Bobbi Brown Ultra-Violet Palette: Review and Swatches

Affiliate link

Bobbi Brown Ultra Violet Palette ($39)

This palette was an impulse buy during the Sephora vib sale. I don’t own any Bobbi Brown makeup and I thought that $39 was a good price for a fairly high end brand. Also I was really attracted to the 3 glittery shades. Now that I’ve seen the palette in person and used it a few times, I’ve got mixed feelings. Let’s talk about it and by the end of this post, I’ll have hopefully decided whether I should keep it or get my money back.

My first impression upon receiving it in the mail was that it was much smaller than I’d expected. It’s maybe 5×3 inches. But the shadows are full sized (about 2g each but it varies slightly from shade to shade) so I’m fine with it being compact. The outside of the palette is holographic cardboard and the inside is some kind of hard laminate with a very strong magnetic closure. The packaging is simple and nothing to write home about but very functional and sturdy. It would definitely travel well.

According to the back, this palette contains five different formulas: 3 mattes, 2 chromes, 1 metallic, 1 shimmer and 1 sparkle. According to me, there’s three formulas: 3 mattes, 2 satins and 3 glitters. Let go through shade by shade and I’ll tell which formula they are and my thoughts as we go.

Naturally we’d start with the worst shade in the damn palette. White Noise is a matte ivory and it’s fucking dreadful. I layered that swatch at least three times. It was ridiculous. And it still barely shows up! Granted it’s only a few shades lighter than my skin tone but it shouldn’t blend in that much. The texture is thin and dusty with color pay off that’s sheer at best. In an 8 pan palette, real estate is valuable. I’d much rather have a nice useful transition color than a boring highlight shade. Especially if it’s a shitty highlight shade. Moving on. I swear it gets better from here. That was the only shade that really triggered me.

According to Bobbi Brown Strange Magic is a chrome shadow. According to me it’s one of the three glitter shades. It’s sort of a grayish lavender with blue reflects and tons of tiny pink glitter. It’s a beautiful color, kind of reminiscent of UD Solstice. It’s not sheer exactly but it’s pretty light so ideally one would use it as a topper. It applies well with a brush and doesn’t NEED a glitter glue but it’ll be a lot more intense if you apply it wet or over a sticky base.

Higher Ground is a midtoned dusty plum matte. I loooooooove this color. It ended up being my favorite shade in the palette. It’s the perfect shade of plum with just the right amount of red undertones. It flatters my green eyes and the formula is on point. 10/10

Electric Plum is a ‘metallic’ formula. Eh… I guess you could say it’s metallic. I think that it’s more like a satin. It has a slight sheen but not the type of high shine finish that I associate with metallic shadows. It’s a very pretty blue purple with a smooth texture and a decent amount of slip. It has good pigmentation and applies well with a brush. It’s a nice shadow. But I have it in a dozen other palettes, ranging from inexpensive (Juvia’s Place) to high end (Pat McGrath)

Violet Hour is another ‘chrome’ aka glitter finish. It’s a deep violet with tons of blue and pink micro glitter. It performs similarly to Strange Magic except it’s a lot more opaque because it’s so much darker. I like this shade but again, I have dupes. The first two that come to mind are CP Dance Party and that one shadow in the ABH Prism palette

High Fidelity is a ‘shimmer’ formula…. oh word? So the shades that glittery af are ‘chrome’ and the one with slight sheen is ‘shimmer’. Okay. Got it. Sorry. I’m just being petty now. It’s a light pinky mauve with a satiny finish. I see no shimmer to speak of. The formula is very nice. It has opaque color pay off and a smooth texture that glides over the skin. Is it the most exciting color? Fuck no. But it’s very pretty.

Twisted Violet is a sparkle formula. Finally! We agree on something! To me Twisted Violet is the same type of formula as Violet Hour and Strange Magic. All three are glittery af. Twisty Violet is an opalescent pinky violet with blue reflects and pink micro glitter. This one is quite sheer so it will work best as topper or applied with a wet brush to amp up the intensity. I didn’t find that I had much fallout with the glittery shades but I would recommend using at least the two lighter shades over a glitter glue just to intensify them a bit. It’s a gorgeous shade and definitely one of the most unique, imo. I’m sure that I could find dupes in my collection but I can’t think of a dozen off of the top of my head

Black Velvet is described as a rich blue black. I know that it’s basically impossible to tell in pics but in person it’s just black. To my eyes at least. It’s a good black. Very nice formula. But I’m going to repeat myself here… with an 8 pan palette, every shade is important. It’s not like some 35 pan morphe palette where it’s perfectly reasonable to have 10 shades of warm matte brown. With a small palette like this, to me black is a waste of space. Don’t get me wrong. I love a dark, dramatic matte. But why not make it interesting? A deep navy or blackened violet or plum. To me that would be much more valuable than another matte black that we all have in a thousand and one palettes. But like I said, the formula is on point.

Okay. Let’s recap!

The pros:

  • The price is right
  • I like the simple, compact packaging
  • The quality is consistently good except for White Noise
  • Higher Ground speaks to my soul
  • The three glitter shades are gorgeous

The cons:

  • White Noise is garbage
  • The black is boring
  • High Fidelity is boring
  • Although the glittery shades are beautiful, I know that I have similar colors in my collection
  • No transition shade for my skin tone
  • Out of the whole palette, there’s only one matte that’s useful to me
  • I couldn’t personally do a look using just this palette. Well I could. I should say that I wouldn’t do a look using just this palette

The pros and cons are pretty evenly matched and I’m still undecided about what to do. Is it worth keeping a $40 palette when you’ll only use 4 of the 8 shades? Deep philosophical questions on a Tuesday night. I’ll probably keep it. What are your thoughts on the Bobbi Brown Ultra Violet Palette?? If you were me would you return it or na?


  1. I so love it when you’re petty. It’s not just because it’s fun to read but also because I know you’ll be saving me some money.

    I want to pass on this palette but Twisted Violet is so pretty. I’m also drawn to Violet Hour and Electric Plum. Do you have time (in all that spare time you have…) to find dupes on this palette? I’m just such a sucker for purple shades.


  2. I’m so glad you reviewed this.

    Many many years ago when I initially ventured into “department store” brands, I purchased BB cosmetics. Even back then as a newbie to makeup, I was very disappointed.

    Over the years, when I would cave and make a purchase because BB released something that appealed to me, I would be once again be very disappointed in the product. I eventually learned my lesson and never, ever buy anything BB. So even though this palette appealed to the eye shadow palette/purple junkie in me (and the red palette, too), I passed and I’m so glad I made the decision years ago to not ever buy BB products again.

    If I were you, I’d return the darn thing (but I’m not exactly objective based on my experience with BB).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s