Color Up: feat. Zoeva’s Cocoa Blend Eyeshadow Palette

I’m back with my second entry for my newest category “Color Up”. If you haven’t read the first one and interested to check it out, just scroll down to the post after next. I’m truly happy to be able to continue this series. Deepest appreciation goes out to my friends who not only read the post but offered a great deal of ideas and suggestions for me to improve subsequent entries. And I’m also thrilled every time you guys re-create and send me photos of the look on yourselves (thanks!). Going forward, I’ll be incorporating a more beginner-friendly approach to illustrating my techniques, with step-by-step pictures to hopefully ease the tutorial process. Again, I’m neither a professional in makeup nor in camera works and photography so what I’m offering is not pro-level tutorial. I’m just here to share my passion and have fun with makeup! I hope you guys will continue to support and enjoy this series!

So about a month or two ago I purchased some products from Zoeva. I’ve wanted to try their makeup and brushes for some time, but I just never got to it because the brand isn’t available in the States (yeah, sucks big time). Sephora US market doesn’t carry it (though they’re stocked in Sephora EU, AUS and Asia as well as coming to Sephora Middle East this summer), neither does ULTA and other departmental stores. Neither does Zoeva have any physical stores here. There were a few Zoeva products on Amazon but they were either marked up or appear dubious. So the only secure way to purchase the product was through the Zoeva website, but this comes with shipping fee. A while back the shipping cost to US used to be 16 USD which I felt was ridiculous given that such a cost exceeds the price of some of the products. But recently it was reduced to 9 USD. It wasn’t really the best of deals (thankfully shipping was fast) but I bit the bullet and caved because I wanted to try Zoeva products so bad. And so far, NO REGRETS.

Today, I’m going to feature one of the eyeshadow palettes I bought – the Zoeva Cocoa Blend Eyeshadow Palette – highly raved and definitely worth the hype. I decided to go for a warm-toned summer gold kind of look. I was really winging it on the application though. I knew the colors I wanted on my eyes but wasn’t sure of the placement, so I just went with it. I think it turned out kinda alright. If you’re interested to re-create the look below, keep on reading!

The Look


So I ended up with pretty intense reddish hues, deeper outer edges and lighter, more shimmery colors going into the inner corners.

The Tools


Though I didn’t use a ton of colors, I did use quite a few brushes as I was going for gradual intensity of the shadows to achieve a more blended effect. You wouldn’t need that many brushes, but it’s good to have a variety so that you have more control of the color placement and intensity. You don’t have to use the exact brushes I did but I will just name and describe them and you have the pictures above to know how the brushes look. Have in hand a fluffy buffing brush for buffing out the transition color (Morphe Y16), an oval-shaped more densely packed blending brush for greater intensity (MAC 217), a tapered and pointed crease brush also for more intensity (Zoeva 231) but you can skip this and re-use the previous brush if you wish, a densely bound blending brush for intense outer corners (Zoeva 223), a flat shader brush to apply color on lid (Zoeva 222), a short shader brush for lower lashline (Cosmetica Small Shader) and a detailer brush for inner corner highlight (Real Techniques Detailer Brush).

The Colors


A pretty chic selection of colors, ain’t it? Anyway in my previous post, I did an arm swatch of the colors I used. Some of you requested to see the eyeshadows themselves in the palette. So here goes, hopefully this is better. I used a total of six out of the ten shadows (Bitter Start, Substitute For Love, Freshly Toasted, Pure Ganache, Subtle Blend, Beans Are White). Again, if you don’t have this palette and do not intend to purchase it, you can use whatever you already have that are similar to the colors I used. So here’s a little description of the shades I applied. Bitter Start is sort of a warm light beige with a matte finish. Though it appears white in the photo above, it’s not exactly so in real life. Substitute For Love is a medium-toned orange-brown with a matte finish. This color was surprisingly more pigmented than I expected, I would describe it as a medium-dark. Freshly Toasted is a medium-dark reddish brown, with warm orange-red undertones and a matte finish. Pure Ganache is a warm-toned light-medium golden copper with a metallic sheen. Subtle Blend is a warm-toned medium-dark golden bronze with a pearly sheen. Finally, Beans Are White is ironically a a blackened brown, with a matte finish and I would say a neutral undertone.

The Application

Thank you for all your suggestions – I am now including step by step photos with inserts of the colors and brush heads for easier reference. The photographs are not the best of quality, so bear with me.


First, as always, I set my eyeshadow primer with a bone-colored shadow. In this case, I’m using Bitter Start, and with any buffing brush, apply all over – no need for precision here.


Next, I picked up Substitute For Love on my Morphe Y16 fluffy buffing brush and apply this transition color above my crease. Now, I have really small eyes, and so the space between my crease and brow bone is quite wide. So I will sweep my transition color generously across this area using windshield wiper motion first to spread the product, then buffing the edges using small circular motion to diffuse the color.


Next, picking up the same color Substitute For Love but now with a different brush (MAC 217 densely packed blending brush), I deepened the color, mostly towards the outer half to third of my eyes. I first packed the color using a dabbing motion to the outer corners, then blend it out. This is why I’m using a densely packed blending brush – it packs the color and blends it too.


Then, using a more precise and packed brush (Zoeva 231 pointed crease brush), I picked up Freshly Toasted and applied it to the outer corners of my eyes. If you have big eyes, you can stick to MAC 217 for this step. Since mine is small, I used a much smaller brush so that I can apply the color right into my outer corner, and not have it all blended away with the previous color.


For the lids, I went in with Pure Ganache. I didn’t go all the way to the outer corner. I just applied it where the lid was bare. To make the transition between Freshly Toasted and Pure Ganache more seamless, I applied Subtle Blend in the middle of my lids and blend the colors. I used my Zoeva 222 flat shader brush.


After applying the lid color, your transition colors may wear off a little. So now it’s time to touch up. Using my MAC 217, I re-applied Freshly Toasted on my crease, blending it out.


To diffuse the intensity of Freshly Toasted above my crease area, I picked up Substitute For Love on my Morphe Y16 and just buff the color across my crease.


To give this look a bit more intensity, I added a dark deep color, Beans Are White only to the very outer corners of my eyes, blending down to the edges of the lids using a densely bound blending brush (Zoeva 223). You can already see how this step adds a bit more dimension to the look.


After a light application of ink liner (Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper) , it’s time to make the inner corners pop. Since I’ve used the most blinding color (Pure Ganache) on my lids, I didn’t have a good inner corner highlight color from the palette. So I used my face highlighter (The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer, a warm gold highlight with a luminous finish) and with my Real Techniques Detailer Brush, applied it to my inner corners.


Last but not least, the lower lashline. I just went in with Freshly Toasted using my Zoeva 231 to buff the color across the lower lashline, and then with my Cosmetica Small Shader to push the same color nearer to the waterline.

And this is the final result:

Our Photos2-001

Here, I’ve paired my lips with a similarly warm-toned color that kinda matches the shadow. I used Huda Beauty Liquid Matte Lipstick in Venus, a deep taupe-brown.

This look is so versatile that it also works with a cool-toned lip color, or actually any lip color really –  a bold burgundy, a peachy nude, a bright coral…. For the alternative lip color, I used Wet and Wild MegaLast Liquid Catsuit Matte Lipstick in Rebel Rose, a light mauve.

Our Photos3

So, that’s it for this post. I hope the changes have been favorable. I can’t wait for you to re-create the looks! And as usual, I’m open to requests and recommendations, just DM! Also, I’ve now switched to natural sunlight photography as opposed to indoor room lighting photography. Let me know which you prefer. Till the next one.


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