REVIEW: Hard Candy Rose Gold Pro Look Palette

by - April 06, 2018

I feel like the drugstore has really been stepping its game up when it comes to large palette releases, but when it comes to shade selection I feel like Hard Candy has been ahead of the game for quite a while now. While the formulas can be a little hit and miss for me, one thing that always has me checking out what's going on over in the Hard Candy section at my local Walmart is the fact that they're always bringing something different to the table than any of the other drugstore brands are. Recently when I saw there were new releases on the shelves, I was interested, and as soon as I saw the Hard Candy Rose Gold Look Pro Palette, there was no way it wasn't coming home with me. I mean... Can you blame me?

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Let's talk about the elephant in the room, shall we? Looking at this palette, it's pretty difficult to ignore the similarities to the Huda Beauty Rose Gold Palette. Though it's definitely not a complete dupe, you can definitely see the inspiration here, right? Now, I don't own the Huda palette, so I really can't do a comparison, but there are definitely some similarities and differences that I think bear mentioning. As far as I can tell, all of the shades in this palette have at least a similar looking shade in the Huda palette, but the Huda palette contains 18 shades while this Hard Candy palette contains 15. The Huda palette contains 8 metallic shades and 10 mattes, while this one contains 9 metallic shades and 6 mattes. That's all I'll really say about the dupe question though, since I obviously can't do a full dupe comparison.

Initially, when you look at this palette, it's an absolute stunner. The metallic shades have so much punch in the pan that it almost seems impossible. Unfortunately, in practice this curation really ended up letting me down. I feel like they included so many metallic shades in this palette that it ended up leaving some gaps in the shade selection of the mattes that keep it from being a solid stand alone palette. For me, at least. While you do have a creamy matte highlight and some soft matte transitions, the only deeper options are brights or a straight up black. Personally, I almost always bring in a deep brown or burgundy shade (almost never black) to ground and give depth to my looks, and this palette doesn't have that so I ultimately have to bring in another palette to give a complete look. 

What would have fixed the curation issues with this palette for me would be for them to have done 9 matte shades and 6 metallics rather than the other way around and included at least a couple of those deeper shades that I think most people find essential these days. If taking inspiration from the Huda palette, it would have been shades like Bossy, Coco and Henna that would have changed my entire outlook on the curation of this palette. As it is, it just isn't quite there for me.

One nice thing about this palette is that they included two double ended brushes with it and I actually find that they're not bad for brushes included in a palette. The tiny doned blending brush isn't really going to do much, in my opinion, but the flat packing brushes actually work really well and the angled liner brush certainly gets the job done. These brushes aren't going to replace other brushes in my collection, but in trying them out I think they're not all that bad and would be great for someone just starting out in makeup who doesn't have brushes in their collection. And in fact, I applied the lid shade in the look you'll find later in this post with the smaller of the two packing brushes (bottom right in the photo) and it's quite small so it did a good job of applying product only where I wanted it.

Now let's talk about the formulas, shall we? I'm going to start with what I like - which is the mattes. I was actually really surprised when I first applied these to the eyes. They aren't the best swatch shades, they pick up on the finger well but don't transfer all that great in a swatch. However, when applied with a brush these shades are really lovely with a soft texture and nice blendability. They're quite creamy in texture, which ultimately means that you don't end up with a powdery looking eye look and also minimizes fall out when applying. The fact that these mattes are so nice really intensifies my wish that they had included more of them in this palette, because I have to say... I'm not the hugest fan of the metallic texture.

For me, these metallic/shimmer shades are exactly the kind of texture that I don't personally love. They're quite thick and when you touch them they border on feeling wet. They're also quite chunky and flaky (some more than others, but I'll talk about each shade later) making them a little bit difficult to pick up with a brush and basically unusable unless you apply them wet. When applied wet, they actually can give a really beautifully impactful metallic look (again, some more than others),  but dry they're just... a bit of a mess. 

