Thursday, December 7, 2017

What I'm Not Buying: Too Faced Chocolate Gold Palette

Another month has passed, and you know what that means—Too Faced has released yet another palette. This is the Chocolate Gold palette, a limited edition palette that looks a lot like their Chocolate Bar palettes but will not (as of now) be a part of the permanent range. 

And I won't be buying. 

I'm going to start this post off a little different today, and that is by talking about a positive aspect of this product. Too Faced has released so many new palettes and collections over the past couple years, and when I see whatever the new product looks like, the vast majority of the time I find it so boring. When I look at the Chocolate Gold palette, I don't like it enough to potentially want to buy it, but it doesn't look as bad as so many of their other palettes—at least at first glance, but we will get into that in a bit. 

Upon first look, there are some shades in this palette that I would really like if I didn't have a large eyeshadow collection. I'm immediately drawn to Classy & Sassy, because I've been really loving gold pinks, and I'm also really drawn to New Money (hot pink), Old Money (copper), and Chocolate Gold. 

If this palette was good quality and if I didn't already have a large collection, I could see myself using almost all of these colors. In fact, the only colors I don't think I would use a ton are Decadent (matte black) and Dippin' Diamonds (silver). That is something that I feel has been lacking from a lot of Too Faced releases lately, which is a (somewhat) exciting(ish) color scheme. 

But, here's the thing. While this color scheme seems a little "exciting" for Too Faced, it is not at all exciting when compared to what is currently on the market. And, as far as I can tell from reviews and swatches, this palette is just okay. Some shimmers have decent pigment, some don't. Some mattes look sheer, others look patchy. This isn't all that surprising to me or probably most people at this point, but for $49, you have got to be dreaming to think I will pay that for so-so quality. 

Again, it seems like Too Faced's priority with this palette was the packaging: 

Now, I will say that I actually really like this packaging. I love how shiny the gold is, and if I was a sucker for packaging, this one would be hard for me to resist. I think it's beautiful, and I think Too Faced did a good job with it, which makes it even more disappointing that the actual product is just okay. 

The packaging also serves another purpose, which is making a statement against the brand Makeup Revolution that has built an entire brand off of ripping off successful brands and products. Here is the packaging for their copied version of the Too Faced Chocolate Bar:

Makeup Revolution seems to be a divisive brand. Some people like it because they offer popular color schemes at fractions of the cost and they are sold in countries where the original brand is not. So for people who live outside the US and who don't have access to the same products, Makeup Revolution is a brand they like. 

Personally, I really hate brands like Makeup Revolution for ripping off someone else's creative work. There's a difference between having palettes with similar colors (like Natasha Denona Sunset, Colourpop Yes, Please!, and NYX Fire) and flat-out ripping someone off, copying their exact color scheme and layout, replicating the packaging, or even ripping off the name. 

The worst offender, I believe, is the Makeup Revolution "Light and Shade" palette:

Which is such an egregious ripoff, down the the name and shadow layout, of the Kat Von D Shade and Light Eye palette:

I could never support a brand that makes money off of stealing from another brand in such a blatant, unapologetic, and obvious way, so I personally find it fun that Too Faced ripped off Makeup Revolution's packaging of a product they ripped off from Too Faced. 

But I am not someone who purchases an expensive product just for the packaging, and I am disappointed, as always, that Too Faced put more care and attention into that than into giving consumers a fantastic product. 

Let's look at swatches:

These swatches are so disappointing, especially when you consider that the swatches provided by the brand are going to look the best (and also unrealistic). There is no question that brands apply a hefty layer of primer on models' skin and then layer the product on top. It is also very likely that a lot of photo editing takes place afterward. That seems exceptionally obvious in this case because there is hardly any variation of the swatches between the different skin tones. 

And personally, I don't think these swatches look that great. In fact, I'm surprised that this is even the same palette as pictured above. The gold pink color that I was so drawn to in images of the palette does not exist in these swatches. The hot pink looks identical to the "Jelly" shadow in the Too Faced Peanut Butter and Jelly palette, and the rest of the swatches just look incredibly neutral and boring. 

If you take away the green shadow, the palette looks very neutral, and if you also take away the pink/violet shade, you've basically got the first Chocolate Bar:

So if you already have this palette, there is really no need to consider the Chocolate Gold palette. All you are missing is a green and pink/violet. 

