Monday, January 18, 2016

Pan That Palette 2016: Nude 'Tude Revisited

It occurs to me that I was a little unfair to the MakeupRehab subreddit in my resolutions post. Yes, there are a few things I dislike about that community. I don't think people should force themselves to finish or pan products they detest; all that means is that they neglect the products they do like and come to see makeup as a grim chore. Nor am I fond of the scolding, self-righteous tone of some MakeupRehab commenters, or the consumerism disguised as minimalism (obsessing over X aspect of makeup is no more virtuous than obsessing over Y aspect of makeup). But let me be clear: I'm still glad that MakeupRehab exists. It's a refreshing alternative to the YOLO BUY ALL THE THINGS mentality that exists elsewhere in the beauty blogosphere.

For that matter, I'm not opposed on principle to Project Pans and the like, though I do raise an eyebrow at some people's reasons for using up products. If something is unflattering or flawed and there's no way to make it look better or perform more effectively, is it really worth finishing? I mean, maybe it is! If you get satisfaction out of panning a disappointing product, more power to you. But because I don't see the logic in that, a panning project motivated by guilt over sunk cost wouldn't work for meI'd give up in disgust within a few days. What does make sense to me is a panning project based on finding the hidden potential of a product or using it up before it goes bad. Hence my MakeupRehab-inspired Pan That Palette project for 2016! My victim: theBalm's Nude 'tude palette, reviewed here and here.


I bought Nude 'tude in August 2012; it was my first eyeshadow palette and my first venture into wearing more than one color of eyeshadow at a time. The palette taught me which neutral colors I liked (taupes and cool-toned browns) and which were of no use to me (matte warm browns, frosty highlights). With these preferences in mind, I began to expand my collection. A few of the shades I bought were meant to be improvements on specific Nude 'tude shades: Maybelline Bad to the Bronze, for instance, was a cooler-toned alternative to theBalm Seductive. But as my stash of eyeshadows grew, I started neglecting Nude 'tude, even the colors I'd previously loved. I came to view Nude 'tude as my "starter palette" and rarely experimented with the color combinations it could provide. After a while, I stopped noticing it on my shelf, though its meek beige packaging may have had something to do with that. Another reason was that after years of use and abuse, it looked like this inside:



Better pictures of the current state of each shade:



Recently, though, I've been wanting to give Nude 'tude some more attention. It's three and a half years old now, and while the shadows still look and feel normal, I'm not sure how many more years of normalcy I can expect from them. I'm also in a back-to-basics mood these days: my eyeshadow technique could stand some improvement, and the more I practice, the more problems I run into, most of them having to do with my weird eyelids:


For instance: I don't think I have hooded eyes, because a good deal of mobile lid is visible when my eyes are open; but then why are my creases so deep, and why does any color I put in them end up on my browbone? How do I prevent powder eyeshadow from collecting in my extra eyelid folds? Are the bits of the folds that extend out from my eyes always going to fuck up my blending-out attempts? (I don't think I'll ever be able to achieve those perfectly crisp, perfectly rounded halo eyes you see on Instagram.) And how am I still asking these questions after more than three years of eyeshadow practice? I don't know, but I hope this most basic of eyeshadow palettes can help me out of my difficulties. I can't get a huge number of looks from the palette alone, but now that my eyeshadow collection is larger, I have plenty of mix-and-match possibilities.

In order to make the shadows more visually appealing (not to mention safer: I don't want broken glass near anything I put on my eyes), I ordered a medium Z Palette from Amazon and embarked on my first depotting project! It was ridiculously easy: I just used a metal nail file to wiggle each pan free from the cardboard packaging. The shadows look a lot more appealing in their new, clean setting. Too bad I was a dumbass and bought the medium Z Palette instead of the small one—I have so much extra room!


I've never actively tried to pan eyeshadow before, so I don't know what kind of timeline to lay out here. But seeing that these shadows are quite small (though deeper than you'd think) and I'm just a few microns away from hitting pan on three of them, let's say that in the next six months, I want to do the following:

FINISH: Sophisticated, Selfish.


PAN: Sleek, Serious, Silly, Sexy, Seductive, Stand-offish, Stubborn.


IGNORE (OR WHATEVER): Sassy, Snobby, Sultry.


Yeah, these three colors are lost causes. Sultry is the worst possible brown for my coloring, Snobby isn't much better, and I don't know what to do with an opaque frosty white. Use it as a highlighter, maybe? If I can make a visible dent in any of these, I'll count it a victory.

Finally, a couple of looks I've put together in the last few days. Here's Stubborn all over the lid, Sexy in the crease (not that you can see it), and Sleek on the upper and lower lashlines:


My lips were especially dry that day, so I wore a lip gloss for the first time in ages: Revlon Embellished, a sheer, sparkly berry. GDI why do I have wet hair in so many of my selfies.


