May 25, 2014

Kat Von D Monarch Palette [Swatch] [Review] & [Comparison]

Here is a little break from nail polish for a change!

I recently succumbed to the Kat Von D Monarch eyeshadow palette. I've never tried Kat Von D shadows personally until now, but I've heard some good things, so naturally I wanted to see for myself!

This post will have swatches under various lighting sources, a few eye looks I've done with the palette, as well as a quick comparison of one shade in particular.

Let's take a look at the packaging:

It came in an outer cardboard box that looked exactly like the palette within, so I didn't feel the need to photograph it. The skulls on the butterfly wings is a very Kat Von D touch, I think. The entire thing looks very trendy, and is probably aimed at the early 20s demographic- I would think?  I feel like If I still have this palette in ten years, it will just look dated, and make me feel ancient! It's eye-catching, but not classic.



What's nice is that the shadows are labelled on the back for convenience. Honestly, I don't pay too much attention to eyeshadow names, and I'm learning these as I write this post! They do have some unique monikers, though.


A mirror, some flames. The layout is interesting. The three bigger horizontal pans at the top are described as "3 textural bases," and I guess are supposed to be a versatile way to alter the look of shadows layered on top? I'm not sure!

I'll be honest, and tell you that it was this saturated rust colored that finally pulled me in.  I love shades in this family because they can still perform as neutrals, but warm the eye up a lot, while contrasting with blue eyes.

I wanted to quickly show a size comparison with Urban Decay's Naked 3 palette:

I was surprised by how big Monarch is.  You can see it is much deeper than Naked three.  The thickness is similar (Monarch is slightly thinner), and Naked 3 is slightly longer than Monarch by maybe a quarter of an inch.  Inside, Monarch has considerably larger eyeshadow pans.


It's a very warm-toned palette as you can see. There is a mixture of finishes: four mattes, and eight shimmers that I would describe as variations on pearl.  Some are more metallic than others, and some are more like mattes with sparse shimmer.

Up close:

Let's take a look at the three "textural bases" first.

All swatches are shown left to right, as they appear in the palette, over naked skin with no primer. I'm still kinda crap at photographing my own arm, so apologies for not always having everything in focus!

Artificial light:

Outside, shade:


Entomology: Described as a matte cream. That's fairly accurate, but it is a very yellow-toned cream color. The texture in the pan is very soft and silky, although it does look a little chalky when you blend it out.

Telepathy: Described as a pearl gold. It's definitely metallic, but that color doesn't register as gold in my brain. It's more like a champagne. This is the most metallic finish in the palette. It's very soft and pigmented, feels rich. It can be packed on easily, but also blends out super sheerly. Nice!

Tiny Death: Described as a glitter cream. That's accurate.  It's like a matte texture with interspersed microglitter/ shimmer. The shimmer is so sparse that when you blend it out there are random sections with no shimmer, and then suddenly: a shimmer particle! It doesn't look very deliberate, so I don't know what to make of that. The overall texture is pretty soft and pigmented, but does lean to the chalky side.  It's also super similar to Entomology in overall color! I'm not sure why one palette needs two yellow-toned creams...

Onto the regular shadows, here are the next five, left to right:

Artificial light:

Outside, shade:


Wrath: Described as a deep pearl orange. This is the most intriguing shade to me, and it doesn't disappoint! It is super pigmented and glides onto skin smoothly. It's not as metallic as Telepathy, for example, but the shimmer is not too sparse, either. The shimmer is like one or two shades lighter than the base, so really pops when you sheer it out.

Papilio: Described as a pearl chocolate. Also super soft and buttery. This one almost has a duochrome quality- the shimmer changes the base color a lot when you alter viewing angles. It's very pretty, and the texture and pigmentation are both very, very nice.

Summerfly: Described as a glitter gold. It's more metallic than most of the others, but I wouldn't call it glittery. It can be packed on densely or blended out. Versatile! It's a little bit on the brassy side for my taste, but is still a beautiful gold and will flatter darker skin tones.

Killing Jar: Described as a pearl copper. This is more of a rose gold than a copper. It's not as soft or pigmented as some of the others, but still not bad.  It still feels smooth, and you can work with it easily.  For me, this is probably one of the more usable every day shades in the palette.

