So I know it’s been a while since I posted my first impressions of the ColourPop Element of Surprise palette. The reason that it’s taken me so long to post my full review is… I don’t like this palette. I’ve heard from a lot of you guys that you really like it, I’m not saying that it’s a bad palette but there are a few things about it that just weren’t for me.
ColourPop Element Of Surprise Palette Review
Get a load of this bold beauty. The perfect mix of edgy dramatic with a girly twist and bold pops of colour, this baby has you covered for the season. Our first palette with all four finishes: matte, metallic, satin, and duochrome, make it so easy to shake up the scene — ColourPop
The Element of Surprise Palette by ColourPop retails for $16USD at ColourPop and contains 12 x 0.85g (0.03oz) shades in a range of warm red and brown tones with a few pops of colour. It contains matte, satin and metallic shades.
I learned from AyRGalaxy’s Element of Surprise Palette Review that there was a small disclaimer online at ColourPop that three of the shades in the palette are not intended for use around the eye area. WTF Right? Basically they contain Red Lake Pigments which can dye your skin and irritate the eye area. Palettes that contain Red Lakes can’t be called “Eyeshadow” Palettes. They’re often called “pressed pigment palettes” to get around this.
The Element of Surprise palette and all of CP’s eyeshadow palettes are called “Pressed Powder Shadow Palettes” as a workaround. This is quite common if you look closely enough at beauty releases, for instance the new Manny MUA Life’s A Drag palette has the same issue. What is even more annoying is that this information is only given on the website — not on the packaging itself.
I feel like I’m repeating myself a lot when I talk about ColourPop’s packaging as it’s standardized across most of their palettes (aside from the Sol & Mar style palettes which resemble Kylie Cosmetics’ palettes). The Element of Surprise Palette has cardboard packaging with a magnetic closure. It doesn’t contain a mirror. CP’s palettes are small, I’m used to their size now but I originally expected a larger palette from seeing photos on Instagram. I’ve never hit pan on any of my CP palettes though so is that really such a big deal? Probably not.
I wish that the shade names were printed under each shade, sometimes ColourPop does this and sometimes they don’t. I feel like they should do that every time because I never remember shade names when they aren’t printed directly under each colour.
The design of the palette itself is interesting, I think they were going for a chemical inspired look? Those little circles make me think of a test tube fizzing or blood cells.
Colour Story & Finishes
I initially really liked the colour story in the Element of Surprise Palette. The icy purple, Subdue, is pretty but when I use it it doesn’t seem to fit with the warm brown and orange shades in the palette. I was the most excited to use Subdue though, it’s very unique. I like that there are a good deal of matte transition shades as well as some metallic accents to make more dramatic looks.
Looking at the palette the shades are distinct from one another and seem like they would make a lot of interesting looks. My problem was that on the eyes a lot of the shades looked almost exactly the same to me, or were hardly different enough to make my makeup interesting. Silk Street appears to be a deep purple in the pan but when I swatch it it’s a medium pink. It’s similar to Blank Canvas which is only slightly more red toned. I thought that Late Night would be a beautiful metallic gold but on the skin it’s almost identical to Rayon.
The Element Of Surprise Palette contains a few of ColourPop’s Satin finish eyeshadows which was disappointing to me (Subdue & Feels). Satin shades rarely have good colour payoff on my eyes and they don’t blend as nicely as the mattes or metallics. Details has a matte base with glitter flecks and I find that the glitter disappears when I tap out my brush or do any sort of blending so the glitter is redundant.
Pigmentation, Fallout & Blend
I was really disappointed with how patchy some of the shades are. The formula isn’t up to par with my other palettes from CP. Many of the mattes don’t apply very well to my eyes. They cling to some parts of my eyelid more than others so I have to spend extra time packing them on to get an even wash of colour. Details especially gave me trouble with the glitter that doesn’t stick to the eye. Subdue & Feels need a setting spray, or to be applied directly over concealer to get decent colour payoff.
Because of the patchiness of many of the shades you need to spend extra time blending out the edges. The blend isn’t terrible but my Give it To Me Straight and Double Entendre Palettes from ColourPop have a very seamless blend compared to the Element of Surprise.
The orange shimmers are beautiful when pressed onto the eyelid, however Late Night has such a weird texture to it, it makes my eyelid look gritty when I use it! I don’t know what’s up with that. On a positive note I didn’t notice any more fallout under my eyes than your average eyeshadow palette. There is a bit of kick up in the pan when using the metallic/shimmer shades.
Feels: A metallic opalescent pink. It’s the lightest shade in the Element of Surprise Palette.
Late Night: An Orangey metallic/shimmer that looks suspiciously like Rayon on the eyes.
Silk Street: A patchy matte purple. This shade looks a lot like Blank Canvas on the eyes.
Rayon: A Metallic copper shade that looks very similar to Late Night.
Go With the Flow: A Peachy Matte. I like this shade all over the lid for a natural look.
Subdue: An icy purple satin shade. It’s hard to work with but beautiful.
Opulent: A Bright fuchsia pink! This shade is insanely pigmented and is in my opinion the best shade in the palette.
Labyrinth: A matte dusty rose. This shade would make a beautiful blush. It also makes a grand transition shade.
Blank Canvas: A Matte maroon. I still think it looks like Silk Street. I mean, they’re a little different but not by much.
Sea Stars: A caramel brown. I like using Sea Stars as a transition shade.
Details: A Matte Brown with gold glitter. The glitter never translates on the eye with a matte base, a little blending and it’s gone. Why bother?
Peace of Mind: A Metallic Burgundy. This shade is beautiful.
Element of Surprise Makeup Looks
Honestly I was very unsure what looks to create with this palette. I thought that I would feel a lot more creative with it but I just couldn’t come up with much when so many shadows are similar to each other. Instead my of usual three looks I went with two.
Look # 1 Elementary, My Dear Watson
For this look I only used three shades from the Element of Surprise Palette. After setting my primer I applied the shade Opulent all through the crease. Next I took the shade Silk Street and applied that below that pink shade. Taking some concealer I cut a full crease. Last I placed the shade Subdue all over the concealer. I really like how this look came out. It’s a little bit dramatic for everyday wear but the combo of Opulent & Subdue is pretty.
Look # 2 Periodic Table of Elements
This one is a smokey red/brown eyeshadow look. I used the shade Labyrinth as a transition shade and placed the shade Details all over the outer corner and inner 1/3 of my eye. With a wet brush I applied Peace Of Mind all over the center of the lid. Last I used the same wet brush to apply the shade Rayon in the inner corners of my eyes. Though I like the way this looked in the pictures above I noticed that the shades looked patchy when photographed from other angles. On one eye the inner corner shade was a bit muddy and I could tell that Details wasn’t very even on my eyelids…
I’m not impressed with the Element Of Surprise Palette. There are some shades that are truly beautiful and are a dream to work with but as a whole I wasn’t pleased with the overall curation of the palette. It doesn’t feel complete to me with so many similar colours and shades that are hard to get maximum colour payoff from.
Maybe I’ve just been spoiled with excellent ColourPop palettes in the past. I really expected more from the Element Of Surprise Palette! It’s not terrible by any means, many shades are gorgeous or just fun to play with, like the bright pink Opulent. Please keep in mind that just because I’m not a fan of this palette it doesn’t mean that you won’t enjoy it or that it’s a bad product. I’m sure I will keep reaching for it, but it won’t be as often as I reach for my other ColourPop Palettes.
Do you have the ColourPop Element Of Surprise Palette?
Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this review, let me know if you loved this palette or felt the same as me. Click HERE to find all my other ColourPop Reviews and please like & subscribe to support this blog <3