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I love collecting limited edition releases, especially when it’s makeup! This is probably where the majority of my money goes – I’m just super weak for cute packaging and fun concepts. For Christmas, Etude House had released their Winter Checkered Special Pouch Kit. It features an exclusive eyeshadow quad, packaged with a velvet drawstring pouch and a pretty box. This is essentially a gift that doesn’t need wrapping at all!
Although this review is coming a little late (it is February after all), this is still available on StyleKorean for USD$21 – on sale from USD$30. I’m actually quite impressed with the formula so, if you’re looking for a super wearable eyeshadow quad, this is going to be a fun gift to yourself.
Now, let’s get into this review!
- Cozy Pink: a mid-light warm pink tone with pink-gold shimmers (matte-pearl, or ‘sequin’)
- Amor Fati: a semi-sheer copper base with iridescent fine glitters (glitter)
- Champagne Bubble: a champagne-gold shade with dense reflects (shimmer)
- Bonfire: a warm-toned firewood brown (matte)
These shades are best suited for light to fair skin tones so it’s very flattering on my skin tone. The simple colour scheme makes it easy to achieve a wearable, classic holiday look – the matte shades create depth effortlessly, whilst the shimmer and glitters can be layered for a bright, party look.
The Winter Checkered Special Pouch Kit uses a drawer gift box design, making it a very nice package for gifting – the paper quality is nice too, with a smooth, satin finish. It isn’t very thick, but came safely during transit. Design wise, the external sleeve has a hint of dark blue foil whilst the internal box uses a plastic internal tray to house the pouch and eyeshadow quad.
Moving onto the quad, it’s actually smaller and more compact than others I own. The compact is made with a sturdy plastic, with a matte finish white base and clear glittered front. The click on closure is fairly secure and I think that this would be especially suitable for carrying around in a purse or make up bag. The pans have a gemstone-like octagonal shape too, which is consistent across all of the Play Color Eyes Mini range. However, this one doesn’t have any special pan design.
Overall, the packaging is simple – it’s a decent quality, lightweight and very practical. However, it’s visually not very exciting and I expected more from a holiday release. I prefer the design of the past Play Color Eyes Mini releases, as they had different pan designs. I also think that the white plastic is making this look even more plain.
I’ve been very critical of Etude House in the past, but I am genuinely very surprised by the quality of these shadows – if they are a reflection of their new formula, then I’m interested to try more! The mattes are very smooth, blendable and build to a good depth. I can build dimension pretty effortlessly, making this perfect for daily, simple make up looks.
The glitter and shimmers are also very pretty. The glitter (Amor Fati) is a bit sparse and requires some layering if you want intensity, but I actually prefer the shimmer (Champagne Bubble) – I think the iridescent reflects are super pretty, especially when applied to both the eye lid and center of the aegyosal.
In general, I think the quad has a nice range of colour depths. I especially like that the lighter shade (Cozy Pink) is still visible on skin – I’m just so tired of the mostly-translucent nude base mattes! Although there’s a lot of contrast between the light and darker matte, the buildability of the formula means the blend is still seamless. It also gives more flexibility to customise the depth as needed. Other than that, the shimmer and glitters are distinctively different too, though probably not super different when applied.
That being said, the compact design falls flat and the inclusion of the velvet pouch is a bit redundant. The fabric quality is nice – the velvet is smooth and the silver foil printing doesn’t flake when stretched. I also like the contrast of the blue drawstring. However, even if it’s a nice addition to a ‘gift set’, it just doesn’t serve much of a purpose. I might keep it to organise some of my smaller make up products, but I would be more excited if they could include another small product – maybe an eyeliner or mascara.
And here’s the verdict!
SO WHAT IS IT?
A gift set with an exclusive eyeshadow quad and velvet pouch
- Nice gift box packaging
- Lightweight and travel-friendly compact
- Great quality eyeshadows – blendable, smooth and buildable
- Wearable colour scheme that is suitable all year around
- Good variation in shadows
- Relatively expensive – the pouch doesn’t have much of a practical use, so you are really only getting the quad
- Very basic and simple packaging – not that exciting
- Again, velvet pouch doesn’t serve much of a purpose
- PACKAGING | 2/5
- PRICE POINT | 1/5
- PIGMENTATION | 4/5
- BLENDABILITY | 5/5
- SHADE RANGE | 4/5
OVERALL RATING? 6.4/10
WOULD I RECOMMEND?
So I’m very impressed with the eyeshadow quality here, but the main thing that pulled the rating down was the packaging and the price point. Although USD$21 isn’t bad for a gift set, the fact is that the eyeshadow quad is the only thing with retail value. However, I am very happy with the formula though so if you like the look of this colour story and don’t mind about the price point, it’s a good one to have!
However, an alternative that you can look into are the Play Color Eyes Mini Object (Now USD$16.80, originally USD$24) or Play Color Eyes Mini Jewelry (Now USD$15.40, originally USD$22). Their packaging and pan design feels more special to me and they should (hypothetically) have the same formula.
WHERE TO GET IT FROM
The Winter Checkered Special Pouch Kit is still available at StyleKorean but only for a very limited time – it’s definitely a ‘while stocks last’ situation so I’d recommend checking this out right away!