Sometimes I go a little crazy, and I make an ill-advised makeup purchase. That’s ok, right? I mean, Norman Bates said it best: “We all go a little mad sometimes.”
But then there are times when I go all the way around the bend and do something ridiculous like buy all 3 of the new Anastasia Beverly Hills Norvina Pro palettes. That’s right, Columes 1, 2, and 3 are all in my hot little hands, and my wallet is sad and empty and alone. Woof. That was a chunk of change – these palettes had better be worth it!
Maybe it’s because I want to get my money’s worth, or maybe I’m just inspired by the new Shane Dawson/Jeffree Star series’ need to break things into way more parts than anyone ever needs, I’ve decided to do my reviews and thoughts in the palettes in four separate posts: the first three are this one and then straight reviews of volumes 2 and 3. The final post will be comparison swatches of some of the sahdes that may be similar from palette to palette to see if there are repeat shades, if they are just kinda similar, or if they manage to feel like completely different colors when applied. I usually post makeup content on Monday and Friday, but for this series you may have noticed that this post came out on a Wednesday, and the final post will come out a week from now. I want to stretch it out for the drama, but I also want you to get these reviews in a timely manner so you can decide which, if any, of these palettes you want to add to your collection.
So here’s the palette:
This is definitely a change from the smaller, 14-pan palettes that ABH usually does. The typical ABH palette has tiny pans: .7 grams of product. I mean, I guess when you have as much makeup as I do you’re never really going to completely use all of it up, but I feel like 1.5-2 grams is reasonable if you’re paying Sephora prices, and anything less than a gram is going to get some major side-eye. These Pro palettes have 25 pans that are 1.8 grams each.
The regular ABH palettes with.7 grams per pan have 14 pans for a total weight of 9.8 grams for $45.00. That works out to $4.59 per gram, pretty high even for a mid-range brand.
The Pro palettes with 1.8 grams have 25 pans, a total of 45 grams, and retail for $60. That works out to only $1.33 per gram.
Basically, what I’m saying is that the cost up front may be a little shocking (Anything above $50 is where I start to get a little shaky), but there is a pretty good value represented here – IF the shadows perform as well or better than the typical ABH shadows.
Spoiler alert: I think they are better! At least from what I’ve seen so far from volume 1.
Let’s get into the swatches and talk more about this palette and what the shadows are like. In the photos, I’ve got the shadows swatched over Crayon Case Glue Stick eye Primer with a finger swatch on the left and a brush swatch on the right. The top photo is in my studio lighting without a flash; the bottom photo is the same lighting with a flash. I’m not going to include shade names under the pics since they made what was probably a wise decision and just named the shades using a grid: the rows top to bottom are A-E, and the columns across left to right are 1-5. I guess it’s hard to get really creative when you launch 75 new shades in the space of 15 minutes or whatever.
A1 is a baby pink shimmer, super smooth and with a nice solid base pigment. This one was maybe a tiny bit less smooth and melty than the other shimmers, but it’s still pretty fantastic. A2 is a matte blue-based purple. With all of the matte shades, and the matte purples especially, then tend to grip a sticky primer and darken, and then you can build the true-to-pan color over them. I would suggest setting the primer for the mattes. They are a fantastic formula, but the formula is dry. Not dry and gritty (with one or two exceptions, that I’ll call out as we go) but dry. It had a silky smooth but definitely dry texture to it. It needed that second swipe on each swatch to get past the bit that stuck to the primer, but it was super easy to work with. A3 struggled even a little more with the primer, but again you could fix that with just setting the primer. A4 is a brownish bronze metallic; this was the first metallic shimmer that I swatched and I have to say that I got a little weepy. It’s not a color I’m particularly drawn to, but it was so soft and it went on so perfectly that I knew I was in store for a real treat with these shadows! Finally, A5 is a bright raspberry pink matte, deep but still very electric. A white base would make this pop even more and bring out the almost neon quality of the shadow.
B1 is one of the mattes that was drier and grittier than all of the others. I’m not sure why, it’s very similar to A 3 in the previous row, just a few shades lighter, but it wasn’t as silky and had a definite grit to it. B2 is a warm medium brown metallic, chocolatey and just lovely to apply. Seriously, these are not the chunky metallic that ABH usually has in their palettes! These are amazing! B3 is a bubblegum pink shimmer with a lot of shine and a blue-toned base. B4 is a blue-toned putple that I had a hard time brightening up over the primer, even with more than layer. I would definitely recommend a dry base with this one, maybe even a white base to bring out more of that amazing blue-toned purple. B5 is a deep plum, similar in depth to B4 but with a more balanced, maybe even slightly red base.
B1 was a real disappointment, but not at all unworkable. I think it was just such a different experience than the other mattes that it felt that much worse, but you’ll be able to make this work.
C 1 is a perfect, wonderful matte white. I would say that this is equal to SugarPill’s Tako, and has someone that has bought and panned no less than 4 Tako singles in my career, that’s an exciting thing to get in a palette! I love this shade. You can see that it is a little powdery, and it had the most fallout of any of the shades except one (which we’ll get to in the next row), but it was really opaque and smooth. Application was a dream. I’m in love, let’s move on. C2 is a gorgeous gold shimmer shade, nothing revolutionary, but the formula is so smooth and fun to play with, it’s just the gold that you’re looking for. C3 is a really bright and fun copper red shimmer, metallic and gorgeous. C4 is a deep plum violet matte. It was a little bit drier than the other mattes as well – not as bad as B1 and certainly not as gritty, but it was definitely not the silken dream that the other mattes were. It worked well enough, but this is one of those that needs a little more finesse. And C5 is a medium to deep matte brown, same great formula but the color bores me. You have this shade, but if you need another one this formula is stellar.
