Friday, January 12, 2018

Duped: Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance

At this point, we all know about the Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance palette. We know the hype, have seen endless hauls and reviews, and have probably seen even more tutorials and everyday looks. It's a well-known, well-loved palette. 

And I didn't like it. 

I have an entire post about this and why I returned Modern Renaissance at the peak of its hype, which can be found here

To be frank, I have never understood the hype around this palette, except that the three red shades made it look slightly different from every other palette I've seen. But if you take those shades away, you have a really ordinary palette. Added to that, I was really not a fan of the formula of these shadows. I have several ABH singles with a formula I love, so it was strange that I disliked the shadows in the palette so much. Every look was muddy, and I felt like the colors just blended together in a bit of a mess. And, most importantly, Modern Renaissance barely has any shimmers, and the shimmers it does have are not at all interesting to me.

So it made sense that I returned this palette, and I learned one of my first big lessons in managing hype and expectations.

But after I purchased Wet N Wild Rosé in the Air and used it, I found myself drawn to some aspects of the Modern Renaissance color scheme. Rosé in the Air was ultimately not a winner for me, and it has been decluttered from my collection, but it inspired me to look through my collection of shadows and make a duped palette of Modern Renaissance with one pretty major difference:

I wanted to make MY version of this palette and what I thought it could have been.

EDIT: Since this blog post was first published, I have reorganized this palette. The post has now been updated to reflect the most recent version of the palette.

Here is the end result:

There are a few things I want to address up front:
  1. The main "duped" portion of MR is in the first two rows of this palette
  2. While I have an exact duplicate shadow for each shade in MR, I ultimately opted for shadows I liked more
  3. The bottom two rows are "bonus" shades that I think will pair nicely with the duped MR
  4. All Viseart shadows are depotted from the Neutral Matte palette

Here are the shadows:

Row 1: Viseart white; ABH Macaroon; Colourpop Liar, Liar; ABH Buon Fresco; Urban Decay Toasted; ABH Love Letter; and Too Faced Molasses Chip (from Chocolate Bon Bons)

Row 2: Makeup Geek Desert Sands; Makeup Geek Créme Brulee; Urban Decay Chase; BH Cosmetics berry (from Carli Bybel Deluxe palette); Lime Crime Venus (from Venus palette); Natasha Denona Nina's Orchid; and Inglot 335 matte

Bonus shades:

Row 3: Make Up For Ever Pearl; Makeup Geek Phantom; ABH Dusty Rose; Makeup Geek Cupcake; Lime Crime Shell (from Venus palette); Natasha Denona Vintage; and Natasha Denona Industrial

Row 4: Natasha Denona Indian Gold; Too Faced Café Au Lait (from Chocolate Bon Bons); Viseart cream; Viseart light peach; Viseart warm brown; Natasha Denona Glam Green; and Natasha Denona Antique Gold

The biggest changes that I made were:
  • Replacing Tempera, a cream with a pearl finish, with a matte white
  • Replacing Golden Ochre, a matte light yellow-based cream, with a shimmery cool pink
  • Replacing Antique Bronze, a slightly shimmery reddish brown (and a shade that I hate), with a shimmery rose gold
  • Replacing Cypres Umber, a matte dark brown (and a shade that I would've never used), with a shimmery bronzed gold
  • Replacing Raw sienna, a matte warm brown (that looked identical to Burnt Orange), with a matte mustard brown
  • Replacing Primavera, a shimmery light gold (that didn't have enough pigment or payoff), with a strong shimmery gold
  • Replacing Red Ochre, a matte brick red, with a matte berry/mauve
  • Replacing Venetian Red, a matte red, with a red with a pearl finish 
  • Replacing Warm Taupe, a matte cool light brown (and a shade that I would've never used), with a matte vibrant orchid 

The colors I would most like to note from the "bonus" section are:
  • Make Up For Ever Pearl: I would have replaced Tempera with this shade had I not wanted to add a matte white
  • Makeup Geek Phantom: This is a shimmery white/purple duochrome (that I will use as an inner corner highlight), and I think it would have been an interesting lid shade and would have paired nicely with Buon Fresco and some of the red tones in MR
  • Lime Crime Shell: With the strong berry, red, and orange tones in MR, I think a warm shimmery pink would have worked nicely for "sunset" looks
  • Natasha Denona Indian Gold: The best way I can describe this shade is a "shimmery cool-toned gold," and I think this could have been gorgeous in MR
  • Natasha Denona Vintage: This is a really beautiful shimmery purple-taupe, and I think it would have looked killer with the berry and red shades in MR
  • Too Faced Café Au Lait: This is a shimmery pink-silver, and I think it would have paired nicely with Buon Fresco and Love Letter 
  • Makeup Geek Cupcake: This is a matte warm pink, and I think it would have been a nice counter shade to Buon Fresco, especially since most shades in MR lean warm

In all honesty, I think there are too many shadows in Modern Renaissance that look too similar to each other. When applied, I could barely tell the difference between Tempera, Vermeer, and Primavera on the lid, for example, or Raw Sienna, Burnt Orange, and Golden Ochre when blended into the crease. With my duped palette, I believe I have "fixed" that issue, and there is a nice balance of matte and shimmer.

What I like best about my duped palette is the addition of the shimmery shadows, especially ones that are distinct from each other. I think if Modern Renaissance didn't have as many shadows that looked so similar, and those repetitive shades were replaced with different and complementary shimmers, I would have liked the overall look of Modern Renaissance a lot more. 

