An 18-shadow palette with a mix of four formulas (matte, metallic, foil and sheer iridescent) in a range of earthy tones, the Lime Crime Venus XL 2 Eyeshadow Palette “captures all the edge of grunge with a soft acoustic side that redefines the classics and reinvents nudes.” With a gorgeous neon-haired Venus on the cover and an interior mirror trimmed in orange tree branches, Lime Crime certainly sets a beautiful stage with this palette, but how does it perform?
Find it HERE
Tested May 2020
It’s entirely possible I bought this palette because one, the graphics on the packaging are absolutely gorgeous and two, the color palette of pinks and greens and browns gives me all the ethereal goddess vibes that I aspire to.
I didn’t pay much attention to the claims about the unique finishes of some of these shades, but the palette does contain three foil shades (Crown, Myth and Eve) that are “high def and ultra reflective!” and two sheer iridescents (Radiant and Obscure) that perform as “sheer opalescent lid toppers.”
The sheer iridescent shadows, Radiant and Obscure, look so pretty when you press your finger into the pan (I don’t recommend using a brush on any of the shimmery colors in this palette if you can avoid it, more on that later), but they’re a tad lackluster once they’re on the lid. The pastel green Obscure is the better of the two, but the bright, opaque color seen in the pan is not the same color intensity I get on the eyes or in the swatches. It is definitely sheer, however, I can build it up into a opalescent mint color that adds a fun twist to the usual inner corner highlight.
Radiant, a peachy pearl shade, barely shows up on my skin tone when applied on its own, but layered on top of a deeper shade, it softens the color and makes it look more multi-dimensional. I did try to amp up the color payoff on Radiant by spraying my brush with a setting spray first, and this had virtually no effect.
The foil formula in this palette is basically just shimmer with a lot of fallout. I had a huge mess on my hands when I decided to apply Eve and had to use a makeup wipe to clean up all the shadow dust that ended up under my eyes (thankfully, I did my eyes before the rest of my makeup, which is a must when using this palette). I was shocked at how much shadow I wiped off, and I think you can see flecks of this shade in places it doesn’t belong throughout the eye look photos in this post. Eve is also the messiest in the entire palette, scattering bits of shadow into the pans around it.
In terms of the metallic formula, these nine shades are winners. I especially love Locust, which looks brown at first, but shifts to bring out a beautiful olive green tone. Forbidden is also one of my favorites. Paired with Phoenix, especially on my lower lash line, these shades can really make my blue eyes pop.
The matte shades in this palette are okay, except for Sage, which is rather patchy. I used it to line the eyes and make a little shadow wing, and it looked nice, but it doesn’t perform as well over larger surface areas.
In Bloom is a strong, colorful matte rose and it became a go-to crease shade for me while I used this palette. I also like it all over the lid with a shimmer shadow on top.
The Venus XL 2 palette has, hands down, one of the most interesting color stories I’ve seen. There are warm-toned browns that provide neutral eye looks galore, pinks that add softness and greens with a range of unique earthy tones. I didn’t struggle to come up with color combinations on the eye, and could do anything from sheer and light to more dramatic with this one palette. The shadows last all day on the eyes with a primer and stay crease free. Overall, I liked all the looks I created.
It’s the excessive fallout using these shadows that just kills me. Each time I dipped into a pan with my brush, I had to tap off the excess, watch a cloud of shadow dust fall into my sink, and STILL need a makeup wipe to clean up all the color that fell under my eyes and onto my cheeks. One morning, there was so much shadow that fluffed off my brushes as I worked with this palette that my white sink looked like a sandbox. I’m sorry, I just don’t have time for all this clean-up on a daily basis. Plus, the glitter in shades like Thorn and Crown, which is so pretty and reflective on the lid, is much less attractive when it falls under my eyes creating a purple glitter disco ball that no amount of wiping away with my finger or dusting over with translucent powder can hide.
I got a slightly better result applying the non-matte shades with my finger, but I need a palette with this many colors to have more application versatility than that because I can’t use my finger to apply a liner shade or get precision along the lower lashes or outer corner of the eye.
If this were a $30 palette, I probably wouldn’t be giving it such a hard time about the quality of the formula and issues with fallout. To put this in context, however, the Tati Beauty Textured Neutrals Vol. 1 palette (I reviewed it here), while different in color story, is $10 less than this, has six more shades than this, and is much more pigmented than this. Marc Jacobs Eye-Conic Multi-Finish palettes are $49.50 and vastly superior to this in all ways. Urban Decay’s Born to Run palette, which even has a green shade, is also less money ($49) for more shades (21). At $58, the Venus XL 2 palette veers into luxury pricing territory without the luxury quality to match. I’m sad to say this because I truly love the packaging, color scheme and many of the shades in this palette, but it just isn’t worth the up-there price tag.