I'm either ready for the red carpet or I'm a hobo. There's no in-between.

I'm known for my bold lipsticks and blinding highlighters, but there comes a time when you need to venture out and try something new.

Who'd have thought my latest adventure in makeup would be zero makeup.

#IAMZERO #ZEROMakeup #NABILA #MahiraKhan @mahirahkhan

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Nabila's Zero Makeup palette caught everyone's attention even before it launched. Pictures of Sadaf Kanwal and Zara Abid flooded social media, along with every celebrity you can think of, posing with the palette.

Nabila, you got my attention.

Zero Makeup is a revamped version of Nabila's earlier No Makeup palette. I was afraid to try that one out because of the price tag and people's criticism, but the Zero Makeup palette, now priced at Rs 4,900, seemed worth a try.

MEET ZERO! ✨ #IAMZERO #ZEROMAKEUP #TEAMZERO #NABILA

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My only issue with the Zero palette when I heard of it was that I thought it was too subtle for my liking. But as every desi mother has once said, 'Don't say anything until you've tried it.'

I decided to test out the Zero palette for a whole week, to find out if it's a look I should be trying.

Getting the palette

I did a fair bit of research on the Zero palette before getting it, and that means I stared at pictures online.

The Zero palette is available at Nabila's salon and Scentsation. Its also available online.

I wanted to just get it delivered to me but I figured my skin tone needed to be properly matched, so off to Nabila's I went.

Looking at the shade range and names, I automatically went for shade 4, Creme, which is said to be for medium-light skin. But to my surprise, it was too dark for me and I was suggested to try shade 3, Ivory.

I don't know why but the shade name made me uncomfortable. I may have already been giving the palette a hard time and am a bit of a negative Nasreen in general, but this irked me.

I'm proud of my South Asian skintone and have always gotten products named 'soft beige', 'olive' and 'biscuit', tones implying the warmth in my skin. Ivory is definitely not a shade name I lean towards, considering that it's associated with light skin. It makes me feel like the shade panders to the 'fair and lovely' complex that many have. And I don't know if it's a good thing or not.

Going zero

Before saying anything about the makeup, I need to give Nabila a shout-out for her packaging. The sleek case looks chic and classy and the palette is compact enough to slip into any bag and be on-the-go.

The palette has five products in one; concealer, blender base, blush, lipstick and powder.

What I instantly noticed and liked was that the concealer is darker than the blender base. Concealers shouldn't be lighter than your average skin tone or it makes for a cake-y appearance.

The concealer in Ivory also has a bit of an orange-y tone which works as a corrector and I am grateful for that. I have craters under my eyes which need colour correction and overall dull skin, so I was looking forward to seeing this palette give me flawless results.

The concealer and the blender are creamy and I do mean creamy. The negative Nasreen in me came back and hollered that this would slide right off my skin. But I was impressed with how blend-able both shades are.

The peachy concealer immediately made a difference and the blender base spread really well. It did require a little extra attention to blend in because the product tends to move around until set, but nothing I wouldn't do in general.

The blush and lipstick are what really won me over. The cream blush is a winner in this palette in terms of texture, shade and finish. I could tell immediately that this would last on my extremely oily skin.

With the lipstick, Nabila proved why this palette is called 'Zero Makeup'. This shade is the perfect MLBB (i.e. My Lips But Better, in case you're unfamiliar with the beauty acronym), something I never thought existed. It provides even coverage and is perfect for day wear.

The cream powder was a bit of a learning curve. The sponge picks up a lot of product, resulting in an ashy tone, but it's blendable. It still needs a light hand at application so I had to make a few attempts to not look too pale.

Before and after
Before and after

Finishing my look. I can't deny it looked good. I looked fresh and it did look like I had a natural, flawless finish going on. And the best part was that I couldn't feel any product on my face. From the concealer to the powder, everything is lightweight and comfortable to wear.

The concealer's creamy texture means it can easily get into fine lines and be a little streaky. But it's nothing that a little touch-up can't fix.

For the people who say "Oh I only wear concealer," this is a great win of a palette. For those who don't prefer too much makeup or are new to makeup, this is an awesome choice.

But for me, someone who looks like an Instagram filter in person, this was a challenge. Having makeup on yet looking like no makeup looks odd to me. That discomfort kept me from enjoying the palette.

I was getting compliments, people loved the overall fresh look and it's definitely perfect for work.

Two days in, the palette was growing on me. But could I get more from it?

Some additions

I had to do this. I needed to!

I felt like zero makeup was not enough for my preference. I guess negative Nasreen won.

The face powder in the palette is not enough for a face's definition, and just concealer made me feel like my eyes were too small. I mean, as desis, can we really get by without lining our eyes?

Such subtle changes, yet such a difference
Such subtle changes, yet such a difference

I made a few additions, but I kept in mind to stick to as minimal makeup as possible. I contoured and highlighted my face for depth and lined my lower lashes and applied mascara.

And now I could breathe. I felt like I made some effort in my look and even now, I kept a very light hand to bring out the best in the Zero palette, but I just felt better, as if my look was complete.

This little experiment was a valuable lesson for me though. The Zero palette is great on its own but that does not mean it can't be used with other products.

A new learning curve?

I definitely have a long way to go in order to understand 'no makeup', but the Zero palette has definitely given me some insight into looks I never thought I would try.

I like the minimal look, but for me personally, I don't think the Zero palette is all I need.

That being said, I do think this is a great addition to anyone's makeup routine. With the Zero palette covering the basics so well, it's great for a no makeup look, whether you only apply concealer, or prep for a full face.

I can imagine using all the products in the Zero palette for work and then making additions for going out... because I'm extra... #SorryNotSorry

For the price, Nabila's Zero palette offers five very decent products. I think it's a good investment.

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