Saturday, June 3, 2017

What I'm Not Buying: Pretty Vulgar Nightingale Eyeshadow Palette

There's a new brand in town, and they are relying heavily on packaging and sponsored content. They are Pretty Vulgar, and thus far, they have released three eyeshadow palettes. The one above is Nightingale. 

And I won't be buying. 

Surprisingly, of all the Pretty Vulgar palettes, this was the one that gave me pause. That surprised me since this is a cool-toned palette, but I guess that shows how tired I'm getting of the constant warm palette releases. I am also a person who tries hard to not have too much overlap within my collection, and since I largely gravitate toward warm looks, a cooler palette will tend to send off "unique" vibes to me, even if, in the case of Nightingale, the palette is not actually all that unique. 

Some of the colors looked really pretty, and the swatches (provided by the brand) seemed promising:

When I look at these swatches, I know that the colors aren't actually that nice. This is a well known truth about swatches provided by brands, and almost every brand is guilty of providing amazing, saturated swatches for colors that aren't nearly as great in real life. For me, this is in line with brands (mainly from the drugstore) that have a commercial for mascara and the model is wearing fake lashes. It's a marketing tactic, and it feels deceptive to me. However, Pretty Vulgar is not the only brand (by a long shot) to do this. 

And when I really look at these colors, I realize that what I really want is a palette full of gorgeous taupe shadows. I want shimmer taupes, I want matte taupes, I want blue taupes and purple taupes and gray taupes. And this palette just isn't that. And that's okay. This palette doesn't need to be that. But it is important for me as a potential consumer to evaluate what I was drawn to about this palette and why. And what I realized is that was I was drawn to isn't what the palette actually is. 

When I actually break down Nightingale, it has:
  • Three white/cream shades in a variety of finishes, including glitter, and I'm not interested in any of those.
  • Three dark shades: brown, charcoal, and black, and I'm not interested in any of those colors either.

Already, that's half the palette that I am not interested in because I already own it elsewhere or it is just not something I prefer. 

It also has:
  • A light matte brown and darker matte brown (but lighter than the deep brown), and while I think both these colors are pretty, I have them elsewhere in my collection. 
  • Blueish silver and blueish gunmetal shimmers that I would probably wear once, but not much more after that because I don't really like those colors on me. 

That leaves the light taupey gold, which I do think is a stunning shade, and the silvery bronze. That's it. That's all I really want out of this palette. 

Now, I am not writing this expecting that every person reading also only wants this palette for two shadows. I am showing you my thought process to maybe encourage you to do the same when looking at this or other products. When you really evaluate what you like about a palette, you can see a bit more clearly if it would be a good buy or not. 

For me, Nightingale would be a terrible buy, and I know it would end up being a product I regretted purchasing and would eventually be decluttered from my collection. 

In terms of color schemes, this really just looks like the Urban Decay Naked Smoky palette:

And the Naked 2:

I owned the Naked 2 years ago and decluttered it (also years ago) and was never interested in the Naked Smoky. Going off of that reasoning, it doesn't make sense for me to buy Nightingale and expect it to be a palette I enjoy using. 

But when I really thought about what I wanted in this palette, which was taupes, I started thinking about all the taupe possibilities that I have either owned previously or currently own. Those include:

MAC Satin Taupe:

Tom Ford Nude Dip:

La Metier de Beauté Corinthian:

NARS Kalahari:

And in terms of the silvery bronze, I already have an all-time favorite shadow that fits that description, and is much prettier—Dior Cosmopolite:

And when I saw this—that I already own all the colors that made this palette appealing to me—I no longer wanted it. If anything, I don't know if I have an exact duplicate shade of the light taupey gold shadow, called Clutch, but I know that I definitely do not want to buy an entire palette for one shadow. 

Something else I would like to mention is that reviews for all of these palettes have not been great. They have not been scathing, but it seems these palettes are just "passible" for most people instead of something that gets them really excited. Looking at live swatches on videos and blog swatches left me feeling quite underwhelmed. And I am not a person who believes you need to have overwhelming pigment for a product to work, but I do think there were some serious texture problems across the board with these palettes. 

I do think the brand is relying hard on packaging and sponsorships and less on the actual quality of their product, which is disappointing, especially from a new brand. Personally, I don't get the packaging thing, but it's something I've seen a lot of other people mention as to why they bought one of these palettes. The bird cage doesn't really do it for me; one, because I don't like that the shadows aren't uniform, and two, because I don't really like what a bird cage represents. The aesthetic also really reminds me of Sweeney Todd, but that might be because a bird cage plays into one of the characters. I certainly don't mean to offend if someone is completely over the moon with this kind of packaging, but if the brand was planning to skate by on packaging alone, I think they will need to step it up quite a bit. Regardless of the design, this is just a cardboard package with a magnet.

With mediocre quality, too many colors I already own, and other colors I wouldn't use all that much, Nightingale, while a pretty concept that did give me pause, ended up being an easy pass for me. And I won't be buying. 

On a separate note, this is my first post after having the first of two surgeries. It was not a small surgery, and recovery is going about as well as can be expected. I just wanted to thank all of you who took the time to reach out to me and wish me well. I cannot tell you how much it was and continues to be appreciated. 


  1. Hi, New follower
    I have the same problem as you do , don't want whites, blacks, browns, blue or blacks,

    I am leaning on the golds, soft bronze and taupe. But the problem some taupes they can lean ashy on me.

    Starded with green now but I paired with champagne colors to make it soft. After reading your review I def want Alkahestry.
    I think with a soft bronze/gold would also look nice.

  2. Hi I am a big fan of your blog wishing you a speedy recovery...

    1. Thank you so much. I really appreciate that.

  3. I am a big fan of your blog wishing you a speedy recovery!!

  4. hey, good to know recovery is going well!
    i'm not a fan of those kinds of design that lack uniformity either. i mean, i'm able to use it without getting annoyed, but definitely prefer the way naked 2 or naked smoky palettes look.

    1. I feel the same way about depotting and putting shades into custom palettes. The way it looks isn't my favorite because I wish everything was uniform, but I eventually get over it because I get more use of some shadows once they are depotted. But in a traditional palette, I want all the shadows to be uniform.

  5. ellie jane, just heard of the new naked heat palette by urban decay. maybe (hopefully) you'll do a non buying post about it?

    1. I wrote a post about that yesterday! Thanks for the request!

  6. I love the shade of urban decay chopper... but I don't want the UD formula. Any dupes on this? Maybe I should test out the modern renaissance since everyone is hyping about it! No idea if the pinks will work though...

    1. Lots of dupes for Chopper! I would look into Makeup Geek Grandstand or Loreal Amber Rush.

      If you're not drawn to pinks (or matte shades for that matter), I would skip Modern Renaissance. That was not at all a favorite palette for me, and I ended up returning it because I didn't like the formula and didn't think it was all that special. To be completely honest, I think people praise that palette a little too much for what it is. Also, just because people are hyping it, it doesn't mean you have to buy it. A much better approach would be to figure out the shades that you love to wear, that flatter you, and excite you, and find a palette or collection of singles in that color scheme. Not everyone wants to wear a red or berry eye look, and that's totally okay!

      Thanks for reading!