Review: Maybelline ExpertWear Quads


Holy moly, At long last I have finished this my compilation review of my Maybelline ExpertWear quads ^_^!  I am quite fond of Maybelline palettes, even though their formula isn't amazing, it's decent and I love the colors they put together. They are very easy to find and retail $6-7 with the occasional BOGO 50%.  I really hope that this review is helpful to everyone looking to try a Maybelline palette. Four of these quads are from the Stylish Smokes line aka everything except Designer Chocolates.

Unfortunately, I have not tried the two most popular quads in the ExpertWear line: Chai Latte (most highly ranked on MUA) and Enchanted Forest (#2 on MUA).  This happened because Chai Latte looked too similar to Natural Smokes, which I bought first, and I accidentally bought Emerald Smokes instead of Enchanted Forest :P  Seriously, I was standing in the aisle at Walmart trying to remember which green Maybelline quad was more highly ranked and I couldn't remember for the life of me :P  Then I got too lazy to make an exchange. Oh well xD

The four evenly divided palettes are the same as the horizontal palettes (as in formula), I believe.  I also think the 4-square ones are an older version of these quads since I just started seeing the horizontal palettes recently.  I think the horizontals are supposed to be for more dramatic looks and the 4 squares are for wearable everyday looks.  They just stamp different instructions on them:
- 4 even square palettes: Browbone, Lid, Crease, Outer Corner
- horizontal palettes: Base, Lid, Crease, Liner
All the palettes come in both forms so I guess this is Maybelline's way of diversifying without actually adding anymore colors to their collection.  In general, all the quads come with a balance of matte and shimmer shadows.

Thoughts on the ExpertWear Quads as a whole . . . .
Packaging: Decent.  Slim, easy transportable, practical.  Nothing to complain about really but I wish it came with a built in mirror.

Pigmentation: It's a mixed bag but the matte shadows tend to be bad, the shimmery shadows tend to be quite good. I'll get more into it in the individual reviews.

Formula: After trying five quads, I have to say their matte shadows are usually poop.  They are generally chalky, very powdery and virtually useless.  However, there is no fallout.  Their shimmer shadows are overall much higher quality.  Although they aren't as pigmented as say, Urban Decay shadows, they have enough color payoff to add a small pop of color in a wearable, professional way.  I wouldn't go as far as to say the colors are velvety but they are quite blendable nonetheless.  The shimmer shadows are buildable, the matte shadows, not so much.  The darker matte shadows are somewhat buildable but....they don't build very well.  You have to get used to packing on with the sponge then ever-so-carefully blending just the edges.  :\  I don't have problems with creasing but some have mentioned that this is a problem. Tip: Sponge tips are actually better for packing on color than brushes :)

Overall Quality: As I said, I like these quads.  Some quads are definitely better than others but as a whole, Maybelline's quads are great for practical everyday looks, readily available, and pretty cost friendly.  The perfect small purchase to perk up a dreary day I'd say ^^

**Note** I don't use primers with eyeshadows ever, in real life or in swatches, so it's quite possible to get more pigmentation if you do use primers.

Ok onto detailed in-depth reviews :)

Maybelline Expert Eyeshadow Quad in Charcoal Smokes
Makeup Alley says:
Average Rating: 4.0/5.0
75% would buy this product again

This is one of the most loved Maybelline Quads.  It's considered one of the easiest quads to use to create both wearable everyday looks and a sexy~ smokey eye.

I dunno why I got the swatches so out of order ^^
These are SINGLE SWIPE swatches so they would be much more pigmented on your lid.

#1 Liner: In the pan and finger swatches, the glittery black is gorgeous with a blue base silver microglitter.  I find it very difficult to build and the glitter is not visible on your lid ><  I never use it and find it fairly useless to get a smokey eye.

#2 Lid: If you consider that the swatch is just one swipe, you can see that it has pretty good pigmentation! It's a lovely taupe with a silver sheen.  A very practical color that works well with both smokey and natural eye looks.

#3 Crease: The finger swatch is oddly blue O_o  But it's a dark gray with a blue undertone that works well with my cool undertone.   It's a little powdery compared to the Lid and Base color but it's not so bad. Overall, I'm not a huge fan on this color though.

#4 Base: The lightest color is actually my favorite ^^  It's a shimmery gray-silver that I like to use as a base.  I think it's a little too shimmery as a browbone and nose highlighter but in a pinch it works fine :) It's also a perfect inner corner highlight. What I really like about this is that you can use it as a subtle wash of color or build it to a more noticeable silver-gray.

