Wednesday, May 30, 2018

What I'm Not Buying: Melt Cosmetics Gemini Palette

Melt Cosmetics has come out with a new palette, the first of which is not in stack form.

And I won't be buying.

To be completely honest, I did not think I was going to make this post. Because I really, really want the buy this palette. In fact, until last night, I had fully committed to the idea that I was going to purchase this palette, and I was perfectly okay with that because this is the kind of palette (I thought) I had been waiting for.

It's completely different from the majority of releases, and it's got a great color scheme that is also pretty neutral. At least that was what I was telling myself.

As I'm sure you've noticed, I have not been too active on the blog recently, and there are a number of reasons for that. The major highlights are that I've been working on some things for the blog behind the scenes, I've recently moved and my world has been in a certain amout of disarray, and I've been experiencing some health issues. But more than anything else, there just haven't been many releases that I've felt inclined to write about.

Many YouTube personalities have recently launched their own brands, and I am so far interested in none of them. Colourpop is coming out with more of the same; Urban Decay is pumping out a ton of products that I'm not interested in and can't even keep up with; and Too Faced is literally launching the third version of packaging on their same boring neutral palettes.

So there just hasn't been a lot for me to write about.

But then Melt announced the Gemini palette, and I became excited about makeup for the first time in months.

Let's look at it:

If you've been a longtime reader of my blog, you'll know that I am a huge lover of the Melt Rust Stack. This one stack replaced every single neutral matte palette in my collection because none could compare to it. I have also owned the Love Sick Stack, but ended up only keeping the color Love Sick. I really love Melt's matte shades, and while the shimmers aren't awful, I just don't like them nearly as much. 

Gemini is Melt's first palette not in stack form, and I think that makes a lot of sense from a practical standpoint. The stacks are truthfully a pain, and they are so delicate that it makes traveling with them difficult. Additionally, the stack format really only allows for four or five shadows, so having a typical palette format allows the brand to come out with something with 10 shadows. 

Most longtime readers will also know that I am a complete sucker for a good mustard shadow. My favorite mustard is Bobbi Brown Camel, but Melt Rubbish is a close second. So you can only imagine my joy when I saw that Melt has created yet another mustard with a much stronger yellow base. And that was the starting point of my brief love affair with Gemini. 

Let's look at the shadows as pigments:

Typically, I use images like this as a tool to show me how much I don't actually like or need a palette. However, in this case, this photo just reinforced how much I wanted this palette. It is perfect, I thought, and I am definitely going to buy it

But I'm not going to. Mainly because of the price. 

Gemini retails for $58. Melt only offers free shipping on orders over $75, which means that if you buy any of their stacks or this palette, you still won't qualify for free shipping. Shipping is $7 domestically and $10 internationally, which makes Gemini $65 to $68 before tax. 

When you compare the cost of Gemini to other Melt Stacks, it actually seems like a great deal. (The Rust Stack is also $58 before tax and shipping and only has five shadows.) However, Gemini looks to come in cardboard packaging, which is considerably less expensive than the stack packaging. Gemini also doesn't have the "gimmick" factor of the stack packaging, so it puts the palette in direct competition with other brands that make similarly sized palettes. When compared to those palettes, Gemini is pretty overpriced. 

For me, the price was especially too high because when I really looked Gemini, I was most attracted to the four shadows on the right. When I considered the rest of the palette, I realized:
  • I hardly ever use black shadows
  • I have plenty of brow bone/transition shadows
  • I have a ton of warm browns, oranges, and dark browns

So, really, I just wanted the shimmery green, forrest green, olive, and mustard. 

Buying Gemini for only four shadows would mean that I have not learned any of the lessons I have discussed on this blog, especially (and here's the kicker) when I own all four of these shades already

Yep. There you have it. I was lusting after a palette for four shades that I already own. 

Upon this realization, I thought about why I didn't see that I already owned these shadows when that's usually the first thing I notice in other palettes. And I think it's because this is a palette that has a somewhat unique color scheme (as you will see further in this post it is really not that unique at all), and my brain just hasn't been trained yet to see that even these "unique" palettes are still filled with shades I already own. 

Let's look at swatches:

When I first saw these swatches, it felt like the air had been let out of my "I must buy this palette" mentality. There was absolutely no denying at this point that I already owned these shadows, and, frankly, that they just weren't as special as I thought they were by looking at promotional photos. 

