Burberry Pale Barley No. 22 Sheer Eye Shadow

January 4, 2012

Burberry Pale Barley No. 22 Sheer Eyeshadow ($29) is a beautiful shimmery neutral sandy beige with a complex sheen. It glows with a mixture of warm gold and neutral taupe and champagne-opalescent sparkles. Over the phone, Pale Barley was described as a color that matches the classic Burberry Trench Coats with shimmer. It just might be the most beautiful neutral I’ve ever laid eyes on. The texture is soft and smooth and the pigment is anything but sheer. I do find that Burberry eye shadows are all soft and blendable for a soft sheer wash of color but the intensity of the pigment is quite good with the paler shades. The shimmer finish is similar to Rosewood with a soft luminous sheen. Lasting power by itself was less than satisfactory, however when Pale Barley is applied over a cream shadow, it lasts all day. I’ve experimented over the past few days and tried it three different ways: over Urban Decay Primer Potion in Sin, MAC Nubile Paint Pot and Laura Mercier Metallic Creme in Gold. Each one individually helped the color from the powder to stay put from morning to evening without changing the effect or color.
A few close up shots:

Left is with a heavy swatch, right is blended slightly, photos look frosty from the flash but the color is a luminous shimmer in real life:

At an angle, you can see the beautiful glowy sheen:

Creating a fresh unique neutral can be hard to do, but Burberry has pulled it off flawlessly. Pale Barley is different from anything they’ve released before and different from other neutrals I own from other brands. Here is one comparison set with Burberry Gold Trench, Almond, Taupe Brown, Rosewood, Midnight Brown and Edward Bess Intimate:

Compared to other brands I found Pale Barley unique as well. I wasn’t able to photograph the actual product in good light but did get swatches before the sun went down. Here is one more comparison set to Bobbi Brown Beige Shimmer Wash, Bobbi Brown Nude Beach Metallic, Le Metier Jojo, Le Metier Splendid Frost (taupe), Chanel Beige Lame, Chanel Safari and Urban Decay’s Naked2 Suspect.

I believe Pale Barley is a definite must-have. It’s beautiful, layerable, complex yet classic. It’s one of those shades you can wear alone (over a base that is) and just add mascara and have a finished eye look. I love that it’s a swipe-and-go type of shade that is goof-proof, fool-proof, and easy to incorporate into any look. For the woman who needs more than one color on the eyes, note that it layers well with other shades too. I purchased it sight-unseen and have no regrets. Pale Barley is a classic color and just absolute perfection on my skin. It’s a staple and I highly recommend it.

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  • J.

    Do you know how it compares to Stila Wheat? From comparing your Burberry swatch with Karla's Stila swatch, it looks like Pale Barley is a bit darker and pinker? In any case it's gorgeous, and it's going on my list!

  • What a gorgeous color! You are correct in saying it is a very unique nude! It is beautiful!

  • Absolutely stunning, thank you for comparing it with the collection that you have…it really looks like the perfect neutral must-have

  • This color is light and pretty.

  • Those are such gorgeous shades! Thanks for the swatches 🙂 Taupe Brown and Almond are definitely my faves! 🙂

  • i am jealous… that's all i need to say. cause these are the perfect neutral shades… very nice!

  • Anonymous

    Beautiful. I am lucky to live in San Francisco and I have signed up for their event in a couple of weeks, I have already put in my presale order, I can't wait. BTW, you have mentioned 3 different cream eyeshadows you use as a base, which do you like the most?


  • Thanks Sabrina,
    You just confirmed that I need this. It's like a warmer Rosewood. And as a busy mom that sleeps longer than she should in the morning, I can appreciate a good "swipe and go" eye shadow!

  • That is just beautiful! I've yet to try any Burberry eye shadows. I really want this and Midnight Brown!

  • i love this color!

  • These look so damn gorgeous! But I don't even know where to buy Burberry make up in the UK 🙁


  • i bought this shade just this past weekend and i love it! when i was swatching other colors, this one really stood out as unique.

  • they are all so pretty with a nice sheen. it almost reminds me of the urban decay naked 1 palette.

  • This might just be my favorite shade from Burberry so far. Fantastic review … you always explain things so well! Thank you for linking to my blog 🙂

  • bisbee

    Just ordered this (I already have Almond and Khaki) in addition to the Eye Pencil in Midnight Ash and the Lip Mist in Pink Camelia.

    Can't wait!

  • This is beautiful. What cream shadow do you use as a base with it?

  • Liz

    Hmmm, I wonder if it's similar to Nars Cyprus.

  • I picked up 13, 29, and 30 for lips. They do not have stock on this eyeshadow at the store, so it is being shipped to me. I can't wait to get it. It is so pretty in person. Thanks for the swatches.

  • Wow, it matches your skin so perfectly!

    Have you swatched it with Chanel Les 4 Ombres in Prélude, from Fall 2011? It kinda reminds me of the bottom left of Prélude.

  • Anonymous

    Is it similar to Benefit's Fawn Over Me? Looks like it judging by the swatches! Maybe that's just wishful thinking..

  • lady jane grey

    It's a pity this gorgeous shade is only available in the US

  • OH no… I just ordered Rosewood, Midnight brown, and pale barley…now I feel like I really NEED taupe brown & almond. They really are just beautiful shades, plus your amazing swatches dont hurt! adding them to the "wish list" 🙂

  • I'm going to the states in a couple months and I'm very excited to try out some Burberry products! I've had my eyes on the Pale Barley e/s

  • Is midnight brown still available in stores, does anyone know?

  • Anonymous

    Ah! Nothing matches the sophistication and elegance of Pale Barely I'm afraid! It's so unique! x