Yesterday, on my Instagram stories, I asked readers to pick my next anti-haul blog post. I received a tremendous response (thank you!), and while there is certainly interest in an anti-haul post for all of the products I mentioned (stay tuned...) there was one product that stood out from the rest that was either a great source of temptation or anger: Anastasia Beverly Hills Sultry.
Sultry, which is the newest eyeshadow palette by Anastasia Beverly Hills, is a completely neutral palette that we have seen dozens of times over the past seven years. But this time, it has an added coral shade.
And I won't be buying.
Does anyone else remember the Anastasia Beverly Hills of the Modern Renaissance days? When every other brand was teasing consumers for months on end about a new product—as though it was a new season of highly anticipated television show—ABH just released Modern Renaissance one day after it was announced. And when all the other brands were trying to outdo each other in terms of recreating the gold, bronze, and brown color scheme better, ABH came out with a palette with some orange and red shades.
Despite the fact that I have a complicated history with Modern Renaissance (I caved into hype and pressure from a salesperson, hated the palette, accepted that the formula was hard to work with and not my favorite, realized that I already owned all the colors already, and returned it), I liked the way that the brand conducted themselves during the launch, and I've had my eye on them ever since.
Since then, however, ABH has failed to impress me. The Master Palette by Mario was, in my opinion, really boring and fueled entirely by fear of missing out and a fascination with celebrity culture; Subculture was a PR nightmare as the shadows were so powdery and difficult to work with; and now Soft Glam, Norvina, and Sultry have all been churned out in record time and feel like very
boring similar color stories.
When it felt like all the other brands were coming out with a new palette every month, I liked that ABH only came out with one, maybe two, a year. It made me appreciate the brand more because they weren't saturating the market. But that has since changed, and now ABH—like so many other brands—is looking uninspired and lazy. They know they have a loyal (and, at times, rabid) fanbase, and can therefore release a version of a palette most people already own and throw in one "pop of color" shade and have it be a success.
Which brings us to Sultry:
I can still remember being at work when I learned that the Naked 2 palette released, and I told my coworker (who shared my love of makeup) that we both had to buy it right then and there because it was going to sell out. We didn't have time to think about it; we had to make a decision. So we each bought it. And the palette sold out. And we both felt so lucky that we were able to snag it.
We didn't really think about the fact that the Naked 2 palette wasn't all that different from the Naked palette. The original was warm-toned! The new one is cool-toned! They are totally different!
I also didn't think about this when I bought the Too Faced Chocolate Bar:
Or the Make Up For Ever Artist 1 palette:
Or the Lorac Pro 2:
To name just a few.
I spent so many years and so much money buying the same things over and again. But now I'm older, I've decluttered almost every single neutral palette from my collection, and I write a blog about smart consumerism and recognizing marketing tactics geared at making you buy what you already own. And—somehow—Anastasia Beverly Hills thinks that they can get me to buy the Naked 2 palette all over again? Because they threw in a matte coral and a matte mustard?
Oh, I don't think so.
When I look at this line of crushed pigments, do you know what I see? Colors that are so nondescript that they can only be called neutrals, plus one coral shade and a mustard.
Let's look at the swatches:
If you cover up the coral shade in the above photo, I actually think the color scheme of this palette is pretty and smoky. It's unoriginal and stale, but pretty. But the inclusion of the coral feels out of place and like the palette doesn't understand its own color scheme. To me, the coral seems to almost clash with the rest of the colors, which makes the entire thing feel less like this was an intentional ABH color story and more like ABH wanted to throw in one bright color to disorient people from thinking they already own this exact palette.
Taking away the coral, Sultry looks just like every other neutral palette.
It looks like the Viseart Theory palettes in Cashmere:
It also looks like Lorac Pro:
Colourpop I Think I Love You:
Juvia's Place Warrior:
And Makeup Geek In the Nude:
But Sultry also looks like so many other palettes from Anastasia Beverly Hills. Like the Master Palette by Mario:
Norvina (if you cover up the one shimmery purple and matte periwinkle):
And Soft Glam:
It's no surprise to learn that brands want consumers to buy the same thing endlessly. Once brands saw the success Urban Decay had with serializing the Naked palettes, they all started either serializing their own products (i.e. Chocolate Bars, Lorac Pros, Tartelettes, etc.) or making them collectible in some other way, like ABH has with their velvet packaging.
I watched a declutter video recently where someone acknowledged that she did not like the ABH formula, but had collected all of the palettes with the velvet packaging and wasn't ready to let that collection go. And this is exactly what ABH and every other brand is counting on when they make these similar-looking products. They want people to feel like these products are collector's items, and they want you to buy them all.
And, frankly, Sultry just isn't a palette that anyone asked for or needs. When you look at the gaping holes in the makeup industry or necessary areas of improvement, I don't think anyone is under the impression that we need more neutral palettes. We need inclusive products. And while Sultry looks to be more inclusive than a typical neutral palette with a cream brow bone shade and light brown transition shade, this palette still feels like it leans closer to the light end of the spectrum than the dark. And when there are quite literally countless options of neutral eyeshadow palettes geared toward light skin tones, there is just zero reasoning for brands to continue producing them.
I have purchased some version of Sultry more times than I care to remember. Over the many years of being a makeup lover, a member of the beauty community, and finally someone who had a shopping/makeup addiction, I continued to buy the same items, never really learning that they were all the same or that I didn't need to buy them just because they were new and the "influencers" were talking about them.
And now, a few years into my shifted perspective on consumerism, I can say without hesitation that I have every shade in Sultry, and I have zero need to add the Anastasia Beverly Hills version of it. This palette would add nothing to my collection other than another palette that would eventually be decluttered.
If you are lusting after Sultry and have been thinking about trying to dupe a palette from singles in your collection or shades that you have depotted, I think this would a great palette to start with. Chances are, if you find yourself drawn to this palette, you likely already pwn shimmery whites, champagnes, golds, bronzes, and taupes, and duping this palette from your own collection could be quite easy.
Even though ABH has never been my personal favorite brand, I have always found them intriguing and have been excited to see what new product or color scheme they were going to bring to the makeup industry. And it would be disappointing for ABH go down the same path as brands like Too Faced and Tarte, where the main objective is to pump out new, typically non-inclusive releases as quickly as possible that are just repackaged versions of something we have already seen.
But, it seems like ABH may be heading in this direction. With the releases of Soft Glam, Norvina, and now Sultry, it seems like ABH cares less about the color story and inspiration and more about an easy color scheme they know will sell. And as a consumer, that is a major turnoff for me.
I have zero need for a palette like this, and more than that, I have zero want for it. So I won't be buying.
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In my next post, I will write an anti-haul on the product that received the second-most votes on my Instagram stories. Stay tuned.
For notifications on my latest posts and to vote on future posts, follow me on Instagram: @antihaulblog