Trick
Here are the 4 warm-toned shades in the palette. These have the same soft, buttery formula that the cool toned shades do. I barely had to tap my brush into the pan to get these intense, pigmented swatches.

Rookie- This is a peachy-toned shimmer that would work well as the all-over-the-lid shade for the warm tone crew. This is another shade that swatches with a bit more depth than it looks like it has in the pan. 
Undefeated- While this shade is similar to Rookie in that it's a peach toned, it leans more pink/nude, and has less shimmer as it's more of a matte/satin finish.
Winning Streak- An absolutely stunning, shimmery bronze. This shade glides on like butter, is incredibly pigmented and super beautiful. Definitely a great one to have when creating a brown smokey eye.
Hat Trick- This is a matte, slightly satin finished taupe/brown shade. It's actually quite unique in tone compared to things I already have in my collection. It's really lovely and a nice, subtle shade to use in the crease.

The Highlights
From Left to Right: MVP, All Star
There are also 2 larger-sized shadows in this palette that are great to use in multiple ways. These can be applied all over the lid, as a highlight, or even to blend out and tone down deeper shadows.
MVP is a pearly white shimmer while All Star has a golden shimmer. Both are absolutely lovely, and stick to the cool/warm theme going on throughout this palette.
Overall Thoughts
Seriously, I absolutely LOVE this palette. I have enough neutral-toned shadows to last me a lifetime, but something about this palette truly stands out to me. I love that it includes the cool toned shades, which you don't see very often in neutral palettes. The shadow pans are all quite large as well, so this is an excellent value at only $40. 
The shadows are beautifully pigmented, but don't apply so intensely that they're un-blendable. They have a great consistency: very soft and buttery. You do have to be careful with soft shadows, as they tend to have a small bit of fallout and it's easy to pick up too much product on your brush. Go easy with these and build them as much as you need to.
I'm absolutely thrilled to own this palette and I've been having a blast playing with it and creating different looks. It's actually pretty versatile for a neutral palette! I definitely recommend picking this one up if you're in the market for a new neutral palette with a twist!

For ingredient information as well as a fun video tutorial, check out the Birchbox website. You can also pick this up on their site for $40 and free shipping! Yay!

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All thoughts and opinions in this blog post are genuine and belong to Harlot Beauty. No monetary compensation was received, although goods and/or services may have been provided and accepted for purpose of review. Post may contain affiliate or referral links.


  1. Wildcard is such a pretty color. I think this palette seems extra-nice because the cool tones are extra gorgeous... I feel like some neutral palettes kind of skimp on those?

    1. It really is such a gorgeous shade, and you're absolutely right- Nude/Neutral palettes rarely have a solid group of cool tones, if any at all, really!

  2. Aw, what a great surprise! I really like Cynthia Rowley's makeup. I've used her pencil eyeliners and her "No. 1" eyeshadow palette. The shades in this one are beautiful, I especially like Winning Streak!

    1. I'm a new fan of her makeup now that I have this palette! Winning Streak is one of my favorite shades in this palette too! So versatile and shimmery! ;)

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