Home Beauty Three 4D Palettes – Art of Parties, Spirit Light and Star Guitar

Three 4D Palettes – Art of Parties, Spirit Light and Star Guitar

by Sonia G.

Do not skip the Three beauty counters if you have the tiniest opportunity to approach them.
By the way, their brushes are made by Chikuhodo and the only reason why I did not get any is because at the end I also had a budget to stick to and they aren’t cheap.

I purchased two of the 4D palettes in Japan,  04 Art of Parties and 08 Spirit Light, very recently I ordered the 09 Star Guitar.

My first reaction at the counter in Tokyo was not that exciting, I noticed too much glitter -in everything. The pencils, the eyeshadows, the pigments… I was hoping for a little less sparkle and a little more coverage but actually, Three is more about transparency and translucency which actually today is what I am really interested in.


The picture with flash may scare you, it shows that there is a lot of sparkle going on in there!

Today I would like to share my thoughts on these palettes, what I love about them or what I don’t, see if this can help you somehow. I know the access to Three is not easy and without swatches or online reviews it’s not easy to take decisions, believe me, even at the counter I could not see myself wearing them at all and had the feeling I was making a mistake trying to. I bought them more for the sake of trying something new more than for having fallen in love at first sight, at that time I did not see the Star Guitar (not released yet), that one would definitely not have me hesitating.



When I was back from Japan and tried the 04 and 08 I wasn’t that impressed, I thought the textures were difficult to work with and way too sparkly for daily use. Not enough time to spend in disciplining those sparkles into a wearable look and the daily stress did not put me in the mood of experimenting. Kate (Drivel about Frivol) describes the textures really well and has stunning swatches of them here and here. Haru (Rouge Deluxe) has also a fantastic Three introduction and gorgeous look here.



Some shades deliver more coverage, or are more or less loaded with sparkles. The 08 Spirit Light has two pans that are just made of sparkles, I cannot manage to layer any base color with these two 08 sparkle pans.

The Three palettes shown here have a brown shade, looks similar from the distance but as you see in the swatch below, they are clearly different. The one in Star Guitar is in my opinion the best of all, looks like an airbrushed texture, stunning and easy to work with, the finish is my favorite ever.

The brown in Spirit Light is … light, a bit too light unfortunately but at least it doesn’t have sparkles and it does a great job in turning any of the Three cream-like texture into a different interesting taupish colour.

The brown in Art of Parties is more shimmery but not over the top, goes well with the whole palette, brings warmth and contrast.


My first attempts with the 04 and 08, were “ok” but not quite that excited about it, then when I used the newest 09 Star Guitar I entered Wonderland by the big Star entrance. You have to be willing to step out of the neutral comfort zone to be able to fully appreciate the effects, after one year in a very neutral phase I struggled. I have been wearing these palettes everyday for a week now, yes I do sparkle but with the 09 it is acceptable for me, it’s not a metallic shine that makes my eyelids look heavy and that emphasize my age, their texture definitely helps with the wearability factor.

When I saw Kate’s looks with 09 Star Guitar I was intrigued by the possibilities. She has excellent taste and she is absolutely freaking gorgeous in Star Guitar, not only in that palette but you know that already. We all want to recreate her looks, she is an inspiration to many, a muse with many talents, beauty and speech are just two of them. When I tried to recreate one of the looks she was wearing, I had a moment and heard Angels singing 🙂

I do think that Star Guitar’s “4D” naming is appropriate, when you come from a neutral flat dimension it requires a little bit of bravery at first but whatever the result, I always saw a balanced combination of mystery and comfort.

The first time I was wearing in a very subtle application, when I apply my makeup is 6:30am, it’s still dark outside, my lighting is not good and I am always afraid to overdose it. The day after I decided to do the same thing, just less subtle. Either way they performed really well but the final application with the darkest shade of Star Guitar is not striking like the pan is, on the eyelids it won’t be overly sparkly, it won’t be that distinctively “burgundy” and you will have to work it to get very dark results, BUT, it does look very beautiful at the end.

Since I was so happy with the Star Guitar, I decided to further experiment with the other 2 I had.

