Thursday, April 12, 2018

What I'm not Buying: KKW Beauty X Mario Palette

Following in the footsteps of her younger sister, Kim Kardasian started her own makeup brand, and she recently teamed up with her makeup artist to produce a neutral eyeshadow palette with a blue shadow. 

And I won't be buying. 

I'm sorry that I have been absent on the blog for a while. I've been incredibly busy with several projects (including for the blog), and, frankly, there weren't many new items released that were too hyped or that I personally felt excited about. 

And then I learned of the KKW Beauty X Mario Palette. 

Now, there are two very big reasons that this is a hyped palette that sold out very fast:
  1. It has Kim Kardashian's name on it
  2. It has Mario Dedivanovic's name on it. 

That's it. 

If you don't know, Mario Dedivanovic is Kim Kardashian's longtime makeup artist, and a few years ago, he collaborated with Anastasia Beverly Hills on the Master Palette by Mario. KKW Beauty claims that with this palette, you will be able to create any of Kim Kardashian's makeup looks. Naturally, young Kim Kardashian fans are probably very interested in this palette because they want to look like Kim and now think they actually can as long as they buy this collection of incredibly neutral shadows. 

So, I'm just going to say it: there is absolutely nothing special about this palette, except for the fact that it has those two names attached to it. 

Let's look at it:


This is, without question, one of the most boring palettes I have seen in a long time. It is a collection of beiges and brows with a blue and a color that can lean berry or brown. If you remove those two shadows, you've got a very basic beginner's palette. 

Let's break down each shade. There is:
  • A shimmery white
  • A matte cream
  • A shimmery champagne
  • A matte terracotta 
  • A matte warm brown
  • A shimmery berry
  • A shimmery white gold
  • A shimmery blue
  • A matte deep brown
  • A shimmery yellow gold/bronze

Let's look at the colors as pigments:


And as single shadows:


I would encourage everyone to look at these shadows and ask yourself if you would buy each one individually as a single. If you wouldn't because you know you already have those shadows already, you absolutely don't need to buy the entire palette. And if you wouldn't because some of the shadows just aren't all that interesting to you, then you don't need to buy the entire palette. 

When I think about these shadows in relation to what is in my own collection, I would not buy any of them. Not even one. Because I have every single one of these shadows at least five times over, if not more. And if I owned absolutely zero eyeshadow, I still would only buy:
  • The matte cream
  • The shimmery gold
  • The matte warm brown
  • The matte terracotta
  • The shimmery bronze

That's it. 

And for $45, plus tax and shipping, I would want more than just five shadows that are pretty ordinary and I could get for cheaper elsewhere. 

What's (semi)interesting is that this palette reminds me a lot of the ABH Master Palette by Mario:


Of course that's not exceptionally surprising since both palettes were made by Mario Dedivanovic, but I also find it odd that he would choose to create a palette so similar to his last one.

The Master Palette by Mario was (and still is) an incredibly hyped palette, and people talk about it like it was this incredibly special, one-of-a-kind, "one that got away" palette. And I just frankly don't understand why. Like the KKW Beauty palette, it is just a collection of browns with a green and a blue. 

Those same people who lament "missing out" on the Master Palette by Mario have said that they will buy the KKW Beauty palette no matter what so that they don't miss out again. But, really, there's little point in buying something just to make up for the fact that you "missed out" on the item that you actually wanted. And buying the KKW Beauty palette is not going to give you the Master Palette by Mario. The palettes are similar, but it won't fully satisfy your desire to own the exact product that you didn't buy. You can, however, take comfort and solace in the fact that you didn't buy the ABH palette for a reason, and that reason is most likely still valid. The Master Palette by Mario isn't that special, so if you didn't buy it, chances are you didn't need it. 

This palette also reminds me of the Kylie Cosmetics Peach palette:


And Zoeva Cocoa Blend:


And basically every other neutral palette available. 

