Everyone deserves to find their inner goddess, and Lime Crime is trying to help you with that with their Venus palette family. The Venus 1 and 2 have been darlings of the indie makeup scene for a long time, but lately Lime Crime has been adding to the collection with a new variation on the original as well as two larger size palettes, the XL 1 and 2, and three mini palettes released for holiday 2018. I’ve got a separate review of the XS palettes available in the LifeStyle section archives, but I wanted to show off and talk through all of the palettes in the collection to help you find the one that makes you feel positively mythical.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time on the XS palettes – not only were they limited edition for the holiday season, but I’ve already got that review I mentioned that you can check out HERE. I thought they were ok, but not life changing. If you hate bulky packaging, the whole line is probably going to make you twitch, but these are especially chunky – they could have easy had 6 pans in that packaging. I don’t mind it, and I actually kinda like the shadowbox style of the regular and XS palettes, but it’s something to be aware of. If you don’t want to check out the earlier review, here is a reminder of the mini goodness.
The newest addition to the Venus collection is the Venus XL 2, so let’s start there. There’s been a lot of grumbling since this was released, mostly because the cover art seemed to promise bright neon oranges and electric limes and then the inside turned out to be much more sagey and subdued. It showed up in a large number of anti-hauls, mostly before it was even released, and has gotten some flack – but does it deserve all the hate?
This collection is definitely not well represented by the cover art, but I still enjoy the collection of grungy green and brown shades with bright notes of pink and peach. There is a good mix of mattes and shimmers in the palette, and I found the shades to be more pigmented and shimmery than most of the swatch images I saw before the palette released. I did these swatches over a base of Too Faced Shadow Insurance with a finger swatch on the left and a brush swatch on the left. The top picture is with my studio lighting and no flash; bottom picture is studio lighting with flash. All of the swatch photos in this post were done the same way.
The first row is fairly light, and evenly split between mattes and shimmers. In Bloom is a matte bright pink with a dusty, grungy edge. Crown is a champagne shimmer, pretty basic, but this works well and would be even better foiled with some setting spray. Sage is a nice matte cool-toned green. Thorn is pretty, a nice shimmer with some blue reflects. I looks fine in the swatch, but this shade (and pretty much all of the shimmers in the palette) will look better if applied wet. Ripe is a matte medium chocolate brown, nice coverage, though the finger swatch did tend to grab the primer a bit. Forbidden is a peachy copper shimmer, nice pigmentation and blends well.
Stella is a nice peachy pale with light shimmer. The brush swatch was nice a solid, and it blends together well. Myth is one of my favorites, a bright silvery mint green shimmer that blends out like a dream. Eve is a sort of rose gold and brown combo with a bright shimmer and subtle bits of blue reflect. Laurel is a pea soup green shimmer, very yellowy and swampy, totally on trend. Radiant is a cream shimmer, kind of basic and it’s a little inconsistent but has a nice candlelight gold shimmer to it that looks amazing foiled. Ivy is another favorite (I mean, green…duh!), a cool-toned spring green shimmer that has some gold shimmer to make it a nice mix of warm and cool together.
West is a warm brown shimmer with great coverage and blendability. Obscure is a shimmery bright, pale green, the closest shade to the neon green promised on the cover. It’s pale and the green isn’t as saturated as I might have liked (in the pan, the color looks sort of like glow in the dark plastic), but it’s still a pretty shade and perfoms well. It has a yellow gold undertone to the shimmer that makes it really pretty. Mystic is a peachy pink tone, like a shimmer version of my skintone, but not bad. I don’t love it, but the shadow performs nicely enough. Phoenix is a medium brown with a mustardy tone that really ups the grunge factor in the palette. Locust is one of the most unique shades in the palette, a golden olive shimmer. Classical is a matte cool brown, one of my favorite kinds of brown shades. I’m so glad that cool tones are finally getting some time and attention, and I hope that it continues.
This is the second XL palette in the Venus collection, and it’s more of a standalone color collection. The first XL palette was more of an extension of the original Venus.
