Ok, so recently I brought you a review of the new Venus Immortalis palette from Lime Crime; not only was it a gorgeously on trend color story and worthy of the Venus collection that was, at a certain time, a trend-setting series of palettes, but it was meant to be the final palette under the Venus name for the brand. It had a few little hiccups, but was generally pretty good and I loved the color story. I felt like it was a fitting tribute to the collection, especially with the unexpected 180 degree shift from the Venus Vivid palette that had come out only a few weeks before. Goodnight, Venus collection. I’ll remember (most of) our time fondly.
Then Lime Crime announced their holiday collection…and Venus was back? Sort of?
The holiday collections from Lime Crime typically include mini versions of their best selling products, and last year they launched three limited edition Venus XS palettes: the same bulky packaging style with four shades. This year, they decided to do that again: Venus XS Holly Daze (green), Venus XS Frosted (blue), and Venus XS Vixen (pink). Obviously this lead to some confusion (and more than a little snark – it is the internet after all!) so Lime Crime took to their IG stories to explain: Immortalis is the last of the full size Venus palettes, and after the Venus XS palettes, which are limited edition and only available with the holiday collection, the Venus collection really will be at an end.
We’ll see how that goes. Anything that does well enough in Hollywood is bound to get a sequel – whether it should or not!
I’m going to review the three holiday palettes below, and I’m also including the Venus XS Sunkissed palette. This was a limited edition mini palette that came out with their summer collection. I had been hemming and hawing about it for a while, but since I was already ordering the three holiday palettes – and because this would literally be the only Venus item I didn’t own – I decided to shell out the $20 for it and add it to this review. It’s limited edition, but as of this writing it is still available on both Ulta and the Lime Crime websites. I love a bold yellow shadow, so I should have known it would end up in my collection…that, and the fact that Lime Crime Venus palettes are one of the few times that I really fall victim to a completionist mentality. (If you want to check it out, I did a ranking of all of the Venus palettes that had been released so far back in March! Maybe I’ll have to do an updated list with all of the growth in that collection over this last year!)
Alright, let’s take a look at some swatches. These were done over the Crayon Case Glue Stick Eye Primer with a finger swatch on the left and a brush swatch on the right. The top photo is with my studio lighting and no flash and the bottom photo is the same lighting with a flash. First up, because we know I love green, is Holly Daze’
L to R: Wreath, Jolly, Prancer, Mistletoe
Wreath is a really great shade, probably my favorite in this quad. It’s pastel, but it’s pigmented AF and I got a great swatch with it. It went on a little chalky with the finger, but with a brish it blends out like a dream. As you can see in the bottom photo, there is a little bit of glitter that is just suspended in the formula (which I HATE!) and it goes all over, but it’s not as obtrusive as other examples of this type of shade. Jolly should have been a wonder, a sheer or barely white base with a green duochrome shift, but there was something odd with this formula. It reminded me a lot of the shimmers in the Venus 3 which had a real problem with getting hard pan immediately. I was even getting hard pan with the brush, which is somewhat unusual. Then when I did the finger…well, game over. It’s a pretty shade and I was able to build it up, but the formula is definitely tricky. Prancer is your basic medium tan brown matte, nothing special to comment on but it performs nicely enough. And Mistletoe is a deep forest green shimmer with a reddish or brown base note. This also had problems with getting hard pan right away. The shades are lovely, and as you can see I was able to get pretty nice swatches, but it was definitely work to get there!
L to R: Icicle, Chilly, Comet, Solstice
Frosted is definitely a beautiful quad; the deep navy matte (Solstice) is the closest thing to a neutral in this palette, and I’m all the way here for it. Icicle is a pale blue matte, a little chalky, but can be blended out well. Pastels sometimes suffer because they aren’t pigmented enough, and I think the slight chalkiness for this and the pale green in the last palette is caused because they wanted to make sure that it didn’t sheer out into nothing. It’s a tradeoff, and I prefer having to work around a little slight chalkiness than the washed out alternative. Chilly is a really incredible turquoise shimmer, almost appearing to lean green at times. It’s reflective and bright and I really love the color. It started to get hard pan too, like the shimmers in the green, but not as bad as the next shade. Comet is a stunning taupe with turquoise duochrome that is as lovely and unique as it is frustrating. It gets hard pan if you look at it too long and it took ages to build up the finger swatch to get anywhere near the brush swatch. It’s a tricky formula, but I really do love that color. And Solstice is a navy matte, pigmented and a little dry, but good coverage.
