Testing a NABLA eyeshadow palette for the first time to see if this new-to-Ulta brand is one worth keeping on our radar! Survey says?
Like most new-to-me beauty brands, I first discovered NABLA and their shiny pretty things on Instagram.
The Italian based, cruelty-free makeup brand has a full range of products – ranging from foundation to lipstick. Given weakness for eyeshadow, it came as no surprise that what most caught my eye from the Indie brand a Nabla eyeshadow palette. The vibrant selection of colors was quite inviting and the only thing holding my back was the international shipping fee from Italy.
Then Ulta started stocking the brand in Summer 2019 and all bets were off. The Nabla Poison Garden palette was in my cart, ordered and on its way to me before any second thoughts could creep in.
Facing the Negative Reviews
Given that the brand NABLA is still relatively unheard of in the states, I was curious when the Poison Garden palette arrived what people were saying about it out there. I did some digging around to locate online reviews and what I found was somewhat shocking.
Perched at my vanity with my new NABLA eyeshadow palette all ready to go, I set out to play with the eyeshadow while watching others review it on YouTube. The overall consensus from the beauty gurus out there was that they hated it! They complained that the shadows are patchy and one gal – who I won’t name – gave a very heated review filled with crass remarks that I feel crossed a line.
I was stunned. In all my years of loving making and consuming content over others reviewing it, I’d never seen people get so heated over an eyeshadow palette before.
A Love that Grows with Each Use
I wanted to address the negative reviews out there surrounding this palette because those I saw were based purely on first impressions. And, upon my first impression – I had to agree. This NABLA eyeshadow palette wasn’t a straight-out-the-gate winner in my book.
As I got to know the Poison Garden palette, that opinion did change dramatically. My love grew to where I wore nothing else on my eyes for more than 4 weeks and I became so committed that I even brought this guy along with me while traveling on summer vacation.
Now that you have some background, ahead you’ll get the full scoop on my experience with the Poison Garden palette. I weigh the pros, I weigh the cons and I walk you through how to get the very most out of the palette in your everyday makeup routine should you decide to go ahead and pick it up.
Inside the Poison Garden Palette
Tucked inside the Nabla Poison Garden palette you’ll find 15 striking shades in a variety of textures and finishes. Included are:
- Zodiac: Matte black
- Fabric: Metallic sandy champagne
- Adoration: Wet effect crystal shade with cobalt, indigo and magenta reflections
- Berry Bite: Matte magenta
- Adiago: Matte deep brown
- Zen: Matte medium brown with rosy undertones
- Craving: Duo-chrome amethyst purple with w/ fuchsia and peach reflections
- Honey: Matte honey orange
- Subliminal: Duo-chrome copper with red and gold reflections
- Archetype: Metallic bronze with gold threading
- Rosita: Metallic, dusty rose
- Majorelle: Matte, majorelle blue
- Narrative: Matte, warm beige
- Opera: Matte burgundy wine
- Canvas: Matte light custard
When you look at the shadows up close and personal, you realize how much depth Nabla managed to pack into a single shade.
Adoration in particular is one of the most unique and stunning eyeshadow shades I have ever come across. In the pan, it looks crystal white. Applied to your lid, however, you’ll find that it is has iridescent qualities and casts off pinks and blues.
Immediately I was impressed with the quality of pigment the shadows deliver. They are vibrant in the pan and they apply vibrantly on the lid.
Here’s where criticism of the Nabla Poison Garden eyeshadow palette started to pick up. The shadows do have a dry texture, particularly the matte shades. The dryness wasn’t an initial turnoff for me, though, as the shadows swatched nicely. The dryness does affect the way the shadows apply to the lid, however, and require using a light hand.
Important: Use a Light Touch
I have to stress the importance of using a light hand when applying these shadows. If you go in too strong, you’ll run into issues with patchiness as the shadow will cling to the initial spot where you place the pigment. Same concept applies to blending. If you use a heavy hand blending, you’ll wind up creating a bit of a mess. In fact, on my first go around using the Nabla eyeshadow palette I ended up using makeup remover to clean off my eyes and start over altogether. From there, I got to know the eyeshadow and enjoyed the way it works.
All-Day Wear Time
Some of the negative reviews I saw mentioned creasing, but I honestly never came across that issue. If you are concerned about creasing, though, I’d recommend applying the shade Canvas all over your lid space for an even surface for whatever look you set out to create.
Blend with a Light Hand
I know I mentioned using a light hand already, but it’s so important I wanted to stress it again in terms of blending. Use a blending brush (Mac, Sigma, Wet n Wild, Elf…any will do) and move over the shadow ever so lightly. The palette also includes three really nice blending shades to help you get the job done. Narrative, Honey and Zen all work beautifully at blending out the shades and pulling your whole look together.
It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint
When in a rush, you can definitely pile one shade all over your live and pop another in the crease for a quick eyeshadow look. To do more than that, you’ll need patience as the blending and layering the shades does come with a learning curve as you understand their texture. After a couple uses, I think you’ll get the hang of it and it’ll be smooth sailing from there.
Take your time, go lightly and enjoy the process.
Overall Thoughts? Not a Beginner Palette
While I’ve come to absolutely adore the Poison Garden palette, I have to admit it is not a palette I think “beginners” will enjoy.
The shadows do require a bit more tender, loving caring than your average eyeshadow palette. To me, the end result makes everything bsolutely worth it…but if you’re just starting out on your eyeshadow journey, I’d recommend going with something more basic. (The ELF New Classics palette is really wonderful and super affordable.)
Nabla Eyeshadow Palette Rundown:
- Includes 15 shades with varying textures (Matte, metallic, shimmers)
- Available at Nabla Cosmetics and Ulta
- $39 price tag
- Certified cruelty-free
- Cardboard packaging with full-sized mirror included
- Strong pigmentation
- Long-lasting shadows
- Unique, multi-dimensional shades
- Includes three really nice blending shades
- Wide color selection, ranging from neutral to bold
- Decent price for the amount of product
- Great packaging
- Not an easy palette for beginners
- Dry texture requires more time for application
- Only available online if you live in the States
- Can be difficult to blend if using a heavy hand
Overall Grade: A-
I’m sold. And I’m really glad I didn’t let the negative first impression reviews deter me from falling in love with the palette. If you are an eyeshadow palette FIEND like me, I think you will really love this and do recommend picking it up.
Shop the Post
Nabla ‘Poison Garden’ Eyeshadow Palette ($39)
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