Sunday, October 21, 2018

What I'm Not Buying: Natasha Denona Gold Palette (with Dupes)

Despite the fact that it's October and the holidays are still months away, the holiday season product rollout has begun, and I wanted to talk about one palette that gave me some strange, complicated feelings: Natasha Denona Gold. 

I won't be buying. 

But, to be honest, it took me a beat to come to that decision. When I first saw the palette, my eyes rolled into the back of my head. This is your holiday offering, Natasha Denona? This?? Who the hell doesn't have gold and brown eyeshadows? 

But then a few shades got to me, most notably Dijon (the mustard) and Lime Chrome (the lime/gold duochrome). So then I started reasoning with myself. 

Would I use all the shadows in it? 


Would the looks complement my eyes?


Do I literally own all of these colors already?

Oh. (sigh) Yes. Of Course I do. 

And that was what snapped me back into reality after being sucked in by a mustard shade and a lime/gold duochrome, both of which I already own. 

What's interesting about this momentary dilemma is that these facts about me haven't changed:
  • I think Natasha Denona is overpriced and not worth the hype.
  • The packaging of ND products is laughable when considering the price.
  • I like ND shimmers, but not more than others in my collection. 
  • I don't like ND mattes and have plenty of neutral mattes that I love. 

So why was I lusting after this palette?

Because it's gold! And gold looks really good on my skin tone and against my eye color. 

Since I didn't want this to turn into a $129 mistake, I did the only sensible thing I could do. 

I duped it. 

My duped palette:

Row 1: Colourpop Tea Garden, Juvia's Place Chi, Ardency Inn Heaven, Makeup Geek Creme Brulee, and MAC Amber Lights
Row 2: Costal Scents Lake Shore, Makeup Geek Desert Sands, Colourpop Two Birds, Coloured Raine Duchess, and Make Up For Ever bronze shimmer
Row 3: Colourpop Rosé All Day, Viseart shimmery warm brown, Coloured Raine Your Majesty, Makeup Geek Cocoa Bear, and Coloured Rain Super Star

There are a few notable differences in my palette. One is that I replaced the dark teal shade with a shimmery deep royal blue. Another is that I replaced the shimmery white "shadow topper" with a shimmery white gold, which I felt was more appropriate for the theme of the palette. Otherwise, even though the colors don't necessarily match up in these two photos, according to swatches I've seen, this is a pretty accurate dupe. 

And you know what's really interesting about this exercise of duping this palette? I am not inspired by it AT ALL. Normally, when I dupe a color story, I immediately want to jump into using the palette. But with this one, I feel zero desire to do so. Because it's just a bunch of golds and browns with two blues thrown in. It's not exciting or inspiring to me, and I have no idea why I even had a moment where I thought I might want the one from Natasha Denona. 

Let's look at swatches:

As we all know, swatches provided by the brand are misleading and inaccurate. The swatches in the above picture make the palette look, in my opinion, a lot more diverse than it actually is. In my quest to find accurate swatches, I came across a YouTube video (linked here) of someone doing eye swatches of this palette. I highly recommend watching this video if you're still on the fence about buying this palette as the swatches really showed me personally how average these shadows really are. 

And when something is average, I'm not spending $129.

Another thing that's worth noting is that the Gold palette isn't very gold. In the above swatches, it looks like only one or two shadows are actually gold, and there appear to be a lot more browns and bronzes. 

So, despite knowing that this palette is filled with the most simple color scheme imaginable, that it's not actually all that gold, and that we likely all have the ability to dupe this palette with shadows in our collection, why do we want it?

Because it's $129


People hype Natasha Denona. 

This strange culture exists, especially in beauty and fashion, that if something has a high price tag, there must be some reason for that. There must be something about that product or handbag or coat to warrant such an insane price tag. And sometimes there is. But most of the time, there's not. 

I'll use Pat McGrath as an example as I feel her products are often mentioned in conversations with Natasha Denona because of the similarity in price. I own two Pat McGrath palettes. One is the Mothership IV, and it is one of the most spectacular makeup products I have ever seen. The color selection is gorgeous, the quality is top notch, and the packaging is on an entirely other level from any other brand. That palette, to me, is worth $125.

