I love bright coloured make-up. It started off as a way to compensate for the all-black outfits I am sometimes unable to resist. There’s just something delightfully lurid about wearing hot pink eyeshadow and/or lipstick with an all-black outfit. Eventually, my love of matching got the better the black eyeliner obsession I had in my teens and I started to collect eyeshadow colours to match all the colours in my wardrobe.
Whilst Sleek’s Graphite palette was GAF, you could be forgiven for jumping to the conclusion that the limited edition Circus palette could not be dragged over to the dark side of make-up. The box is a bright shade of coral pink, and when I saw pictures of the packaging online I thought ‘Ugh!’, but since picking the palette up in the shop I’ve decided I love it. It’s not a colour I would wear on my face (or anywhere else!) so I’m very glad there’s not a matching eyeshadow in the palette – one of the pinks looks close in the pan but comes out pinker. However, it reminds me of Starburst Joosters, which are Starburst branded jellybeans that I was addicted to years. I used to get through bags and bags until one day I decided all that sugar and god knows what couldn’t be good for me, and stopped buying them. Complete cold-turkey on non-chocolate based sweets. When looking at this palette, I remember how good those Joosters tasted. It’s like it satisfies the primeval craving without getting me re-addicted.
Inside the box is quite a wide selection of colours. Naturally, I was interested in the purple shadows straight away. I was intrigued by the blues, as I don’t have very many decent blue eyeshadows, and I was also looking forward to trying out the lovely-looking bright green. I didn’t have a yellow eyeshadow, and I figured this was a cheap way to get one so that I’d be prepared if I deigned to try it out – Zoetica Ebb managed to pull yellow off quite well. I’m not sure I will ever use the orange. The one time I tried a tiny bit of the orange in the Sunset palette it just looked strange!
So how did it live up to my expectations? There were pleasant surprises, but also disappointments.
- The biggest disappointment was the green. It seems like the first few bloggers that reviewed the palette loved it, but more recent reviews are saying that it’s not that pigmented. I thought it was rubbish! It barely showed up on my eyelids. I used it in the corner of my eyes in the look below and I had to brush some of the pink over it to stop it just looking like a slightly more shimmery version of my natural lids. It looks so lovely and fresh and bright in the palette so this was a big let down, especially as it was the first shadow I tried.
- The pinks are good. Nothing to get enormously excited about, but they’re nice colours, reasonably well pigmented.
- The dark blue is as gorgeous as hyped by Lipglossiping, and it blends really well with the purple into a violet.
- The pale blue was a great surprise! It comes out really really pigmented! I loved it! I accidentally got far too much on the brush the first time I used it and caused a minor mess. I usually get a bit frustrated by pastel colours. They tend to produce a sheer wash on my eyelids, and as my eyelids are brown, they hardly show up. This pale blue is truly pale but also vivid! I can’t think of another pale coloured eyeshadow that has such a great result on my eyelids. More like this please Sleek!
- The purple comes out more magenta than violet. It’s pretty close in colour to another eyeshadow I own, which is from the old Kolor range that used to be made by Superdrug. I love that shadow and was concerned that I would run out before I could find another similar shade, so although I’m disappointed that the Sleek one doesn’t come out like it looks in the palette – I thought it would have matched the lilac really well, like a darker, more shimmery shade of the same colour – I’m pleased to have another purple-magenta eyeshadow. I can get it to be a bit more blue toned by blending it with the dark blue.
- The lilac I was disappointed by, especially because I tried it after the pale blue and I was so impressed by that. I was hoping it would be similarly great but it is not much better than most pastel eyeshadows that I’ve tried.
- I had read several reviews saying that the white eyeshadow isn’t very good, so I was prepared for it to be a bit of a flop. Very, very sheer. It’s okay as a highlighter or to blend out other colours, but only for ‘day’ looks, I think. When I want to look more dramatic I prefer to use the highlight shades in the Graphite palette. In fact I nearly always use them now for dramatic looks, I don’t know what I’m going to do when I’ve run out!
- The black is super-pigmented as the black eyeshadows in these palettes always are.
- I have only tested the yellow and orange on my fingertips, they seem very bright. Try as I might I couldn’t think of anyway of making them look okay around my eyes!
All the shadows are soft and easy to apply. I found that they blended really well, and over UDPP stayed bright all day too. I haven’t tried them without UDPP because all the other Sleek eyeshadows that I’ve tried faded or creased without it.
This palette is £5.99 (at least one pound more than the others), which makes this fantastic value, as for that low price you get 12 eyeshadows in a sturdy case with mirror and double-ended foam applicator (only really good for top ups, as I’ve said before). Even if I only count the shadows that I’m pleased with and will use regularly, that gives me 8 eyeshadows for about 75p each. Bargainous, as the teen magazines I used to read would say! You can get your own Circus palette from selected branches of Superdrug or from the Sleek website.
I would recommend it to anyone looking to boost their make-up collection. If you considered buying the Acid palette and decided that it was just a bit too bright for you, this might be a wiser investment.