Wednesday, May 9, 2018

What I'm Not Buying: Kat Von D Anniversary Palette

To celebrate their 10th anniversary, Kat Von D has come out with an anniversary collection, which includes a palette. 

And I won't be buying. 

I've received a lot of requests to write about this palette, but I have to say that I'm a little cautious to do so because I have ended up with three Kat Von D palettes for which I have written anti-haul posts. 

Those include Pastel Goth, and my reason for purchasing can be found here:

Saint and Sinner, which I received as a gift:

And Metal Matte, which I also received as a gift: 

Out of all of these palettes, Pastel Goth is my favorite, and I am happy that I own it. However, I also find Pastel Goth to be very light (same with some of the matte shades in Metal Matte), which can make it difficult to work with. 

So even though I have no plan or desire to buy the anniversary palette, I also didn't have plans to own the above three palettes, and we can all see how that played out. However, I really can't see myself buying the new Kat Von D palette because it just looks so much like most Kat Von D palettes that have released in the past few years.

Let's take a look at it:
I think we can all agree that this is a beautiful palette, and I think (in promotional images) it looks like it was curated quite well. It has a mix of warm and cool tones as well as neutrals and colors. It feels evenly balanced. Unlike so many palettes releasing right now, it's not a neutral palette with one or two pops of color. It offers a really complementary color scheme. Even better, the colors are on trend, but aren't too trendy that they are essentially disposable. And, because it's Kat Von D, the artwork on the packaging is also gorgeous:

If I didn't own so many palettes, this would definitely be something that I would consider purchasing. But I do. And my guess is that if you're interested in this palette and have found your way to my blog, you probably do too. 

Let's look at swatches:

Lately, when I've seen swatches provided by a brand, it has made me want the palette less than I did before. But with these swatches, I have to admit that I am tempted. However, we all know by now that brand swatches are incredibly misleading. And I have to say that Kat Von D has always been one of the worst offenders with this. 

When I compare the above swatches to those provided by Instagram user @vspinkmelissa, there is quite a difference:

Image credit: @vspinkmelissa

I would assume that the bottom swatches were applied without primer, and I have said many times that I believe swatches to be generally unhelpful in terms of evaluating performance and quality, but I do think it's interesting to compare the way the actual colors looks. 

The swatches will of course look more complex and exciting in promotional images, but these two pictures, I think, are a great example of "expectations versus reality." That's not to say that the colors in the bottom swatches are't great; they just look different from the ones being advertised. 

When I look at the swatches in the bottom photo, I have to admit that there are not any that I don't already have or like enough to want to buy again. 

It makes sense to me that an anniversary palette would be filled with "classic" Kat Von D shades. But, this palette claims to have 16 new shades. And herein lies the "issue" with buying Kat Von D palettes: very often, if you buy one, you have the basic color scheme of many moving forward. 

At this point, I own several Kat Von D palettes:
  • Mi Vida Loca Remix
  • Metal Matte
  • Pastel Goth
  • Saint and Sinner

And have also owned but since decluttered:
  • Shade and Light Eye
  • Shade and Light Eye Quad in Plum
  • Monarch

Between all of these palettes, I definitely feel like I have covered the entirety of the anniversary palette color scheme a few times over.

In addition to the palettes listed above, this also looks like Serpentina:

And Star Studded:
As well as Colourpop Dream St.:

Juvia's Place Nubian 2:

Jaclyn Hill X Morphe:

Kylie Cosmetics Blue Honey:

Juvia's Place Festival:

And Elf Jewel Pop:

To name a few. 

The anniversary palette is a whopping $52 before tax, which feels steep. To put that into perspective, the anniversary palette has 16 shadows compared to Saint and Sinner, which had 24 shadows and cost $60. So for an additional $8, Saint and Sinner had eight more shadows. Saint and Sinner has one-third more shadows, and by that measurement, it seems like a more appropriate price for the anniversary palette would be $40.  

