Ugh, can I just say how freaking excited I am that everyone and their mama is making colorful, bright, rainbow and neon palettes?! Let tarte take care of those 50 shades of beige bitches, and let’s let the rest of us play in the spectrum! There are so many brands that have been putting out rainbow palettes, and now we’re starting to see those rainbows get amped up with some neon voltage. I’m here for it, but neon shadows can be tricky: in order to make shadows that bright, they use white pigment to brighten, but white is often blamed for making products patchy and inconsistent, so finding neon products that are good and give you the effect you want can be tricky.
Lime Crime is attempting to help us live our neon dreams with the newest iteration of the Venus palettes: the Venus Vivid. It’s 8 shades, evenly split between matte and shimmer, and it’s somewhat reminiscent of their 10th Birthday Pigment Palette (if you missed it, you can check out my review of that palette HERE). That made me a little nervous: the birthday palette swatched fairly well, but the first time I tried to use it with a show look, I had a really hard time. It wasn’t unworkable, but it just didn’t have the payoff and performance than I needed.
I was ordering a couple of things on Ulta and I noticed that they already had the palette available on their website, so I decided to bite the bullet and give it a try. I wasn’t totally in love with the Venus 3, but the other Venus palettes are all gorgeous and have a pretty great formula, so I figured it made sense to add this to the collection.
When it arrived, it was beautiful – that color story is gorgeous! I love that they have a neon pink and a neon red, but I’m not entirely sure why we needed two neon yellows, especially since they are both shimmers. I get that they have an 8-pan format for this collection, but maybe a matte and a shimmer, or give us a pink or red shimmer since both Star Burst and Sassy are mattes. Don’t get me wrong, I love yellow eyeshadows and I’m glad that seems to be a trend color again lately, but two yellow shimmers that aren’t that different in a palette with only 8 shades feels like a missed opportunity.
Here are the swatches. They are done over the Glue Stick eye primer from The Crayon Case with a finger swatch on the left with a brush swatch on the right. The top photo is my studio lights with no flash and the bottom is the same lighting but with a flash.
L to R: Betty, Flutter, Star Burst, Lux
Betty is a bright blue matte, and it loses some of the brightness when you swatch it on skin, so this one needs a white base if you really want it to stay that same sort of electric blue. That’s true for all of these: they will be much better and brighter over some sort of white base. But Betty especially loses its luster on bare skin where some of the shades, like Flutter, can still give you a pretty good payoff even without the base. Flutter is a bright purple shimmer, and it’s smooth and gorgeous. Star Burst is a lovely neon popsicle red, and I think my search might officially be over for a shade of eyeshadow that mimics OCC’s classic Lip Tar shade Harlot. This one might just be perfect, and it performs beautifully! Lux is a bright, Big Bird yellow shimmer, lots of great metallic look to this shadow and it’s smooth and creamy to the touch.
So far, so good! These swatch even better than the ones in the Birthday palette, and though Star Burst was a little dry, it didn’t impact my ability to blend out the swatch.
Here’s the second row:
L to R: Limelight, Happy Place, Super Bloom, Sassy
Limelight is pretty, but it makes me nervous. See how the swatch is darker along the edges and more watery looking, and there is a clear distinction between that and the more pigmented middle section of the swatch? That usually indicates to me that something isn’t going to blend out as well. Compare that to the finger swatch for Super Bloom: that one fades in a nice gradient. This green shade will probably be better for like a cut crease or somewhere where you aren’t looking for a seamless gradient blend. It could also make a nice liner sort of shade. I don’t hate it, but I’m going to have to remember to be very careful with how I use it. Happy Place confirmed my thoughts that this palette didn’t need two yellow shades. It’s a lighter, brighter yellow than Lux, but it’s just fairly weak. It reminds me of the yellow shade in the Birthday palette, Candles, though this one is more true yellow while that one was a little more lemon pastel. I would definitely recommend foiling this one, or maybe put down some sort of yellow cream base first to help amp the color. It never makes sense to me when a shimmer like this looks better as a brush swatch than a finger swatch. And that finger swatch isn’t one swipe – I always give it a couple of passes, and I work to blend it out a little. Super Bloom is stunning and I can’t believe I lived this many years of my life without this in my life. It redeems the disappointment of the first two shades in this row…somewhat. It’s a pretty, shining metallic orange, but around the edges it almost gets a red tone where it blends out, and I think this and Star Burst are going to be a perfect moment and I can’t wait to do that. Sassy is a pretty good bright fuchsia pink, and I like it on bare skin but it’s a lot like Betty in that it loses a lot of its neon quality without a white base underneath. Also, Sassy is the driest, grittiest matte I have ever felt. Seriously. Running my finger over it for the swatch almost felt like a fine grain sandpaper. I’m interested to see how that translates to putting the color on my eyes. Usually I don’t notice it too much when mattes are a little dry and gritty, but that one is intense.
