Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What I'm Not Buying: Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture

Anastasia Beverly Hills has released their latest palette, Subculture. 

And I won't be buying. 

To be completely honest, I wasn't sure if I would make this post or not because I flip-flopped almost daily between telling myself that I didn't need this palette and flat out deciding I was going to buy it. But, I've officially made the decision that I'm not going to buy this. 

Part of why it's hard for me to write an entire post about why I'm not going to buy it and hopefully help others who may not want to add to their collection is because there is so much about this palette and brand that I really enjoy. 

I like that Anastasia sent this palette as PR to several reviewers who only have a few hundred followers. I appreciate that they consider those opinions worthwhile instead of the same dozen or so. 

I like that this palette is something a little different in a market that is oversaturated with warm tones and reds. I like that when Urban Decay came out with the (boring as hell) Naked Heat, ABH comes out with this. 

But, I don't need to buy it. And here's why:

I do not like the ABH palette formula.

I repeat: I do not like the ABH palette formula. 

I have an entire post about why I returned the Modern Renaissance. And what it boils down to is:
  • I bought it for the hype
  • I already had all those colors in my collection 
  • I didn't like the formula 
And guess what? I realized I was doing literally the exact same thing with Subculture.

You see, the hype was starting to get to me. I already have those colors in my collection. And I don't like the ABH formula.

And it's remarkable to me that after all this time blogging about what I'm not gonna buy, resisting hype, and talking myself out of unnecessary purchases, the excitement of the new "it" palette can still get to me.

But I don't like the ABH palette formula. I have a few singles from ABH (before they reformulated), and I love those shadows. But the MR formula was so soft and powdery that I found the shadows really challenging to blend on my specific skin type and eye shape. I found that the colors muddied together every time I used it, and instead of building on top of one another (the way the rest of the mattes in my collection do), the ABH ones mixed together in a really unflattering way. Everyone's skin is different, and I know many people love the ABH formula. But I've also started seeing more and more people admit the exact same experience I had of the shadows being too soft and muddy.

So why, then, would I even entertain the idea of doing this all over again?

Let's look at Subculture:

This palette was designed to be a "sister" palette to Modern Renaissance. Norvina, who also created MR, said that she was constantly reaching for darker shadows to add to her MR looks, so she wanted to create a palette to complement MR and fill in some holes. 

I find that explanation really interesting because I would never look at Subculture and think it's supposed to be a companion to MR, but I think it's really cool that it is. 

Let's look at swatches:

Looking at these swatches, there are definitely colors that I'm drawn to, like Roxy, Edge, Axis, All Star, and Destiny. And when I evaluate all the swatches, I can see that I would get use out of all of them. 

But let's look at the colors as just pigments:

What's cool about Subculture is that there are not dozens of other palettes that have this color scheme. So even when looking at the pigments, there is an illusion that the colors are pretty unique. And to a lot of collections, they will be. But to mine, they are not. 

And what I see even more when I look at these pigments is that this is not a palette (at all) that I would reach for on a daily basis, and I strongly suspect that to be the case for a lot of other people as well. 

But the main reason I am staying away from this palette (in addition to the harsh reality check I've had to give myself about the formula) is that I own Viseart Dark Matte:

In this palette, I have several of the dark/colorful matte shades in Subculture. And for the shimmery shades and lighter mattes, I have those elsewhere in my collection as they are less unique. 

Subculture looks like Lime Crime Venus II:

(I find it curious, by the way, that Modern Renaissance looks so much like Lime Crime Venus, which came out years before MR, and that Subculture looks like Venus II, which has also been out for a couple years.)

And NYX Olive You:

And Zoeva Matte Spectrum:

And ABH Master Palette by Mario:

Here's the thing. I think Subculture is very much a palette of the moment. I think ABH developed a cult following after Modern Renaissance and a lot of people find the brand a bit infallible at the moment. I also think a lot of people want to be "included" in the conversation and have the "cool" palette, even if it is not something they would normally buy. 

But the reason Modern Renaissance was such a popular palette is because it was extremely neutral with some berry shades thrown in. People were able to feel like it was "more than a neutral palette" while it was still very much a neutral palette. But Subculture isn't. 

And I have a feeling that what is going to happen to a lot of people who buy Subculture is the same thing that happened to me when I bought Venus II. You see, when I first saw that palette, I didn't like it at all. But then I started seeing people buy it, review it, and make looks with it. And I thought the looks were cool. And I thought this palette was going to break me out of my comfort zone and make me do something a little different. And do you know what happened? I used the palette once. ONE time. And then it sat there, unused, in my collection, making me feel guilty, until I finally sucked it up and decluttered it. 

Since then I have really discovered my love for color, but I have Viseart Dark Matte, so I don't need anything more than that. I think the colors in Subculture are a little more avant-garde than most palettes, which is cool, but I don't think most people are going to want to use those colors on a daily basis. 

A comment I have seen a lot with regard to this palette is: "I don't know how I would use half the shades, but I want it!"

Here's the thing. Instead, why don't you buy some singles of the colors you are drawn to and don't already have? Chances are you already have the colors you are most drawn to. And if you don't know how you would use half of the palette, it is very likely that you won't end up using those colors at all. So the only shadows you would use are ones you already have. A much better scenario would be to buy a few shades and get a lot of use out of them rather than to buy an entire palette that will go unused. 

So, I'm going to let this hype train pass without me. I already have the colors in this palette and, equally important, I don't like the ABH palette formula. And that's okay. The hype will eventually pass, and I'll be happy that I don't have another palette in my collection that is not getting use and that I will feel guilty over. I don't need Subculture, so I'm not going to buy it. 

1 comment:

  1. I kind of understand the back and forth on this palette. I've never tried ABH shadows but I love their brow products.

    It seems like everyone and their brother,sister, mother, and second cousin twice removed loves MR. I must admit that I am intimidated by the reds and berries. I am pretty pale and can look sick and/or like a zombie really quickly.

    The blues/greens in Subculture are my concern since I have blue green eyes. Yes make up rules are made to be broken but would it be worth it for me to buy it at $42? Probably not, I agree that this isn't a palette that I would reach for very often.

    Can I put forth the idea of eyeshadow palette trial/travel sizes? Sometimes swatching just won't cut it.