One of the most exciting things about holiday in the makeup world is that there are so many big palette releases! And every year, the Sephora Blockbuster Palette is among the most anticipated ones. I missed out on last year's version but am so glad that this year I was sent one to review. It's a huge palette so this post will contain a lot of product photos and swatches (yes, I swatched every single shade for you!), so sit back, relax, grab your favorite cup of tea (or hot cocoa in my case) and let's dive in! :)
Sephora Color Festival Blockbuster Palette (limited edition) is part of the Sephora Holiday 2014 Collection. The palette has a black and white theme and is shaped like a bow tie (super cute!). It is made of lightweight plastic that feels sturdy enough but I'd still be gentle with it. The approximate size of the palette is 11.8 in L x 4.3 in W x 2.3 in H (30 cm L x 10.8 cm W x 5.7 cm H). I wouldn't say it is the most travel-friendly but if you have a lot of room in your luggage, it is a great palette to bring with because you would never have to think of what colors to bring — this palette has it all! It also contains everything you will ever need (eye, lip, and cheek colors) to complete a full face makeup for any occasion! :)
Packaging in details
The palette contains 4 “layers”. Each layer is divided into 2 trays. The colors on each tray are organized by color family and intensity. The first layer opens up like a regular compact and the lid on each side contains its own mirror (so, 2 mirrors total). The other 3 layers just swivel out to reveal the products inside. Do pay attention when you swivel, though. I'd try to push at the very corner of the tray to avoid poking your fingers into the product accidentally.
It is a great system considering the gigantic amount of products they put in this palette. It seems efficient at first but only when you start using it, will you notice small flaws. For example, (1) the mirror is a little less than ideal in terms of size (a little too small) and practicality (doesn't open up to the right angle where you can see your whole face unless you sit it on top of something); (2) the 2-sided tray feature is great but when you are focusing on one side, the other side will be exposed to air; and another thing I can think of is (3) you need quite a bit of room on your makeup vanity/desk to use this palette especially if you wish to fan out every tray to display all the colors.
- 72 eyeshadows (24 colors x 3 trays)
- 28 lip glosses (16 colors on one tray and 12 on another)
- 8 cheek colors
- 18 cream eye liners
- 4 lip & cheek cream colors
- 2 mirrors
- 6 tutorial cards
This brings to a whopping 130 colors in total!
The eyeshadow color selection is impressive! And while they may look different from each other in the pan, when applied on the skin they are pretty similar to one another. The pans are really tiny, too, and you are going to need a really small/precise eye shader brush to pick up the color.
The eyeshadows are separated into 3 trays (24 colors each). The first tray contains some blues, purples, and pinks. The second tray contains mostly neutral colors such as beige, taupe, gold, and brown. The last tray has a variation of black, silver, olive green, and forest green.
There are 4 different textures — matte, satin, shimmer, and glitter.
The mattes and satins have the best consistency; they are surprisingly really pigmented, smooth, blendable, and buildable, especially those in the brown, teal, and green categories. Some of the matte shades are slightly powdery, though, and create a little bit of fallout.
The shimmery shades are just decent; they feel slightly dry upon touch and the pigmentation varies a lot between shades. They are buildable but will require a little bit of time and patience to get a good color payoff and even finish.
The glittery ones are dry, gritty, and produce some serious fallout. The color payoff is poor and it can be challenging trying to build the intensity (read: impossible). I would try to pat them on top of other shadows rather than sweeping them directly on the lids to avoid glitter fallout.
I find the staying power of these shadows alright. When worn over eye primer, they do not crease or transfer but they do fade slightly at the end of the day.
Blue, purple, and pink
Beige, taupe, gold, and brown
Black, silver, olive green, and forest green
In contrast to most reviews, I actually do like these glosses! There is a good selection of color from clear to pink to coral and to red. Some of them contain shimmer while the others are shimmer-free. The shimmery ones are mostly clear and sheer and will look very similar on the lips especially if you have pigmented lips like mine. I feel that they are best applied over the lip & cheek creams to boost the color payoff. On the other hand, the non-shimmery shades are quite impressive in terms of pigmentation. They really pack a punch of color! They are easily buildable and show up really well on the lips.
