Make Up For Ever had released Aqua Shadow pencils a few summers back, meant to be a more convenient version of their famous Aqua Cream shadows. I love the MUFE Aqua Creams, so I was naturally intrigued by the Aqua Shadows.
I had actually tried an Aqua Shadow pencil when it was first released, but ended up returning it. Back then, I couldn’t find a way to make it work for me, and it ended up creasing and migrating on my eyelids despite being a waterproof eye shadow pencil. The Sephora sales associate (SA) had also given me the wrong shade, 26E (pearly peach), which she had misread for 28E. It was not flattering on my skin tone.
When the Black Friday $12 CAD sales at Sephora included MUFE Aqua Shadow duos, I couldn’t help myself and picked them up to try Aqua Shadows again. The Enhanced Eye duo was perfect, as it included the two shades I had originally gravitated towards: 28E (pearly beige) and 20E (pearly taupe). It was also a fantastic deal because one Aqua Shadow alone costs $24 CAD – getting two for $12 CAD was like getting 4 for the price of 1!
The Aqua Shadows were packaged individually so they can be easily gifted individually if you choose. It also means that they are definitely new and not tampered with An instruction card was included for a simple natural smoky eye look.
The packaging for 28E (pearly beige) and 20E (pearly taupe) are very similar – I had meant to place the 28E on the left and 20E on the right, but I didn’t even notice that they were in the wrong positions until I was editing the uploaded photos!
You can see that even the shadows themselves look very similar, not just the packaging. However, the swatches definitely tell a different story. Here are swatches in daylight:
28E (pearly beige) is a perfect champagne base colour. I would say that it almost has a hint of warm peachiness to it, although the camera doesn’t quite pick that up. For a taupe, 20E (pearly taupe) is also a rather warm brown. There is shimmer but no large glitter. The below swatch is slightly blurry, but I felt that the contrast between the colours was better.
I have worn this duo quite a few times now and I prefer wearing 20E (pearly taupe) on the outer corner, rather than as a vertical gradient with 20E (pearly taupe) close to the lashline blended upwards. Both Aqua Shadows can be used together or separately, and they act quite nicely as a base for powder eye shadows as well.
The one thing about using eye shadow pencils is that it is fast – so much faster than any cream shadow or powder shadow. Unlike powder eye shadows, you don’t need a brush; unlike cream shadows, you still have great control and precision. I am loving the Aqua Shadows for a last-minute eye look.
The Aqua Shadows did not apply as smoothly as I thought they would. The packaging had indicated Aqua Shadows to be a “waterproof ultra creamy eye shadow pencil”, but I didn’t find that they were very creamy. Although I did not have to drag the pencils across my eyelids too much, there was definitely some resistance. It was not the same type of resistance that you would get with a dried pencil product, but rather just one that is more “sticky”.
I would liken it to the difference between Urban Decay eyeliner pencils and MUFE eyeliner pencils in my experience – UD pencils glide smoothly with little resistance but I find that means they are also prone to movement and transfer, whereas MUFE pencils have a bit more drag because they’re a bit stickier but it means they stay put for longer. I do not mind that the Aqua Shadows are not as “ultra creamy” as advertised if it means that they have better staying power.
Because of the mentioned “stickiness”, the Aqua Shadows set fairly quickly and will stay where they are placed. After applying 28E (pearly beige) to my entire lid in the shape I want, I use my ring finger to blend out the edges. The warmth from my finger makes it easier to blend out the Aqua Shadow, as it prevents it from setting preemptively. I would follow with 20E (pearly taupe) in a small, rounded V shape in my outer corner, following the outline I had already created with the first pencil. Blending inwards with my ring finger, the shades blend easily together from the warmth.
The “stickiness” of the Aqua Shadow pencils mean that there is no fallout of the shimmer, even after blending. This was definitely an advantage of the Aqua Shadow.
Below are photos taken in daylight:
These were taken under incandescent lighting:
As I mentioned at the beginning, I did have trouble with the staying power of the MUFE Aqua Shadows the first time I tried it. This time around, I found that my eye look lasted a full day with no creasing and only minimal fading only within the inner 1-2 mm from the inner corner of my eye. I could easily attribute that to my hooded eyelids, so that was completely forgivable.
HOWEVER, this was only when I used Too Faced Shadow Insurance as a base underneath the Aqua Shadows. Otherwise, there was definitely fading and creasing within an hour or two, even when set with powder eye shadow. This may be attributed to my unique eyelids though – the shape of my eyes make me especially prone to smudgy eye makeup, regardless of what eye primer I use.
I had a great impression of the Aqua Shadows this time and have been wearing them often for a natural eye makeup look for the days I want to look a little more polished. This was a fantastic deal and I am so glad that i got the chance to try these again.
I would like to see Aqua Shadows in a larger variety of shades. I am fairly certain that 24E (pearly pink) and 26E (pearly peach) would not be flattering on my skin tone – I think they would make my eyes look swollen. I am not interested in 22E (pearly copper). The only other shade I would purchase would be 32E (pearly white) because of its versatility as a shadow and as a good base that will make my powder eye shadows stand out.
I am hesitant to purchase any of the matte shades because I find that matte pencils generally have poorer staying power. Given that the pearly Aqua Shadows are not fool-proof on my lids, I would not expect the matte ones to perform as well. The matte colours offered are also very dark and deep (black, brown, taupe grey, and navy blue), shades I would not use often.
I do loathe the idea of having to sharpen these. I would much prefer if MUFE had made the Aqua Shadows a twist-up pencil instead. In general, I don’t like sharpening pencils, especially when they are different products. I hate having to get a special sharpener that has a jumbo blade. Because I am very picky about hygiene, I would need separate sharpeners for my eyeliner pencils, eye shadow pencils, lip liner pencils, and lipstick pencils.
Do you own any Aqua Shadows? How are your experiences with the pearly shades compared to the matte ones? Would you use eye shadow pencils?