Monday, August 14, 2017

Product Review -- Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture Eye Shadow Palette

I've been debating whether or not I should write this review because God knows this is one makeup product that's been dissected in every way imaginable, so what could another review possibly add to all the noise?

But I felt like maybe I could offer a another point of view that might have some value in it, so I figured why not?

(If you're tired of all the Subculture drama, I totally get it and you can feel free to  move onto my reviews of other products.)

So right off the bat, let me say that I probably know more about makeup than the average person who walks into Sephora to pick up the Urban Decay Naked Palette or wanders into CVS to choose a new Revlon lipstick. If you read this blog, you know that I am obsessed with makeup, play with it pretty much daily, and know precisely when every new product is coming out.

With all that said, I am not a professional by any stretch of the imagination. My makeup skills are probably pretty good for an average person, but that's only because I've been putting the stuff on for years and I practice, practice, practice. I don't really have an innate talent  -- or imagination, really -- for it. My usual looks aren't the most creative in the world.

I also have extremely fair skin, pale eyes, and red hair, so I don't like the way that I look in a lot of brighter or darker colors. That's simply a matter of personal preference, but I'm just not comfortable working with those types of shades and my blending game with them is probably pretty poor, if I'm being honest.

So that's the background and experience I approach the Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture Palette with.

I was very excited when I first saw photos of it because it seemed like a really unique palette. It wasn't the same old neural shades; it wasn't another in the never-ending parade of warm palettes (not that I'm complaining exactly; I love warm shadow palettes).

It's a bunch of unusual almost jewel tone shades that are perfect for fall -- I definitely don't have anything else like it in my collection.

The palette comes in a long rectangular compact that's covered with a faux-velvet material in a teal-like color. It's the same design, down to the material, as the Modern Renaissance Eye Shadow Palette -- and it's nice and compact, but I'm not a fan of the faux velvet material because it gets dirty very easily.  My Subculture Palette already has plenty of smudges across the front.

ABH Subculture Palette

Inside, there is a small mirror but the lid doesn't stay open for itself so it's not the most practical for doing makeup.

ABH Subculture Palette
The palette also comes with a double-ended brush -- one flat shader end and one fluffier blending side.

There are 14 shadows in the palette -- and the shade names are printed beneath each pan, which I always appreciate.

The shades included are: Cube, a pink pearl duo-chrome; Dawn, a matte sand; Destiny, a matte sage green; Adorn, a metallic bronze; All Star, a matte wine; Mercury, a matte slate; Axis, a matte blue green; Roxy, a matte muted coral; Electric, a lime gold duo-chrome; Fudge, a matte chocolate brown; New Wave, a matte yellow orange; Untamed, a matte tarnished green; Edge, a matte gold mustard; and Rowdy, a matte blackened plum.

ABH Subculture Palette
The big controversy with this palette has obviously been the shadow formula, and I can honestly say that besides the fact that they're a bit more pigmented, I don't notice much difference between the matte shadows in the Subculture Palette and the mattes in the Modern Renaissance Palette.

Yes, the mattes kick up quite a bit of product when you dip your brush in, which can lead to fallout on your cheeks -- but so do the matte shadows in my Modern Renaissance Palette.

From l. to .r: Cube, Dawn, Destiny, Adorn, All Star, Mercury

From. l. to r.: Axis, Roxy, Electric, Fudge, New Wave, Untamed, Edge, Rowdy

I know that some people have had shades in the Subculture Palette crumble on them, but unless I was digging my brush into the pan and stabbing at the shadows, I don't see how that would happen with mine.

All that said, these shadows are so intensely pigmented that working with them isn't exactly easy. The first time I used it, I didn't pay much attention to how much product my brush was picking up so when I applied the shadow to my eye, I had a pretty big mess on my hands.

But I learned my lesson, so now I just barely touch the brush in the pans and tap it off  -- again, keep in my mind that my skin is extremely fair so I have to be extra careful; if you have darker skin, I think you can probably be a little more liberal with the amount you pick up -- and I haven't had any issues with application or blending.

The shades in the palette that I've had the most trouble with are actually Cube and Electric, the duo-chromes. They have an almost cream-like texture so brushes don't seem to pick them up that well. I've had the most success if I use a flat, stiff synthetic brush -- or if I use them a little damp.

They are extremely pretty shades, though, and are particularly nice for layering over other shades in the palette to brighten them up.

The color range in the palette also makes it a little more difficult to work with if you're not a particularly creative makeup user -- which I fully admit I'm not. I have a hard time figuring out which combinations of colors will work best together, and even if I find several that do, they're all so rich or dark that the look is pretty dramatic with my pale skin, which is not necessarily something I want for everyday.

As a result, this doesn't feel much like a standalone palette to me. I need to bring in other lighter shades to get complete looks that I think complement my skin tone and coloring.

However, as a supplemental palette, I think it's really pretty because all of the shades are so rich and unique and I can definitely work them into other looks with lighter or more muted shades for that pop of intensity I want.

Working with the palette in the week plus that I've had it, though, has forced me to be a little bit more creative with my eye looks. I was trying to work solely from the palette so I made myself try color combinations or placements that I don't usually go for -- and that was really a lot of fun.

It's made me look at other palettes in my collection in new ways and pushed me to try some different looks, so maybe it's pulled me out of a makeup rut that I didn't even know I was in.

Still, at the end of the day, I definitely don't think this palette is for everyone.

First of all, the shades just aren't going to appeal to every makeup wearer. That's what happens with a more unique palette, I think.

It also requires a little more thought and patience to work with, and some of us want palettes that we can quickly throw on without thinking too much about.

If you're like me and are willing to work a little with it but only plan to use Subculture as a supplementary palette, the $42 price tag may seem a little steep.

But if you like the look of the palette and have decided to skip it because of all the online hysteria, I would really suggest that you go look at it in person.

Swatch the shades yourself, see how they blend, consider how you might have to work with them a little more, and then decide if it's something you want to add to your collection.

If it's not your thing, though, don't worry -- we're about to be inundated with tons of other shadow palettes in the next three or four months, so there's bound to be something that will work for you just around the corner.

You can find the Subculture Palette on the ABH website, at Sephora, and Ulta.

Have you tried the Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture Eye Shadow Palette? What are your thoughts?

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