Holiday makeup is a ubiquitous parade of gift sets and minis, glitter packaging, and utterly giftable fluff that starts flooding the market around August and doesn’t stop until it’s time to pack the tinsel away. With the holiday releases starting so early, it’s easy to get fatigued, especially when so few brands actually offer anything new and instead just give us rehashed concepts and mini versions of best-selling products. By the time the winter holidays happen, it’s hard to even remember what was released and when. How is a savvy makeup brand going to capture our ever more divided attention in a very crowded market?
How about spreading some of that holiday marketing buzz to other holidays?
Of course, this isn’t exactly new, but it does feel like more brands are trying to lure us in with themed collections around specific holidays than every before. And the two most obvious, marketable holidays are Halloween and Valentine’s Day. I mean, who wouldn’t love an earthy Arbor Day collection (yes Karen, that was sarcasm), but both Halloween and Valentine’s Day have pretty easily recognizable color stories and iconography, and above that the colors are easily translatable to cosmetic products. Halloween can utilize oranges, purples, and/or greens, depending on what’s on trend at the time, and Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to break out classic reds, playful pinks, and dreamy pastels.
Enter the Natasha Denona Love collection. There were three glosses that released as well, but I decided to pass on them and just picked up the Love Palette, a 15-pan eyeshadow palette in her “more affordable” $65 format (which I used some Beauty Insider points and a credit card reward certificate to bring down to $45), and the Love Glow Cheek Palette, a 4-pan blush and highlight palette.
I sort of hate Valentines Day, but because I am a complex creature with many levels (or maybe I’m just inconsistent and crazy!) I actually really like the sort of aesthetic of Valentine’s Day. I am obsessed with anything with candy hearts on them, and I love romantic pink and purple color stories. I’ve been dipping my toes into the Natasha Denona world lately (I don’t know when I decided I was 100% that bitch who could pay Natasha Denona prices, but here we are!) and this palette was right on trend with what’s being released now and it was something that I thought I might get a fair amount of use out of.
Let’s start with the eye palette. The swatches were done over the ABH primer with a finger swatch on the left and a brush swatch on the right. The top photo is my studio lighting without a camera flash and the bottom photo is the same lighting with a flash.
L to R: First, Lifetime, Heartbeat, Transparent, Trust
First is a pale peachy matte, a little bit chalky in consistency, but not bad. It’s basic af, but it’s performs well enough. Lifetime is a peachy gold shimmer, nice application and good shimmer. Heartbeat is a matte brick red, a little dusty but again, definitely usable. Transparent is a golden with pinky shift duochrome, a little more subtle than I like (because I’m a trash queen garbage monster!) but still a pretty shade. Trust is a deep purple matte, fairly cool in tone.
L to R: Heart, Giving, Pure Love, Commitment, Blind
Heart is a true, primary red matte. Two words: Gore. Geous. It’s hard to find a true red matte that doesn’t read as too blue-toned or too yellowy. This is matte red perfection. Definitely a standout shade for this palette. Giving is a lovely, shifty duochrome with a bit of a watered down red base and lots of pink shimmer. Pure Love is a red-toned purple with blue shift duochrome. COmmitment is a red-toned deep purple shimmer that almost looks like a blackened red. Blind is a silvery taupe metallic, like Jeffree Star’s lipstick in Restraints (I think I have that shade on my mind because I just got a new tube of it in the Valentines Mystery Boxes, which I talk more about HERE).
L to R: Soul, Passion, Intense, Valentine, Dream
Soul is a dusty red matte, like a toned down, vintage red version of heart. Passion is a burgundy metallic with some silvery shimmer. Intense is a mid-toned pink matte, very pigmented and applied nicely with a brush. Valentine is a lighter pink matte, almost tipping over into mauve. Dream is a medium purple matte that was a little dusty and hard to work with. It applied much darker with a brush than with a finger, and after the finger swatch it started to develop hard pan. This shade also seems softer than the other mattes in the palette.
Overall, the mattes are dry and a little dusty, but in a way that makes them easy to work with a blend rather than making them go all over in a frenzy of powder. Dream was a bit of a dud and First is so boring it will put you in a coma, but other than that I really like the shades in this palette. I don’t know that they are worth the price tag, even for this scaled down concept from the brand, and I felt much more comfortable getting it at $45 than I would have if I had paid the full $65.