Gemini is Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture:

And the Bad Habit dupe of Subculture, Retro Love:

It's Lime Crime Venus II:

Those greens I was lusting after are in Viseart Dark Matte:

Gemini also looks a lot like Jeffree Star Androgyny:

And Zoeva Matte Spectrum:

And Makeup Revolution Reloaded Iconic Division: 

Really, Gemini is not especially unique. In fact, I think the biggest audience for it are people who wanted Subculture but decided not to buy because of the horrendous reviews. 

As for me, I once owned Venus II but decluttered it years ago because I was not in a place with my makeup preferences to really appreciate those tones. I've owned Viseart Dark Matte for years and absolutely love that palette. And if that's not enough, before I moved, I was gifted Subculture (though I am still undecided if I want to keep it). And that's not even counting all of my single shadows. 

For the exception of Viseart Dark Matte, all of these palettes are considerably less expensive than Gemini, which will cost you upwards of $70 with tax and shipping. And I think $7 per shadow is too high. 

I know I made this post mainly about me, but I did so to demonstrate that being more conscious about consumerism and training your brain to think more critically about purchases is a constant work in progress and something that takes time. Despite everything that I have learned and all the time I have devoted to thinking critically about why I'm not going to buy products, I still had a moment of "Pretty! Different! I'm gonna buy!" And had I purchased Gemini, I would have applied the shadows to my lids and had the sinking realization that these shades were not, in fact, different from what I already owned. 

Looking at the promotional photos of Gemini, I still think it's a gorgeous palette. And I'm glad to see more brands branching out from the boring and overdone neutrals and shades that are only geared toward light skin tones. It's exciting to see something different, especially something that is still cohesive and what most people would consider "wearable." But that doesn't mean that I need to spend $70 on a palette full of colors that I already own. 

The best way I can describe this feeling is to share a story about some palettes that I have recently purchased. I received a few requests to test some "dupe" palettes and form an opinion on the quality of the shadows. Traditionally speaking, I'm not a huge fan of brands that "dupe" popular palettes because I do think that it is an infringement on one's creative and intellectual property. But due to the requests, I did purchase some palettes from Hush to test. When the palettes arrived, I was drawn to these beautiful (but familiar) color schemes and was excited to work with the palettes. And do you know what happened? With every single look that I created (even though these were "new" palettes), I found myself so bored because they were looks that I've created a dozen times over with a dozen different palettes. 

Obviously in this example these are "dupe" palettes, so the entire idea is to be similar to existing ones, but there is also only so much that you can do with an entirely red-toned or orange-toned palette. And even if a palette is new, the look is not. And if you're able to create that exact look from shadows you already have in your collection, what's the point

I think I'm just at a place where the "new factor" isn't enough anymore. I need a product to actually be different, not just new. And Gemini would not be different for me. 

If you're someone who has considerably less makeup than I do (first of all, good for you!), have nothing like these colors in your collection, and are very drawn to this palette, Gemini may actually be a great purchase for you. I still think it is overpriced compared to other palettes of similar size and quality (especially since Melt is an online brand and you can't try the products in-store), but if this is the exact color scheme you want, I can see it being a good purchase. If you're like me and own at least one of the above palettes as well as singles, it may be a good idea to take a step back and think about why you're really lusting after this particular palette and evaluate what, if any, value it will add to what you already own. If you're drawn to only a few colors, I would also recommend instead buying some single shadows from brands like Colourpop and Makeup Geek.  

Personally, I think that I may need to accept that I have almost every single possible shade (that I would want) already in my collection. There may be no new product that my collection can't duplicate. And that's okay. Because I can still love makeup and participate in the hobby without buying every new product.

Gemini, while beautiful, is just not something I need to add to my collection. It doesn't bring anything new to me, and it's very expensive to be the same as what I already have. I absolutely don't need Gemini, and I won't be buying.


  1. Thank you for this post! You just talked me down gymf taking the plunge myself 😅 I've been so drawn to this palette right from the day it launched. It's back in stock now and I've been hemming & hawing about biting the bullet and buying it . This post convinced me otherwise!
    I also have the viseart dark mattes and neutral shadows and a black. I need to accept that I do not need this!

  2. I'm so glad I found this. I've just gotten back into makeup after a long "absence". I've been mourning my inability to afford this, bc I literally just bought so many palettes I haven't used in the last 2 months. I have 2 of these "dupes".