Hey there, Lovely Lushies! Guess what? I am finally ready to share my thoughts on my big, unnecessary, “I’ve got to have it!” purchase of the year!
The Natasha Denona Star Palette was my big splurge during the most recent Sephora VIB Rouge sale. Through some act of mental (un)justification, a 20% discount made this $169 palette totally OK. I really went back and forth over whether to buy it or not, and finally rationalized it by calculating that at $135 each pan was $7, and I’ve definitely purchased plenty of pans at that price before. Also, I figured that if I hated it, I would simply return it (I’m keeping it) and everything would be right in the world again.
So, with my head-game out of the way, let’s briefly discuss the obvious… Do you need a $169 eye shadow palette? No, of course you don’t. No one does. OK, now with that out of the way, let’s move on.
Natasha Denona (I’m gonna just call her Nat, because I feel like I purchased that right) is a make-up artist whose work has graced the cover of every major fashion magazine worldwide. Her aesthetic is very recognizable, and I’ve wanted one of her palettes for a long time. Believe it or not, this is one of her more affordable offerings – and since reviews on her products are always very mixed – I felt like the time was right for me.
I’ve spent a great deal of time working with and getting to know this palette since it arrived. I wanted to be sure that I was able to give a thorough and accurate review, and frankly, the cost of the palette makes me very critical when evaluating the palette. Con: It doesn’t make coffee for me in the morning. To add even more difficulty in writing this review, my thoughts about it are very mixed. While there are things about it that are truly amazing, there are things about it that are really not good.
Let’s start with the concept. The Star Palette centers around a celestial theme and the colors all have astronomical names like Galaxia, Orion, Spectrum and you get the drift. The cover of the palette is vegan leather* and it’s a gorgeous silver with embossed stars. It is (was) one of the most gorgeous products I own. Inside, there are 18 shades divided into a warm (left) and a cool (right) side arranged in three rows of three. The pans in this palette are HUGE. I haven’t seen (or taken) a photo that accurately conveys how large these pans are – but you are getting a large amount of product for the price, which does help soften the blow a bit.
Each threesome is meant to create a complete and perfect look in any direction either vertically, horizontally or diagonally. I love this concept, but there are a couple little things that prevent this concept from being perfectly executed. First of all, there are plenty of warm colors on the cool side and vice versa. It’s a great sales pitch, it’s just not totally true. Secondly, I do not think that any of the threesomes really create a perfect eye look. I’ve used multiple shades from the palette in various combinations, but never one of the specified threesomes. I simply can’t find one that truly creates a complete (and outstanding) eye look. In fact, if you watch her YouTube video on the palette, Nat uses three or more colors in every look – but none of them are one of the intended threesomes!
The palette features a great variety of textures – a characteristic that I think should be part of every great palette – and boasts two “never before seen” textures. The much-talked about Chroma crystals were the main impetus into pulling out my credit card. I’m a big fan of glitter, and the Chroma crystals sounded so cool and different that I really wanted to have the opportunity to try them. I love novel ideas when it comes to cosmetics ’cause, you know, I’m an early adopter. 😉 There are also two duo-chromes, metallics and a new matte formula that boasts zero fall-out, high pigmentation and superb blendability.
As you can tell from the photos above, the metallics are spectacular. There really isn’t much more to say about it – they perform exactly as you would expect a high-end metallic shadow to perform and are very comparable to Viseart. I feel the same way about the duo-chromes but I’ll be honest: duo-chromes never really excite me. In fact, they sort of confuse me – is it green? Is it brown? I’m far too simple to make this kind of next-level makeup decision.
Right. So, what is a Chroma crystal? According to the brand: “a new breed of sparkling eye shadow created with crushed diamond pearls for extraordinary reflection”. According to The Fabulush: “a chunky, clunky glittery disaster that has absolutely ruined the pristine prettiness of my palette”. The palette contains four crystal shadows and the recommended applicator is your finger. There is fallout – lots and lots of fallout. You could minimize this with an adhesive, but the real problem with these colors is that they simply aren’t worth it. They don’t create a very impactful look, huge chunks of it crumble when you touch them and the only thing the crushed diamond pearls (WTF?) reflect is disappointment.
I already told you that I’m keeping the palette and the reason is solely because of the 9 matte shades. When you touch them, they feel like velvet. They are soft and buttery, richly pigmented and blend effortlessly. I was going to compare them to the matte Viseart shades but I can’t – these are MUCH better. In fact, I’m pretty comfortable stating that these are the best matte shadows I have ever used. Unfortunately, many of the matte colors are only a shade or four away from one of the other colors in the palette. They are neutral colors, so I’ll definitely use them, but it’s extremely disappointing to buy an expensive palette with so many colors that are so similar.
This isn’t only true of the matte shades, two of the crystal colors (Spectrum and Cosmo) are nearly identical and the metallics (Atria and Rhea) are close enough that as singles, I wouldn’t have purchased both. Finally, I’m not sure which shadow is the second duo-chrome. I really can’t tell. The duo-chromes are the center shadows on each side, but Supernova has virtually no shift and calling it a duo-chrome is a real stretch.
Here’s one last look at my expensive, messy and imperfect palette. Even though I have said quite a lot negative about it, it’s an extremely wearable palette and I find myself reaching for it often. I find it is most like the Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance palette in terms of colors and feel. While I do not own the Modern palette, I did spend a great deal of time recently playing with it and there is really no contest – the quality of this palette is FAR superior. They really aren’t even in the same neighborhood.
Warm Colors (left side in photo above) – Spectrum, Earth, Bellatrix, Flesh, Orion, Gemma, Atria, Titania and Cosmo
Cool Colors (right side in photo above) – Diadem, Vega, Galaxia, Phoenix, Supernova, Electra, Polaris, Atik and Rhea
Palette is Cruelty Free.
*I’m at the end of my rope with hearing about “vegan leather” this season. I’m super impressed with the marketing mind that came up with this fancy schmancy title for whatever synthetic polymers go in to this plastic product, but c’mon folks… really? Vegan leather?
Thank you for reading! Please let me know if you have any questions, or if you have your own Star Palette experiences you would like to share!
PS – Stay tuned! While I’m done for tonight, I have loads of good things coming soon. Here’s a little sneak peek…
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