But the thing that the anniversary palette has going for it that Saint and Sinner didn't is that the color scheme flows nicely and there seems to be some "sense" to it. When I first saw Saint and Sinner, I was not drawn to it whatsoever because the colors felt so random and unorganized. Even now, after being gifted Saint and Sinner, I find it difficult to look at it and feel inspired. I typically get too overwhelmed and don't even know where to start. So the fact that the anniversary palette is "curated" is certainly a positive, but that doesn't mean that the shades are not repetitive. 

Out of all of the Kat Von D palettes that I own, the ones that I think are the most unique are Mi Vida Loca Remix and Pastel Goth. Unfortunately, both of these palettes were limited edition, and it doesn't appear at this time that they will make another appearance. 

And this is another point I would like to make. The overwhelming majority of Kat Von D eyeshadow palettes are limited edition. At the time of the writing of this blog post, Kat Von D has seven eyeshadow palettes for sale at Sephora. They are:
  • Shade and Light Eye—permanent 
  • Shade and Light Glimmer—permanent 
  • Alchemist—permanent 
  • Shade and Light Eye Quads—on sale; discontinued 
  • Metal Matte Mini—limited edition 
  • I Am Divine—limited edition
  • 10-Year Anniversary Palette—limited edition

Nearly half of the palettes available are limited edition, and one palette/group of palettes has been discontinued. That means the brand only has three permanent palettes. Two of them are incredibly neutral and matte/shimmer versions of each other, and the other is only a quad of duochrome shadows that all have a white base. 

What's interesting about this is that when I personally think of Kat Von D as a brand, I think of bold colors, not the neutrals in the permanent line. That's because nearly every Kat Von D holiday release is a large palette filled with interesting color combinations. For years, while every other brand was trying to reinvent brown, Kat Von D was giving color. So it's curious, then, why the brand doesn't have a permanent colorful palette. And it's frustrating as a consumer that whenever the brand does release a "signature" colorful palette, it is limited edition. 

But let's talk about that. When a brand releases a limited edition product, it is for two main reasons:
  1. They don't think it's a product that will be a bestseller if it was permanent and people had as long as they wanted to make a decision on whether to buy.
  2. They know people WILL buy it if there is a perceived scarcity to it.
With Kat Von D specifically, they continue to release the same palette, just packaged slightly differently. And I think this is why they don't have a permanent colorful palette. Because if they did, people would be less likely to buy their limited edition colorful palettes. Added to that, Mi Vida Loca Remix is on most people's list of "one that got away" palettes. And because of this, people are more likely to buy limited edition Kat Von D palettes so that they don't have to feel they have missed out yet again. But I can't help but to think that Kat Von D could just bring back Mi Vida Loca Remix and make it permanent. I know that Kat Von D has become a vegan brand since that palette was for sale, so some of the shadows would need to be reformulated, but knowing how high the demand is for that palette, it baffles me why the brand doesn't just give consumers what they want. 

And my guess is that they don't rerelease that palette because then not as many people would buy the latest limited edition palette. Also, there's this strange phenomenon in taking pleasure in owning something that other people can't. I'll never forget watching a YouTube video where a woman was lamenting how the Too Faced Sweet Peach palette was ruined for her when Too Faced released it again. She said the main reason she liked it so much was because she felt special for owning an item other people wanted but couldn't have. (This same woman is thrilled that she owns Mi Vida Loca Remix and considers it one of her prized makeup products.) Now, there is a lot of honesty in what she said that I don't think many people would admit to. At the same time, it seems kind of petty to me to feel so elitist about a makeup item. The point of makeup is to give people confidence and inspire creativity. So to feel so great about owning a product specifically because other people can't seems a bit counterintuitive to me.  

Also, makeup is a moneymaking industry. So tactics that brands employ are always going to be in their best interests. As consumers, the best thing that we can do is just be critical with our thinking and smart with our purchasing decisions. I don't need another limited edition Kat Von D palette. Sure, I won't have the "10-Year Anniversary Palette," but I have other versions of it. And more versions are undoubtedly coming in the future. This is a palette of the moment, and when the moment passes, no one will talk about it anymore. If you want proof of that, think of how many people currently talk about the original Metal Matte palette. 