Overall, I’m not mad at this palette. Even thought the packaging is neon-themed, I would say that this is more of a vivid or bright palette but not necessarily a true neon. Maybe if there weren’t so many neon palettes hitting the market right now I would think differently, but they are a trend and when I look at these shades next to something like the Blush Tribe Neon palette or even the neon shades in the Bombshell Cosmetica Bomb Burger palette (which I reviewed in a Makeup Thunderdome with the Glamlite Burger palette HERE), they aren’t quite as neon as those. But I think that may be a smart choice for them – neon is a type of light, after all, so translating that into a color can be tricky, and the lighter and more white-based you go, the more you risk your shadows becoming chalky, patchy, and hard to blend. Why not go for brights that have a neon vibe but are tamed down enough to perform.
And as for performance…I’m satisfied with more than half the palette, and I can live with that. Betty is a beautiful shade, but I would only use that with a white base. I don’t love the color on my skin with just a primer, it dulls it down too much. But a white base definitely isn’t a deal breaker! Flutter is lovely, and I have no issues. Star Burst is my favorite in the palette, and I can’t wait to use it for a monochromatic look with a matte black, a matte white, and some other red tones! Lux is my favorite of the two yellows and overall I like the look. Limelight should be my favorite because it’s the green, but the weirdness of how it applies makes me nervous. Happy Place is the only real loser in the palette. I mean, it’s ok, but when you put it up against almost every other shadow in the palette, it just doesn’t have the same quality or payoff, and Lux is so similar and performs so well that what’s the point? Super Bloom is really beautiful and it’s another one that I cna’t wait to work into a look. Sassy wasn’t bad, but I have other bright pinks that aren’t as dry and gritty that I know will work without a lot of hassle, so I don’t know that I’ll reach for that one very often.
Several of the shades did start to get hard pan even during swatching. It’s annoying, but I’ve noticed that with other Lime Crime palettes and it doesn’t bother me too much. They still perform fairly well, and it’s easy enough to scratch a little off the top to get that “new new” experience back again. Yes, I get that it’s a waste of product, but I own like every piece of makeup every made on the planet ever, so it’s not like I’m going to suddenly run out and have nothing to use. I’ll survive.
So what do you think? Are you in love with the neon trend? Is this Venus the goddess for you? What neon or bright palettes have caught your eye? Are you loving it, or are you waiting for this to pass so we can get back to a sea of neutrals again (please gawd, no! lol)? Let me know in the comments section below.
For me, I think that even with its flaws, this palette is a redemption after the relative disappointment of the Venus 3 (which wasn’t a great palette if we’re being honest) and the Venus XL 2 (which I actually think is pretty great and gets a bad rep for no reason, but it’s definitely different!), and I hope that this means that the Venus collection will continue to expand. The Venus 1 and the Venus 2 were huge trendsetters, and I think they don’t get the credit they deserve; I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it until I’m in the grave, that Modern Renaissance and Subculture get credit for color story trends that were actually started by the Venus 1 and 2 respectively. Now I just hope that Lime Crime will get back to setting the trends instead of just following them.