I also own the Pat McGrath Platinum Bronze palette. The color selection is muted and a little bland, the quality is average, and the packaging is just okay. I don't think it's worth $55.  

But there is certainly a feeling in the beauty community that if you spend a lot of money on one item, you have to convince yourself that it's worth it. If I just wanted the shadows in the Mothership IV palette, I wouldn't say it's worth the money. But when you include the packaging and the prestige of Pat McGrath, that makes the price climb. 

All of these elements are missing in the Natasha Denona palettes. So, for me, I'm paying a ton of money for nice shimmers that are comparable to the formula in the Jouer Skinny Dip palette and average mattes. 

That's not to say that the people who rave about Natasha Denona are fooling themselves or blatantly lying. I just personally think that there's a certain amount of justifying that a lot of people do to make it "okay" to spend so much money on average eyeshadows in crappy packaging. 

The Gold palette looks like a less diverse version of ABH Subculture:

And Too Faced Chocolate Gold:

And also looks like the Lorac Unzipped Gold:

But it really looks like the left side of the Natasha Denona Star palette:

As well as the Natasha Denona mini Star palette:

One thing that I can say about the Gold palette is that there aren't many other palettes that I could think of that share a similar color scheme. And that's largely because the Gold palette is very one note. It's not very diverse, and I think it's the kind of palette that a lot of people will get bored with in a short amount of time. 

I know that several years ago, I would have seen this palette and HAD to have it. I love the way that gold eyeshadows look on me, and I would have loved a palette full of them. But, even though I would say that gold looks the "best" on me, I'm so bored with neutral looks that I don't gravitate toward gold shades, and I certainly don't want to pair them with browns. I like using color, and I like finding interesting color combinations. The Gold palette feels about three to five years too late to me because there's nothing about it that makes it that much better than what people have already owned for years. 

This is also a palette that I imagine people will forget about and move on from fairly quickly. I don't really predict seeing people rave about golds and browns for more than a few weeks because they've been around forever. If Too Faced or Tarte released this palette, no one would be talking about it. The only reason it has any discussion is because of the high price. 

This is a great palette to reinforce the idea that you really don't need to rebuy what you already own. And this can be an excellent palette to try and dupe from your own collection. This was especially valuable for me because when I duped the palette, I realized I didn't want to use it. I'm just not inspired by the color scheme. I'm especially grateful for this because it could have been a really expensive mistake for me to make, and I can easily see this palette being one that I bought, used for two days, and pushed to the back of my collection. And what a waste of money that would have been. 

I don't need this palette, and it turns out that I don't really even like it, so I won't be buying. 


  1. I didn't even want this palette until I saw Elle S.'s video with 3 or 4 looks...the shadows looked SPECTACULAR. I won't be buying though because I don't wear eyeshadow enough as is and I already have a dozen palettes.

  2. This post reminded me of one time I was at my local MAC store discussing how to add color into my collection with the makeup artist about how I normally resort to gold and browns for a more subtle or "natural" look. So I see the appeal of this palette, but my initial reaction was: boooring.
    Personally, it kind of reminds me of a special edition by MAC called "Bare my soul", which happens to be one of the first palettes I bought brom them. (

  3. I was drawn to the greens in the palette but I can dupe those. It is also similar to Profusion's Chocolates palette.

  4. There's a strange elitism with Natasha Denona products that I find really off putting. When this released, many were underwhelmed and I saw pretty gross comments in response such as 'the only people criticising this palette are people who can't afford it'. Yuck. Imagine having such a warped view about makeup.

  5. Your saying you weren't inspired to use a palette after you duped it struck such a note with me! It has happened to me a couple times and I feel so guilty. I mean I sat down and put time & effort into creating the dupe palette, and they contain all the colours I know and love. I couldn't understand why I didn't want to use it. It's good to know I'm not the only one having that problem. Sometimes the inspiration for my dupe palette just isn't that inspiring.

  6. I needed this, thank you! You saved my bank account and opened my eyes haha