Natasha Denona Glam Eyeshadow Palette ($65.00 for 0.67 oz.) is a new, permanent (as far as I can tell) “cool-toned” palette that has five matte eyeshadows and 10 shimmer eyeshadows. I’d say it is more of a neutral-toned palette with a few shades that were more cooler-toned, but there are shades that I would classify was warm-toned in the palette (particularly the bottom row).
The brand also decided that instead of names, they would label each shade with the “ideal place to apply them.” After the palette was announced, and people with deeper complexions noted that the lightest shade in the palette was labeled transition (and it is the only shade labeled as such), it made it more obvious that the placement is very much referenced for lighter skin tones.
In general, I find that the larger Natasha Denona palettes are actually less overtly framed around lighter skin tones than the majority of mainstream palettes and regularly skips an ultra-light matte beige kind of shade (see palettes like Gold, Bronze, Sunrise, Metropolis). This particular palette is not really any more or less inclusive with respect to the actual shades than plenty of palettes on the marketplace, but it is the framing of the arrangement–which is how it is sold!–as a “how-to” for lighter skin tones. Instead of deeper skin tones writing off a shade or two, which is far more the norm than it needs to be, it’s an overt choice to cater to lighter skin tones with this arrangement, even if that may not have been intentional.
I really urge people who’s natural inclination is to dismiss someone’s concern, especially as this concern was voiced by numerous deeper BIPOC throughout the brand’s posts on social media, to try to listen and understand the context in which these concerns are raised. The industry has historically excluded deeper skin tones, and while progress has been made in getting better shade ranges in foundations and concealers, it’s still a vastly disappointing landscape of color cosmetics that very often include “universal bronzer” or one or two shades of blush.
As a result of a lot of comments from disappointed people, the brand stated that there are “[three] different composition options” so that “you can switch them around and customize your own palette according to your preferences and skin tone,” and they said to “head up to [their] stories and catch them before they are gone!”
It’s nice that the brand showed how to rearrange the palette to work for other skin tones, but there’s nothing included in the actual product packaging that suggests that there are other arrangements… and why do I have to take out 15 eyeshadows to rearrange them? Why do I have to rush to an Instagram story (that’s now MIA!) in order to screen shot how to do it? Why isn’t this promotional material included at point of sale? (There’s no pamphlet or how-to included with the palette–at least not in mine!)
Why wasn’t this information included at launch? Did anyone notice that the pans are not labeled? (FYI, each shade has a number assigned to it as well as the placement name.) So once you take it out of the pre-made arrangement, it can be really hard to know which shade is which? How many questions do I have to ask to make it obvious that I’m not buying what the brand is trying to sell after the fact?
The very point of the palette having the names it does is to be “an easy-to-follow constellation of shades” and be a “mistake-proof palette” that turns you “into an instant pro.” There is nothing easy about taking a screen shot of an Instagram story, receiving your palette, popping out several shades (or more!) to rearrange, and then using it.
I will even argue that I was surprised at the composition of the palette as it did not feel very user-friendly in terms of following. I’m not sure why it was divided into categories like brightening, pop, darkening, and blending… what really distinguishes the “crease” shade from the “smoke” shade other than suitability by skin tone? Why not label the lighter mattes as “blend” shades and the more mid-tone and darker mattes as “crease”? Why are there four different center eye lid shades? How do I know which one to use with what? The first column has two center eye lid shades, while the bottom row has two center eye lid shades and two outer eye lid shades… and nothing for the crease? It just seems like each row should be a clear/complete look!
Truly user-friendly would make it very, very obvious that “these shades go together and here’s how you’d place them,” but this gives the user a lot of room for error — and that’s fine because ignoring the placement names, I see different combinations and can put together several looks, so it is cohesive as a color story (though I’d say overly shimmery, and this is coming from someone who… enjoys shimmers more than mattes).
I think the brand would have served its diverse buyer base by creating multiple five-pan palettes that created go-to neutral palettes by skin tone, e.g. Touch of Glam (lighter, cool-toned), Smoky Glam (darker, cool-toned), Glitz & Glam (lighter, warm-toned), Rich Glam (darker, warm-toned), etc.