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It’s that time of year again, Pantone releases their Colour of the Year and debate ensues – rah rah some people love it and some people hate it. The 2015 topic of controversy is Marsala 18-1438, which Pantone describes as “a naturally robust and earthy wine red”, true to the beverage.

That’s a nice idea for a post, let’s do some research.

Pantone Marsala for Eyes & Lips

Left – Pantone Marsala visuals. Right – Findings of internets research, everything from brightened burgundies to purpled wines.

Wut. So I start sifting through my collection and damn, it ain’t easy to find Marsala dupes (although I’m sure brands are furiously formulating as we speak). The obsessive part of my personality was twitching so I drew a line of somewhat similarity, here we go…


Pantone Marsala for Eyes & Lips

The Viseart Sultry Muse Palette includes a muted wine (top row, middle), slight iridescence but nothing obnoxious – a wearable Marsala spinoff.

Makeup Geek Eyeshadow in Bitten is the closest contender: a matte, deep muted Marsala with a generous dose of brown. Buildable and easy to blend.

Chanel Illusion D’Ombre in Ebloui is a burgundy brown with red undertones. All teh sparkles! Have Chanel discontinued Ebloui? I heard rumours but it was distressing so I blocked them out.

Maybelline Colour Tattoo in Pomegranate Punk is a reddened burgundy infused with golden shimmer. Exhibits great longevity and fantastic price point.

Rouge Bunny Rouge Dramatic Lash Mascara in Oxblood Panache – a deep, earthy wine (not another brown mascara, even males have pointed it out). Fantastic formula for separated AND voluminous lashes, a tricky combination to pin.

Charlotte Tilbury Vintage Vamp Quad includes a shadow that closely resembles Marsala, lowest shadow in the picture above. I will be using this quad in a tutorial soon 😉


I’ve included quick and messy swatches, since bullets provide a less-than-accurate depiction of colour.

Pantone Marsala for Eyes & Lips

Beginning with two purpled options for those not keen on predominantly brown-toned lips. NARS Volga is a deep aubergine with a dense matte finish. This one has the tendency to apply patchy from the bullet, I’ve had better luck using a lip brush (although it pains me to critique Volga, we have history). Make Up Store 401 is labelled a matte but it does have a slight sheen, visible in swatches. Both shades lie within the purpled spectrum of wine.

Gorgeous Cosmetics Vixen is a very deep Marsala – a rich, earthy red with brown undertones. Comfortable to wear due to the glossy finish but can be blotted down to a medium Marsala stain.

By Terry Rouge Terrybly arises once again! #sorrynotsorry. In all seriousness, By Terry Bare Instinct is the closest Marsala dupe in the lip category: a muted rosy brown. Holy grail formula, read more about it here.

Let’s add a tinted balm for the scaredy cats – By Terry Baume De Rose in 5 is a sheer, muted plum. I didn’t swatch this one as the tube is an accurate depiction of shade. Identical formula to the widely coveted Baume De Rose balm with a decent dose of colour (dontcha hate it when a so-called tinted balm is entirely transparent?).

Revisiting my Japonesque Lip Palette, NARS Terre De Feu (second from top) is a reddened wine; more red when blotted and more wine when layered. This is a funny one, it tends to lean different shades depending on the mouth. Like Volga, Terre De Feu is part of the NARS Velvet Matte line but I don’t experience patchiness with the latter.

What are your thoughts on Marsala as Pantone Colour of the Year? Love? Hate? Indifferent?



Complete list of products mentioned

Baume de Rose
Baume de Rose
Pure Matte Lipstick
Pure Matte Lipstick
Vintage Vamp Quad
Vintage Vamp Quad
Color Tattoo
Color Tattoo
Neutral Palette
Neutral Palette
Terrybly Lipstick
Terrybly Lipstick
Illusion d’Ombre
Illusion d’Ombre
* Denotes products sent for consideration. I’m always honest with my reviews :)

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  1. eeek – i’ll chime in to say that i am not a fan of Marsala. (i do like your cosmetics suggestions!). the Marsala is too “earthy”-toned for my taste. it reminds me of the 70’s when all the colors had a very “earthy” cast. i loooove the color in the fashion photos you posted in your intro – STUNNING. those are a very rich and deep interpretation of the color. here is an example that is a little closer to Marsala, which is not nearly as pretty!
    marsala seems to have a bit of a powdery terracotta undertone. but i think i can get away with wearing plums, burgundies, bordeauxs, and eggplants all year – the Pantone police can arrest me if they want!! 🙂 xoxo sj

  2. I actually really like this colour, especially for the eyes. I’m thinking smudgey rusty earthy messy eyes (maybe even with a brighter liquefied gold along the lash line for framing…hmm), bushy textured brows and either a tonal yet paired down lip or something totally (tonally) contrary. A bit out of my taste on the lips (irrationally reminds me a bit of brown lip liners?), but why not try it- it isss pretty versatile.

  3. So I mentioned in the corresponding Instagram post that I initially hated this colour but it’s grown on me. And now I just remembered I used a Marsala-ish eyeshadow shade a couple of years ago when recreating a runway look. The colour I used was from Sleek’s Ultra Mattes Darks palette, called Maple (bottom row, second shade from left, for anyone reading the comments who owns it).

    (I don’t recommend the palette, though. Even though there are some gorgeous shades in it, I found that particular matte formula difficult to blend.)

  4. I just wore Volga yesterday and it’s the classiest color I own. I think the patchiness of this specific color just adds to its uniqueness, I love it.

    1. I don’t mind a little patchiness on application, actually, it’s a certain ‘look’. Unfortunately I can’t wear Volga for 5+ hours because it starts to ball up, but a gloss or balm generally fixes things up 🙂

  5. I love reddened shades for the eyes, so Marsala eye makeup products are a win in my books. The lips, not so much. Brownish shades are really aging/draining on me. I prefer light/bright shades.

    I tried to get Ebloui several months ago but couldn’t find it at any of the Chanel counters 🙁

    BTW would you recommend Sultry Muse? I don’t have any Viseart palettes and SM looks most appealing to me. How are the textures and pigmentation?

    1. I should use Sultry Muse in a tutorial so you guys can see it in action. I do like it, I really do.

      I was blown away by the Viseart Matte Palette because mattes are hard to formulate and they’ve pinned it perfectly. The shimmers are nice but there are nice shimmers everywhere, y’know? It’s not a dense, buttery formula (like RBR, if you’re familiar with that) and I tend to like super creamy shimmers.

      Like, but not blown away.

  6. Ermagerd!!! If Ebloui is discontinued then my eyes will never be the same again. Such a multidimensional eyeshadow, and by far the best of all the Illusion D’ombre’s! *runs to nearest Chanel counter in a frenzy*

  7. I used to have a marsala duo- a lipstick and a matching nail polish long time ago and it was from an Italian brand Pupa. I have to say that alone that lipstick was enough to create a very intense look. I combined it with a foundation, some powder and mascara- that much was necessary to look bold. And that nail colour was… outstanding, my fingers looked very pale and gorgeous wearing it. Needless to say I am happy this colour is getting in spolight again. It is very daring, sophisticated and bold- and I love it!

  8. I had never heard of this Pantone thing before, but I seem to have unintentionally been going with it, as that Colour Tattoo and MUG Bitten are two of my current faves! xxx