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ABH – Subculture Palette. Is it worth it?

When Anastasia Beverley Hills Modern Renaissance palette become a cult hit the second it came out, we all expected big things when they announced a new sister palette was going to be released.

Highly anticipated, the Subculture palette is completely different to its dreamy romantic counterpart, with bold teals, vibrant yellows and duo chrome eyeshadows, it was nothing I’d ever seen before.

Add to that, the fact ABH are well known for their super pigmented and buttery matte eyeshadows, this palette was causing a serious stir amongst the makeup addicted.

I saw it, I wanted it, I NEEDED it!

Anastasia Beverley Hills Subculture Palette

Anastasia Beverley Hills Subculture Palette

Anastasia Beverley Hills Subculture Palette

It was all looking like this palette was going to be the ultimate beauty buy of 2017 until beauty bloggers and MUAs the world over starting sharing their thoughts and experiences:

Changes in eyeshadow colour from pan to skin.

A huge amount of kickback on nearly all of the shadows resulting in a powdery mess.

Plus, even the most experienced MUAs were having trouble blending the shades together.

It seemed like Subculture was subpar.

So, why did I still buy it?

Well after watching what felt like a million youtube videos, and reading more reviews than I could count, the only thing I knew was that I needed to bite the bullet and try it myself.

I was disappointed in the way ABH dealt with complaints initially and I do think customer response would have been more positive if they had just admitted there were obvious problems with the Subculture palette. However, after finally acknowledging customers were far from happy with the powdery eyeshadows, they announced future batches would be pressed harder in the pan to stop fallout. Now whether or not mine is from a new batch I’m not sure but what I did do is wait until the Subculture palette was restocked on the official ABH website. This way I knew I wouldn’t be getting one from the first delivery but also if there was a problem I could send it back. Add to basket. Checkout. Click. Done.

The second I received that out for delivery email, I was placing cushions under my letter box for fear of broken eyeshadows and subsequently an even more broken me. At £42 this is certainly not a cheap palette and I was going to make sure my Subculture experience was going to be positive.

Of course after waiting in all day with not so much as a peep, the delivery guy banged down my door just as I was getting in the shower at 5:30pm. Eagerly grabbing it out of his hands, I ran upstairs, opened Subculture and just stared at it. Looks wise it more than lives up to expectation.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture Palette

Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture Palette

However, I’ve been wittering on for a good while now and I’m sure you just want me to get down to the nitty gritty. So here goes:

Swatches and Pigmentation:

Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture Palette swatches

Sorry for the not so pretty swatches but here they are. Using the brush provided I LITERALLY tapped my brush 3-4 times into the pan and this was more than enough for the matte shades. As you can see the colour payoff is incredible, New wave (bottom row, middle yellow) is the most pigmented yellow I’ve ever come across. Roxy (First on the bottom row) absolutely gorgeous. In terms of pigmentation they certainly tick the boxes. Did I get kickback? Yes I did. Was it bad? Yes. Did that matter? I don’t think so.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture kickback

Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture kickback

This is with 4 taps in each pan and as you can see some shades have more loose powder than others. I  also compared it to my modern renaissance and it is definitely more powdery. After checking the ingredients list I believe this is down to the main ingredient mica in MR being changed to talc in Subculture. Why they have done this I am not sure, price is usually the reason for these things but if I wasn’t already wary of the kickback, I’m not sure I would have noticed and for the level of pigmentation with just a brief tap, I’ll take it!

The duo chromes (cube – first shade top row & Electric – second on the bottom row) are a completely different kettle of eyeshadow. These are both more creamy and therefore have zero fallout. For this reason they do take a lot longer to build up but the finish is this gorgeous metallic shimmer that really makes the matte shades pop. The only problem I have found is that after using electric for a few times with a wet brush it has started to become more compact and creamy in consistency (see above photo). Imagine a Colourpop Supershock eyeshadow if you know what I mean. This isn’t necessary a problem, but it doesn’t look very pretty in the pan and it does make it harder to pick up eyeshadow.

