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Ben Nye Essential Eye Shadow Palette Review & Swatches

Hi pretty ladies here is my Ben Nye Essential Eye Shadow Palette Review & Swatches!

A few weeks ago I ordered the Ben Nye Essential Eye Shadow Palette. I’ve wanted it for awhile because I have seen it used in a few YouTube videos and have read overwhelmingly positive reviews about it. On top of that, I’ve been wanting the perfect matte neutral palette for awhile. There are many neutral palettes that have a mix of shimmer and matte finishes, but there are not many that have only matte finishes. 





I ordered this palette online from Batts Audio, Video & Lighting. While the company’s name makes it seem like they wouldn’t carry makeup, they actually carry a large range of Ben Nye products (found under the Theatrical Consumables category). They also occasionally have promo codes for a certain % off your order, which is why I chose to order from them.

Other retailers I looked at carry the palette alone for ~$45, with s&h around ~$8 (which would make the total cost over $50)…Batts Audio, Video & Lighting carries the palette for $40.50 USD (click here for its listing on their website). I used a promo code I found online for 10% off (edit: which was actually an old code which ended up providing 5% off as it was reinstated for latecomers), which brought the palette’s price to $38.47. Shipping to my PO Box was $7.60 so my final total (including s&h) was$46.07 USD in the end. It shipped the very next day! The palette arrived in perfect condition.
I got an email from the Sales Manager today! He shed some light on a few things for me so I thought I would add them into the post here!

  • Batts Audio, Video & Lighting’s core business is based on commercial sales and installation of professional A/V equipment for theatrical purposes, but they also sell Ben Nye products as a way to meet all of their customers’ theatrical supplies needs. 🙂
  • They sell the entire catalog of Ben Nye products, with eyeshadow refills being the only thing not currently listed. You can see all their Ben Nye products here:
  • Most of their orders ship within 4 business days, with their most popular items often shipping within 24 hours.
  • There may be an unavoidable price increase in the future (as can happen when suppliers put pressure on retailers), but they will continue with their great customer service while also trying to keep discount codes fairly active… so keep an eye out for those when the time comes!

(As a side note: The other online retailer I trust for ordering a majority of my Ben Nye products, and also highly recommend, is Friends Beauty Supply. They don’t carry the Essential Eye Shadow Palette on their website, but I have ordered all my other Ben Nye products from them and they have always arrived quickly and well packaged, nothing has ever leaked or been broken. A+ service.)

Click through for more info and swatches.



The Ben Nye Essential Eye Shadow Palette has eight huge pans of eyeshadow. Each pan contains .12 oz of product, which is a lot, especially when compared to a MAC or Urban Decay eyeshadow which only has .05 oz of product. Plus, if you buy the palette from Batts Audio, Video & Lighting at $40.50 USD, that breaks down to $5.07 USD for each pan of eyeshadow. This palette is a steal, not only for the quantity of product but also for the quality of product.

  • All images below taken in natural light, no flash.
  • Swatches done over Too Faced Shadow Insurance.
  • Regular scotch tape used to achieve clean edges.

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Vanilla is a bone white eyeshadow which is actually a little lighter than my own skin tone, which is around an NC 10 — very, very fair. The perfect brow bone highlight shade for me.



Shell just about perfectly matches my skin tone. For me, this is the perfect ‘all over the lid’ natural eyeshadow, great for taking out any redness on my eyelids.

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Cork is a warm midtone brown shade that has a golden undertone. I saw some photos of this online prior to ordering the palette, and was expecting something a bit more like a taupe based on those photos, but this is definitely not a taupe. This reminds me a lot of MAC’s “Saddle” eyeshadow. Also, I think this would actually be a very flattering eyebrow shade for natural red-heads.



Mink Stole is a rich, cool-toned chocolate brown eyeshadow. This is really beautiful either all over the lid or focused in the crease. Because of its cool undertones, it would make a nice eyebrow shade for brunettes who find that most browns pull red on them.

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Graphite looks just like its namesake–graphite! This eyeshadow is a cool-toned sooty shade with no apparent warmth, which makes it great for when you don’t want to use stark black but still need a charcoal-y shade for some depth.



Black is an inky, true black. It’s my personal opinion that everyone needs at least one perfect black eyeshadow in their makeup collection because of its versatility. You can use black to deepen other shadows, or wear it alone all over the lid for a very bold smokey eye; you can also use it to set black eyeliner, or you can use black eyeshadow asyour liner for a softer effect. 

Ben-Nye-Essential-Eye-Shadow-Palette-blackbrown-smokeytaupe Ben-Nye-Essential-Eye-Shadow-Palette-smokeytaupe



Smokey Taupe is a real, true taupe (a brownish-gray). This is a great crease color to add contour to your eye shape. Also, for those who find that most contour powders they have used come off too ruddy or orange on them, this is an ideal alternative: Smokey Taupe can be used as a face contour powder because the shade mimics how natural shadowing would appear.



Black-Brown is a very deep, coffee brown. It’s not quite black, but it’s pretty close to it. When I look at this color it’s hard for me to not think of roasted espresso beans.

So now you’ve seen the eyeshadows and their swatches… but you might be wondering how they perform. 

One word: amazing. I recommend this palette without any hesitation.

The eyeshadows are incredibly pigmented, smooth, creamy, and blend like a dream. The selection of colors makes it perfect for everyday, because you can create looks that are soft & subtle and looks that are bold & dramatic, and everything in between. Plus, because they are matte, these shadows are not limited to just being eyeshadows — you can use them to fill brows and also use them on your face for natural highlighting and contouring.

The palette’s packaging is great. No, it’s not flashy or funky or anything like that… it’s very basic, professional, and to-the-point… no gimmicks here. It’s made of a sturdy, smooth cardboard and has a magnetized lid, so it stays shut. There is no mirror, but considering the quality of the eyeshadows and the amount of product you receive, that’s definitely a non-issue for me. Plus, with all these shades in one palette, this is ideal for travel.

So, what do you guys think? Have you ever used Ben Nye eyeshadows before?

Ben Nye is actually one of my favorite brands for special effects & theatrical makeup, but this is my first product from them that I would consider ‘everyday’ color cosmetics that I would use on a daily basis. This fall I feel like I’ll be wearing plenty of neutral eyes paired with bold, deep lips, so I’ll be reaching for this palette a lot.