Wednesday, November 29, 2017

What I'm Not Buying: Colourpop X Kathleenlights Dream St Palette

Colourpop and beauty influencer Kathleenlights have teamed up once again for the Dream collection, which includes a lip bundle and the Dream St eyeshadow palette. 

And I won't be buying. 

This post will focus on the eyeshadow palette, but I will not be buying anything from this collection. 

To start off, I just want to say that I really dislike writing posts about beauty influencer collaborations. Personally, there is not a single person who I watch on YouTube or whose blog I read that I feel so connected or dedicated to that I will buy whatever they attach their names to or recommend, and certainly no one who I will defend as if they were a member of my family. 

I have been watching YouTube for eight years at this point, and I have seen the beauty community evolve from one of authenticity to one that is corporate. I've talked about this before, but when we watch a commercial for CoverGirl or Maybelline, we know that we are watching an advertisement. We know that Katy Perry is not really using CoverGirl makeup in her daily life in the same way that we know that Nicole Kidman is not slathering on Neutrogena skin care every night. But YouTube started as a different platform, and most big influencers got where they are today but building a more authentic platform when they first started. So now when people see Jaclyn Hill or Kathleenlights or Tati recommend something, they already have this viewer relationship to them that they had when each was a smaller channel, and people don't necessarily recognize that these promotion of products are not all that different from Katy Perry or Nicole Kidman ads. 

By far, the most negative comments I receive on my posts are the ones I make about influencer collaborations. And although I recognize that the majority of these people are very young, impressionable, and, frankly, immature, it still baffles me why there is such an intense need and desire to defend someone whose only connection to you is that they make makeup videos that you watch. 

And I suspect that this post will especially touch some nerves because, yes, I will be discussing Kathleen's recent use of a racial slur on social media and subsequent apologies.  

But first, let's talk about the palette.

What's interesting is that I first heard about Kathleenlights because of her first collaboration with Colourpop, which was the "Where the Light Is" collection of Super Shock shadows. I purchased that collection of shadows at the time because I wanted to try the Super Shock shadows (I don't like them and will not purchase any more, FYI) and I liked the color scheme. 

Coincidentally, I have since purchased another Colourpop and Kathleenlights collaboration, which is the lipliner in the shade Lumiere. I did not purchase this lipliner because it was attached to Kathleen; rather, I was looking for a lipliner for one of my all-time favorite lipsticks, NARS Anna (Maybelline Touch of Spice is really similar). Because of the color, this is easily my most used and favorite lipliner, and I am almost finished with it. 

Furthermore, I have also purchased from KL Polish, which is Kathleen's nail polish brand. Generally speaking, I really like the polishes, but some of the colors did not flatter me and have since been decluttered. I did not purchase these polishes because of Kathleen; I had read excellent reviews about them and they had a few colors I felt were unique. 

It's funny because in my head I think I have never purchased a beauty influencer collaboration before, and it's because I have purchased products that seemed interesting to me that happened to be designed by Kathleenlights. 

I've recently been gifted a few palettes, which, ironically, include two palettes that I have written anti-haul posts on—KVD Saint and Sinner and the Morphe Jaclyn Hill palette. (It's interesting receiving makeup as gifts because people know that I love makeup and write a blog about makeup, so it makes sense that they think to give me (popular) makeup as a gift, but then I am in an interesting situation since I write about why I don't need certain makeup.)

So that is the extent of influencer collaborations I own or have owned, and I did not acquire any of them because of any personal feelings about the influencer attached. But I also mention this to say that I don't have any personal vendetta against these influencers when I write a post about why I am not going to buy their products. 

Had Kathleen not been associated with the Dream St palette, I still would not have purchased it because I have comparable shadows in my collection. But I will still start off with some positives about this palette, which include the price ($16) and the fact that Colourpop pressed shadows are typically quite nice. 

Here are swatches from Kathleen:

When I look at these swatches, the first thing that comes to mind is the NYX Fire palette:

I also think it looks like a mix between Colourpop Yes, Please!:

And Colourpop My Little Pony:

Furthermore, I think it also looks a lot like the Mophe Jaclyn Hill palette:

I now own every single one of the above palettes, so I absolutely have this color scheme covered. And if you have any of the above palettes, you have the majority of the shadows already covered as well. 

Since Colourpop palettes are so inexpensive when compared to other palettes (ranging from $16 to $18), I think it can become really easy to justify collecting them, even when you already own the shadows. Personally, I struggle with owning both NYX Fire and Yes, Please! since the two palettes are so similar. However, I use both, so at this point I do not want to declutter either. But it is a lesson I have learned that just because something is inexpensive, that doesn't mean you need to buy what you already own. (For the record, I purchased Yes, Please! first—lesson still applies.)

If you already own the majority of these shadows or all of them, buying this palette, even at $16, is still a waste of money. Colourpop offers free domestic shipping on orders over $30, so you will either pay an additional $5 for shipping, or you will spend an additional $14 to get "free" shipping. And at that point, it really starts to feel like a waste of money to buy shades that you already own. 

I don't find the color scheme of the Dream St palette to be entirely inclusive as I feel like the lighter colors will look very similar to each other on medium to deep skin tones, but the color scheme is no where near as egregious as the Too Faced White Chocolate Bar palette, for example. 

I think Dream St is a fine collection of shadows, but there is not a ton that is all that interesting, unique, or new about it. I've seen most people comment on the teal shade, but similar shadows are found in NYX Fire, Colurpop My Little Pony, and Morphe Jaclyn Hill. And if that is the one shadow that is attracting you to the palette, there is always the (better) option of trying to find that one shadow in a single. 

To end this post, I would like to talk about the desire and sometimes need people have in "supporting" their favorite influencers. 

And to start off, I would like to address Kathleen's use of a racial slur on social media. For those who are unfamiliar, Kathleen used the n-word while drinking in a video Jaclyn Hill posted to Snapchap. Immediately upon saying the word, she asked Jaclyn to not post the video. Kathleen has since apologized for this on several social media platforms, but not on YouTube, which is her main platform. Kathleen also said that she made "one mistake" and that she used a "bad word," which, in my opinion, gravely undermines the deep significance of this word as a slur to degrade an entire race. 

In my personal opinion, every person knows that word is a racial slur. For people who use that word, I believe that they use it willingly. And I personally find it difficult to find an apology authentic when Kathleen made the decision to not apologize on her biggest platform with the most viewership and potential to reach her audience.  

I also find it very upsetting that the majority of people who vocally "forgive" this entire situation or accept the apology are those who are not people of color. It is not up to those who are not part of the affected community to determine if something is a big deal or not to the affected community. 

In previous blog posts, I have commended Kathleen on her highlighter palette collaboration with Makeup Geek because she made a palette that could work for multiple skin tones. Many people with light skin complained about the palette because they could not use all of the shades, which I think speaks volumes to the amount of privilege and ignorance that exists in the beauty community. It is not my intention with this post to label Kathleen in any way, and it is also not my place to comment on if people should "move on" or not from this. I will just say that I do not subscribe to Kathleen's channel or watch her videos, which is my personal choice. 

Coming back around to this notion of supporting beauty influencers, that is a personal choice. I will say again that a lot of people who feel this need to "support" their favorite influencer by buying their latest collaboration tend to be younger. I have mentioned this before, but when I was a tween, I would have purchased anything that had Justin Timberlake attached to it. I have been young and impressionable, so I understand being that way. It is still worth mentioning that just because someone you like has collaborated on a project, that doesn't mean that you need to spend your money "supporting" them. Buying this palette will not make you friends with Kathleenlights in real life, nor will she know that you personally bought this palette to "support" her. 

If you genuinely love this exact color scheme and don't have anything else like it in your collection, Colourpop pressed shadows tend to be quite good, and the palette is only $16. Something I like about a lot of Colourpop's collaborations is that they don't hike up the price compared to other similar products to pay the "influencer fee" (like with the Morphe Jaclyn Hill palette). 

