Some of you may already know my avoidance of palettes. I think I’m in the minority in my feelings, it’s true…but to put it plainly, palettes have most everything I dislike in the world. Too much choice (anxiety! which shades to choose?), plus more often than not there are several colors that end up never being used, which to me is a waste (HUGE pet peeve). Also, I have generally found that palettes have a lesser formula than their permanent, single counterparts, which just plain pisses me off. Having said all that, I think there is enormous benefit to palettes for the right kind of person – if you love options, playing around with shades and creating different looks, and/or if you’re just building your shadow collection, they’re quite the ideal purchase, and they’re usually a great bang for your buck. If I was to choose a palette for whatever reason, the pre-requisites would be a good array of wearable shades (but not TOO many number-wise), great quality, and, of course, sexy packaging. How does Kat Von D’s Spellbinding Eyeshadow Book ($65CAD) that has come out for the holidays measure up? Let’s take a look.
First of all, the packaging. While I’m not over the moon about it (I’m a big fan of a sleek look with minimal design and perhaps leather or metal (like) encasing….but I already said I was picky!), it’s not terrible. The artistry here is attractive and eye-catching. It’s thin and not too bulky, though all said it’s about the size of my palm spread wide. It’ll do.
On the backside, you get an idea of what shades are contained within, with an additional note that the shades are already ideally paired for you. This is great if you’re someone who isn’t confident in their shadow-combining capabilities.
There is an emphasis throughout the whole schema of the palette on layering and really playing with shade pairings to get unique and interesting looks – once you open the palette, on the inside of the top cover you’ll see more suggestions and diagrams on how to match and wear shades to create your own ‘works of art.’
In the eyeshadow portion of the palette, there is a plastic insert which covers the shadows, that reiterates the shade names for your reference. The ones marked with a star are never before seen shades exclusive to the palette. I have no idea where some of the shade names originate from – such as ‘stupid autocorrect,’ which is slightly humorous if not a bit strange. Each of the pairings do have complimentary themes however, and I do like this consistency.
Below are the shades without the plastic cover, in all their glory:
My first thoughts were that the palette was somewhat haphazard and that there didn’t seem to be much continuity with the shades or the placing of each. However, when you look at them as pairs of twos, they are quite complimentary to one another; and when you look at each row together, you start to see a theme for each column which actually makes sense.
The first column of shades is sort of like your standard, smoky plus pale metallics/shimmers night-out kind of tones – shades you may already have in your possession:
Swatched (note that I stupidly did all of my swatches in this post backward – my bad!!):
Queen is one of a few duochrome shades in the palette, and the one with the strongest duo-coloring. It reminds me of MAC Club, and also of an existing shade within Kat Von D’s Shade Shifter range that Maggie reviewed in the past. While I have neither, I’m kind of excited to try this shade out, as it’s has a lot of interest and I think you can make some great looks with it. It also has a great, smooth pigment. The other shades in this column wow me a lot less: Smile Now is a soft peachy pink with a soft formula that has a slight duochrome finish as well that I just could not capture – I think one someone with fair skin and blue eyes this would be quite striking, but on me I suspect it’ll fall flat. Instaglam and Holy Bible are the kinds of pale frosty shades I hate, as they look very garish on my darker skin. However, the texture of the two is quite good – smooth and creamy. Sunset Blvd is a gold shade with gold glitter that has a stiff texture and a fair bit of fall-out – not my jam. Dark Throne is not quite black but more charcoal, and is a touch patchy, but blends out well and has a soft texture though not as creamy as some of the others.
In the next column, we have a handful of more edgy, eye-catching shades – not your standard fare and great for when you wanna mix things up a bit. For whatever reason, they kind of give me a 60s vibe:
Bukowski is a great medium blue shade with a hint of teal – great pigmentation and a lovely formula. Cry Later is a mid-tone warm brown with fine gold glitter – it has a bit of fall-out, but the glitter is actually quite pretty and its one of the few times that I appreciate it’s inclusion. The formula is more stiff, like most of the shades with glitter in the palette, but only slightly and feels smooth to the touch. Stupid Autocorrect is soft and smooth, but the pigment is lacking which is not ideal with a unique shade such as it is – go bold or go home! Oddfellow is one of those shades that catches your eye – a deep, dark green with bright emerald glitter flecks – but those flecks don’t translate to the eye. The fall-out isn’t as bad as it could be, and the shade had a nice dark pigmentation so it’s not a complete loss. A bit stiff, again, but workable. 8 Bit is a pretty seafoam green with a lovely texture – but not necessarily MY kinda shade, nor is it terribly unique. Finally we have Precious, yet another super-light shade that probably looks great on fair skinned gals but just YUK on me. Formula is good – smooth and creamy – but somehow a bit chunky as well. Weird.