L to R: Festive, Peppermint Cake, Dazzling, Poinsettia
Festive is an interesting mauve/pink sort of neutral shade, matte and tended to darken around the edges with the finger swatch. It was a nice solid shade with a brush, and I love that it’s a neutral with a pink tone, but just kind of boring. Peppermint Cake didn’t get the hard pan issue of the other shimmers…but it’s just a little sheer. It’s got some subtle shimmer, but nothing to write home about. You’ve got this shade with better base pigmentation and more shimmer somewhere else, I’m sure. Dazzling also had the hard pan issue, probably the worst of any of the shimmer shades except for Comet. And the issue affected the swatches – look at how much lighter and more sheer the finger swatch looks for that shade! It’s a medium pink with silvery shimmer, but the finger swatch is so sheer it almost looks baby pink. Poinsettia is a deep maroon shimmer that is subtle, not overly metallic. You could use this in place of a matte to darken a look and not have any problems at all, even if you’re scared of dark shimmers!
Personally, I feel like these palettes were lost in a holi-daze. They are clearly meant to cash in on the cult status of the Venus collection one last time, but they just had some real struggles. The hard pan on the shimmers was a real problem – if you have to scrape the top of your shade every single time you use it, you’re going to lose a lot of product. Granted, a lot of us makeup addicts have more palettes than we’ll ever pan in our lifetimes, but when we do see that little sliver of pan, we want to know that it’s because a shade is well used and well loved, not because we had to waste a ton of it.
Here are the swatches of the Sunkissed palette, same process described above:
L to R: Spritzer, Rays, Sunset, Bronzed
Spritzer is a pale champagne gold with just a touch of pink, and it’s really lovely. It’s similar to a lot of champagne shades, but I think that little twist of “almost pink” makes it actually sort of a standout shade in the palette. Rays is a lovely yellow that was a little chalky but builds up nice. There was a face palette released with the summer collection that has the same shade but in a shimmer, and I’m tempted to get it so that I can use them together in a monochromatic look. Sunset is a bright orange red matte, but with very finely milled reddish glitter throughout. Luckily the glitter is fine enough that you don’t get a ton of noticeable fallout, at least right away, but I just wish brands would stop doing that! Bronzed is, not surprisingly, a medium brown with bronze shimmer. I’m excited to play with these colors more and see what I can come up with, but I do feel like this looks more like the kind of shades I would want to see in a face palette over an eye palette…except maybe the yellow, although recently yellow has been popping up in more blush palettes here and there and I’m kinda digging it!
What are your thoughts? Are these a fitting end (or second end?!) to the Venus collection? Do you think Lime Crime should have left it with the Immortalis and not done these, or are you glad to have your favorite goddess back, even if it’s for these three little limited edition palettes? Are you a fan of the mini palettes, or do you prefer the regular size – or even the 18-pan XL? Let me know all of your Lime Crime thoughts below in the comments!
Also let me know if you’d like a new “definitive” ranking of all of the Venus palettes since the collection has almost doubled (to 14) from when I did the last list!
As for me, I love the Venus collection, and even though there are some great shades here, I wish that they had let the Immortalis be the end of the line for the collection. The Venus 1 and Venus 2 palettes were absolutely trend-setting in their time, but the collection has had some definitely misses in the last couple of years. Venus 3 was a difficult, hard pan nightmare, Venus XL felt like the brand trying to say “Hey, don’t forget that we did the Modern Renaissance thing before ABH did!”, and the Venus XL 2 palette (while I found it lovely) was roundly criticized for not being as vivid and neon as the colors on the lid and almost having some formulation problems. The Vivids palette looked great, but the performance was really hit or miss – and two almost identical yellows (both shimmers) for no apparent reason. Immortalis wasn’t perfect but the color story was definitely one that put Lime Crime back on top of leading trends rather than just following them. I would have liked to see that palette, rather than these mediocre holiday cash grabs, stand as the final entry in the Venus saga.