James Charles x Morphe


I really want to say that I hate James Charles. In theory, he’s super annoying. He’s a 19 year old beauty guru who is worth more than I will ever be. It’s crazy.

With all being said, I do enjoy his videos. I think he’s super creative, both with his content and his makeup looks. He is always the first one to start a trend, and has changed the way the makeup and beauty industry works with his colorful eye looks and unique face routine. I really admire someone so  young making a name for themselves, even though his was mostly based on lies. Even though he made it to the top by lying (on Ellen!) he’s managed to stay there, something that Laura Lee and Jaclyn Hill can’t claim.

He recently hit 10 million subscribers on Youtube, making him one of the biggest names in the beauty industry ever. What’s an even bigger deal is that he’s a boy who is huge in an industry filled with girls. He’s inspired a lot of younger boys to get into makeup without making it seem like it is something taboo. So when he announced he was releasing a palette in collaboration with Morphe, the infamous cult makeup brand, the beauty community basically broke. It was everywhere. I got about 12 texts in the span of 10 minutes about his palette from my friends who know how obsessed with makeup I am.

Of course, as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to buy it. It’s called the “Artistry Palette,” because it’s made for makeup artists like Mr. Charles himself. It’s $39 for 39 shades, which is honestly pretty expensive for Morphe. But I restrained myself, and decided I would wait until after Christmas to buy it.

Obviously, because it’s currently November 29th when I’m writing this, that didn’t work out. However I was not the one who bought it. My mom actually bought it for me, I found out, and I was able to finesse my way into getting it now.

The layout is kind of interesting, where there are two rows of eight shades on the top, one row of seven, larger shades in the middle, and two more rows of eight normal shades in the middle.

The top two rows are shades used to make a more smokey, dramatic looks, with both warm-toned and cool-toned browns and reddish shades, with the pop of bright orange and a bright red. The middle row, with the big shades, are the shades that Mr. Charles believes that the average consumer will use the most, such as a matte white, black, cream, and some browns. The bottom two rows are colorful, with a yellow, greens, blues, purples, and pinks, in an assortment of shimmers, mattes, and one pressed glitter.

It really is a beautiful palette, and it has pretty much everything that someone would want to do a multitude of looks, ranging from basic crease/shimmer looks, smokey eyes, and full on colorful cut creases like Mr. Charles did. The problem with the six shades in the middle is that Mr. Charles is assuming that those are the shades that will be the most used, when in reality everyone is different. Something that’s very unique about this palette is that it is a mixture between pressed pigments and eyeshadow, which means there has to be a warning that it isn’t 100% safe for eyes on the back. A pressed pigment is literally what it sounds like: the only thing in the pan is the pigment pressed really hard. Some of the colors that are pressed pigments include “You’re Kidding,” a matte red, and “Skip,” a hot pink. These technically aren’t eyeshadows, and therefore aren’t completely safe for the eyes, because they might stain. People use them on the eyes all the time. It isn’t a big deal. They just put the label there for legal reasons.

The pink stained my eyes, but the red did not. It was not hidden that they were pressed pigments, and those are notorious for staining eyes. If you don’t want that, don’t use them. It’s that simple. In Mr. Charles’s release video for the palette, he explained how to use them in a way that will get the best pigment out of them. He mentioned that they could be hard to work with, which I found to definitely be true, but that with some practice they’re easy to get used to, which I also agree with.

Most of the shades are eyeshadows, which are basically watered down pigments. They typically have a lot of other materials in them to make them easier to work with and prettier.

All of the matte shades in this palette were gorgeous. I thought they blended beautifully, had great pigmentation, and the colors were beautiful. Mattes are super hard to formulate correctly, and a lot of high end brands, such as Tarte or Too Faced, have mattes that are pretty hit-or-miss. Morphe, which is not a high end brand, but more in the middle, along with Mr. Charles, did a fantastic job with these mattes, and I thought they were the best parts of the palette. Reds especially are hard to make, and “You’re Kidding” was impressive. Some other beautiful mattes in the palette were “Social Blade,” a lime green, “Punch Me,” a cool-toned transition shade perfect for popping in the crease, and “Playground,” a green-toned bright blue. They looked stunning on my eyes, and I was blown away with the final results of the few looks I did with them.

Something that really surprised me were that the shimmers weren’t great. The fact that these weren’t good broke my heart, because they all looked so pretty in the pans. As soon as I swatched them, I was disappointed, and they performed even worse on my eyes. They were pretty good shimmers compared to some others, but with a palette with that hefty of a price tag, I expected them to be amazing.

The only shade in the palette that I hated was “Artistry,” a pressed purple glitter with a blue shift. It was so beautiful just looking at it, and it was the most unique shade in the palette. When I put it on my eyes, it was flaky, textured, and it didn’t look good at all. I was super upset about that one shade, and I’m still pretty bitter.

The palette overall was a hit for me. I really did love it and I’m so excited to start using it regularly. That being said, there were a lot of problems with the marketing behind the palette, and I don’t agree with some of the things Mr. Charles did. First, potential consumers were not warned that the pressed pigments might stain. I know enough about makeup where to me that was obvious, but some of his viewers were probably not aware of this. It would have been smart of him to just mention that all pressed pigments stain, just so that consumers didn’t feel lied to. I personally did not care about this in the slightest, but a certain fan on Twitter had a lot to say after “Skip” stained her eye. This will happen, just be aware of that if you’re considering purchasing the palette.

The one thing that I have a problem with is that Mr. Charles stated that the palette would not be as good without a proper eyeshadow primer. There are so many things shady about this. The first is that Mr. Charles himself has stated that primers in general, especially eyeshadow primers, were a scam. And he then goes around saying that it’s gonna change the way his own palette will perform? It just seems a little suspicious. I used it both with and without a primer, and I can say that it didn’t really make a difference on my eyes.

Second, he’s assuming that people have the money to go out and buy a separate product just to use the one that he’s selling. A lot of people don’t have the resources or the want to do that, and it’s a little pretentious to assume that everyone does. When I buy any makeup item, I expect that what I get is sufficient to do what it needs to do without an additional product. You shouldn’t sell something while also saying it won’t work without it. It’s not fair to consumers.

Also, this palette really isn’t for the average makeup consumer. It’s made for artists like Mr. Charles, who either do freelance or Youtube. It’s not made for someone who wears makeup to school or work every day, but doesn’t do anything else. If that sounds like you, I would suggest paying $40 for a high end palette with colors that you will use every day, and very few to none that you will literally never use. If you’re not into colorful eyeshadow, this palette isn’t good for you and it’s not worth your money. There are so many high end palettes (such as the Anastasia Beverly Hills “Soft Glam” palette that’s only $42, $3 more than the “Artistry” palette) that is full of shades that you will wear and use. It’s not worth buying a palette with shades you will never wear. If you’re someone who loves colorful eyeshadow, and will use almost all of the shades, I definitely suggest this palette, because it’s so different than what you can get at Sephora right now.

One thing I will say is that this palette is not good for beginners. It takes a lot to get used to pressed pigments, because there’s a very specific technique that it takes to use them. I’ve been doing makeup for a good few years now, and it took me a few tries to get the pigments to work to their full potential. If you consider yourself an absolute makeup expert, or you want to turn makeup into a career, this might be a palette that works perfectly. As stated before, it all depends on the person.

Mr. Charles claimed that this palette will “break makeup history,” and while I’m not entirely sure if it’s done quite that, I definitely think it’s a great palette for the price, and I’m stoked to finally have it in my hands.