On Too Faced's website, they showcase a few looks that can be achieved with the Chocolate Gold palette, and this is one of the looks:

I really couldn't believe when I saw photo. First, this does absolutely nothing in terms of advertising any quality of the product, and second, it barely looks like the model is wearing any eyeshadow. Obviously people have a wide array of preferences, and I know there are plenty of people who love a "no makeup" makeup look. I also know that many people just want to lightly define their crease or only wear neutral matte shadows. Those are not my personal preferences, but I know so many people who love a "natural" look. But when you look at images of the Chocolate Gold palette, it isn't one that jumps out at me to be for the person who loves a natural/minimal look. This photo just makes me think that the shadows in the palette don't perform very well. Furthermore, the "pigment" shown in the above swatches seems to be totally absent here.

When I first saw this palette, I immediately thought of the Too Faced Pretty Rebel palette:

This palette has been discontinued for many years, but I know it was beloved by those who owned it. 

The thing with Too Faced is that they built a fan base of consumers who loved the quality of their products. Then they started moving into the gimmicks (smelling like chocolate) and focusing on the packaging (looking like a bar of chocolate), and people went with them because gimmicks and packaging can be fun if the product is still good, which it was for a while. 

And then Too Faced started churning out products in preparation of selling to Estée Lauder, and since the sale of the company, the quality has only declined further. Even this palette, which looks to be quite a step up from the White Chocolate Bar palette, still can't hold up to a $16 palette from Colourpop. 

If you are drawn to this palette and have the original Chocolate Bar, there really is no reason to buy the Chocolate Gold. Not only do you have all of the tones already, but the Chocolate Bar (at least those sold a few years ago before the sale of the company) is of better quality. Buying the Chocolate Gold palette would give you duplicates of what you already have (but only worse), plus two shadows and different packaging. 

And, frankly, the color scheme of this palette is not unique enough even with the green and pink to justify adding it to an already full makeup collection. 

Other palettes that have similar tones include the Urban Decay Vice 3:

As well as the Urban Decay Vice LTD:

I recently saw a post from someone who had purchased the Chocolate Gold palette with the caption: "Please don't suck." For $49, I certainly expect more from a palette than the hope that it won't suck. When I purchased the BH Cosmetics Zodiac palette for $19, I had that same thought. "Please don't suck." I really wanted to love that palette, but I bought it before reviews had come out, and I knew I was taking a risk. And for $19, I was okay with that risk. But I shouldn't have to hope that a product from a more expensive brand won't suck. (Frankly, I shouldn't have to hope that with any brand, because companies should not be releasing mediocre or bad products.) 

But that is what I feel Too Faced has come to. "Please don't suck." This was once a brand that was on top of the beauty pyramid. I used to get so excited to see every new release, but that faded around the time of Chocolate Bon Bons. Now, with the flood of new products, I just roll my eyes. I mentioned this in my last post about Too Faced, but it feels like they are creating disposable makeup because of how frequently they release new products. And yet, prices have not gone down; pan/product sizes have not gone down. 

If you haven't seen Amber F's channel on YouTube, I recommend it. Each year she uses up an entire palette, and this year she is tackling the Chocolate Bar. She uses much more eyeshadow in her looks than I do, and she also multi-tasks several shadows as eyeliner, eyebrow powder, contour, bronzer, blush, and face highlighter. (I will link her playlist for the Chocolate Bar series here.) She has remarked several times throughout the year on how much product there is in the Chocolate Bar and how densely packed the shadows are, meaning that she doesn't go through the shadows as quickly as she does with other brands. Watching her use up this palette has really hit home for me how much product is in these palettes and how long it would actually take to use them up. If it takes her a year or more to use up the Chocolate Bar, while using the shadows for almost all aspects of her makeup look on a daily basis, I can't imagine how long it would take me. 

So for Too Faced to treat these products as disposable is truly baffling to me. Releasing a new palette every month doesn't allow anyone to actually use and enjoy their current products (and Too Faced's target audience are the people who buy everything new that the brand releases). And I really don't appreciate that this brands thinks that my income is this disposable. 

This same behavior is what drove me away from MAC, which was my all-time favorite brand for years. They kept coming out with a new special collection seemingly every few weeks, and as a result, all of them were of terrible quality. I was never big on getting the special collections, but I found it annoying that the sales associates were always trying to push these crappy products on me when I went into the store. And now, I barely have any MAC products in my collection. 

