Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Eyeshadow: Sand Dollar, Galaxy, and Orchid

I can't believe I haven't yet reviewed a single Bobbi Brown Long-wear Cream Eyeshadow ($22, 12 oz./ 3.5g). I adore these little pots and wear them more often than any other eyeshadow.

With the exception of Navajo, which I found to be stiff and dry no matter how many times I purchased, returned, and repurchased (Navajo has now been discontinued in the cream form), these eyeshadows are incredibly silky and velvety. Their smooth formula lets the pigment glide on easily, using a synthetic brush or a fingertip, and it lasts all day without creasing or smudging. Truly. When I swatch colors on the back of my hand, I have to scrub off the color.

This formula was awarded 'Best of Beauty' 'Allure' Magazine (2011) and 'Elle' Magazine's 'Genius Award' (April 2010) and rightly so. Nothing is more simple on a rushed morning than quickly swiping on my favorite Bobbi Brown cream shadow, dabbing on some lipstick, and racing out the door. I find myself reaching for these shadows on days when I'd normally be too busy to bother. They are as appropriate for weekends as for the office.

Although Heather is my most used color, this review is about the more complex Sand Dollar, Galaxy, and Orchid shades.

Sand Dollar is a lightly-reflective silvered taupe that looks like Cement's shimmering sister. Often I find that Bobbi Brown's color names do NOT match the product in her lineup, but this time they got it right. Sand Dollar looks exactly like a greige sea creature washed up on the glittering sand. Overall, this color leans warm, but because the undertone is more grey than beige, with the slightest whisper of mauve, it is acceptable on my cool, pink-porcelain skin. This shimmer is very subtle, more of a delicate gleam, thus it cannot be compared to the uber-sparkly Metallic Long-Wear Cream Shadow, which I just can't make work on me.

If I am not in the mood for shimmer, I'll quickly dab a bit of Cement cream shadow on top of Sand Dollar.

Galaxy is the most complex shadow in this trio. At first I thought it was just another mid-toned, shimmering silver-grey, similar to Make Up For Ever #2 Steel, and I swear that Galaxy is identical the the discontinued Prescriptives Colorscope Eye Color in Smoking Gun, but my Px pot is too old and tacky for an adequate comparison. The Bobbi Brown web site calls Galaxy a deep silver shimmer, but it's more than that. Galaxy is pewter, the color of a shiny meteorite. If hold to the light I can see both silver and gold, and maybe even the faintest trace of moss. The finish is slightly more metallic than Sand Dollar, but it's not over the top for day wear if applied sheerly.

Orchid is described as a light lavender, which isn't true. In nature, if you look at the flowering buds, lavender is a greyed blue, more softly muted than periwinkle, whereas Orchid is a mid-toned, satiny, reddened purple--more like a lilac blossom. Or orchid petals. I find Orchid can be an eye intensifier in that it makes green or blue eyes appear more vibrant and brown eyes more sparkly. There is definite color payoff from Orchid, but overall it does not scream PURPLE. That said, I don't think everyone will be able to wear this color because of the red undertones.

Here are some skin swatches on my NW15 skin.

I detect no fragrance in this product, and the fact that it's powder-free makes it even more wearable for me. The cream shadows are ophthalmologist tested, and although I do not wear contact lenses, my eyes are extremely sensitive, and these eyeshadows do not bother me at all, even when I use them as eyeliner underneath my lashes.

Though not quite as buttery as Benefit Creaseless Cream shadows, Bobbi Brown's color selection is slightly better for pale, cool-toned people, and although comparison can be the thief of joy, it's what we bloggers do so we can make informed purchasing decisions. For my $, Bobbi Brown's cream shadows blow MAC Paint Pots out of the water, which I find drying and oxidizing. My only complaint about the Long-wear Cream Eyeshadow is its delivery system. Like Benefit or MAC's cream shadows, I wish the mouth of Bobbi's jars were a little wider. I prefer to use my fingers to apply because the warmth of my skin lets me better control how much pigment I apply, and it also spreads more evenly. As designed, when the product is half gone, it becomes challenging to pick up color on my fingertip without it getting under my nails, so I use the Laura Mercier (fiber optic/skunk) Finishing Eye Brush, which I prefer for cream shadow application over the typical flat-paddle cream shadow brush. I don't use eye primer with these, and I even apply them directly over eye gel that has sunk in (Clinique All About Eyes). No creasing, wears like it's bulletproof.

Bottom line: Love.

All photos mine


  1. I adore these and I haven’t seen as many posts about them as other cream shadows – they seem to have been overlooked.

    I use my fingers to apply them but I’ve found that a Mac 239 also applies well – especially useful when you use up half the pot and are finding it difficult to use your finger to reach the rest.

  2. I like these as well and have quite a few colors. Love the ease and lasting power of them. I accidentally left the top slightly open on one and the formula dried up some. Do you know of any tips to revive a dry cream shadow? Thanks!

  3. Victoria, thanks for the tip on the 239. I have two that I've had for so long they are no longer soft, so I haven't been using them for powder shadows, but they'd be great for the creams.

  4. Hi fleurdeliz, absolutely you can revive them. There best way I know is using facial primer and glycerine (and heat to make it smooth again). EnKore has one of the best video tutorials I've seen yet:

  5. I watched the L.E. video and thought she looked lovely but I believe that she mentioned MUFE "Lilac," not "Orchid" by Bobbi Brown. At any rate, I think that "Orchid" would be more wearable for me: greenish-blue eyes! Thanks.
    Shelley B.

  6. Hi Shelley, did she say Lilac? Interesting, BB doesn't have that color in her lineup. Maybe the UK gets some of her products under a different name.

  7. I like galaxy the most. Anything space themed at the moment Im in!

  8. Hi, Imo, have you seen Vincent Longo's Galaxy collection? It's so pretty. And then there's the sadly discontinued Chanel Glossimers that had a galaxy theme.

  9. She may have said the cream e.s. was a "lilac" color (colour?) but the info at the bottom of the screen showed that it was "Mauve #18" of MUFE. I do have a MUFE aqua color e.s., but it doesn't have the staying power (imho) of the Bobbi Brown. At any rate, Lisa Eldridge looks beautiful with very few products, whereas I would look like an alien using just those products! (Youth, great bone structure, and a lilting British accent don't hurt either!)

  10. I have three of these pots and just love them. (The shades are Shore, Sandy Gold and Goldstone.) But I do find that they crease after about 6 hours if I don't prime first. I'd like to get more except I feel like I'm running a race to finish them before they start drying up. Love cream shadows but that's a big problem!

  11. I love these eyeshadows!! :Dxxx

  12. I don´t see Lisa E using Orichid in this video.. Do you have Heather as well? I can´t decide!

    1. Maybe she edited or replaced the video. The original video was along the lines of what to wear the morning after you indulged too much, and she definitely used Orchid. I will look around to see if I can find the original. I do have Heather and I prefer it. Heather is more of a dusty mid-toned lavender plum (grey and brown undertones), whereas Orchid is a warm red-based purple.

      I've used Heather, in both cream and powder form, for years. I don't blog about them, I guess, because they are like old standbys.


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