ColourPop Element Of Surprise Palette | Review + 2 Looks

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 + 2 Looks

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.

ColourPop Element of Surprise Palette | Packaging


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.

ColourPop Element Of Surprise Palette Review

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.

ColourPop Element Of Surprise Colour Story

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. SubdueFeels 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.

ColourPop Element of Surprise Palette Swatches


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…

ColourPop Element Of Surprise Palette Review

Final Thoughts

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



  1. October 29, 2018 / 3:50 pm

    It’s too bad that this palette didn’t work out for you! But the looks that you created are very pretty! It’s so weird, because usually their palettes are top notch, so for them to drop the ball like this is really disappointing.

    • AlwaysCleia
      October 31, 2018 / 12:50 pm

      Thank you! I was mostly frustrated that so many of the shades looked similar on my eye so it’s not very versatile for me. I de-potted the palette into my Z palette after reviewing it, I don’t know that I’ll reach for it much :S

  2. October 24, 2018 / 11:46 pm

    I’m sorry you didn’t like it as much, I don’t have much experience with CP palettes so I guess to me the formula seemed pretty good since I cannot compared to other palettes lol. I don’t remember having trouble with shades being patchy or blending them, then again I’ve barely touched the palette since my review and that was ages ago. I may have to reach for it again and see how I feel about it again lol.
    Despite the fact that you didn’t like it, I do love the looks you came up with. Great review doll!

    • AlwaysCleia
      October 25, 2018 / 12:13 am

      Thanks Rossy! I remember that you liked this palette when you reviewed it, and it swatched really well in your YouTube video! I would have like a little bit more variety with the shades. The darker shades didn’t want to work for me at all 🙁 Of course products don’t always work for everyone so I hope that people take this review with a grain of salt. Just cause it didn’t work for me doesn’t mean if won’t work for someone else!

      • October 25, 2018 / 11:17 am

        Yeah it swatched beautifully I wonder if maybe it’s a different batch OR*** maybe the other palettes you own really are much MUCH better lol.
        And yeah makeup isn’t one size fits all which I appreciate, everyone has different preferences and skin type it’d be boring if everyone liked everything lol.

        • AlwaysCleia
          October 25, 2018 / 11:26 pm

          Lol that could be! But at least I was able to use boxycharm points for the palette so it was sort of free 😂

  3. October 23, 2018 / 5:27 pm

    Sad to hear you were not impressed with the actual palette but the looks you created are stunning, I love the pigmentation of the shadows <3

    Serene XO

    • AlwaysCleia
      October 23, 2018 / 6:50 pm

      Thank you! It’s weird, this palette just doesn’t do it for me 😕 I normally love Colourpop shadows!

  4. October 22, 2018 / 11:57 pm

    Opulent and Blank Canvas look beautiful, I’m sure Opulent would look great all over the lid with Blank Canvas in the crease to deepen up the look! Fuchsia is my favourite lip colour but I’ve never tried fuchsia eyeshadow before :/ When you de-potted did you keep all the shades?

    • AlwaysCleia
      October 23, 2018 / 1:07 am

      I’ll have to try that combo! I’m a little scared to pop such a vibrant pink all over my eyelid but I’ll try it out!
      I did keep all the shades yes, I had lots of room in my Z palette so I figured I didn’t want to waste the shades if I had room for them.

      • October 23, 2018 / 2:55 am

        Can’t wait to hear if the combo is decent or not, sorry if it isn’t (but I’m sure it will be fine) 😛 Fair enough 🙂

        • AlwaysCleia
          October 23, 2018 / 5:49 pm

          Haha don’t be sorry! I love an excuse to play with makeup 😉

  5. Makeup by Erin
    October 22, 2018 / 7:42 pm

    I actually do like this palette, I don’t think it’s anywhere near as nice as other CP palettes, but it’s fine. I really love the lavender shade and the pink shade the most. I didn’t encounter any patchiness or any trouble using it all.

    • AlwaysCleia
      October 22, 2018 / 8:32 pm

      I wonder why I’m having so much trouble with it, I’ve read a lot of positive reviews on this palette but I just can’t make it work for me most of the time! On the bright side I redeemed my boxycharm points for it so I didn’t spend my actual money on it… I’m glad it’s been working for you!

  6. October 22, 2018 / 11:41 am

    While the looks you’ve created look beyond beautiful, since you said the colors are so patchy, this is a palette I probably won’t get! Great review Cleia 🙂 xx

    Melina |

    • AlwaysCleia
      October 22, 2018 / 12:53 pm

      I think you’re dodging a bullet skipping this one! Thanks for reading Melina! x

  7. October 22, 2018 / 8:55 am

    very nice review, I don’t really like the palette, I don’t feel inspired when I look at it but I adore the second you look you created, so nice!

    • AlwaysCleia
      October 22, 2018 / 12:52 pm

      Thanks Joy! It took me forever to write this review, I just didn’t want to play with theses shades at all. The looks turned out nice at least but I wouldn’t recommend buying it 🙁

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