Sunday, September 21, 2014

ZPalette VS MAC Pro Palette: Comparison and Review

For someone who loves to hoard makeup products, you think I would be on top of my custom palette game. Nah. I mean, I've had this old MAC pro palette from eons ago but that didn't really fit my need to mash everything together. I even pried out the 15-shadow insert to really utilize as much space as possible. But all that did was make the metal sheet inside become loose. It was high time to throw it out anyways (turns out, acetone can melt plastic). So I did some looking around the internet for custom palettes and decided on getting a ZPalette. But wait, MAC also has some, too! They revamped their entire Pro Palette line, which totally drew me in. I couldn't handle the pressure of picking one over the other, so I got both. Beautiful self control.


Let's begin with a price breakdown. The cost of a large ZPalette is $20 (plus shipping, which was $4.58 for me). The cost of a MAC large single or duo palette is $8 (shipping is free from the MAC website). MAC is the more affordable option by a huge margin. But this brings me to my next point: size.

The large ZPalette's dimensions are 8.06"l x 4.94"w x 0.56'h while MAC's single palette is 7"l x 4.5"w x 0.5"h, which makes ZPalette the bigger option. BUT, the MAC single palette is comparable in size to the medium ZPalette (6.68"l x 4.125"h x 0.68"h), which is $17. So even if we were to compare which is the better option in terms of size and price, MAC wins hands down. You're also paying less for sleek packaging made out of plastic, while the ZPalette is mostly cardboard. They both close shut with the help of a magnet, so you don't have to worry about a latch breaking.
MAC Pro Palette Large / Single, $8. ZPalette Large, $20

While the MAC palette seems to be a more travel-friendly size than the ZPalette, I find myself reaching for the ZPalette more whenever I'm packing for a quick trip. Turns out, cardboard is the better option for me. Reason for this is that I like to use a backpack for weekend getaways. This means more cramped packing. I don't like to use the MAC palette for this because I feel like the plastic casing doesn't absorb shock as well as the cardboard in the ZPalette. And since the ZPalette is a little bigger, it fits more products. 

Another thing to note is the magnets. MAC really screwed the pooch on this one. I guess I can't really fault them since this palette system was meant to be used in conjuction with their pan refills. Thing is, not everyone always buys the pan refills. Some people like to buy blushes or eyeshadows in their own separate packaging for whatever reason. Then they realize they want all their products in one place. So they depot and go to stick it in the palette. Problem is, the palette doesn't have a magnetized bottom. See, the pan refills come with their own magnet sticker at the bottom of each pan, and that helps it attach to the palette. But the pan itself is just metal. So unless you feel like spending some extra money to buy magnetic tape or stickers, you better stick to just buying pan refills. 

As for the ZPalette, it comes with its own strong magnet built into the bottom of the packaging. So if you have eyeshadows with metal pans, it should stick right on there. And if, for whatever reason, it won't stick, the ZPalette comes with a packet of small magnetic stickers you can afix to the bottom of your eyeshadows (my Inglot eyeshadows and Tarte blushes stuck no problem, but I needed to use stickers for my NYX and Stila eyeshadows). Also of note- MAC pans, with or without magnets, won't attach to the ZPalette's magnet. So you have to use the magnetic stickers for those too if you want them in your ZPalette.

The ZPalette is also more makeup artist-friendly. When you lay out all your products to see, you want to save as much space as possible, right? With the ZPalette, you can fold the lid under the bottom so that it saves space while allowing easy access. It's also good for when you're holding the palette while applying makeup- you don't want the big lid flopping everywhere. With the MAC palette, it can not fold under. So while it's able to open completely flat, you have to be careful how you hold this while doing makeup. You don't want to knock it into something (or someone) and I get paranoid that the weight of the lid will eventually cause the hinge to snap.

You doofus.

I don't want to come off as completely knocking the MAC palette. It does have it's perk- the inserts. Mostly, the well inserts. ZPalette doesn't have anything like this (that I know of), which is a shame because these empty wells are AMAZING if you're a makeup artist. You can depot your lipsticks or any cream foundations/concealers into these wells and have it all in one neat place. This is great for people who don't want to shell out the $32 for the Japonesque palette that makeup artists everywhere seem to adore. I also prefer the sleekness of the MAC palette+insert over the Japonesque. I think it's worth it just to get the MAC palette for their inserts, which I have done. The Duo palette is just as good as the Single. It has a clear plastic screen between the two sides so you don't have to worry about the products touching each other. The Duo is significantly bulkier than the Single (duh), but it also means it's deeper inside. You can easily fit your domed mineral products in here without accidentally smashing it. Something you would have to pay extra for in the ZPalette.
MAC Pro Palette Large / Duo, $8

Duo (L), Single (R)

Really, choosing between the MAC or ZPalette is up to you and what you're looking to get out of it. For eyeshadows and easy packing, I go for ZPalette. For depotting my lipsticks, definitely MAC. I love all of my palettes and my vanity is significantly less cluttered thanks to them.

Here's a quick rundown:

MAC Pro Palette Large:

  • Sleek, black matte finish.
  • Affordable.
  • Single or Duo options.
  • Convenient inserts for depotting cream products.
  • Travel-friendly (with care)
  • Available at MAC Pro stores or online (free shipping!).
  • No built-in magnet (except to keep the lid closed).
  • Lid doesn't fold under. 
  • Have to buy magnets separately

  • Lid folds under for easy access.
  • Comes in many different sizes and colors.
  • Strong, built-in magnet.
  • Comes with magnetic stickers.
  • Travel-friendly.
  • A bit pricey.
  • No options for cream products (unless you buy your own pans and depot them there).
  • Can only order online (unless you get the overpriced one from Sephora).
xx May

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