Delaney: Described as a pearl silver.  Maybe pewter is a better word? This one is so, so lovely. I wish it looked better on my skin. The finish is exactly what I think of when I think of a pearl. It's soft and buttery, and blends with no fall-out.

And, the last four-

Artificial light:

Outside, shade:


Vanish: Described as a matte taupe.  Definitely a warm-toned taupe, almost a camel or khaki, really. I've been trying to use this one in the crease for daytime looks, but it looks much darker on my eyes than I keep expecting. Not sure why, It is very pigmented and creamy, and probably has the best texture of any of the mattes here. Not chalky at all.

Disintegration: Described as a pearl brown. Yep. But there is a gray/ taupiness to that brown isn't there? I'm much more fond of Papilio, color-wise, than this one, but both have similar textures and color payoff. Very soft and pigmented.

Shadow Box: Described as a matte chocolate. I really wanted this to be creamy and pigmented, but it is a little chalky and is pretty sheer for such a dark color! It's also got a very warm, almost olive-y, tone. Meh.

Deadhead: Described as a matte black.  Again, it's not super duper black.  It's not super pigmented- much sheerer than I was expecting. The texture in the pan feels creamy, but on the skin it is a bit chalky. Disappointing. (My swatches don't really demonstrate this too well, since it is built up a little. But, can you see in the sun how it doesn't really look black at all?)

Now, I'll show you a few eye looks I've done throughout last week.  I would say I'm still in the experimental phase with this palette.  It always takes some playing around to determine which shades make good lid/ crease/ whatever colors.  Not to mention the three bases, which are supposed to do... something? unique. I also do not profess to being very skilled with eyeshadow, so bear with me!

This is kind of my every day eyeshadow routine: lid color, darker outer-v with dark color on lash line, plus something connecting on the lower lash line.

For this eye, I used Wrath on the lid and lower lashline with Papilio blended into the outer third, and Shadow Box on the upper lashline. Entomology is in the inner corner. There is also probably some Vanish underneath used as a transition/ blending color, but it doesn't show.

I'm not really a tight-lining/ waterlining person, having sensitive eyes, and I think the pictures look worse for it!

I did take these at the end of the day to show you how the shadows held up. I used Too Faced Shadow Insurance underneath, and it's not my ideal primer unfortunately (I'm currently out of Lorac Behind The Scenes). You can see I got a little bit of creasing and patchiness, but not really too awful after working in a non-climate-controlled environment.

I also realize it looks like a lot of eye makeup for day, but I wear glasses, so you can get away with a lot! (And, to be honest, a lot is good since myopia-correcting lenses can make your eyes look smaller!)

Face, oh god:

...and because I know I have a gnarly case of  resting bitch face (RBF!), I tried to make a happy-to-be-wearing-eyeshadow expression, but it just came out as more of a derp:

Here's the second eye look I attempted with Monarch: 

It's somewhat of a cut-crease type of deal, but I don't normally do them, as they don't entirely suit my eye shape. For this one, I used Tiny Death on the lid and Delaney in the crease and outer-v. I used Vanish to blend down the top edges of Delaney. I also have a bit of Entomology as a brow bone highlight.


Finally, this was another, softer, semi-cut-crease made with Wrath, Killing Jar, Papilio again, and Telepathy is the color you see on the lid:


And now, Comparison time!

I'm a bit of a collector of rusty orange shades! Clockwise from the top (10 O'clock), we have Stila- Fire (matte) from the In The Know palette; Inglot- 605 (pearl metallic); Kat Von D- Wrath; and Inglot- 335 (matte).

Artificial light:


No real dupes here, and you can see that the most obvious contender, Inglot- 605, has a very different finish than the Kat Von D shade.  It's more of a shiny metallic pearl, while Wrath has a matte base filled with lighter-toned shimmer.  Both are nice options!

The two matte shades are very similar, and I do not need both.  The Inglot has a slightly nicer texture with more pigmentation, but I prefer the brighter tone of Stila- Fire.

Overall:  Phew, that was a marathon!