I’m not entirely sure why this palette had to happen. We’ll talk more about the Venus 1 later in the post, but when it came out, it was definitely bringing something new to the market. Then Anastasia Beverly Hills put out the Modern Renaissance, and everyone seemed to forget that its warm, red-toned neutrals were found in the Lime Crime Venus at least a year before ABH dropped their palette. I’m not sure if this palette was meant to be a reminder – like, “Hey, remember when we were the Modern Renaissance before the Modern Renaissance even existed?! – but it just seems like too little too late. The shades here are pretty, and if you don’t have the Venus 1 or the Modern Renaissance but you’ve wanted a warm neutrals palette with some great reds and pinks, this could be a great option for you. The mattes are fairly dry, some even a little gritty, but overall I found the colors performed well and blended nicely with each other.
Eden is a red brown hybrid with a nice cool shimmery undertone. Love is a pinky champagne shimmer, very pretty and blendable but better applied wet. Passion is a cool toned fuchsia pink – it looks more straight up red in the pan, but the color definitely turns out much more blue-toned when used. Fresca is a mauvey clay shade, very cool-toned and beautiful, though it did tend to catch on the primer a little bit. Inspire is a shimmery berry shade, pretty and I like the coolness of the shimmer. Idolized is a medium tan shade, matte and fairly blendable but it also tended to grab onto the primer.
Aphrodite is a matte brick red; it was a little fussy but came out alright in the end. The darker mattes in this palette tend to be the most dry and gritty and need a little work to make them behave, but it’s not terrible. This one, and Celestial on the end, are just a little more work than some of the others. Nu Classic is a cool-leaning chocolate brown shimmer. Burnt Gold is a tan brown shade that applied a little darker with the brush than it did with the finger, definitely buildable. Flora is a bright coral pink, sort of like the pop of coral in the Sultry palette (except that the other shades in this palette won’t put you to sleep, sorry not sorry). Scallop is a light shell pink, probably the most inconsistent in the palette, patchy, but not unworkable. Celestial is a deep matte maroon, leaning toward brown. It’s a nice shade, a good alternative to a deep brown shade to pair with all of your red shades.
Ethereal is a pink shimmer, with a peachy-beige sort of tone. Triumph is a matte red shade, brick red but as you can see in the bottom photo it tends to photograph a little cooler with a flash. Supreme is a ruddy brown satin-finish shade. Blank Canvas is a creamy matte, nice and pigmented with good blendability. Boticelli is a deep plummy brown matte that is a little problematic, tends to grab the primer and the color is a bit inconsistent at the edges. Goddess is a bright medium pink, good pigmentation and goes on smooth and blendable.
Now let’s get into the OG lineup: The Venus 1, 2, and 3.
However you feel about Lime Crime or its controversial founder, you can’t really not look at this palette and see that it was ahead of the curve when it comes to the Modern Renaissance and the deluge of warm neutrals with red palettes that have flooded the market the last few years.
Venus is a nice brownish red, satin finish that blends out nicely though it can sometimes be a little patchy if you don’t fully work on the blending. Shell is a beautiful light pink shimmer, blendable and looks really pretty foiled. Aura is a cream with a light shimmer, Creation is a medium brown, not bad, but there is nothing really special about the shade itself and it is a little fussy when working with it. It gripped the primer more than I’d like, but it’s not bad.
Icon is a lovely cool-toned brown, pigmented and blendable. Rebirth is a peachy pink matte, not an uncommon color, but the pigmentation is good and the blendability is on par with the rest of the shadows. Divine is a lovely cool taupe, almost tipping over into mauve. It’s a nice matte shade, a great option for cooler toned looks. Must is a matte brick red, nice and robust with good blendability.
The OG is the best. Do you need this and the XL? I don’t think so. I’m sort of a completist, and I had the XL before I had the Venus 1, but if I had gotten this palette first, I might not have bought the XL. It’s pretty, and it’s got some great pinks, but it’s not as good overall as this smaller, more concise palette. I don’t use a lot of neutrals and reds, but I appreciate the trendsetter that it was when it was released.
Anyone who lose their shit over the color story of the ABH Subculture palette apparently forgot about this little gem…that, or they were caught up in the cult of hate that’s been following the brand and wouldn’t have given them credit for anything if it would save their life. I actually like this selection of colors better – it’s the same sort of 90s grunge tones but brighter and more saturated, whereas the ABH is much more muted.