Unfortunately, as a whole, this quad is not something I recommend :\  It doesn't have the versatility I expected, mostly because the black liner color is so patently useless.  This wormed it's way into one of my monthly favorites video because I like the shimmery Base color and taupe color is so purty.  Also it's really easy to crank out an everyday look or semi-smokey eye out of this.  BUT I feel like that after using this for 3-4 months I do NOT recommend this palette in the sense that the other Maybelline quads are better.

To clarify, this is a decent quad and it wouldn't be waste per se to buy it, but I just feel like there are better Maybelline quads to buy.  Also, a smokey eye look palette is a must-have in any makeup collection so I think you should invest in a more expensive smokey eye palette if you can.  Besides a good matte (or slightly shimmery) black and white are staples so plopping down as much as $30 for a high end shadow that works well is well worth it.  Sometimes it's better to spend a bit more than wasting $6-7 on something that you will probably use regularly but isn't ideal.  This is one of those times :)

Maybelline Expert Eyeshadow Quad in Natural Smokes
Makeup Alley says:
Average Rating: 4.1/5.0
74% would buy this product again

Natural Smokes is even MORE loved than Charcoal Smokes (for good reason).  It is just such a perfect everyday quad.  Honestly, I use this more than my UD Naked palette - why? I'm not sure, but I think it's because it's more portable, slightly less pigmented (thus easier to blend out mistakes which I make a lot of ehhe), and just...yeah, 4 colors are quite enough for an everyday neutral look.  I really do like the UD Naked but come on, it's almost ostentatious (and clunky) to carry around 12 neutral shadows everyday >_>

#1 Outer Corner: A matte dark brown.  The arm swatches aren't as pigmented as the finger swatches but it has several redeeming qualities: it's blendable, not powdery at ALL (very unusual for a drugstore matte shadow), and easily buildable.  And as a dark brown goes it is very, very acceptable.

#2 Crease: I shimmery brown with gold flecks.  A lovely silky (almost velvety) texture, no fallout, very blendable...just no complaints.

#3 Lid: A light gold with silver flecks.  It looks a bit powdery on my fingers but it really isn't  It's a lovely shimmery color that is just great on the center of your lid to add a bit of dimension.

#4 Browbone: A matte off-white color. I use this as a base color too and at my inner corners.  It leans a tad on the chalky side but it's not too bad at all, as you can see in the arm swatch.

All four colors are good and together, these shadows make it so easy to create a neutral everyday look.  You just can't go wrong with it.  A slight downside is that without a base, this is not particularly long-lasting, maybe 4-5 hours.  But with a base, it will last 7-8 hours, good enough to last through work.  Also I think this would make a great "beginners" palette.  It's very easy to blend and correct mistakes.   I recommend this palette very much for people looking for a portable, easy to use, neutral palette.

Maybelline Expert Eyeshadow Quad in Designer Chocolates
Makeup Alley says:
Average Rating: 3.6/5.0
63% would buy this product again

This was the first Maybelline Quad I ever bought.  I got it solely for the burgundy red crease color (a serious dupe of one of the colors from the NARS Cheyenne duo I think).  I did a tutorial with this quad once, so you can go there to see what the red color looks like on a face.

From LT to RT:
#1 Outer Corner: A matte (milk chocolate) brown color.  I think it has a slight gold shimmer to it.   Once again, it's lighter than the finger swatches but it's still a nice color that matches well with the burgundy red.  If this brown was too dark it would overwhelm the crease color anyway.

#2 Crease: A lovely shimmery burgundy-red with a silver flash.  The reason behind the purchase.  It took me a little fiddling to learn how to use this color.  The first time I put it on I looked like I'd been crying all day ^^  Basically, never use red below your eye :P  It does chunk a little bit if you try to pack on too much at once but overall it's easy to blend and has pretty good color payoff. No fallout either.

#3 Lid: A matte peach.  It looks a lot better in swatches :P but this is my least favorite color because it's nearly invisible on my NC20-25 face.  It's also a little bit chalky though it looks deceivingly silky in the pictures -__-

#4 Browbone: A matte eggshell beige.  Chalky with a tad bit of fallout.  Overall, it can be worked with though and is a nice subtle highlighter for your inner corners and indeed perfect for your browbone.

The Lid color is a miss for me but the other three colors are nice to work with.  I am so in love with the red color though so I don't regret this purchase at all.  However, as much as I personally like it I hesitate to recommend everyone try it.  I know most people do not want to bother with reddish shadows and it's not really a very versatile quad.  I'd have to say overall, you guys should be the judge.

Maybelline Expert Eyeshadow Quad in Emerald Smokes
Makeup Alley says:
Average Rating: 3.8/5.0
75% would buy this product again

By far one of the most beautiful quads I've seen in the pan.  Just LOOK at the Crease and Liner color!

