Meet the Pixi Early Bird palette, a pretty little thing containing a whopping sixteen eyeshadows, three blushers, two bronzers, a highlighter, and four eyeshadow base powders in one palette. The sheer amount of product included reminds me of those massive "makeup kits" I use to stare at in the one or two pages of products marked "beauty" in the Argos catalog as a child. They were usually black plastic, and had a variety of sections which pulled, swung or rotated out from the main bit, and the quality was always crap. Didn't stop me from wanting them, though.
Anyway - the Early Bird palette may pack a lot of punch in the variety department, but it certainly doesn't look or feel cheap. The palette is made of lightweight but sturdy cardboard, printed with a very pretty blossom-and-bird motif, and folds out with the help of some little mint green ribbons.
I really love how the larger pans of colour are embossed with the Pixi logo and the silhouette of a pixie. Embossing in general is one of those little details which I always feel makes a product a little more special.
The three blush shades are pretty universal, I think - they're quite neutral in tone and should work on most skintones. There's an orangey peach, a mid pink, and a dusky pink-plum.
Swatched, you can see that they're sheer-to-medium pigmentation - this is a relatively heavy fingertip swatch. Applying the blush from the pan with a blusher brush gives you enough colour to build up blush slowly, minimising the chances of overdoing it, provided you have the time to spend on layering. There's a slight shimmer in the finish but it's by no means frosty - more like a subtle pearlescent glow.
The eyeshadow pans are pretty tiny, just about bit enough to stroke a fluffy eyeshadow brush over the surface to load up with colour. Pigmentation wise, these vary wildly - those with a high shimmer finish are generally well pigmented, and the matte shades are a little too sheer and chalky. The top left hand corner bears four very pale, very frosty and very sheer shadows - I can only imagine they're there for layering rather than layering on their own.
This swatch shows the four on the top right - the high shimmer shades have great pigmentation, depth and sparkle, and you've got everything you need for a quick, eye brightening neutral eye.
These four are from the bottom right of the palette - again, the pigmentation is mixed, but the shades do give you several options for an evening eye look - my favourites are the copper on the left and the slightly blue toned silver that's second from the right.
I've not swatched the four eye base powders as they barely show up on my skin - they're all matte, soft and sheer, and don't really add anything to the eye. I guess you could use them before the colour shades across the eyelid to even up the skintone, but if you wear liquid primer like I do, it's a bit of a redundant step.
Finally, two bronzers and a highlighter. The bronzers are pretty light - veering almost into being neutral blushers instead of bronzers - and they both have a shimmer to them, making them less suited to contouring. The highlighter has a lovely bright pearl to it, and looks great dusted on top of cheekbones and blended into the brow bone.
At £16, this is a bit of a mixed palette. When I first received it, I was very excited to see how well it worked - if it provided more consistent pigmentation, it'd become my regular travel companion - all I'd need to add would be mascara, foundation and brow stuff. As it is, it's still great for travel - but it's not absolutely everything you could need for the average weekend / work trip away. Compared to, say, NARS eyeshadow duo at £24, though, you can't dispute that you get a decent amount of product for your money.
Find it at Boots, where it costs £16.
Disclosure: PR sample