For slightly more interesting color schemes that are also inclusive, there's Juvia's Place Nubian 2:


And Coloured Raine Cheers to the Beauty:


I'll be blunt. For $45, the KKW X Mario Palette is absolutely not worth the money. You are paying for the names attached to this palette and nothing else. And I can absolutely guarantee that you can find comparable quality from much more affordable brands. Even so, like I said earlier, if you have any eyeshadow at all, you likely already have most, if not all, of the colors in this palette. And at that point, you are just spending $45 to give money to Kim Kardashian to have her name on a piece of cardboard. 

This palette is also not very inclusive. It looks like it was made for people with light to medium skin tones and not much deeper. And I'm sure a lot of people can make excuses for the lack of inclusivity. 

It's Mario's palette; these are the colors he wants. It's the colors Kim Kardashian actually wears. They can do whatever they want. 

But here's the thing: that's not acceptable anymore. It never should have been acceptable, and it's important to only more forward and be better. Coming out with a palette like this, that is half light neutrals, is not helpful. And when you look at Juvia's Place Nubian 2 and Coloured Raine Cheers to the Beauty, it's very evident how easy it is to work with a similar color scheme but make the product inclusive. 

This palette is also another example of the false scarcity tactic, which is something that always sours me to a product and a brand. The palette is currently sold out, which means that the people who passed on the initial launch may now be thinking that the product is clearly so great and that they need to buy it the next time it restocks. But this is simply a marketing tactic to drum up this exact reaction and hype. The reality is that even if the product was poor quality, it was going to sell because of the two names attached to it. Everyone involved would have known this, and they would have known an appropriate amount of palettes to manufacture to meet the demand. Instead, they released a small quantity to ensure that it would sell out and would then pressure more people into buying it. 

This exact marketing tactic is what made Kylie Cosmetics so successful, despite the fact that her lip kits were Colourpop products that were only repackaged and triple the price. Of course, these aren't the only brands that employ this tactic—it's something that almost every brand does. They feed off of consumers succumbing to hype, simply because they don't want to feel like they are missing out on some great product that "everyone else" has. 

But the truth is that when you wear this palette, no one is going to know that it was from Kim Kardashian. If you were to wear the same colors from Wet N Wild, no one would know the difference. These are basic neutrals, and you can absolutely create the same looks from shadows outside the KKW Beauty palette. 

There is just nothing interesting or exciting about this palette. It adds absolutely nothing to the makeup conversation in terms of innovation, inspiration, or creativity. If this came out maybe seven years ago when I was first interested in makeup, I could see this being a product that would have intrigued me. But even so, I would have preferred to buy something from a store so that I could have seen and tested it in person. The only "benefit" to buying this palette is having something with a celebrity's name. But that's a fleeting feeling of satisfaction, and as I said, no one except you will ever know. There is just nothing about this palette that I need or want, so I won't be buying. 

Monday, March 12, 2018

What I'm Not Buying: Tarte Be a Mermaid and Make Waves Eyeshadow Palette


Coming off the heels of the Shape Tape Foundation backlash, Tarte has released a new eyeshadow palette that is not inclusive and looks exactly like every other eyeshadow palette they have ever released. This version of it, in clamshell packaging, is called Be a Mermaid and Make Waves. 

And I won't be buying. 

Before I get into why I won't be buying this ridiculous palette, I just wanted to share briefly why there hasn't been too much activity on the blog recently. As I mentioned in my last post, I recently made a cross-country move, and I am still settling in and dealing with newness growing pains. Added to that, I have been experiencing some health issues related to the surgeries I had last year, so I've been focusing on my health. 

Thank you to those who continue to tag me in posts of new products, including the person who tagged me in a post about Be a Mermaid and Make Waves, which might be the most unnecessary name for a platte I have seen. 

So, let's talk about Tarte. 