In the third column are what I like to think of as our pastel, girly shades. They have a spring-like quality to them, even though I didn’t notice it until I swatched them:
Aside from Countess, a nice matte (the only one) skintone shade (smooth though a bit stiff), and Geek, a pretty satin peach (soft and smooth), the rest of the shades leave me cold. Again, these light colors on my skin tone – gah!! On the right person, they would likely sing, but on me…ugh. Arcadia is a pale lavender frost with a creamy formula that has that same odd chunky quality like Precious. Galore…ANOTHER pale frost that looks the same-ish on my skintone as a couple of the other shades (smooth/chunky formula). Birdcage is one of those shades I want to look nice on me but doesn’t – kind of a duo-golden green that would rock on a brown-eyed gal. It has a stiffer formula however. Babe is an electric purple with a blue flash that people often seem to go ga-ga for…myself excluded. Stiffer texture and takes a bit to build up.
Finally, in our last column we have a handful of jewel-tone shades – THESE kinds of tones I can get behind!! Come to mama:
Though I’ve previously documented my love of red shadow, I’m not sure about WTF – it might to TOO red? I haven’t yet tried to wear it so I’ll reserve judgement for now. It’s got a stiffer formula which doesn’t endear me to it a ton. Wonderland looks great in the palette, but like Oddfellow, doesn’t translate as well on the skin – the red glitter particles blow away and all you’re left with is a a deep reddish plum. However, the formula is more like Cry Later (smooth) than the other glitter shades, so it’s workable. Hexagram is a lovely taupe-like shade with a khaki lean and a duochrome flash – quite unique I think! It reminds me of a more aggressive NARS Rajasthan (the golden taupe shade), which is one of my faves. Awesome, creamy formula here. Gunner is a forest green and one of the worst performers of the bunch – dry, stiff, lackluster pigment with glitter fallout…just overall a disappointment. Fallen is a great staple bronze shade with a stellar formula and dense pigment – not original, but a great shade for all nonetheless. Piaf is probably one of the shades I’m most pleased to have, as I’ve been needing a nice gunmetal shimmer for some time now but hadn’t made a purchase. It leans cool and has good pigment and a creamy formula.
Ok. So first of all, clearly I have high expectations – have we gleaned that yet? What can I say? I expect the best. Having said that, despite my clear distaste for some of the shadows in this palette, there are actually a handful of really wonderful shades and formulas that I’m super keen to use like crazy: Queen, Cry Later (formula is a tad iffy but shade is great), Bukowski, Geek, Piaf, Fallen, and Hexagram. That’s 7 shades out of…24??? Eeks. See, THIS is why I don’t like palettes so much. I’m pretty much a one or two shade wonder and rarely play around to come up with intricate looks – so all these shades will probably go unused for the most part – and I hate having all these other shades kicking around when all I wanted was a handful! ~sigh~
Anyway, if you don’t have bizarre *excess* issues like I do, I think this palette definitely has some value (speaking of value, the shade costs on their own would total $130CAD, versus the $66 cost of the palette). Though there are a few shades I felt repetitive (namely, Instaglam, Precious, and Galore, which have minimal difference between them), the range of color is quite encompassing, and you really could come up with a huge variety of looks if that’s your thing. There are a few shades that could use an upgrade in formula, but it’s mainly limited to the glitter shades which we all know are more often than not a hassle. If you read other reviews of the palette, they’re mostly positive and are coming from people with NORMAL feelings toward palettes, so there’s that. And I mean…it IS kinda pretty to look at all the colors, no?? ;)
Are you a bit crazy when it comes to palettes? How do you (mentally) DEAL with the shades you don’t use??
*Product was provided by the PR company/brand for my unbiased consideration.