Thursday, January 20, 2011

Kat Von D Tattoo Chronicles Palette Volume 1 (Review, FOTDs)

I don't know how many of you have heard about this palette, but I've only seen one review and it was an endorsed one. I figured it was time for an honest and complete review. This will be a long one, so grab some coffee and let's play with makeup!

The original price of this palette was $55 and available only at Sephora and The palette is limited edition (but still available on the website). The price was reduced in December to $39 and then I nabbed it for an additional 20% off at Sephora's year end clearance sale. That brought the total down to $31.20.

For said price, you get 12 eyeshadows, 1 pair of false lashes, 3 different colored eyeshadow primers, and a double ended rollerball of Kat Von D's Saint and Sinner perfumes.

First things first, the palette is gorgeous. It looks like a vintage hard cover book and you open it to find drawings and letters from Kat Von D herself. The thought that went into the design is cool as hell and the style of palette is interesting.

The size of the eyeshadows are 0.02oz. For reference, the Urban Decay Naked palette's shadows are 0.05oz, the average Mac eyeshadows in palettes (holiday sets, etc.) are 0.03oz, and Stila's 6 pan palettes usually have eyeshadows of 0.06oz. Thus, these are a bit smaller than usual. No big deal, you're still only paying $2.60 per eyeshadow at base value, that's excluding the primers, lashes and the perfume.

You'll feel an urge to dip into this palette immediately, and so I did and swatched everything for you:

First off, the primers are on the top row. Left to right is Skin, Stellar and Smoky. In terms of the quality of these primers, they are quite thin yet sticky once they start to dry.

Skin is a bit nude in my opinion and could make darker skin tones look ashy... it dried relatively transparent on me but I could tell I had something there, so on darker skin I am not sure if it would work.
Stellar is a sparkling pinky primer. This one is the stickiest of the 3, and when you blend it out the color disappears into not much more than shimmer. I think Kat was going for her own version of Urban Decay's Sin primer, but this is less pigmented. I can't see myself using this a whole lot as it doesn't have much use. It's just something a little different from the average primer.
Smoky is a deep grey primer that leans a bit green in certain lights. This has a similar problem to Stellar in that it is not completely opaque. I think would work as a decent base for a smoky eye... it's sticky without being TOO sticky. I would recommend blending this out with a brush that you don't care much for as it does stain, including your fingers.

The primer containers hold 0.01oz, which is decent, but they are admittedly quite tiny. They have a doe-foot applicator and do have the issue of collecting product on the tip when you pull them out of the tubes. I can see this getting smeared all over the inside of the stopper, which would be a waste in the long run. I haven't tested them extensively but I was only brave enough to wear Stellar on it's own (I used the rest with TFSI, sorry, paranoid) and didn't experience any creasing after 4 hours. If something is going to crease on me, it will do it relatively quickly.

For the eyeshadows in that photo, left to right is Tijuana, Taxidermy, Hollywood and Peanut.

Tijuana is a near matte black with loose gold glitter. It's interesting that this actually shows when you swatch and use it as it's so chock full of it in the pan. Pretty shade, albeit a bit powdery.
Taxidermy is an AMAZING bronzey brown full of gold shimmer, it reminds me of molten chocolate. Absolutely gorgeous. Very soft texture... creepy name.
Hollywood is a bronzed gold with a bit of frost. This one, like Taxidermy, glides on and blends like a dream.
Peanut is a pale white gold, similar to the light gold in the e.l.f. "Day 2 Night" Quad or the WetnWild Night Elf palette. Again, blends beautifully.

Crappy swatch photo, sorry! I don't think my camera liked the durastic difference in color between the top and bottom rows so it was overexposing the top row.

Top row, left to right is Baudelaire, Heartkiller, Solitude, and Redemption.

Baudelaire is a bit of a standard sparkling silver, bit lighter than the usual silver, very prone to fall out.
Heartkiller is a satin baby pink with loose silver glitter. Little bit of a problematic shade.
Solitude is a blue based lilac, very silky and smooth.
Redemption is a matte cobalt blue leaning purple. The texture is quite hard and makes the payoff not so good.

Bottom row, left to right is Lemmy, Nite Owl, Poe Blue and Monastery.

Lemmy is a velvety lemon yellow, a little lighter than my swatch shows.
Nite Owl is a deep olive green. It appeared to be more of a dark emerald in the pan, but not so when used and swatched. Texture is a bit hard.
Poe Blue is a blackened blue with silver glittery. Very hard texture.
Monastery is a satin black with multicoloured, but mostly silver, glitter. Very smooth.

