Is the controversy surrounding ABH Subculture palette true?

Anastasia Beverly Hills subculture palette

I’m very pleased to introduce the new Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture palette on my blog a week after its launch. As soon as I saw this palette I knew I had to have it. Therefore, I had a countdown set on my phone for the release.

I’ve never been more excited about makeup as I was about the release of the Subculture palette. I stayed up late the night before the launch in case it was released at midnight and waited till 1am before I passed out. Luckily, when I woke up it still wasn’t released, but I spent the whole day refreshing the ABH UK site. Then 5pm came and I was experiencing so much stress over this palette as the site kept crashing. However, I managed to get my hands on not only one, but two Subculture palettes.  I didn’t mean to purchase two, but because the site crashed before it showed me that my order has gone through, I went ahead and ordered another one.

Anastasia Beverly Hills subculture palette

Sister palette to Modern Renaissance

I know this palette is not everyone’s cup of tea as the shades are quite bold and don’t necessarily work with one another. However, this palette has been made to work hand in hand with the Modern Renaissance palette. I absolutely love Modern Renaissance and you can read my review here. The reason why I wanted Subculture so much is because I don’t own anything like it in my collection and I thought it would be the perfect palette for me to get out of my comfort zone.

The controversy

Both palettes arrived on Monday and as soon as I had them I went ahead and took photos for my blog, so I can swatch the shades. Especially since all the controversy over this palette surfaced over the weekend. If you don’t know, there are quite a few review videos on YouTube where the palette is presented as unusable. Many people have stated that the shades are not blending well. Then there’s people who’ve experienced the palette to be very powdery and have had a lot of kickback from the shadows to the point where they hit the pan on the first use.


The packaging of Subculture palette is almost the same as Modern Renaissance packaging. The only difference is the colour. I quite like the colour of the outer box, but the colour of the velvet used on the palette is quite dull and I’m not a big fan of it. You can read my thoughts on the other aspects of the packaging in my Modern Renaissance review.

ahh subculture palette

First Impressions

When I first swatched these on my hand using my fingers, I was blown away. The pigmentation of this palette is insane. It’s even more pigmented than Modern Renaissance. The shadows are incredibly soft. I also swatched them with a brush to see if the pigmentation is still the same and whether the palette has the horrific kickback. I was very happy to find that the pigmentation is still the same when you pick up the shadows with a brush. However, when you swirl the brush in the shadows, they are very powdery and you get a lot of excess coming off the brush. The only two shadows that I found didn’t swatch so well were Cube and Electric, two of the metallic shades.

Colours in Subculture

ahh subculture palette

Just like Modern Renaissance palette, Subculture holds 14 shades with ultra-matte, duo chrome and metallic finishes. Three of the shades are metallic and the rest are matte. The shades in the palette include:


Cube – duo chrome pink pearl. In the palette this shadow looks white, but when you apply it, it reveals its beauty. It’s a beautiful shade for the inner corner as it really brightens the area and gives it a unique look with it’s pink duo chrome. This also works beautifully over other shadows to make them pop.

Adorn – metallic bronze. Adorn is my favourite shadow from the palette as it’s the most pigmented shade and it’s very creamy and easy to apply.

Electric – duo chrome lime gold. This one is more of a yellow shade than gold, but it’s still very pretty as it’s very sparkly.


Dawn – matte sand. I love this one as a transition shade as it has peachy undertones and works quite well with my pale skin.

Destiny – matte sage green. It’s a lovely muted green shade which would work perfectly for a green smoky eye.

All Star – matte wine. I wouldn’t call this a wine colour, but rather a purple with burgundy undertones. It’s a lovely shade nonetheless.

Mercury – matte slate grey. This one is a lovely brown grey. I think it would work very well with Dawn and Adorn for an every day look.

Axis – matte blue green. This was one of the colours that initially made me want this palette. I have no other shadows like this in my collection and I personally think it’s beautiful.

Roxy – matte muted coral. I absolutely love this shade. It’s girly and can be used for so many different looks.

Fudge – matte warm bronze. This one is pretty self-explanatory. It’s also a very popular shade which was out before this palette. I personally love that it has been included as it makes this palette work for so many different occasions.

New Wave – matte orange. Another favourite. I’ve been loving orange eyeshadows lately and this one is beautiful.

