Pat McGrath Divine Rose Mothership
This palette is loved by nearly everyone on the internet but is the eyewatering cost of this palette really justified? Today's post is my Pat McGrath Divine Rose Mothership VII review.
Pat McGrath is a British makeup artist that can be counted among the most famous in the world. Responsible for countless looks that have graced both fashion magazines and runways throughout the past few decades, she launched her own brand Pat McGrath Labs in 2016. In the short time since, the brand has established itself firmly within the high end market among the usual high fashion houses.
I've never been drawn to the Pat McGrath eyeshadow palettes before. I'm not a fan of bold, bright colours and if I'm honest with myself, I use mostly browns, shimmery browns and golds. I always hit pan on a dusty brown first but when The Divine Rose Mothership VII intially released, I was really tempted because this is what I consider a 'wearable' eyeshadow colour story which is appropriate for an office job in a conservative line of work. I've written this review for those who might never have tried the Pat McGrath eyeshadow formula before and or who may be teetering on the edge of making a purchase because of its high price point.
Price, Packaging, Delivery
Pat McGrath sells one of the most expensive eyeshadow palettes currently out on the market. There have been a few price increases since its launch and in Australia a Mothership palette retails for AUD$200 on the Pat McGrath website or USD$125. On the rare occasions Sephora Australia keeps it in stock, it sells for AUD$195 with the potential for 20% off during the sales season.
Upon release of each Mothership palette, the official Pat McGrath website typically releases a 10% off code for email newsletter subscribers. I managed to grab mine during a 20% off sale and a glitch also allowed me to stack on another 10% off code on top of it. I bought my palette for AUD$148.50 but that's still a pretty hefty price tag.
I'm happy to report that the Pat McGrath packaging now is devoid of those black plastic squiggles that they used to stuff the box with to pad the goods during shipping. They're wrapping the palette in tissue paper and bubble wrap instead now. All Pat McGrath items that come in a cardboard box features an avant-garde piece of artwork that some people like to keep as a display piece. The Mothership palette itself features a heavy black plastic acrylic case with a golden backing. The inside of the palette features a large mirror and a magnetic closure.
Delivery to Australia directly from the official Pat McGrath website is now free regardless of the purchase amount (whereas it used to require a minimum order amount) and international shipping is now via DHL then passed onto the national postal carrier. During sales periods the packing and sending process from the warehouse itself was a slow process before Covid-19. The pandemic is responsible for lengthening that time even more. International buyers should account for a minimum of 3 weeks, if not more, from purchase date to delivery.
L to R in natural indoor lighting: Skinshow Nude, Velouria, Sable Bronze, Refined Gold 002, Iridescent Pink 003, Xtreme Mahogany, Love Lace, Rose Dusk, VR Rose Venus, Astral Solstice
About the formula
The matte, shimmer and metallic formulas were not new to me before I purchased this palette. Only the duochomes and glitters were unfamiliar since they're only available in the large ten pan Mothership palettes. I've had previously used the ones in the smaller 6 pan Mothership palettes and I was not impressed. The matte formula, particularly the darker shades can be patchy and will sometimes skip on saggy skin. I don't know why many seem to rave on and claim that they're the best formula ever — they're simply not. It is also true of the mattes in this palette. The pressed matte eyeshadows are intensely pigmented but they're not easy to blend for their price point. You have to slowly build them up using an animal-fibre eyeshadow brush so this is not a palette for those who want to create a quick look. They perform better than many of the ones in the smaller palettes but you have work harder than expected to blend them. You know what's easy to blend? Tom Ford or Viseart. Those matte eyeshadows practically blend themselves. I recommend using a stiff goat hair brush to blend out the Pat McGrath mattes.
Pat McGrath excels in the metallic formulas. The common description of them being "buttery and smooth" is completely justified. They apply beautifully with both fingers and brushes and genuinely feel like a cream formula without feeling as thick as an actual cream product. These are easy to work with and are well worth the money.
