Review: Paula Dorf Aztec City Eyeshadow Palette | Hello Pretty Bird! - A beauty and not-so-glamorous lifestyle blog

16 December, 2014

Review: Paula Dorf Aztec City Eyeshadow Palette

Press Sample

I'm one of those weird people who loves eyeshadow, but doesn't usually buy big palettes. (That's why I love indie shadows so much—you can buy them solo AND often in sample sizes!) I'll admit though that there are times when it's more convenient to have a palette with a bunch of different colors on hand. Powder shadows aren't the most travel-friendly thing, after all. Today I'll be reviewing the Paula Dorf Aztec City Eyeshadow Palette, which has five 1.7g shadows: Enough for variety's sake, but not so many that you wouldn't be able to easily fit it in your purse.

Paula Dorf Aztec City Eyeshadow Pallete review logo

Product description:
"From the desert sand to the crisp blue sky this Aztec City Palette has it all! With just the right balance of professional and flirty, this palette lets you decide between knockout nudes, classy colors or a mesmerizing mix of both. These five shades allow you to customize your look and transform your mindset to the bronzed beauty of the desert. The sleek mirrored case also contains a specially designed double-ended brush for the perfect application." ($36)

Paula Dorf Aztec City Eyeshadow Pallete

As promised, this palette comes with a decent-sized mirror and a nice little brush that nestles in perfectly. Here's a closer look at the actual shadows

Paula Dorf Aztec City Eyeshadow Pallete

  1. A white shadow with a slightly satiny finish.
  2. A sky-blue shadow that has almost a peachy-looking sheen in the pan, but swatches/wears just as pure shimmery blue.
  3. A light, sparkly shadow that looks taupe-ish in the pan but appears almost lavender once on the skin. Well on my skin, anyway.
  4. A matte, champagne-colored shadow.
  5. A matte, chocolately brown-colored shadow.

I couldn't find individual shade names for these shadows on the package or the Paula Dorf website, so if you know what they are, let me know in the comments! Swatches:

Paula Dorf Aztec City Eyeshadow Pallete swatch swatches

All swatches are done over ELF Studio primer. Shadows 2 and 5 are VERY pigmented. Especially number 5—use a light hand with that one unless you want to go super-dramatic. Shadows number 1 and 3 are a lot more subtle (especially against my ultra-pale skin), but still very pretty. I had some issues with number 4—even with multiple strokes and a good amount of pressure, I couldn't get it to show up as well as the others on my arm, let alone my eyelids. Oh well!

Paula Dorf Aztec City Eyeshadow Pallete brush brushes

The included brush has an angled end and a fluffier end that's probably most suitable as a shader brush. These aren't the most amazing brushes in my entire collection, but I'd say they're a cut above some of the others you'll find included with palettes. I was able to use it without looking like a fool, in any case!

Overall, I have mixed feelings about the Aztec City Eyeshadow Palette. I love the selection of shades, but the poor pigmentation on shade #4 would make me hesitant to snag another at the full price. If you happen to spot it on sale, however... it might be worth it for the other four, assuming you like the colors.

You can purchase the Paula Dorf Aztec City Eyeshadow Palette on Use coupon code TEAL at checkout to get a free teal mascara with your purchase.

What do you think of the Aztec City Eyeshadow Palette? Does it bug you when some shadows in a palette are good and others aren't?

Disclosure: The product featured in this post was provided to me for review purposes, however any opinions expressed above are honest and my own. For more information, check out my full disclosure policy.


  1. Interesting. I usually stick to neutral-colored palettes, so I'm not sure if I'd use the lighter shades in this one. $36 seems like a fair price point though, especially since the pots are so big.

  2. It def bothers me when some shadows aren't as pigmented as others in palette. When the palette has a bunch of shadows (example: Lorac Mega Palette, Too Faced Everything Nice) it doesn't bother me as much because there are 20+shadows..but when there are only a few it does make a difference. Thanks for the honest review Rebecca!

  3. Every other review I've seen of this pretty much raves about it and I just was "meh" about it. I'm so glad to finally see I'm not the only one b/c I was beginning to feel crazy! My post goes up tomorrow.

  4. The pricing is definitely OK for a palette of this size, or at least it would be if one of the shades wasn't a dud. I've been using the white one on my brow bone - if you apply with a light hand it's not crazy white like the swatch.

  5. That's a good point - I think if there were 20 shadows in a palette, I'd be less bothered if one or two of them were meh. Palettes still sort of bug me in general though because I always use up some of the shades first... I don't know why, but that kind of annoys me, lol. Hard to beat the value of some palettes though!

  6. I've seen a couple rave reviews of this too and I really don't agree either, haha. It's definitely not a *bad* palette - a couple of the shades are pretty nice actually - but not rave-worthy for me. And shade #4 is seriously useless. I will never even bother with it again, honestly. :P

  7. So, weird story time. Way back when I worked at Sephora they stopped carrying Paula Dorf. We were told (I have no idea by whom) that Paula Dorf was going out of business. Some serious misinformation there. Anyhow, kind of a disappointing palette, even though that dark brown looks impressive.

  8. That is very weird. Unless it was one of those things where Paula Dorf almost went out of business but got bought instead. Probably not though, so... shrug. The brown is pretty nice. I'll keep using it!

  9. It bugs me when there's a dud or two in the palette. I mean, the reason you buy a palette in the first place is to use several shadows that are in the same place. I really like that strage lavender/silver/taupe shade. My eye immediately goes to it.

  10. I like it too, and I'm sort of fascinated by the fact that it looks almost purple on me. I've seen other bloggers' swatches and it doesn't look that purple on them, which is the craziest thing.


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