Monday, February 19, 2018

What I'm Not Buying: Anastasia Beverly Hills Soft Glam

Anastasia Beverly Hills has released their latest palette, Soft Glam. 

And I won't be buying. 

So, like most people (I think, at least), my initial reaction to seeing this palette was: Oh, that's so pretty; I'm totally going to buy it. 

But then I looked at it again, sighed, and thought: What am I doing? I obviously have all of these colors several times over. 

I wouldn't call this palette "boring," because I know plenty of people who would love this color scheme. And when I think about the perfect "work-appropriate" (I still hate that term and that idea) palette for me, it would probably be this. But what I would call this palette is "common."

Let's look at it:

The story behind Soft Glam is that Norvina (ABH president) made the palette for her mother, Anastasia (ABH founder). Norvina said she created seven new shadows, used three from Modern Renaissance (Tempera, Burnt Orange, and Cypress Umber), and added her mother's two favorite ABH singles, Sienna and Orange Soda. She also included two other existing ABH shades, Noir and Dusty Rose.

And what that means is that if you're someone who really loves ABH palettes or singles, you could potentially already have half of this palette. And that's not even including the colors that you likely have elsewhere in your collection from other brands.

Let's look at the shadows as pigments:

As I said earlier, when I look at this color scheme, I think it's really pretty. I think ABH did a really fantastic job of creating a neutral color scheme that is slightly more interesting than 14 shades of brown. However, when I look at these pigments, there is not a single color that I don't already own. This is a palette that I think would be really great for someone new to makeup or someone who is looking to only own one palette. 

Back when my obsession with makeup first began, this is the kind of palette and color scheme that I think would have been perfect for me (though, of course, I didn't know my preferences at the time and wouldn't have known this would have been perfect for me). But considering the makeup collection that I have now (that I absolutely love), this palette would be such an unnecessary addition. 

Let's look at swatches:

What's interesting to me is that when I look at these swatches, Soft Glam seems to look similar to my duped/edited version of Modern Renaissance:

And with that said, I think that if Soft Glam swapped one of the light shimmery shades and one of the browns for the red tones in Modern Renaissance, this would have been the palette I wanted Modern Renaissance to be. 

Now, in terms of formula, following the (over)dramatic reaction to Subculture, Norvina has confirmed that ABH returned to the Modern Renaissance formula for Soft Glam:

This will always be something that I personally have to keep in mind whenever ABH releases a new palette. I very much did not like the Modern Renaissance formula. The complaints that so many people had with Subculture was how I felt about Modern Renaissance, though to a lesser degree. I found that the shimmers did not pack a punch and were quite subtle/sheer, and the mattes did not build and blend. Every look was very muddy on me, and I found myself never liking my makeup when I wore it. 

With that said, as you can see from my "duped" Modern Renaissance palette above, I included four ABH single shadows—Macaroon, Buon Fresco, Love Letter, and Dusty Rose. I really enjoy ABH single shadows and don't have the same problems whatsoever with them as I did with the shadows in Modern Renaissance. I own several more ABH shimmery singles, and they all pack an incredible punch and aren't sheer whatsoever. 

And while all of this boils down to personal preference, of course, I also feel like people have hyped the Modern Renaissance formula to something unreal. The hype is bigger than the product at this point, and I feel it necessary to say that when hype for an eyeshadow formula is this strong, the formula can almost never live up to it. I think Modern Renaissance was a very strong case of major influencers liking a product and then everyone else running with the hype. There's such a huge amount of influence among influencers (duh), and it's amazing how quickly a fan base can turn something innocuous into something larger than life. And that, in my opinion, is what happened with the Modern Renaissance formula. 

Interestingly, I haven't heard many people talk about Soft Glam, and I don't think that it's going to be nearly as hyped as Modern Renaissance or the Master Palette by Mario (which, for all the hype it had, is just a palette of browns). I wonder how much of that has to do with the Subculture release and reception or the color scheme of Soft Glam. 

(As an aside, I recently made a huge move, and as a gift before I left, I received, of all things, Subculture. I have used it a few times and agree with the consensus that it is one of the most pigmented but challenging palettes I have ever worked with. Yet, oddly enough, I've found it easier to use than Modern Renaissance.)

