Friday, 18 March 2011

Chantecaille Sea Turtle Palette - Review and Swatches

Chantecaille Sea Turtle Palette - £72
I bought this palette a couple of weeks ago, when the Space NK GWP offer was on. I have waited a while to review it because it is expensive, £72, and I wasn't sure if it was really worth the money. As I have previously said, one of these palettes will be a giveaway prize fairly soon, so I felt I should really try one out myself so I can give you an honest opinion of it, something beyond 'it looks really pretty'!

Chantecaille regularly produces these kind of beautiful palettes where 5% goes to an endangered species, previous ones have included tigers and dolphins. They usually contain 3 eye shadows (one doubles as a liner) and a blusher. Although they look stunning initially with the shimmer overlay and embossed animal design, this quickly wears away (after around 2 uses) and you are left with more subdued shades. Therefore, it can be a little deceptive when you see the promo pictures and think you are getting very shimmery colours. However, less shimmer is not necessarily a bad thing.

The overlay which shows what each colour is to be used for

How the palette looks after a few uses

In the palette you get an all over base colour which is a shimmery nude, a light brown for the crease and a dark green which leans slightly olive to define the eye. The cheek colour is peach with a delicate golden shimmer. They are good quality but overall I am underwhelmed with this latest palette. I have been swatching a lot of different eye shadows today and these three colours are the worst of the lot when compared against Rouge Bunny Rouge, Le Metier de Beaute and MAC Mega Metals. My other issue is that these colours are not special enough to justify the high price. The blush is very similar to Nars Orgasm and I have an assortment of near identical nude and mid brown shadows floating around my dressing table. The green is the only item I would possibly have bought individually and even then I prefer the darker side of the Nars Cleo Duo to the shade included in the palette.

Left to right: Swatches of cheek colour, base colour, crease colour, eye definer

I imagine that Chantecaille has deliberately gone for shades that are universally flattering and suitable for everyday wear to maximise the potential market for this palette. I can't blame them, but I would prefer something unique. Once the pretty overlay has worn away, you are left with an ordinary, good quality palette. I prefer extraordinary when I am paying such a large amount of money.

I did like the previous Chantecaille release, the Tiger in the Wild palette, but maybe my opinion has been tainted since then by my new found love of the Le Metier de Beaute Kaleidoscopes. I simply cannot get enough of these as the colour combinations are always unexpected and the shadows are a generous size and high quality. Along with innovative packaging, these are what I call extraordinary. Sadly, Le Metier are withdrawing from the UK but the Kaleidoscopes retailed for £65, so cheaper than the Chantecaille Palette.

Left to right: Chantecaille Blush from Sea Turtles Palette, The Balm Hot Mama, Nars Orgasm
In the above picture I have tried to show how similar the cheek colour in the Sea Turtles Palette is to The Balm's Hot Mama (a bargain at £6 from TK Maxx) and the cult classic Nars Orgasm. From the swatches it is clear that the Chantecaille is the subtler of the three and a more definite peach, but as a lot of people own Nars Orgasm, I thought it is worth bearing in mind how similar it is when considering parting with £72 for the palette.

I could have found at least 5 or 6 similar shades to the 2 eye colours as well, mainly from Bobbi Brown, but I didn't think they warranted pictures. The green eye definer shade is the hardest to replicate.

Left to right: Chantecaille Blush, The Balm Hot Mama, Nars Orgasm
Although this is a slightly negative review of what is undoubtedly a beautiful and useful palette, supporting a good cause, I don't dislike it. I recently looked up some Chantecaille products on an American website and saw this quad for around the £50 mark, and I think this is a much fairer price. If that is what I had paid then I would consider it relatively good value, especially as it would be £15 cheaper than Le Metier.

If you are anything like me, it is easy to be swayed into a purchase of an item like this from beautiful promo pictures, embossed sea turtles etc, without thinking it through and considering whether you already own similar items as separates. Having had a good rummage through my own makeup collection, I really didn't need this palette. It may come in useful when on holiday and needing to pack lightly, but I don't feel the Chantecaille products are vastly superior to my cheaper individual items.

I hope this post gives a realistic view of the palette and perhaps makes you think twice before parting with £72. I will still be getting one of these as a prize for my upcoming giveaway (I'll let you know the date by the end of the month) as I like prizes to be luxury items rather than essentials, ideally something you wouldn't buy for yourself but you would be delighted to receive it as a gift. I think this should satisfy that remit!

Chantecaille's Sea Turtle Palette is available from Space NK for £72.


  1. Oh great review, thank you!

  2. I bought one in a blog sale and tried it for the first time today. I tried swatching and it was quite hard work. It's a nice selection of colours but if I had a spare £72, I'd go for RBR or LMdB first. Thanks for the well thought out review,
    Jane x

  3. Hi Charlie,
    Glad you liked it x

    Hi Jane,
    Wow, that is quick for such a new release to be in a blog sale! I'm glad you've find it a little hard going too, was worried I sounded a bit grumpy in my review but I do much prefer Lmdb and RBR for eyeshadows and blushers. I would love it if RBR did palettes, a dream come true! It is a shame that I don't live nearer to a Space NK as then I could swatch these things first and maybe spend my money a bit more wisely x

  4. It was a blog sale to raise money for the Tsunami appeal rather than as a clearout, hence the speed. I was on it faster than you could blink of course! I don't think it's terrible but I think I would have been a little disappointed if I had bought it for the full price. I have lost the overspray on the base colour and cheek colour! I do think it all works nicely together though.

  5. Thanks for the honest review.... I have been lemming this big time but waited because I just have so many colors that are similar. Gosh, does that mean I'm sick or something????

    RBR and LMdB are some of my favorite shadows right now. I had a huge collection of the Chantecaille palettes years ago and swapped them all away. I have a few singles that I held onto but don't reach for them much.


  6. Love your honesty here! Sometimes I get swayed into buying luxury items just because they items! I get all caught up with the hype and just fixate on a product because I 'NEED IT'! I'm an advertisers dream! lol I wonder how long it will take before those lovely little turtles wear away all together!!

  7. Hi Jane,
    Even better then that you raised money for both turtles & Japan! By no means do I think it is a bad palette, I just think the price is too high. The US price of £50 seems much more reasonable to me. As I have so many neutral everyday colours when I buy palettes, I tend to want something a little different. i agree that the colours work well together so I think my mother, who has hardly any makeup, will be the beneficiary of this. It is perfect for her as she likes minimal product. x

    Hi Jeanie,
    The Chantecaille palettes are just so tempting aren't they? Even as I was writing my review I was wondering whether to place a bid on eBay on a Chantecaille Dolphin palette, before I decided that probably would be madness!I hope you swapped yours for some good things! x

    Hi Miss Wedgie,
    It is so easy to get caught up in things isn't it? I find even more so because I can't get to Space NK often, been 3 times in about 4 years, so I tend to idolise things in my mind (this makes me sound so sad!) and inevitably end up disappointed and broke! I have a feeling the pretty turtles won't last long at all x

  8. They are lovely colours, l would wear them and lm fairly basic when it comes to eye shadow.