Alright, y’all – I’ve been back on my bullshit again! I had some rewards stacked up on my Sephora card from when I last replenished my skincare and I’ve been itching to use them. And wouldn’t you know that would be right when the Circo Loco palette leaked in Europe? I’m not sure exactly what happened beyond that some Sephora stores in Europe accidentally broke embargo on the new palette before it had even been announced by the brand, and one of the palettes was bought by a YouTuber called Anna Reed Lifestyle – and props to her for making no less than 4 videos with the palette before the official word even went out! She doesn’t display subscriber count on her channel, so it’s hard to say exactly but she appears to be a very small channel and this is the sort of viral attention that will hopefully help her grow, and it’s nice to see one of us “regular people” get to have something and post about it before all of the big channels!
I was definitely disappointed to find out this was one of the larger format $129 palettes rather than the $65 palettes – that’s a much more comfortable price for me, especially with a $20 discount. I ordered it anyway, but I did so with a scowl on my face. Of course, Natasha doesn’t give a shit what my face looks like while she’s cashing my check, so I need to just get over it and enjoy my purchase!
This palette, the color story, and the packaging were all very divisive in the last round of New Makeup Nonsense Bingo among my circle of faves: Theresa Is Dead, Emily Hanhan, Audra at Home, and Spooky Lips & Fat Hips. I love argyle, I love diamond patterns, and I love color so I didn’t mind this packaging at all. Would I have prefered some sort of leather-esque cover like the Gold palette? Yes. But this is still cute, and I like the way it evokes the colorful selection of shades inside without being a direct translation.
Inside is a beautiful and wonderfully colorful selection of shades – rather surprising for Natasha Denona! She has done a few palettes with some bold colors, but they are usually paired with neutrals that take up the majority of the palette. Not here – these are all bright and colorful, and with a few gold and orange shades are very cool toned (which I love). The orange shades did confuse me a little, but if you like working contrasting colors next to each other you could pair them with the blues for a very striking look, or pair them with the berry shades for a nice fruit punch sort of look. But most of this palettes is absolutely my dream…I mean, four gorgeous greens! Love!
The swatches were done over the Kaleidos Tone Activator eye primer with a finger swatch on the left and a brush swatch on the right. The top photo is under my studio lighting with no flash and the bottom photo is the same lighting with a flash.
L to R: Firework, Razzle Dazzle, Acrobat, Snow Cone, Cotton Candy
Firework is a deep orange matte, fairly bright and blends well. The mattes were ok with a finger, but they applied beautifully with a brush so I don’t have any real worries about them. There are a few as we go through that darkened a little bit with the primer that I used, and that could be an issue depending on your primer or how you apply, but I don’t have any real concerns with a brush application. If you use a finger, these will work ok with some effort, though you may want to use a brush around the edges to get a clean fade. Razzle Dazzle is a raspberry pink shimmer with blue duochrome shift and a lot of sparkle. Acrobat is a deep teal matte, and this is one of the shades that hit the primer and darkened, though it was almost the opposite of what I usually see. If you look at the brush swatch the center is dark and solid, but it’s a little light and inconsistent around the edges. You can work that to get a good blend, but the shade had a tendency to stick and clump a bit. Snow Cone is a light minty green with silver metallic shine. Cotton Candy is a baby pink matte, nice pigmentation and solid, opaque application. For a pastel, this had amazing coverage; I didn’t have any issues with this.
L to R: Electrick, Grin, Cannon, Flip, Fun-Tomime
Electrick is a bright royal blue metallic shimmer. Grin is a bright yellow-toned gold shimmer. Cannon is a vivid copper metallic. All three of these have a great metallic sheen. Flip is a teal metallic, still good but a little more satin than the other three. Fun-Tomime is a pale aqua matte.
L to R: Spiral, Magic, Aerialist, Act, Joker
Spiral is an orange shimmer, more of a satin-y finish and not as copper as cannon. Magic is a deep indigo matte. This one struggled on the primer with a finger, and it definitely darkened around the edges, but it’s workable. None of these shades are terrible – I definitely need to make that clear – but some of them just feel like they are more work than is warranted for a palette with this sort of price tag. Aerialist is a bright silver shimmer, nice and metallic, though it was weirdly less pigmented and a little sheer with a finger application. Act is an indigo shade that is similar in tone to magic but it has a gorgeous metallic shimmer to it. Joker is a bright maraschino cherry red matte that stuck to the primer a little bit but still had a gorgeous application and tone. If your primer is super tacky it might be more of an issue, but I didn’t struggle too much with this.
So what do I think about this palette? Whenever we get into luxury pricing like this I’m always conflicted. On the one hand, I want to rage and say that no eyeshadow palettes are ever worth over $100…but clearly it was worth over $100 to me, because I did order it (even if I did get my rewards discount). Will this palette change your life? No. There is nothing about the shadows in this palette that you can’t get from other palettes at a variety of other price points, or even by curating singles from brands that you love. Like so much with makeup, it just comes down to preference: do you like the color story enough and do you enjoy the formula, packaging, and total experience enough to make it worth it to you to pull the trigger? Because that’s what matters – you have to do the work that is going to pay the bill, so are you ready to put in that number of hours it will take to pay this off? If it is and you want it, I say go for it. For me, this is my favorite Natasha Denona palette so far because it’s the most colorful, and I will get more use out of more of the shades because there aren’t the boring neutrals that I stay away from. If you love neutrals…well, that’s something to consider whether this is one for you or not. All of that to say, I do recommend this palette if you feel you can afford it and it’s worth it. Don’t lose sleep or skip a meal to get it certainly, but if you do order it I don’t think you will be disappointed. The shimmers are really lovely and many of them have this great metallic shine and the mattes are all pretty decent, especially those pastels (which can be tricky!).
Also, one thing I love about ND palettes is that they are all magnetic and you can mix the shades around. I bought the Tropic palette when it was in half off sale section of Sephora during their “sale on sale” event, so I got a great deal, which was good because I really just liked it for the bottom row of colorful shades. Well, by mixing the two palettes together I was able to create two new palettes that I like infinitely better than either of the originals!
I just took out the three orange shades and the gold and swapped them in for the colorful shades on the bottom of Tropic. Unfortunately, I needed one more spot to get all 5 of the colorful cool tones from Tropic so Aerialist, the silver, also ended up in that new bottom row. I would have preferred to keep it, but I don’t reach for silvers very often so it made more sense to put it in with the warm tones. The new Circo Loco palette is basically a perfect palette for me! Lots of greens, some blues and purples, and a few pinks to spice things up! Now if this had been the original color story, I wouldn’t have thought twice about purchasing!
Side note, makeup fans: I also placed an order for the Triochrome palette from Natasha Denona. I might get to it at some point (we know I never shy away from old products to review!) but if you’re really interested make sure you hit me up over on IG and let me know so I can prioritize it. It’s an older release, but not that old, so if you want it, let me know!