Colourpop is also coming out with new products and palettes at an alarming rate, but I find it less obnoxious since their entire business model is to provide trendy makeup with less product and at low prices. I'm not a person who cares about price per gram since I hardly ever even hit the pan on eyeshadows, so I am happy to pay an overall less price than to pay a crazy high price because it is lower in price per gram. 

I am not a fan of Anastasia Beverly Hill's palette formula, but I appreciate that they only come out with one or two palettes a year. And although Subculture was a bit of a disaster, you could tell that the brand had attempted to create shadows that had intense pigmentation. As a result, the shadows couldn't be pressed very hard in the manufacturing process, which led to all the of problems. I think ABH didn't handle that situation well, but it still seemed to me like the intention was to create a quality palette that consumers would love. Whereas it seems Too Faced just creates things to make money and doesn't put a ton of attention and care into giving consumers a quality product. 

This is also something I mentioned in my last post about Too Faced, but I really feel like the brand won't be able to sustain this kind of model for much longer in the changing beauty landscape. Colourpop is really changing the game, and although I wasn't a fan of the brand in its early days, now that they are more established, I'm really supportive of what they are doing. If I can get a great quality palette for $16 that also has a cool, interesting color scheme, why in the hell would I pay $49 for a crappy palette from Too Faced? Just so I can get some gold plastic covering some brown plastic on the packaging? No thanks. 

While I think the Chocolate Gold palette is better than other recent offerings from Too Faced, it is still more of the same from the brand and absolutely nothing to get too excited over. I don't need another expensive palette with basic colors and mediocre quality, so I won't be buying. 


  1. Hey! So I've been back through every post on your blog because I find your writing really refreshing. I have bought a couple of the products that you said you wouldn't - Desert Dusk and Naked Heat in particular, which are two of my absolute favourites, and Toasted, which I haven't tried yet. But I also have a different skin colour, undertone, and eye colour, as well as a less developed collection (I only learned how to properly do eyeshadow a couple of months ago).

    You've inspired me to be more critical of my purchases, and I have gotten a few that you've recommended, specifically Yes Please and Fyrinnae shadows (PS, would love to know how to recommend using these, I don't have experience with loose shadows). Also on the hunt for Dior Cosmopolite because I swatched it in-store and actually gasped, it was so pretty. But that's pretty much about it, and now I'm fairly happy with the shade range that I have.

    So anyway, thank you for your writing, recommendations, and general approach to consumerism in this industry. You've completely steered me away from Too Faced - this is the only one of their products that has really tempted me, and mostly because of that beautiful green. But I won't be buying. :)

    1. Thank you so much for such a nice comment! I've been buying makeup for over 8 years at this point, so not only is my collection developed and curated, but I also have a really strong point of view of what formulas work for me and which ones don't as much. And I will say that all of the palettes you have bought recently are really stunning. If I hadn't already purchased all that came before, I certainly would have purchased at least Desert Dusk and Naked Heat or Tartelette Toasted.

      I'm glad that my blog has been helpful in making you a pickier shopper, as that is my main goal with this blog. I can't tell you much much I appreciate hearing from someone that they have found my blog helpful!

      With Fyrinnae shadows, I've found the best way to apply them is with the Fyrinnae's Pixie Epoxy. I didn't buy PE when I first placed a Fyrinnae order, and I found that the color payoff wasn't nearly as brilliant as I expected. Then a kind reader wrote in saying that I really should buy Pixie Epoxy and apply it first. I just apply a dap to each eyelid and gently pat it in just on the mobile part of my lid (I personally use Fyrinnae shadows as lid shades and wouldn't recommend using Pixie Epoxy for matte shades). I would also recommend using the shimmer shadows wet if you don't already own Pixie Epoxy (though I really recommend buying it). To do that, I pick up some of the shadow on my brush and then spray the brush with MAC Fix+ or any other setting spray. Then I pat on my lid.

      I hope this helps, and thank you for reading!

  2. Do you think that this pallete is similar to urban decay heavy metals pallete? I have that one and am tempted to get this one

    1. I do, yes. I think both palettes have the same (or very similar) pretty shimmers that can be found in many other palettes. If you have Heavy Metals and enjoy it, I don't think the Chocolate Gold palette would provide you much more than pretty packaging.

      Thanks for reading!