Can you believe that Holiday gift sets are already hitting shelves?!?! I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m not ready for this yet! But alas, we must face the pretty packaging and huge values to fork over our hard earned cash to spoil some of the other makeup lovers in our lives…and perhaps ourselves as well. 😀 I’m going to start the season off with the brand that almost always has my favorite packaging – Too Faced! The first set we’re diving into is the all-in-one Sephora exclusive from Too Faced called The Chocolate Shop!

 

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The packaging on this is enough to suck anyone in! It is much like last year’s Sephora set in that it looks like a gift box that opens up to reveal a little diorama. This year’s setting? A chocolate shop of course! 🙂 On one side you have your palette with twenty-one eyeshadows and three face products (more on those in a minute) and on the other side is a 3-D scene with a cut out of a chocolate shop “window” that houses a mini Shadow Insurance eyeshadow primer, a mini Better Than Sex Mascara (my fave!), and a mini Melted Chocolate Liquefied Lipstick in “Milkshake.” All decked out for Christmas, but in a color palette of pink, mint and gold. So cute and really pretty! This would certainly make an impressive looking gift and would look great on display should you choose to keep the packaging.

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Moving on to the giant palette of powder products. I want to quickly point out that the palette itself is manufactured in the US which is somewhat rare for a big Holiday palette like this. It’s also the only one of this year’s Too Faced Holiday sets that is. Often the palettes manufactured in China seem to suffer in quality, while the US-made palettes are typically better quality. So if that matters to you, I thought I would note it. You have twenty-one Eyeshadows, a sparkling Highlighter, the notorious Chocolate Soleil Bronzer, and a new shade of shimmering Blush. We’ll start with what most people are interested in – the eyeshadows.

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As I’ve said, you receive twenty-one eyeshadows in mainly neutral hues with a few fun colors thrown in as well. They are laid out sort of like Too Faced’s larger palettes with three larger pans of light brow bone-appropriate shades mixed with eighteen generous pans of light, medium and deep shades in a mixture of matte, shimmer and glitter finishes. There are 8 mattes, 10 shimmers, and 3 glittery shadows. It’s a nice mix and the colors look beautiful! And in case you need a whiff of chocolate early in the morning, yes the shadows also smell like cocoa powder. 🙂 I particularly like the looks of the teal shimmer called “Mint Chip” and the shimmering orchid “Jingle Berry.” I think Too Faced has some of the best Holiday shade names. 😉 It’s a really nice assortment of shades that I think most people would be thrilled with.

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Though there is a good selection of shades, they are absolutely dupeable. Though there are only a few exact dupes that I’ve come across in other Too Faced palettes, you could certainly create similar looks with pretty much any of the shades in other Chocolate Bar palettes or previous Holiday sets. So that said, if you have other Too Faced palettes, this will probably be rather redundant in terms of shades. I’m pretty sure that can be said every year about each brands’ Holiday sets. 😀

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So, let’s get on to the real question. How do the shadows preform? I really hate to answer this question because I have to say not well. I really want to love this palette. I really do. Unfortunately, as you may be able to tell from the swatches, the mattes are rather patchy. They tend to skip on the skin, they don’t blend well, and they’re just not very pigmented. The shimmer shades are a bit better in that they are more pigmented, but the improvement kind of ends there. The colors don’t transfer very well to the skin. They swatch ok, but on the eyes – when using either a brush or applied with a finger – they sheer out a bit and do not build up well at all. Once you get them to a place you’re ok with, they then fade a bit throughout the day which is just frustrating. I will give the glittery shades credit in that I didn’t experience a lot of fall out with the ones I tried. By the same token, the glitter in some shades didn’t really transfer much to the eye either. Another thing I found frustrating is that all of the deeper shades seem to look rather cool-toned on my skin. That’s not so much a problem, but I cannot for the life of me find a shade to deepen an eye look that doesn’t look weird when using a warm shade like “Butterscotch” on the lid. So much to my disappointment, the quality of the eyeshadows leaves a lot to be desired.

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Hoping for more as we move on to the face products. You get three decent sized pans that smaller face brushes fit into without much trouble. The highlighter is called “Inner Light” (it’s in another Holiday palette so it’s not a brand new shade). It’s a beautiful glittery white-gold shade. Pretty? Yes, but flattering? Not so much if you’re not one for a glittery highlight because this is definitely a glittery shade. It is pigmented and transfers to the skin well, but it is heavy on the glitter. On to the Chocolate Soleil Bronzer. Again, nothing new here as this is a bronzer from the standard Too Faced bronzer line up. Well, the name is. Much like the matte shadows, this shade is patchy, uneven, not terribly pigmented, and just doesn’t blend well. The tone is a nice neutral mid-tone brown, but the formula does not match that of the stand-alone bronzer. 🙁 Finally the blush, which is called “Chocolate Covered Strawberry” (so cute!). It’s a beautiful glowy berry shade. It’s probably my favorite of the face products. The pigmentation isn’t spectacular, but it is a good buildable blush shade. It has ok lasting power and blends without trouble. All in all, the face products are ok, but not great. ?

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As for the mini primer, mascara and lipstick included, I haven’t really given these specific samples a go. The primer has never worked well on my eyes – trial size or full size. The Better Than Sex Mascara is my absolute favorite (I’ve reviewed it here), but I haven’t opened this specific tube yet. The Melted Lipsticks are also not my favorite, so I haven’t tested this one either. They’re not bad lip products, I just find that they feel rather dry on my lips after a few hours so they are not my favorite. The shade looks to be a warm nude brown which I don’t find to be flattering on my skin tone, but to be fair I haven’t tried it out. They’re nice size samples, so if they are products you like or want to try, these are great for that! 🙂

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So is this palette worth it? As desperately as I want to love it, unless you’re interested in the packaging or collecting all of the Too Faced Holiday palettes, I really just cannot recommend the Sephora exclusive The Chocolate Shop set. The eyeshadow quality is just not good enough to justify spending $58 on it. It does make for a nice looking gift, but it’s not one that performs well enough to justify the cost, and I fear you would have a disappointed recipient once there’s time to test everything out. It pains me to say that, but it’s my opinion. I have the Ulta exclusive “Merry Macarons” set as well as the super cute doll house style “Grande Hotel Café” set and will do my best to review them quickly as well. I have hope that at least one of them performs better than this Holiday set (so far so good)!

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Hopefully this unfortunate review helps you out whether you’re looking for a gift, or considering picking one up for yourself. If you’re curious as to how the shades compare to other palettes Too Faced has to offer, let me know and I’ll try to get a comparison post up as well. Quick spoiler: the orchid shade “Jingle Berry” is a dead on dupe for the “Jelly” shade in the Peanut Butter and Jelly Palette – my favorite color in that palette! 🙂 And another of my favorites in this palette, “Mint Chip” seems like a more pigmented version of “Blueberry Swirl” from the Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar Palette. I was really looking forward to Too Faced The Chocolate Shop Holiday Set, but unfortunately – packaging aside – it just didn’t impress. ?

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