Sunday, October 20, 2013

E.l.f. Little black beauty book (cool edition) swatches & review: Is it worthy of being Holy Grail?

Let me start off by saying I'm a fan of Elf cosmetics in general. While a lot of their inventory is hit or miss, it is so cheap that you can afford some trial and error.

So when I saw the Elf little black beauty book -cool edition- at my local target for only $6, there was no way I was passing it up.

Now, I'm ever so glad that I snatched it up! There is such a wide range of colors, they are pretty pigmented, and the price cannot be beat.
Could the formula use some work? Yes. But I am pretty sure that these are some of  the best drug store eyeshadows I have ever encountered. What they lack in formula they make up for in pigmentation and color range. There is a mix of both matte and shimmer finishes. As is expected, the shimmer shades are much easier to work with than the matte shades, as you will see in the swatches. 

elf little black beauty book cool edition

See swatches and my full review after the jump- 

I should have put something there for size comparison. Because it's not joking when it says "little black beauty book". It's quite small.

elf little black beauty book cool edition

As you can see, this palette contains a lot of bright colors. But it also has some neautrals over on the left side. 

Now I'll take you through swatches. I do apologize and ask that you bear with me. I am still getting the hang of this taking pictures of swatches thing. Some of my pictures could use some work. I try to minimally edit my pictures, I don't even use photoshop. However practice makes perfect so I hope to get better and better at photography. 

All swatches were made on top of Milani's eye primer. I would definitely recommend using a primer for these eyeshadows. Some of them are great even on their own but mostly they need that extra oomph! 
I would also suggest that on some of the brighter colors, you layer it over a white base such as Nyx Milk. That step isn't necessary but it definitely helps bring out the brightness in the colors.

left side of elf little black book
left side of palette

First I will be reviewing the left side.

row 1 swatches
The first row has some of the lightest colors in it. As you can see the 1st, 3rd, and 5th colors are shimmery and pigmented. The last color looks darker on the skin than it does in the pan, and the first color actually looks lighter on the skin than it does in the pan. The 2nd and 4th colors, as you can tell, barely showed up on my skin tone. Perhaps if you are a different tone than me, they would show up better on you.

row 2
Row 2 is full of greens. I'll admit these were patchy and needed a little bit of effort. As you can see the 4th shade is the deepest and most pigmented. The first and lightest shade definitely had the least pigmentation, and you can tell in the second shade how patchy it is. The last shade is a blackened gold in the pan but really gets muddy when putting it on your skin. It ends up looking mostly black with sparse gold glitter. 

row 3
The true blues of this palette were in row 3. The first color seemed very grey-blue but definitely turned more blue on the skin. The other colors had a little bit of patchiness but they are fairly pigmented so I think it makes up for it. I really like the navy color. 

row 4
Shades of grey are housed in the last row. Honestly I would never use the "black" from this palette. Not pigmented enough adn too patchy. But those grey silvers are great! So pigmented!!

Now the right side of the palette is really what my jam is.

right side of palette
As you can see, that's where all the bright colors are! finishes are a lot more shimmery on this side, too.

row 5
Lots of golden, copper, yellowy shades in this row. The yellows aren't as bright as they looked in pan, but they still aren't bad. Again some of hte lighter colors didn't show up too well on my skin tone. The last 2 colors are pretty great in this row. Very pigmented. 

row 6
Pinks and reds! Even though it's out of focus the first few shades are pretty pigmented. The two matte shades are less pigmented than the rest. The bright pinks are my favorite. In all honesty the last few shades are not as red as they appear. They are definitely not true reds, as I'm sure you know that's hard to encounter in eyeshadow. But they are very pretty and pigmented regardless!
row 7
Row 7 is the row of purples. As you can see only the middle matte shade had any trouble. The rest are quite pigmented and lovely. I like having so many different shades of purple to do looks with. 

Now for my favorite row! The last row is dedicated to teals and turquoise. This is my favorite row by far. All the colors are extremely pigmented and I find myself reaching for them again and again. Such beautiful colors in this row. I would honestly say that this row alone is worth the $6 price tag!

For good measure here is another picture of the last 2 palettes. You can definitely see how amazingly pigmented they are. So gorgeous!!!

Final verdict:
These may not be the easiest eyeshadows to deal with, but I think that they are worth it. To have such a variety of bright colors for so cheap, is incomparable. I might not recommend it for everyday use for most people but every time I want to do a bright eye look (which, let's face it, is a lot!) I reach for this palette. 

I also think that my pictures don't entirely do it justice. If you compare my swatches with the bottom photo you will see how some colors didn't translate well in the swatch pictures yet look beautiful in the last photo. 

All in all I'd say to check out this palette or one of the other versions- day, night, and warm. I think I may buy the day version myself!

This palette can be found at Target (where I bought it) or on the elf website here.

Do you see yourself using this palette? What other colorful palettes would you suggest or compare it to? Comment & let me know!

Follow your bliss,
Ember Darling


  1. I love e.l.f ! There's nothing like a cheap gem :) I'm loving the teal row too...and the purples but I'm kinda biased ;) those oranges look nice too! I'd like to see what looks you come up with :)

    1. I love e.l.f. too!! I am also totally biased towards the teal and purple rows hehe cause those are my favorite colors! But they are gorgeous! I will definitely post lots of different looks coming up! :) In fact I have already done a few and have been waiting to post them until I got this post up first so people knew what palette I was using! :) Thanks for stopping by and commenting Ashley! xox

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  4. I have seen a few of these and I actually have one although not these colors. I love e.l.f

    1. Which one do you have? I love elf too :) Thanks for commenting!

  5. I have a few elf palettes and I really like them! Row 7 in this palette is so beautiful

    1. I have a few too, but this one is by far my favorite! Row 7 is really beautiful, isn't it!! I love it. :) Thanks for commenting! x0x


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