The 08 Spirit Light was not a success, definitely too sparkly and the sparkles too volatile. The only way I can make it work nicely is to apply the dark shade as a base all over the mobile lid with or without the brown shade on top. I think I still have to work on it to appreciate it, for now I don’t.

The 04 Art of Parties was a great surprise. Tried different looks with it, I love to apply the violet in the inner corner of the lid (~1/3), with the brown as gradient transition until the outer V, where I apply the dark cream shadow. I also use the dark cream to thickly line the lash line (bottom and upper). The stunning conclusion is that after 10 hours the gradient application is still visible and you can still appreciate the effect and the violet is clearly there, when you can claim that a sheer shadow like this violet can last the whole day looking awesome, that means they created something amazing.

This violet shade is not that easy to dupe, I show it to you near other shades and you’ll see it’s very different and so much more interesting.



I love the little Shu Uemura trio, the shades have a more satin-airbrushed finish, looks gorgeous applied but you see that the Three is so much more complex.


I am comparing the two browns from the 04 and 08, I could not find exact dupes but I do love the Make Up For Ever 127 which appears to be in between the 04 and 08 in terms of opacity and finish.



The RBR Gracious Arasari is very sheer almost invisible on my skin if I don’t swatch it heavily and the Bohemian Waxwing much more shimmery in comparison to the others.


I was very interested by the Coral shade in 08 Spirit Light but since it’s just sparkles, that is not that interesting at the end. On the other hand, the Three duo Love Connection has a beautiful gold coral, still sheer but you can get a base color.


Unless you are really in love with sparkles in 08, probably the duo will be more handy for most of us.


The burgundy in Star Guitar is beautiful in the pan, you see very clearly the complexity of this shade but as I said before, on the eyes, at least on mine, the complexity is not that obvious.


I shared in the past that I love the Shu Uemura Raspberry and Mocha palette, now you know why… 6 shades with different textures in the same palette, extremely well pigmented and the one I am swatching here is no exception.

The Shu Uemura Prestigious Bordeaux is not that stunning for me, my favourite shade in this palette is the tiny red brick, the colour of this blush is the reason why I don’t regret the purchase of the palette. If they had a full size blush of this shade, I would run get it right now.



I’d say the closest could be the Burberry Mulberry which is a must have. I took a picture of the stains while removing the swatches, the Shu Raspberry and Mocha does last really well, but now you see that this 4D palette has fantastic lasting power, although it doesn’t set, it fades very slowly and evenly throughout the day.


The brown in the Star Guitar is a gorgeous texture and colour. The Shu trio is fantastic, when I found that one I had to run across London to find a counter that still had it…I am quite happy that the Three is even better, the Shu is more sheer and less complex but still matches my definition or perfect texture (=not powdery, not overly shimmery, pigmented but buildable).



5 of the most amazing browns I own, I am not always after complexity and these are interesting since they are easy to wear for ageing eyes, with satin shine as opposed to shimmer/metallic finish.


The sparkles of the Star Guitar do have a base color, that I cannot notice when I use it but they do. When I use Star Guitar I use every single shade and I apply the sparkles in the inner corner of the eye, always. I do not feel they are too much at all but I just apply a few of them, as many as you can grab with a Koyudo C011 or a Tom Ford pencil brush with one swipe, not more.



The only two sparkle pans that have a base colour are the Charlotte Tilbury and the Three but on the eyes I cannot make the base colour show anyway.


The pink shade of Star Guitar adds the *ooooomph* to the final application, looks totally blah here but it’s stunning. With the right light you can see how it dresses the look with a stunning subtle coat of magic shine. I wear it on top of the whole look or as a base, it’s just luminosity in a pan.


When you swatch a normal white goat brush you see the amount of color it picks yet it’s nearly invisible on the eyes.


The textures are a bit more tricky, the creamy can be used as base or liner or just to add depth in the outer V.  To apply the creamy pan as a base I prefer the fingertips to layer it (pat, blend, pat, blend..) but a weasel or kolinsky brush would very nicely do the trick, I just find that the fingertips are the fastest and more gentle way to work with these, the burgundy is not that easily buildable but the advantage is that the capacity of gradually building it allows more flexibility. Even at full layering it does not look over the top.