This row was a little underwhelming. D1 is a boring yellow, and considering the mustard in the bottom row it doesn’t make a ton of sense – of course, now that we can see all three pro palettes, that may be why this one got dumped here, but hard to say. This one was weird. It felt silky like the other mattes, but it applied a little chalky and it started to develop something that was kind of like hard pan, but not as extreme – I could get rid of it by just swirling a firm brush in the pan instead of scraping it. It’s an ok yellow, but I like my yellows lighter and brighter, of more committed to being mustard yellow, so this is just meh for me. D2 is a gorgeous blue and purple shimmer with lots of glittery reflect, but this is the one shimmer in this palette that is a little thicker and chunkier than the other shimmers. It doesn’t have the same sort of melty application that the other shimmers have; a small chunk of it fell onto my arm as I was swatching and fused into a little clump in the swatch that I had to dislodge with the back end of the brush to smooth out. It’s pretty as hell, but it’s just kind of fussy. D3 is a beautiful bright, true red – so gorgeous! This one darkened a little around the edges, but the finger swatch shows how lovely it can be with a little work. I love a good red shadow, and this is definitely the business! D4…sigh. Why the fuck do brands continue to labor under the assumption that we want matte shades that have glitter in them? No one asked for this. The glitter doesn’t stay put and ends up everywhere. If you want to make a glittery shade, this true blue base color would have been truly dreamy as a blue shimmer, and then put the glitter in that! It would have been amazing! But no. This one is pretty and all, but it’s going to be a mess of glitter. Just…stahp. Finally, D5 is matte black perfection. This could almost be too pigmented for newcomers or people like me who don’t know how to do anything with a light hand, but I don’t care. It’s deeply pigmented and absolutely spectacular! But it’s still just a matte black, so I think that contributes to the overall feeling that this row just doesn’t have the wow factor of other rows.
People have been complaining about the bottom two rows in this palette – I think they thought it should be a totally purple and pink palette, but how boring would that be?! I mean, the purples and pinks in this palette make up for the absolutely abysmal color story of the original Norvina palette, but if you’re going to do 25 pans in a palette, you don’t want to make a monochromatic palette! You want as much bang for your buck as you can get, and the bottom two rows give you some additional options that really make this palette more diverse. The previous row gave you some primary shades and a matte black, and now this row is like the epitome of a fall palette to me. These colors are the essence of autumn leaves!
E1 is a gorgeous pinky coral base with a strong peach/gold shift. So pretty! And the formula is really smooth, the best of the best in this palette. E2 was a revelation. That finger swatch is literally one swipe – it practically painted itself on! It darkened around the edges a little with the primer, but to get that sort of consistency with one swipe (seriously – I don’t do any fussing or altering with that swatch at all!) is truly amazing. E3 is a mustard yellow matte that needs a dry base, but once you get the color built up it’s a pretty solid shade. It’s not too dark or boring, it has the depth without becoming too brown or washed out. E4 is a tomato red, almost orange, and wonderfully matte. Again, dry base, yadda yadda, but really stunning. And E5 is a red-based brown – the more you blend out this shade, the more you’ll be able to see the red underneath.
With the usual ABH palettes, I see a ton of kick up in the pan and that leads to fallout. I wanted to take some photos after doing all of my finger and brush swatches to show you how little kickup there was in this palette. The formula of the mattes overall is dry but so silky smooth, and it doesn’t explode in a poof of powder! The shimmers have a little bit of kick up, but again not that much and definitely something I can deal with.
So far, I’ve loving this palette, and I’m not regretting my purchase. Whether or not this will continue with the other two palettes is yet to be seen – I’ve found ABH palettes to be somewhat inconsistent from palette to palette and sometimes even shade to shade within a palette, so the honeymoon could be over swiftly. But if the other two perform like this, I might have a new set of ride-or-die palettes for making pigmented, impactful, amazing drag makeup looks!
Let me know what you think below – are you excited for these palettes? Do you think they are too much too fast? Are you loving the pace of new products? ABH isn’t known for flooding the market so quickly, but lately they’ve been cranking it out – what do you think is up with that? Let me know all of your thoughts about this palette and what you’re most excited about for the next two palettes in the comments below.
Frankly, I’m not sure what ABH is up to with these releases. People were noticeably miffed when the first volume dropped only two weeks after the Jackie Aina collab palettes, and they were basically speechless when that one release turned into 3 (and the hits just keep coming, with the recently announced Carli Bybel collab palette!). In a tweet, Norvina claimed that stores are demanding more frequent releases to give consumers more choice. Apparently there was another tweet that I didn’t see where she claimed that the pace picked up because products were leaked before she wanted them to me. All of that sounds like buzz to me, and I have my own “conspiracy theories” – don’t be surprised if we hear about ABH being acquired by a huge parent company within the next year or two. That’s right, I said it and I meant it!
Whatever the reason is, and even though I hated that chunk of change that I dropped, if all of their releases are as good as this palette, and give us this quality at a remarkably better quality, then I say keep them coming!
Part 2, reviewing Norvina Pro volume 2, will be out this Face Friday! Look for part 3 on Makeup Monday, and then the final post next Wedensday, covering swatches and comparisons of similar shades. All posts publish at 11 am central!