Saturday, November 30, 2013

Burberry Does Brown

I was dead set on Pale Barley for my first Burberry eyeshadow, but a little more hesitant about Midnight Brown. It recently returned to my attention after this post by Shari of The Misty Mom who raved about how it was unparalleled among the brown eyeshadows she'd tried. I did my research beforehand (who wouldn't, at $45 a piece) and the consensus seemed to be that Midnight Brown had a complexity that made it special and worth the splurge. I wasn't entirely convinced when I swatched it at David Jones, but I still favoured it over Rosewood, so it came home with me.

l-r: Burberry Midnight Brown, L'Oréal Bronzed Taupe, NYX Iced Mocha, LORAC Pewter, L'Oréal Endless Chocolat

Bottom to top: Burberry Midnight Brown, L'Oréal Bronzed Taupe, NYX Iced Mocha, LORAC Pewter, L'Oréal Endless Chocolat

Burberry Midnight Brown (No.21) is a cool, dark, taupey brown that flashes mainly silver. Under certain light, it looks more bronze with an understated golden sheen. Overall, it can lean muddy, especially when built up in intensity — I find that's when it starts to look more ashy and grey. Underneath a warmer, reddish base (like Maybelline Color Tattoo in Pomegranate Punk), it can look much more traditionally bronze.

L'Oréal Infallible eyeshadow in Bronzed Taupe is lighter, frostier and more grey-leaning. It's similar texture-wise, highly pigmented and smooth. If anything, Midnight Brown is more powdery and prone to a bit of fallout.

NYX Iced Mocha is lighter still, not as silvery as Bronzed Taupe, a bit more beige. This one had major texture issues, being dry, crumbly and patchy.

LORAC Pewter (from the PRO Palette) is the closest, a tad warmer with a slight purple tinge, not as dark brown. You definitely don't need both.

L'Oréal Infallible eyeshadow in Endless Chocolat is clearly much deeper than the rest, more of a metallic bark brown, not very warm. It tends to look closer to black on the lids.

Midnight Brown is too dark as an all-over lid colour but it's a good option for a quick smokey eye. Its versatility lies with how it's able to be sheered out to a more warm, reddish bronze, but also intensified to a more cool, silvery taupe if built up in pigmentation. I can also see its potential to be subtly transformed with a cream eyeshadow as a base, depending on the colour. It's smooth, highly pigmented and a breeze to blend — I almost prefer applying it with my fingers over an eyeshadow brush, as I think it leads to a better result. The shimmer in this is very fine and isn't overly reflective or metallic.

Ultimately, much like how I felt about Pale Barley, despite being well-made and having chameleonic qualities, I still don't find the shade alone to be entirely remarkable. If anything, I think Midnight Brown is even less unique than Pale Barley. While there's more variation in my arm swatch comparing similar shades than with Pale Barley, I just don't see myself getting all that much wear out of Midnight Brown to justify having so many close alternatives that basically look the same once on the lid. I wouldn't normally opt for a darker colour to wear during the daytime (only using them in a relatively discreet fashion closer to the lash line for added depth and definition) and I rarely go for deeper, dramatic eye looks if going out.

Still, Midnight Brown is a classic Burberry shade. It feels very true to the brand's look and ethos. It's a little sludgy, smouldering and overcast, while still retaining a sense of sophistication and effortlessness. I probably would've liked it more if it didn't lean so cool on my lids, but it can be easily tweaked depending on the heaviness and technique of application, and in combination with different coloured cream bases (slightly altering its appearance to be more bronze, gold, purple, plummy).


  1. This is beautiful, but not super unique. I'm looking forward to checking out Burberry makeup in person for the first time in January.

  2. It looks beautiful on you, l love how you always swatch all your similar looking shades ..very helpful..

  3. I'm a sucker for pretty sleek packagings. I always magically drift towards Burberry for their beautiful luxurious packaging but I've yet to pick any up (kinda out of my budget). XD

    From the swatch, I agree Midnight Brown's a great quick smokey eye with exaggerated eyeliner.


