Bobbi Brown Black Velvet Metallic Eye Shadows

August 21, 2010
Bobbi Brown has released another collection this fall called Black Velvet consisting of new lipsticks, creamy lip colors, eyeshadows and kohl eyeliner pencils. The standouts to me were the three Metallic Eyeshadows Black Berry, Black Charcoal and Black Cocoa ($20 each).

Those familiar with the Metallic Eyeshadows from Bobbi Brown know they have a luxurious texture – soft, pigmented and easy to blend. The new Metallics from the Black Velvet collection seem a bit different from her usual formula. They’re a bit harder in texture with a black base and different colored sparkles. The colors show up well when swiped on the finger but seem sheer when applied on the skin. They remind me of NARS Night Shadows – black base, sheer sparkle. I recommend that you apply these over a cream-based product such as a darker cream shadow or eyeliner – something a bit more emollient to pick up the actual color.

My descriptions:
  • Black Berry is a burgandy wine in the compact, but applies a deeper wine-plum shimmer
  • Black Charcoal is a charcoal silver color, applies a soft smokey grey
  • Black Cocoa is a glimmering chocolate gold, applies a smokey chocolate

Note that all apply well swiped on the finger, but when applied on the skin, you get a black base with bits of the colored micro-glitter (very tiny glitters):

More photos and swatches:


Swatched without a base, then swatched with a base:

Overall gorgeous and unique for Bobbi Brown – at least compared to all her other eyeshadows but I was disappointed in the finish of these eyeshadows because I was expecting the soft velvety texture that her Metallics usually have. When I think of the name of the collection Black Velvet, I think rich and lush textures and pigments. These are more of a soft smoke type of finish. Still good for a soft smokey eye, but alone, the colors are more subtle and you’ll get a slightly different variation of greyed black on the eyes with subtle bits of sparkle. To bring out the color you’ll need to use them over a cream base. I wouldn’t recommend using them wet simply because I think a wet brush will ruin the surface and texture of the eyeshadows. Perhaps using a soft damp brush might work, but I personally wouldn’t risk it. I was able to test them out at the counter and wasn’t quite sure if my fingers were just picking up the colors weird but after getting home and playing around with them a bit, I found out that they were indeed not the typical metallic finish.

I put Black Charcoal on my eyes as soon as I got home and it seems like even with a base it’s hard to see the shimmer. Bottom line is that I’ll need to experiment more with these. I think the intended result is a soft smokey eye rather than a shimmery smokey eye. This may be very much like last year’s Style Black collection from MAC, which took me a few tries to figure out just how to apply them on the eyes the right way.

So don’t write them off simply because I don’t know how to apply these. My regular Bobbi Brown artist wasn’t at the counter today when I stopped by so I didn’t get a chance to have her apply these on me. I’ll probably go back in the next week or so and ask for her tips. She’s a genius when it comes to applying makeup.

I passed on the other 2 matte shadows, I personally prefer the texture and color of Caviar and Smoke. The sparkle shadows that were supposed to be released were not at the counter yet. The lipgloss seemed really sheer. The creamy lip colors were black and then another that reminded me of Clinique’s Black Honey which I might go back for. I didn’t try the new lipstick or metallic lipstick. The Eye Kohls seemed pretty basic and I prefer her gel liners so I skipped those.

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  • Amy August 21, 2010 at 5:06 am

    Thank you for the honest and thorough review. The other apparently sheer black was the Chanel Noir palette. I'm a little surprised by the texture of these, I must admit. Your pictures are excellent. I think the British Beauty Blogger pictured a Bobbi four-pan palette that may hold more pigment than these? We won't know till it counters I suppose. Thank you again!

  • Sharon August 21, 2010 at 5:10 am

    omg the colors are gorgeously pigmented!! Thanks for the great swatch photos!!


  • Dovey August 21, 2010 at 5:19 am

    Awesome! I'm really excited to get my hands on Black charcoal, and maybe Black cocoa now =)

  • wuguimei August 21, 2010 at 7:48 am

    Wow, these eyeshadows are seriously pigmented! Beauty Ticket is having a sale on these eyeshadows, your review came in time, lol.