If you are just going to apply it near the lashline, then better to use a small weasel brush (or kolinsky), or even the Mac 239… I just prefer weasel or kolinsky with the cream textures, I find they apply more evenly and softly.

If you are going for an outer V application with the cream texture, the longer crease brushes (s141 or bp036) are a bit too flexible, better get a pencil brush the size of the TF 14.

When I want the cream shadow to be applied on the outer V and dragged inwards, I use the TF 12, vertical with the tip of the brush, you just need a firm and dense brush that can pack color.

I don’t use the burgundy as thin liner because I use the Tom Ford defining pen on a daily basis but I do line the bottom lash line and upper lash line in a thick application and for that I use the G5514 or C011.

As for the violet pan in 04 Art of Parties, I like it heavily applied so I use the Mac 239 in sideways motions, not pat-pat-down but windshield rub-rub 😛

The browns are workable with any brush, I use the Nars 12 or TF13 but any would do the trick, the denser and thicker the bristles, the more coverage you’ll get.

The pink in Star Guitar can be applied with any base brush or blended over with any blending brush.

The sparkles I pick them up with the C011 because it’s still dense at the top but soft enough to not poke the delicate skin in the inner corner of the eyes, it’s firm enough to place and press lightly.



This is how I use these textures but the little brushes that come with the compacts are usable, not that great but if you don’t have anything else they will get the job done.

Bottom line

Difficult to see if these palettes will work for us without being able to swatch and try them before. Some have more sparkles than others and if you don’t like sparkles it’s going to be a bit more selective.

If you have to start with something from Three I would recommend you the Star Guitar. I am fully enjoying the Art of Parties and Star Guitar and I think that with these two I have a wide range of possibilities.

Haru mentions that in Tokyo they are available in Isetan and Odakyu in Shinjuku, Seibu in Ikebukuro and Shibuya, and in Ginza they are in the big Mitsukoshi.

I believe that online they can be found at Ichibankao.

I hope this was helpful and I am looking forward to reading your thoughts on them!

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Sarabeautime 19 January, 2014 - 4:21 pm

Thanks so much for posting this very extensive deep review. I ordered Star Guitar after Seeing Kate’s gorgeous post and received it recently. I still coudn’t try it though. After reading your review, now I am even more curious. These seem to be different than other eye shadow quads I have, so may need to experiment with it longer before I find a way to make it work. Or maybe it just works 😉

Sweet make up temptations 19 January, 2014 - 11:08 pm

you are welcome Sara!
please go ahead and try it, I would love to see a look on your beautiful eyes 🙂
It looks difficult due to the various textures but it isn’t, this one “just works”, but please let me know what you think!

Adele 19 January, 2014 - 5:01 pm

This is such a thorough, amazing review! Thank you!

Sweet make up temptations 19 January, 2014 - 11:08 pm

My pleasure Adele 🙂 thank you for the compliment!

Kay 19 January, 2014 - 9:16 pm

Dear Sonia,
What a fantastic review! I guess I should expect the level of excellence but it still bowls me over when you provide so much information and detail that so very helpful. 🙂

I also bypassed the Three counter in Japan as it was too sparkly and am glad you gave it a second chance. You have me convinced about Star Guitar and I shall be purchasing!!!

The shades on your skin look more subtle and less contrasting than they do in Kate’s swatches so I think it will work. I am most interested in the cream grape shade as I’ve been finding the brown and navy cream shades in two of my Suqqu palettes fun and useful. It looks like it may be less sparkly than the Shu PD or Chanel Diapson which I swatched and more brown than bright which is good. BTW, it’s interesting how purple Illusoire and Diapson look on Kate but in your swatches and on me, Illusoire is grayer and Diapson is browner. But then Kate is very, very fair.

You recently made a comment about the right technique or application and you are absolutely right. It was a good reminder as I have gotten lazy. Since then, I have spent more time thoughtfully layering and blending my liner and eyeshadows and with the right restraint and balance, the effect is more cohesive/finished without being too busy. Switching from my burgundy to my rimglass glasses also helps a lot! But it took me twice as long 🙁 Maybe practice would help?