There are always four baked eyeshadows at the right hand side of the large Mothership palettes. They're commonly refered to as 'special shades' because they are often duochromes or glitter toppers that are distinctly different from a traditionally pressed eyeshadow formula. These formulas are typically baked eyeshadows but they vary from each palette and I personally find that they're not as pigmented as the metallics. The glitters are very chunky so you should expect some glitter fallout. You need to use them with a glitter glue if you want your makeup to look like it does on the Pat McGrath looks on her Instagram page.
The vampy look: Xtreme Mahogany in the crease and outer V, Rose Dusk all over the lid and a tiny bit of Astral Solstice in the centre applied with a brush and no glitter primer.
The neutral look: Velouria all over crease and outer V, Sable Bronze all over the lid, VR Rose Venus on the centre of the lid patted on with a finger.
About the shades
"A potent provocation of lush floral shadows envelop the lids in a breathtaking bouquet of finishes. Vibrant golds, lascivious roses, peach provocateurs and exquisite bronzes captivate the eyes with next-level divinity, unprecedented blendability and unlimited multidimensional effects
I swirled my finger gently twice in the pan to achieve each swatch. In all my swatches below I needed to dip back into the palette to double swatch Skinshow Nude, Velouria, Iridescent Pink and Xtreme Mahogany because they didn't swatch smoothly, evenly or with enough pigmentation. I will break down the regular 6 shades first, then analyse the 4 special shades.
(Above photographed under lights) Swatches of the regular pressed formula L to R: Skinshow Nude, Velouria, Sable Bronze, Xtreme Mahogany, Love Lace, Rose Dusk
Skinshow Nude (Champagne Platinum): This is a satin formula with a sheeny pearl finish. It feels dry in comparison to her metallic formula. The Pat McGrath website recommends wetting this shade. This shade barely registers on my skin tone unless built up. It has a strong white hue with a slight cool toned pink champagne shift to it. Use this wet if you want it to have impact.
Velouria (Taupe Rose Matte): This is a matte in a traditional pressed eyeshadow format. It pulls very cool toned on my light neutral skin and has a brown appearance when applied lightly and a grey plum tone when built up. Taupe is an apt description. This shade is very finely milled and slightly powdery in the pan. Expect some kick up in the palette when you dip your brush into it but its the better matte in this palette.
Sable Bronze (Luminous Bronzed Brown): This is a shadow with a metallic finish. It feels creamy, is extremely pigmented and applies like a dream with both fingers and a brush. This is a warm golden antique bronze colour.
Xtreme Mahogany (Rich Mahogany Matte): This is the second matte shade in the palette and the worst performing shade. It is the most patchy and inconsistent eyeshadow in the whole palette and should be built up very slowly to avoid the patchiness. It is not as powdery or softly pressed as Velouria. I find it best as an eyeliner shade applied wet as suggested on the Pat McGrath site.
Love Lace (Luminous Pink Bronze): This is another metallic foiled eyeshadow but it is slightly chunkier than Sable Bronze. This is a taupy bronze with a rose gold finish. Like all her metallic shadows, it's high shine with extreme pigmentation so a little goes a long way.
Rose Dusk (Mid-Tone Rose Satin): This is the second satin shade in the palette and it outperforms Skinshow Nude by far. Texturally, it feels close to how the mattes feel but it applies like a cream. Applied lightly or blended out fully, it is a reddish-pink but at full opacity it's a red, wine-stained plum with a warm undertone.
(Above photographed under lights) Swatches of the baked shadows L to R: Refined Gold 002, Iridescent PInk 003, VR Rose Venus, Astral Solstice
Refined Gold 002 (Gleaming Golden Platinum): This is a baked shadow which doesn't contain a lot of gold base colour despite looking purely golden in the pan. It is a high shine and shimmery eyeshadow that applies smoothly with both fingers and a brush. Don't expect high colour payoff unless you build it up deliberately.
Iridescent Pink 003 (Opalescent Pale Rose): This shade is a duochrome that looks white in the pan but has an intense iridescent neon pink shift. It has a dry, chalky texture and again, the Pat McGrath site recommends wetting this shade to apply. This shade barely registers on my skin tone by itself so it absolutely needs to be used as a topper shade on top of something else. I'd also recommend using a glitter glue with this shade because as you can see on my arm, the glitters flake off and travel.
VR Rose Venus (Golden Rose Duochrome): This is the second duochrome in palette but the better performing one. It feels fractionally textured in the pan and not as smooth as Refined Gold 002 but there is a much higher pigment payoff with this shade. It crumbles slightly when you go in with either a finger or a brush to apply. This is the wow shade in the Divine Rose palette as it is a rose pink that shifts gold. It has a high degree of shine. This shade benefits from the warmth of finger application or use it wet for maximum effect.
Astral Solstice (Glittering Platinum): This is a glitter topper shade that is very soft so it picks up product very easily with both a finger or a brush. It applies cooler than it appears in the pan so on my skin tone I end up with a silver base with platinum diamond sparkles. This is very crumbly texture so expect fall out. Definitely use this with a glitter glue. You can see the fall out from the swatch.
Is the Divine Rose palette worth its high price tag? No. It's not good enough to justify its full retail price of USD$125 or AUD$200. Even discounted, I don't think it's worth it at 10% off and even at 20% off it's still not that good. The highest discount on the Mothership palettes is 25% (which is around the price I bought it for) but I have seen the Pat McGrath website advertise 30% off for a large spend around the Black Friday sales season. If you're really wanting to buy this, go into it with lowered expectations and the willingness to invest more effort with application.
I genuinely think that people who rave about the Pat McGrath eyeshadows just don't want to admit they've spent too much money on an okay palette. The special shades aren't that special. I have indie duochromes that perform better. I've photographed myself in natural indoor lighting. I don't wear false lashes and I don't have beauty lights following me around all the time so of course it doesn't look like how it appears in social media posts. Don't get me wrong though, it's a nice palette to have. It's just very expensive for being nice. The palette didn't induce a jaw-dropping reaction and in no way was my mind blown.
The packaging on the Divine Rose Mothership VII palette is beautiful and luxurious. The case is heavy with a very solid construction so most of the money you pay goes to the packaging and to the Pat McGrath name. I bought my palette with just over a 25% discount so I feel like I got a reasonable amount of well-performing shadows for the price. Breaking down my cost per shadow, I paid AUD$14.85 (USD$10.50) per shadow but if I had paid any more money, I'd be very disappointed.
The mattes are just okay. Pat McGrath mattes become increasingly drier and more patchy as they go darker. If you want pigmented and vibrant colours that are easy to blend, go and buy a Viseart palette. It'll cost less and you get more reasonably-sized eyeshadow pans. Very few people will use up a large Pat McGrath palette. The mattes in this palette aren't bad per se but they require a slow build up using a goat haired brush. If you begin with too much pigment in one spot, you're going to need to blend and blend and blend. A palette costing this much money shouldn't require so much work. Yes, it's beautiful but the shadows will grab in the folds of hooded eyes or aging eyes.
I really enjoy the metallic formula and I think it's the best type of eyeshadow in the Mothership palettes. I own a variety of singles with this same formula and they're consistently very good. They apply easily with a brush but if you want a more intense foiled look, you need to go in with your finger or a wet brush.
The satins are a hit or miss. Some of them are great while others are bit dry. The glitters are nice for being glitter in that they're high impact for low effort but you will get at least a bit of fall out. You need to judge what your tolerance is for that. You have to go buy a glitter glue if you don't already own one to get the really beautiful Instagram look so you should factor that into your purchase.
The final thing to consider is your skin tone. I don't know why every light skinned person is pretending that Velouria and Xtreme Mahogany don't look the same on the eye. You can easily build Velouria up. Xtreme Mahogany is patchy unless you go very very slowly as in dab once into the pan and apply then blend. Also, I like how Love Lace and Sable Bronze perform but they look too similar on the eye.
Above: photo taken in indoor natural lighting under a window