When Urban Decay launched their Naked Heat palette there was some minor controversy caused by some dodgy swatches which appeared online. But as soon as beauty gurus and influencers started reviewing the palette the noise died down. Then along came the latest eyeshadow palette from Anastasia Beverly Hills and UD could finally kick back and relax with a cup of tea (and there’s been plenty of tea spilled). Anyone who tried the Modern Renaissance palette from ABH (read my review here) will know it always had a bit of a powderyness to it but damn are those shadows pigmented. Well it turns out that the Subculture palette is waaaay more powdery and is still pigmented but allegedly very difficult to blend. And the beauty world is shook. For every 1 positive review I’ve read / heard, there’s been 25 more negative reviews. Now normally this would put me off from buying but when I saw the collection of shades in the palette I fell in love, and they’re nothing like anything I already own (at least I don’t think, should really double check my collection). So I added to basket, I couldn’t stop myself. I bought my palette from Beauty Bay for £41 and it’s still available here.
OK, first things first… I fully expected the palette to be smashed up to filth when it arrived but actually it was perfectly intact – good work Beauty Bay!
The palette is in the same fuzzy wuzzy packaging as the Modern Renaissance palette which feels lovely but gets dirty real quick. If you’ve ever owned any clothing that’s remotely fuzzy, you’ll know that everything except money sticks to it and this palette is the same.
As I’ve said, it was the shade range which drew me in, despite knowing I probably won’t be wild about the formula. Immediately I see autumnal smokiness but I also see some pretty spring looks with the left hand quad of shadows. I’m not the most adventurous when it comes to eye makeup looks but I think I could create so many looks with this palette. Plus I think these are exactly the tones I need to be leaning towards for my eye colour (I mean they’re brown, just brown, nothing fancy, but still).
But how does it perform? That’s the real question here isn’t it? Is it complete garbage or has everything been blown way out of proportion for some internet drama?
So I found the swatching process to be dead easy. Each one (except Cube…yes, there is a swatch there, you just can’t see it on my pasty skin!) was just one light press of the finger and swatch. From other reviews I had expected the palette to be a complete mess after daring to touch the pans but mine looked just fine. The only one that felt quite powdery was Axis which is a very dark forest green and it felt very soft and I did have to blow away a bit of fallout.
I haven’t delved into the palette properly yet, but I did have a bit of a play around with it last night and did a very quick eye look that I would usually do. I used the shades Roxy, Fudge and Adorn. Having seen so many reviews where people have swirled their brush around or dunked their brush in a few times creating a massive dust cloud, I knew I had to be really careful.
I very gently tapped the fluffy end of the brush which came with the palette into Roxy and there was some immediate indents in the pan showing just how softly pressed they are. That one tap was enough to apply enough colour on the crease of one eye and it blended out pretty easily.
I then tapped into Fudge to add some dimension to the outer corner. I’d seen people struggle to blend Fudge so I was a bit weary of adding too much. I think the trick is to add very little amounts and blend until your wrists are sore, then build up until you’ve got the intensity you want. Never forget just how pigmented these shadows are despite their powdery texture. Even though I was only having a quick play, I didn’t think the result looked too bad.
Then I took the flat end of the brush and patted Adorn all other the lid. I’ll be honest, I’m used to the metallic / foiled shadows these days being really smooth but this definitely took some building to make it show up at all. In the end I spritzed the brush with some setting spray and it did apply better but it still wasn’t as amazing as it looks in the pan.
I definitely need to use it a couple more times to make my mind up, but so far I don’t hate the palette… I just don’t love it either. Am I suffering buyer’s remorse? Maybe a teensy bit. I just don’t think something which costs so much money should be such hard work. I don’t want a palette where I feel like I’m walking on egg shells and scared of messing up. Makeup is supposed to be fun, not stressful!
That being said, I really feel like some reviewers are just milking it and going completely over the top for some exposure. Of course if you jam your brush in the pan and start swirling frantically, you’ll make a right bloody mess, but what do you expect?! People seem to love to watch brands make mistakes and that’s just sad.
From what I’ve seen Norvina from ABH has admitted that the palette isn’t right and has offered refunds to anyone who is unhappy with the quality. Apparently it’s down to a new formula and an automatic pressing machine so you’d expect some teething problems with new processes. I’d just expect those issues to be ironed out pre-launch. I seem to remember that this palette was leaked early on, so maybe there was some rush to release earlier than planned which could explain some things.
Anyway, I’ll keep playing around and update you in a later post – could it be a favourite or a disappointed? Watch this space! Have you tried the palette at all? Or are you avoiding it at all costs? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below…
Thank you so much for reading