Well, I like this palette, but I don't love it.  I'm not sure if I regret purchasing it or not.  I knew it was warm-toned going into it (and I do prefer warmer neutrals), but some of the colors just do not play very well with my skin tone. Quality-wise, it's kind of all over the place.  A few of the shades, like Papilio, Disintegration, and Delaney are exceptional. However, the darker mattes, Deadhead and Shadow Box, are very lacking, and not what I would expect from a mid-high-end palette. Also, a couple of the lighter colors were a bit chalky when blended out.

I'm still confused about the special "textural" bases.  Is it just marketing? I'm not sure what to do with them other than use them as my normal inner corner/ brow bone colors. Maybe I need to layer more shades over them, and see if there are any big differences?

If you think these colors would suit you, then at $46, I think this is an above average deal, especially considering the amount of product inside. (The three big pans hold 0.095 oz, and the nine smaller ones hold a generous 0.049 oz.) There is a much cooler-toned (but less neutral) sister to this palette called Crysalis, if warm-toned shades aren't your thing!

I'd love to know what you think! 
Have you ever tried Kat Von D eyeshadows?


  1. this palette looks beautiful! I am also considering getting this one, eventhough it is quite warm toned.

  2. Wow, are you gorgeous! I think both eye looks really suit you well and this was a great review of this palette :)

  3. This palette looks great for everyday simple looks. Nice review, swatches, and comparisons of it.

  4. Hey, nice to "meet" you :D You are gorgeous! I use glasses too, and I love than we can get away with crazier eye looks because of it lol The palette is beautiful, wish I could pull off warm tones :)

  5. Awesome post!! I love the packaging of the palette, although I'm not super fond of the colors. Fellow non-waterliner/tightliner with sensitive eyes, here :( It super sucks! Very good thorough review!!

  6. Wowza, now this is how a palette review is done! You've seriously set a new bar (that I won't even pretend to live up to, lol). These colors are gorgeous, too-- I'll be on the lookout for a rust colored single because I'm really curious how it would look against brown eyes. I wonder if those three colors up top are meant for highlighting? i think that's how I'd use them (though they certainly don't need to be so much bigger than the rest). Also, tightlining scares me. Also, you totally do not have RBF but I know exactly how you feel because I totally do, lol :)

  7. This is an amazing review! So thorough, and amazing photography! <3 plus, you're soo perdy! Gotta love another glasses wearin' gal. I haven't tried the Kat Von d eyeshadows yet, but I'm happy the line is cruelty free :D

  8. I have never considered this palette (I'm totally fine with the two Inglot palettes I have, I barely wear eye shadows, so I'm overstocked as is) but I loved to read your review. I thought of the copper Inglot shade when I saw Wrath - but I think I'm happy with my metallic Inglot shade, so thanks for the comparison, so I have no need to doubt my choice :)
    It was nice to see your face, it makes such a difference on a blog I think :) Also, I love your eye make ups, all three look great on you!

  9. It's definitely full of nice neutrals, and there are a few shades that I thought were lovely!

  10. I think so, and thank you!

  11. Haha, wow thanks! :D Glasses are totally fun for that! Especially if you do something too obnoxious- put your glasses on- oh look, you look like a normal person again.

  12. It's sooo shiny in person too! Definitely suits Kat Von D's brand from what I can tell. Glad to know I'm not alone in my non-waterlining! It's just not worth it most of the time!

  13. Haha, thank you! You guys are waaaay too nice.

  14. To be honest, I am glad it is done! This one was a beast. (But still fun to do) :) I think a rust would look great with brown eyes!

    I do think those three are probably for highlighting, mostly. It's just the wording on the packaging calling them "bases" that's confusing. Hmmmm. And about RBF- I constantly get asked what's wrong in real life! Nothing! It's just RBF!

  15. Omigosh, I am so in love with Inglot. Probably the nicest shadows I've used to date. I'm not sure why I got this one, I'll still end up using my Inglot more (and my Lorac Unzipped). I'm glad I could help you decide!

    I was really nervous about posting my face because I am a pretty private person, but I do love blogs more that show what the author looks like- I totally agree! And thank you for the makeup compliment! I am trying to improve my skills, but most days I'm in a rush, haha!

  16. Ahhh I am so jealous of your eyeshadow technique!! Also you're purty. :-D