Lorac has released three new palettes in their Unzipped series, and immediately the one I was most drawn to was the Desert Sunset palette, which is the palette I'll be talking about today.
Because I won't be buying.
I have owned two Lorac palettes—Unzipped and Pro 2—and both have been decluttered from my collection for at least a year. I haven't been impressed with a lot of what Lorac has been releasing lately, and feel like a lot of their palettes have been a miss, for me at least, including Pro 3, Mega Pro 3, Pirates of the Caribbean collection, Beauty and the Beast collection, and I Love Brunch. But with the release of their new Unzipped palettes, I think they are doing something interesting.
Admittedly, the Desert Sunset palette is the least interesting palette offered (even though it was still the one I was drawn to), because it looks like so many other things. But I wanted to write about it precisely because of that. Because I think a lot of people, like me, will be drawn to it because of the familiar colors as well as the one deceiving pop of color.
Let's look at it closely:
When I look at this palette, I see a lot of colors that I would love using. I see champagne, berries, gold, burgundy, peach, warm brown, chocolate brown, and violet. And with the way that I used to approach buying makeup, that's all I would need to know going in to buying this palette—that I would get use out of all the colors. And then if I found out that the quality was good (and from reviews I have seen, it seems as though the quality is not bad), that would just further fan the fire that I needed this palette.
But here's the thing. I already own this palette. And my guess is that a lot of people who are lusting after this already do too.
Let's look at swatches from Lorac:
I've said this before, but I find swatches provided by the brand to be largely unhelpful most of the time because it seems as though product is so heavily applied to show PIGMENT that we actually lose any idea of how these colors might translate onto the eye. But swatches in general can be very deceiving and often don't provide good context for how a shadow will work on the eye. Shadows from Anastasia Beverly Hills palettes, for example, swatch incredible on me but don't at all work on my specific skin and eye shape, while Viseart mattes barely show up in a swatch on me and are incredible shadows to work with.
Swatches used to be a visual aid to best gauge the quality of something without actually buying it first, but now it seems as though brands just want their shadows to be touted as "pigmented" and they do whatever they can to achieve that illusion.
But here's the reality with Desert Sunset: if you take the violet shade out, you are left with almost every warm-toned palette of the moment. It looks like so many other plates.
Like ABH Modern Renaissance:
And Lime Crime Venus:
Violet Voss Holy Grail:
Kylie Cosmetics Burgundy:
Zoeva Cocoa Blend:
Tarte Tarteist Pro:
Urban Decay Naked Heat:
Natasha Denona Sunset:
theBalm Nude Beach:
And Colourpop She:
And if you take out the top colorful row, it looks like Juvia's Place Masquerade:
From my own collection, I have Tom Ford Honeymoon:
Coloured Raine Queen of Hearts:
A custom Inglot palette:
And one of my custom palettes that includes part of Lime Crime Venus, Natasha Denona shadows, Viseart Neutral Matte, and parts of Too Faced Chocolate Bon Bons:
Let's get back to that one violet shade. If you remove the berry shades from Desert Sunset, but keep the violet, you have Too Faced Peanut Butter and Jelly:
For me, when I look at Desert Sunset, the violet shade is what tricks me into thinking that this is a unique color scheme. But it's not. And if you're like me and you have a plethora of warm-toned neutral palettes, but you are still drawn to that one shade (and you don't have Too Faced PB&J), I highly recommend looking into single shadows.
In addition to the one I have in my custom palette (Natasha Denona Nina's Orchid), I also have and love Ardency Inn Orchid:
For a less expensive option, there's Makeup Geek Masquerade:
I know I've mentioned this before, but building a singles collection can be a much cheaper alternative to buying an entire palette when you know you have the majority of colors in the palette and are just drawn to one or two unique things about it.
If Desert Sunset was released several years ago, it would have been the absolute perfect palette for me, and I would have used and loved it. So I can certainly see the appeal of this palette, and I think if someone doesn't have a lot of shadows already and is really, really drawn to this palette, this could certainly be a great buy for them. But, I think the majority of people who are interested in this palette are the makeup obsessed, like myself, who very likely already own all the colors in this palette. Because there are just so many palettes out that look like this now, and most people probably own at least one if not more of the palettes listed above.
As far as Lorac's take on this, I feel two ways about it. On the one hand, I do think it's cool that Lorac is trying to branch out and provide some more interesting color schemes, especially color schemes that will work for people with deeper skin tones. And on the other hand, I feel like I have no idea what Lorac is doing right now. Their Pirates of the Caribbean and Beauty and the Beast palettes looked (to me) uninspired and like an easy way to make money by capitalizing on people's nostalgia. With the I Love Brunch palette, it looked as though they were jumping on the pastel band wagon, but the quality of that palette really fell short. And with Desert Sunset, I feel they are about two years too late releasing this palette. And that's been something interesting for me watching all these brands put out their warm-toned berry palettes because I feel they are so late to the game. But even then, these palettes are selling out. Desert Sunset is currently out of stock online at Lorac and Ulta.
To go off on a tangent here about makeup collecting, have you ever seen a foundation collection or declutter video on YouTube? I know for a lot of people YT is either their job or they are trying to make it their job, and as a result, they amass a ton of products to review. But it is a really intense thing to see someone with a collection of 25 or 30 bottles of foundation—most of them largely unused. And the person continues buying more foundations, because they want to try something new or they want to experience a new formula. And if you are a reviewer, I can totally see how having a huge collection is kind of necessary, so that you can compare formulas and give as detailed a review as possible. But for a lot of people, it seems as though they just want to try the new thing and experience different formulas.
And I guess this is what eyeshadow palettes and now starting to look like to me. People who owned Lime Crime Venus and the Kat Von D Shade and Light Eye still purchased ABH Modern Renaissance because of the hype and because they wanted to try the ABH formula. And, sure. Finding the best eyeshadow formula for you is a really great feeling, but I don't personally find that high quality formulas vary so greatly that it justifies (for me, at least) owning multiple palettes with the same colors just to try out the different formulas, especially when you have palettes/formulas that work for you. Because no one walking on the street is going to know that you are wearing Modern Renaissance or Venus or Naked Heat or Desert Sunset. They will likely just notice that your makeup looks nice.
For me, I just don't have any more space in my makeup collection or my mind to own any more warm neutral palettes with some red and berry tones. And I certainly couldn't collect them all. I just can't do it. I would feel so overwhelmed by all the clutter and sameness. Plus, I find building a singles collection to be much more fun and rewarding. I love finding unique colors that I don't see everywhere else, and I like that I don't have to pay for an entire palette that is filled with colors I already have because of the idea that when you buy a palette, it is expected them to be "complete." But I feel like after you own a palette or two, you don't really need a "complete" palette anymore. Obviously this is personal preference as I know plenty of people who have makeup collections much larger than mine who still want a palette to be a complete, perfect palette. But that is not my preference. That is too much repetition for me. I don't want to own fifteen mid-tone warm brown shadows or fifteen cream shadows or whatever. And building a singles collection lets me get all those unique colors without having to amass the same colors over and over.
Desert Sunset is a lovely palette. Really, it is. And as someone originally from the desert, I appreciate the color scheme and how it works with the theme. But this palette is $42, and I already own every single color in it several times over. So while it is pretty and hyped and currently sold out, I don't care. I don't need it, so I won't be buying it.