As you can tell, the eyeshadows vary greatly in payoff and texture. The most disappointing shade was Redemption. It's a beautiful color in the pan but it just isn't smooth enough to have good payoff. I wasn't a huge fan of Poe Blue either, it had a similar hardness and was difficult to make opaque. The other shades definitely make up for some of the duds... Taxidermy, Hollywood, Lemmy, to name a few. Some of the shades in the palette are incredibly buttery and easy to apply.

The value of the palette is pretty obvious here but I will admit that I wish more thought had been put into the selection of the colors. It's such a shame to put a beautiful yellow and black with a poorly pigmented green and blue.

Peanut was taken from her True Love palette, Solitude and Tijuana were from the Memento Mori palette. I appreciate that she reused some of the shades -- those 3 happen to be good ones in the palette. I just wish that she had included a green or blue from the Metal Orchaestra or Ludwig palettes, or even something resembling that texture.

Anyway, you lift up the part with the eyeshadows and falsies and find...

Each end of the rollerball contains 0.17oz. For reference, my Stella McCartney rollerball is 0.33oz, so combining these two gets you about the same amount as most rollerballs... granted, my Stella was $20, but anyway. I won't go into too much about the perfumes as you guys are here for makeup, aren't you?

Saint has top notes of Mirabelle plum and juicy mandarin, mid notes of Tiare flower, caramel and jasmine, and bottom notes of vanilla, musk and sandalwood. When I smell it, I am immediately hit by the plum smell with some of the caramel underneath. The fragrance is quite sweet initially and dries down much more subtle, but something about it doesn't agree on me. I wore it and after a few hours, I was feeling weird about it... just didn't like it. It's more tolerable when worn after a while but initially, it has this old lady smell about it. Don't you love old lady smells?

Sinner has top notes of orange blossom, mandarin and plum (again?), mid notes of jasmine, white-flower bouquet and cinnamon, bottom notes of vetiver, patchouli and vanilla. I'm not really a fan of this one. The first whiff of it is insanely overpowering -- the plum absolutely kills the orange notes. Honestly, the first intake kills me and makes me not want to wear it. I don't like jasmine and I don't like patchouli so this one is a no go for me. The scent is just way too acidic.

The perfume is okay, I feel that her scents are a bit flat and boring. They say they have these complex notes and dimensions but when you're wearing them, you don't get that. They aren't high end so I don't expect anything, but multi layered perfumes have been common since the 90s. I wish this has been a lipstick and gloss instead.

Last thing, some quick looks I did with the palette, the purple and pink was a bit Twiggy-esque but wouldn't photograph AT ALL. (first is using 2nd row of eyeshadows, 2nd is using 1st row):

Overall, great palette for the value. I'm not a fan of the perfumes, but someone else may be, it's just personal preference. I can live with the value being in the lashes, primers and eyeshadows. Kat Von D still needs to do a little work on her makeup line but she is coming along... and I look forward to what else she will put out there for us!


  1. Nyyyyyyyyyungh, SO PRETTY. The neutral quad looks great and the primers seem interesting. But mostly... PRETTY.

  2. The palette looks great, and I love the looks you created with it.

  3. Wow this palette look awesome!! I really like the looks you created with this :)

  4. Lovely make up.
    I like the colours of eyeshadows ;)

    Follow me if u want:
    xoxo ;*

  5. ...Definitely pretty! Again, I think the first row looks pretty awesome!

  6. The palette itself is so cool looking. Thanks for your very detailed review! I just love reading your blog Wendy! :) You created some really lovely eye looks with these shades. :) XOXO!

  7. I wanted to buy this but wasn't sure if it was worth the money, I think at $30-ish I would have bought it too. It just looks so cool! I really hope you do an extensive review on the primers, I would love to see how they work out!

  8. How much do I love that palette?! Taxidermy is right up my street. It's such a shame it's LE and Sephora don't deliver to the UK :(

  9. Such a great detailed review, awesome job. I agree, Taxidermy may be a pretty color but what the ? is up with the name...creepy is right. I don't love the idea of putting perfume with make-up, as you said it would make much more sense to pair a lip gloss, etc.

  10. Holeh Moleh I love the brown look you did!
    I almost bought the palette just for the lashes alone. I've not been able to find any that look similar yet. One day pointy falsies of awesome, one day.... :)

  11. great job on the review! i am actually waiting for it to come in the mail! i love the looks you came up with using the colors.