e.l.f. Studio Blush Palettes in Dark and Light
(retail: $6 each, 0.14 oz)
These palettes are available on the e.l.f. website and they come in two shades: Dark (left) and Light (right). According to several reviews on the e.l.f. website, written by customers who are probably far more familiar with e.l.f.'s blush singles than I am, there are no dupes of existing e.l.f. blush shades in these palettes. In other words, these are apparently all new shades, but I can't personally confirm that for you since I don't own too many e.l.f. blush singles.
For perspective, I grabbed something from my stash that's roughly the same size as these blush palettes:
e.l.f. Studio Blush Palette vs. Wet n Wild 8-Pan Palette
As you can see, the e.l.f. Blush Palette is just a tiny bit smaller than a Wet n Wild 8-Pan Palette. Also, you get a nice, large mirror:
The Blush Palette in Light contains a cool pink, a neutral tan, a warm pink and a warm coral. The finish of these shades is essentially matte (there's a very, very slight sheen to some of them, but no shimmer). The only exception is the coral shade, which contains some fine gold glitter (sorry, it's hard to see that in my pics).
Here I am wearing the two lightest shades in this palette--the neutral tan (as a contour shade) and the cool pink (as blush, above the contour). I applied these very lightly on purpose (I tend to overdo it when I'm showing you blushes, so I"m trying to change gears a show you a more "realistic" look):
For the pic above, I applied face primer, full-coverage liquid foundation and setting powder.and then applied the blushes using my e.l.f. Small Stipple Brush. You can see that there's no streakiness or spottiness. These blushes blend very easily and the tan shade makes a very nice, very subtle contour shade. The cool pink shade, which I applied on the apples of my cheeks and blended back toward my ears, looks a tiny bit warmer on my NC20 skintone than it does in the pan, but I think it still looks like pink (sometimes cool pinks morph into warm berry or mauve shades on my skin). For the record, I could get a MUCH more intense look with the Light palette than what you see above, just by switching to a regular blush brush and swirling the brush a few times in the palette before applying.
The Blush Palette in Dark contains a warm, dusty mauve, a deep neutral berry, a warm, rusty brick-red and a deeper, more neutral-leaning brick-red. With the exception of the warm, rusty brick-red, these shades are all essentially mattes (some of them do contain a very subtle sheen, but no shimmer). The warm, rusty brick-red shade contains chunky gold glitter.
I realize that, on some monitors, the colors above probably look nothing like the swatches below. This is also true in real life! With the two brick-red shades, the colors in the pan appear lighter and not as red, but on the skin they both look quite red and a lot deeper. My swatches below are very accurate (on my monitor at least!).
Here I am wearing the warm, rusty brick-red, with a little of the dusty mauve applied to just the tops of my cheekbones:
For this look, I wanted to show you what these blushes look like when applied on top of a sheer BB cream. I'm not wearing a full face of makeup here like in the first photo--I'm just wearing BB cream and a very light dusting of translucent powder. You can see that the blush colors don't look quite as smooth, but some of that is due to the fact that many of my skin's imperfections are coming through (due to the sheerness of the BB cream). But I didn't experience any serious streaks or spotty application, and the blushes were still quite easy to blend. The pigmentation of these colors is pretty intense, as you can see, even though I used my e.l.f. Small Stipple Blush which tends to give me a lot more control over highly-pigmented blushes.
Additional thoughts: These blushes are quite nice and they exceeded my expectations on every level. I have to be honest and tell you that I have never been an e.l.f. powder blush fan. Over the years, just about every e.l.f. powder blush I've owned has been dry, powdery and hard to work with. I'm glad I had an open mind with these because I think each of these palettes contains versatile, highly-pigmented shades that can work with a variety of skintones (although they are definitely warm-tone-friendly). If you can only wear cool shades on your cheeks, I'm not sure either palette would be ideal for you.
The texture of these blushes is quite nice--three out of the four shades in each palette are very silky and easy to work with. One shade in each palette seems a tiny bit more "gritty" and dry to me. The glittery shade in each palette isn't a deal-breaker for me because, after blending, I can hardly see the glitter at all. These are not shimmery blushes, and the glitter kind of drops off my skin after blending.
The Light palette would be nice for those with medium-to-fair skintones. I think that if your skintone is medium-deep to very deep, this palette could also work for you, but you'll need to build for more intensity (but honestly, these blushes are so pigmented, I don't think you'll have to build for too long).
The Dark palette would work for just about all skintones. If you have a deep skintone, I don't think you'll have to work at all to achieve some very nice pigmentation. But if you have fair skin, you'll need to use a very light hand and probably a stipple brush to control pigmentation.
Staying power is obviously a lot better when I'm wearing a full face of makeup (including primer). I can usually get about 6-7 hours of wear from the shades in both palettes when I'm wearing a full face of makeup. If I'm just wearing BB cream or a light foundation, I can get about 4-5 hours of wear before I start to see some significant fading. Keep in mind that I have very oily skin, so your mileage may vary when it comes to staying power. One more thing: I detect no fragrance whatsoever in these blushes.
FINAL VERDICT: Great pigmentation? Check. Versatile colors? Check. Silky texture? Check. Lots of mattes options? Check. For six dollars a piece, I think these palettes are a great deal. You can contour, highlight, mix colors...there are lots of options here for six bucks, and the quality is MUCH better than the e.l.f. blush singles I've used in the past. These palettes have given me a much better outlook on e.l.f.'s powder blushes in general, because I was a real Negative Nancy about their powder blushes prior to these palettes. I say give them a shot the next time e.l.f. is running a promotion that catches your eye. Unless you can only wear cool tones on your cheeks--if that's the case, you might have to skip these because they're heavy on warm shades.
And speaking of e.l..f promotions, there's one going on right now on the e.l.f. site if you're thinking about giving these palettes a try. Now through 5/26/14, you can get BOGO1/2OFF the entire e.l.f. site with code BOGO50 at checkout. You must purchase at least $25 worth of merchandise to qualify for this deduction.
The products featured in this post were purchased with personal funds. For more information, click here.