  • Meeta August 21, 2010 at 10:36 am

    I really like the look of Black berry, I will have to check these out on counter.

  • Anonymous August 21, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Just a suggestion, have you tried applying these shadows using your finger or sponge applicator and pat them to your lid? I have Bobbi Brown Midnight Metallic eyeshadow that came with the Metallic trio collection; I think it should have the same texture as these new shadows you're reviewing. I used sponge applicator with the Midnight Metallic eyeshadow and it does help showing more pigment in the eyelids and it also helps lessen the fallouts.

  • Dandelion August 21, 2010 at 11:34 am

    these colors are really nice

  • Martha August 21, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Wow! Black Cocoa looks like a must have. They are all gorgeous- great review!

  • Honor August 21, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Thank you for your review and swatches. I was desperately waiting for swatches of this collection and you are thé first one reviewing it 😉 . I guess that bobbi's take on dark smokey eyes was too go extremely sheer which could explain the result without base. Are these metallic much sheerer than say java metallic?May I ask you which base you use for your swatch , the result is impressing.
    Since you havé seen them were the two Matte eye shadow as sheer as the metallic or as dark as caviar or espresso?
    Thank you again for a great review,

  • Sabrina August 21, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    Amy – aahh yes, that Chanel Noir Obscurs palette – I still have lemmings for that, but never caved simply because it seemed too high maintenance for me. Still check these out if you get a chance. Chances are many will love these even if I'm not 100% smitten with them.

    Dovey – I think Black Charcoal is the prettiest of them 🙂

    Wuguimei – Make sure you read my review before jumping to conclusions about the pigment (just want you to be aware).

    Anonymous – Yes! Thanks for the tip, but I did try that with these, no luck unless you pat them OVER a base as well. Good thing about these BBs is that there is no fall out even though there is this tiny sparkle, not exactly micro glitter, but somewhere in between. I just think they really need a base regardless of how you apply. The finger idea is good, but didn't work any better for me.

    Martha – they are indeed stunning in the compact!

    Honor – Yes, you seem right on. Bobbi's take on the smokey eye is probably softer and more sultry than the typical smokey eye (at least in my mind). For the base on my swatching, I simply used my moisturizer + MAC Prep & Prime. Using a proper eye base would probably get a better result on the eye, I have yet to find one that I like for me (tried UD, TF, NARS and didn't like any of them).

    Compared to Java, they are less pigmented on the skin. For me, Java applies really well. The two mattes were extremely pigmented – the black was just more blue-based, whereas Caviar is one of the few TRUE BLACKS on me. The other shade I can't recall now, but I do remember swatching it next to Smoke and liked my Smoke better.

  • Eileen August 21, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    There are numerous eye shadows and pigments on the market now that must be patted onto a base rather than swiped on an unpreped lid. That's just the nature of the beast. I always use Kanebo eye base which helps shadows/pigments to adhere without drying out the eyelid. I use a brush to pat the shadows/pigments on; then if I want more intensity, I lightly pat over the shadow/pigment with a brush lightly moistened with fixative (2 parts water to 1 part glycerin). These types of shadows and pigments are certainly higher maintainence and require a different application technique, but if the colors are unique enough, they're worth it.

    I had already planned on going to see these today, but after reading your honest and frank review, I'll be sure to take my Kanebo and a brush with me! From what I've seen of promo pictures and your excellent swatches, the colors look like they're worth the extra effort.

  • parnia August 21, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    thanks so much for the review, i am double minded now. iam so used to soft buttery BB metallic shadows. can u remember anything more of the lipsticks or the lipgloss?

  • Honor August 21, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    Have you ever tried the eye base by Paula Dorf? I just discovered this brand recently through Lisa Eldrige and they have the most amazing eye brushes ever. They also have an eye base that I like if use very sparingly. I also like to use my BB longwear cream ES in shore as a base and it works quite well.
    I think I Will go for the three Metallics and Forget the Matte shade,

  • Laura August 21, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    Wow, I hadn't even heard of this collection and I'm usually pretty up to date! These look like they are similar to the UD Stardust shadows, which I love, but they definitely need to be used with a sponge applicator and on top of a sticky base to have payoff on the eye that's the same as the pan. I'm totally going to get the charcoal and brown shadows. Thanks for the swatches!