For me, I have all of these shadows already and don't have any need or desire to add any others to my collection. So, I won't be buying. 


  1. Thank you! I enjoy reading your blog as it is always so well written, and I really like the eye shadow looks you post. This article identified a point I had wondered about in the past but never really thought through, i.e., the rabid loyalty people manifest on YouTube for their idol of the moment. I hope that you won't get too many foolish responses to this extremely well-reasoned editorial.

    1. Thank you so much for such a nice comment. This "rabid loyalty" (perfect description) is something that I actually find to be quite concerning as I've seen it extend beyond YouTube in really dangerous ways. And I wish the people in the beauty community who have these fanbases would also call out this behavior as dangerous. I think I would have a lot more respect for some people if they said, "I'm not always right, and you don't need to viciously attack others in an attempt to defend me."

  2. This influencer trend is somewhat unprecedented in psychological terms. Parasocial relationships with celebrities have always been a thing, but there's something different about YouTube, in that it's more 1-1. That intensifies the feeling that you're actually friends with influencers and that your relationship with them is reciprocal. ''Tis is obviously just my opinion but I have studied parasocial relationships in some depth.

    I commented on a post on Instagram, simply stating that KL's behaviour was in poor taste and that as a white person, it's not up to me to forgive her. Immediately, another commenter who appeared to be a young white girl asked me why I should care since I was white. Truly baffling. Judging by her previous comments she was a diehard KL fan. That sort of blind loyalty is somewhat troubling.

    I too recently received Saint and Sinner as a gift! Thankfully it isn't as bulky as I imagined!

    Apologies for the essay, hope you are doing well.

    1. This is such an interesting comment; thank you for sharing. I think you said it perfectly in that there is this notion that the relationship is reciprocal, when it clearly is not. I've seen this a lot especially with people who moderate comments for people on certain platforms, and because of that, they feel like they have a close friendship with the influencer when really they have little to no communication with them. But then they always come to their defense and talk about how they "know them personally."

      I mentioned in an above comment that I would have more respect for certain people if they called out their own crazy fanbases. For example, had Kathleen told her white fans that they needed to stop chiming in about other people's feelings, that would have elevated my personal opinion of her. But letting the fans be nasty because you like the "support" is off-putting to me.

      I'm having a difficult time using Saint and Sinner for the same reason I listed in my post about it, which is that I don't really know what to do with most of the colors. Have you had success?

    2. Hi!

      Yeah it's pretty fascinating. Most psychological literature hasn't caught up yet though. When you're at a rock concert you're with thousands of other fans. With influencers you're kind of inviting them into your home and likely watching their videos alone.

      I do too wish influencers would call out their aggressive fans. Unfortunately some of them 'like' comments that blindly support them which perpetuates the behaviour even more.

      I'm enjoying the Saint side of the palette, cool toned are right up my alley. It does take me a little longer to come up with a look with the Sinner side. I haven't had much success in combining the two halves though!

  3. Kathleenlights is my favorite YouTuber and I think she is likable and talented. However I do notice that there is always some kind of drama surrounding her. In almost every video she either isn't feeling well, has a lot going on, or is just in a bad mood. Or apologising for some background noise that we can't even hear. But the level of drama she is involved in is not even comparable to Jaclyn hill, who incidentally was the one who uploaded that clip. It does get old after awhile, and the focus is drawn away from makeup and to the personal lives of these YouTubers.

    As I'm not even an American, I cannot comment on the degree of offense the racial slur was. I am a little confused though because it seems the word is thrown around a lot among the black community itself. Perhaps someone can explain why it's ok for blacks (is the word "black" offensive too? I really don't know...) to say it but not others?

    I do appreciate that she apologised immediately and acknowledged her mistake. In the context of the word, it does not seem like she was using it to degrade an entire race, so I would chalk it up to a moment of stupidity and carelessness rather than a deliberate and conscious attack. Then again, I'm not the one offended so I have no place to forgive her or not. Regarding her not apologising on YouTube, I was disappointed as well but it could be her way of minimizing the drama. Since the incident didn't happen on YouTube she is not obliged to apologise on YouTube, I guess.

