Every week, fashion and beauty editor Jolene Khor, makeup artist Fiona Bennett, hair guru Christian Maranion, and beauty connoisseur Monica Saranya Selva De Roy — collectively known as The Clubbers — test drive the latest (and with hopes, the greatest) makeup, skincare, hair care, fragrance, bath and body drops to land in Singapore. Tools and brushes too. You get the idea. To buy in bulk or to take a hard pass? We give you the 411 so you never have to second-guess again.
In the spotlight this week: Milani Gilded Palettes

What distinguishes subpar from stellar when it comes to eyeshadow? Some might argue that it all comes down to technical proficiency (blend, baby, blend) but we say there's more to it than a steady hand. Our wishlist reads packed pigment, minimal fall-out, and a buttery-soft texture to allow for diffused, smoked-out lids without having to strain our delicate wrists. And if they come in a wide variety of wearable, versatile hues, well, that's just the cherry on top. It's a tall order, indeed — one that drugstore label, Milani, aims to deliver with their latest Gilded eyeshadow palettes. Available in five variants (Noir, Rouge, Ember, Jade, and Violet), they promise hyper-pigmented formulations that glide on like a dream to paint our lids in washes of colours unparalleled to other eyeshadow offerings out there. Will it live up to its gargantuan claims? The Buro. Beauty Club is on the case.
Spirit Fingers
Nobody was more excited than I was when I first saw the Milani Gilded Noir Eyeshadow Palette. Nobody. It's light. It's slim. It has a giant mirror. Above all, it holds 16 wild shades, perfect for anyone who has a sense of wonder about makeup, i.e. me. They're all cool-toned and furnished with either satin or glitter finishes. While there are a couple of grounding shades for highlighting (Bubbly and Entitled), the rest are made to twist and shout. Aside from Entitled which is far too muted to make an impact, they all swatched beautifully. Gasp lives up to its name, Dripping and Solid Gold glided on like a dream, and No Pictures popped without me trying to even pack it on. I had big plans for After Party and Don't Ask as well, particularly to brighten up my eyes at the tear ducts.

The palette told of a vastly different story when approached with brushes. Long story short: they like each other way too much. Most of the eyeshadow pigments stuck to the bristles, failing to transfer to my skin. Nevermind gliding them across my eyelids, I had to layer the formula, over and over and over, in order to get a decent wash of colour. Even then, the intensity is a far cry from when I used my hands. I had much better luck applying the eyeshadows with my ring finger, then using a tapered blending brush to blend out the edges and bring them above my crease. However, I'm not a fan of using my fingers because I find that method is too messy (foundation is a different story) and I don't get as much precision and control as when I use my trusted brushes. Ergo, I can't rate this palette as favourably as I would have liked. Bummer!

Jolene Khor

Another Milani Winner?
Makeup is my bread and butter so I get a little giddy when I hear of a palette with eyeshadows and highlighters in one palette. Bonus! And because Milani is a drugstore brand, it's pretty well-priced which gets me all the more excited. By that account, this is already a winning product. First thing's first: I love the packaging. Milani recently changed their packaging from mass market plastics to super sleek cardboard, a material some other high end brands use as well.

The mirror is great — it's thin, and the strong magnets on both sides reassured me that I can throw the palette in a bag without breaking or damaging it. I tried the Milani Gilded Ember Hyper-Pigmented Eye & Face Palette, which is inspired by the 2019 Pantone Color of The Year: coral. This palette was way too warm for my liking. Unless I'm a woman with glowing, dark or tan skin, it probably wouldn't be the first palette I reach for.

The eyeshadows, unfortunately, were a hit and miss. Some were creamy and pigmented, but most felt too powdery and almost chalky-like. When I dipped my brushes into them and applied them to my eyelids, the colours seemed to blend away too much. I needed to go back and repeat the steps a few times to get a colour payoff similar to that of the palette. Because of the inconsistency, I'm going to say "nay" to this palette, which is a shame because I thought this would be another Milani winner!

Fiona Bennett

With Fun Blazing
Milani eyeshadow's formula has changed — they used to have high talc content, which is reproved for its role as a filler. Because there's nothing chemically wrong with talc, I'm on camp If It Ain't Broken, Don't Fix It. The eyeshadow formula was fine before.

The Milani Gilded Jade Hyper-Pigmented Eye & Face Palette has a nice balance of greens, both light and dark, as well as two neutrals for blending or when you want to go natural. The darker neutral shade, Edible, applied very pigmented while holding its intensity regardless of how much you blend. Try Me, however, was on the weak side, requiring quite a few layers before it showed up. The striking glitter Lagoon looked beautiful on the skin and did not require a setting spray or a wet brush to give it more grip. There was a little fallout, expected from a glitter pigment. While the flecks may look like they would be gritty, they felt soft and were easy to be applied with fingers, making this palette easy to use.

