By Lauren Luke, My Smokey Classics – review

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase.

photos: we heart this

You don’t have to be a beauty junkie to have heard the name Lauren Luke. Her true rags-to-riches story is enough to inspire anyone, but it’s extra inspiring to makeup aficionados, beauty bloggers, YouTube makeup “gurus” and the like.

A quick search on Wikipedia will tell you that Lauren Luke came from humble beginnings and was once a taxi cab dispatcher in her native England. To supplement her income, she started selling cosmetics on eBay, where she featured photos of herself wearing the makeup in her auctions. These photos became so popular that it eventually led to her uploading video makeup tutorials on YouTube, and in the span of just a few years, she now has one of the most popular beauty channels on the site. (How successful? Try 75 million views and over 350,000 subscribers.) Lauren Luke is now a powerhouse of a brand with her own weekly column in the UK’s The Guardian, a best-selling book, her own Nintendo DS video game (Supermodel Makeover by Lauren Luke) and last but certainly not least, her own line of makeup.

If you were given the chance to create your own line of makeup, what would be your criteria? Colors that work for everyone? Textures that blend effortlessly? Quality products that consistently perform? My Smokey Classics Complete Makeup Palette hits the bull’s-eye on all three counts.

The aesthetics of this super sized palette (7.5″ x 5″) are the perfect balance of elegant and adorable. When I hold it in my hands, I feel like it’s a special gift, yet it’s not so intimidating that it makes me want to just sit and stare at it. When I open it up, I’m instantly greeted with a “handwritten note” from Lauren that’s stuck to the mirror. For some reason, this little note puts me at ease and makes me want to dive right in.

The palette itself comes with two shades of eye primer (awesome!), one large pan of eyeshadow and blush, one small pan of cream eyeliner, two small pans each of eyeshadow and lip color. Pretty much everything you need to achieve a gorgeous smokey look without having to think about it.

For me, the standouts are the Antique Pewter and Twilight Ash eyeshadows and the Plumberry lip color. I would happily pay the full retail price of the palette for just ONE of these products, and that’s saying a lot.

Antique Pewter (at left) is a taupe that is so gorgeous and shimmery that it almost looks like foil on your lids. Of course, you could apply it with a lighter hand for a less dramatic look, but why would you do a silly thing like that? (Guilty as charged! And I must say this makes a lovely “little bit of flash” but still neutral enough daily base color ~ Tyna)

Either way you choose to apply this beautiful taupe, you will find the shadow is richly pigmented and finely milled to blend effortlessly.

In this beauty junkie’s opinion, Twilight Ash (at right) is the big showstopper of the palette. It’s a generously sized pan of black, matte eyeshadow that has bits of micro-glitter scattered throughout.

There is silver micro-glitter in this shadow, but there is also holographic blue micro-glitter in this as well. Words can’t quite explain it, but the glitter in this shadow actually looks like it’s glowing.

Next, let’s discuss my second favorite section, a duo of crème lipcolors named Plumberry and Cranberry Stain. Now some might say, “Yeah, but I hate palettes that contain both powder and cream products because the powder always floats into the cream products and gunks them up.” I hate that too, but the powders in this palette are thoughtfully spaced far enough away from the cream products so that there is little to no fallout at all.

As for the two lip colors (at left), I could write an entire review on these hues alone. It was as if Lauren Luke created these shades just for me. Let it be known that I am obsessed with crème lipcolors that make my lips look naturally flushed. Check and check.

I like the Plumberry, a cool pinkish nude lip color with a hint of shine, just a tad more but both shades are the types of lip colors that dance around in my dreams at night.

I could continue gushing about this palette all day (I haven’t even told you about the eye primers or cream liner) but before I end this review, I need to mention the lipgloss. My Glossy Lips (which is packaged adjacent to the palette) has a lovely pinky-peach tint but goes on clear. And the fragrance? Divine! Some say it’s peach, some say it’s mango, but I just call it YUM.

When it comes to making wearable makeup that works, Lauren Luke is living proof that a regular girl can be the best person for the job. She knows what we want (because she truly is, one of us) and she totally delivers it.

If you are already a Lauren fan or can’t wait to see her in action, click to see her in action, giving detailed step by step instruction for working with this very palette:
My Smokey Classics make up tutorial

Please stay tuned! The wht review team also received the My Smokey Classics Palette, and they will weigh in shortly with their thoughts.