Untamed – matte tarnished green. This one is a cool toned blue green. Very pretty.

Edge – matte mustard gold. Upon application this one is very similar to New Wave.

Rowdy – matte blackened purple. I think this one is the most grungy shadow in the palette. Perfect for a smoky eye.

subculture palette swatches

From Top (tattoo) to Bottom: Rowdy, Edge, Untamed, New Wave, Fudge, Electric, Roxy, Axis, Mercury All Star, Adorn, Destiny, Dawn, Cube

Final thoughts

Today, I actually played around with the palette to see how the shadows perform on the eyes. I used Dawn, All Star, Axis, New Wave, Electric and Cube to create the look below. I’m not very good with eyeshadow, but I do believe that practise makes perfect. The look I came up with was quite different from what I normally go for, but I do quite like how it turned out. I do have to say that although the shadows are quite powdery and create a lot of kickback, a little definitely goes a long way. I found that tapping the shadow very gently in the pan only once picks up a lot of product and then there’s very little excess. This shows that the palette is very, very pigmented. I did find that the shadows blend quite well besides Axis which I really struggled to blend it.

subculture palette look

So, is Subculture worth it?

Another thing I wanted to address is that Cube and Electric are actually very pigmented, but because they have a different formula which is slightly more creamy I kind of had to scrape them with my brush first to get the pigmentation to come through. I think the controversy arose from the fact that the brand didn’t really educate their consumers before the launch. The palette has been made using a different technique to achieve the pigmentation it has. Thus, it takes a bit of time to get used to, but it’s definitely not unusable. I think it’s an amazing palette and if you’ve been thinking of purchasing it, do it. You can always return if you find that it doesn’t work.


The palette cost me £42. Currently it is sold out on Anastasia Beverly Hills UK site. However, today it launched on Beauty Bay where it actually costs £41. I found this quite unfair, so I would recommend ordering from Beauty Bay, especially since they often have good deals that you could use to get the palette for an even better price. Do I think this palette is worth the price? Yes, I actually do. Each shadow works out to be £3 and for the quality and pigmentation of the shades I think it’s a pretty good price.

Have you tried this palette? If so, what do you think about it? If not, do you want to?





  1. August 2, 2017 / 8:54 pm

    I’ve been torn over this, not just because of the controversy but because I didn’t know if I’d use it… Then I realised it’s because I don’t have anything like it in my collection!!

    I’m defo picking this up on payday!

    ♥ Fran – xx

    • agnesehadebe
      August 16, 2017 / 12:47 pm

      Yaaay, I’m happy to hear that. It is such a great palette and is definitely a good one to have in your collection for those days where you want to get out of your comfort zone <3

  2. August 2, 2017 / 8:58 pm

    What a great review Agnes! You’ve really covered all the details with all the controversy, it sounds like you’re right and that they should have educated people about it more, such a shame they didn’t 🙁 the look you created looks beautiful too, this palette is definitely on my wishlist 🙂 Clare xxx

    • agnesehadebe
      August 16, 2017 / 12:48 pm

      Thank you so much Clare <3 Yes, it really is a shame, because now people think it's a bad palette, even though it really isn't <3

  3. August 2, 2017 / 9:01 pm

    I loved this! This palette isn’t one I would go for because the colours just would not suit me (or I’m not good enough with eyeshadow to get them to!) but this was a really interesting read considering all the drama surrounding the palette!

    • agnesehadebe
      August 16, 2017 / 12:50 pm

      Thanks Allanah <3

  4. August 2, 2017 / 9:12 pm

    So much controversy over this pallet. But your review makes me think I need it!! I LOVE the look you created as well xo

    • agnesehadebe
      August 16, 2017 / 12:50 pm

      Thank you lovely <3

  5. August 2, 2017 / 10:05 pm

    I love the look you made! Very detailed and interesting to read different views on this, not sure if the palette is for me but I’m gonna go read the review on the sister:) x

    • agnesehadebe
      August 16, 2017 / 12:51 pm

      Thank you so much <3

    • agnesehadebe
      August 16, 2017 / 12:51 pm

      Thank you guys <3

  6. August 3, 2017 / 6:57 pm

    I’m still so torn with the palette. There’s a good couple of dupes for the palette that I might check out first.

