Kat Von D Spellbinding Eyeshadow Book: Review & Swatches

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.

IMG_0667outer packaging

IMG_0659palette itself

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.

IMG_0607Left-hand side of the palette.

IMG_0610Right-hand side of the palette.

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:

Kat Von D Spellbinding Eyeshadow Book swatches

Swatched (note that I stupidly did all of my swatches in this post backward – my bad!!):

IMG_0637Left to right: Queen*, Smile Now*, Instaglam*, Holy Bible, Sunset Blvd, Dark Throne*

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.

Kat Von D Spellbinding Eyeshadow Book swatchesSunset Blvd with it’s glitter particles

IMG_0643Queen in all is duo-chrome-y beauty

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:


IMG_0631Left to right: Bukowski, Cry Later*, Stupid Autocorrect*, Oddfellow, 8 Bit*, Precious

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.

Kat Von D Spellbinding Eyeshadow Book swatchesItty bitty emerald flecks in Oddfellow

IMG_0633Pretty fine gold shimmer in Cry Later

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:


IMG_0627Left to right: Countess*, Arcadia*, Galore, Birdcage, Geek*, Babe

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:


IMG_0621Left to right: WTF, Wonderland, Hexagram*, Gunner, Fallen, Piaf*

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.

Kat Von D Spellbinding Eyeshadow Book swatchesBoo to Gunner’s sad green glitter particles and crap-tastic formula (but check out the duochrome greatness of Hexagram! YUM).

Kat Von D Spellbinding Eyeshadow Book swatchesWonderland. Pretty shade, but not original (but hey!  There’s Hexagram again :P)

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.

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  1. #1 by addercatter on November 2, 2013 - 5:38 pm

    I waaaaant iiiiit!!! You could de-pot the ones you like and put them in a z-pallette and give the ones you don’t like to a family member or friend as a gift…

    • #2 by Latoya on November 4, 2013 - 5:10 pm

      I think that’s a great idea!!! I’ve never depotted anything before so I’m a little worried, but I’ll read up on it and figure it out 🙂

      Sent from my iPhone


      • #3 by addercatter on November 4, 2013 - 5:17 pm

        🙂 I’ve watched some videos on YouTube about it but I’ve never done it either… I need to though on a couple of pallettes.

  2. #4 by BeautyReflections (@BeautyReflectTS) on November 2, 2013 - 6:36 pm

    I like her eyeshadows! I think the brand is seriously underrated. Most of the things I’ve tried are pretty great! And too red hahaha? I lurve me a good red eyeshadow! 😉

    • #5 by Latoya on November 4, 2013 - 5:09 pm

      Haha well I don’t hate on red as a rule but this one doesn’t interest me too much – then again I haven’t given it a fair shot. I gotta get on it! And I agree the brand is definitely underrated.

      Sent from my iPhone


  3. #6 by BurbBeauty on November 2, 2013 - 10:40 pm

    I don’t buy palettes very often for the exact same reason, but this one actually looks really cool! I saw some swatches that saw the pairs of shades layered, and omg. I think I would wear all of the layered shades. This is on my list for the 20% sale.

    • #7 by Latoya on November 4, 2013 - 5:08 pm

      Awesome Lola! I don’t think I’m layering them right, cause it doesn’t seem to be much on my skin, but then again I’ve been doing it on my hand lol. I am determined to play around with this palette more and give it the love it deserves!

      Sent from my iPhone


  4. #8 by Makeup Morsels on November 2, 2013 - 11:52 pm

    I like palettes but lately I’ve been gearing toward the ones with smaller selections, (4-10 shades as opposed to A BILLION). I really like the regular KvD palettes, Ludwig was one of my first palette purchases and the quality is pretty even across the board. This one looks a little overwhelming to me, although I still love the overall look of the colors. And dude, props to you for swatching everything!

    p.s. did I get the right email? Sent you something awhile back, not sure if you received.

    • #9 by Latoya on November 4, 2013 - 5:05 pm

      I did get your email and I replied! I hope I can help you somehow my dear 🙂

      As for the palette, yes – smaller is more my speed. The LM one I got is just perfect and not overwhelming at all. I could handle a bit more variety of shades, but…I mean, obviously I just can’t be pleased LOL.

      Sent from my iPhone


      • #10 by Makeup Morsels on November 4, 2013 - 5:08 pm

        Got your reply, thanks Toya! Will reply (to your reply)….sometime (soon, hopefully). Chat soon!

  5. #11 by Liz (@Reductionista) on November 3, 2013 - 11:14 am

    *hands up* I have excess issuessssssss

    Lol, I know I just finished telling you yesterday that I LURVE palettes but I don’t love the giant-sized ones — they overwhelm me and are hard to store also. BUT I do like the look of this one and may I just say that your swatches and photos are looking especially spectacular??? Great review!

    • #12 by Latoya on November 4, 2013 - 5:04 pm

      Aw, thanks Liz!!! That’s so great to hear 🙂 I will agree, this IS hard to store and I’m not sure where I’ll put it to ensure I actually use it. I am seriously considering deporting the shades I love, because there are some real winners here and I wanna give ’em some love!

      Sent from my iPhone


  6. #13 by Maggie (@MaggiesMakeup) on November 3, 2013 - 6:04 pm

    Aw, too bad. I love this palette – but then I am a palette obsessed freak. 😉

    • #14 by Latoya on November 4, 2013 - 5:00 pm

      Haha and in that case it’s totally awesome!! Honestly, I see it’s value it’s just…the waste thing totally bugs me. And I don’t have the artists eye to make up combos that will work, it seems…

      Sent from my iPhone


  7. #15 by Sarah on November 3, 2013 - 6:18 pm

    You make this palette look great, but I really only gravitate to neutral palettes because I know that I would never wear half of the brightly-coloured shades. Your photos are beautiful, though!

    • #16 by Latoya on November 4, 2013 - 4:56 pm

      Thanks Sarah! I know what you mean. I like a fun shade every now and again, but only a few like that in a palette will get used by me, so a handful would have been plenty. You would LOVE the Laura Mercier Artists palette!

      Sent from my iPhone


  8. #17 by Denise on November 4, 2013 - 9:52 am

    LOL @ “people with NORMAL feelings toward palettes” — you kill me, girl.

    I guess I have normal to strong like feelings toward palettes, lol. I actually love eyeshadow palettes ’cause there’s rarely a shade that I won’t utilize. I do think this palette is super-cute, and I was tempted when I went into Sephora a couple weeks ago… but if I had to get a palette right now, I’d rather get the UD Vice 2 (which I will, ’cause I have been eyeing it for two months now and have decided that while I don’t need it, I MUST HAVE IT).

    • #18 by Latoya on November 4, 2013 - 4:50 pm

      Haha, I’ve heard a lot of positive feelings toward the Vice2 palette – I haven’t even given it a look, obviously with my weird *thing* against palettes…but also, makeup as a whole isn’t capturing my attention at all lately. I cycle through things: first it was nails, then makeup, now skincare…eventually I’ll come back through ’em all again!

      Sent from my iPhone


  1. Operation Reduce: Eyeshadows, Part II | Beauty Obsessed

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