Click here to order My Smokey Classics Palette, it’s a Sephora exclusive! $37

And check out these By Lauren Luke palettes – only at Sephora:
• By Lauren Luke My Vintage Glams Complete Makeup Palette $37
• By Lauren Luke My Luscious Greens Complete Makeup Palette $37
• By Lauren Luke My Sultry Blues Complete Makeup Palette $37
• By Lauren Luke My Fierce Violets Complete Makeup Palette $37

Disclosure: This review includes products that were provided by the manufacturer/PR firm for our consideration. It also contains an affiliate link, a link that gives us a small commission if you purchase the item. For more info, or any questions, please see our disclosure policy.



  1. I have a Sephora gift card I’ve been saving for a special something, and thanks to your fab review, Recessionista, I know what I’m buying. There is nothing I love like a smokey eye, and this palette has the added bonus of the gorgeous lip products! I must have it all!

  2. I was very excited to try the By Lauren Luke line as I’ve always loved her YouTube videos. She seems so sweet and down to earth, and of course really talented! Plus, being married to a Brit-you know I love her accent.

    The first thing that struck me was the size of the palette, it’s huge! 7.5 x 5 inches. This can go 2 ways. Yay-it’s big! (lots of product and a huge mirror) Or aww, it’s so big. (not a pop-it-your purse-and-go kind of thing).

    So, let me get my only complaint out of the way first. The mirror is not very good quality. It distorts and looks a bit fun-house. I actually can’t use it cause it makes me feel like I’ve got some vertigo going on! It’s a shame because it is so large, it would have been handy.

    But let’s get on to the good stuff, the fab products! They really are too. This palette is great for a trip, the colors can be used subtly for day or smoked up for night.

    I especially love the eye shadows. The base shade (cashmere cream) is perfect; not too shimmery and great coverage. The taupe (antique pewter) leans a bit more to the side of brown for me. I prefer my taupes to lean to grey. But it’s a beautiful color. I have to agree with recessionista, the Twilight Ash is the stand out. That micro blue glitter really takes the black to a great place and is so tiny that it doesn’t even read as glitter, just a multi-dimensional glow. It’s fabulous over the cream black eyeliner included.

    The blush is a nice neutral and a great pairing for a smoky eye to shine. But the lip colors, though nice, aren’t really my thing. I much prefer a tube.

    The great surprise for me is the eye primer duo. It’s the exact kind of primer I like, a thick, moisturizing crème. And by giving you 2 shades, I could custom blend it to match my skin tone perfectly. I never even considered this before but it’s bloody brilliant!

    I think this palette is a great value with a couple of true shining stars that I’m very glad to have in my arsenal. And I’m very intrigued to check out more!

    PS) I think she should do brushes next!
    .-= Stef´s last blog ..Smashbox Eye Illusion review =-.

  3. @Melissa: Yay! I am so stoked that you are thinking about getting this with your GC. I am so obsessed with the lip colors–they really make me feel like my lips are naturally, perfectly flushed without being over-the-top. I am praying to the makeup gods that Lauren Luke releases these shades in tube-form next, because I really would wear Plumberry on a daily basis. I’d LOVE to know what you think of this palette when you get it.

    @Stef: Great info about the mirror. Would you believe that I have actually never even tried to use it? I can’t bring myself to remove that darn little sticker because it’s just so cute. :)

    Being a sucker for brown and bronze shades, I guess that would explain why I love that taupe so freaking much! And thank you for mentioning the primers. I agree that they are wonderful, and so is the liner! I really can’t overstate my enthusiasm about this palette–the shades are just ideal for me and I’m glad you found a few winners in it as well!

  4. I really like Lauren Luke and that entire set looks great! I would totally get it just for Twilight Ash alone. It looks so pretty!

  5. I’ve always loved Lauren Luke and her story. She has really made a name for herself in a very positive and inspiring way. This palette looks great. I’ve always been wanting to try one of her palettes so I think I may just go and get one soon! :) Twilight Ash looks amazing!

  6. @kari: I’m glad you’re drawn to this palette too. And I agree–Twilight Ash is worth the price of admission! :)

    @Stephanie(StardustSteph): I didn’t know you were a wht member! Yay!! And yes, I totally agree about LL. She is a true inspiration. If you pick up this palette, you have to let me know how you like it, ok?

