Thursday, October 5, 2017

What I'm Not Buying: Anastasia Beverly Hills Prism Palette


Fresh off the heels of the Subculture debacle, Anastasia Beverly Hills has released their offering for the 2017 holiday season, the Prism palette. 

And I won't be buying. 

To be honest, I'm not super thrilled to be writing another post about Anastasia Beverly Hills and one of their eyeshadow palettes. I find opinions on ABH to be generally polarizing, and those opinions tend to be condescending to those who hold the opposite view. 

With that said, it is my opinion and experience that ABH shadows in palettes are not great for me personally. ABH is not the only brand that makes palettes that do not work for me—I also have never met an Urban Decay palette I've liked (except, kind of, the Electric palette), nor one from Lorac. Interestingly, I have a few singles from ABH and Urban Decay that I love, and feel they perform differently than shadows in palettes. 

ABH shadows (in palettes) muddy together on my eye. The mattes are so soft that I find they don't layer well with other shadows and just look heavy. I'm also not a fan of the shimmer shadows as I find they don't pack much pigment on me and look a little lackluster. (In comparison, some ABH singles I have include Pink Champagne, Rosette, and Fudge, and I think they are all fantastic.) Added to that, and I know this makes me a pariah in the beauty community, but I am not a huge fan of the ABH color schemes. I like that they are not carbon copies of everything else that has been made, but I also don't personally find them to be overly inspiring. 

And because of that, I have learned at this point to avoid buying a new ABH palette. 

Something else that I find to be generally unsavory about ABH as a brand is this elitist attitude that people who don't like their products use them incorrectly, don't understand color theory, or are lacking a certain level of skill required to make the product work. As a person who doesn't like a lot of ABH products, I'm not even offended by that attitude because it is just too absurd. There are so many different skin types and textures that it's impossible to think that something can and will work for everyone. But brands don't want to publicly acknowledge that because it's bad for their bottom line. Brands want consumers to think that their products will work for everyone and therefore everyone should buy them. So when people report back that the products don't work for them, having an attitude of "the problem is you and your skill level" is really off-putting to me. 

(My personal opinion is that products should not require special instructions to perform well, especially when other brands produce the same items that can perform fantastic without those special instructions.) 

Another point that I would like to make about ABH is the level of fandom surrounding the brand. It is my personal belief that the reason so many people hype Modern Renaissance and say how absolutely incredible and life-changing it is has a lot to do with the fact that they have been told that Modern Renaissance is incredible and life-changing. 

Let me explain. 

When the Naked palette first launched, I happened to be in Sephora, didn't know anything about it, thought it looked pretty, and bought it. And the first time I used it, I didn't like it. I had been "raised" on MAC shadows and didn't feel the Naked palette performed quite as well. But then the hype started. And it didn't stop for years. All I heard was how amazing this palette was. And even though I had used it and didn't like it, all of a sudden I was a part of the Greek chorus echoing how amazing this palette was. For years I told all of my girlfriends about the Naked palette and how great it was and helped convince several of them to buy it. And then in the last couple of years, I finally accepted that I do not in fact like that palette and never have. I liked a few of the colors, bought them as singles, and have been very happy to not have any Naked palettes in my collection. And with the recent surge of declutter videos on YouTube, more and more people have been talking about the fact that they don't really like the Naked palettes either. And yet we were all so obsessed with them while they were hyped. So from personal experience, I can see how hype can really influence one's opinions on something. 

And yet it makes sense in a way that the Naked palette would be hyped. It is a collection of exceptionally neutral and basic shadows that flatter most skin tones. With Modern Renaissance, however, reds, berries, and oranges do not flatter all skin tones and are not part of what most makeup artists would consider an essential palette of colors. But the hype on that palette took off, and everyone followed suit. Now, to be clear, I am not saying that people who adore Modern Renaissance are wrong in any way to love it. I am simply saying that the fandom that palette created around ABH was largely built, in my opinion, on hype rather than a truly phenomenal, out of this world product. 

