Wednesday, April 20, 2011

There! Art Thou Happy?: UNII Palette Review Part II

Do you guys know how I much I love you? Do you? I bought a UNII Palette ($29, UNII) just so I could review it for you. That's how much I love you. Don't say I never did nuthin' for you.

As you probably recall, exactly one week ago, I informed you of the existence of the UNII Palette, and linked to a video blog review of it. Well, curiosity, a sense of duty, and just the slightest twinge of guilt joined forces and compelled me to purchase a palette of my own, so I could thoroughly vet it before making my recommendation. Here's the breakdown:

Punctuality Will Get You Everywhere
When I ordered my UNII Palette, the estimated delivery time was anywhere from 2-6 business days from the ship date. It took one. Monday evening, there was a happy little brown paper package (not tied up with string, darn it) on my doorstep. 10 out of 10.

Different Strokes For Different Folks?
Hopefully, you all watched From Head to Toe's video review of the palette. Those of you who did (totally rock) would have seen the very large, very detailed instruction sheet, and the nice big set of scored magnets that come with every palette. Um...yeah...they don't. I still received really cool origami-style instruction sheet, but it was quite a bit smaller and nowhere near as detailed as the one in the video. While I did receive a sheet of magnets, it was a much smaller sheet, and not pre-scored. This is not a huge deal, and I'm sure the changes were due to results from beta testing and market research and all that jazz. I'm just confused because the original is still pictured on the website, and I find that just a little bit misleading. 6 out of 10. The packaging is adorable, and the magnets are a very thoughtful touch. It just wasn't what I was led to expect.

The Main Event
Here's my palette next to my curling iron, for sizing.
Once I had a chance to sit down and really examine the UNII palette, I was very impressed. The body appears to be very durable. I mean, I haven't thrown it across the room...yet...but it looks capable of handling air travel punishment, and that's saying something. The snap closure blends in with the overall design, and extends the length of one side. It closes very snugly, and takes some effort to open, so there's no worry of the palette popping open and spilling eyeshadow all over the inside of your purse or suitcase. The floor of the palette is painted steel, and a rubber gasket lines the inside edges. A mirror fills the entire inner portion of the lid, for ease in makeup application. A small, moveable, magnetic thumbgrip completes the setup. My UNII is called "Snow", and is a pearlescent white encased in clear plastic. When Thomas saw it, the giggled, gave me one of those, "really?" looks, and mentioned that it looked like my Mac. I like my Mac. So there. 10 out of 10.

Putting It Together
Now for the hard part: deciding what to put in the palette. I don't own any refills, so anything that went into the palette would have to be de-potted, and that meant work, and I don't like work (end of whining). I decided to go with a fairly neutral, travel-friendly set-up. See, I have a beautiful set of Stila shadows, but they came in horrible cardboard packaging that I've been holding together with a rubber band. I also have a fabulous, very well made travel palette that, unfortunately, came with one super-duper glittery shadow I detested that went and broke on me and infected everything else in the palette, and the inner workings of the case itself! This stuff was going to make up the bulk of my UNII palette.

I decided to go with the hairdryer method of de-potting. With the dryer on low heat, I warmed up the back of the cardboard palette to loosen the glue that holds the pans in place. Then, with a butter knife, carefully pried each pan from its slot. I'm not going to lie; this ain't easy. I came very close to breaking some shadows, and ended up wearing a lot of blue and purple shadow on my fingers. I had wanted to depot a couple of LORAC shadows, but had to give up the goose because the pots were so deep that I couldn't get any leverage with the butter knife. However, this is pure incompetence on my part. I'm no expert at de-potting. It, in no way, reflects upon my review of the palette. In other words, it's not the palette's fault I'm inept.

Anyhoo, moving on. Once my makeup had been freed, it was time to magnetize the pans. The instructions said to try to cover as much of the bottom of each pan as possible for best adherence. I carefully measured, cut, and applied each magnet, while remembering to label them with the brand and color of each product. Start to finish, I think the whole de-potting/magnetizing process took between thirty and forty-five minutes. Once that was finished, I went about arranging my palette.

I had sort of kind of already worked out how things were going to fit before I started de-potting. That way, I didn't de-pot more than I could chew, so to speak. I ended up fitting six full-sized rectangular Stila shadows (they're normally round, just so you know), two tiny travel-sized Urban Decay shadows, three UD lipgloss pans, and a larger travel-sized Urban Decay blush. Even with all that, I still had room for a small lipliner, lip brush, sample-sized eyeliner (thank you, Smashbox), and a deluxe sample tube of Kat Von D eyelid primer. You may applaud if you so choose. I won't stop you.
Here's what fit.

Basically, when I go on vacation, all I need to toss in a bag with it is some foundation, mascara, concealer and powder. If I feel really fancy, I can throw in a primer and some eyebrow wax, but even that's not totally necessary. I normally travel with a stuffed-to-the-gills makeup bag, and even then I've usually forgotten something. To even think that I may not have to do that again tickles me greatly. Plus, all of my "in mortal peril" makeups are safe and sound in an airtight case. 10 out of 10.

Final Verdict: 9 out of 10. If you travel or have makeup you need to save from its packaging, this was made for you.

When UNII emailed me my shipping notice, they asked that I submit a picture of my filled UNII. Well, after I posted this, I sent them an email with the snapshot (same as above) and a link to the review. Before the end of the day, I received this:

Hello Erin,

Thank you for taking the time to write to us and send in a picture of your filled palette, it is adorable! If it is okay with you, we would love to feature it in our gallery page (Erin S., Mobile, AL ). Also, thank you for featuring us on your blog, we really appreciate all of your feedback. We apologize for the unclarity on our website about the box. We changed our box and unfortunately have not updated our website yet. We loved our logo shaped box but as our orders increased, we were unable to keep up with folding them. The boxes were hand folded and finding skilled origamists was proving to be too difficult. It is still very important to us to package our products in interesting boxes and we hope to continue to do so. In your blog post you mentioned that you travel, a helpful travel tip that we recommend is to fold some tissue paper and lay it across your makeup before closing it to prevent all of your makeup from "swimming" around in your palette. I hope you are enjoying your palette, please don't hesitate to contact us anytime if there is anything we can do for you!
Kindest regards,

How cool is that?! I didn't really expect a response, and certainly not a personal one that addressed the few tiny issues I had with the product! On top of that, there's even a little added travel tip thrown in. I have to admit, I'm impressed. The product is amazing, and the customer service is top-notch, as well. What can I say? I'm a fan.


  1. that looks crazy convenient. i've been lugging my makeup around in this god-awful magenta kate spade bag with - i kid you not - a pattern of white BOBBY PINS on it. it's as tacky as it sounds. (it was a bridesmaid gift from a wedding i didn't want to be in. clearly, this girl had NO idea who i am.) this is definitely a candidate for replacing that monstrosity.

  2. I would like to add that about five minutes after I posted this, I did have my first breakage. The yellow eyeshadow in the corner fell apart. However, it is very soft eyeshadow that may very well have already been compromised from being in the crappy original packaging. It was also very easily tamped back into place. I don't feel like it had anything to do with being in the UNII, but in the interest of full-disclosure, felt the need to let y'all know. That said, I'm totally in love with this and want another!

  3. I have been wanting a Unii palette, and after this review, I think I'm going to get it. My makeup drawers are overflowing to say the least, and I would love to have something like this for travel or for when I do my makeup on my commute. And they're just so dang cute, too!

    Btw, I just discovered your blog and you are freakin' hilarious! I think I lost it when you said "you may applaud if you so choose." :D


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