Overall, I think Soft Glam is a more interesting and usable palette than Modern Renaissance (except, of course, that it's missing those standout red shades), but I think, in general, the hype has died down for the "Modern Renaissance formula." I don't think Soft Glam will receive any of the same hype despite having the same formula. 

Let's look at Soft Glam again:

Going back to what I said at the top of this post, I think Soft Glam is quite "common." I know I certainly have all of these colors in my duped/edited Modern Renaissance palette above, but it also looks like so many palettes that most people probably already have. 

It looks like the new Viseart Tryst palette:

Too Faced Natural Love:

Lorac Mega Pro 3:

Colourpop She:

Colourpop You Had Me at Hello:

Too Faced Chocolate Bon Bons:

Urban Decay Naked 3:

theBalm Meet Matt(e) Trimony:

And Tarte Tartelette in Bloom:

At this point, there are just too many options available that most people have already purchased to make Soft Glam tempting for me. And I have to say that I'm actually pretty surprised by the release altogether. While I haven't always liked or wanted to buy a new ABH palette, there was usually an interesting element to their palettes that elevated the makeup landscape. Reds and berries quickly became the focus of so many palettes following the success of Modern Renaissance (and Lime Crime Venus before that), and I wouldn't be surprised if brands starting coming out with palettes that have similar color schemes to Subculture and Prism, incorporating more rustic tones like yellows and greens. 

But Soft Glam just doesn't bring anything new to the table. Half of it is literally repeat shades from other palettes or the ABH singles line, and the other half is made up of shades so neutral that almost every neutral palette has them. And what's even stranger to me is that in a palette called "Soft Glam" that pulls seven shades from the ABH line, Pink Champagne is not included. I know Pink Champagne is in a lot of existing ABH palettes, but if you're going to pull half the palette from existing shades, you might as well put in your bestseller that essentially embodies the entire theme of the palette. 

The main reason I can think that most people will use to justify purchasing this palette is that it has all the neutrals that they really like (and already own) in the "Modern Renaissance formula." And for $42 (plus tax and shipping), that doesn't seem like a good enough reason to buy an entire palette that you know you don't need. 

While it's nice that Norvina wanted to make a palette for her mother, this doesn't feel like a palette for the typical ABH audience. And, in the end of it, I'm not ragging on ABH for creating this palette. I think that most brands should have a staple neutral palette that the casual makeup consumer can buy or a palette that would be perfect for someone first getting into makeup. At this point (and this may be an unpopular opinion), I don't think brands need to cater toward the makeup-addicted anymore.  There are people who have literally dozens of palettes, even more than 100, who complain that brands aren't coming out with things they haven't seen before. I think it would be quite challenging at this point for any brand to do that. 

And I hope they don't. 

And that's because I don't like the level of (over)saturation that we're at, and I really don't like that brands are charging upwards of $50+ for a product that is essentially "disposable." Consumers, I think, need to chill out a bit and curb their makeup and new product addiction. And in return, it would be great if brands stopped pumping out new products every few weeks or months. 

In my opinion, brands should have fantastic, high-quality core products and only focus on inclusivity for new campaigns. Instead of releasing a new eyeshadow palette every few months, wouldn't it be fantastic if brands evaluated their current lines and determined how much of it was inclusive? And then, when they found areas where inclusivity is lacking, they spent the time formulating products to fill this gap? 

If ABH wants to have a staple "neutral palette," fine. That doesn't mean that I need to buy it. I already have all of these colors in my collection, and instead of lusting after or buying a new palette simply because it is new, I should just use those colors that I already have. And if I'm tired of them, buying them in new packaging isn't going to make me all of a sudden love them. I definitely don't need to add Soft Glam to my collection, so I won't be buying. 


  1. Great post.

    I received Modern Renaissance for Christmas. It's a nice palette and I like it but I'm still failing to see the hype. I feel like it's almost blasphemy in the makeup community to say that the MR is anything less than phenomenal and it's confusing to me.

    Agree about the formula. MR and Subculture feel similar to me formula-wise. I do find Subculture more challenging than my other palettes, but not any more so than MR. I just have to wonder if everyone feels like they SHOULD love MR just because everyone else does. (I think this may be true with Viseart too).

    I too was surprised that Pink Champagne wasn't in this (I have it in the Self Made palette) as this looks like a nice bridal palette.