  • Andee Layne August 21, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    you have the best reviews! crazy what a difference a base makes! Love the black cocoa …actually i love all three!!!

  • Anonymous August 21, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    Thank you so much, Lina, for getting to this collection. I've been waiting for the blogs to start having info….I do think you're the first to swatch! Yay for you!!!

    I got Black Chocolate (ebay), one of the mattes, and it is a great liner for me, applied wet. Lina is indeed right, on my skin, it is a dark cool brown, with no warm undertones whatsoever. I have so many warm browns. I do love that Bobbi does so many cool browns. I think they make me look less tired. I wore it today with Ash s/w and Brown Stone metallic. Just a gorgeous taupey eye. !


  • Bella Queen August 21, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    The colours look good, but I'm not necessarily a fan of black bases speckled with colour, so I'll def have to go to a counter and experiment. Looks like the will need a base as well, so thank you for pointing that out. British Beauty Blogger had some BB palettes recently and the looked fab too.


  • Flutura Whispers August 22, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Black Cocoa is STUNNING!! I will definitely be picking this up 🙂 Thank you for a fab post. x

  • Rachel August 22, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    I love Black Cocoa, the colour is very unique and pretty! =)

  • Anonymous August 23, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Always look forward to reading your blog! Thanks for these swatches. Curious to see if the Cocoa is similar to NARS Mekong.

  • Christina August 25, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    Thanks So Much For reviewing this i love all these colors very nice. I'm going out to buy this soon. 🙂


  • Beautiful, Dirty Rich August 25, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    I love all the colors and shades

  • Z' August 25, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    I just got the Black Berry today and would love to know what tips your BB makeup artist suggests for application. I was in a rush this afternoon when I picked up the shadow and didn't ask. Please let us know!

  • Amy August 27, 2010 at 4:14 am

    Hi Sabrina- I went to my local Bobbi counter this evening to talk about these eyeshadows. She showed me exactly what you described–with a brush, they are so sheer. She suggested using any eyeshadow base–a pencil, Bobbi Brown's own eyeshadow base, or cream eyeshadow and then packing the shadow on by pressing it with a brush (not sweeping the brush, but pushing the pigment directly into the base. They really do look beautiful with a base. Without a base, these really are the same soft low-pigment whispers that you show in your pictures.

    By the way, the lipsticks in this collection are pretty, but quite dark and dramatic.

    I left this evening still undecided, I couldn't commit to these yet. Perhaps I will take another look at these in a few weeks, or just wait for Bobbi's next collection and hope for something else.

    Anyway, I hope this helps someone who's shopping for these–it's really the same advice you've already given. These just really, really need a base.

  • Sabrina September 6, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    Hi ladies, sorry for the delay in responding.

    Eileen – I will definitely check out that eye base!

    Parnia – I remember the lipsticks being very dark. I passed.

    Honor – I'm not a fan of Paula Dorf b/c I've just never really liked anything I tried from her, but I will definitely look into this one too 🙂

    Laura – I think these are more pigmented compared to UD Stardust eyeshadows.

    Andee Layne – They are definitely worth checking out. I think one needs to play with these in person to see what these are really like.

    Nina – Black Chocolate is great. I just preferred the other colors I have. The ash/brown stone combo sounds nice!

    Bella Queen – Definitely check them out, everyone has different preferences and application techniques.

  • Sabrina September 6, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    Flutura Whispers – TY, glad this helped.

    Rachel – Black Cocoa is gorgeous wet. If you blend though the color disappears. I think this is best when patted on the eye.

    Anonymous – Black Cocoa is less black than NARS Mekong. Also Mekong has those gold flecks whereas Black Cocoa doesn't.

    Z&#39 – I still haven't made it back to neimans! If you e-mail me I can update you once I find out.

    Amy – The lipsticks are indeed dramatic. For fall though I think I prefer Burberry's Heather and Prune. Those are on my wishlist for fall.

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