#1 Base: a matte pale yellow.  A little on the powdery side, but it's not bad.

#2 Lid: A slightly shimmery olive with gold flecks.  It's not creamy per se, but it applies well enough.  A very workable neutral.

#3 Crease: A shimmery fern green.  It's not as vibrant as Urban Decay shadows but this color is an easy, subtle way to add a pop of color to an everyday look :) It reminds of less pigmented, more wearable version of UD Kush, which I reckon is a good thing.

#4 Liner: A matte black with gold and bronze flecks. Probably the most disappointing color in this quad.  Maybelline can't do blues and matte blacks, I swear :P The gold flecks become nearly non-existent and the essentially useless :{

I like this quad because it's easy to get a neutral look that isn't all taupe and biege :)  The fern green is so flattering on yellow undertones I think.  I rarely wear greens (or purple) eyeshadows because I feel like they're easy to mess up and produce the "black eye" look, but this is a lovely vibrant green that somehow never produces a bruised look :) I think this would be a good introduction to green eyeshadow for beginners.

Maybelline Expert Eyeshadow Quad in Sapphire Smokes
Makeup Alley says:
Nothing.  Not even on there since it's not popular enough.

This is one of those palettes that look drop dead gorgeous in the pan but awful otherwise :\  It's not even on MUA for a reason, I don't know why anyone would want it once they've tried it -_-  And is it just me or does Maybelline just not know how to formulate blue shadows >_>?

#1 Base: a matte white.  Very powdery and pretty useless.  It's hard to get any pigmentation.

#2 Lid: A shimmery white. Not powdery but impossible to get any pigmentation. It has faint shimmers but washes out to near invisibility.

#3 Crease: A shimmery teal. This was surprisingly awful.  Finger swatches were nice but trying to get it on your eye is a different story.  It tends to just blend away completely.

#4 Liner: A shimmery navy blue.  A big fat disappointment - SO gorgeous in the pan and in finger swatches but it blends away so easily on your eye :(

In the pan and in finger swatches, the blues looked so promising.  But then you put it on your skin and it's  Very chalky, almost no color payoff, and tends to blend away into invisibility.  I don't have anything to say except this entire quad is a pass.  Sadly enough, all four colors suck and I straight up do not recommend this palette.

eww my wrists are so vein-y >0<

And just for fun, here is what my arms looked like afterwards ^_^ I'm a rainbow zebra xD Useful to see what the colors look like at a distance no :)?
Natural Smokes
Emerald Smokes

Designer Chocolates (one of my personal favorites though)
Charcoal Smokes (very loved but I don't like it :\)

Not Recommended:
Sapphire Smokes
*whew* So that's that. I think it took me over two months to finish this post -__- I hope this was helpful!


  1. Hahaha! Love the arms after! :P I'll have to try Maybelline, i've kinda snobbed it b/c I don't really wear make-up so when i DO buy make-up i have this uneducated mentally of... "the more expensive brands are better" - i guess its not always the case. :P

    and YES! i would love to spend $5K freely to stay a night in a hotel. haha! Someday! :P I forgot to mention in the post that there ARE blinds but i don't know how many people actually use them. haha!

    Working in a hotel was fun but also tiring b/c you'd be standing for 8hrs a day and your hours are always different. Sometimes i'd be working from 3PM to midnight on one night then the very next day, I start at 6AM. -_- I definitely have a lot of stories from my life in the hotel world though. hehe!

  2. Wow what a post! That's such a shame that the Sapphire palette was a bust. :( That's definitely the one I was most drawn to, your swatches actually made me want to buy the palette! haha x3 But I shall resist... I guess I'll just stick with my Wet n' Wild lol. Thanks for the reviews and pics! And I don't usually watch videos, I prefer to stick with blogs, but I did watch your video and omg you're so cute!^^ It's cool that you did both a blog review and a video review. I hope you'll do more of these kinds of reviews! :)

  3. I always enjoy your detailed pictures and posts on your reviews!! I really like that sapphire and blue set, very pretty :]

  4. This is quite a review, Elle! I presonally love maybelline eyeshadow quads! Natural Smokes is probably one of my most used quads ever. Now I am reading this review and all I need to know is I need to go pick up Emerald Smokes asap. It looks soooo gorgeous! You're right tho, all the matte ones are pretty useless but all the shimmery ones aren't bad at all. Though the packaging isn't the best either, I love these palette enough to bring with me when I go travel (don't mind if the packaging gets scratched or broken). Thanks for the time dedicated to this review. This is really awesome :):)

  5. The colors seem great ! Thanks for the swatches and review =)You're awesome !

  6. love your review^^ there are a lot of details; and i love how you show us all the advantages and disadvanges :) keep up the great work; your videos are always very interesting :)

  7. Lovely review Elle! I only have 'Time For Wine' and 'Natural Smokes'. And I agree with you, Maybelline sucks when it comes to blue eyeshadow! Emerald Smokes look like such a beautiful palette, I'm definitely going to get that later. Thanks for stopping by dear(: *HUGS

  8. Hm, it cut my comment off, lol. I also put..

    I don't think you'll like Chai Latte too much. I purchased it because of the hype and ended up being disappointed with the quality. Only two shades were decent. ):

    Sorry for spamming!