Tarte is a brand that seems to look at everything that Too Faced does, sees that as successful, and emulates it. 
  • Too Faced made their palettes smell like chocolate; Tarte made their palettes smell like vanilla
  • Too Faced serialized their Chocolate Bar palettes; Tarte serialized their Tartelette palettes
  • Too Faced made gimmicky packaging and product names; Tarte made gimmicky packaging and product names
  • Too Faced focused on mermaids and unicorns; Tarte focused on mermaids and unicorns
  • Too Faced caters to white people; Tarte caters to white people 

And Be a Mermaid and Make Waves is no different. 

First, let's talk about the elephant in the room, the clamshell:


This is the outer packaging of this palette, which seems to be a faux leather or vinyl multi-color clamshell. Now, if I'm being totally honest, when I was a very young child (we're talking under 11 or so), I would have begged and begged for a compact that looked exactly like this. Not an eyeshadow palette, but a compact. And that's because I would have loved it for when I was playing pretend that I was Ariel from The Little Mermaid

This would have made an amazing toy for me as a child. As an adult woman, and for $42 plus tax, this is not something that calls to me as being practical or something that has any kind of longevity. 

Let's look at the inside:


The eyeshadows are shaped like pieces of coral, maybe? Or kind of like a mermaid tail? A little? I'm not totally sure what the idea is behind the shape (please let me know if you know), but I can tell you that the way these pans are shaped indicates that Tarte is not expecting people to use up entire shadows. 

I get that Tarte is trying to have an interesting-looking palette that people will want to buy for the novelty of it, but it is common knowledge that the easiest pan shapes to functionally use are circles and squares. If you've ever watched videos of people who use up entire eyeshadow palettes, you'll know that when the pans are oddly shaped (like this), it makes it challenging to use. 

At first glance, the color scheme of this palette is pretty. The colors look nice together. But when you look at it again, and really look at it, you'll see that there are a ton of duplicate colors in it. There are four reds, five pinks, two golds, a blue, a green, and a purple. So in your 14-shaodw palette, there are really only six distinct colors, making more than half the palette repetitive. 

Let's look at the colors away from the packaging and design as just pigments:


When I look at this picture, I see one potentially interesting shade, and it's in the second column, the third shadow down. That reminds me a bit of the way Colourpop Glass Bull looks as just a pigment, and that shadow has quickly become a favorite of mine. But otherwise, these colors all look more of the same to me and like something I have several times over. 

Let's look at swatches:


So, this is the picture that literally made me laugh out loud. I've mentioned this before, but swatch pictures are supposed to make a consumer enticed to buy something. Swatches are so crucial, in fact, that most brands will alter the images to make them look that much more impressive. But when I saw this picture, any positive feeling I might have had about this palette completely vanished. 

I encourage everyone to look at this picture and then cover up the first two or three shadows on the models' arms. when you do, you'll see a whole bunch of bland and repetitive shades. The top three colors are easily the most interesting in this entire palette, and what's great is if you are drawn to those shades, you can get them as singles from brands like Coloured Raine, Makeup Geek, or Colorpop that will be great quality and reasonably priced. 

This color scheme has a lot of problems, the most basic of which is that it is boring. It's basically ABH Modern Renaissance if Modern Renaissance was less pigmented and had three pops of color. The next problem is that the quality looks poor, especially since this is the brand's PR swatch image. The colors don't look very pigmented, and especially on the lightest skin tone (where the colors were not applied as heavily to make them show up), you can see that the colors are patchy. 

This is also evident in the PR images of models wearing the shadows:



The colors look sheer and ashy on both models instead of richly pigmented and foiled like they do in the pan and (somewhat) in the swatches. 

And finally, the biggest problem with this palette is that it is not inclusive whatsoever. Like almost everything that Tarte releases, this palette was only made with light skin tones in mind. And while that is absolutely not surprising at this point, it is nevertheless continually disappointing. It is also not surprising whatsoever that Tarte applied the few colorful shades onto the model with deep skin. That's because the rest of the shades in the palette would have not worked or shown up on her skin. 