Have a great week and thanks again for your thorough review!

Kay 19 January, 2014 - 9:24 pm

Oops, sorry, you didn’t swatch Diapson, but I think you know what I mean…colors show up brighter on fair Kate, even her Three grape is really purple but it leans more brown in your swatches.

Sweet make up temptations 19 January, 2014 - 11:27 pm

Kay, I am glad this helps you!
I had the same reaction at the counter but I had to see by myself and try some of them.
Star Guitar is probably the easiest yet more complex and unique palette I own that will make it to daily use.

The burgundy on my skin looks very elegant and the sparkles are very subtle, it does look more toned down than Kate but the sultry effect is still there, absolutely gorgeous.
If you order it, I am very curious to know how it swatches on your skin and how it works for you, no pressure at all here but I just hope I won’t push you to a purchase you won’t enjoy. I will most certainly be repurchasing when I hit pan because I will hit it hard 😀 There is not much cream shadow and since I need quite a few layers on my skin it may go down pretty fast.

Finishing and blending are so important, even after blending, taking a cotton bud and cleaning the edges (even if it looks like there is no need), it will make a difference. I cannot take the time every single day but sometimes a little detail in the technique can transform the application.
Gosh I had to call my bf to translate the burgundy sentence 😀 😀 😀 don’t drink and do makeup !!! speaking of … have you seen this ?

Have a great week too and thanks for the lovely comment!

Kay 20 January, 2014 - 4:41 am

I ordered from Ichibankao and will swatch when it arrives!

Thanks for the tip on using cotton buds to clean up edges even if it looks like I don’t need to. I mostly use them for cleaning up my waterline — for some reason I don’t like makeup there at all!

One of the best things I got in Japan was Muji thin cotton buds, so fabulous as they are not fuzzy and do a great job at neatening things up. No more lint in the eye! I would recommend trying if you haven’t already. I just ordered 12 packs along with a bunch of other things…with shipping to Hawaii so expensive, it seemed to make sense…but come to think of it, that’s 2,400 cotton buds! Oh well, better more than not enough!

Sweet make up temptations 20 January, 2014 - 10:56 pm

Cooool! I am very excited for you 🙂 I would love to see how it works out for you 🙂
argh… cotton buds and cotton pads… this week is the first time of my life where I could feel a cotton pad like a razor, I was looking for the wire inside it… but it was just the cotton pad, every single cotton pad!!! Ok, I have very sensitive skin right now since I am not using my Laura Mercier skincare but it felt like it was cutting my skin.
Do not worry, I totally get you! Here they are insanely expensive, so I try to save buying a cheap brand but see… cotton razors I get instead!!
Last time I checked Muji shipping was insanely expensive, need to check again!

Cass 20 January, 2014 - 5:20 am

Dear Sonia,

Sorry to leave this quite irrelevant comment here. I am wondering if you could do a blog about how to clean up brushes? I tried to search the topic but failed. If you’ve already done it before, can you please let me know the keywords?

Jeanette 20 January, 2014 - 10:19 pm

Hi Cass, you’re right, Sonia already made that post 😉 Here it is: http://sweetmakeuptemptations.com/2013/11/09/brush-cleaning-and-caring/

Cass 21 January, 2014 - 2:31 am

Thank you a lot!

Sweet make up temptations 20 January, 2014 - 10:30 pm

Hi Cass,
Jeanette just gave you the link (thank you Jeanette!!) and here is the other link in the Halls http://brushtemple.sweetmakeuptemptations.com/exhibits/show/care-and-cleaning
The link is also there plus there is the caring instructions for 4 brands 🙂

Cass 21 January, 2014 - 2:32 am

Thank you Sonia. They help a lot!

Sweet make up temptations 22 January, 2014 - 9:12 pm

no worries 🙂 my pleasure!

Kate @ drivelaboutfrivol 20 January, 2014 - 7:38 am

…… *bows down*
Sonia this is a MASTERLY post! So incredibly thorough and thoughtful about what your readers might want to know, and with spectacular detailed pictures.

