The palette that divided the nation. 


When I initially saw the pictures leaked by Trendmood of the Subculture palette, I was excited beyond words. The palette was the perfect quintessential fall palette – teal tones, mustard hues, aubergine crease colors and ELECTRIC. I knew I would have to get my hands on this palette as soon as it was released anticipating a September launch, but I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that ABH would be selling it via their site on July 25th and with retailers selling it in store shortly after, fans of the palette would be able to get it in their hands and on their lids before the first leaf fell.

But days before the palette launch on ABH’s website, shit went down. Negative reviews of the palette began popping up all over Youtube with some showing people hitting pan just by swirling their brushes. Needless to say, I did not buy the palette that day. I waited and I watched. Within a couple of days, Youtube and social media were officially in Subculture-gate and the controversy was almost too much to bear. After statements from Norvina herself and multiple more bad reviews, I knew I had to see for myself. I ordered the palette and thanks to VIB Flash shipping I didn’t have to wait long. The morning my palette was meant to arrive, I waited for it to come so I could do my makeup and when I received my palette I instantly ripped it open, swatching every shade and playing with the blendability both on my hands and on my lids. In this post I have for you my initial thoughts and my thoughts now that I have had the palette for almost a month and have worn it several times. Would I recommend Subculture? Read on and find out.



The Subculture Drama

WARNING: Unpopular Opinion


I think the tea was a bit lukewarm. The palettes are definitely not as bad as everyone is making them out to be and I honestly think that some people exaggerated their claims because of what other *certain* influencers were saying. I also have a theory regarding the tea: I think, perhaps, maybe, possibly the palettes that were sent out in PR were the defective palettes and the ones that people bought – the second batch – were improved. I noticed the timing of negative reviews vs. positive reviews and I think that there may have been a bad batch and I’m pretty sure we’re all safe at this point. I have a good palette. Do they blend like a dream? No. Are they wearable? Fuck yes.



Initial Thoughts


My initial thoughts when I first swatched my palette were that there were slight inconsistencies in the colors in the pan and what is showing up on my arm. However, I have not yet met an eyeshadow palette that is completely devoid of that. The colors did seem quite difficult to blend out on my arm, however I am also aware that finger swatches on an arm and actual eyeshadow application on my lids is completely different. In summation, my initial thoughts were that – hey, there may be some difficulties with this palette but this is no where near as bad as what everyone is saying.

Here are some snaps from my instastories @theamberarchives from the day I received the palette and my initial reactions from applying it.


Final Thoughts

Now that I’ve worn the palette a few times and feel like I know my way around it, I would definitely say that I love this palette and that I would repurchase it. Like I mentioned earlier, yes, there are difficulties with it but the palette is still something that I reach for and see myself reaching for more as the temperatures drop. However, that being said I do believe that in order for Subculture to work, you have to treat the palette differently. Here are some of my tips and tricks on using Subculture:


  • Pat your brush, do not swirl it into the eyeshadow pans. If you do, will your entire pan fall apart? No, but it definitely makes the shadows perform better.
  • Work in tiny amounts. Small. Miniscule. Tap once, max twice and then go in for more if you need it.
  • Make sure to prime your eyelids to ensure that the color pay off is as strong and accurate as possible.
  • Blend immediately after placing the color. Do not wait to blend out – place and blend at the same time.
  • Take your time. Subculture is not the palette to go to if you are in a hurry.
  • Blend and then when you think you’re done, just for good measure blend a little more.
  • You MIGHT not want to wear the palette for a long event where tons of pictures will be taken because I do think that the shades oxidize a bit so they may turn on you. I don’t find this to be the case with all of the shades but I would wear the look before to make sure they don’t oxidize on you.



Comparisons to MBM and MR

Ok, here’s the thing that I’ve only seen Tati mention but I thought of the minute I started using the palette – this has just as much fall out as the Makeup by Mario palette (and the Sephora Pro tbh). The fall out is not that bad and is comparable to other ABH shadows.

As far as comparisons to the sister palette, Modern Renaissance, the Subculture palette is very comparable but it’s for sure more pigmented. The colors are still rich but with the Subculture less will take you further.



So there you have it. If you’re still on the fence about whether you trust the Subculture palette or not, go into your local Macy’s, Sephora or Ulta and try the palette before you buy the palette.

Also, I will soon be uploading a look using the palette and in that I will include swatches and the shade breakdown.

For now, as always, thank you for reading.


WHERE TO PURCHASE IT: In store and online in any and all retailers that carry ABH
PRICE: $42

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