Well...here we are. Another Subculture palette review. This isn't going to be a typical review though. I'm going to interject some thoughts that I've had on my mind for a while.
I bought my Subculture palette myself. So this is my own money, it wasn't sent to me. The color scheme is unlike anything I've seen before. It arrived in one piece and not broken thank goodness because shit happens. You never know.
The first thing I want to touch on is the general misconception about what this palette was going to look like. At first we heard this was like the "sister palette" to Modern Renissance....but then I believe I heard it explained where this is the "night time version" to MR. Which threw me off when I seen the colors. I thought in my head it would just be an extension of the Modern Renaissance color scheme just a lot more smokey maybe veering slightly in another undertone direction. Then as I thought about it I feel like (personal opinion here) they mean't those palettes are "day and night of each other". Same layout, same style of packaging but completely different. Does that make sense?
Next thing I want to touch on is, this is more of a time consuming palette because you have unusual colors in here. I don't know about you but I can't build up a teal or green look in 5 minutes and it look amazing and vivid. Where as MR was all the same color family you needed one or two brushes and you were done with a perfect smokey eye. This is more "editorial" meaning that the looks that you can potentially create are going to be more intricate and need more brushes and more patience put into them. Because you can really create some outstanding, dramatic, edgy, looks with these colors.
Which leads me to my next thought. I realized right away that MR didn't need a heavy hand and it didn't need a lot of product on the brush because the pigment was so strong. This is the same way. I tap (actually tap ) the tip of my brush into the pan, tap the excess off powder on my brush and then with a light hand start working with it. Also, when you're creating looks that have a lot of depth and drama it would do you good to build up the look as much as you can by using your lighter /transition shades on your bigger brushes and then when those shades get darker you downsize your brush. Which is why you may need a few extra brushes and a few extra steps depending on what you want to do. I personally have always preferred to build up my crease or my smokey eye instead of going full blast on the darkest shade right out the gate. It's a mess and hard to clean up.
What I think has been forgotten is that for a really long time "makeup guru's" really went in depth in tutorials and talked about what brushes to use, why you're using them, how to achieve this or that look, and a different variation of looks. Not just smokey and halo eyes. Not hating since a halo eye is my favorite look ever. I'm saying if you wanted something more graphic, detailed, editorial, etc they were available more often and not so much now. There are some artists out there that are still teaching though for instance, Samantha Ravndahl, Wayne Goss, Jordan Hanz to name a few. Tutorials seemed to turn into GRWM (nothing wrong with that). Mainly, to cut this short, a lot of it is no longer "teaching" different techniques, or what the purpose of this or that product is, it's just giving you a brush number and putting it in your crease. Sounds harsh I know, I'm not saying anyone isn't skilled, I think you can accomplish anything but you might have to go back to basics when you were first learning how to use brushes and tap back into that again. These are not your "everyday colors" so it's going to take a little more effort. If it was all warm brown we all know exactly what we would do, but this is out of the comfort zone for a lot of people. So if you approach it the same way you would a classic warm brown smokey eye then it can be a mess.
There's no mistaking that I do think there has been some inconsistencies with people's palettes. Mine is good, and I'm very happy about that. I'm not trying to pass off a palette if it isn't top notch as someone who is using the wrong brushes or applying it the wrong way. I'm just saying maybe this is a good chance to really get into a look and try some different ways to apply it instead of disregarding it completely. I'm not discrediting reviews either, I just think some consumers got scared away and did a hard pass when really maybe we should take everything, including this review with a grain of salt, because it's just one person's opinion. I have watched great reviews from both sides. I see their point for most of it which is why I agree there may be some dud palettes.
The powder kick up is definitely there. But honestly, mine has the same amount as the Modern Renaissance did and I love Modern Renaissance. Again though let me repeat I "tap" my brush into the powders once, maybe twice and then tap the excess off the brush. I know that you've seen people do that. I apply metallic or shimmer finishes with my finger almost always. I don't really like shader or "lid" brushes except for pigments. That's always been my preference it's not just for this palette. I think foiled shadows are more intense and work better when you use your finger to tap it on.
The blending for me was fine but I feel like it's because I use varying sizes of brushes, small amounts of product, and I really build the color up so it billow up and out, the way I want, getting lighter and lighter. I used a light hand with these bolder shades and had no issue. I used my finger for the foiled shades. Electric seemed a bit dry and I found that it looked way more intense and done better with a glitter glue base underneath it. I have to do that with a lot of foiled, metallic, shimmer shades though. Regardless, it's always nice when you don't need a glitter glue. There was some fall out underneath the eye but I always do my eyes first so no biggie. No fallout through out the day. I did find that as the day went on the eye look lost it's color a lot. Especially because it had a very strong Mustard yellow crease and it just looked like a yellow based transition at the end of the day and just a little muddy after about 6-7 hours. I don't think that's terrible after that long though. I noticed it was less intense within about 3 hours and by the end of the day it kinda looked a little muddy because the color was fading as makeup does after so many hours.
The only shades that didn't perform perfectly was the more plum and berry shades. They required a little more pressure and product. Which I say a little I mean I tapped my brush in twice instead of once. I think this was designed to be a palette that nothing really compares to color scheme wise, and for intricate, detailed, and edgy looks to come out of. Instead of romantic, soft, messy, smokey eyes like the MR palette. Which again brings us back to the palettes being "day and night" of each other, only on the finished product side this time.
So because this is such a big issue with everyone, I actually did compare my MR palette to Subculture side by side, nearly all the matte shades had the same kick up when I tapped my brush in a few times. See pictures below. Both palettes require me to tap the brush off afterwards. Which again I say I only tap my brush in once but for the sake of this I tapped 3 or 4 times. It's on my snapchat if you're curious (loveandmascara).
*Subculture on the left, MR on the right and then MR by itself, as you can see MR is super dusty and it stays that way.*
Like I said I'm happy with my purchase, if you aren't then it's easy to return. Simple as that. Their customer service is top of the line in my opinion. Or they have been for me. If you think you might want it, then check it out in store. I personally wouldn't go off finger swatches and first impressions from a display, I would try it and then if it didn't seem to be what you wanted I would return it. I definitely think their may be some who have gotten a bad palette. I just think that maybe there is a lot of people who assumed the worst and didn't give it a chance also. Which I think will later turn around because it's beautiful and it's unlike any palette I own.
I'm from Tennessee. I'm a makeup and skincare lover. I have always enjoyed creating looks but I love to help people with product knowledge and application even more. I've been able to do these things because God has seen fit to bless me with the opportunity.