But when you reach that level of fandom, many people will buy whatever you put out, just because they want to have the new item everyone is talking about. 

With that said, if the main reason you are considering purchasing this palette is just because it is from ABH, maybe reevaluate if you really want the palette and not just the popularity. 

Let's look at Prism:


I'll be honest. When I first saw this palette, I thought it looked so much like several past ABH palettes. The most similar, in my opinion, is the Artist palette:


I think it also has some similar tones to the Master Palette By Mario:



As well as Self Made:


And, frankly, it looks a lot like Subculture:


Let's look at the colors in Prism as just pigments:


Looking at the colors like this is one of my favorite tools in deciding against purchasing a palette that I don't need. When I see the colors outside of their arrangement and packaging and just look at them as colors, I can see how ordinary most of them are. 

And when you look at the colors in Prism (above) next to the colors in Subculture (below), I think the similarities are really quite prominent. 


Let's look at swatches of Prism: 



When I look at these colors, I just don't see anything all that interesting or unique. This palette reminds me of other jewel-toned palettes, just with a mix of matte colors that most people already own. 

The color looks like Urban Decay After Dark:


And Vice 3:


From my own collection, I have Viseart Bijoux Royale:


In terms of quality, I honestly do not know if this palette will perform more like Modern Renaissance or Subculture, though based on ingredients, it seems closer to Subculture. Either way, I am not a fan of any ABH palette formula, so it would be a no-go for me. 

I also find the colors in Prism to be quite dupable. Let's break them down: There's a shimmery white/champagne, matte pinky-peach, matte light peach, shimmery bronze, shimmery dark blue, matte yellow, matte black, shimmery lilac, matte brown, shimmery gold, shimmery green, matte terra-cotta, shimmery orange, and matte dusty plum. 

Off the top of my head, duplicate shadows I have in my collection include:
  • Colourpop Liar Liar (Urban Decay Sin or ABH Vermeer would be similar)
  • Colourpop The News or Costal Scents Peach Petal
  • Makeup Geek Peach Smoothie
  • ABH Brownie 
  • The shimmery blue in Viseart Bijoux Royale
  • Kat Von D Star
  • Melt Cosmetics Rott
  • The shimmery light lilac/silver in Viseart Bijoux Royale 
  • MAC Amber Lights
  • The shimmery green in Viseart Bijoux Royale
  • ABH Fudge
  • Makeup Geek Cocoa Bear or Costal Scents Oktoberfest 
  • MAC Coppering or Makeup Geek Flamethrower 
  • ABH Dusty Rose or ABH Buon Fresco 

My guess is that most people already own a shimmery champagne, matte pink-peach, matte light peach, shimmery bronze, matte black, matte brown, shimmery gold, shimmery orange, and matte dusty plum. And for the other shades, if you really want all of them, you can fill in the gaps in your collection with singles. Now that MAC, Colourpop, and Makeup Geek offer great singles under $6 (let alone Costal Scents with singles around $2), it makes shopping for singles much more budget-friendly. And, chances are, if you had to buy each shadow in the palette individually, there would be some that you would pass on. And buying supplemental singles allows for you to really get the shades you are most drawn to. 

To end this post, I would like to say that I personally don't get the hype with ABH. I have owned and tried Modern Renaissance, several single shadows, three Glow Kits, and a brow product, and I have to say that for the exception of the single shadows, I have not been all that impressed and have found better alternatives for less money. The only items I still have from ABH include one Glow Kit (Moonchild), some singles, and the brow product that I will use up and not repurchase. I am by no means saying that this brand is bad, nor am I saying that people who love this brand are wrong to do so in any way. I am just offering an opinion that differs from the majority that I have seen to hopefully bring some balance to all the hype. 

Prism feels to me like a recycling of several past ABH palettes, and I don't find the colors or general color scheme to be overly unique or something that I can't easily replicate in my collection. I'm sure there will be hype (and maybe even a clash of opinions) with this palette, but I am happy to remove myself from all of that. I don't need another palette, especially with a formula I know I don't like and doesn't work for me, so I won't be buying. 

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