  7. lovely review… been itching to try one of Lauren’s palettes but haven’t scraped enough money together yet. :P

  8. This palette looks wonderful and what a great write-up of such a cool lady! I was late for work this morning because I had to watch Lauren’s entire video before I got ready – she’s so entertaining, she just drew me in. I can see how she became a youtube sensation! I think I may just have to pick this palette up – I LOVE that she includes the complementery blush and lipstick. I bet her other palettes are gorgeous, too. Gotta check out her other videos now.

  9. I had been eyeballing the Lauren Luke palettes at Sephora for a few weeks when I received the My Smokey Classics palette. I think what I love most is that except for foundation and mascara, this palette has it all. While Stef is right, this wouldn’t be good for popping in your purse and going, it is great for trips because you have everything you need in one convenient package. The Antique Pewter shade is probably my favorite part of this palette—it’s a brownish grey shade that is really flattering on my hazel peepers. The blush is a little too light for my tastes–it doesn’t show up as much as I’d prefer, but when you do a darker smokey eye, you don’t want to have dark blush, too. Unless you’re a circus clown, then go for it :)
    The lip colors are great rosy shades–Plumberry is great for day and the Cranberry Stain provides enough drama for nighttime. I agree with other comments about preferring these shades in tube form–especially if you plan on re-applying through the day.
    Overall, this palette is getting 5 stars from me because it’s ridiculously flattering and everything is wearable, which is something many palettes fail to accomplish. I think I’m going to need to check out the Luscious Greens palette now…

  10. Oh boy- only 37 buckeroos? Such a DEAL! Thanks for a fantastic review. I will be marching my palette loving tuckus into Sephora to see these. I love a nice (big) palette with lovely shades as this has- and the big brownie points are that is has such a big mirror to use. How wonderful to hear about Lauren’s story. Makes me want to buy it based on her great rep!

  11. Total deal! I am coveting the My Fierce Violets Palette.
    So amazing. After reading this write up and everyone comments I need to get some Lauren Luke! Im going to watch her videos now! :) Great write up @Recessionista

  12. I have this palette and it’s definitely one of my favorites! The colors are beautiful and not to mention, how convenient is it to pull it out and have every product for your entire face right in front of you?!? My Smokey Classics = LOVE!

  13. Love this palette so much! I have heard of Lauren and followed her success story with glee – she’s an inspiration to beauty loving bloggers!

    First, as mentioned the palette is huge. But it’s not crammed with all sorts of unusable items. This is a well edited, thoughtfully laid out
    palette. While it may be too big to carry daily for some (not me! I lug around a large tote) it is perfect for weekend trips! Off to Vegas for a few days? Throw this palette, some mascara and foundation in your bag and you are set!!

    My fave colors in My Smokey Palette are the usual suspects – the super flattering, lip shade Plumberry and of course, the most gorgeous of taupes- Antique Pewter.

  14. I am SUCH a sucker for palettes. Anythuing that looks like someone said, “Here, here’s all you’ll need in one handy dandy package. I made it just for you. Enjoy.”
    Okay, fine, that may not be the way palettes are made, especially since they’re usually about two or three good useable colors with a few other ones thrown in that never get used. It doesn’t stop me from loving them though…
    And I have a feeling I’d LOVE LL’s palettes, especially the Smokey Classics and the My Fierce Violets. They look like such a great mix of shades that someone would actually pair together and wear on a regular basis! Imagine that! :-)

    That is a shame about the mirror though, that’s one of my pet peeves!

  15. I was so excited to receive this palette. It is big. But as Tyna said, it is full of incredibly useful things. And as Stef and others have said the size does limit your ability to throw it in your bag. But that is the only real drawback. And it is certainly no deal breaker.

    Lauren Luke’s amazing story and sweet personality add to the cache of the palette. It makes you feel like she really knows what she is talking about while being just like the average person.

    I have to admit that I did not notice Stef’s problem with the mirror because just like Recessionista I haven’t been able to take off the sticker. It is too cute.

    I think that the shadows are a wonderful quality with a a nice color payoff. I have a hard time picking between the pewter and the ash for a favorite. They are equally pretty but for very different reasons. And I do also really like the eye primer. It is such a nice base. And the plumberry is a to die for lippy! So pretty!

    I highly recommend this palette. Is high quality, well priced, and immensely usable. I can not wait to try some of her other collections. And I look forward to future endeavors from Ms. Luke. And I like Stef would love to see a high quality and well priced brush line from Lauren.

  16. Oh I love her. Can’t wait to get my palette!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *