The Fake Up Files: Anastacia Beverly Hills, Modern Renaissance Palette

Published on April 17, 2018 by   ·   2 Comments

Everyone loves a bargain.

Makeup is expensive and more and more releases are being shoved in our faces all the time, so it’s easy to understand why there is such a culture of imitation available for the makeup consumer willing to dig a little bit.  Many of these stop at the level of imitation; whether or not that is really the sincerest form of flattery is up to the individual brand being copied.  For example, here is the Morphe x Jaclyn Hill palette:

Jaclyn Hill
A typical 35-pan palette from Morphe will run you $22, but this collab will cost you an eyebrow-raising $38, only $6 away from being double the price!  I’m not really a Jaclyn Hill fan, so there was no way I was willing to pay that much to get this #BasicBitch starter kit palette.  But I was willing to pay $11.88 for this:

Fake 10
This palette from Beauty Glazed, available on Amazon, has a lot of the same colors as the Morphe palette; it has a similar packaging style and the colors are arranged in a similar manner.  If you were just glancing at these and weren’t a rabid Jaclyn Hill fan or didn’t have any OCD tendencies, you might not even know that they are different.  The silver packaging is smooth in the Morphe palette and textured in the Beauty Glazed, the blue-greens jump up a row while the blue purples move down and over, but a quick glance leaves you with pretty much the same feeling.  Except that your wallet won’t be feeling the same sting, as the dupe palette is less than 1/3 the price of the real deal.

Now however you feel about cheap dupes and whether or not they are even worth looking at, at least most of them are snatching the style without crossing over into blatant counterfeit territory.

Until they do.

Anastasia Beverly Hills is mostly responsible for the glut of warm neutral palettes with pops of cranberry red thanks to Modern Renaissance, a 14-pan palette that finally managed to dethrone the rose gold nudes of Urban Decay’s Naked 3.  At $42, it’s not cheap but also not as outrageously priced as some of its competition.  But can $42 compete with…$4?!  That’s right, y’all: I found a listing on Amazon that was selling a dupe of the ABH palette for $4.08, plus $2.00 shipping, for a total of $6.08.

Now, I knew this was going to be a blatant knock-off: although the palette had a different brand listed, all of the photos on the page were lifted directly from the ABH site.  The shade names are all the same and it even uses the name and logo of ABH on the palette itself as well as the outer carton.

Fake 03
I hope I don’t have to explain to you which is the fake and which is the real palette.  The flocked velvet on the fake palette is a similar sort of lilac purple, but it’s dingy and looks dirty’ it’s also so thin that you can see seams and marks from the cardboard underneath it.  The real palette uses a bold white lettering while the fake has a silver embossing that doesn’t stand out nearly as well.  The fake is also based on the old version oft he ABH packaging that included the visual logo; the new palette from ABH only has the word logo and not the visual logo.

I noted above that the fake palette uses all of the same shade names, but that doesn’t mean that the shades themselves are the same, as you immediately can see when you open the palette:

No Flash

No Flash

With Flash

With Flash

In both images, with and without flash, the fake palette is on top and the real ABH palette is below.  In general, the fake palette’s shades are lighter and brighter than those in the authentic palette.  Golden Ochre, Venetian Red, Love Letter, and Realgar are the most obvious examples of this, but in some cases the fake palette is darker…or has an entirely different shade altogether!  Take for example Antique Bronze, the 5th shade in the top row.  In the real ABH palette it looks, well, bronze.  But in the fake palette, it’s a strange shimmery lavender shade.  Below I’m going to include closeups of swatches; rather than swatch each palette separately, I wanted to show off the difference by putting the matching shades next to each other so you could see how close they were…or in most cases, how far apart.  They shades are all over the place, and to keep myself from getting confused, I used a Kat Von D Ink Liner in Trooper to draw a line between pairs of swatches so I could more easily keep track.  I also primed my arm with the Paint Pot from MAC in Painterly.  The top photo is always without flash in my office light, bottom photo is with flash.

