I was an 80s kid and a 90s teenager, so I’m loving the wave of nostalgia that’s coming now – mostly because it’s been taking the BEST of those eras and making it bearable. Seriously, if you look back at what the 90s were really like, there was some awful, ugly stuff happening then. Bib overalls. Flannel. Chunky heeled shoes. But there were some elements in terms of color stories and influences that actually look pretty cool.
The end of last year into this year is when we really started to see this trend emerge with the force that is has, but of course a lot of the influence can be traced back to the release of the Subculture palette by Anastasia Beverly Hills, and that palette pulls a lot of influence from the Lime Crime Venus 2 palette. Clearly these vibes have been lurking around for a while, but now they are really getting their moment, and a fairly new indie brand, Karity Cosmetics, has really harnessed these influences with their Come As You Are palette. In addition to reviewing the palette, I decided to try out their liquid lipstick formula and also pick up one of their blush trios in shades that would let me really feel my 90s grunge fantasy!
First of all, that alien head makes me crack up! I had a few things with aliens on them and even though I couldn’t watch it enough to really understand it (we didn’t have Fox in Bowbells until after I left for college) I was obsessed with The X Files. I also had a few neon pacifier necklaces because North Dakota got some of the dregs of rave fashion without any context or explanation…but that’s enough of a glimpse into my poor choices from that era! The shade names in the palette are also perfect for the time. Ugh, so many memories!
For the swatches, They are done over the OMFG face primer with a finger swatch on the left and a brush swatch on the right. The top photo is under my studio lighting with no flash and the bottom photo is the same lighting with a flash. And I apologize for the scratches on my arm – I had shaved them to make a better swatching surface, but they look like I’ve been savaged by a wild animal. I would have waited a day or two to take swatch images and let them calm down, but I was getting ready to leave for a work trip, and I wanted to make sure I got them done before I left. Apologies and whatever.
L to R: Ugh, Riot, Seattle, Drew, Deja Vu
Ugh is a gold-toned champagne shimmer, nice coverage, a little sheer at the start but buildable. Riot was a little too sheer for me, and I was worried that this was going to be how all of the mattes performed in this palette. I had the Mattes palette from Karity, but I recently decluttered it because the formula was really dry and patchy. Luckily this palette seems to perform better overall and this one was just a little tricky. It’s not terrible, but it’s definitely not the gorgeous yellow shade you see in the pan. Seattle is a light mauve matte, nice consistency and blended out nicely enough. Drew is a light more silvery toned champagne shimmer, almost a little purple. It pairs beautifully with the shades on both sides. Deja Vu is a really nice mauve/purple shimmer.
L to R: Gwen, Dank, Cool Beans, Psych!, Tattletale
This is the row that seems the most authentically 90s to me! People act like the 90s were just grimey, dark, gray shades, but there were definitely bright colors, they were just…sort of off, ya know? So instead of a true red, you’d have a cranberry or a raspberry red, olive green instead of true green, a lighter butternut sort of orange instead of true orange, etc. This row makes me feel the 90s – I can almost hear the Cranberries in the background! Gwen is a beautiful deep raspberry matte, very pigmented and blendable. Dank is a little inconsistent, but not too bad. Just needs a few passes and a little finesse. Cool Beans is a bright, light orange matte, another one that blended out pretty well. Psych! was a little bit of a disappointment, but neons can be tough. I would definitely recommend putting this over a white base, especially like a white concealer and then tapping it in instead of blending too much. Tattletale is like a dupe for MAC’s Club, my favorite eyeshadow from the 90s! Duochrome and beautiful, and the performance is really good.
L to R: Wazzzzup?, Liv, Oh Snap, Um Duh, Bogus
Wazzzzup? is a shimmery sage green, a little yellow in tone and would pair well with Dank. Liv is a bright matte peach that is pretty sheer on the first go but builds up without too much trouble. Oh Snap is a Bronze shimmer that has a sort of yellowy undertone that I really like. Um, Duh is a deep navy matte, a little hard to work with but blends out fairly nicely. Gets a little diffused around the edges, which means that it will blend in nicely with other shades, but be careful, because of how dark it is, that the edges of your look don’t get too smoky unless that’s what you’re going for. This one can get out of control quick! Bogus is a cool toned brown matte that performed nicely. The first layer sort of gripped into the primer weirdly, but I was able to blend it out easily enough on the second pass.
Overall I think this palette is an improvement on their previous matte formula, which I found to be sort of a pain in the ass. These are less dry, though I still wouldn’t describe them as creamy. They are dry enough to blend well and generally lay down smoothly without a ton of powdery fallout or feeling grainy or sandy. Does that make sense?
I’m going to include a video from another YouTuber I really enjoy, Nikki Raven, who is a big fan of this palette, and I think she does some fun stuff with this palette.
I decided to get some additional products from the brand to be able to do full looks with a sort of 90s edge. They don’t do complexion products, so I didn’t try to get products for a true “full face,” but it’s a a full set of color products. I’ve been wanting to try out their liquid lipsticks for a while anyway, so here we go.
I found these to be alright in terms of the formula, but it’s definitely one that you will want to do two coats. The first coat was really patchy and tended to get little ridges of product around the edges, but when I let it dry down and did a second coat, I was able to get a much better representation of the color.
L to R: Lucky, High Key, Matcha Gracias, 99 Problems
Lucky is a raspberry pink and was the best performing of the four colors. It’s a nice shade and it went on the smoothest overall. High Key is a bright orange that looks almost a little coral when it dries down. This one also performed pretty well even on the first coat, but once you add the second layer it comes out really nice. Matcha Gracias is a swampy green, but it dries down a little less olive than it looks in the tube. It’s a nice color, but it was the most inconsistent, and it’s still a little patchy after the second coat. I would suggest putting down a green liner shade before doing this one to make it even more consistent. 99 Problems was a hot mess on the first coat, but it actually looks really nice on the second coat. The green and the blue were definitely a little trickier than the orange and the pink, but I think all 4 ended up as something I would consider acceptable with a second coat.
I also picked up one of their Blush Bomb trios to brightup up the cheeks – this is the Burgundy Blast trio.
L to R: Yas, Sumptuous, Lush
For these, I did a finger swatch on the left to show you the concentrated color, and then to the right I did a fluffy blush brush swatch so you could see how well it sheers out and the sort of final color you get with one pass and a little blending in. Yas is a raspberry shade, much darker with the finger application than with the brush, but you can get some nice deep pigmentation if you like a deeper blush. Sumptuous is a medium, dusty rose that has a similar payoff with the finger to what you get with the brush. Lush is a medium gold shade, a nice shimmer blush/bronzer option for lighter skintones, and could be used as a highlight – though if you’re being true to the 90s you know we didn’t do no damn highlighting back then! Lawd! I love the payoff on these, they are nice and pigmented, so you can get a nice wash of color, and you can go light and sheer them out a bit. I would definitely think about picking up more of their blushes in the future.
What do you think – are you loving the 90s revival that’s happening in the beauty space right now? Do you love grunge-influenced color stories, or are you ready for more bright, vivid shades? Have you tried Karity before? What do you think? They have a great price point, but are they worth the hype? Sound off in the comments below!
To end this post, I need to make a confession: I was never a huge Nirvana fan. I liked a couple of the songs, but I don’t think I owned any of their CDs (from Columbia House, bitches!). So to wrap this up, I’m going to leave you with one of my favorite hits from that decade: Jann Arden’s “Insensitive”! Her look in most of this video looks like it could have been done with this palette!