With the disaster that was the Shape Tape Foundation release (you can read my anti-haul on that here), you would think that Tarte would have halted or aborted the release of this palette since it is so obviously not inclusive. To release this kind of a palette at a time when people are demanding better tells consumers that inclusivity absolutely is not a priority of the company. 

And what's worse still is that Be a Mermaid and Make Waves looks like almost every other palette Tarte has released. At this point in an anti-haul post, I typically show other palettes that share the same or similar color scheme. But for Be a Mermaid and Make Waves, I'm going to compare it ONLY against other Tarte palettes. 

There's Make Believe in Yourself:


Rainforest of the Sea Volume III:


Dream Big:


Swamp Queen:


Tarteist Pro:


Tartelette in Bloom:


Tartelette Tease:


And Tartelette Flirt:


So not only is Tarte selling a boring, poor quality, non-inclusive palette, but they are also selling a palette that they have sold to you many, many times before. Be a Mermaid and Make Waves might as well be Make Believe in Yourself. They just traded a gold-green and purple for a yellow gold and several duplicate shades. And again, when you take out those three pops of color, it just becomes every other palette listed above. 

Without doubt, Tarte has to be the biggest brand right now that is the least interested in providing interesting, unique, and inclusive products. Instead they are trying to compete for Too Faced's target audience, which is white teens and white young women. 

And I suppose that is perhaps why this palette, especially, is a disappointing release. Tarte has quite a few products that have positive or uplifting names: Dream Big, Make Believe in Yourself, Be a Mermaid and Make Waves. These are important messages to give a younger demographic, especially young women, compared to Too Faced's names like "Better Than Sex" and "Glow Job." But that message is completely ruined when you exclude everyone other than the privileged. 

To end this post, I just want to share a story of something that happened during a recent Sephora trip in Los Angeles. A young woman of color who was disabled was shopping with her mother. The two were trying to find makeup that would work for the young woman, and, frustrated, she finally blurted to her mother, "I know nothing is going to look good on me because my skin is ugly." 

I was shopping near them, and that comment completely stopped me in my tracks. The mother did not dispute the comment, only agreed that there were not going to be options that worked for her. 

People who have the privilege of choice know that others do not have options. But that thought is pushed to the back of their minds because they know that they will have an option. And they think that if there is one option that works for someone else, while there are 50 options that work for them, that it is enough. And since they don't know what it is like to be without options or to be degraded based on skin color on a daily basis, they don't have empathy or see the desperate need for immediate change. 

I don't know what it is like to be without options. And hearing that small conversation between mother and daughter genuinely made me so upset that I had to leave the store. This is why brands like Fenty Beauty are crucial—brands that are created and owned by women of color, have a wide range of inclusive products, and are available in store for people to try. And why brands like Tarte are part of the problem, not the solution. 

Be a Mermaid and Make Waves is a bad release. It is a gimmicky product that is so transparently a lazy money grab created from existing Tarte palettes that is more about packaging than it is about quality or inclusivity. The brutal truth is that it is not hard to be inclusive. And at this point, brands that are not inclusive are not out of choice. There is literally nothing that I like about Be a Mermaid and Make Waves or Tarte, so I won't be buying. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

What I'm Not Buying: Lime Crime Venus XL


Lime Crime has released their latest palette, which is an extra large version of their popular Venus palette, aptly named Venus XL. 

And I won't be buying. 

I have never received so many requests to write an anti-haul post, and I'm sorry it has taken me a while to get to it. However, it was thrilling to receive so many requests, and I just want to thank everyone who either messaged me, commented, or tagged me in a post on Instagram. 

Part of the reason that it took me so long to write this post is that when I first saw the Venus XL, I really, really wanted to purchase it. And I wanted to make sure that I was confident in my decision not to before writing this post. The original Venus palette has been a favorite of mine (though it has since been depotted), and the expansion of the XL palette is really gorgeous. 

Lime Crime has definitely been one of the most controversial brands in recent years (we will get into that more later), but they produce some of the most beautiful makeup items. And Venus XL is no exception. 