    Hope everything is going ok with your move!

    1. Yeah, the Modern Renaissance hype is truly baffling to me. It's a neutral palette, full of browns and tans, with a few red shades. I think once hype hits a certain level, people force themselves to believe it. And I think you're right about Viseart too. It took me a few years before I was able to actually say that I don't think I like Viseart all that much. I thought they had the best shadows ever, because everyone else said they did, but I've basically decluttered 5 of their palettes from my collection. All I have left is Dark Matte and a few shades from other palettes. I like the mattes from Makeup Geek and Colourpop better.

  2. hey girl! i just found your blog over the weekend and have been binging on your posts. i appreciate these so much. they help me not buy shit i don't need. god knows i don't need another damn palette. i had a request if you could, could you do a post on the new lime crime venus XL palette? i would LOVE to know your thoughts on it because when i saw it on trendmood and now that it's released...i've been drooling over it. i KNOW i shouldn't and i don't need it but i'm so so tempted right now hahaha. i already have the lime crime venus 1 and an assortment of palettes with the same color story but god idk it might just be the packaging but the colors the whole thing is so pleasing to me!

    1. Thanks so much for such a nice comment! I've gotten several requests to write about the Venus XL palette (looks so gorgeous, so I get the temptation!), and that will be coming sometime this week! Thanks for reading!

    2. thanks so much! i literally love your blog it's so entertaining and it's much needed with the extreme makeup addiction that a lot of people have right now, sometimes without even knowing it. it's kind of crazy how there seems to be a new release every 5 minutes nowadays. i feel like there's products being thrown at me from every direction haha. i just bought a bunch of magnetic palettes from shop miss a (btw if you don't know it it's essentially a dollar store for makeup but online and they have the cutest alternatives to z palettes but they are only $6.50 and amazing quality!) and so i'm depotting all my shadows and arranging them the way you've done. it's SUCH a help for me to see with my own eyes that i HAVE the colors in my collection and really prevents me from going through with a purchase. i also think it's so smart to look at a palette you want and arrange your singles to dupe that palette essentially creating your own version of that palette. so creative! thanks so much for your informative content. you're saving me so much money <3

  3. I think what you are saying about hype taking on a life of its own once it gets to be a certain amount is absolutely true. I think it can morph into this sort of 'bandwagon' view, where if everyone else owns/uses/loves this product than I should also.

    I also think that a huge amount of the consumerism targets younger consumers, who are more susceptible to these marketing gimmicks. In particular, I think of my self ten years ago vs. now, and ten years ago I absolutely would have been one of the many people who HAD to have the most hyped products that everyone else loved. Where as now I am far more realistic, I don't have any ABH palettes (though I do have 2-3 of their singles) cause I am now more aware that not only were the previous palettes not colors I use much, but I also tend to prefer singles.

    1. Yep, I totally agree. I was guilty of the bandwagon thinking for a long time too, and at some point I finally said, "I don't like the Naked palettes and I don't like the Chocolate Bars." That felt really freeing. And I completely agree about targeting younger consumers. In general I think they are targeting "hard core fans" of influencers. There was a time when I was younger, before people had to disclose sponsorships, where if one of the people I watched on YT recommended a product, I went out and bought it. Now, I'm older and less susceptible to that, and because of all the sponsorships and PR, I take every recommendation with a grain of salt. But younger consumers don't quite have that yet, which is why they're targeted.

    2. i third this. it's so funny that you brought up the naked palettes because that's also when reality kind of slapped me in the face. i was looking at my collection and specifically looked at my 3 naked palettes, which i haven't used in months, and i just wondered why in the world i bought these. they're not that great. they bore me and i realized i only bought them because that was what *everyone* had not because i wanted them. and then i thought about the fact that each of them were $50 so i had basically spent $150 on 3 palettes i am never going to use. well, never again. no more "hype" buys. when you realize how much money you've wasted on makeup that you end up neglecting after the first few months, you also realize what you could have purchased instead or the money you could have saved up. i feel so much better now, realizing all of this. when naked heat came out, i literally thought to myself HELL NO and i'm so glad i'm at a point where i can do that. the old me would have thrown my money at the naked heat not only because i like the color story (even though i already have those colors) but because i want to complete my collection of the naked series (dumb af).