I thought I’d be safe clicking over because I already own all three palettes (NO sweet makeup temptations, heh) but of course you make me covet all the brushes in your last section — I totally agree with your general principles about the optimal density / size of brush for each type of THREE texture.

Thank you also for your incredibly kind words :* I can skip blush today 😀

Sweet make up temptations 20 January, 2014 - 11:07 pm

Hi Kate!
I hope your day was sunny and warm 🙂
Thank you my dear, it’s very rewarding to read your kind comments!
Please let me know if you visit Switzerland one day, it would be a pleasure to meet you!

Gladys L. 22 January, 2014 - 11:02 am

This post is huge! Sonia : )

I have to take some time to absorb the ideas in the comparison swatches. Your work is the best. And I hope THREE will receive better recognition by English speaking bloggers in the near future.

I can’t handle the plum/ purple color in 09 (but I was tempted), I guess I need to go for the duos in 2013. Purple e/s means love~~~

btw, Dior/ Nars offer very similar purple recently, the color is so beautiful but I don’t understand why most of the recent purples are less than opaque kind of formula (Guy Bourdin Holiday Collection from NARS). I feel like MAC pigments have offered several excellent choices of non-opaque purple e/s already and I am always a rather lazy customer to find sth different, and less motivated by similar offerings.

Sweet make up temptations 26 January, 2014 - 4:26 pm

thank you Gladys… well, on me the Three doesn’t even look purple 🙂
I finally swatched the spring purple of Dior, did not swatch evenly so I wasn’t even tempted 🙁
I agree, I find most of the purples now to be too sheer and struggle to find textures that surprise me, Three does!

Jillian 4 February, 2014 - 5:28 pm

I loved reading this and looking through all the gorgeous pictures. I’m thinking of getting an order together for a few more THREE products. I just got the “Love Fascination” duo and I’m hooked. Which duos do you own and are any others “must-haves”?
Lipstick Boulevards posted a look on the Departure quad that looked beautiful, albeit sparkly… http://lipstickboulevards.blogspot.com/2013/11/addiction-ready-to-wear-eye-palette-05.html?m=1
So many sweet makeup temptations so little time/money, lol.

Sweet make up temptations 5 February, 2014 - 9:37 am

My fav is Love Fascination for sure, I am wearing the coral one today, Love Connection, but I very much prefer Love Fascination, for me the Fascination one is the best they own but I only have two 🙂
I did one look with that Departure palette and it was beautiful, specially loving the brown and the purple!! the other two shades not that much.
I don’t regret purchasing it though. Thank you for the link! I agree with you, so many ones!! lol

ghettoe 20 March, 2014 - 7:52 am

This has confirmed that these are not for me. I have not seen a more detailed and extensive review and I am thankful. I dislike a glittery eye and these look it. I even avoid the glitter shades in the TF quads. I just don’t find glitter flattering and I don’t care what anyone says but it always ends up on your face and anyone who claims otherwise to me is lying! Furthermore, I am a dark skinned woman and I don’t see these showing up or flattering me at all. I really like no fuss products which is why I also like the TF quads. I always get compliments whenever I wear Cognac Sable or Orchid Haze. The plum shade in Star Guitar is tempting but meh. I guess now I just need to stop lusting after Suqqu. I blame you bloggers. You just make me lust after make up and brushes. I bought three hakuhodo brushes and thought, how in the world? They just ended up in my basket. D:

Sweet make up temptations 20 March, 2014 - 8:54 pm

yes they do end in your face for sure, sometimes it’s ok but in full day light and at the office the sparkles are not really appropriate.
The more the years pass (at this stage even months make a difference) the less I enjoy shimmery shades. Often I end up erasing the application with a cotton bud at the last moment because I am not convinced at all. I still like them but just like alcohol, with moderation 🙂
Congratulations on the brush splurge 😉 sowy…

Magdalena 25 August, 2015 - 8:54 pm

Hello Sonia. I have finally decided to take a plunge and get one eye palette from Three and one from Addiction. I have dark hair, fair skin and dark brown eyes with some hazel thru. Also I work in the office and I am on in late 30ties. Which ones would you recommend based on your experience… Thank you


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