When it comes to up and coming beauty companies, Anastasia Beverly Hills is absolutely killing it.
ABH is literally the biggest, most followed beauty brand on Instagram, boasting over 11 Million followers. ABH President (and daughter of the founder), Claudia Soare (aka Norvina), boasts over 1 Million followers herself. Up and coming makeup artists call themselves the #RHOABH – The “Real Housewives of Anastasia Beverly Hills.”
The obsession is real.
With that big of a – seriously dedicated – following, ABH has a direct communication line with their customers, and they have absolutely been killing it this year. Literally every time you blink they are launching something new… and BIG.. and culturally relevant. From their Brow Pommade to Brow Wiz, Marshmallow highlights and Moonchild to Contour Kits, Foundation sticks for over 40 shades of real skin tones (relevant, necessary but the formulation fell short), and now their latest hits: eyeshadow palettes.
A few weeks ago, the Master Palette by Mario launched at 3-something-odd-AM in the morning (Claudia said on Twitter they wouldn’t give an exact “launch time” because their site couldn’t handle the traffic, so they’d rather do a random one and let people hit refresh all day? Not sure), and was sold out within hours. They brought it back for the holiday season at Sephora, and you can still snag the universally flattering palette for $45 + 20% off (for VIB rouge) through the end of today.
Mario–by the way–refers to celebrity makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic, Kim Kardashian’s long-time makeup artist.
ABH is as influential and in tune as it gets.
But today, I’m going to review an even MORE popular palette than Mario’s Master Palette or any of the other launches combined: The Modern Renaissance Palette.
Why is the Modern Renaissance Palette So Important?
Important is a relative word here.
But let me just try to explain by putting this tweet here:
This is Samantha Ravndahl, one of the most highly respected and followed self-made makeup artists on the internet. Period. Her following is ravenous.
And she’s fed up.
Last week, she called out Too Faced for making 4 palettes this year that look exactly the same and consist of exactly the same shades of eyeshadow. 2,400 people liked it and 500+ retweeted it (those are insane stats, by the way). I am one of those likes.
I agree with Sam’s sentiments: Beauty brands can do better.
A lot of awesome brands are being very laissez-faire with their recent launches. A highlighter here, copycat there, put a new influencer’s name on it and sell units because it works. They’re not forced to innovate, because people are still buying their products. There’s been no resistance (until now).
No resistance should not be interpreted as greatness.
What Anastasia Beverly Hills is producing on the regular is what I would consider greatness. It’s innovation. True, collaborative innovation.
The Modern Renaissance Palette is an artistic, wearable spin taken on a traditional staple. It was the only one this year.
Modern Renaissance Palette: A First Look
If you’re new to makeup, you might pass up the Modern Renaissance Palette at first, eschewing it for something more traditional: more nude, muted, browns and some light shades with a black or grey, too.
That is what we call a Naked Palette, and you can pick one up any day any time at Sephora.
It’s a staple. No shame in that.
The Modern Renaissance Palette was inspired by the colors of the Renaissance. It is for someone looking for that next step in eyeshadow; they can apply a nude smokey eye with little effort, but they’re getting bored with it. The shades included aren’t for the faint of heart.
Here’s a quick rundown on the colors and their functions/my thoughts. Top row left to right, then bottom row left to right in order:
- Tempera: a very light peachy/nude color, meant for brow highlighting/inner corners and blending. Lightly mica pigmented for a slight shimmer
- Golden Ochre: A matte, goldenrod color. It blends fabulously into the skin.
- Vermeer: A fabulously high-mica (shimmer) take on rose quartz. This is my favorite color in the palette. It could easily double as a highlighter.
- Buon Fresco: Another creamy pigmented matte shade, the color of mauve with the ever-so-slight hint of shimmer.
- Antique Bronze: A surprisingly rusty, shimery brown. It definitely applies more red-hued than you would expect. Simply gorgeous color.
