From the second this surfaced online, I was in love. I am trying to save for a mortgage at the minute so makeup shopping is strictly off limits but during a moment of weakness I caved and added it to my cart. If you’d rather, you can watch my video review on the palette here which includes live swatches, if not, read on.
It comes in an unassuming light mauve coloured box which is similar to the palette inside. If you were to see it on a shelf, you probably wouldn’t be drawn to it but having already watched a lot of videos and read a lot of reviews, I knew what to expect on the inside and sure, isn’t that what counts?
The palette itself is a sturdy cardboard but it is covered in a fuzzy felt, not too dissimilar to the original Urban Decay Naked Palette. I never owned that so I had no experience with fuzzy palettes before the Modern Renaissance one but I can attest that they get very dirty very fast. I photographed it the day it arrived but as I write this about three weeks on, my palette does not look like that. I wouldn’t mind as much but I haven’t travelled with it. It has lived on my vanity but still, it’s pretty mucky!
Aside from it getting dirty, the palette feels sustainable enough that I would have no issues travelling with it. It has a strong magnetic closure too.
Inside is where this palette truly shines. I am obsessed with red and warm toned shadows so this is my dream and the reason I couldn’t resist adding this to my cart. The mirror inside isn’t great although the logo emblazoned across it is only a sticker and I have since peeled it off. I just think the size isn’t ideal. It also has a flaccid lid so it doesn’t stand up by itself and will need to be propped against something if you are trying to use the mirror to do your makeup. It features fourteen eyeshadows and a double ended brush.
The brush is decent as far as palette brushes go. It comes with a dense flat end and a fluffy blending end. It is quite similar to the type of brushes that come with Urban Decay palettes but a little bit better, in my opinion. It’s just a little denser which makes it perform better over all.
Now for a breakdown of the shades. As usual the swatch photos show a swipe of shadow to showcase the pigmentation and then a built up swatch to showcase the colour itself.
This is described as a velvety beige with an ultra matte finish.
This is a pretty standard yellow-toned cream shade. I think a matte base shade like this is integral to any palette but sadly this is a little too dark and a little too yellow to work on my skin tone.
This is described as an earthy yellow with an ultra matte finish.
This is an unusual medium golden yellow shade which is ideal as a unique transition shade. While it might seem a little bizarre on its own, it works beautifully with the orange tones in the palette.
This is described as an iridescent shell with a metallic finish.
This is a gorgeous pearlescent shade that leans a little pink. This is my favourite shade in the palette to use as an inner corner highlight as it is really metallic and brightening.
This is described as an antique lavender with an ultra matte finish.
The swatch doesn’t do this justice. This is a beautiful mauve pink that makes a great transition shade to use alongside the reds in the palette. It also looks nice worn alone in the crease for a simple pin-up style eye. It is very reminiscent of the type of shades in the Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette which is one of my favourites.
This is described as a metallic sable with a satin finish.
This is a unique pink toned brown shot through with gold glitter. The particles are apparent in the pan but don’t show up too well on the skin. While this is a beauty in the palette, I have found it a little difficult to work with as its satin finish means it doesn’t lend itself too well to being used in the crease but there are also not too many other shadows that work well with it.
This is described as a raspberry with an ultra matte finish.
While I adore red shades, I usually avoid pinks and this definitely leans more in that direction. The pigmentation of this is quite disappointing, especially considering the quality of the rest of the palette. It isn’t too bad a colour though and I tend to pair it with the reds in the palette to buff out the edges.
This is described as a dark coffee with an ultra matte finish.
This is the darkest shadow in the palette and while it is a beautiful chocolatey brown, I don’t think it is dark enough to be the darkest shade (if that makes sense). This eyeshadow is very crumbly compared to the rest and the second I touch my brush to it, it kicks up an incredible amount of dust. I still use it quite often to intensify the looks I create with the palette and think it is an integral addition.
This is described as a neutral amber with an ultra matte finish.