Although there is a lot about this palette that's interesting and appealing, I just don't need it, full stop. I have these colors already many times over, and I don't need any special "10th anniversary" packaging. For me, this palette would be a waste of $52 because, ultimately, it would just sit and get lost in the shuffle of all the other palettes that I already own and love. I don't need this palette, so I won't be buying.


  1. I had a giant cleanout yesterday. I donated a Pat McGrath palette, Jaclyn Hill Morphe palette, Kat Von D’s Saint and Sinner and smaller Metal Matte to Project Beauty Share and another organization. I got rid of smaller palettes too. Now I just need to keep “the weight” off. I never allow myself enough time to do elaborate looks and those palettes were just overwhelming to me. I do wish I could have the Morphe Jaclyn Hill blue-purple and forest green shades in singles though. :\

    1. Wow, good for you! I think realizing our preferences and being realistic about the kind of looks we actually do is huge in figuring out what kind of products we really "need." Feeling overwhelmed is never a great feeling when looking at makeup, so I think it's really good that you've paired down to ease that feeling.

      Have you checked out Temptalia's review of that palette? She always lists duplicate shadows, so maybe you can find a suitable singles that you can buy.

  2. Ellie, please post your weekly eyeshadow looks again.. really love your weekday and weekend look. Thanks :)

    1. Thanks for this comment; I really appreciate that. I've actually been incredibly busy for the past several months on a number of personal things, and I am actually separated from the majority of my makeup. I'm hopeful that I'll be able to create those posts again within the next month or two.

  3. I've been watching a lot of declutter videos lately and I noticed how many people are keeping palettes that used to be LE only because they were LE, even though they claim to almost never use them. And that elitist attitude kind of makes me angry, especially because they clearly own several palettes that look practically identical.

    1. Yeah, that's certainly not an attitude that I enjoy. I've also seen people who declutter all of their limited edition products because they feel they can't talk about them or wear them anymore because no one can purchase them.

      So it's odd to me that even with that realization, they still hype the products when they first come out. And the reality is that a lot of people do own those products, and it would be nice to see people talk about them for some inspiration.

    2. Absolutely! Maybe people don't have that exact palette but there are ways to dupe it and create similar looks. If it was a good product to begin with and you like it and use it yourself, I don't see the point in decluttering it.

  4. This is legitimately the first and only kat von d product ever that I have seen that has made me feel any kind of desire. The artwork is stunning and i like the colors. I'm very on the fence.

    1. If you don't have any colors like these in your collection and you feel comfortable adding another palette, it might be worth purchasing. I don't believe that people need to completely stop buying altogether (I still buy products), but should be more aware of why they buy and generally make smarter purchasing decisions.

      One thing I'll say about the artwork, however, is that if the main selling point is the packaging, it might not be worth buying. Unless you plan to display it and use it as genuine decoration, you're still mainly paying for a makeup item. And at $52, that's a lot of money to spend just on the artwork.

      But if you love the colors, don't have these already in your collection, and feel like the product will get a lot of use, I can see it being a nice purchase.

  5. This collection sold out almost immediately upon launch on Kat Von D beauty. It made me realise something about LE products.

    I think for some (this was the case for me£ it's more about the thrill of the chase than the possibility of creating new looks. Kat Von D products like you said, are pretty much always LE so have a sense of scarcity and therefore added value.

    I think the ritual of counting down to launch time, refreshing websites, hurridley paying and tracking your order frequently until it arrives becomes addicting. I know for me, that once I got the palette, after a few days it became the same as all the others.

    It's important for us as consumers to remember that owning the hottest most sought after palettes isn't the be all and end all. Owning the Mi Vida Loca Remix palette hasn't made my life better or solved my problems. Unless of course you're into making strangers jealous on the internet (which I'm not) it ultimately does not make you whole.

  6. Whew! Thank God it's sold out! I'm no longer tempted to purchase it. I hope it doesn't come back, because the colors are mediocre but the packaging is divine