- Love Letter: A red wine-toned dark pink tone. My initial thought is “who the heck would wear this?!” but it looks like the sexiest version of a smokey eye you can imagine. This is a matte shade.
- Cyprus Umber: a true umber (dark brown) in matte shade. The red-undertoned version of a dark shade in a Naked Palette.
- Raw Sienna: I feel like I’m in painting class again. This is what it is. Matte, dark yellow-brown.
- Burnt Orange: Roger that. Matte, slightly lighter and slightly more orange than Raw Sienna.
- Primavera: My second favorite shade in the palette. This gold shimmer really kills it, and could double as a highlighter. It’s the perfect shade for the middle of the lid.
- Red Ochre: A matte, dark burnt red shade. The color of dark rust. Mixes fabulously in a burnt ornage/raw sienna ombre.
- Venetian Red: A moderately shimmered dark red with blue undertones, that mixes perfectly with Love Letter.
- Warm Taupe: A familiar shade, reminiscent of Naked palettes, but with yellow undertones. Matte and milky
- Realgar: a yellow undertoned rusty red shade, almost half-way between Burnt Orange and Red Ochre; Matte and creamy.
Side Note: Actually, surprisingly, for once, the free included brush is not a piece of crap and is actually usable with the palette. Bonus!
How does Modern Renaissance Palette Look IRL?
(IRL = In Real Life)
At first, I wasn’t sured how to switch from my typical black or nude smokey eye to a red-toned one. Especially with all these yellow undertoned colors.. what was I going to do?! I was convinced it wouldn’t work with my blue eyes. After all, bronze, grey, blue, brown.. they all help enhance blue eyes, right?
After I got over my initial reservations and just jumped in (dark shades first, lighter ones after, blend like hell), I was actually pretty happy with the results.
Here’s what it looked like on me:
I chose the “safe” shades for my first test drive: Tempera, Vermeer, Primavera, and Antique Bronze (all shimmer shades, I should note), but I was pretty happy with the outcome. It was on the outer edge of my comfort zone, but that’s good. The look was wearable and actually.. really pretty.
On the lips, I’m wearing Antique Bronze.
That’s right, I wore my eyeshadow as a lipstick.
And you know what? It was awesome.
Logically and safety-wise, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t wear your eyeshadows as lipsticks. Eye pigments are generally ok for use on the lips/face per the FDA safety standards (I know this from making other people’s products via my cosmetics consulting company Genie Supply). You can check here and cross-check with your ingredients list to be safe.
Back to why eyeshadows can generally be used as lipsticks: lipstick, in fact, is just a mix of waxes with pigment. It’s like eyeshadow + wax/gloss/whatever base the medium is. I didn’t have anything that matched this look, so I just put on a lip liner and dabbed the shadow over it. Then it perfectly matched my eyes, and was a matte/metallic lip, which is spot on for this season.
I applied the shadow to my lips using the tiny oval brush that I showed in my China Haul last week. It was perfect. Just like that, I found a use for it!
The look was very 90s with an updated spin and definitely a fall vibe. It matched my new mauve top perfectly + I received compliments all day on it. It actually does bring out the blue in my eyes.
I’ll link all the products used in my look at the end of the post.
Takeaways: Modern Renaissance Palette Review
All in all, I have to say that this palette is worth every penny.
As much as the cynical part of me thought that ABH just had a great influencer outreach program, I’m starting to learn that there is a lot of merit behind the hype.
First of all, I buy with my heart, and I fully support the awesome work that ABH is doing. Claudia and Anastasia are both so tuned in, authentic, supportive of artists, and just create awesome products.
Second, the shadows are highly pigmented, perfectly shimmered, creamy, and blend like a dream.
Third, this palette is on the edge of my comfort zone, which is where I am learning to live. I love the way that the Modern Renaissance Palette pushes me artistically, and I want to keep moving in that direction.
You know what?
I even dusted a little bit of Pink Heart from the Moonchild Palette on my cheekbones to complete the look.
I think I’m a believer. Count me in as a #RHOABH
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