Wednesday, March 13, 2019

My (Current) Custom Palettes

If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you probably know how much I love to depot eyeshadows and make custom palettes. One of the reasons I'm not the biggest fan of the current marketing trend of trying to convince consumers to buy more and more is because it is all based on novelty. And, as we all know, novelty wears off pretty quick. But with custom palettes, novelty doesn't matter. Because once that wears off, I can just dismantle the old palette and make a new one. 

I'm often in flux with my custom palettes. I'll think I've finally made a palette that can be a "permanent" fixture in my collection, but then that all goes out the window when a new palette comes out that I want to dupe or I find some other source of inspiration.

Case in point: My Schitt's Creek palette, which I talked about in my last post:

As much as I loved this palette, I felt like it was still a bit too warm to really feel like the show and be an ideal cool-toned palette. I had always wanted to include some smoky, cool shades, but I just didn't have any in my collection. So, I actually purchased some new singles recently precisely to fill this void. 

And here is my new Schitt's Creek palette:

To say that I love this new version of the palette is an understatement. I think it is such a perfect cool-toned palette, and had something like this been created by a brand, I absolutely would have purchased it. But, instead of spending $50 – $130, this palette is mostly repurposed from shadows I already owned. 

I've updated/changed all of my custom palettes, so I thought it could be fun to share where my custom palettes currently stand (knowing that these configurations are only ever temporary).

Longtime readers will also know how much I loved my duped/reimagined Too Faced Peachy Mattes palette:

This was a favorite palette for a long time, but I didn't use it much last year. This was largely because I wasn't as interested in creating pink eyeshadow looks (I might have burnt myself out with that in 2017) and because it was mainly a companion palette, and I just don't reach for those very often. 

So, I changed/upgraded it:

I've included some of my favorite shimmer shadows to use with the "peachy" mattes and removed the shades that didn't get as much use from me. I think this now has a really great balance of finishes and shades, and it has reinvigorated my desire to use it. 

I'm still loving my duped Emily Edit: The Wants palette:

I've slightly altered the color scheme, but not in any considerable way. My feelings on the original palette by Makeup Revolution have not changed (it was my biggest fail of the entire year), and neither has my love of Emily's color selection. I still think she curated a fantastic color scheme, and I'm so glad that my collection could mostly duplicate the shades.

My next custom palette contains most of my duochrome shadows:

And I've incorporated other complementary shades. I love looking at so many duochromes all in one place, and I quite like the selection of matte shadows as well. I think this has a really fun color scheme while still being mostly neutral. 

My final palette was inspired by the new Coloured Raine Safari palette:

It includes a dupe of this palette as well as an expansion of the color scheme:

The Safari dupe can be found in the first three columns, excluding the fourth row. I was finally brave enough to depot my beloved Viseart Dark Matte palette, and I couldn't be happier that I did. Dark Matte was the one Viseart palette I could never bring myself to depot, but, much like my duped Peachy Matte palette, I found that I wasn't using it because it wasn't depotted. I cannot express how excited I am about this custom palette. Much like my Schitt's Creek palette, if this was a palette a brand would have created, I would have purchased it. To me, this palette feels unique, which is hard to do when the makeup community is as saturated as it is. But I love the earth tones in this palette, and I find it quite inspiring. What's even more exciting is that this palette gives me ALL the excitement of a new purchase, but these are all shadows I've owned for a while. On top of that, I recently purchased a new palette, and I haven't even used it yet because this one has been too exciting. 

So, that's it for this post. I just wanted to show my "new" custom palettes. In a way, I suppose this is like a haul, because all of these feel like new products to me, but it's more of a "shop my collection" post. I know depotting isn't for everyone, and there are certainly palettes that I would never depot (like Pat McGrath Mothership IV, my Natasha Denona palettes, and BH Cosmetics Zodiac), but when you start to look at shades in a palette as colors instead of part of the whole of a palette, it really opens up quite a bit of creative freedom. 