  9. Such a great review! so in depth I'm so lazy with mine haha! pictures and swatches are enough for me I'm so bad at describing colors and such LOL I've always wanted to try these I have some of the eye studio quads they are quite nice

  10. I use to use these when I 1st got into makeup & get this, i used it without a primer. WOO HOO. I still have 1 palette sitting around but I think I prefer my WnW palettes better less chalky when it comes to the matte colors.

    Great review as always, Elle. I never said this but I love your profile pic. Everytime I see it I always crack up b/c your smile is just so cheesy adorable. LOL

  11. Great review!

  12. i love these eye shadows =D
    i need to add emerald smokes and designer chocolates to my collection!!!

    && i don't like the new packaging!!!
    i prefer the old one where it's the same size all around~

  13. Great review Elle, I'm tempted to get Emerald Smokes.

  14. i love all the colors <3 great review!!

  15. ive been a yt subscriber for awhile and i really love your videos i dont know why i never commented on your blog LOL. anyway.. amazing review. i hvaent tried these quads out but i do like the emerald smokes palette! colors are beautiful!

  16. Thanks for the thorough review! I think I like the Designer Chocolates quad the most. I've only tried Maybelline shadows once, and that was from one of their duos, which I wasn't too fond of because one of the shadows had so much glitter fallout. I'll have to check out these quads though :P

  17. thanks for the swatches! designer chocolates seems to be the best one :D

  18. Wow...this is one heck of a review! I do love the price point and the fact that is it "fool proof" (like eye shadow applications for dummies :)). The color collections are very easy on my eyeballs too (love the purpley one best!)!

    Thanks for taking the time to put together such a lovely was most helpful!

  19. I've never tried any of these quads before ! Will look into the natural & emerald ones when next when I'm in at the drugstore ;-) I'm a sucker for neutrals and browns haha ! Very very useful post ;-) Have you ever done a post on your makeup collection by the way ? I'd be very curious to see that :-P

  20. i would've thought blue palette really nice but i guess it's not. everything else looks pretty though.

  21. I haven't tried these quads before, but I've tried maybeline in the past and they seem okay, the finger swatch does look really blue if it's not suppose to be blue! sorry it didn't seem to work out the best for you and thanks for the information!

  22. WOW! very nice post! i don't know how u have the patience to take all those pictures!

  23. WOW--- one of my favourite reviews to date. <3333 Amazing. I guess I know which quads I should try first on my slow-going journey into 'How To Do My Own Makeup' Haha.

    And yikes... the blue palette is...godawful. Haha. I had an idea baout Maybelline's blues, as a friend of mine has some huge palette from them with several blues and every time I swatched one, it just looked... unappealing. :/

  24. The blue palette looks pretty! I think it's useful and convenient that it tells the user what goes where!

  25. Thorough post is thorough.

    I'll be referencing this when I need more eyeshadows.

  26. Such a detailed post!!!!!!!!!!! :) Thank you for this. I enjoyed reading everything you wrote (expertly written, btw) and your video! :) I love how you go in depth about pigmentation to poopy matte colors :) You have a knack for writing good reviews, and I love reading them :D

  27. Hi Elle,
    i love you posts they are very cool and i love make up who doesnt ? would like if we could follow each others blog!!! tata xoxoxo

  28. Such a detailed post!!!!!!!!!!! :) Thank you for this. I enjoyed reading everything you wrote (expertly written, btw) and your video! :) I love how you go in depth about pigmentation to poopy matte colors :) You have a knack for writing good reviews, and I love reading them :D

  29. Wow what a post! That's such a shame that the Sapphire palette was a bust. :( That's definitely the one I was most drawn to, your swatches actually made me want to buy the palette! haha x3 But I shall resist... I guess I'll just stick with my Wet n' Wild lol. Thanks for the reviews and pics! And I don't usually watch videos, I prefer to stick with blogs, but I did watch your video and omg you're so cute!^^ It's cool that you did both a blog review and a video review. I hope you'll do more of these kinds of reviews! :)


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