Friday, January 25, 2013

ELF Studio 144-Piece Ultimate Eyeshadow Palette in Bright Review, Swatches and Photos

Who needs 144 eye shadows? I sure as hell don't. Not only do I have more eye shadow than I could possibly use in one lifetime, I'm also quickly running out of space to store it, what was I thinking when I decided to buy ELF's latest mega palette?

I ran into this and the neutral version of this palette right before Christmas at my local Superstore. I have to admit I usually ignore drugstore brands in favor of high end brands, but I knew from the online beauty community that ELF offered good products at very low price points and the few items of theirs I had tried (bronzer and a small eye shadow quad) seemed decent. Plus in the past few years I have noticed the proliferation of mega large eye shadow palettes from inexpensive brands such as Coastal Scents. Having never purchased a mega palette from a bargain brand I decided to give it a seeing all those little coloured squares made me feel like a kid with a new box of crayons!

This palette cost $19.99 CA at Superstore and to my knowledge is no longer available there. However it is still available on ELF's website for $15.00 US (regular price $30.00 US!) and they do ship to Canada.

The palette covers the whole spectrum in terms of colours and finishes. There are three main finishes: matte, satin and shimmer/metallic. Sometimes the satins are a traditional half/half mix of shimmer and matte, and sometimes they are more of a matte base with tiny flecks of glitter thrown in.

Of the three finishes the shimmer/metallic shades have the best pigmentation followed by the mattes and satins. Generally I would rate the pigmentation of the shimmer/metallic shadows as consistently very good to excellent. There was more variation in the quality of pigment in the matte and satin shades. Overall I found the matte and satin shades to be sheerer than the shimmer/metallic ones, but it was somewhat dependent on the particular shade. I would generally rate the matte and satin shades as having anywhere from sheer to very good pigmentation.

The overall texture of the shadows is decent as well, with most shadows being soft and a bit powdery. Due to how easily the shadows kick up dust, I would definitely recommend taking precautions to prevent fallout.

Unfortunately I don't have the time or will power to swatch all 144 shades, but I did randomly select one shade from each column to swatch. I swatched a variety of textures and shades and hopefully they will give you a good idea of the overall quality of the palette. The swatches are on NC40 skin and taken in natural light.

Some of the more vibrant shades such as the yellows and the greens required two or three passes to get opacity, but considering that particular hues such as these are always hard to pull off, I don't consider that unusual or negative. One aspect of this palette I really like is the inclusion of a wide range of both cool and warm neutrals. In fact 5 out of the 12 columns are in the neutral spectrum.  If there's one thing painting classes at art school has taught me is that harmony is created when you pair vibrant hues with neutrals.

Overall I think this palette is a winner. The negatives of this palette are sometimes sheer pigmentation, the general dustiness/powderiness of the shadows and lastly the size...this palette comes in at a whopping 11" x 9" x 0.625", which makes it ridiculously large and unreasonable to travel with...but compactness is an unrealistic expectation with 144 colours!

For the price and quality you can't go wrong. This would be an excellent purchase for any makeup addict or beginning makeup addict, or for anyone who wants to experiment with bright, vibrant shades but doesn't want to spend a lot of money!

Grade: A-


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