When I first bought Modern Renaissance, I knew immediately that I didn't like it. But I kept it and kept trying to make it work because I didn't want to have "fear of missing out." Every time I did a look with it, I hated it. The looks were so simple and basic unless I applied one of the red shades all over my lids. Otherwise, my options were the most basic of shimmers or the most basic of mattes. Nonetheless, everyone was raving about it, so I figured I must have been missing something. 

But then I had an upcoming vacation. And I said to myself that I was only going to take Modern Renaissance so that I could force myself to use it and love it like everyone else. And as I got closer to the vacation, I started to feel anxiety (which, I know, is melodramatic). I had to face the fact that I didn't want to take Modern Renaissance because I knew I wasn't going to like my makeup for the entire trip. At that moment, I applied Antique Bronze all over my lid and blended it out with Warm Taupe, just to give the palette one last chance. And I absolutely hated my makeup to the point where I needed to wash it all off. And I finally admitted that I didn't like this palette and needed to return it. 

Even now, when someone finally buys Modern Renaissance, I still hear them say that they are so excited that they bought the palette "just because I want to own this" or because "I've just heard so much hype about this." I never hear people say "this has an incredible color scheme that I've never seen before" or "I have never been so inspired or feel so creative." It's usually all about the hype. 

Now, since this is a palette that is beloved by so many, I want to make it clear that if you love this palette, that's awesome. If you love Antique Bronze and Primavera and love the accents of red, that's fantastic. What I learned from my experience with Modern Renaissance is that makeup is never "one size fits all." Between my skin tone and texture and preferences, Modern Renaissance was never going to be a winner for me. But that doesn't mean that it's not a winner for all the people who rave about it. 

And, I have two singles from this palette. I liked Buon Fresco and Love Letter and felt they were the standouts from the palette. I personally felt like it would be better for me to just have those two fantastic shades to add to what I already had in my collection. Looking at my duped palette, I was, in fact, able to recreate the palette with shadows I already owned, minus those two special ones. 

This is why I now advocate so strongly for people to consider buying a few singles instead of entire palettes. I didn't look at my own collection before buying Modern Renaissance. (And, to be fair, Buon Fresco and Love Letter were not released as singles until a little while after the MR release.) But had I looked at my own collection, I would have seen that there was almost nothing in this palette that I didn't already own. I even had shades that were similar to Buon Fresco and Love Letter, though not exact. I could have attempted to recreate the palette at home, but I let myself get swept up in the hype.

So, if you're still on the fence about buying Modern Renaissance, maybe take a look at your collection and see how much of it would really be unique to you. And then take a look at the palette and think about which shades you really want. Imagine if you had to pay $12 for each one of these shadows and figure out which ones would actually make the cut. Chances are there will only be a few of the shades you really like enough and don't already own. 

One last thing to note, no one will ever know if you are wearing "Modern Renaissance" or not. And if you look at most MR looks people have created, they are simple enough to easily be created with almost every other palette plus one of the red/berry shades. If you're wanting to buy the palette purely for hype, maybe think twice about it and try creating your own duped version of it.


  1. Hi there!

    I've been trying to dupe the right side of this palette for some time now. Where I live Sephora only stocks a limited number of ABH singles, and the ones from MR are not included, sadly.

    I still managed to get the exact same looks with Colourpop's Criss Cross, Melrose, and Paradox, and from my Smashbox Ablaze palette. But I never thought the left side was in any way interesting, so it is so cute to see that you included many more interesting options!

    1. Colourpop has really been a great resource for finding duplicate shades, especially for the price. But I've also found something really enjoyable about including shadows that I love that aren't necessarily exact dupes, like UD Toasted instead of Antique Bronze.

      I totally agree that the left side of this palette is super boring; I think it's the right side that has so many people falling for it. I really like the expanded options I have now with the color scheme!

      Thanks for reading!

  2. It’s funny I just read this blog today because I was just thinking about the MR again and how it seemed that I wanted it. However, I realized that I was drawn to Love Letter and I pretty much have everything else. Your previous posts about just getting the singles of the shadows you’re drawn to made me venture into the Colourpop site and see if I could find something similar. Another thing, I’ve been wanting to depot my shadows from the pre-made ones but I’m afraid to use heat. What method do you use?

    1. That's great! Were you able to find a shadow that worked for you?

      Most often when I depot, I use heat. Sometimes, depending on the shadow and how it's glued in, I can just pop them out with a thin tool, but most of the time I need to use heat. The heat method I use is to pry or pop the plastic tray of shadows out of its main outer packaging. (Most often shadows are held together in a thin tray that's glued into larger packaging.) I then use a hair straightener (putting a piece of foil on one of the plates) and turn it to high. I place a section of the plastic tray onto the plate for about 30 seconds/until the plastic tray slightly melts. At that point the glue that holds the shadows in place is also melted, and it's easy to use a tool to pop each one out.

      Hope this helps! Thanks for reading.

    2. Thanks for the tip!

      I didn’t find a Colourpop pressed shadow that had the vibrancy of Love Letter. I may just end up buying it as a single.

  3. Buon Fresco and Love Letter are also available as singles from ABH, so there's effectively no great reason to buy the palette if you have a similar orange-brown warm toned palette (and who doesn't!).