    Chloe MySecondAttempt

    • agnesehadebe
      August 16, 2017 / 12:52 pm

      That’s a good idea, I need to find some good dupes for some of the shades <3

  7. August 4, 2017 / 11:07 am

    Hmmm, this is quite interesting. Everyone is saying such different things but I just love the shades, could create some ace autumn looks!!

    Michaela |

    • agnesehadebe
      August 16, 2017 / 12:53 pm

      I definitely agree, it’s a fab palette for autumn looks <3

  8. August 4, 2017 / 11:09 am

    Enjoyed reading this! I think I’ll give it a try.

    • agnesehadebe
      August 16, 2017 / 12:54 pm

      Let me know if you do <3

  9. August 4, 2017 / 9:14 pm

    I don’t think this palette is for me, as it just isn’t my kind of colours! The swatches do look great though! I’m so glad you like the palette! The look you created is gorgeous xx

    Hannah | luxuryblush

    • agnesehadebe
      August 16, 2017 / 12:58 pm

      Thank you so much lovely <3 I deffo agree that the colours are not everyone's cup of tea, but some of the shades can be mixed with other products to make them more wearable. The other day I mixed Adorn and Fudge with eyeshadows in the Modern Renaissance to create a bronzed look and it made me fall in love with the palette even more.

  10. Kayleigh Zara
    August 8, 2017 / 10:10 pm

    This sounds perfect, I think the palette looks amazing and have heard such mixed reviews. I absolutely loved the modern renaissance palette the shades were stunning and the formula amazing x

    Kayleigh Zara 🌿

    • agnesehadebe
      August 16, 2017 / 1:02 pm

      I also think it looks amazing, and it is amazing <3 It's not the same formula Modern Renaissance, but it's still a good formula as you barely need to use any product which means this will last me forever <3

  11. Velvet Blush
    August 11, 2017 / 8:42 pm

    I haven’t tried this as it’s not really my kind of shades. However, I have read into a lot of instagram posts and blog reviews on it, and they pointed out that the formula of the shades meant you only needed to tap them lightly, so I don’t think it’s a bad palette either xx

    Velvet Blush

    • agnesehadebe
      August 16, 2017 / 1:03 pm

      Yes, that’s because the eyeshadows are pretty much pressed pigments <3

  12. August 12, 2017 / 11:10 am

    This is a great review and I really think they should of educated people more on how to use the shades. I watched a couple of tutorials on ABH Instagram story where they explained it a little bit and it makes sense as to why if you use it wrong it would go completely wrong! I love the colourful look you created and I love the look of some of the shades but I definitely don’t think I’m daring enough to wear them myself. Although for once I’m quite happy with that, as it saves me £41! For people who are daring enough though, it looks like a beautiful palette especially for the autumn and winter!

    Ellie x

    • agnesehadebe
      August 16, 2017 / 1:06 pm

      Thank you so much lovely <3 Exactly, but because they didn't they've caused all this drama which is very bad for the brand. In my opinion they don't really deserve all the bad reviews they've been getting, because the palette is really good, but in a way it's their own fault. I completely get you, £41 is a lot of money and I sometimes wish I hated the palette, but I guess you can't help who/what you love <3

  13. August 13, 2017 / 5:12 pm

    I’ve watched so many YouTube reviews of this palette and I still don’t know if I want to try it out or not! It’s either they really hate it or they really love it – there’s no in between. I think I’ll be waiting till the holidays to purchase it and just swatch it in the store to see for myself. I love the look you created! x

    Reine | Sincerely Reine

    • agnesehadebe
      August 16, 2017 / 1:07 pm

      Thank you <3 I think it's a good idea to swatch it first to see if you get on with the shades, but you can also always order through ABH site, they have an amazing returns policy.

  14. Ronnie
    August 15, 2017 / 7:11 pm

    So glad this palette worked for you! Your swatches really make me wanna buy it and test it out for myself… I really like the look you created and your photography in this post is gorg! xx

    Ronnie //

    • agnesehadebe
      August 16, 2017 / 1:08 pm

      Awww, thank you so much lovely <3

  15. August 25, 2017 / 2:04 pm

    I love the idea of leaving my comfort zone with eyeshadows but I think the Modern Renaissance palette is probably a better pick for me for my first ABH purchase (that isn’t just an eyebrow gel purchase, haha). I had no idea there was any controversy around this palette either before I read this post!

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

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