I also appreciate that they use magnetized pans and allow for easy customization. I don’t know why I feel the need to do this; after all, the ColourPop palettes are all magnetized, and unless I’m depotting or rearranging to make a monochromatic moment, I don’t play around with the arrangement of shadows in those palettes, but I think the elevated price tag makes me want to customize it and make it more my own.
Here’s my updated arrangement:
I did write all of the shade names on the bottoms of the pans, so if I have regrets I can always move them back to where they were, but I like this arrangemtn much more. The top row is the 4 purples and that silvery taupe shade. The middle row is all of the reds into the deeper pinks, and the bottom row has the two lighter pinks as well as the gold and peachy shades.
Now on to the Love Glow Cheek Palette.
First of all, can we talk about how cute this packaging is? Some people thought that it was tacky, but I think it’s just enough shimmer and sparkle to really bring out the girly, romantic feelings that Valentines Day is supposed to elicit – at least for those who aren’t bitter divorcees who hate the day and all that it stands for and wait patiently for February 15, National Half Off Chocolate Day. I actually would have loved for the eye palette to have a similar style of packaging to really make them a coordinated set.
I did the swatches for this palette over the ABH primer as well. I usually don’t put down a primer for face products, but my arm was looking a little rough. I usually shave my arm for swatching (because I’m a fucking lady!) and I try to give it a day to not look irritated, but my Jeffree Star order came a day earlier than the tracking indicated, so I was in a rush. Plus, these swatches came at the end of a long night of swatching, so in addition to the shaving irritation I also had been rubbing products all over my arm, scrubbing them off, and repeating the process several times. But hey, beauty before comfort.
Anyway, I think these products show up a little more than they do in actual use on the face, partly because of the concentrated swatches I did to show color and partly because of that start matte primer underneath. Do with the swatches what you will.
L to R: Glow Cream Base, Super Glow, Diamond Powder, Glow Impact Powder
First, let me get a couple of things off my chest. First of all, I’m annoyed that the individual shades don’t get shade names, just the name of what the product is (Glow Cream Base, Diamond Powder, etc.). For a luxury brand like Natasha Denona, I would expect her to give all of the shades names. I mean, even Morphe names all of their 35 identical shades of brown in a palette, so I feel like naming 4 blushes shouldn’t be that much of a challenge. Second, the top two products (the Glow Cream Base and the Super Glow) have a hinged plastic cover over them. In the previous Blush & Glow palette, this cover was meant to protect the cream products when not in use, so they wouldn’t get overrun with fallout from the powder products. Well, in this palette there is a powder product under the cover. So if you’re using the Super Glow powder, which is the most pigmented of the powder products and has the most kick up in the pan, the cream base is exposed. Alright, petty party over. Let’s talk about the shades.
The Glow Cream Base is a lovely coral/rose base with golden shimmer, but it is pretty sheer. I had to really go in and keep my swatch concentrated to get that much payoff. When using it on the cheeks, even with a finger, it’s going to be more diffused. The Super Glow is the most pigmented and it’s a gorgeous peachy pink with gold shimmer, very similar to Orgasm by Nars. The Diamond Powder looks hot pink in the pan, but it applies fairly sheer and glittery and looks more baby pink with golden duochrome shift. The Glow Impact Powder is also a bit of a surprise when applied: it looks like a champagne in the pan, but reads more golden, even leaning towards bronze. It’s pretty, just not the color I would have expected looking at it in the pan.
So, is the Love Collection from Natasha Denona making me feel the love for this brand?
Well, I’m not ready to Say Yes To The Dress yet, but I’m definitely swiping right to start a conversation and find out more. The colors in this are gorgeous and the performance is pretty great overall (with only one kinda fussy shade), and I love the color story. I feel like it fits the aesthetic of the holiday really well, but still gives you enough variety that you can do a pretty good range of looks. The cheek products are a little more sheer overall than I typically like, but they will pair nicely with other things in my collection (I’m super blush obsessed right now, and have no problem laying down like 6 cheek products at a time to get the effect I want!). The price point is higher than I’m willing to go, but I’ve actually been finding more of her products on sale recently and with the sales, Sephora’s somewhat more frequent sales and coupons, and the ability to apply Beauty Insider points and Sephora card rewards to get additional discounts, I might be willing to go a little bit further into exploring this brand.
It’s not love at first site. But there’s definitely an attraction…