Diamond - Shimmery white. Probably the chunkiest texture in the palette. Very flaky and difficult to pick up. A little bit sheer and disappears when it isn't catching the light. Do not like.
Charmer - Light neutral gold. Quite a bit smoother of a texture but also less shine. Becomes more metallic when applied wet, but still doesn't pack as much impact as other shades. Still, I do like this shade.
Sweetheart - Icy pale pink. Quite chunky and flaky. Picks up better on the brush that Diamond and is quite similar in appearance, though it's a little more pink than icy. This shade is a dud, but better than diamond.
Love Affair - Bright fuscia with strong gold shift. Really chunky texture, but when applied wet it gives a stunning metallic with a strong duochrome shift. The texture is garbage, but the impact on the lid absolutely saves it.
Marry Up - Yellow/olive gold. While I personally loathe this shade because it makes me look sick, I know a lot of people like it. The texture of this is similar to Love Affair - no good, but made up for with the strong impact on the lid.

Frisky - Charcoal brown. This shade has a lot of micro glitter in it and, as such, probably has the most fall out when applied dry. However, when used wet I think this shade is actually really, really gorgeous and brightens up quite a bit for strong reflect.
First Date - Bright copper. The texture of this one is actually quite a bit smoother than any of the ones before it and can be packed on dry. Of course, it also looks quite a bit better wet. In fact, it looks fairly stunning when applied wet. Great shade, non-terrible formula.
Double Date - Rosy deep brown. As far as texture meets impact, this is probably the best shade in the palette. It's one of the smoothest metallics but still has a good amount of impact. I actually quite like this shade and would have been happier with this palette if all of the metallics had this formula.
Heartbreaker - Cranberry red. This was always going to be my favorite shade in this palette, obviously. The texture is almost identical to First Date, in that it's chunky but still quite impactful. Again, best applied wet - and gives good look when you do.
Kiss & Tell - Blue toned fuscia. This is the first matte in the palette and it's really pretty. Smooth texture and sort of medium, buildable pigmentation. This blends out really nicely, particularly on the edges of a look. Good shade, though probably not one I'll reach for all that often.

Single - Cool toned cream. This is basically a perfect browbone highlight on my skin tone. The texture is creamy and maybe just a little thicker than I prefer, but it's super pigmented and applies beautifully.
Sweet Nothing - Mid-toned warm brown. Perfect transition shade on my skin tone, but will likely disappear on deeper skin tones. It's really pigmented and creamy, again a hair thick, and blends really beautifully.
Roses - Mid-toned warm rose. Another perfect transition shade for my skin tone that will disappear on deeper skin. Very much the exact same texture as Sweet Nothing and different enough in tone that I think both transitions have a place in this palette.
Ball And Chain - Deep charcoal/black. As matte blacks go, this one is decent. Strong pigmentation, but I do find it difficult to get a smooth blend with it - always a struggle for me with black shadows and probably why I don't use them almost ever.
Heart Beat - Warm deep cranberry. This one is a little bit drier in texture than the other mattes and swatches like garbage, but actually applies really nicely on the eyes, though for full impact you're going to have to build it up.

Because I was wearing this look outside my house, I did actually bring in a deeper brown matte to help in the crease, but the rest I did using this palette. I started with eyeshadow primer and then applied Single from my upper crease to the brow bone to help with blending. Next, I used a fluffy brush to apply Sweet Nothing to my crease and really blend it out. Next I added the deep brown matte a little deeper into the crease for some depth there and then used a smaller blending brush to apply a very small amount of Ball And Chain to the outer crease for even more depth. After I finished my crease work, I packed Heartbreaker on wet to the center of the lid and then used the opposite side of the brush to apply First Date wet to the inner third of the lid and blended the two shades together. I went back in with my blending brush without adding any more product and blended the metals and the mattes together. To add a little bit of definition to the lower lash line, I applied a light amount of Sweet Nothing using a smudging brush.

Overall, I have to say I'm kinda disappointed with this palette. It could be just a matter of taste because I personally really don't like thick metallics - including the ones from the Huda Beauty palette that I own - and I'm pretty particular about curation in palettes having the basics that I need for a complete eye look. I think that this palette is certainly usable and can get good looks, but it just isn't one that I can rave about because it really does have some issues, in my opinion, and it's not as easy to get those looks as it is with some other drugstore palettes that I love.

All of that said, for the price this could be a palette worth picking up if you don't mind having to work a little bit with the metallics and you're looking for these shades at an affordable price. They certainly are impactful when packed on wet and this really is unlike anything else in the drugstore. Really, this is going to be a matter of taste and needs, I think. 

The Hard Candy Rose Gold Look Pro Palette is available now at Walmart!

Thanks for reading!

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