In each of the swatch pairs, ABH is first, followed by the fake palette’s “matching” shade:

Fake 04Left: Tempera.  Right: Golden Ochre.

Tempera is similar-ish?  The quality of the fake is much lower, so it ends up looking much more chalky and pigmented.  I honestly don’t love either one, but the ABH is clearly more pigmented and even in how it swatches.  For Golden Ochre, the ABH shade is sort of a camel tan, while the fake shade is straight up pastel yellow.  I actually really like the lighter shade because I love pastels, but it’s also kind of sheer and would need some work to make it usable.  I probably won’t use it at all (more on that below), but this is one where I actually like the fake shade more than it’s original counterpart – not as a replacement, of course, but as a color I just like better for me and my needs.

Fake 05
Left: Vermeer. Middle: Buon Fresco. Right: Antique Bronze.

Vermeer is a shimmer in both palettes, but the ABH shade is a light candlelight yellow shimmer while the fake palette is a pinky-pearl shimmer, much cooler and whiter.  Buon Fresco is supposed to be a light mauve shade, but transitions into a light cool pink that looks nice with the fake version of Vermeer, but doesn’t look at all like the shade that “inspired” it.  Antique Bronze is the real WT-Aactual-F moment.  The ABH shadow is a warm bronze brown and the fake shade is a cool silvery lilac.  Why?  I mean…just…why?  Clearly they aren’t worried about the legal implications of ripping off ABH – if they were they wouldn’t have tried to recreate the packaging so closely, including obviously trademarked names and logos.  So why change this shade to such a strange, odd color – especially when the shade name clearly indicates what the shade should look like?!

Fake 06
Left: Love Letter. Right: Cypress Umber.

Love Letter is supposed to be a deep berry shade, but the fake palette shade is an electric raspberry.  This is another one that I actually like more in the fake palette, because of how gorgeous and vibrant it is.  Cypress Umber is a cool-toned brown in both palettes, but this is one time where the fake palette is noticeably lighter than the real palette.  They are both nice shades, but the fake is a little bit patchy.

Fake 07
Left: Raw Sienna. Right: Burnt Orange.

For the ABH shades, both of these look much lighter when swatched than they do in the pan, and they are a similar sort of light tan shade.  For the fake palette, there is a lot more differentiation, and neither looks like the inspo shade: Raw Sienna is a bright orange shade and Burnt Orange is more of a mac’n’cheese orange.  None of these shades really appeals to me, but the ABH shades are more brown and the fake shades are more orange/yellow.

Fake 08
Left: Primavera. Middle: Red Ochre. Right: Venetian Red.

The fake shade of Primavera almost looks like a nice match for the ABH shade Vermeer.  In terms of this pairing, however, the ABH is a richer yellow gold where the fake is more of a light candlelight gold.  Red Ochre is almost as bad a match as Antique Bronze: the ABH shade is a red-based brown shade while the fake shade is a light, bright yellowy pink.  Venetian Red is another one where I actually like the fake shade better than the real deal: that neon popsicle red shade is life!  What it isn’t, however, is even remotely similar to the burgundy red of the ABH palette shade.

Fake 09
Left: Warm Taupe. Right: Realgar.

For these last two shades, Warm Taupe and Realgar, neither one is a very good match.  The ABH Warm Taupe is actually taupe, but the fake shade is almost yellow.  Sort of a light mustard shade that is much warmer than the original shade.  Realgar is a little closer, but the ABH shade is more of a matte terracotta, while the fake shade is a much brighter, lighter orange.  It’s not a bad orange, and the payoff is nice, but it’s definitely not a dupe.

I did notice a couple of other small defects with the fake palette.  First, they spelled the shade Realgar incorrectly (with a P instead of an R):

Fake 12
Second, the black covering that surrounds cardboard where the shades are house is does not go down into any of the cutouts:

Fake 13
So as you can see in the brush tray, in the ABH palette, the entire tray is lined in the black, but in the fake palette the plack ends at the cut out, and the stacked layers of cardboard are visible.