    As for the palette itself, it does not attract me so I will not be getting out for that reason. It doesn't seem cohesive to me, and I prefer a palette with a clear colour scheme.

    Hope I didn't offend anyone with my opinion... Great post as always.

    1. Sure. The n-word is okay for Black people because they are reclaiming it. By using the term amongst themselves, they are robbing it of its power, just like how queer is used in the LGBTQIA community.
      White people can't reclaim it because it was, and still is, used by White people as a racist, discriminatory insult. It's too unclear whether White people use it as an insult or not, so, it's better to avoid using it at all.

      The other reason White people shouldn't use it, is for respect. Black people have asked us not to use it. So, I show my support for the Black community by doing this one small thing.

      Hope that helps. There are a lot of great articles out there, written by Black people, who explain it in detail, if you want to know more.

  4. Agreed with your thoughts here. I'm blAck and still subscribed to Kathleen as I accepted her apology (the written one on Instagram, I appreciated her saying to her followers who were white, that it wasn't their place to forgive as she hadn't offended them. Despite her saying this her fans still continued to argue with POC and she turned off the comments). She was a favorite of mine and I watched religiously but since that incident I can't bring myself to watch her --- it feels funny. It didn't help matters that her friends and family chimed in, on the comment section that because they were Hispanic it wasn't a big deal. I didn't see her call them out. It was very off putting. Therefore I can't buy this because of her name. It doesn't tempt me either, you look at the swatches and ignore the teals and it's something I already own. Appreciate the support for POC. i read your blog often but I'm going back looking at older posts, I never really comment. It's a lovely blog!

    1. Thank you so much for such a nice comment and compliment.

      I certainly agree about Kathleen's family and friends coming to her defense. It was very off-putting to me as well, as was her silence on the topic.

      Thanks for reading!

  5. Hi !
    I stumbled upon your blog because I wanted to see a review and maybe searches of the dream st I just purchased (the turquoise is my favorite color so I couldn’t resist). I’m fairly new to the beauty community despite the fact that I’m 22. I’m also black and didn’t know about the Kathleen lights debacle.
    Thank you for wording it the way you did and being apart of the community that understands you can’t tell us how we feel. When I do my own review of the palette, I will mention you and your blog ! Thank you so much ��

    Kaylee ❤️

  6. You absolutely hit the nail on the head! No one should be forgiving her or giving her a pass for her “mistake” (if we can call it that - personally I’ve never “accidentally” said a racial slur to anyone let alone someone I just met?). I should keep in mind that a lot of these followers are much younger. I myself am 30 and I find myself disgusted with a lot of the beauty influencers because there seems to be no moral high ground, which is important given the audience. A lot of people rabidly defend Jeffrey star in this way who I find so appalling. There is not one “influencer” that I enjoy anymore except maybe Jackie aina. I don’t rush out and buy any of their products because I think about the impact of supporting the name attached. Your post was so mature, well written and truthful.

  7. I just wanted to say that I appreciate your blog a lot, and it's unique anti-haul perspective. I only just got into eyeshadows and colourful eye makeup (a MUA friend of mine taught me some things and now it's become a hobby of mine). Before now, I only wore minimal makeup that was work appropriate. I started out watching Youtube tutorials and reviews, and only recently learned about Youtube "influencers." I literally had no idea that there was any correlation between these influencers and certain makeup companies (I know, I've been living under a rock). I'm in my 30s so I guess because I'm not as young and impressionable as some consumers. I don't have any personal connection to Youtubers, and am quite turned off by how much influencers push some brands over others. I don't understand the influencer/brand loyalty thing at all, I just purchase what I like and what's affordable. I appreciate being able to see a blog from someone who is honest and doesn't go nuts over a new palette release just because it's new, especially since it's usually just a mashup of other palettes and colours.