The eyeshadows come in the stylish signature Hourglass packaging complete with the reversible swivel lid. The palette includes six eyeshadows; the lightest two 'base' colours come as slightly larger pans than the darker eyeshadows (2.5g instead of 2g). All of the eyeshadows have a matte finish with the exception of the flesh toned peach which has a fine shimmer running through it.
The eyeshadows have quite a powdery texture and this does lead to the darker colours catching fallout from the lighter shades within the palette. The eyeshadows are well pigmented but they are not as smooth in texture as the Hourglass duo formula. I think you can probably see this from my swatches. However, when used on the eyes with a primer, I don't experience any patchiness.
|Hopefully you can just make out the swatches of the bone and shell colours despite being so close to my skin tone|
The palette contains a slightly curious mix of colours in my opinion which I don't think I fully appreciated until I tried to use it to create a look. In essence, it provides good base/highlighter shades and liner/defining colours but not much in the way of mid-toned or transition colours. The only mid-toned shade is the rosy pink, which I wouldn't consider to be universally flattering on the eyes. On the SpaceNK website this shade is listed as a taupe, which it most definitely isn't. I think a taupe or mid-brown might have been a more versatile inclusion.
Just because this isn't a 'look in a box' type palette doesn't mean it isn't incredibly useful. For me, the beauty of this palette is that it provides staple matte colours which work well to supplement my existing eyeshadow collection. The lightest colour has been a perfect replacement for MAC Brule and I've been using it everyday for the last couple of weeks. I've regularly use the black, navy and brown to define my lashline and have even used the brown as a brow powder.
The bottom line for me is that your mileage may vary when it comes to the Neo-Classic palette. If you're looking for a travel palette or a palette that will provide multiple looks on its own, I would hesitate to recommend it. However, if you're looking for some staple matte colours and don't mind switching between palettes when applying your makeup, you may well find this very useful. You could of course buy these sorts of colours from MAC as single pans and create your own custom palette but you wouldn't have the lovely Hourglass packaging to admire then, would you?
Hourglass Cosmetics are available from Zuneta, Liberty and SpaceNK in the UK and the Neo-Classic palette costs £42. This palette was passed on to me by a very lovely fellow makeup fan.