e.l.f. Baked Eyeshadow Palette in California – So, so close!

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I think we all know that a girl can never have too many eyeshadow palettes. While the cost of high end palettes can be prohibitive to a lot of us (*raises hand*), there are some really decent drugstore options out there too. Sure, they might not all have the same buttery texture as their Urban Decay counterparts, but that doesn’t mean they ought to be written off altogether. As part of my recent e.l.f. haul – from which I’m still getting some serious blogging mileage – I bought the £10 Baked Eyeshadow Palette in the California colourway. There are three other colourways available, but I could see myself getting the most use out of the bronzes, golds and browns in California.

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The shade variation is pretty impressive; the top row includes a pale champagne, an orange-bronze, a white gold, a rose gold and a light brown. The bottom row includes a medium grey, a taupe, a moss brown, a medium brown and a purple. All of the shades can be mixed and matched, with a substantial amount of shimmer which I really like, but others might not be so keen. I find shimmers easier to work with, and it’s easier to create a striking look with them – but of course, we’re all different! The packaging is, as one might expect, extremely basic, but the large mirror in the lid does compensate somewhat. No brush is included, but, unless it’s Urban Decay, I probably won’t be using it anyway.

I had never tried baked eyeshadows before, but I knew from reading reviews of various baked formulas not to expect intense pigmentation. And, when I got to swatch this palette, I couldn’t get more than a few shimmer particles out of the shadows without wetting the brush first. Not everyone will want to go to that effort but, if you do, the results are surprisingly worth it.

I really struggled to find good light to take the swatch photographs with but, once I swatched them wet, they were really vibrant and shimmery, with plenty of differentiation between the shades.

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So far, so good. In particular, I love the purple, silver and rose gold shades as they’re very unlike anything else I have in my collection.

Applying the Baked Eyeshadows was a doddle with a wet fluffy brush. The texture was softer than I expected, and really blendable too. I’d imagine that that’s down to the jojoba, rose, sunflower, apricot and grape in the formula, which work to prevent dryness. Because you’ve got to really swirl the brush in the shadows, you end up with loads of fall-out in the pan but, surprisingly, none on your cheeks. The shadows aren’t extremely pigmented but I actually see this as a good thing because you can build up the colour as much or as little as you please. Sometimes, a sheer wash of colour can be perfect for daytime!

For yesterday, I used the white gold all over the lid, the light brown to define the crease, and a dot of the pale champagne to highlight the inner corners:
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I must point out that I had had to make a dash for a bus earlier that morning – a very humid, sticky morning. The eyeshadows didn’t budge, even though every other product on my face did (buh-bye, foundation). And several hours later, there wasn’t so much as a crease in sight. Honestly, I was so pleased; for a £10 palette, the staying power was unlike anything I’d used before. Seeing as I have oily skin, and the palette itself is so pretty, I could deal with the bit of effort involved in application.

All sounds great, right? Then, the rash broke out.

Mostly, it broke out on the arms where I swatched the eyeshadows. I had tiny red bumps all over my inner forearm; completely painless and itch-free, but there nonetheless. I thought it might have been some kind of weird insect bite, until I found a similar bump on my eyelid that night; it was only then that I put two-and-two together. Typical.

So, had that rash not come up, I’d have given the palette a solid 8/10, and continued to use it regularly. But a multitude of teeny bumps is not what one wants to sport on one’s eyes. They’ve lasted two days on my arms and counting – not ideal. I’m pretty disappointed, but at least I didn’t spend a fortune on the palette. I’d still definitely recommend it, but do tread carefully all the same!

Em X

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