Bobbi Brown Pretty Powerful – powerful palette review

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Who among us has not wished for natural beauty? That we were Grace Kelly-like, with the perfect turned-up nose, eyes set not too far yet not too close, lips full but not fat, cheekbones high and delicate yet still soft. Perfection like this is unattainable but for a few with amazing genes (or deep pockets and fantastic plastic surgeons).

Thankfully, Bobbi Brown obstinately emerged from an industry bound and determined to define perfection empirically to become an imminent makeup authority, showcasing women’s unique imperfections as true beauty. Bobbi Brown built an empire on celebrating natural beauty and making your strongest (and possibly less-than-classic) features downright inspirational. Her most recent palettes harness the power of individual beauty and so are appropriately named Pretty Powerful.

The Pretty Powerful collection has two limited edition palettes (both $60); the Pretty Palette (softer, lighter pinks for lighter complexions) and the Powerful Palette (darker, richer shades of pink and plum for darker complexions). I test drove the Powerful Palette and found it to be Mary Poppins-esque, practically perfect in every way.

Pretty happens before you even open the smallish 3 x 4.5 inch compact. A graffiti-style font on the lid gives this compact a designer feel. Upon opening, the mirror encompasses the full space of the lid without unnecessary framing infringing on your look space. This is a big deal to me, as I hate palettes that skimp on mirror size. After all, palettes are made for purses or travel and sometimes that mirror is all you’ve got.

Now down to the business of color….

My initial reaction upon seeing these was that the eyeshadows looked fantastic, the blush looked a bit too dark and plumy and the glosses looked phenomenal. Luckily I was wrong about the blush. Every single color in this collection looks amazing on my face. The Plum blush is highly pigmented and goes on dark, but the color settles into the skin and is toned down with a little finishing powder. My skin is fair to medium with yellow undertones while my eyes and hair are medium brown. I believe that someone with darker or more olive skin tones may be able to use this color with a heavier hand.

The quad of eyeshadows included here is a neutral-lovers dream. Navajo is a sheer matte cream, perfect for highlighting the brow or corner of the eye. Burnished Rose is a matte pinky beige, leaning a bit toward salmon on my skin; this is a nice nude-ish daytime lid color, by itself or layered with others. Rose Gold is Burnished Rose’s shimmer twin—same pinky-beige with a little shimmer. Chocolate Caviar is a dark black-brown, medium pigmented shade that serves as a great crease color, eyeliner, brow-filler or lid color—indispensible shade and a must for any palette.

Bobbi Brown’s first foray into the business end of cosmetics was developing universally flattering, natural-looking lip colors; therefore, it should come as no surprise that lips are no second thought here. With two glosses and one sheer matte color, these will take you anywhere you need to go. Pink Pudding is a gloss without shimmer in what I can only describe as the exact color of my natural lips. Pink Bouquet Glitter Gloss isn’t really glitter, it’s shimmer. Pink Bouquet’s base is slightly more brown than Pink Pudding’s and the shimmer creates multi-dimensional look that I love with a smoky eye. Finally, Powerful Pink is the one non-gloss of the lip trio. Powerful Pink is more of a brown-based purple. Somewhat sheer, this is great for a berry-like stained lip or lightened up with a little of one of the glosses swiped on top.

My only complaint with the lip products is that there is not nearly enough of these since you’ll want to wear them every day. After only a week of use, both Pink Pudding and Pink Bouquet dwindled to half their size.

It’s not very often a makeup palette impresses me; there’s always a throwaway—even in the good ones. To me, that’s a waste of money. But Bobbi Brown, you have not only changed industry attitudes about beauty and power, you’ve changed my mind about palettes—talk about moving mountains! Without a throwaway in the bunch, Practically Perfect Pretty Powerful Palette is what this should be called. Ms. Poppins herself would wear it, I’m sure. we heartsters, what about you?

Sherri is co-author of What Would You Do With This Room? My 10 Foolproof Commandments to Great Interior Design, and of course, a wht writer!

Disclosure: This review includes products that were provided by the manufacturer/PR firm for our consideration. It also may contain an affiliate link, a link that gives us a small commission if you purchase the item. For more info, or any questions, please see our disclosure policy.


  • sherrishera

    Sherri is a writer, dog lover, old movie fanatic, history detective, political junkie, fashion pundit and social media consumer advocate. “A fancy dinner and expensive champagne are better than writing a rent check any day of the week.” skin tone: NC 25 skin type: oily/sensitive favorite beauty product: anti-aging anything

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  1. I’m REALLY loving this palatte! I love palettes in general, but this really does seem like a versatile set. I really hate when palettes have a few great colors and then a couple of crap ones thrown in to take up space. This would be really great to take on a trip, with a good eyeliner you could rock a day AND night look.

    Yay Bobbi Brown! And great review, @sherrishera!

