A sequel to the popular Chocolate Bar Eyeshadow Palette (review), the Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar Eyeshadow Palette features, according to Too Faced, a warmer selection of neutral colors while providing the same delicious cocoa powder scent. But does it live up to the success of its predecessor? Check out my review to find out. I also have a comparison swatch between the two palettes at the end of the post to help you make a decision in case you're deciding which one to splurge on. :)
The Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar features the same chocolate bar-shaped exterior just like the original Chocolate Bar (review) except it has a lighter packaging color! I like to think of the original Chocolate Bar as a “dark chocolate” and the new one as a “milk chocolate“! ^_^ Hopefully the next addition will be a white chocolate — that would be really cool!
The size of the Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar palette is “thinner” than the original Chocolate Bar palette, though, but if you purchase your original Chocolate Bar palette last year, you probably have the thinner version already. I bought mine when it first came out so it still has that thick and bulky packaging. Another difference is the magnetic closure where in the Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar is much weaker so do keep that in mind if you plan to travel with it.
Upon opening the palette, you will see a removable How-To Glamour Guide stuck on the full-sized mirror. It contains some basic eye makeup looks to get you started. I always appreciate brands that include these guides with their palettes, although I rarely ever look at them. Still, they are always a welcome bonus! :)
What makes me more happy, however, is the fact that the shade names are now printed on the actual palette instead of on the clear plastic cover! Thank goodness! Every brand should make it mandatory to print shade names on the palette! ;D
At a glance
Sixteen eyeshadows are laid out in the same manner as the original Chocolate Bar; 14 are regular-sized and 2 are larger-sized. There are six different finishes — matte, satin, shimmery, glittery, frosted, and metallic — and the color selection includes a lot of warm neutral browns with an additional navy blue pop.
Too Faced touted the new palette as a “warmer” alternative to the Chocolate Bar, which at a glance, it does look warmer. However, from my experience I actually find the new colors to have “cooler” undertones when they are applied on the lids.
If there's one thing I wish I could change about the layout, it would be to move the black “Licorice” shade (top left) somewhere else further away from the pale Coconut Crème and Pink Sugar next to it! I have had to scrape the surface of these two light shades multiple times to get rid of the black powder kick-up that always find its way into the neighboring pans! Whose idea is this to put the darkest shade right next to the lightest shades in the palette. *failed* ;)
Whole palette swatches
- Licorice – intense black; matte
Incredibly pigmented, blends well, and doesn't sheer out too much during blending. The texture is soft and buildable but slightly powdery. I really like palettes with a matte black shade so thumbs up for this!
- Coconut Crème – light cream; matte
So sheer, so light. I had to really build it up on my arm to show you the color. It barely shows up on my eyes so I mainly use it as a base and blending color. It has a soft and very smooth consistency, though, just not really buildable.
- Nougat – muted peachy pink; matte
At first I thought it was going to be too light on me but the color shows up better on the lids. It is silky smooth and blends really well. The color is both buildable and blendable without being powdery.
- Truffled – chocolate brown; satin
This one is a basic brown but it has a nice consistency; pigmented, soft, and fairly easy to blend to a smooth finish.
- Hot Fudge – blackened brown with pink shimmer; shimmery
I'm not too crazy about the formula of this one. It is considerably dry, firm, and gritty upon touch but it surprisingly performs better on the lids. I didn't experience the grittiness on my eyes at all, neither the fallout during or after application. It blends out quite nicely, too.
- Cocoa Chilli – medium brown with gold sparkles; shimmery
Very pigmented, soft, creamy with decent blendability although the gold sparkles become really sparse once applied on the lids.
- Pink Sugar – pale pink with iridescent pink glitter particles; glittery
The least favorite shade by many, but I actually really like this shade! It appears pale pink in the pan but goes on transparent on the lids and only the beautiful iridescent pink glitter particles are visible. It adds such a nice sparkly effect to the lids. The glitter particles are sparse, though, but at least they seem to adhere well to the skin. I like to pop this shade over another matte shade for an extra dose of glam effect!