This is one of my favourites in the palette as it is different to every other shadow I own. I honestly don’t think I have a dupe for this. It’s a mustardy amber shade that works perfectly to create a 90s grunge look. This probably won’t be for everyone but I’m a huge fan of this one.
This is described as a deep orange with an ultra matte finish.
This is a pretty medium orange shade. I have a huge love for orange and red shades so this is one of my most used shadows in the whole palette. It would be incredible on blue eyes.
This is described as a shimmery gold dust with a metallic finish.
This is a very pretty golden shimmer that I could imagine a lot of people falling for. I’m more into mattes so this doesn’t do much for me but I do pop it on my inner corner on occasion and it is probably one of the most conventionally wearable shadows in the palette.
This is described as a sienna with an ultra matte finish.
Say hello to my favourite shade in the entire palette. This is a gorgeous deepened red that works as well in the crease as it does on the lid for a grungy smokey eye. Red eyeshadows are my jam and this could just be the nicest one I’ve found to date. Love love love this.
This is described as a crimson with an ultra matte finish.
This does not have the stunning pigmentation of Red Ochre and also leans far more pink. I have a tendency to mix the two, possibly because every time I apply this, I realise I prefer Red Ochre and apply it on top. I think I would love this if I didn’t have Red Ochre to compare it to but sadly, I do so this falls a little short of the mark for me.
This is described as an earthy grey with an ultra matte finish.
Despite the name, I actually think this leans quite neutral. This is a pretty standard colour but one that is an absolute staple. In any other palette, this may have been my most used shade but all of the warm mattes meant it took me a long time to even try this one. However this is definitely a people pleaser and will work for a myriad of looks.
This is described as a brick with an ultra matte finish.
This is a gorgeous deep red-toned orange and another absolute stand out for me. Just look at it! What a beauty!
Here are just some of the looks I created with this palette.
The first look I created was a classic 90s grunge look. I have been living for these kind of things lately, think Brody Dalle or Courtney Love. Swoon.
The next look I created was to really showcase the reds in this palette. It’s a very ‘me’ look and one I would recreate quite often.
The final look is actually two. I wanted to use the neutrals in the palette to create a very wearable day look, perfect for work or school or days when you generally feel a bit lazy makeup wise. I then elevated it and added more drama to make it a more night time appropriate look, in case you’re going straight out after work.
There is no denying that I love some of the shadows in this palette. I mean really, really love. However, for me this is not an all-encompassing palette. I believe every palette needs a matte creamy base shade which the Modern Renaissance doesn’t have. I think every palette needs some matte midtones to use in the crease or to buff out the edges of different looks which this palette has in spades – Warm Taupe, Golden Ochre, Burnt Orange, Buon Fresco… And I also believe a palette needs a very dark matte shadow like a black or something close to darken and intensify whatever look you create. In the Modern Renaissance, we have Cyprus Umber but as I mentioned already, it blends out quite light and doesn’t give me the intensity I look for, meaning it doesn’t fit the bill for me.
While the Modern Renaissance houses some of my favourite shades, I still find myself reaching for other palettes to use along with it. I would not bring this palette travelling with me for that reason. I prefer a palette where I can get everything I need in one place. If you’re an eyeshadow freak who wants to expand their collection, loves rusts and oranges and/or has a lot of shadows already, this is worth picking up for the unique shades. However, if you don’t have a lot of eyeshadows and are just looking for a basic palette to fit all your needs, this wouldn’t be one I would recommend.
At the end of the day, this is a great palette with stunning colours and brilliant pigmentation (for most) and I would recommend it but it is up to you – your preferences and your needs – to decide if it will be one for you.
The ABH Modern Renaissance palette is available from Cult Beauty for £41 (€45.40 + shipping) or Beauty Bay for €50.30 (with free shipping). It is out of stock everywhere at the moment but it is a permanent palette and I have heard it will be back next month.
What do you think? Have you fallen for the romantic colours?
Or do you think this is one you’ll pass over?
Disclaimer: No press samples were featured.
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