Bobbi Brown And The Luxe Encore Eyeshadow Palette: Worth It Or Not?

Charlotte Tilbury, Pat Mcgrath, Chanel and Tom Ford are some of the brands that come to mind when I think of high end beauty. But these brands are also ridiculously expensive, making them seem far out of reach for someone like me-a student on a budget.
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Charlotte Tilbury, Pat Mcgrath, Chanel, and Tom Ford are some of the brands that come to mind when I think of high-end beauty. But these brands are also ridiculously expensive, making them seem far out of reach for someone like a  student on a budget. Usually, I would stay away from these types of brands, because while I have a student job, I am not in the position to spend $54 on a beautiful yet questionable eyeshadow quad from one of these brands. 

Bobbi Brown was born in Chicago, Illinois, and graduated from Emerson College in Boston with a degree in theatrical makeup and photography. In 1980 she worked as a professional makeup artist in New York, and compared to other artists and styles of the time, she was different because her style was simple and chic, rather than colorful. In 1991 she launched Bobbi Brown Essentials at Bergdorf Goodman and with its tremendous success came the offer from Estee Lauder to buy the makeup line in 1995.

Bobbi Brown stayed on as an employee and stepped down in 2016, and all that time she retained full creative rights to the makeup line. As a brand, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics has only 30 stores worldwide and is offered at Sephora and Macy's. Its revenues aren't reported by its parent brand, Estee Lauder. It is available in 150 countries and territories worldwide.

First encounter with Bobbi Brown Cosmetics

I first tried the brand when my mother-someone who has a limited amount of makeup and rarely purchases high-end products-bought a Bobbi Brown lipstick from Nordstrom Rack. 

Funnily enough, until then I had had so much trouble with lipsticks, and so I was slowly working my way through lip gloss formulas and trying to figure out what I liked. 

But the Bobbi Brown lipstick my mom bought-'Plum Shimmer' was the shade name-was a game changer for me. Since I tried the lipstick I have used it multiple times, and eventually, I decided I wanted to try some Holiday 2020 products-I eventually settled on the Luxe Encore Bronze palette.

It's a cream to powder all-shimmer eyeshadow quad with luxurious shades meant to create subtly yet glam looks that you don't need to use any eyeshadow brushes for. The day I got it, I was so excited that I had to try it on even before I showered and got ready for the day. I forgot to take it off before my shower and when I came out; I laughed out loud because there I was, in a bathroom that was so steamed up that the mirror had misted, but somehow, the eyeshadow was intact, and I had washed my face and splashed water on my eyes and nothing had budged. 

A tap and go everyday look using the Luxe Encore Bronze Palette

My favorite shades to use to create my go-to everyday look are 'champagne' and 'chocolate'. When you look at them up close, chocolate is a cool-toned shimmery brown, with sparkles that disappear if you blend out the shade with a fluffy brush. It's a really good outer corner shade. And then I add champagne to the rest of my lid with a finger. And voila, you get a finished look. Add some subtle mascara and eyeliner and you're good to go. 

I know that one makeup palette and lipstick is probably not enough to say that this brand is my favorite, so I won't say that. But it is for sure worth trying, and I am forever changed by my positive experience with the products I have used so far.

Other people have had a lot to say about the other quad that was released called the Luxe Encore Burgundy palette. That palette seemed to have sold out fast and isn't even available on Sephora anymore, but the Bronze palette is. Something that I did notice in the reviews on Sephora is that people were complaining about the lack of pigmentation.

This was a concern for me even before I bought the palette, but upon looking into the brand and particularly taking Bobbi Brown's Masterclass, I realized that that is her makeup philosophy. She points out that she herself usually does her own makeup in her car, and when she opened her own makeup bag, you get a better understanding of her thoughts on everything from eyeshadow to foundation. She has double-sided multi-use brushes, only an eyeshadow stick, no foundation, and from what I remember, I believe her focus was more on skincare, rather than face products. 

So while I understand people's complaints, I think it is also valid to point out that perhaps this brand isn't for those people who want extremely glamourous eyeshadow or a full coverage foundation. It's for people who have a minuscule makeup collection and probably don't really like wearing a "full face" of makeup.

Consumer reviews and comments on Sephora and Bobbi Brown

That being said, I want to point out that a few people who loved the palette had some good observations to make in their comments on Sephora. One person said that the sheer coverage was great for on the go, and for our current times, with COVID, and the masks we have to wear. Another customer said that if you're a "one and done" person this palette is meant for you. I think that these are really good comments since it fits the brand's philosophy and the customers who liked the product are probably the ones who the brand was targeting in the first place. 

Temptalia.com describes the texture of the shadows as a "gelee", and I would agree with that. However, one comment on the Bobbi Brown website pointed out that while the formula was rich and silky, you couldn't deepen the dark shades much, even with wetting your brush and another customer said that there was no pigment and the coverage wasn't buildable.

I myself have had an issue with this, and at times I get annoyed because the darker browns apply unevenly to the outer corners of my eyes and I have to dip into another palette for a good dark brown to provide dimension to the look. That being said, I do think that these shades are mainly meant to be used not together, but as an all-over single shade look. 

There are people who have reviewed the Encore palettes earlier on in the 2020 holiday season. Check out the videos below for a detailed review. 

Are the Luxe Encore Palette and Bobbi Brown Cosmetics worth it?

While I loved the products I used so far, I would say that instead of just spending you $$ on this brand, think long and hard about whether the style of makeup, cost, and descriptions of the products are things that fit your own makeup/skincare style. 

Another thing that I pointed out earlier is that if you have a problem with the lack of dimension the Bronze palette would give you, don't pick it up. For me, I am annoyed by this aspect, but I still absolutely love this palette, and it has become my everyday palette. I tend to adjust the look based on how I feel that day, so the issues I mentioned are not so much of an issue for me that I had to leave a customer comment on bobbibrown.com. 

Something else to point out is the price point. As I mentioned before, I do think that Bobbi Brown is worth purchasing from when products go on sale. But because I haven't bought anything that I love from the brand for the full price, I won't comment on that. I will say, however, the price range is not on the affordable side.

I checked out their website, and the skincare ranges from $32-$119 and makeup starts from around $21-$80. The face moisturizer, which is also categorized as a primer and is titled as a "Vitamin enriched moisturizer and primer in one" is $32, and even the eyeshadow and face brushes are on the expensive side with the "Full coverage face brush" being $52--and that's not counting taxes or possible shipping charges. 

When I was new to makeup-and this was a big mistake on my part-I spent large amounts of money on cult favorites in the makeup industry, without really knowing what I wanted or what I liked. I tried again and again to find something within the mainstream makeup brands that I could say that I liked, and I finally had to give up, and that's when I discovered that my true style lays in products I could buy even when on a budget--drugstore products. 

When you decide to try a new luxury brand or not, please think about your own desires as a consumer, rather than following trends. Bobbi Brown is a brand worth trying, but only if you know what you want and know what to expect from it.

Menaka is a college student living in Boston. She hopes to continue writing after graduation, both creatively and on her blog, May-able.

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