I have created an eye look below using the following shades and without a filter so you can see how they really look on the skin.

Crease – Edge & New Wave

Outer Edge – Untamed & Axis

Inner Corner – Electric

Lower Lash Line – Axis & New Wave

Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture Palette eye look

Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture Palette

Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture Palette

Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture Palette


Fine!! Couple of patchy bits with the darker shades but again I think I was looking out for them because I’d heard they were difficult to blend. I think the trick with this palette is not to be scared. Of course it’s going to be bright, it’s a bold palette, so go for it and pack on that pigmentation.

Ultimately, I think whether you buy this palette comes down to whether you like the shades. If you would never wear these colours don’t buy it but if that glam grunge look is your thang, I’d say what are you waiting for?

Yes it’s not cheap, yes it does have kickback in the pan but for me this is another winner by Anastasia Beverley Hills and I am extremely glad to have joined the Subculture club.

Captial B Lips Pout


  1. September 17, 2017 / 2:43 pm

    I love the look you created its gorgeous! Great review! Xxx

  2. September 17, 2017 / 7:26 pm

    This palette looks absolutely amazing! How gorgeous are these colors! And the pigments look so strong too! I love your swatches! And the makeup look you did… amazing! xx corinne

    • A love affair with Beauty
      September 22, 2017 / 4:47 pm

      The pigmentation is out of this world. Better than Modern Renaissance even but it is a little unnecessary considering how powdery it is but I love the colours so that’s all that matters to me!! xx

  3. September 17, 2017 / 7:30 pm

    I love the look you did with this palette, so gorgeous!
    Also, I am totally in the same boat as you!
    I swatches this recently in Sephora and actually loved the colours!
    Great post xx

    • A love affair with Beauty
      September 22, 2017 / 4:45 pm

      I went back and to about getting this palette on a daily basis! Now I have it though I love it. I do wish it wasn’t so powdery but it really doesn’t matter to me as I’m so obsessed with the colours! xx

  4. Abbey Louisa Rose (@abbeylouisarose)
    September 17, 2017 / 7:30 pm

    Girl, I am LOVING this look on you! You’re totally slaying! I was thinking as I read the first part of this post “oh I love the colours but I’m not sure they’d work on my skin colour” yet when I saw the pics of your look, I changed my mind! I have dark hair and eyes too, and you look so stunning with these colours that I have to reconsider! The pigmentation really is impressive, shame about the kickback but it’s good that you love the palette anyway!

    Abbey 🍕 http://www.abbeylouisarose.co.uk

    • A love affair with Beauty
      September 22, 2017 / 4:49 pm

      I know what you mean! Whenever I see eye looks,the people always have stunningly blue eyes but the second I applied the eyeshadows I loved them and think they compliment brown eyes really well. xx

  5. September 17, 2017 / 7:44 pm

    I absolutely loveeee the look you’ve created! I would never have thought to buy this palette as the colours really don’t seem too wearable and are soooo bright but your look has convinced me otherwise! I loveeeee the colour ‘Axis’!


    • A love affair with Beauty
      September 22, 2017 / 4:51 pm

      Thank you! Yes the eyeshadows are really bright but I actually wore some of the more pastel shades for the Northern Blog awards to go with red lipstick and it made my eyes look so much brighter and “put together”. Yes Axis is definitely one of my favourites. xx

  6. September 17, 2017 / 7:44 pm

    I love the looks you created, and this does sound like a good palette; I’m glad you like it! I must admit I’m not a massive fan of the shades, so I think I’ll be giving this one a miss xx

    Hannah | luxuryblush

    • A love affair with Beauty
      September 22, 2017 / 4:52 pm

      Thank you! It definitely is a love it or hate it palette! I’m just very relieved I love it! Haha xx

  7. September 17, 2017 / 7:53 pm

    You’ve literally made my mind up with the look you created. I’m definitely going to get Subculture now. My original plan was to get it in the US next month but perhaps, given how delicate it is, I’ll buy from ABH direct xx

    Jay | Jayxoblogs.com

    • A love affair with Beauty
      September 22, 2017 / 4:53 pm

      Do it! Do it! As you can see from the pics they are more powdery than is necessary but I’m obsessed with the colours and I’m so glad I got it xx

  8. September 17, 2017 / 8:22 pm

    The make-up look you have created is just so stunning! I wasnt sure about thisnpalette but you are making me want to buy it!