Hopefully my "new" custom palettes will inspire you to look into your own collections if you're feeling bored or stagnant instead of buying something new. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

My Schitt's Creek Palette

I recently saw a video on the Leesha YouTube channel called "My Kingdom Hearts III Eyeshadow Palette," which is part of her "fantasy palette series." In the video, Leesha created her own custom eyeshadow palette based on one of her favorite video game series. She chose the color scheme based on characters and items in the games, and she also created names for the shadows that related to Kingdom Hearts. 

It was a video that I really enjoyed for multiple reasons. I loved that she was using shadows she already had in a new and creative way. And I enjoyed that she took inspiration from something she loved. It's a really clever idea to encourage people look at their own shadows in a new way, and as soon as I saw the video, I knew this was something I wanted to try as well. 

When I thought of what movie or television show I loved enough to try and replicate this project, one immediately stood out: Schitt's Creek.

I was introduced to this show by a close friend when I was going through a bit of a tough time. The show brought me immense joy, and I have probably rewatched it more than any other show. Every time I just want to feel good and laugh, I turn to Shitt's Creek. It has become quite important to me, so I figured having an eyeshadow palette full of colors that reminded me of it could only be a positive. 

Unlike Leesha, I didn't rename the shadows or pick colors for specific characters or moments from the show. (Had I done so, I would have ended up with an orange shadow that I would have lovingly called "Fold In the Cheese" and a blackened brown that would have been called "What Does Burning Smell Like?" And I didn't necessarily want those colors in this palette.)

Instead, I selected colors from my collection that reminded me of the Rose family (the protagonists of the show):

And this is the palette I made:

Row 1: Colourpop Glass Bull, Jouer Magic Hour (from Skinny Dip), Jouer Star Light (from Skinny Dip), Viseart matte cool-toned brown, Touch of Glam Beauty Merlin's Wand, and Looki Beauty Stiletto.

Row 2: Natasha Denona Glam Green, MAC Haux, ABH Pink Champagne, ABH Dusty Rose, Urban Decay Chase, Natasha Denona Industrial, and Ardency Inn Rose Gold. 

Row 3: Jouer Skinny Dip (from Skinny Dip), MAC Satin Taupe, Natasha Denona Antique Olive, Coloured Raine Duchess, Jouer Midnight Swim (from Skinny Dip), Looxi Beauty Foxy Lady, and Touch of Glam Beauty Dark Knight. 

I chose these colors because they felt luxurious to me. When I imagine the show and these characters, I think of decadent shades of gold and silver, and, of course, black. Interestingly, I don't own a black eyeshadow single, and I have never depotted one with the intention of keeping it. It's always so perplexing to me when people say a matte black eyeshadow is a "must" in every makeup collection because... I don't like black eyeshadow. If my choices are between a back and a very dark brown, I will always choose the brown. 

So, in lieu of a black shadow, I chose several dark and complex shimmers, like Jouer Magic Hour, Jouer Midnight Swim, MAC Satin Taupe, and Touch of Glam Beauty Dark Knight.

Here are seven looks I did with this palette:

Look 1:

Lid: Jouer Star Light
Transition: Viseart matte cool-toned brown
Crease: Natasha Denona Antique Olive
Inner corner: Touch of Glam Beauty Merlin's Wand
Lower lash line: Natasha Denona Antique Olive

Look 2:

Lid: MAC Satin Taupe
Transition: MAC Haux
Crease: ABH Dusty Rose
Inner corner: Urban Decay Chase
Lower lash line: Jouer Midnight Swim

Look 3:

Lid: Ardency Inn Rose Gold
Crease: ABH Dusty Rose
Outer corner: Coloured Raine Duchess
Inner corner: Looxi Beauty Foxy Lady
Lower lash line: Coloured Raine Duchess

Look 4:

Lid: Natasha Denona Glam Green
Crease: MAC Haux
Inner corner: Looxi Beauty Foxy Lady
Lower lash line: MAC Haux

Look 5:

Lid: ABH Pink Champagne
Crease: ABH Dusty Rose
Outer corner: Coloured Raine Duchess
Inner corner: Looxi Beauty Foxy Lady
Lower lash line: ABH Dusty Rose

Look 6:

Lid: Ardency Inn Rose Gold
Crease: ABH Dusty Rose
Outer corner: Coloured Raine Duchess
Inner corner: Looki Beauty Stiletto
Lower lash line: Coloured Raine Duchess

Look 7:

Lid: Natasha Denona Industrial 
Crease: Viseart matte cool-toned brown
Outer corner: Natasha Denona Glam Green
Inner corner: Looki Beauty Stiletto
Lower lash line: Jouer Midnight Swim

I've loved using this palette, and every time I look at it, it reminds me of this show I love so dearly. This is also a color story that I would have never chosen on my own without a source of inspiration behind it. The palette definitely leans cool—especially since all the mattes I chose are cool—which is, frankly, different for my collection. Almost everything in my collection leans very warm, which makes sense since warm colors flatter my skin tone. But the colors within this palette are cool tones that also work for my skin tone. And it has been refreshing to have a cool-toned palette. 

Creating this palette has also enabled me to create color combinations that I likely would not have thought of otherwise, like in Looks 2 and 4. 

A main reason, I think, that people continue to buy palettes with shadows that they already own is because a certain arrangement of colors can be really appealing, especially if you haven't seen those colors arranged in that way before. I still catch myself being affected by this all the time. I get sucked into a beautiful color scheme and have to take a moment to remind myself that I already own those colors. I just don't currently have those colors in that arrangement

This is why I love singles so much and am such a fan of depotting eyeshadows. It allows you to change the shadow arrangement and essentially get a "new" product whenever you feel uninspired or in a rut. I hadn't used many of the shadows in this palette for a very long time, but bringing them into their own arrangement that was inspired by one of my favorite shows has brought new life to them, and I've loved using this palette.

I want to thank Leesha for this great idea, and I think it's fantastic that more content creators are encouraging people to be creative and use what they already have instead of mindlessly spending more money on what we already own. 

Monday, February 11, 2019

Is Natasha Denona Worth the Money?

If you're been a longtime reader of this blog, you'll know the depths of which I have criticized the Natasha Denona brand. My biggest gripes have been:
  • The cost
  • The non-luxury packaging
  • The fact that the "Natasha Denona" name isn't "worth" the price
  • The low-quality mattes

My opinion of Natasha Denona products was based on my experience with two of her original 5-pan palettes. They came in bulky, cheap white packaging; the mattes were scratchy and dry; and the shimmers weren't so special that they made up for everything else. 

The price was out of control. The price was especially ridiculous when you factored in how cheap the packaging was and how the name "Natasha Denona" was not an established brand that could up-charge because of the reputation (like Tom Ford, Chanel, Pat McGrath, etc.). 

Every time a new palette would release, I would counter the influencer gushing with all the reasons these products weren't worth my money. I wanted to put out an opinion that differed from the hype train. Because $130 for an eyeshadow palette is a significant amount of money. And I hated that so many influencers would very much overlook that very important consideration. 

But, with every post, I would get comments and messages saying that I really should give the brand another chance. That I shouldn't base my opinions off of the 5-pan palettes because those are hit and miss. That the brand had reformulated the mattes. That the 15-pan palettes were the crown jewels. 

I'll be honest—I didn't believe it. I really didn't think these palettes could be worth their price tag. And I wasn't going to spend $130 of my money to try to figure that out. 

But for Christmas, I received some Sephora gift cards. And with them, I decided to buy the Gold palette:

I wrote an anti-haul post for this palette and "duped" it as best as I could with colors in my collection. I had no desire to use the duped palette. It didn't inspire me. That was all I needed to know about buying Gold. But with a gift card—and not my own money—I decided to buy it. I wanted to try a Natasha Denona palette, and I figured I would select the color scheme that would be the most low-risk, since gold is my favorite eyeshadow color. 

I'll get into my thoughts on the palette later in the post, but suffice to say I was impressed enough that I wanted to see how Gold compared to some other Natasha Denona palettes. Still refusing to spend my own money on these palettes, I cashed in a considerable amount of my Sephora points (that had been saved for nine years) and got Lila and Sunset:

(NOTE: Some of the shadows in Sunset seem to be leaking oil, which you can see in this photo.)

