The name of the post says it all. Yes, I know it’s a cliché, even saying that is a cliché, but it was either that or “All My Taupes” – and I’ve got a feeling I haven’t dug up all of them. I know this isn’t all of them, but I figured this selection should suffice for this post. t was actually Vanessa who inspired me to do this post with her exclamation of “YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY TAUPES!” in a comment of my review of Smoky plum. And she’d right. You can’t have too many, as there are so many variations on it.
Funny thing is, this much loved, versatile shade, so popular within the fields of interiors and makeup takes it’s name from the French word for “mole”. Yup, I got this from the beloved Wikipedia, but before you start complaining about my sources, think of the many visitors and contributors to this knowledgeable site – and how quick they are to pick up on any faults. So, as per Wikipedia, taupe is a grayish brown, brownish gray or warm gray colour, including darker and lighter variations on the shade, as well as shades ranging into plummier or more yellow tints.
So to name a few, from Urban Decay’s Naked 2 there’s one of my absolute fave shades, Tease. An unarguably taupe shade with a slightly mauve tint, this little darling works as a transition shade, a crease shade or contouring shade, as it perfectly mimics the colour of a shadow. If you’re wondering why this one doesn’t seem to hae gotten much use – I’ve got a full-sized pan as well, because I wanted to be able to bring this one, without having to toss the whole palette in my bag. Snakebite is the browner-tinged taupe of the lot. Less versatile than Tease, it still gets a lot of use. Especially in combination with the golden-leaning, fairer taupe of Suspect. Use it as a wash all over, lid colour, transition colour. I’ve often considered getting this one as a single eyeshadow as well, for the same reaon I’ve got one of Tease. Pistol would be a warm gray shade of taupe, whereas Verve is somehow a golden silver shade. YDK’s got rose taupe coloured and if there’s a dark, mauve taupe in the lot Busted would be it. Uther UD taupes in my lot are Mushroom, a silvery gray-tinged brown and Bust which is a light brown tinged taupe with a hint of pink. There’s also Stray dog for which I have no other description but lovely, shimmery taupe.
One of the reasons I bought TheBalm’s Balmbini palette was the lovely taupe shade called Insane Jane. It’s light enough to use as a wash all over, but dark enough to smudge on top of a liner for a smokey eye.
Smashbox made a palette called Smokebox Photo Op Eyeshadow Palette. There’s a cool taupe included to serve as the palettes medium shade, and it’s a good one. It’s too similar to Insane Jane, although cooler, for me to have bought on it’s own, but I wouldn’t have glanced twice at the palette without it. It’s the real workhorse of the palette and the shade that makes the rest worthwhile.
MAC’s Satin Taupe shouldn’t need an introduction, but for those looking for a dupe, I find Stray Dog to be similar, only slightly plummier, lighter, shimmerier, everything-er. I’ll admit it – I’m not big on MAC. There’s just something about it. That said, I’ve got a paint pot too from the brand, and it’s a fave of mine. Groundwork is a tan shade with a slight gray sheen, and a go-to when I’m feeling a bit lazy, or need a quick-fix to match a cat-eye liner. My bare lids are too uneven and pink, but this one smudged all over creates a lovely canvas, just the right shade to create a pulled-together polished look.
Clarins Smoky Plum – read all about it here. Cliff notes: Great, plummy, silvery, versatile grayish-brown shade of taupe. Will lean this way or that depending on method of application, lighting and skin-tone.
Another shade I love to use all-over is MUS Cybershadow in Gold – which is more of a golden-leaning taupe. Swedish budget-beauty brand Kicks provides our final fine taupe specimen in the shape of the shade African mineral, another with a slight hint of a pink tinge.
While all of these shades are similar in that they are taupes, I’ve found certain unique traits with each and every one of them – some as doesn’t come through until swatched or applied. Funny how much variation there can be within a shade named for an earth-digging mouse-like creature.