Earlier this month, I placed my first ColourPop order in over a year. Like many longtime ColourPop customers, I’d grown tired of the brand’s constant new releases and discontinuations of older products. Last spring, I discovered my holy grail neutral eyeshadow: ColourPop’s Super Shock Shadow in Truth, a satin-finish beige. I wore it almost every day, feeling comfortable with my quick progress through the pan because the shade had existed since ColourPop’s earliest days and I was sure I’d be able to repurchase it. Naively, I wrote in my review that Truth “probably won’t be discontinued anytime soon.” A few months later, I was scrolling through the site and noticed that quite a few Super Shocks had been discontinued…and, of course, Truth was one of them. I have yet to recover from this. Fuck you, ColourPop.
However, ColourPop always manages to draw me back in somehow, and the product I couldn’t resist this time was That’s Taupe, a nine-pan palette focused on cool gray-brown shades. It made me nostalgic for my early days of beauty blogging, when NARS Lhasa was my daily eyeshadow. (My review reminds me just how popular taupe eyeshadows were in the early 2010s. How times have changed!) Since then, I’ve become more wary of grayish eyeshadows, since they can emphasize my dark undereye circles and make me look sickly. But for $14, I was willing to take the risk with That’s Taupe.
I also ordered the Blur Lux Lipstick in Slow Dance, which I’ll review in a separate post. I mean, probably. You know how that goes. (Update: I did!)
That’s Taupe is the cornerstone of a taupe-themed mini-collection, which is also snake-themed for some reason. I don’t know exactly what snakes have to do with taupe, but I like the snakeskin pattern of the palette. If this were 2019, I’d say that I’ve always identified as a Slytherin, but it’s 2020 and J. K. Rowling has gone turbo-TERF, so I’ll say instead that the snake is a noble and beautiful animal with a rich history of artistic representation across cultures.
In my hand for scale:
Prior to this purchase, the only ColourPop palette I owned was Uh-Huh Honey
, one of the nine-pan monochrome palettes. Unlike those palettes, That’s Taupe is housed in cardboard instead of plastic, has no mirror, and closes with a magnet instead of a latch. (You’d think it would also be cheaper than the plastic palettes, but it costs $2 more, oddly.) I prefer cardboard palettes to plastic because they’re lighter-weight, sturdier, and more environmentally friendly, but I’ve run into a problem with this particular palette: the lid is so light that it doesn’t stay open when I’m using the palette, so I have to hold it open or weigh it down with my makeup bag. For a $14 palette, this isn’t a big deal, but it is annoying.
That’s Taupe has received some criticism for not being as cool-toned as promised. A few days after I’d ordered the palette, Temptalia published her review
. She gave it a grade of B- and described all of the shades as warm-toned, which prompted an outpouring of complaints in the comments: how dare ColourPop release yet another warm-toned nude palette, do they think we’re stupid, etc. However, Christine’s assessment and her fans’ bandwagon hate both seem somewhat unfair to me. This commenter on r/BeautyGuruChatter
said it best:
In other words, many color products designed to read as cool-toned on human skin are going to be warm-toned relative to gray or black, but that doesn’t mean they’re warm-toned relative to other products in the same color family. In my opinion, That’s Taupe is almost as cool as a neutral eyeshadow palette can get without slipping into grayscale territory (à la ColourPop’s own Blowin’ Smoke palette
). Most of the shades look cool-to-neutral on me, which means they’ll lean decidedly cool on the majority of people. That said, a few of the shades—
Boa, Python, and Snake Eyes in particular—
have a decidedly pinkish lean. Blush-colored eyeshadows are very much my thing, but they’re not everyone’s, so keep that in mind if you’re considering buying this palette.
My biggest complaint about Uh-Huh Honey was the lack of variety in color value—
none of the shades is especially light or especially dark—
but, fortunately, That’s Taupe boasts a good range of light, medium, and dark colors. There are five matte shades (Boa, Pebble Beach, Python, Rock Steady, and Bedrock) and four shimmer/glitter shades (Cold Blooded, Slated, Snake Eyes, and Constrictor). I’m very impressed with the mattes, which have a smooth, pigmented, extremely blendable formula that can be easily built up or diffused. If you’re thinking of buying this palette for the shimmers, though, you might want to look elsewhere…but more on that when I discuss the individual shades. For now, here are swatches of the whole palette. L-R: Boa, Pebble Beach, Python, Slated, Snake Eyes, Cold Blooded, Rock Steady, Constrictor, Bedrock.
Swatches with labels, if you prefer:
Boa is a pinkish beige that looks a bit darker on my lids than I expected; I think it will be a great shade to use as a base or on its own.
Pebble Beach is the only shade in the palette that strikes me as incongruously warm; it’s a light-medium peachy brown with just a hint of gray. It looks cooler on my eyelids than on my arm, but still decidedly warm-toned.
(my favorite!) is a rosy taupe that looks like the baby of Buon Fresco and Warm Taupe, two of my most-worn shades in Modern Renaissance
Slated is a silvery beige glitter shade with an almost clear base; it feels similar in formula to a Super Shock Shadow and seems designed to be applied with a finger, not a brush. Watch out for glitter fallout!
Snake Eyes is a coolish metallic rose gold (rose silver?) with flecks of champagne glitter. ColourPop offers this shade as a single eyeshadow as well, though the palette and single versions are slightly different (more on that later).
Cold Blooded is a shimmery gray with some larger sparkles and, consequently, a good deal of fallout. It has a dry, slightly dusty formula, but it blends out nicely.
Rock Steady is what I’d call a true taupe: right between brown and gray, with just a touch of purple.
Constrictor is a shimmery dark brown with a hint of green. I found this to be the most disappointing shade: it’s even drier and more fallout-prone than Cold Blooded, and it emphasizes the lines and creases in my eyelids.
Bedrock is a cool-toned dark brown that’s very similar to ABH Cyprus Umber.
That’s Taupe seems to have been, shall we say, inspired
by the Natasha Denona Glam palette
, which I’ve never seen in person. I do, however, own a few eyeshadow palettes with shades similar to the ones in That’s Taupe. Below, I’ve swatched most of the individual That’s Taupe (CP) shades alongside shadows from ABH Modern Renaissance (ABH), Dose of Colors Marvelous Mauves (DC), Natasha Denona Mini Gold (ND), and Urban Decay Naked2 Basics (UD). All shades listed from left to right.
ABH Tempera, CP Boa, UD Skimp, UD Stark:
ND Lodge, CP Pebble Beach, UD Cover:
CP Constrictor, ND Antheia:
ABH Warm Taupe, ABH Buon Fresco, CP Python, DC Rosy:
CP Super Shock Shadow in Birthday Wish, CP Slated, CP SSS in Ladybird. Try as I might, I couldn’t get my phone camera to capture the pink sparkles in Birthday Wish.
CP Snake Eyes (single), CP Snake Eyes (palette). Snake Eyes is one of my favorite single eyeshadows of all time, so I was excited to have it in a palette. The two are slightly different, though: the palette version of Snake Eyes is darker, cooler-toned, and more opaque, with larger flecks of glitter.
ABH Warm Taupe, CP Rock Steady, UD Frisk, UD Undone:
UD Undone, CP Bedrock, ABH Cyprus Umber, UD Primal (my arm was looking a bit red after all the swatching and washing):
Now for some looks! I’ve been wearing this palette for five days and have yet to grow tired of it or exhaust my ideas for it. Because of the variety in shades and formulas, That’s Taupe can produce a quick everyday look, a professional look with a bit of sparkle, or a full-on disco glam look. Not bad for $14! In all of these photos, I’m wearing Urban Decay Primer Potion under the shadows.
Let’s start with the warmest-toned look, which is still fairly cool: Constrictor on the lid (you can really see the dustiness in this shot, yikes), Pebble Beach in the crease, Bedrock in the outer corner. I’m wearing the Blur Lux Lipstick in Slow Dance here, by the way.
Cold Blooded and Slated on the lid, Rock Steady in the crease, Bedrock in the outer corner. I wore this look to vote (for Biden, obv) yesterday!
An all-matte look: Boa on the lid, Python in the crease, Bedrock in the outer corner.
Python in the crease and Snake Eyes on the lid, with Slated applied lightly over Snake Eyes as a glitter topper. My lipstick is Revlon Luscious Matte in Shameless, my favorite new lip color of 2020. Ignore the boxes of books in the background; I cleaned out my campus office in July and have yet to figure out what to do with my stuff.
While I’m not in love with all of the shades in That’s Taupe, the mattes alone make the palette a satisfactory purchase for me. I imagine that I’ll get a lot of use out of this palette, especially once I find another job and actually have to show my face to other human beings. For now, I’ll grace the grocery store with my taupey looks and keep waiting for better days.