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Designer Shadow Showdown: Dolce’s New Quad Versus Duane Reade’s Alternatives

Clockwise from top left: Dolce & Gabbana, Sonia Kashuk, Black Opal, and Maybelline.

High-end makeup can seem outrageously priced — if you’re adding some new things to your collection, it can easily add up to a few hundred dollars. But what are you paying for? Is there really that much difference between mass and upscale brands? We compared a new four-color Dolce & Gabbana eye-shadow palette to drugstore brands with similar shades. Below, our rigorous testing and quasi-scientific analysis brings a clear winner.

Photo: Melissa Hom

THE CONTENDER: Dolce & Gabbana Smooth Eye Colour Quad in Stromboli, $59 at Saks Fifth Avenue


PACKAGING:
Nice-looking packaging, although it could feel more substantial; very handy big mirror.

COLOR AND PIGMENT DENSITY:
Luscious, intense, and true on the skin; the gold was a rich, gilded swipe, not just a weak bit of frost.

BLENDABILITY:
Mmm, a pleasure to apply; silky and smooth.

FINAL CALL:
Only one complaint: major flaking. Gold sparkles ended up where they weren't intended.




Photo: Melissa Hom

CHALLENGER No. 1: Black Opal Quad Eye-Shadow Kit in Golden Sunset, $5.50 at Duane Reade

PACKAGING:
Pretty generic, but at least you see what you're getting.

COLOR AND PIGMENT DENSITY:
Looks chalky; leaves you unenthused.

BLENDABILITY:
The shadow pretty much stays where your applicator first lands, and won’t budge.

FINAL CALL:
Maybe good for experimenting with a color, but it’ll never be a favorite.




Photo: Melissa Hom

CHALLENGER No. 2: Sonia Kashuk Eye-Shadow Quad in Striking Jewels, $9.89 at Target

PACKAGING:
Smart; the little window lets you see the colors, but doesn’t look cheap.

COLORS AND PIGMENT DENSITY:
The deep green made our toes tingle — but that didn’t translate to the skin, where it barely showed.

BLENDABILITY:
You need to layer on so much just to see the color that blending is kind of moot.

FINAL CALL:
Requires too many coats. You shouldn't have to spend fifteen minutes just on your eyes.




Photo: Melissa Hom

CHALLENGER No. 3: Eye Studio by Maybelline in Copper Chic, $9.99 for .09 oz at CVS

PACKAGING:
Pretty standard.

BLENDABILITY:
Excellent; the colors work wonderfully together or alone, and blend effortlessly.

COLORS AND PIGMENT DENSITY:
Very pretty and rich; impressive and intense hues that are true on the face.

FINAL CALL:
Who cares about the packaging? For $10, it's an absolute steal.

THE WINNER: Maybelline. For the shadow's quality and price, Maybelline's palette can easily hold its own against the similar option from Dolce & Gabbana.

Photo: Melissa Hom

Copyright © 2013, New York Media LLC. All Rights Reserved. The Cut® are registered trademarks of New York Media LLC.

Copyright © 2013, New York Media LLC.
All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © 2013, New York Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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