I didn’t take photos to show the difference, but the brushes are also not the same.  The ABH brush is generally bigger; the fluffier end is fluffier and the hard, flat side is longer than the brush in the fake palette.

Now, even though some of these shades weren’t bad and some of the colors were actually more interesting to me than the ABH originals, I probably won’t be rocking these shadows on my eyes.  Why?  Because in addition to reproducing the look of the palette, they also reproduced the sticker on the back, including the ingredients list.  And that’s a problem: if the two palettes really did have the same ingredients (even if some of the quantities and proportions were slightly different, the colors should be roughly the same.  A change in the amount of pigment in a shade can alter the color, but it wouldn’t change it from bronze to lavender.  If I’m wrong about that, I’d love for an actual scientist to let me know how all of that works, but for no, I think this palette just reproduces the sticker that was on the real palette – which means who the hell knows what is actually in these shadows?!  They could have unsafe chemicals, they could have ingredients that cause sensitivity, etc.  They also reproduced the Happy Bunny certification logo, but that’s sketchy as well.  Yes, it could be that they are just producing the palette in China and sending it to the US; if something isn’t sold to Chinese consumers, it can be produced in China without any required animal testing.  But I doubt that they went through the long and involved process to get certification.  Finally, both palettes indicated that the eyeshadows are produced in the US, and again I believe this is just the fake palette reproducing the text from the original sticker.  Again, I’m not in the makeup manufacturing business, but I have a hard time believing that a Chinese company would pay to have their shadows produced in the US, shipped to China to be assembled into a palette, and then mailed back to the US in customer orders – and still be able to sell them for only $4.08 a palette.  Nope.

I’m not against the idea of dupe palettes and other lookalike products, so long as the products are on the up and up.  In this case, this is a company that is clearly counterfeiting a different product, and the lack of transparency about the ingredients or manufacturing processes are not only suspect, but potentially dangerous.

They shot for a Renaissance, but this palette is stuck firmly in the Dark Ages.

Now Go Forth & Get Painted!

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Readers Comments (2)
  1. Brida says:

    My stance on dupes and fakes is pretty much safety based without the loyalty to the multi million dollar corporations that a lot of people exhibit. Dupes, I’m fine with. A dupe doesn’t pretend to BE the original product – even if the shades are identical and even in some cases (Okalan Cosmetics) the shade names are the same, the palettes have their own packaging, brand name, ingredients etc. I LOVE Bad Habit and Face Candy, “home” brands of Shop Hush, who have given me stunning, US designed, cruelty free dupes for ABH, Kylie Cosmetics, Natasha Denona, Too Faced and Huda (and I’m wanting to try more) – some of which have quality and pigmentation that outshines the original. FAKES on the other hand, I am CONSTANTLY warning people against. I’m often telling people not to buy makeup on Wish for this reason, and explaining (because so many people don’t know this, and that’s scary) that fake makeup contains harmful and unregulated ingredients and is produced in dirty factories by cartels with no regard for the health and safety of their workers or consumers. High levels of human and animal faeces and urine amongst other grotesqueries have been found in fakeup. And the health and safety of othet human beings is something i do care about. Something I DON’T care so much about (sorry) is showing support for the big brands being duped by brands like Bad Habit and Face Candy. And I’ve honestly been called all manner of things up to and including a terrible human being for that – but I think that when a brand creates a high priced product they know they are going to be marginalizing a large portion of consumers, and that that portion will be catered to by someone. Dupe buyers are not the intended consumer for a high end brand. Huda and ABH aren’t losing a customer. And honestly, they’re not even losing attention – dupes are pretty much exclusively discussed in context so it becomes, if anything, free publicity for the original brand. Anyway, great blog post as usual! I look forward to more in my inbox.

    • JanessaJaye says:

      Yeah, I agree – there is no way in heck I’m paying $220 for a Natasha Denona palette. No ma’am! So if I can find a product that has the same shade selection for an affordable price, I’m going to snatch it up….as long as they are transparent about how their products are manufactured and what goes into them! Thanks for reading! :)

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