  4. Midnight brown is definitely a very classic and very complex shade from them. I would love to own that shade along with rose wood in time to come. I'm still in my 'buying what I lust after' phase and not saving up for more pricey special buys. I really appreciate the comparison, I can see that it has more dimension than the other shades when lined up like that! I think complex, dimensional browns always are welcomed!

  5. The packaging is amazing, and I would so love to own a Burberry shadow or ten! Although I have to say the shade is so similar to all those that you swatched, at a fraction of the price :( xx
    Gemma | Miss Makeup Magpie

  6. I really need to check out the Burberry makeup! The packaging looks so good. I pretty much always wear a brown eye shadow unless I am going out somewhere, it's such a lovely shade of brown!
    Madeleine || Madeleine in Wonderland

  7. This is such a pretty shade on you! Although I can see what you mean about it not being as unique as you would like, still it's something you know you will wear. A classic brown!

    Emma x

  8. this looks gorgeous! I really want to try the midnight brown and pale barley shades!

  9. This is such a pretty shade! Really amazing for those days where we just want a wash of colour on the leads and run out to get the bus. But sadly, I tend to buy palettes instead of single eyeshadows :x
    Take care care, have a nice day!*

  10. I love your reviews, they're always so in depth and helpful. Burberry shadows seem really good quality but I doubt I'll ever buy one as they're just so expensive

  11. This colour is stunning, it looks gorgeous on :) x

  12. I agree completely with everything you said. I have this color and find it too cool, too dark, and not too unique. I think the color is beautiful swatched and in the pan but when I wear it I always find my eyes looking tired. Taupes can be tricky on me, if they lean too cool they tend to make me look tired. Warmer, plummier taupes are the only ones that work. Too bad as the texture is smooth and the quality is beautiful (and like you said, very up to Burberry's ethos) but I don't think this is all that great of a shade for me. And I found blending with my fingers worked best as well!

  13. thanks for the review.
    to me the midnight brown looks like a lovechild of the bronzed taupe (my favorite, btw) and the endless chocolat.
    sometimes the makeup colors look more beautiful when they were swatched plus they look all different, which convinces us that we need ALL OF THEM. i find it frustrating. ;-/

    1. Haha I know what you mean! Sometimes you can't force yourself to choose just one, so you end up needing them all. Or you opt for one, and then you second guess yourself and wonder if you should have picked the other, so you eventually cave and get the one you originally didn't pick, when really, they're more or less the same. It's a sickness, I tell you :p

      Bronzed Taupe is a really nice one. When I first swatched it alongside Midnight Brown, they looked almost like dupes to me (this was under artificial light at night). In natural, indirect light they are a bit different, but you definitely don't need both in my opinion.

  14. I agree, this looks really beautiful on you but just not unique enough to justify the price tag (especially when you're a makeup enthusiast/hoarder like us and have multiple brown shadows already that do nearly the exact same thing). Such a shame!! Regardless I think there's something fantastic about being able to say you own Burberry products so… well… I guess that's a plus? Hahah sorry I'm not much help am I? :p


  15. It is such a beautiful shade, so wearable & looks luxurious and very pretty on you.

  16. Despite the fact that the color is not terribly unique, I still think it is very pretty! And, as I said before, that packaging is simply beautiful... I do agree about the price tag however, it is hard to justify!

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  18. It's a really beautiful colour and I just adore the packaging. If I wore eyeshadow (& had an unlimited bank balance) I would absolutely purchase a few of these, even though they're not the most unique.

    Jennie xo |

  19. Oh beautiful colour! I'm always on the look for the perfect brown for me. I have never seen it in real life (I live out in the country, don't even have a Target or K Mart here!) but judging from the swatch, I think this would lean a little too cool on me too. The only Burberry brown I own is Almond (No.6) and I'm looking to add more Burberry shadows to my collection x


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