Wednesday, August 30, 2017

What I'm Not Buying: Natasha Denona Lila Palette

Natasha Denona has announced their newest palette for fall, Lila. 

And I won't be buying. 

I feel like I should just start this post by saying that Natasha Denona as a brand really accentuates a lot of what I find problematic in the beauty community. This is a brand that started as an internet or Instagram brand, sent out PR of their preposterously expensive eyeshadow palettes to YouTube beauty "influencers" who of course said these were the greatest eyeshadows of all time (it is always easy to say that when you don't buy things yourself), and built their following from there. Frankly, the fact that these eyeshadows are so preposterously expensive is, in my opinion, precisely why people became interested in them. Because if you jack up the price for something and have people saying it's great, people will want to try it simply out of curiosity to see if they are really that special. 

Spoiler altert: They're not. 

On top of all of that, Natasha Denona has some of the cheapest packaging I have ever come across, and considering the price of these products, the cheapness of the packaging is frankly unparalleled. 

And even so, the brand lives off of hype and influencer shilling, which is how they get people to pay these crazy prices. 

And I say that especially because I was once exactly who this brand targets. There were so many times that I put the brand's $239 palettes into my shopping car, justifying the purchase by saying that I could declutter all my other palettes if the formula was really all that special. But eventually I would always (thankfully) close out my browser before I pulled the trigger.

However, I did buy two of the brand's 5-pan palettes (spending $100 instead of $239) and eventually depotted the shadows because the packaging was just so incredibly cheap that I never even used the shadows:

(My Natasha Denona shadows are on the top left.)

And this is my personal opinion of the Natasha Denona shadows: They are mostly pretty. The glitter shadows are very pretty, but need to be applied with a finger, which I don't like. The foiled shadows are the best. And the mattes (at least in the 5-pan palettes) are terrible. 

Are they worth the price being charged for them? No way. 

Let's look at Lila:

At first glance, I think this is a pretty palette. It's full of berries and taupes, and it almost seems like it might be a bit unique. 

And the swatches are very pretty:

And for people who are sick of the warm eyeshadow trend and palettes filled with oranges and yellows, this might seem like a welcome change. 

But when you consider the astronomical price tag of $129 (before tax), this palette really feels a bit too much of the same to me. Without doubt there are people who gravitate toward pinks and berry taupes, but this palette doesn't appear to offer too much versatility to me. It seems like the majority of looks that would be created would be berry in nature or something that would look similar to a look from Modern Renaissance. This doesn't feel like a workhorse or everyday palette to me, which, again, for the price, is not worthwhile. 

Natasha Denona palettes also tend to look similar. I see similar shades in the Star palette:

As well as the Purple/Blue palette, specifically the left side:

And just because this palette isn't filled with reds, oranges, and yellows, that doesn't mean that this is an innovative color scheme that we haven't seen before. It is just a color scheme that hasn't been popular for a while. But this palette looks like a lot of others. 

Like Ciate London Fun:

Kat Von D Chrysalis: 

NXY Velvet Rope:

Morphe 35P:

Jouer Springtime in Paris:

And an old classic, Wet N Wild Petal Pusher:

From my own collection, I have Viseart Bijoux Royale:

One of the best examples I've seen showcasing the unnecessary and outrageous prices of Natasha Denona palettes is looking at Natasha Denona Sunset ($129):

And Colourpop Yes, Please! ($16):

While I'm not a fan of most Colourpop products, I do enjoy their pressed eyeshadows, and I think Yes, Please! is a really fantastic palette. Yes, the shadows are smaller than the Natasha Denona ones, but I don't know how frequently people looking to try the Natasha Denona formula are hitting pan on any of their eyeshadows. And if you can get the same color scheme in high-quality shadows for a fraction of the cost, it really shows how unnecessary Natasha Denona prices are. 

And it's not even like you're paying for packaging! That is still something that really gets me with Natasha Denona products. Even as the brand has grown and spread to being sold in Sephora stores (at least in NYC), they have not upgraded their packaging even a little. And it really bothers me that the brand has luxury prices with drugstore packaging. 

Considering that, it may be worthwhile to pick up Colourpop She:

While not exactly the same, the palettes are similar enough, especially considering the more than $100 price difference. 

Natasha Denona is a brand that feels to me like spending money just for the sake of it. I have personally fallen for the hype before, and I have to say that it really was not a good decision for me. It is so easy to be influenced by a person telling you how fantastic something is (hence why they are now called "influencers"), but it is so important to keep in mind that these same people did not pay for the products and have so many products that they will likely use an item at most a few times before telling you to go out and spend a significant amount of money on it. And then you'll never hear them talk about that palette again. Because there will be something new out that they have gotten and they've moved on. And it's no big deal for them because this is how they make their income—convincing you to buy expensive things. 

That's why it's so important to just let the hype pass. I know it's not easy, especially in a consumerist culture fed by fear of missing out. But really, it's just makeup. The trends will pass and shift to something else. And if you're a person who likes the trends, it may be worthwhile to look into a brand like Colourpop. They keep their products at a relatively low price point precisely because they are a brand that follows trends. And if you want to follow a trend, spend $16 or buy a few cheap singles. Spending $129 on an eyeshadow palette is an investment, and if it's just going to be one of many palettes in your collection, there are cheaper options. 

When Natasha Denona shadows first came out, I remember reading a criticism of the brand that said, "You don't get to just come out of no where and decide you are a luxury brand, especially when nothing about your brand is luxurious." And while that sentiment made me laugh, I feel the same way. Now, obviously, Natasha Denona did get to do just that as the brand is successful and sold out all stock of the Sunset palette, despite the fact that Colourpop offered such an inexpensive alternative. But personally, I'm not going to give any more of my money to a brand that offers shadows of comparable quality to Colourpop and Makeup Geek foiled shadows. Natasha Denona shadows are, in every sense, a huge waste of money. So, I won't be buying. 


  1. I have both the 10 pan and the sunset palette and the packaging does not feel cheap. Of course, we all have our own opinions. But it feels far better than modern renaissance, subculture, wayyy better than urban decay basquiat collection, etc. just my opinion. I would never depot them. The 5 pan may be different but the other palettes feel nice. Not necessarily LUXURIOUS but nice.

  2. I have to completely agree with the above comment. I have the star pallet and the Lila pallet. The packaging might not be luxurious but the star pallet is the 2nd heaviest pallet I own. I owned 65 pallets the last time I counted and I've added 5-10 since then. If you want to talk about cheap packaging viseart has the most plain packaging of any luxury brand or high end brand. The packaging is a more sturdy version of wet & wild pallets. I personally don't care about that because the shadows are great. But viseart packaging next to Natasha denona packaging ND wins hands down every time.

  3. I have this palette as well as a few others in the Natasha Denona line. They work so well for me that I have gotten rid of all my other eye shadow. The five pan palette packaging is IMO better than Viseart, which break easily. I love the packaging of her larger palettes, they are durable and travel well. Her shadows wear like iron and the colors are always true to the palette color once on. It is nice to have a wide variety of brands and types, so that everyone can have options.

  4. Spoiler Alert: makeup is cheap to make.