I have used these three palettes almost exclusively for about seven weeks now, so I believe I have a pretty firm grasp on how I feel about them. 

Here are some of the looks I've done with Gold.

Gold Look 1:

Gold Look 2:

Gold Look 3:

Gold Look 4:

Gold Look 5:

Here are looks I've done with Lila.

Lila Look 1:

Lila Look 2:

Lila Look 3:

Lila Look 4:

Lila Look 5:

Lila Look 6:

Lila Look 7:

Lila Look 8:

And here are some looks I've done with Sunset.

Sunset Look 1:

Sunset Look 2:

Sunset Look 3:

Sunset Look 4:

Sunset Look 5:

Sunset Look 6:

Sunset Look 7:

In terms of my thoughts, I'll cut to the chase:

Do I love these palettes and think they are incredibly special? Yes

Do I think these palettes are "worth the money?" No

Let me expand upon these thoughts. I love these palettes. The mattes blew me away because they are nothing like the ones in the 5-pan palettes that I hated so much. These mattes are beautiful to work with with the tools that I have.* 

*Side note: This is something that I wish more people, myself included, would discuss when giving a product review. The tools that you use will absolutely affect the performance of a product and therefore your review. For example, I mostly hate synthetic brushes, especially for eye makeup. However, I have to use a synthetic brush to apply loose pigments or shadows like Colourpop Glass Bull. But, largely, I use natural-hair brushes, and my most used ones come from MAC (before they transitioned to synthetic), Smith Cosmetics, and Hakuhodo.

I didn't have to work much for the mattes to blend out, which was lovely. The shimmers were complex and interesting, and I was really thrilled with how I never bored of any of these palettes. I still reach for these over all of my other shadows, and I've been able to declutter several palettes from my collection since getting these. 

In terms of "ranking" the palettes, my favorite ended up being Gold, and the one that surprised me the most was Lila. I didn't really care for Lila all that much when I first got it (and I probably would have given it a mediocre review), but because I kept using it, I realized how versatile it really is. It has two shadows that I think are utterly special—Dragon Bite and Cyclone—and even though I have used all the shadows, I still feel there is more to discover. Sunset is my "least favorite" of the group, but that is only because I have owned Colourpop Yes, Please! for a while and have long loved that palette. 

(For those wondering on how Sunset compares to Yes, Please!, I do think that Sunset is prettier in that the shadows have more shine and are a bit more sophisticated. With that said, Yes, Please! wins my recommendation because it's a stunning palette at a fraction of the cost of Sunset.)

For all intents and purposes, I am eating crow and acknowledging that these palettes that I have harshly criticized as being overhyped have become favorite products in my sizable collection. I love them, and I am using them more than any other palette that I own. 


These palettes are still not "worth the money" for me personally. And I say that mostly because I did not spend much of my own money on them. Between all the gift cards, I spent roughly $30 on each of these palettes. And for $30, I am beyond thrilled with them. But when I think about the $300 I didn't spend, it's a little hard to wrap my head around. 

I look at these three palettes, and, with tax, they are more than $400. When I think about that, I feel a little sick, to be honest. That's one or two car payments for some people. That's rent or half of rent for others. That's considerable money to be spending on something as frivolous as makeup. And I say that as someone who deeply loves makeup. 

On the other hand, if I was someone who did not have any makeup and only wanted one dynamite palette that I would use every day, I think I would say that one of these palettes could be worth the money if it made sense within a given budget.  

Within my budget, collection size, and lifestyle, a purchase like this doesn't make sense. The shadows are gorgeous, and I have loved every single look I have created out of these palettes. But, I think they cost too much. Despite the fact that I—frankly—adore these palettes and do feel they are special within their textures and application, I don't think they are so much better than other products to justify the cost. And because the palettes lack the Pat McGrath lux packaging (and name), it's staggering to think you're paying $130 for a single makeup product. 

So, in the end, I'm eating crow to say that, yes, these palettes are beautiful and I do love them. But, no, I still don't think they are worth the money. I am curious to see if my feelings change if the brand releases another palette that might feel special to me, but until then, I think these gorgeous products still have too high of a price tag.