The highlighter Aura has an awkward yellowness to its gold that probably isn't flattering on deeper skin tones. Amber Glow, the other highlighter shade is made for warmer and deeper skin tones and has a beautiful rose copper gold. Yet, the finish looks a tad dry when blended out; it lost its richness. I also don't particularly like it when highlighters look more foil-like instead of wet. However, setting spray fixes this issue.

Overall the palette was fun, versatile, and all the colours complement each other no matter what type of combination you make. This allows for a fuss-free experience. The eyeshadows's creamy texture means that you can use your fingers if you are not a makeup junkie with a million brushes. This palette will definitely be well-loved in my kit.

Christian Maranion

Almost There
I'm a freelance makeup artist, always on the lookout for eyeshadow palettes that can offer an array of colours so I don't have to lug several carefully selected single shade pots to client sessions. I wanted to test the Gilded Rouge Eyeshadow Palette as soon as I got my hands on it: Hush Hush for highlight on the brow bone, Peach Fuzz and Overbaked for blending, Femme for the main part of the eye socket. They each drew a different reaction from me. Overbaked is a very beautiful orange-based chocolate that worked nicely on my brown skin; Hush hush and Peach Fuzz are shades that you can find in most palettes so they didn't stand out; Femme is a a stunning deep orange with dark pink foil that required some makeup experience, a bit of a tailored application, and a lot of clean up after.

Let's start with Milani's claim of hyper-pigment. Some of the colours needed a fair bit of layering to bring out the colour as seen on the palette. While some shades are common, others are very unique pink hues, such as Rosé Soirée and Sangria, which seemed like Huda Beauty replicas. I like the mix — they allow for a work look, a night look, and an ultra glam look. I put Femme on to a traditional Indian wedding, a classic shade I can see every brown girl reaching out for. It's that super sexy shimmer shade that brings out blues, greens, pinks... essentially all the colours that make up our wardrobe. I wore a beige and blue saree and Femme stole the show.

And then there were the foils, not the most user-friendly I've come across. I sprayed on some setting spray to a flat brush and tried applying Wifey, Wait, What, and Avec Moi, to my eyelids. There was a fair bit of product wastage — the pigments stayed on the brush and refused to get on my eyelids. They made a mess on my cheeks too. What a pity, Milani almost got it.

Monica Selva De Roy
The Milani Gilded Palettes are available at selected Watsons stores.
The Clubbers
a.k.a. the people who will never lie to you, the beauty enablers you never thought you'd have, the voices of reason when logic goes out the window on payday, and when Sephora goes on sale.
Jolene Khor
Beauty Editor of Buro. Singapore
The fashion and beauty editor at Buro. Singapore swiped on her first glitter lip gloss at age 12 and have never looked back since — except the rare (only not so rare) occasions when she wants to feel better about her makeup skills as an adult. That kohl eyeliner look wasn't working out despite the fact that she was listening to The Cure and quoting Oscar Wilde. Her mother is thankful that K-beauty happened though that means her glow isn't just genetic. These days, her worst crimes are knocking out with full makeup on and forgetting to apply sunscreen on her neck. Old habits die hard.
Christian Maranion
Hair Specialist & Makeup Artist
Nine years. That's how long Christian Maranion has been in the hair game. Having honed his craft, he then began dabbling in makeup, finding equal joy in killing it at both. He has worked with the likes of Vanessa Fernandez aka Vandetta, Tabitha Nauser, and Charlie Lim. He also frequently collaborates with names such as Sephora, Elizabeth Arden, and Kat Von D to up their beauty game. Don't be fooled by appearances — though he may love dark humour and even darker outfits, he is a pocketful of sunshine.
Fiona Bennett
Makeup Artist & Hairstylist
Fiona Bennett is a makeup artist and hairstylist by profession, and a wife, mother, and part-time Kardashian expert when she's not hustling. Hailing from Australia, she reluctantly came to Singapore with her husband almost six years ago but she's grown to love it so much she wouldn't want to be anywhere else. She began her journey (sometimes by force) pinning her friends down to make them up before going out — only now she gets paid for it! You might find the self-proclaimed beauty-obsessed Fiona snapping up the latest products in the department stores on weekends. You name it, she has probably tried it.
Monica Selva De Roy
Henna & Makeup Artist
Monica doesn't have enough heads for the hats she wants to wear. When the sun's out, she's selling ultra cool tech that makes logistics look sexier than ever. Then, she slaps on some face cake to moonlight as an actress on Vasantham; from nasty stepmother to varsity mean girl, she's seen them all in the realm of antagonism. Oh, her makeup and henna businesses keep her busy during the weekends too. Amidst all this, she's finding time to test and review makeup — if that's not true love, what is?