Alright, so in the last post in this series, I talked about volume 1 of the Norvina Pro Palettes from Anastasia Beverly Hills, and though of couple of the shades had some struggles, overall I liked them and I thought it was a solid palette. I also did some quick mathing, and they are a remarkably better deal than the shadows in a typical ABH palette. All was looking to be sunshine and roses…and then volume 2.
On paper, this should have been my favorite palette of the three: it has the most cool-toned shades, it has a lot of greens and blues and a couple of fun vivid shades, and it’s just generally the sort of color story that I go for.
The first row of swatches, A1 -A5, was actually really good. After that, I ran into a lot of problems. I felt like I was having the same kind of problems that I had with the volume 1 in terms of setting it down over a tacky primer, but more exaggerated: the ones that struggled were twice as bad. But some swatched over the primer just fine, so I started to rethink whether or not this was an issue of a tacky base, or if maybe it was either the shadows themselves or the primer that I was using. I’ve been using the Crayon Case Glue Stick eye primer for swatches, and it’s been a challenge with some formulas, but I can usually get things to work at least somewhat decently with it. I hate to change my process in the middle of the game if I can help it, so I decided to keep going and swatch the whole palette the same way – over the Crayon Case primer with a brush and a finger, not setting the primer – but I’m going to make the following changes for the next two parts in this series:
- For Part 3, when I swatch out the volume 3 palette, I’m going to switch from the Crayon Case primer to the ABH Eye Primer. I had actually ordered it to use with all of these palettes, but my order was delayed and I wanted to get started and so I went ahead with the Crayon Case primer. Since this is from the same brand, it’s not a giant leap to assume that this primer should work with these shadows. I’m not going to set it this time around, to see if it works with just the primer on its own.
- In Part 4, when I do the comparison swatches, I’m also going to include a section where I swatch some of the “problem” mattes over the ABH primer and set the primer with a powder. I don’t have a “typical” powder that I use to set primer – duh, since I don’t do that! – and I don’t have any ABH powder, but I’m going to use what I consider to be the best setting powder in my collection: the Too Faced Peach Perfect setting powder.
I do have to say that this feels like a lot of work and adjustment I’m making to try and make these palettes work. A lot of palettes I would just say that they don’t work for me and keep it pushing. But for some reason I’m willing to put in the effort. Maybe it’s the money; again, the price per gram is amazing on these palettes, but the up front cost for getting all three at once was significant. Maybe it’s because I’ve ragged on ABH for years about the fact that their palettes are bland and boring, and not that they are doing something with an amazing selection of colors I want it to succeed. I don’t know what it is, actually, but I’m willing to do it. I believe in these palettes, and I want to give them a chance!
For the swatches, they are once again over the Crayon Case Glue Stick primer with a finger swatch on the left and a brush swatch on the right. The top photo is my studio lighting without a flash. The bottom photo is my studio lighting with a flash. This palette follows the same pattern as the other two with lettered rows and numbered columns, not typical shade names.
The first row actually had so much promise, and these are some of my favorite shades in the collection. A1 is a bright raspberry pink shimmer, almost neon and with a lot of reflectivity. It’s almost a little thick or chunky, but it melts into the skin pretty easily. A2 was the only real disappointment in this row, an acid green/yellow matte that just gripped the primer and refused to let go! It was impossible to build up the out edges of the swatch, even after several attempts, so I got that dark border around the swatch. Dry base, preferrably white, is your best bet. A3 is a lovely light spring green with a strong yellow gold shift. This was a little week with the finger swatch, but I only did one pass. The brush swatch was a couple of passes, so the shade definitely builds up nicely. A4 is a stunning light purple shade with golden duochrome shift. A5 was perfection. It went on smooth and with total consistency, so good. This color is like my soul, in an eyeshadow: a coolgreen almost tipping over into teal, with a lovely yellow gold shift. I haven’t swatched everything, but I anticipate that this will be my favorite shade across all three palettes. So pretty.
