Smashbox's kaleidoscopic 2013 holiday collection is a fine thing indeed. The Wondervision sets (as they are known) include three 6x eyeshadow palettes, each packaged with a mascara and gel liner pencil, a brush kit, done out in limited edition colours, lip gloss sets, and this big-hitter - the Wondervision Mega Palette.
It's a pigment-packed motherlode of 30 eyeshadows, 3 blushes and a bronzer. There's also a set of instruction cards that come slotted into a plastic pocket beside the large integral mirror.
What's inside the palette
This palette is for you if, like Ellie Goulding, you have a fondness for triangles. Each eyeshadow comes in a soft-cornered triangular pan weighing 1g. Compared with the blogger's benchmark MAC single eyeshadow, which is 1.5g, this is a decent quantity of colour given the palette's £49 price point. (Not that any bloggers ever finish an eyeshadow pan ever anyway.)
The blushes, meanwhile, are circular. There are two matte pinks, one pale, one mid-toned, and a pink with a hint of sparkly microglitter. The bronzer is your standard warm mid-tan shade. Each of these is 2.6g.
There's a plastic overlay on the pans indicating the name of each shade. If that's a taupe, I'm an albatross.
The 4 Wondervision how-to cards come slotted in beside the mirror. Each one has 4 numbers on a clear strip of plastic that you sit over the top of the eyeshadow pans, providing a reference which allows you to follow the step by step instructions. The looks include smoky eye, cat eye, colour gradient and drop shadow (i.e. colour on the lower lid)
Colours and textures
The colour mix across the eyeshadows is a pretty even spread between mattes and shimmers, brights and basics. Most of the neutrals are on the warm side, but there are one or two very nice cool ones too, including Slate (which most certainly is a taupe). There are two duochromes - Citrine, which is rose/gold, and Umber, which is a warm brown/green in the style of MAC Club. There's quite a bit of gold micro-sparkle in evidence too, particularly in the mattes.
Texture-wise, the majority of the eyeshadow colours are very smooth and fine, easy to pick up and lay down on the eyelid. The darker mattes are a bit below par - as the swatches indicate, they aren't very pigmented, and have a rougher texture than the paler matte ones. None of them are bad, per se, but they fall below the high standards set by the pale mattes and the shimmer colours.
Palette looks great, but won't shut
The palette itself is composed of two plastic fascias, one with the pans, one with the mirror and the card slots. They are glued on to a thick cardboard outer layer with a silvery finish embossed with (more) triangles. There's no hinge, just two folds in the cardboard.
The closure of the palette looks like it's supposed to be magnetic, as there are small circular metal studs on the outer edges of the plastic fascias. However when you try to shut it, the edges don't meet, and the whole thing hangs about a quarter of an inch open. Even when the palette is held closed, one side still splays outwards.
This defect seemed to be present on all the testers I tried before buying this, so I think it's a design fault rather than a one-off problem. It won't compromise your enjoyment of the palette if you are using it at home, but it's definitely worth noting if you think you may want to travel with the palette.
Swatches and pan-shots
Blushes and bronzer
Price and value
The palette costs £49, which is reasonable for a high-end palette of this size. As the sticker on the box explains, the dollar-for-dollar value of the contents, compared to full price single products, is £278. Hard to sniff at. There are some corners cut with the packaging, and the format means it's not particularly easy to de-pot the pans, but if you just want a broad spectrum of high-end colours to use at home, this is definitely worth picking up.
Pearl, Green, Mint, Citrine
Superb value palette, lacks a little finesse in execution, well worth picking up before it sells out.