Consistency-wise, all of them are incredibly smooth, creamy, and such a pleasure to apply. They also provide some serious glossy shine! They are a bit sticky but not to the point that you feel uncomfortable.
What I like most about these glosses, though, is the staying power! They do last a long time! Longer than most glosses I've tried in fact. I'd say around 4-6 hours. The more pigmented shades such as reds and corals do last the longest. Another good thing is they are not drying at all. They keep my lips fairly moisturized during and after wear.
Lip & cheek creams
It is such a nice bonus to have these lip & cheek creams as part of the palette! Even just for 4 colors. They are creamy and so smooth and they also apply beautifully both on the cheeks and lips. They go on with a cream texture but will set to a non-drying and long-lasting matte finish. I don't find them to dry out or cling on to dry patches at all as long as you apply on well-prepped skin/lips. I wish Sephora would have included a whole tray of this category instead of just 4 colors! :)
I really like that Sephora included so many colors for the eyeliner section! We have traditional colors such as black, navy, and brown and we also have some unexpected vibrant shades such as light gray, pink, and pale blue thrown in as well. The texture of these liners are extraordinarily creamy and smooth. I honestly didn't expect them to be this creamy at all. However, it's also a double-edged sword. Being so creamy makes it difficult to draw straight, crisp, or thin lines. Often times, I find myself going back and forth just to “patch” the unevenness of the line.
The pigmentation and intensity is awesome but it doesn't last unfortunately! In fact, I've never seen anything fade this quickly before! They are not waterproof, either, and take a long time to set to a semi-matte finish (with a bit of a shine). They also crease, smudge, and transfer terribly. Setting with eyeshadow powders seems to alleviate the problem but not by much. At the end of the day, they still smudge. They are not very buildable, either, because the existing layer moves around a lot when you go back to apply more.
I am blown away by the quality of the cheek color section! We have 6 shades in total — 2 highlighters and 4 blushes. The top row is a variation of coral shades while the bottom row is pink shades. To me, they are just as pigmented, blendable, and buildable as those of the more expensive brands. They may not feel as smooth and soft but apart from that they are pretty comparable.
The staying power is excellent, too! No re-application is needed with any of the shades. The highlighter shades are quite shimmery, though, and will require strategic placement on the face to avoid accentuating skin's texture but otherwise I really like the sparkly effect they provide. The best part, all of the colors do show up nicely on my skin! I seriously cannot find fault with this section but if I were to nitpick, I wish the pans weren't so close to each other or that the dividers were a little wider since it's not easy to pick up the color with a standard blush brush without the colors getting mixed up.
There are 6 cards included:
- How to get perfect lips
- How to define eyes
- Perfectly blended eye looks
- How to apply cream eyeliners
- How to apply blush for your face shape
- Tips and tricks
I do find the tips helpful and I actually learned some new things from them. However, as nice and helpful as they are, I wish this tray would have been filled with those lip & cheek creams instead (they are just so awesome!), or perhaps mini brushes/applicators. :)
The experimental look!
In terms of pricing, I think $49.50 is reasonable considering the amount of products you get, not to mention a variety of colors and textures (and it would be a total bargain if you buy it during the 20% off sale!). If you are a true makeup lover, chances are you will probably already have most of these colors in individual pans and may find this palette a bit of redundancy. However, for those looking to experiment, this may be the palette for you. I can also see it being a really nice gift to someone who has just started wearing and experimenting with makeup. And last but not least, if you are a true collector, then this is a must-have! :)
Well, that's it! I hope you find my review helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions at all! :)
Disclosure: The Sephora Color Festival Blockbuster Palette for Holiday 2014 was provided by Sephora. All opinions are my own.