By Brigid Anderson
Unless you've been living on another planet in a galaxy far far away void of social media, chances are you've heard about and seen the much hyped collaboration between YouTube beauty guru Jaclyn Hill and Morphe Brushes: The Jaclyn Hill X Morphe Palette (insert angels singing here).
Launched on Morphe's website on June 21st, the Jaclyn Hill palette sold out in only 45 minutes after going live and has had not one, but two restocks since that have also sold out (with a third restock on the way at some point in the relatively near future). Social media has been freaking out over this palette ever since. Honestly, I can't remember a release that has ever had this type of mass hysteria behind it other than the first Naked palette which was released by Urban Decay in 2010.
At $38, this palette is Morphe's most expensive palette. It contains 35 new shades in a mix of mattes, glitters, shimmers, satins, and foils which were apparently designed by Jaclyn herself and took 2 years to become a reality.
Is the Jaclyn Hill X Morphe palette worth all the hype?
I'm not a fan of the packaging, I'll be honest. I expected a little more, especially considering it's price tag. Don't get me wrong, it's classy looking and the silver foil is pretty, but it has no 'WOW' factor. It's matte white cardboard front gets easily smudged and I can see it becoming a hot mess the longer I have it and the more I use it.
My main issue with the packaging? The shade names are nowhere to be found on the palette itself! True story. The palette does come with a little postcard which pictures each shade in a broken little pile with the shade names labeled beneath, however. Honestly, I feel like the inside flap could have been utilized in a more productive way than having a dedication to Jaclyn's subscribers (as sweet as that may be), especially if the shade names were not going to be printed beneath the shades themselves. I don't want to constantly refer to a postcard or print out of the shades if I'm looking to recreate a look done in a tutorial, or while I'm trying to recall a certain look I've previously done. I would have liked the shade names there, in my face, all the time.
The Shades in The Jaclyn Hill X Morphe Palette
Swatch Row 1
Generally speaking, this is a very warm toned palette. There are a few slightly cooler shades included, but the majority have noticeably warm undertones. This can either be seen as a positive or a negative depending on what you gravitate toward and what type of looks you like to experiment with. Personally, I am OB-SESSED with the bronze-y, terracotta and berry moment that is happening right now, and luckily these shades work really well on my skin tone (NC20 for reference).
Swatch Row 2
I'm generally not a big fan of blues, purples, or greens, and the addition of these shades initially caused some hesitation in deciding whether to purchase or not. The undertones of my skin lean more on the yellow side and these shades typically don't do anything magical for me. The few that are included, although pretty, definitely will not be used on any kind of consistent basis.
In my initial swatches, I was immediately impressed with how bananas the pigmentation was. The satins, the shimmers, and the foils are extremely buttery and pack a serious punch when swatched on the skin with your finger. The mattes seemed a little drier formula wise (which was to be expected since mattes typically are) but they're smooth, finely milled, and don't have a chalky feel to them.
Swatch row 3
Some of the shades in this palette are so close in color that they almost seem redundant. Typically shades that close in color don't end up looking much different when applied to the eyelids, and this is something that has been debated about Morphe's palettes for awhile.
It became clear to me (almost immediately) that the Jaclyn Hill palette contains the Urban Decay Naked Heat palette within it. A few shades are slightly different, but again, the difference is so slight that you may find if you have both palettes (which I do) that now you're swimming in a sea of warm rusty shades. This may be something to consider if you are intending on purchasing one or the other or both.
How do the eyeshadows apply?
My brushes picked up the mattes beautifully without leaving fallout in their wake, yet I found that my brushes had a particularly difficult time picking up the glitter shades, and foils. This is actually quite typical with foils and metallic shades in general so I can't necessarily fault the palette itself. When applied with a dry brush they just don't produce that intensely beaming effect you're really looking for, and the integrity of the shade tends to end up looking a little sad. Luckily, there are three ways to combat this problem: make sure your eyelids are primed, use a dampened brush (you can use any setting spray for this), or use your finger. Unfortunately, none of these options have worked particularly well thus far in my attempts to get those intense shades on my eyelids.
Swatch row 4
For instance, the other day I decided to do a look I normally would never do: make the purple shade Royalty my main focus. After creating a cut crease with probably my favorite cut crease shade in this palette altogether, Pooter (don't even get me started on the name), I created some definition with Soda Pop in the outer V before tackling Royalty. I didn't want to add too many other shades into the mix because I really wanted a bright, but slightly smoked out, vivid purple look.
I attempted three different methods to get Royalty on my eyelids: First, I tried it with a dry flat brush. The results of this were unimpressive to say the least. It didn't even look purple. Then, I gave my brush a little spritz with setting spray, dipped my brush into the pan and was convinced this was going to do the trick judging by the pigment it picked up. Unfortunately, this was a giant NOPE. It applied so patchy! I was actually stunned at just how patchy it applied with the dampened brush. Ladies and gentlemen, it was not pretty. Not. At. All. Three times' a charm, right? I used my finger. This was the best method, however (and this is a big however) the fallout I experienced while using my finger to apply was utter madness. It was all under my eyes, glitter was traveling everywhere, my fingers were a mess, and I was a mess despite taking my time and trying to be as precise as one can be with long nails.
Swatch Row 5
It took quite awhile to get things evened out and looking somewhat presentable. I used a touch of Beam in the center of my lid to give Royalty a bit more dimension because, by itself, it surprisingly looked a little flat. I really disliked the finished result altogether, and as expected the color made me look like a corpse. I had to redo my makeup under my eyes because I looked like I had been straight up punched in the face.
Despite the giant fail that was the Royalty look, I really like the looks I've created with the mattes. I find them blendable, pigmented, and the formulas are pretty spot on. They're not too powdery and the fallout in pan is slight. I do wish there was a cooler, lighter brown matte or a cool mid-toned nude matte thrown into the mix. I found myself searching for something neutral and cool to tone down and transition the mustard-y Creamscicle shade in a different look, but it just wasn't there. I ended up having to reach for another palette to complete that look.
Is The Jaclyn Hill X Morphe Palette Worth It?
Makeup is a very subjective thing and not everything is going to be everyone's cup o' tea. Personally, I really do like the Jaclyn Hill palette as a whole, even though it may not be the easiest palette to work with 100% of the time. There are a lot of options that can be created with it and I'll definitely be playing around with different looks for some time to come (and perhaps perfecting my application methods). I feel like this palette is geared more toward those that don't mind spending two hours on their eyeshadow, as opposed to those that prefer more simplistic, 'get up and go' type of looks and products. I could see the Jaclyn Hill palette potentially being a little overwhelming for beginners as well.
It's evident that Jaclyn Hill slayed it on this collab with Morphe, and that the beauty community, as well as makeup enthusiasts everywhere, are completely shook to the core over it. I don't necessarily think it would have become a cult classic or a 'must-have' if Jaclyn Hill had no involvement in it, but I can honestly say that the Jaclyn Hill X Morphe palette is a welcome addition to my arsenal and ultimately is worth checking out.
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Brigid Anderson has been a makeup addict for over 15 years and has worked as a freelance makeup artist and stylist for fashion labels and music videos. When she isn't writing about and using beauty products, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their dog Ivan, hoarding vintage clothing and vinyl records, and binge watching 'Game of Thrones'...repeatedly.