Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Review and swatch elf baked eyeshadow palette in california

I don't own many things from elf, since I like very pigmented and long wearing eyeshadows or maybe I'm just an eyeshadow snob. I also prefer to see the products in person before buying. I had this palette for about six months, I bought it while I was still living in Canada for 10$ US, here in Belgium it is sold for 12 euros.

Those eyeshadows are meant to be applied either wet or dry. Personally I always prefer to apply everything dry as I like to blend my eyeshadows. They are also quite glittery so if you don't like glitter pass on this one. Elf makes those palettes in two colors california and NYC. California is an imitation of Sephora baked eyeshadow palette in "in the nude" and NYC of sephora's "in the dark". I didn't try the sephora ones that are three times more expensive so I can't compare.

Here's some swatches

Top row
Bottom row

As you can see the darker colors have a much better payoff.  I also broke one of my eyeshadows by swatching it! Don't worry I put it in a small jar and I also tested it wet for you on the side of my hand.

Now this palette have two major flaws:

  • All the color are either metallic or glittery
  • They end up looking muddy if you blend colors together
Does this keeps me from using the palette? Absolutely not. But I just use one color at the time (or two if I use one of the highlight in my inner corner.)

My favorite way of using it is doing a shimmery smoky eye
  • I start by using a dark matte eyeliner that I smudge on my upper lid (I like a loose powder kohl for this).
  • I then use a matte or demi matte highlight shade on my brow bone
  • I use the elf eyeshadow blended into the eyeliner and brow color.
Here's an example with the gun metal color 
with flash

without flash

You can also use it as lid color and blend it with a darker satin or matte eyeshadow on the crease like here. I used MAC brown down eyeshadow in the crease (veluxe) with the purple color.

The bottom line
If you like shimmery metallic shadow this is a very good palette for the price. The major down side is that it's quite hard to use more then one eyeshadow of this set because of their shimmery nature and the fact that they are quite powdery. Even though this is a palette you have to see this more like ten singles. Anyway it's such a thick palette that it's not really convenient for travel. You pay a dollar or a bit more than 1 euro per shadow it is still worth it. 

I also spend hours reading reviews on this and the single baked eyeshadows are apparently better in terms of quality. As for the fallout, some do have quite a lot when you apply them but not that much during the day. If you do your eye makeup first you should be fine Because the glitters are quite small you don't end up looking like a disco ball, like some of the glitter shadows from Urban decay. I'm also impressed with the wearing power of those, they do not crease at all on me.

All in all this is an average palette. This is by no mean an absolute must have. I don't like to spend too much money on glittery shades so I'm still satisfied with my purchase. 


  1. It is a major let down. But I find it nice for the colors I don't often use like the rose gold or the copper. It's good to have if you feel like it.

  2. The swatches look good, but the fact that they don't blend well is a let down. Still as single colors it certainly looks good on you. :)

  3. Too bad it's a bit of a pain in the ass to use together with other colors, because it does look like a nice shade.