Milani is an affordable, American cosmetic brand sold at drugstores, big box retailers, and Ultas across the United States. Like so many other trendy beauty brands, Milani is loved by fans of both high-end and drugstore makeup because of their gorgeous packaging, high quality products, and affordable price point. But are they truly worth the hype?
Today we’ll determine whether the Milani Soft & Sultry Eyeshadow Palette is bad or rad.
Milani Brand Ethos
Although Milani is a US-based brand, the brand takes its inspiration from the art and culture of Milan. Furthermore, even though Milani is a drug store brand, they want their products to embody the style and essence of Milan from their formulas, to their packaging, and shade offerings. However, unlike the high fashions sold in Milan, the brand sells their cosmetics at a super affordable price point that all consumers can appreciate.
Moreover, unlike many of the brands that have been trying to feign inclusivity, Milani has maintained a concerted effort to releases products that reflect needs of the multicultural, American consumer. And consumers are noticing.
Anecdotally, I saw how Milani bested it’s more well-known drugstore competitors at Beauty Con L.A. 2018. Fans of the brand waited in long lines to interact with Milani and potentially receive free product, while heavy hitters like Cover Girl struggled to catch the attention of attendees.
Milani Cosmetics was founded in 2001.
Soft & Sultry Eyeshadow Palette Claims
According to the Milani website, the Soft & Sultry Eyeshadow Palette is a cool-toned palette with a mix of “iridescent neutrals” and “smoked out metallics” that work well together and alone. Furthermore, Milani states that the palette contains twelve “pure pigments,” which are a mix of velvety mattes and intense shimmery metallics. Altogether, this palette will enable wearers to create one-of-a-kind eye looks.
Price & Packaging
The Soft & Sultry Palette retails for $19.99 USD on Milani’s website and across most other retail partners in the US. However, Walmart actually sells this palette for $14.97 USD, in-store and online. To note, Walmart was the only retailer where I was able to find this palette in person.While the price point puts this palette above that of the brand’s competitors, the price is not unreasonable.Stila Eyes are the Windows Palettes ($49.00 USD).
The inside of the palette contains a large mirror that makes application easy. Unlike many popular prestige palettes, the Milani Soft & Sultry does not come with a brush nor does it label the shade names on the inside.
Ingredients & CF Status
These shadows contain Talc, Mica, and Dimethicone (as well as other silicone-based ingredients), and Phenoxyethanol. While these ingredients are common in most cosmetics and skincare, there are potential health concerns with the use of these ingredients. Milani is Cruelty-Free.
As mentioned above, the Soft & Sultry Eyeshadow Palette comes with 12 cool-toned eyeshadows across a mix of finishes. The palette includes eight matte shadows, one shimmer, and three foiled shadows.
While swatches are not always perfect, they are still a way to determine how an eyeshadow may perform on the eye in terms of blendability, pigmentation, and ease of application. I’ve swatched each column of the Milani Soft & Sultry Palette using both my fingers and a brush without any primer. In the below photos, the top swatches of each color were done with a brush and the bottom swatches were done with my finger. Each finger swatch represents one swipe of color, while each brush swatch represents two layers of building.
Weekday (Column One) |Milani suggests pairing the four shades in the first column of the palette together to create a soft, weekday look comprised of cool-toned browns. As one would expect, the finger swatches were much more pigmented than the brush swatches. Nevertheless, I was impressed by the pigmentation and the ability to build up each brush swatch with a second layer.
The colors, from top-to-bottom: Bare It All (matte beige), Tan-Tation (matte peachy nude), Foxy Lady (foiled chocolate bronze), and After Hours (matte deep taupe)
Weekend (Column 2) | As suggested by the back of the palette, the four shades in the central column are suggested for creating a bolder, weekend look. However, as you can tell by the swatches, the two lightest shades in this quad, Diamonds & Pearls and Soft Touch, are under-whelming and do not swatch well. That being said, foiled duo-chrome, Come-Hither is my favorite shade in the entire palette even though the brush swatch looks terrible.
The colors, from top-to-bottom: Diamonds & Peals (shimmering icy white gold), Soft Touch (matte nude fawn), Come-Hither (foiled chestnut with silver reflect), and Untamed (matte expresso)
Funday (Column 3) | Milani describes the last column in the Soft & Sultry Palette as the go-to colors for an even bolder, sultry look. I was impressed by each shade’s ability to build pigmentation when applied with a brush. However, I want to call out that the matte black needed to be packed on to achieve a more opaque brush swatch.
The colors, from top-to-bottom: In the Buff (matte, pale cream), Smokin’ Hot (matte taupe), Sweeter than Chocolate (foiled chocolate with gold reflect), and Naughty-Night (matte jet black)
Application & Wear-time
Although the brush swatches don’t look particularly impressive, each shade glided onto the eye and blended like a dream. The shades were easy to build with a brush, no matter whether I used a brush to pack color onto the lid or blended the colors into the crease with a fluffy blending brush to create a smoked out look. Given that Talc and Mica are the top ingredients in nearly every shade in the palette, I’m not surprised that the mattes are easy to blend or that the foiled shades are impactful on the lids.
This palette truly is a soft palette, both in terms of pigmentation and formula. In other words, this palette isn’t going to give you the crazy-pigmented Insta-glam looks seen all over Instagram. While I like the softer looks I’m able to create, you may not like this pending your pigmentation preferences. Additionally, the light cream and beige shades look nearly identical when buffed into the crease. Formula-wise, the shadows are soft and powdery. As a result, the palette creates a lot of kickback.
One of my favorite looks I’ve created with this palette is an ultra-soft Halo Eye. I blended Bare It All and Tan-Tation into the crease, then lightly packed Untamed into the inner and outer corner of the eye, and finished by packing Come-Hither into the center.
When worn with a primer, the shades do not crease nor do they fade, even after 10-12 hours of wear-time. As someone with oily eyelids, this is an impressive feat, especially when you consider the fact that other high-end brands struggle to create shadows with longevity.
Milani Retail Distribution
Milani Cosmetics is sold in drugstores and big box retailers across the US, including CVS Health, Target, Walgreens, Walmart. Additionally, Milani is at specialty beauty retailer, Ulta, as well as online via MilaniCosmetics.com. To purchase the full range of products, visit MilaniCosmetics.com. Currently, Milani only ships to the United States and Canada. Internationally, Milani Cosmetics can be purchased via Beauty Bay and Amazon.
To find the closest Milani distributor in the US, check out the brand’s store locator.
I hate to make such grandiose claims, but the Milani Soft & Sultry Palette is the best drugstore palette I’ve ever tried and it was my favorite new eyeshadow find of 2018. From the packaging to the price to the performance of the eyeshadows this palette has it all. If you like neutral looks or are looking to experiment with cool-toned shades then I highly suggest grabbing this palette.
Have you tried any Milani cosmetics before? What is your favorite affordable or drugstore eyeshadow palette? Please let me know in the comments below.