I knew I shouldn't buy this palette, that I had all of these colors already, but I was still tempted by it. And despite everything that I have learned and that I have written about in this blog, I still felt pulled in by the color scheme. But then I faced reality. Yes, this is a gorgeous palette. But I truly have all of these colors already. 

Let's look at the original Venus palette:


And Venus XL:


What's nice about this palette is that there aren't any repeat shades from the original Venus palette. So if you already own Venus, there won't be any overlap. But with that said, I think there are several shades in Venus that absolutely should be in this palette, especially since this is a "Venus XL" palette. Most specially, I think "Venus", "Rebirth," and "Muse" should have been included. There are certainly shades that are comparable in Venus XL, but I think it's really lacking those deep red shades and a bright coral. 

The most obvious palettes in my collection that dupe this color scheme are my duped/edited Desert Dusk palette:


And my duped Just Peachy Mattes palette:


Between these two palettes, I have every single shadow in Venus XL duped. And this is obviously why I was so drawn to it—it's clearly a color scheme that I love. These two palettes are arguably my top favorites in my entire collection, and it would be so pointless for me to buy another palette just to have all these colors again. 

Let's look at swatches:


It's funny because swatches are supposed to help sell a palette, but I've recently found that they do the opposite for me. When I see pictures of the palette and see the colors organized in a certain way, I feel so drawn to it. But when I see swatches, I feel like I am brought back into reality. Because these are all very basic colors. In fact, I would say that my two palettes above easily have more unique colors than this palette. 

Added to that, there are so many colors in here that look incredibly similar. My guess is that "Passion", "Aphrodite", "Nu Classic", "Celestial", "Triumph", and "Supreme" would all look very similar once applied onto the eye. Same with "Eden", "Inspire", and "Goddess." 

And when you look at it that way, it seems there are only 10 unique colors in Venus XL: dark pink, bronze, berry, mauve, hot pink, brown, orange, light pink, cream, and dark brown/plum. Meaning, there are about eight shades in this palette that are repeats. And even then, there are three different shades of pink included in the "unique" shade count. 

There are countless palettes that look like Venus XL, including, Jeffrey Star Blood Sugar:


Huda Beauty Rose Gold:


Huda Beauty Mauve Obsessions:

Coloured Raine Queen of Hearts:


Violet Voss Hashtag:


Violet Voss Holy Grail:

Natasha Denona Lila:

And Colourpop She:


My guess is that due to the success of palettes like Huda Beauty Desert Dusk:


And, of course ABH Modern Renaissance:


Lime Crime wanted to be included in the conversation again. I've said this previously, but before Modern Renaissance was released, Venus was a huge hit and was sold out for long stretches of time. However, Lime Crime has not been included in the conversation in a while, and while some of that had to do with Lime Crime being a slightly lesser known indie brand, it was largely because they had a huge string of controversies, and big influencers publicly boycotted them. 

And so when everyone was praising Modern Renaissance for having this really unique color scheme, people weren't really hearing about Venus, which came first and has a similar color scheme without all the boring (in my opinion) neutral shades. 

It's common knowledge that when one brand has a huge success with a new product that is trending, most brands will scramble to come out with something in a similar color scheme. A few years ago, when the major palettes were Urban Decay Naked and Too Faced Chocolate Bar, having an orange shadow would have been "too bold" for a neutral palette. But after the success of Modern Renaissance (which has an orange shadow), Urban Decay came out with Naked Heat, Tarte came out with Tartelette Toasted, and we even have Colourpop Yes, Please!, which is a palette I can't see being popular only a few years ago. 

But I think Lime Crime is just too late to this trend, which is interesting because, in a way, they started it. When I first learned of the original Venus palette and heard it was popular and selling out, I looked at it and thought, Who would ever want to wear those colors?! I would constantly look like I have pink eye!

Little did I know that in a few years, those would be my "go-to" shades. 

