Charlotte Tilbury's other palettes have been comprised of shimmery shades and The Sophisticate was the first all-matte quad to join her line. This is flattering, natural-looking, and a handy size.
For reference, I am fair with blue eyes and blonde hair and it's as if these colors were made for me, but they are flattering on deeper complexions as well. I have extremely sensitive skin and occasionally I've had to return or toss eye shadows that made my skin itch. But Charlotte Tilbury's formulas like my eyes. I've had no issues in that regard. This is a basic palette that feels complete, yet the colors also combine well with Tilbury's other palettes.
The top left pan is a matte ivory "prime" shade, an essential base/highlight color, no surprises here.
The top right pan, the "enhance" shade, is the most beautiful warm beige on blue eyes; it really makes them stand out. If you don't want it to be obvious that you're wearing makeup, you can apply these two top shades lightly and be done. They are natural-looking.
The bottom left pan of a Charlotte Tilbury quad is normally a glitter pan called the "pop" shade. However, in the all-matte Sophisticate, this pan is instead a contour color. It's a soft, deep, mahogany brown that doesn't have orange or red undertones, so it stays the same shade all day and doesn't shift. For me this is far more practical than a glitter pan, although those can be fun.
The bottom right pan is the "smoke" shade, and this shade does resemble smoke. It's a wonderfully neutral charcoal taupe, cooler than the other shades in the palette, but not bluish. I like this shadow when I wear a cooler lipstick.
There are lots of matte palettes out there, and the cost held me back for a long time. I don't normally spend $52 on a quad. There are so many bargains out there. But I adore The Sophisticate, as I knew I would. I travel a lot, and some of my palettes from other brands are heavy and unwieldy, or worse, I have some products from TheBalm in cardboard packaging that are awful for the suitcase - they show every little ding and scuff and the lid can open in a makeup bag without your knowledge. The Sophisticate has a sturdy attractive compact with a mirrored lid that clicks shut. It's lightweight but has the colors I truly need.
1. These matte colors are easy to wear for work or play, for no-frills busy weekends or for more formal dinners and drinks. They go with everything. These shadows flatter you instead of upstaging you.
2. They wear well throughout the day. The color isn't prone to fading, creasing or migrating. The shadows look good hours later and the colors don't change, which some of my Urban Decay shadows do. I usually use primer but these shadows still look good when I forget.
4. I have very sensitive eyelids and this formula is comfortable all day.
5. The shadows have less fall than some other brands, so they are less messy.
6. I'm fond of the Art Deco style of the oxblood plastic compact. It's a convenient, portable size and sturdy enough.
7. These blend smoothly. Sometimes darker mattes look choppy but these are velvety going on. (Of course, good brushes are important with any powder shadow.)
8. I'm always thrilled when I find a cosmetics company that isn't testing on animals.
9. For beginners or those who want to explore new and different looks, there are several tutorials on the website. The palettes are pretty versatile, and you can go from day to night with these easily. For a minimal look I use only the lightest two shadows and I use the two darker shadows to add depth and drama for evening. It's easy to do a smoky eye with the darkest shade.
1. $52 for a quad is expensive. You can find cheaper matte eye palettes in other brands such as Too Faced.
2. No brushes or applicators are included in the palettes. I own a lot of eye brushes already, but fans of Urban Decay's larger Naked palettes are accustomed to getting a free tool.
I'll compare this to Tom Ford Cocoa Mirage, which I purchased later. (Charlotte used to work for Tom Ford.)
The ivory is not noticeably different from one to the other. The beige in hers is slightly warmer. The bottom rows are different. Tom has a reddish brown and a darker coffee brown. Charlotte has a deep mocha brown and a dark greyish neutral, so you can make hers look more grey if you wish.
His pans are larger but he's also charging you $85. Her pans are smaller and she charges $52. There is no reddish brown in hers. His compact comes with a fabric pouch. Maybe you would use it, or maybe it would sit in a drawer. His quad includes sponge applicators which makes traveling easier if you actually use them. People told me that Tom's quality was SO much better than Charlotte's but honestly, I just don't see it. One day I put on eye primer, did one eye with Cocoa Mirage and the other eye with The Sophisticate. I did my best to match the eyes in tone and depth. They weren't 100% identical but close. I went to work, and no one I asked noticed a difference between the two eyes. Wear time was the same.