Too Faced "Grande Hotel Cafe" Collection for Holiday, 2016 Review!
Welcome back for a review of another installment in the holiday makeup collection for 2016 from Too Faced, the "Grand Hotel Cafe!"
The packaging of this set is consistent with what we've come to expect from the Too Faced holiday offerings: very original, very fun, and absolutely adorable! I was so excited to find that Too Faced was offering three uniquely themed holiday palettes in one set! There are three card board palette "books" stored in a house shaped box decorated like a cafe, along with a deluxe mascara.
One of the things Too Faced is known for are their scented products. Each of the three palettes in this collection is billed as having a unique scent: one gingerbread, one eggnog latte, and one peppermint mocha. While Too Faced usually "nails it" when it comes to deliciously scented palettes, as is the case for their "Chocolate Shop" holiday palette, this product really falls flat in the scent category. Whether it is because the three palettes are packaged together and their scents "melded" into one, or some other reason, I cannot detect three distinct scents from this set. They all share a scent that resembles what I would expect from eggnog latte than either of the other two, so perhaps that was the dominant scent and it overpowered the others. I must say, this is nowhere near as intoxicating a scent as any of the Too Faced cocoa-scented products offer. It's o.k. - but definitely not a selling point I could argue for this set.
As for the shade range of the eye shadows, there is a good selection here, and each palette is comprehensive enough to be used alone on the eyes. There is a browbone highlight shade in each as well as a range of light, medium, and darker shades, as well as mattes, shimmers, and glitters. There are also neutrals and a variety of pops of color, including some very original shades that I did not have dupes for in my collection. While these are comprehensive eye palettes, two have blushes and another has a bronzer shade, so you may end up using more than one for your makeup application depending on your routine.
The quality is less impressive than the shade selection. I experienced that about a full third of the eye shadows had very poor pigmentation, a couple others were "just o.k," and the rest were well pigmented and blend-able. I was surprised to find that a couple of the chunkier glitters were some of the best-performing shadows, because in my experience that texture of shadow is one that fails in a lot of other palettes. With half of the shades being "just o.k. or worse," it is hard to recommend this palette. The two blushes and bronzer perform well enough, although one of the blushes, "Santa Baby," is rather dark for lighter skin tones and I am not able to use it with rosacea. It will be lovely on darker skin tones, however. "Peach Cobbler" I need to apply with a light hand, because it applies very heavily. There is some kick-up in the palette when using these, but nothing major.
A lot of the eye shades require layering to show up well, or, worse, show up at all. A few others succeed on the first go. The worst offender out of the three palettes is the "Peppermint Mocha." With the exception of "Sprinkles," layer after layer I could barely get these shades to swatch at all (shown in the last swatch photo.) I found the most beautiful and pigmented shades were "Ginger Snap" and "Winter Dream," both included in the "Gingerbread Cookie" palette. Some of the other shades, like "Cold Brew" and "Central Perk" are beautiful but harder to work with (but worth the effort if you have the patience.) It's puzzling that even some of the brown shades, which tend to be some of the easiest to work with in other palettes, are so finicky here.
There is also a deluxe "Better than Sex" mascara included, which I can give my highest recommendation. As I mentioned in my "Chocolate Shop" review, this mascara is about as close as I've ever been able to come to a "false lashes" look with mascara. I also find that it doesn't transfer, smear, or flake, and the wand is very comfortable to use.
VERDICT: If you are a sucker for great packaging, you may not be able to resist this set. Without a doubt, it scores high on presentation. And there are definitely some stunning and original shades here - and those perform very well. This set also could be a very handy way to give a stocking-stuffer to three of your favorite makeup fans. But the quality of the shadows is very hit or miss - with enough misses to make a deal-breaker for a lot of people. And if you are looking forward to the aromatherapy some of the other Too Faced products offer, you may find this lacking. All-in-all I think this will probably be a pass for those who are not collectors and packaging addicts, especially given the $50 price point, unless you can forgive a number of misses or have the patience to really layer some of the more finicky shades. I expect to get a lot of use out of only a handful of these standout shades while ignoring many of the others for lack of pigmentation. If you are attempting to decide whether to pick up this set or the "Chocolate Shop," I would suggest the "Chocolate Shop" instead. The packaging is even better, there are fewer misses in the palette, and the cocoa scent is both convincing and intoxicating.