So, #UnpopularMakeupOpinion: I don’t understand the cult of popularity around Anastasia Beverly Hills. Modern Renaissance dominated the beauty world for several years, but it wouldn’t have existed if it wasn’t for Lime Crime’s original Venus palette paving the way, the same way Venus 2 paved the way for Subculture. Speaking of Subculture, it was a dry, powdery mess and the tones are kind of odd – grungey, but also just…kind of…off. The Glow Kits are pretty bomb, I will give them that, but is it that hard to make a good highlighter? Except for Too Faced, who struggles way more often than they should, almost every brand has a pretty decent powder highlighter formula out there. I just don’t get it. I guess ABH is the Plastics, and I just can’t sit with them. That’s fine, I’d rather be with Janis and her wig made out of your mom’s chest hair.
I also haven’t been super into ABH because their palettes are kind of boring. That hasn’t stopped me from acquiring four of them; I know, I’m a monster. And because I’ve spent my own coint on them, I feel more than entitled to criticized. The first one I bought was the Prism palette, and that’s actually not bad. I was sort of in love with the color story of Subculture, but I had seen all of the reviews and I was trying to talk myself out of buying it when all of a sudden Prism dropped. It had a couple of duochromes and some jeweltones, so I added it to my stash. Pretty, and some of the shades perform really well, but I never reach for it. Next up, I bought the Modern Renaissance. I know, I know, but I promise I had a good reason…or at least what I thought passed for one: I wanted to get one to A. compare to a dupe palette I bought on Amazon for under $10, B. compare to the original Lime Crime Venus palette so I could enjoy my smugness that Lime Crime got their first (and I’m not wrong), and C. I wanted to have it “for reference” as the fancy beauty gurus say, when I get around to starting my own YouTube channel. So in my drawer it sits. Third, at some point I was at TJ Maxx and added Subculture to my stash and didn’t even remember that I bought it. I was cleaning a couple of weekends ago, and found it still in the bag.
As for the palettes I didn’t buy, they are just one long, extended yawn. Soft Glam is neutral and boring overall, Norvina is neutral and boring with like three purple or pink shades, and Sultry is neutral and boring with one pop of bright color. The Hooded Heathen on Twitter made an image of the palettes with their various “pops” of color removed, and this image is exactly why I don’t understand the hype around this brand:
This image makes me want to punch people. Like babies. This brand gets so much hype, but this basic ass boring collection of shades is what they serve up constantly, right?
It was, until now. With the release of the Riviera palette, they finally went all in on some bright color and convinced me to add an ABH palette to my collection for no other reason than because I really, really wanted it.
Normally for a review, I like to take photos of my own palette, but I didn’t for this one. Like most ABH palettes, this one has a cloth exterior (this time it’s canvas instead of the usual flocked velvet) and it was already filthy before I had even used it. I bought it while I was in Bismarck at the last Dakota Divas show and packed it in with my makeup, and just the dusty makeup from my case was enough to dirty up the white and blue outer packaging. With the Sultry palette and it’s seemingly unstainable glitter outside, I thought we had finally moved past the era of fabric palettes from ABH but apparently not.
Luckily the shades inside more than made up for the flaws in the packaging. There is a ton of shimmer, and even the more neutral shades have some variety and really make sense in combination with the other shades.Estate, Coastline, and Monte Carlos, three of the mattes, are probably the most similar, and maybe one of them could have been swapped out for something more vibrant, but this is a gorgeous little collection that finally gives us some color!
Here are the swatches. The left is a finger swatch followed by a brush swatch on the right, using the smaller, denser end of the brush that came with the palette. They are done over OMFG Cosmetics face primer. The top photo is my studio lighting without a flash, and the bottom is the same lighting with a flash.
L to R: Sails, Yacht, Seychelles, Palermo, Seaside, Inheritance, Mediterranean
This row of almost all shimmers is really what makes the palette special – they are all creamy and gorgeous! Sails is a fine white; I have other, better options, but it performs well and it’s a nice addition to the overall color story. Yacht is a cooler, almost taupe-y gold, kind of an antique gold. Really pretty. Seychelles is a bright pop of turquoise blue, and it has a great subtle golden shift to it that I love. Palermo is a bright, almost fuchsia pink, lots of blue undertones and very shimmery. Seaside is a stunning shade, sort of a lilac blue base but warmed up with a golden shift. So pretty! Inheritance is a bright yellow gold shimmer, totally separate from Yacht and very much in keeping with the nautical theme. Finally, Mediterranean is a cornflower blue with a silver shift.
L to R: Estate, Cabana, Coastline, Bahamas, Monte Carlo, Cannes, Palm
The second row is all mattes, but that doesn’t mean they are boring! Well, this first one is kinda boring – Estate is a pretty basic beige peach matte, with a lot of pigmentation. Estate is a mustard yellow gold that pairs up nicely with either of the gold shimmers. Coastline is a peachy orange matte that would work as a transition shade for lighter skintones if you don’t want to go too light. Bahamas is a hot pink, tons of pigment – I’d say from the little I’ve played with it that this would give Jeffree Star’s Star Power from the Beauty Killer palette a run for its money! Monte Carlos is a medium dusty rose. Cannes is a bright purple; it hugged the primer a little more than I would like, but it still blended out nicely. Palm was a nice deep brown, though for the nautical theme, and to match with some of the shimmers, I would have preferred a navy blue shade. That’s the one misstep I think this palette took, but they just couldn’t help themselves and threw in that last brown shade!
Overall, I’m pretty impressed with this palette. I hate that the pans are so small: even though the price has gone up to $45, the pans are only .73 grams for a total weight of 10.22 grams, making the price per gram $4.40. The pans are a tiny bit larger, but it’s still an increase from the Modern Renaissance, Subculture, and Prism palettes that all had .7 gram pans for a total of 9.8 grams at $42, for a price per gram of $4.28. That’s some Stephanie Nicole kinda math skills shit right there, folks! I don’t think this brand will ever be a Must have for those who love vivid, colorful makeup – the queen of color, Juvia’s Place, has palettes with HUGE pans for half the price – but this is still a step out of the same old same old for Anastasia Beverly Hills, and I hope it’s a sign of things to come.
Let me know what you think below: are you an ABH stan, or has this brand never really captured your attention? Are you living for this nautical, colorful palette, or is there something about it that just doesn’t appeal to you? What would you like to see next from this brand? Let us know in the comments below!