  2. I’m always wary of palettes, for the exact reason you mention- there’s always one shade that I hate. But if this one is as good as you say I may have to track it down and swatch it!
    One question: how is the powder tracking? I hate it when the powder (blush, eyeshadow, whatever) flakes around and gets in the glosses or other colors…

  3. What gorgeous colors! It looks so romantic and Valentine’s Day-ish! ::hint hint husband:: HAH!

    I do tend to stay away from palettes because they are bulky and I never like EVERYTHING in them either. I do really like this one though…hmm. :)

  4. What a beautiful and wearable palette! I see all of us have the same concerns about palettes, but this one seems to have nailed it!
    I agree with @niftyfoodie, they can be bulky. However, I have grown to embrace them for travel. You have everything in one place and don’t have to take inventory of all the small eyeshadow cases in the hotel room when you leave!
    This may have to be on my ‘to buy’ list for spring!

  5. I am another one who’s wary of palettes because of the aforementioned “throwaway” factor, but you really have my attention with this one, @sherrishera. At the very least, I will be checking it out in person. But from the looks of things, I’ll be bringing it home, too. Thanks for a great review!

  6. How does Bobbi Brown make such fantastic makeup? She made me believe in palettes again, I won 1 on Twitter and have been addicted to them ever since. I love traveling with it too. This palette is right up my alley…must get my hands on one soon!

  7. @mandaleem I haven’t had a problem with the stray powder from the blush. So far it hasn’t gotten in my glosses. There is, of course, powder residue but a quick blow in the direction of the eye colors seems to take care of that. Seriously, there’s been no mixing. I also use a full size blush brush rather than a mini brush like frequently included in palettes (significant to note that no brushes are included with this palette–and that’s a good thing) and I think that helps to collect any strays and stay on the brush.
    This really is the BEST eye/cheek/lip palette I’ve ever tried. Eyes can go from naturally nude to subtlely made-up to downright smokey and lips can be bold and matte or light and glossy and anywhere in between. I would definately reccommend this for travel, purse or home. I would go so far as to say everyone NEEDS this. I feel like giving this five stars lumps it in the same category of the few other things I’ve given five stars to in the past but this really is a stand-out product in terms of quality, selection of colors and diversity of looks that could be accomplished. Go get this now!

  8. I totally l-o-v-e Bobbi Brown – they’re one of my Top Three MU Brands ever. I took a big long look at this lovely palette before making the hand over to tester @sherrishera – she did a great job in describing just how fab this palette is (and made me wish I had keep my claws on it – heh). BB makes the best makeup – high quality, deeply pigmented but always wearable colors.

    I have a semi-recent BB palette (the Brown Plum Eye Palette) that I use 90% of the time when wearing eyeshadow. The colors are just perfect for everyday use, including the best base shadow I’ve ever found – a medium hued pinkish brown much like the powerful palette’s Burnished Rose – that looks great worn all alone or with other bolder colors.

    The only BB product I’m not so familiar with are the lip glosses. Your review has made me make a mental note to check them out the next time I’m at a BB counter.

  9. Wow…this is such a great looking package. I love the graffiti covered case and with such high marks from @sherrishera I know it much be fantastic. This is going to be my Valentine’s gift to ME! ;-)

  10. OMG, I love the packaging! Black, pink and handwritten looking?! I’m sold :) I’m not usually a fan of palettes with multiple product types, for the very reason mandaleem said–i don’t like it when my products mix together. And I don’t really use lip products in any kind of palette because I prefer gloss with sponge tip applicators…but I might have to go check this palette our in person after hearing yourreviewss.

  11. So pretty! I totally agree with you on the big mirrors…they are a must have for a palette. This looks perfect for packing in your purse or to take traveling. Definitely going to have to check this one out.

  12. I meant to chime in yesterday about this drop dead gorgeous Bobbi Brown palette review. I love it. I want it and like you some of you mentioned might get it as a Valentines Day gift to me! I fancy a good palettes ONLY if the contents all work and this sure seems to fit the bill- I may go for the “Pretty Palette, since I am on the fair side. I’ll be at Bloomies today so; I’ll see it first hand. Funny side note. Is this post a mere co-incidence? I was on the phone with my sister talking about Bobbi Brown early yesterday. I didn’t know it, but evidently, Bobbi has been a sweetheart from the beginning, and nice to know she has risen to the top without giving that up. My sister was a teen model and Bobbi worked on her years ago as a makeup artist. She said BB was definitely one of the nicest makeup artist to cross paths with her.

  13. great review @sherrishera …I love how “girl power” the packaging speaks. As much as I don’t like lip color in palettes, I think the lovely neutral shadows and pretty blush would make up for it :)

  14. Great review, @sherrishera!

    I feel like that scene from The Godfather after reading this review: Just when I thought I was set and didn’t need any more BB products, THEY PULL ME BACK IN!” Gah! This palette is stunning!

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