    Amina xx | http://www.AliandHer.com

    • A love affair with Beauty
      September 22, 2017 / 4:54 pm

      Thank you! I think when you see it at first, it looks really unwearable but I have created so many looks with it now. Some really subtle ones and ones like this one here that are definitely more statement! I’m just a little bit in love with it haha xx

  9. September 17, 2017 / 8:35 pm

    This looks so nice I’m always undecided about this palette but I think I would rather buy the modern renaissance palette! Your pictures are absolutely stunning and I love how you did the swatches ❤️


    • A love affair with Beauty
      September 22, 2017 / 4:56 pm

      Thank you! Well you definitely can’t go wrong with Modern Renaissance. The colours are gorgeous and are so wearable you won’t be disappointed. xx

  10. Raquel
    September 17, 2017 / 8:41 pm

    Great review! Everyone lost their shit when this was released and now it seems that people either love it or hate it. I do like colorful eyeshadows but I’ve been wanting that Zoeva palette that has some muted colours aswell for a longer time and it’s cheaper so Subculture is a pass. I’m glad that you liked it and I love the eye look x
    Raquel | http://lipstickdecay.wordpress.com

    • A love affair with Beauty
      September 22, 2017 / 4:58 pm

      You are so right. It’s definitely a marmite palette and there are just so many great palettes at the moment it’s hard to decide. The Zoeva ones are amazing! xx

  11. September 17, 2017 / 9:03 pm

    This palette may actually have nicer colours than the Modern Renaissance? In my opinion anyway, I guess it’s what your into! Great review- really indepth, totally agree that about of fallout isn’t the worst thing ever, with colours like those! Love the look you created!

    • A love affair with Beauty
      September 22, 2017 / 5:00 pm

      I kind of agree. Don’t get me wrong I am obsessed with Modern Renaissance but this one is just so wow, I’m so in love with it. Plus I think you can create so many looks with Subculture, more than you think at first glance. I love it! xx

  12. Luisa
    September 17, 2017 / 10:57 pm

    I LOVE the look you created!! It’s stunning!! And I appreciate your honest review, you acknowledged the points that are not great but also did not hammer the palette, it’s still a great palette if it’s your jam with colours, I think lots got on a bandwagon and were very harsh

    • A love affair with Beauty
      September 22, 2017 / 5:02 pm

      Thank you!
      I really wanted to let people know what it was like and be as honest as possible. I didn’t feel just because it wasn’t a perfect palette that I should go on about how “bad” it was and not focus on the positives, which in my opinion there are many. I love it! xx

  13. September 18, 2017 / 1:57 am

    i love that look you made!! i cant wait to play with my palette! 😍

    • A love affair with Beauty
      September 22, 2017 / 5:05 pm

      Thank you!! I hope you love it as much as I love mine. I had so much fun creating this look xx

  14. September 19, 2017 / 2:31 pm

    This is a palette that I am a bit on the edge in terms of buying! I am a fan of ABH in general and adore her Modern Renaissance palette but just can’t bring myself to like the shades of Subculture 🙁 I love your review though and had no idea that they were realising a second, more improved batch! ( also, your eye makeup is lovely <)

    Imaan | http://www.theaugustclause.com

    • A love affair with Beauty
      September 22, 2017 / 5:05 pm

      It is completely different from Modern Renaissance so I can see why you wouldn’t be so keen on Subculture. I obviously love the palette but I’d say it’s not worth the money at all if the shades don’t immediately appeal to you! xx

  15. March 7, 2018 / 8:03 pm

    The look you created is gorgeous – I’ve had this palette in the back of my mind for a while, but now I can see that the shades are so similar to my androgyny palette it would be a waste to get this!
    Helpless Whilst Drying

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