I'm very interested in pink eyeshadow these days, thanks to Christine's recent Instagram FOTDs featuring Suqqu's Akanezora quad. Stubborn is a nice neutral-warm pink, but I'm on the lookout for a pale cool pink with a slight shimmer. Any ideas? Urban Decay Heartless is the most promising candidate so far, and I'm also considering ColourPop Eye Candy for a more aggressively sparkly option.

And today's look: Seductive all over the lid and Sophisticated in the crease and outer v:


I still think Seductive is a bit too warm for my skintone, so I'll have to keep experimenting with color combinations. A purply plum like the right half of NARS Habanera might make the bronze look less stark against my coolish complexion.


What do you think of Pan That Palette and similar projects? Are you trying to hit pan on anything currently?

19 comments:

  1. I don't feel any which way about Project Pans since so much of it has to do with people's personalities and purchasing habits. Eh - for me, I try not to get into the position of needing to do one but I'm a natural minimalist (except for skincare because of the blog I write) - I buy things with a lot of longevity for example - I opt for powder over cream products, not because I enjoy them more, but I don't want the stress of using it up before expiry. You should see my closet - stripes, turtlenecks, jeans and leggings. Ugh I want to break the cycle now. Maybe I'll buy a Serenity Blue lip gloss...

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    1. I agree that the benefits of Project Pans are entirely subjective. I wouldn't derive much joy or utility from using up a product I disliked, but some people do, and that's cool--it's not my place to judge how people use their own makeup.

      Believe it or not, I have fairly minimalist habits outside of makeup. I never own more than one kind of skincare or haircare product at a time, and I have to force myself to wear clothes in non-neutral colors. I'd probably have a more extensive wardrobe if I earned more money, but for now I use makeup to give variety to my looks.

      And glad to hear you appreciate the bigger photos! :)

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    2. I'm much the same, I don't derive pleasure in dutifully using something just because it's there. I hope my comment didn't come off as judgmental, just wanted to explain why I don't have a Project Pan going on in my own life. Yes, neutrals are an amaazing base for interesting makeup looks. I'm in the same boat, my 'frivolity' is reserved for beauty and not fashion - it's a much more cost effective way to add some spice into my consumerist life.

      January is such a great time to do one. Best of luck on this, I really love Seductive and Stubborn on you.

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    3. No worries, you didn't come off as judgmental at all! But it's hard to know how people will interpret your tone. I was actually worried that *I* came off as judgmental in my post. I've tried to make clear that the "good" and "bad" reasons I discuss are good and bad for me and my life, not good and bad objectively!

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  2. Still loving the larger photos!

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  3. I think, I could be wrong, but I'm about 75% sure the only eyeshadow I've hit pan on is one of the very first palettes I ever owned. I still have it and use it very occasionally (it has one of those rare warmish matte greys) but it is a solid decade old. At least. Made by Revlon, too, and holding up quite well! I have never even considered purposefully trying to hit pan on eyeshadow, I have a collection that edged into embarrassingly large some time ago. I don't really wear many colors EXCEPT on my eyes, which is the essential reason why my collection is in this state- it's my wardrobe! I'm more conscious about trying to finish other things, like lipsticks, because their lifespan is so much shorter... but this can also mean that I'll rationalize eyeshadow purchases because I know I can hang on to them.

    I am so with you on the yellow golds. I've never understood just what in my skintone makes them look not quite garish, but almost sickly. They are probably the #1 reason I avoid large palettes.

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    1. Thinking of makeup as your wardrobe really does cast this issue in a different light. It's a little strange that so many people rejoice at finishing up makeup, when I don't know of anyone who rejoices when their jeans rip at the crotch and they have to buy new ones. Come to think of it, I tend to view my lipstick collection as a wardrobe of sorts. I rarely wear bright colors except on my lips, and I'm pretty good about rotating through my lipsticks so they all get some attention (even though I do have seasonal favorites). As you say, the only problem is that lipstick goes bad more quickly than powder products, but I have some perfectly good lipsticks from 4-5 years ago.

      I don't know what possessed theBalm to add such a BRIGHT yellow gold to its neutral palette. It doesn't seem like a color that very many people would find flattering. I can see it being a nice statement color on dark skin, though then it wouldn't be a neutral, would it...

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  4. I usually keep things i dont like for awhile and try to make them work. I've found real gems this way. My sister bought what was essentially a creamy bronzing foundation that was a full shade too dark and bestowed it upon me. Since we already have way too much sun and humidity, i have absolutely no use for it, but it's perfect for mixing with foundations that are too watery or light. I nearly destashed it but I'm glad i didn't! I dunno, maybe you will suddenly feel like wearing super yellow gold all the time? But the gold is really.... yellow. I would never call it a neutral.

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    1. I was thinking of repurposing the gold as a highlighter, but I'm not sure it would be any more flattering on my cheeks than it is on my eyes! I admire your commitment to getting the most out of your products, though. I tend to be pretty lazy in that regard.

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  5. I do get some weird pleasure in using things up, regardless of whether I really like them or not. I find "no buys" more psychologically challenging than pan type projects (in theory, since I haven't done either, really). I feel like obsessing over what I'm buying/not buying would cause me more trouble than obsessing over things I already have.