Pigeon is a brown shade with a greenish teal duochrome – yet another way that this palette was way ahead of trends that are starting to show up everywhere these days. Filter is a bright matte blue, a little patchy at times but can be built up pretty easily. Marsh is a pretty cool-toned green, kind of a deep sage shade with a satin kind of finish. Mustard is a matte mustard yellow, nice and pigmented and very blendable.
Fly is a candlelight gold, shimmery and lovely. This is my favorite kind of gold shift shadow. Jam is a bright orange matte, pigmented and even. Mud is a deep chocolate brown, matte and mostly consistent. It’s a little patchy at times, but you can easily get it to perform with a little work. Boot is a gorgeous deep black with blue glitter. As you can see in the swatches, the glitter mostly blends away with a brush – if you want it to stick, use a glitter glue and try applying with a finger to retain as much of the glitter as possible.
I love this palette and I think this color story needs to be rediscovered now that everyone seems to all up in 90s grunge looks.
Venus 3 is when Lime Crime stopped setting the trends and started following them. This came out after Urban Decay put out the Backtalk palette and it just feels a little bit thrown together. The colors are pretty, but nothing revolutionary and the formula just isn’t up to par with the other palettes in this line.
Dreamy is a pale lavender mauve matte, nice and blendable and the pigmentation is pretty good. Beam is a bright light purple shimmer, a bit sheer, but you can get some good pigmentation by building up or foiling. Heavenly is a champagne gold shimmer, maybe just bordering on a rose gold kind of feel. Rapture is a shell pink shimmer, a bit chalky but workable.
Ecstasy is a taupe-y cool brown, my favorite type of neutral and this is a pretty good one. Paradise is a bright orchid purple, vibrant and shimmery. It can be a little fussy, but still one of my favorites from this palette. Bliss is a dusty rose matte, a nice shade, but there are shades just like this in the OG Venus and the XL1. It’s just a little bit redundant. And Beloved is a light taupe champagne shimmer, perfect for matching with Ecstasy for a taupe look.
So now let’s talk about how I would rate them. These are obviously just my preferences, and you may rank them differently based on your preferences, but this is how I think they shake down for me.
First of all, I should say that the XS palettes are at a bit of a disadvantage in this. The shades, for the most part, aren’t that exciting and there are only 4, half the size of the OG palettes, but they aren’t bad. Just a little bit extra. So here’s what we’ve got for rankings:
- Venus 2
- Venus XL 2
- Venus XL
- Venus 1
- Venus XS Rose Gold
- Venus 3
- Venus XS Silver
- Venus XS Solid Gold
I love the grunge vibe of the Venus 2, and I love that the colors from that palette are starting to pop up everywhere. If you’re disappointed by the formula of the subculture palette, then definitely think about checking out that palette. XL 2 is gorgeous and fun, and even though the cover is a little misleading, there are some really great shades there. I’m not sure why so many of the swatch shades that came out before the launch were so chalky because these shades are actually nicely pigmented and have a beautiful color story.
I prefer the XL 1 to the original Venus just a bit because there are more of those vibrant pinks and reds. The OG Venus is good, but it’s a little more muted, so it got edged by the larger palette for me.
The Rose Gold of the XS palettes was clearly the best, and it’s a good addition to the Venus 1 and the XL 1 palettes. The Venus 3 is good, but it’s my least favorite, even though I love the idea of the color story. The execution just wasn’t there. And the Silver and Gold XS palettes are fine, but they only have 4 shades and they are just more limited. I do appreciate the Silver for having some blue-tinged tones, which are mostly missing from this collection, but they just have to be at the end of the list.
The quality overall is good; a little inconsistent, and it’s the darker mattes that tend to be the most dry and a little bit gritty, but none of the shades is an absolute dud. I would say that most of these are middle of the road in terms of ease of use, though the Venus 1 and 2 seem to have a slightly more user-friendly formulation, part of how they got to be the OG indie darlings that they were.
Now that you’ve seen them all, which Venus is going to be the goddess that you love?!