- Puddin' – taupe brown; matte
Another basic brown alright but this one feels soft to the touch. The texture is rather thin but at least it has good color payoff and blends well without being patchy.
- Blueberry Swirl – sheer navy blue with blue shimmer; shimmery
Le sigh. No, you won't get what you see here. This shade appears to be such a beautifully pigmented blue in the pan but trying to duplicate it on the lids is quite an impossible task! It is sheer, dry, doesn't blend as well as it should be, and requires a lot of building up to achieve anything close to the color you see in the pan. :(
- Frosting – rusty brown; matte
Now this shade I love! It is buttery soft, smooth, and blends oh-so-well! It is super pigmented, too. I like to use it on the crease as a transition color.
- Peanut Butter – bronze; metallic
It wouldn't be a complete neutral palette without a bronze color! This one has a nice quality, too; pigmented, creamy smooth, and with excellent blendability.
- Rum Raisin – purple brown taupe; metallic
This one is an interesting shade of taupe since it has a hint of brown and purple mixed in. The texture is lovely — buttery smooth, soft, and blendable. The pigmentation is sheer from the start but can be built up easily.
- Mousse – light brown; matte
This shade shows up darker on the lids than appeared in the pan. It has a nice matte formula — pigmented, creamy, and blendable without being patchy. It doesn't kick up a lot of powder excess, either, so that's another plus.
- Caramel – coppery gold; metallic
Such a beautiful color in the pan and on arm swatches but you really have to build up the intensity on the lids to get a good color payoff. The texture is nice, though; very creamy and smooth. Just try not to over blend!
- Bon Bon – rose gold; metallic
This one has a better texture than Caramel although both have metallic finish. Bon Bon feels softer, creamier, but also crumblier (so use with care!). The pigmentation is rather light so it requires layering on the lids.
- Butter Pecan – pale champagne; frosted
Lastly we have a nice and pigmented highlighting shade. Butter Pecan has a soft and smooth consistency with excellent color payoff. The finish ranges from shimmery to frosted depending the amount applied. Sometimes when I use it to highlight I have to mix it with Coconut Crème to tone down the brightness just a notch! :)
I find the longevity of these shadows in general excellent over an eye primer. They are long-wearing and seem to maintain their vibrancy well throughout a normal work day. The paler shades may look slightly faded at the end of the day but I did not experience any creasing or transferring with any of them.
The eye look
In this look I started with Coconut Crème as a base then applied Frosting all over the lid and darkened the outer corner with Licorice. I used Bon Bon to highlight the inner corner and added a touch of Caramel in the middle of the lower lash line. I finished with a combination of Coconut Crème and Butter Pecan under the brow bone. Simple, easy, and quick! :)
On my lips is Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Intense in 12 Pearly Mauve (US$20; Sephora).
Comparison to the original Chocolate Bar
As I mentioned before, I think the Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar is in real life slightly cooler-toned than the original Chocolate Bar even though the brand suggested otherwise. I do like the Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar alright but if I were pressed to choose, I'd go with the original Chocolate Bar instead.
I find the color selection of the original Chocolate Bar more interesting with purple, pink, and plum thrown in. The Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar to me has a little too much brown going on. And when you take the Blueberry Swirl out of the picture (since it performs inadequately), the whole palette then unavoidably becomes a blurry mix of different shades of browns. Having said that, I still really appreciate the introduction of matte black (Licorice) and iridescent sparkly pink (Pink Sugar) in the Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar. Having a black shade makes the palette “more complete” to me because I use it often in my eye looks.
So, at the end, it will all come down to basic personal preferences. If you wear mostly browns then the Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar may be more favorable but if you prefer a little color variation, you can't go wrong with the Chocolate Bar. :)
Well, thank you and congratulations if you've read it this far! ^_^' I tend to give too many details when reviewing eye palettes but I hope they are at least helpful to you! Let me know if you have any comments/questions! :)