Tuesday, October 10, 2017

What I'm Not Buying: Lorac Mega Pro 4

It's October, which somehow means it's the holiday season in the beauty industry, and that means that Lorac has released yet another Mega Pro palette. 

And I won't be buying. 

I don't really know what's going on wth Lorac lately, and I'm not sure Lorac knows either. Their recent releases have all been lackluster, uninspired, or confusing, and the drop in performance quality has also been noted. 

Personally, I am not a huge fan of Lorac. I never owned the original Pro palette as it was always sold out when I was first interested (right when it was released and hyped), and then when it finally was in stock, I thought the color scheme was incredibly basic and I had moved on. I briefly owned Lorac Pro 2, and after being in denial about it for a beat, I admitted to myself that I completely hated the formula. 

Lorac Pro shadows, at their best, remind me of the formula of Anastasia Beverly Hills shadows in palettes (not the singles). I've written about the ABH formula many times, and I feel the same about Lorac. The shadows are far too powdery for my preference, and the formula is so thin that it muddies terribly on my eyes. Instead of layering well and blending softly and seamlessly, the shadows blend together and look dark and muddy. No matter the technique, brushes, or application, this always happens, so this is just a formula that I do not enjoy and that does not work for me. 

This year, Lorac seems to be going through an identity crisis, or at the very least, they appear to be struggling to keep up with all the trends and other major brands. And I personally feel like it shows. In addition to seemingly odd releases (I love Brunch, Pirates of the Caribbean, Beauty and the Beast, etc.) the quality of Lorac shadows has appeared to declined (noted even by those who are fans of the formula). 

Each holiday season, Lorac releases a Mega Pro palette. The first year the Mega Pro was released, the demand was huge and there wasn't enough stock for everyone to get a palette—classic hype tactic. And I fell hard into that hype and lusted after the elusive palette for months. When they released the Mega Pro 2, I was disappointed that it wasn't more like the original, so I didn't buy it. And last year, Lorac released my favorite Mega Pro color scheme, but I knew I already owned all those colors, and I was able to successfully resist buying it as I knew as soon as the hype wore down, so would my love for it.

And this year, when I saw the Mega Pro 4, I feel like I finally had a moment of clarity, which was, "Who needs a palette with this many shades?"

Let me explain.

My two largest palettes are the Sephora Pro Editorial (28 shades) and my custom palette (27 shades). I really enjoy a lot about the Sephora palette—enough to keep it—but there is also quite a bit that I don't enjoy. With a quick glance at the palette, I can see about 10 shades that I am not interested in or that don't perform well. And of the reminding shades, there are a handful that I own elsewhere in my collection. So there are, what, 15 or so shades that I actually want in that palette? With my custom palette, I selected all of the shades, so I know they are colors that I use and love, and even then, I rearrange the colors on a pretty frequent basis. So when I look at large palettes like the Mega Pro, which has 32 fixed shades, I can't help but think it is overkill.

Let's look at the palette:

If I am being completely honest, I do not understand what is happening with this palette and color scheme. It looks like Lorac took two of their palettes, recycled the colors, and smashed them together. 

It looks like I Love Brunch:

Plus Pirates of the Caribbean:

It has a lot of similar shades to the Mega Pro 2:

(Though I admit Mega Pro 2 is a lot more appealing to me personally.)

And it has several shades that appear in the Pro 2:

Parts of the palette also remind me of Urban Decay Smoked:

And from my own collection, I have Viseart Bijoux Royale:

Now, full transparency, I don't even know if this is a hyped item because I haven't heard too many people talk about it. And I don't know if that's because people aren't too excited by this color scheme or maybe they are losing interest in Lorac as a brand. (I know I personally have lost most of my interest in them as a brand.)

One positive that I can give this palette is that I can't really think of many other palettes that have the same color scheme, other than ones from Lorac. And while I think that's actually a tough thing to do in an industry this saturated with products, I can't help but think there may be a reason we haven't seen this color scheme before. Now, this will all depend on personal preference, but the color scheme of the Mega Pro 4 just doesn't inspire me. If anything, it confuses me. Some people might be excited by the challenge of that and of finding new color combinations that you wouldn't have thought of before, but this palette doesn't do anything for me. 

And I know that's the worst kind of an anti-haul because simply saying, "I don't like the colors" isn't a very compelling read for those who are debating purchasing this. But, that's the truth. I don't like the color scheme of this palette and I don't like the Lorac formula, even when it was the original, "good" formula. 

Beyond that, I'll say that if you are tempted by this palette, you should evaluate what about it is tempting you. Because, despite what I personally think is an odd assortment and arrangement of colors, there is also a ton about this palette that is neutral and is guaranteed to already exist in most collections. 