But I kept looking at Venus and wanted to know why it was so popular. And eventually, I wanted it too. Even after I had it, I didn't know what to do with it. I was so used to only wearing light neutral shadows (I even remember when I started wearing gold and thinking I was so bold!) that the colors in Venus were so intimidating. But now, those colors have been trending for a while, and I don't think Lime Crime could just say, "Hey, remember us and our Venus palette that's several years old?" Instead, they came out with a new one that was only different because it was bigger, repeating shades several times over. 

I think a lot of this has to do with Lime Crime trying to come back from controversy. It's worth investigating if you don't know the story (I recommend this Racked article), but Lime Crime founder Doe Deere has had a tremendous amount of controversy surrounding her, and everything culminated in a 2015 data breach that compromised thousands of consumers' personal and financial information. 

Doe Deere also started attacking consumers on social media and in private messages, including this well-known message sent to a customer:


Following this, the boycotts began, and eventually, Doe Deere stepped away from being the public face of the company (though she is still the CEO). To my knowledge (I could be wrong), Lime Crime hasn't had any recent controversies, but they are certainly one of those brands who you need to make a personal decision regarding if you want to support them or not. 

Personally, I have owned the Venus palette. It has since been depotted, and I only kept a few of the shades. My palette was purchased before I knew about all of the controversy surrounding the brand, and it was purchased from Urban Outfitter, which is an authorized retailer of Lime Crime makeup. With that said, I personally have difficulty buying from Lime Crime. 

Lime Crime has made a point to say that they have greatly improved their security since the 2015 breach, but, whenever shopping online, I aways recommend paying through PayPal or a similar service instead of directly entering credit card information. I do feel that the brand is moving in a generally more positive direction, especially since Doe Deere isn't directly in charge of social media and isn't personally attacking consumers, but I have to admit that is an incredibly low bar. 

I also know that it is nearly impossible to find any brand that doesn't have something ugly in its history. I'm not excusing that, just saying that it is a sad reality. And people need to make personal judgements on who they support and who they don't. 

It has been a few years since the height of Lime Crime's controversies, but I am still left with poor feelings toward the brand. 

Brining it back to the Venus XL palette, I feel largely the same way I felt about the Jeffree Star Blood Sugar palette. It's a color scheme that I am certainly drawn to, but it is also one that I already own. And at this point, you probably do too. I also feel like this palette will only be able to create a few distinct looks. And for $56 plus tax (shipping is free for orders over $50), I would want to create a variety of looks. 

Frankly, if you are willing to buy from Lime Crime, love this color scheme, and don't already own these colors, I would instead recommend buying the original Venus palette. It's $38, has all of these colors, and doesn't repeat any shade. You can also purchase Venus through a few third-party retailers if you don't want all of your money to go directly to Lime Crime. With that said, those retailers also have problematic histories, which brings me back to the point about almost every brand having something unsavory about them. 

Overall, I think the best option would be to buy a few singles from Make Up For Ever, Makeup Geek, or Colourpop, such as Come and Get It, 143, Making Moves, Stay Golden, Wait For It, and Slim Fit. 

In general, I found that I'm not too impressed with this release by Lime Crime. And I know I said that I wanted to purchase it when I first saw it, but when I think about Venus and Venus II, Venus XL feels uninspired and lazy. The Venus palettes were ABH Modern Renaissance and Subculture before those palettes even existed and the color schemes were made popular. I always felt Lime Crime was ahead of all the other makeup brands and trends, but now it seems they are trying to undo some of the damage caused by the 2015 boycott and are pandering to the makeup-obsessed who will continually buy what they already own. I have certainly fallen into that category in the past, but I am happy to say that I no longer feel that way. 

Venus XL doesn't bring anything new or different to my makeup collection, and if I had to choose between it and my duped/edited Desert Dusk palette, I would choose my palette any day. There are too many options available at a lower cost for me to spend upwards of $60 on this palette. I don't need it, and I'm not going to buy it. 

