e.l.f. Cosmetics Illuminating Palette Review and Swatches

Drumroll, please! Today, I'm bringing you guys a review on the e.l.f. Cosmetics Illuminating Palette along with swatches of the shades in the palette. I got this in my care package from Cat last month and have used it at least a few times. Cat picked it up for me at my request because I had always wanted to try it out, and I think she bought it from Target.

I think there must have been a manufacturing issue because the packaging for this palette is different to what I've seen on the internet - the palette doesn't have openings on the bottom where you can push the pans out and swap pans with other palettes such as the blush palette, contouring palette or even the foundation palettes. There's literally no way for the pans to come out of the palette. Also, the front of the palette only has "e.l.f." printed on it, while the back has "Illuminating Palette" along with a little silver sticker that has the batch code and product number on it.

I've noticed that, from all of the e.l.f. products that I've used, they can be pretty inconsistent when it comes to quality, design and colours, and it seems to happen with their packaging too. Some of the packaging for products that I have multiples of have differed from each other in some way. I think that is what happened here. I'm not bothered by it, as I don't have any of the other palettes, nor do I plan to buy them in the future. I'm fine with them being securely glued to the compact. The packaging opens easily, though it is a little stiff which means the lid won't flop around like some compacts do.

In the palette, there are four shades, ranging from a pale cream with gold shimmer to a soft tan, also with gold shimmer, in decently sized pans, accompanied by a mirror that takes up the entirety of the lid, which makes this perfect for travelling.

I've read reviews saying that the products barely showed up on the skin, appeared powdery or were weakly-pigmented.  I find that they're not powdery, and there isn't a lot of fall out. They seem quite compacted in their pans, and they seem rather soft. The texture is quite buttery and you pick up so much product on both the finger and the brush. I love how easily it blends, even when I use my fingers to spread it out. Longevity is fairly decent too, as it lasted all day with a little bit of fading.

The top left shade looks like a very pale cream with golden micro-shimmer in the pan, but when swatched, it looks rather white. Blended out it has this soft, subtle glow that looks quite natural, though you can still the particles of glitter - it isn't chunky, just sparkly. With a brush, you can sweep some of the glitter away. I prefer to use this on my high points where the light hits, especially on my cheekbones.

The top right corner is a satiny pale, mauvey pink. It has quite a pearlescent appearance when swatched and has a more intense glow than the previous shade when blended out. It has far fewer glitter particles than the previous shade too, which make this a rather lovely highlight for those with cooler skin tones.

The bottom left shade, probably the most powdery one in this palette, is a pale taupe that leans more towards tan than grey. It contains rose and gold coloured shimmer that barely show up when applied. This happens to be my favourite shade in the palette and works best when lightly dusted onto the entire face as a setting powder for a glow-from-within look.

Lastly, we have this intense light caramel shade that looks more like an orange-toned, pearlescent bronzer than a highlight for my light, neutral leaning-towards-yellow, skin. It has an iridescent, coppery glow to it, with glitter that's a little less subtle than the previous two, but much more subtle than the first one. I rarely, if ever, wear bronzer so this one will not be used very much, unfortunately.

I really like this palette, and despite the packaging issue, I would repurchase it again if I ever hit pan.

Speaking of hitting pan, I've been trying so hard this year to hit pan with one of my products so I could have something to show on Instagram for the #hitpan tag at the end of the year, but I am nowhere close to hitting (lame pun intended) that goal. I don't wear makeup often enough, that's for sure!

As per the negative reviews left by others regarding this palette, I think they've confused this palette for a highlighting/strobing palette, hence why they felt this was not pigmented or glowy enough. Knowing that this is an illuminating palette, I expected it to be subtle, though pigmented, for a healthy glow, not cheekbones that can blind passerbys. In fact, all of the shades, save for the top left corner, are apparently dupes of the Ambient palette.

Have you tried this palette before? What did you think? 



  1. Yeah I've noticed that a lot of elf products have inconsistent quality. But as long as the actual product inside works I don't mind too much since they're so cheap! Glad to hear the actual powders are great in this palette :)

    Mili | Sharmtoaster

    1. I think they would be an amazing brand and be at the same level as Makeup Revolution and Milani if they just kept the quality consistent, with the formula, shades, products and packaging, otherwise they're just going to keep being overlooked in favour of other drugstore brands.