For matte shades, I see creams and an assortment of warm, cool, and neutral mid-tone and dark browns. For shimmers, there's champagnes, taupes, bronzes, berries, and plums. I would guess that the majority of makeup enthusiasts have these colors already in their collections. Other than those, the only really "interesting" or "unique" shades that I see are blues, greens, and, you guessed it, blue-greens.  

Now, I personally don't wear green eyeshadow all that often (though I am wearing three green eyeshadows today). And a quick glance at my collection tells me that I have at least 17 green eyeshadows (that realization actually made me a bit sick). That number includes singles, shadows in palettes, and indie shadows. So, if I was drawn to this palette because it has these odd pops of color I don't normally see paired with neutral shadows, it would be unwise of me to purchase because I clearly have an abundance of those pops of color already. And if you don't have some of those colors but have the vast majority of the other shades, then it would be a much better use of money to invest in a few select single shadows rather than spending $60 on a giant palette. 

I would like to talk about the serializing of makeup products, specifically palettes. The first time I personally saw this was with the Naked palettes. When brands have a successful product, it seems like now they have to capitalize on it by making a sequel. And we as the consumer expect it. In fact, a lot of the criticisms I heard about Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture was that it was marketed as the "sister palette" to Modern Renaissance but it was a totally different formula and color scheme. And before Subculture's release, for the better part of a year, I heard people say they couldn't wait for "Modern Renaissance 2" to come out. Brands have started naming products "Volume 1," and people get excited thinking about what the next volume will look like and deciding that they will purchase it and add it to their collection before the sequel has even been conceived. 

And that's just it. We like one thing, so we want more of that thing we like. We want more of the same. We don't want it to be too different. We expect it to be similar and to like it just as much as we liked the original. And instead of just using the one product that we enjoy, we want more. That one product isn't enough. We have been conditioned to want and expect more iterations of the same thing. 

I did a bit of decluttering/depotting of my collection today, and now I "only" have nine pre-made palettes. I say "only" because nine is still a crazy amount for one person, but that is significantly less than half of what I had only a few months ago. Of my remaining palettes, none of them are serialized. I don't have any more Naked palettes or Chocolate Bars or Tartelettes or Lorac Pros or Unzippeds. I have palettes that were released as part of a set of other palettes (like my Sephora Pro Editorial and the NYX Elements palettes), but I no longer have palettes that inspired a sequel or more. 

And of the nine palettes I've kept, all but one are colorful: Sephora Pro Editorial, Urban Decay Electric, NYX Fire, NYX Air, Colourpop Yes, Please!, Kat Von D Pastel Goth (please see this post if you're wondering why I own this palette when I have an anti-haul post on it), Viseart Dark Matte, and Viseart Bijoux Royale. (Please note, this count does not include my two Tom Ford quads, small Milani palette, and Melt Rust Stack—all are favorites.) And I realized that the reason I've decluttered essentially every neutral palette is because the shades are just not that unique or interesting. I have a select number of gorgeous, well-performing neutral singles, and that's all I really need and want. 

So, serialized palettes really just don't do it for me. Because it's essentially asking a company to make us the exact product that we already own except to make it a little different. And it's because of this that I think I find so many makeup products to just be overly repetitive. The Lorac Mega Pro 1 was very beautiful, and because it was so popular, it makes sense that Lorac would want to capitalize on that success. But at this point, with a Mega Pro coming out for the past four years, I personally am bored. It's exciting when a brand changes up the monotony of the industry, but I feel like Lorac releasing this palette that seems to be an odd combination of two palettes that weren't huge successes (I Love Brunch and Pirates) is anything but exciting and innovative. 

To end this post I would like to offer a personal anecdote. I'm glad that I don't have any of the Lorac Mega Pros. Even if the formula was something that worked great for me, I am still happy that I didn't purchase these palettes. Because I know that my attention span with them would have been very short. They are limited edition holiday palettes, so no one really talks about them after the holidays, and in the declutter videos I have seen, unless people are hanging onto them just because they want to maintain their entire "Lorac Pro collection," most people declutter them. I think the palette falls into the classic case of looking like a good deal because you get so many shadows, but when you realize how generic most of the shades are, it's no longer a good deal. 

I don't think I'll ever stop "curating" my eyeshadow collection, but the more I actually use my existing products and say no to buying whatever is new and shiny, the more I really learn about my preferences. I never would have thought when I first started my blog that I would have so many colorful palettes or that I would declutter all the staple neutral palettes. But that's what I've learned by actually using everything in my collection. 

The Lorac Mega Pro 4 doesn't inspire me, and it certainly doesn't add anything to my collection. This product feels to me like Lorac is catering to those who buy the Mega Pros just to collect them. That's not me, so I won't be buying. 

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