    I think you have gorgeous eyes! I wonder who these people are with "normal" eyelids. I think they are in the minority. Does primer not help with eyeshadow gathering in the creases? I know it's just another product to buy, but even powder eyeshadow creases on me in an hour without it.

    I wonder who thought it was a good idea to attach a mirror to a cardboard palette! Also, for the record, I've never had a powder product go bad, and I have some very old eyeshadows. The worst that's happened is it gets that kind of hard, oily film on top, but that can be scraped away. Looking forward to updates of your progress!

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    1. I didn't find my no-buy particularly stressful, because it had a set end date in the near future, and during that short period the answer to "should I buy this?" was always "no." My current low-buy is actually more stressful: I have to decide which products are good enough to warrant spending X portion of my monthly $40-ish, and it's hard to decide!

      I should have mentioned that I always use NYX HD primer under my powder shadows, but the creases still mess up the smoothness of the color. Maybe another primer would work better? Or maybe I should just accept that I'll never have Instagram-perfect eyeshadow and move on with my life.

      The mirror actually withstood a few years of travel before it cracked! Those cardboard palettes are surprisingly sturdy.

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    2. I hated that NYX primer, but I have totally different eyelids than you do, so my experience is not necessarily relevant. And I have definitely accepted that I won't have Instagram-perfect anything (though honestly, I don't usually think that level of perfection looks great in everyday life).

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  6. I tried to pan a few things but ultimately it was a failure: the blush didn't age well, and since I basically stopped wearing eyeshadow a year and a half ago...yeah. I think it's an interesting project, though, and for a lot of people on MUR, seems to work for them.

    Eye shape is hard. My eyes are tow different shapes, and since I switched contact lens type in the fall, totally different shapes from when I started wearing makeup at 13. Basically I'm so frustrated with eye shape that even entertaining wearing eyeshadow on a regular basis is just not happening now.

    I've never had an eyeshadow go bad! My oldest one, an Urban Decay single that I hit pan on in 2011 and kind of forgot about it, was still fine when I got rid of it, even though it was seven years old when I chucked it. It was more psychologically disturbing to me than anything else. Also panned enough that I was okay with some eyeshadow waste.

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    1. I admit there's a chance that this panning project will peter out; if it does, no harm done. Really, I'm just curious to see what will happen!

      I agree with you about the psychological unease that comes from using old makeup. Fortunately, none of my makeup is more than four or five years old, because I didn't start wearing makeup in earnest until my early-mid 20s. I once read a Specktra thread about users' oldest makeup. The answers were...eye-opening. Some people still had (and used) makeup from the early '90s! *shudder* I understand wanting to keep vintage MAC collections, but don't USE that shit.

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  7. Project Pan sucks the joy out of makeup for me for the exact thing you wrote. I was trying to finish up stuff I don't like--probably in an attempt to punish myself for impulsive buying?

    Right now, I'm trying the use-it-for-about-a-week-and-let-it-go-if-you-dont-like-it-as-much strategy.

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    1. I think any behavior based on guilt and self-punishment is hard to maintain, not to mention psychologically damaging. I'm all for trying to get the most out of the makeup you already have, but I've seen people on MakeupRehab forcing themselves to pan mediocre products as punishment for buying something they like more! That just seems so irrational and sad to me.

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  8. I've never understand the mentality behind panning something you don't like! I'd much rather pass it on to someone who will get more use of it (or throw it out of it's old/gross/really awful), and do frequently. It does seem to work for some people, but it's not for me.

    I have hooded eyelids (and I don't think you do, for what it's worth), and I relate to your eyeshadow struggles. Most of what I see on Instagram/Reddit/YouTube/etc is just not achievable for me. My makeup skills are pretty good and I can do nice eyeshadow on people with perfect Instagram-worthy eyelids, but it's never going to happen on me! I've experimented a lot to find out what works for my eye shape, but basically anything that involves creasework either won't work on me or needs to be adapted. So hopefully this year you'll be able to try new things and find out what works for you - I think for those of us with non-standard eyelid shapes it's the only way!

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    1. I'm glad to hear that I'm not alone in my eyelid frustration! Luckily, I'm far less obsessed with eye makeup than I am with lipstick, so I'm usually content to do a one-color wash of eyeshadow and call it a day. But when I do try to experiment with different colors and placements, I'm almost never satisfied. I once caught myself looking at my boyfriend's eyes and thinking "ugh, waste of good eyelids, I'd do SO MANY CAT EYES if I had those eyelids."

      I think you're right that my eyes aren't truly hooded, but I might look up some eye-makeup tutorials for hooded eyes, since I seem to have similar difficulties (e.g. a very deep crease).

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    2. Ha, I've looked at so many men's lids and lashes and been jealous. I used to be really fixated on my grandpa's perfect eyelids! And just people with a good eyelid shape (for makeup purposes) in general - I have definitely, more than once, told someone that I like their eyelid shape. Which is a really weird compliment if you're not into makeup, and even then probably bizarre.

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