The mattes in the B row is where we really started to have problems. B1 is a really pretty apple green, but it really reacted against the primer and darkened in weird ways. It was patchy and inconsistent and just looks terrible in the swatch. B2 is a bright cornflower blue that swatches out sort of chalky, though you could work it a bit more than the first shade in this row. B3, a medium grass green also appeared streaky and grabbed the primer in strange ways. B4 gave me solid pigmentation through the middle but it faded towards the edges. That can mean a shadow that is going to blend out nicely – if the face is gradual and more of a gradient. This one looks a little more patchy and inconsistent, so I’m worried about that. B5 is a lovely bright blue but it really darkened when it hit the primer. B4 also looked a lot darker when applied than they did in the pan. I’m hoping it’s just a reaction with this particular primer, so those will definitely get another look in part 4!
C1 is one of those “candlelight” shades that I love: it has a white or transparent base and a strong light yellow shift to it. This is a really good one, but it’s pretty similar to the one in the Jackie Aina palette. C2 is a medium cyan, fairly even in how it applied but I thought it looked a little darker than I would have expected from the pan. C3 is a deep cornflower blue, and this one definitely darkened around the edges. You can build the color up but even the center looked a little patchy. C4 was a travesty: it gripped the primer and skipped and chunked up. It was messy, and just would not build up nicely. It’s a lovely light navy blue, but it just didn’t work over this primer at all! C5 is a red-toned brown matte, almost a brick shade with some warm brown notes. This one was meh, and tended to get messy as I was trying to blend out the finger swatches. It’s also that grittier, even drier formula that signaled big problems in the last palette, but this one was better than most of those gritty shades.
D1 is another of those gorgeous duochrome shimmers, a light denim blue with golden yellow shift. This one was pretty, though it got a little chunky with the dry brush. D2 is a bright, construction zone orange matte. The brush swatch was ok, though it did fight the primer a little, but the finger swatch was a big streaky and it chunked up a bit. D3 got a little wonky in the tacky primer (seriously, how many times am I going to have to type that?!) but it’s a nice bright raspberry matte, a neon match to A1 for a monochromatic look. D4 is a bright yellow matte. I hope it was the primer that messed up this shade, because that performance was tragic. It’s a much brighter, more buttery yellow shade than the lighter yellow in Volume 1, but if it can’t perform better than that, it’s a wash – expect that shade to get another look in part 4 for sure! D5 is a dark navy matte, and it wasn’t too bad – a lot better than most of the other mattes in this palette. This is the kind of shade that makes me question how much it is the primer and how much it might be the shades. This one is a matte and it’s swatched over the tacky primer, and it looks pretty good. This was actually the first shade in this group to get swatched (for spacing reasons I swatch from right to left, to make sure I don’t guess wrong on where to start and run out of space!) so the primer was the tackiest, and it was the best of the mattes in this grouping. More testing is definitely needed!
E1 struggled a little, but compared to some in this palette, it actually came out pretty good. It’s a lovely cool-toned green, medium in tone and bright. E2 is a taupe champagne shimmer, and I loved it. It was a tiny bit chunky in the brush swatch, but nothing that can’t be finessed and worked with so I don’t mind it. E3 is a lovely deep emerald green in the pan, but as you can see this one really reacted poorly with the primer and looks like a patchy mess! Greens are my favorite – why do the green shades in this palette have to be the most troublesome?! E4 is a chocolate brown matte, a little messy and powdery. E5 is a matte black. The joke will probably be on me and they are probably the exact same thing, but I thought this black wasn’t as good as the one in the Volume 1. This one just didn’t have the same deep carbon black sort of finish. It’s not a bad black by any means, but it’s just not the same performance. Like I said, they are probably the exact same thing and I’m a judgy bitch, but who knows.
I fully expected to love this palette, and I just don’t. I really can’t wait to play with it some more because I want to love it, and I really want those greens to be stunning, but I found the performance when I was swatching to just be lackluster.
What do you think? Were you surprised by how the swatches turned out this time? Are you living for this color story or is one of the other palettes your jam? Are you putting out the coin to pick one or all of these up? What do you hope to see in the next two parts of this review series?! Let me know all of your juicy thoughts in the comments below!
Don’t forget that Monday will feature part 3 of this series, reviewing the Volume 3 palette, and then Wednesday’s post will be comparison swatches and testing some of the mattes on a set/dry primer. I’m hoping that I can turn things around because I’m starting to have some real buyer’s remorse…