Monday, February 19, 2018

What I'm Not Buying: Anastasia Beverly Hills Soft Glam


Anastasia Beverly Hills has released their latest palette, Soft Glam. 

And I won't be buying. 

So, like most people (I think, at least), my initial reaction to seeing this palette was: Oh, that's so pretty; I'm totally going to buy it. 

But then I looked at it again, sighed, and thought: What am I doing? I obviously have all of these colors several times over. 

I wouldn't call this palette "boring," because I know plenty of people who would love this color scheme. And when I think about the perfect "work-appropriate" (I still hate that term and that idea) palette for me, it would probably be this. But what I would call this palette is "common."

Let's look at it:

The story behind Soft Glam is that Norvina (ABH president) made the palette for her mother, Anastasia (ABH founder). Norvina said she created seven new shadows, used three from Modern Renaissance (Tempera, Burnt Orange, and Cypress Umber), and added her mother's two favorite ABH singles, Sienna and Orange Soda. She also included two other existing ABH shades, Noir and Dusty Rose.

And what that means is that if you're someone who really loves ABH palettes or singles, you could potentially already have half of this palette. And that's not even including the colors that you likely have elsewhere in your collection from other brands.

Let's look at the shadows as pigments:


As I said earlier, when I look at this color scheme, I think it's really pretty. I think ABH did a really fantastic job of creating a neutral color scheme that is slightly more interesting than 14 shades of brown. However, when I look at these pigments, there is not a single color that I don't already own. This is a palette that I think would be really great for someone new to makeup or someone who is looking to only own one palette. 

Back when my obsession with makeup first began, this is the kind of palette and color scheme that I think would have been perfect for me (though, of course, I didn't know my preferences at the time and wouldn't have known this would have been perfect for me). But considering the makeup collection that I have now (that I absolutely love), this palette would be such an unnecessary addition. 

Let's look at swatches:


What's interesting to me is that when I look at these swatches, Soft Glam seems to look similar to my duped/edited version of Modern Renaissance:


And with that said, I think that if Soft Glam swapped one of the light shimmery shades and one of the browns for the red tones in Modern Renaissance, this would have been the palette I wanted Modern Renaissance to be. 

Now, in terms of formula, following the (over)dramatic reaction to Subculture, Norvina has confirmed that ABH returned to the Modern Renaissance formula for Soft Glam:


This will always be something that I personally have to keep in mind whenever ABH releases a new palette. I very much did not like the Modern Renaissance formula. The complaints that so many people had with Subculture was how I felt about Modern Renaissance, though to a lesser degree. I found that the shimmers did not pack a punch and were quite subtle/sheer, and the mattes did not build and blend. Every look was very muddy on me, and I found myself never liking my makeup when I wore it. 

With that said, as you can see from my "duped" Modern Renaissance palette above, I included four ABH single shadows—Macaroon, Buon Fresco, Love Letter, and Dusty Rose. I really enjoy ABH single shadows and don't have the same problems whatsoever with them as I did with the shadows in Modern Renaissance. I own several more ABH shimmery singles, and they all pack an incredible punch and aren't sheer whatsoever. 

And while all of this boils down to personal preference, of course, I also feel like people have hyped the Modern Renaissance formula to something unreal. The hype is bigger than the product at this point, and I feel it necessary to say that when hype for an eyeshadow formula is this strong, the formula can almost never live up to it. I think Modern Renaissance was a very strong case of major influencers liking a product and then everyone else running with the hype. There's such a huge amount of influence among influencers (duh), and it's amazing how quickly a fan base can turn something innocuous into something larger than life. And that, in my opinion, is what happened with the Modern Renaissance formula. 

Interestingly, I haven't heard many people talk about Soft Glam, and I don't think that it's going to be nearly as hyped as Modern Renaissance or the Master Palette by Mario (which, for all the hype it had, is just a palette of browns). I wonder how much of that has to do with the Subculture release and reception or the color scheme of Soft Glam. 

(As an aside, I recently made a huge move, and as a gift before I left, I received, of all things, Subculture. I have used it a few times and agree with the consensus that it is one of the most pigmented but challenging palettes I have ever worked with. Yet, oddly enough, I've found it easier to use than Modern Renaissance.)

Overall, I think Soft Glam is a more interesting and usable palette than Modern Renaissance (except, of course, that it's missing those standout red shades), but I think, in general, the hype has died down for the "Modern Renaissance formula." I don't think Soft Glam will receive any of the same hype despite having the same formula. 

Let's look at Soft Glam again:


Going back to what I said at the top of this post, I think Soft Glam is quite "common." I know I certainly have all of these colors in my duped/edited Modern Renaissance palette above, but it also looks like so many palettes that most people probably already have. 

It looks like the new Viseart Tryst palette:


Too Faced Natural Love:


Lorac Mega Pro 3:


Colourpop She:


Colourpop You Had Me at Hello:


Too Faced Chocolate Bon Bons:


Urban Decay Naked 3:


theBalm Meet Matt(e) Trimony:


And Tarte Tartelette in Bloom:



At this point, there are just too many options available that most people have already purchased to make Soft Glam tempting for me. And I have to say that I'm actually pretty surprised by the release altogether. While I haven't always liked or wanted to buy a new ABH palette, there was usually an interesting element to their palettes that elevated the makeup landscape. Reds and berries quickly became the focus of so many palettes following the success of Modern Renaissance (and Lime Crime Venus before that), and I wouldn't be surprised if brands starting coming out with palettes that have similar color schemes to Subculture and Prism, incorporating more rustic tones like yellows and greens. 

But Soft Glam just doesn't bring anything new to the table. Half of it is literally repeat shades from other palettes or the ABH singles line, and the other half is made up of shades so neutral that almost every neutral palette has them. And what's even stranger to me is that in a palette called "Soft Glam" that pulls seven shades from the ABH line, Pink Champagne is not included. I know Pink Champagne is in a lot of existing ABH palettes, but if you're going to pull half the palette from existing shades, you might as well put in your bestseller that essentially embodies the entire theme of the palette. 

The main reason I can think that most people will use to justify purchasing this palette is that it has all the neutrals that they really like (and already own) in the "Modern Renaissance formula." And for $42 (plus tax and shipping), that doesn't seem like a good enough reason to buy an entire palette that you know you don't need. 

While it's nice that Norvina wanted to make a palette for her mother, this doesn't feel like a palette for the typical ABH audience. And, in the end of it, I'm not ragging on ABH for creating this palette. I think that most brands should have a staple neutral palette that the casual makeup consumer can buy or a palette that would be perfect for someone first getting into makeup. At this point (and this may be an unpopular opinion), I don't think brands need to cater toward the makeup-addicted anymore.  There are people who have literally dozens of palettes, even more than 100, who complain that brands aren't coming out with things they haven't seen before. I think it would be quite challenging at this point for any brand to do that. 

And I hope they don't. 

And that's because I don't like the level of (over)saturation that we're at, and I really don't like that brands are charging upwards of $50+ for a product that is essentially "disposable." Consumers, I think, need to chill out a bit and curb their makeup and new product addiction. And in return, it would be great if brands stopped pumping out new products every few weeks or months. 

In my opinion, brands should have fantastic, high-quality core products and only focus on inclusivity for new campaigns. Instead of releasing a new eyeshadow palette every few months, wouldn't it be fantastic if brands evaluated their current lines and determined how much of it was inclusive? And then, when they found areas where inclusivity is lacking, they spent the time formulating products to fill this gap? 

If ABH wants to have a staple "neutral palette," fine. That doesn't mean that I need to buy it. I already have all of these colors in my collection, and instead of lusting after or buying a new palette simply because it is new, I should just use those colors that I already have. And if I'm tired of them, buying them in new packaging isn't going to make me all of a sudden love them. I definitely don't need to add Soft Glam to my collection, so I won't be buying.