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making faces :: i could maybe not buy this one thing

i've been into makeup on some level for a long time- much longer than i've been writing about it, for certain. even as a young woman, i loved the feeling of i got from applying a deep-hued lipstick and some mascara. it took years for me to figure out eyeshadow, and even longer for me to appreciate blush. but at this point, i think we can agree that i'm pretty much into the whole gamut. [except liquid and super-matte lipsticks, and most very sparkly eyeshadows. but that's because they're painful for me to wear.]

the thing about spending a long time collecting and holding onto just about everything is that you accumulate quite a stash. lately, i'm trying to force myself to think about what i already have before laying down money for something new. most recently, i found myself drawn to the modern renaissance palette from anastasia. me and a lot of people. by the time i started thinking about it, it was already sold out in my local sephora and online. i signed up for a notification when the item was back in stock at sephora canada, but heard nothing for months. looking at swatches from reviews online, i was just swept up in the rich blend of gold, sienna, ochre and red shades. in a world where every new palette seems to be a different iteration of nude, it was something very different.

as i waited, i started to think about the colours that were in the palette: yes, they looked beautiful, but did i truly have nothing to which i could compare them? or were they just suggesting combinations i hadn't thought of before? i dutifully started rummaging through all my past purchases, to see what i could find. did i manage to find good matches for everything?

let's see.

for reference, here is the review of the modern renaissance palette from auxiliary beauty. you should definitely read it to see the looks and swatches, but also because she gives some perspective on the art movement for which the palette is named. you can also check out temptalia's review and her swatches, which are, as ever, admirable in their in their definition and consistency. the descriptions i've given are from anastasia themselves.

[i apologise for the fact that the swatches don't line up properly with the order of the shade descriptions. hopefully, you can figure everything out without too much difficulty.]

colour #1 :: tempera :: beige with an ultra-matte finish
in both sets of swatches, this looks lighter than anything i'd call beige, and seems to have a slightly peachy cast. this sort of shade is not difficult to find, and one of my favourite base/ highlight shades, inglot #352, fits the bill. it's also very matte, although in some photos, "tempera" appears to have a slightly satiny finish. if it's there, though, i don't know how visible it would be in day to day life, so i think that #351 is a pretty good start.

colour #2 :: golden ochre :: earthy yellow with an ultra-matte finish
this one seems to vary a lot according to skin colour, which makes it really difficult to gauge. mac "soba" or the limited edition shades "natural wilderness" and "ochre style" seem like possibilities, but both look darker and browner than "golden ochre". they're both nice shades, but i don't think that they're a great match.

l to r :: inglot 352, mac golden ochre, natural wilderness

colours #3 :: vermeer :: iridescent shell with a metallic finish
this one appears to be a metallic companion to "tempera", as it also has a peachy/ pink tone. and, as with "tempera" i didn't find it difficult to come up with some decent ideas for imitating it. le metier de beauté "nouvelle", from their limited nouvelle vague palette, looks quite similar to the photos i've seen. [the limited edition shade from chanel, "complice", also looks kind of similar.]

colour #4 :: buon fresco :: antique lavender with an ultra-matte finish
this is, i believe, the one shade in the palette that's available on its own from anastasia. but it's also one that a lot of brands have done. that's not surprising, because this sort of colour is phenomenal in the crease for cool skin tones. mac has the stalwart "quarry", but i chose to stick with the nouvelle vague palette and use "icon" as a substitute. i think "icon" looks a little redder and deeper, but it's closer. again, i think chanel has a decent match in "hasard".

colour #5 :: antique bronze :: metallic sable with a satin finish
a lot of companies have great bronze shades, but this one has a pinkish sheen to it that makes it really special. that said, i immediately reached for mac "sable", which i has a similar thing happening. i find that "sable" can be a little tricky to build up to its full glory, but it doesn't look heavy.

l to r :: lmdb icon, nouvelle, mac one to watch

colour #6 :: love letter :: raspberry with an ultra-matte finish
i knew right off that i wasn't going to come up with anything great to match this. armed with that knowledge, i reached for the berry shade from viseart's bijou royale palette. [upcoming review alert!] the difference is clear: the viseart shade is metallic and "love letter" is matte. i thought about trying mac "hepcat", but it's one of their most difficult shades to work with. [although, strangely, i can never bring myself to part with it.] i even thought about using a blush, like marc jacobs "tantalizing". the bottom line is that this is going to be one of the harder shades to copy.

l to r :: viseart berry, mac sable

colour #7 :: cyprus umber ::  dark coffee with an ultra-matte finish
as the key to  matching "antique bronze" was in the description, the key to matching "cyprus umber" is in the name. it's a cool coffee-brown, as stated, but not as dark as you'd think, given that it's the darkest shade in the palette. rouge bunny rouge "umber firefinch" looks like a good dupe. i think that the darkest matte shades in the viseart cashmere or minx palettes would also be candidates.

colour #8 :: raw sienna :: neutral amber with an ultra-matte finish
i don't know how you get a "neutral amber", because amber is a shade that is by its nature warm, but i guess i'll let that go for now. this is another one that isn't easy to match, but i think that the mac prolongwear shade "one to watch" looks pretty close. in fact, it's a comparison that i saw immediately, and what inspired me to try matching other colours in the palette.

colour #9 :: burnt orange :: deep orange with an ultra-matte finish
i got nuthin. i'm not saying shades like this don't exist, but i don't have anything like it. about the closest i could come would be, again, "one to watch", but it's closer to "raw sienna".

colour #10 :: primavera :: shimmery gold with an ultra-matte finish
shimmery with an ultra-matte finish. anastasia, someone in your mar-comm team needs more coffee. gold shades are not difficult to find, but they are sometimes difficult to match, as seems to be the case here. the shade is warmer, but in some photos, it looks a little peachy, while in others it looks more amber/ orange. i thought of a lot of comparison shades- rbr "angelic cockatiels" at the peach/ orange extreme, or "golden rhea" or "unforgettable oriole". for that matter, "suede" from anastasia looks close-ish. in the end, i think that shade #3 from marc jacobs the ingenue palette looks reasonably close. i'm still not sure it's a great match, but i think that i could play around with different options for this one.

colour #11 :: red ochre :: sienna with an ultra-matte finish
this is another one of those shades that's not very easy to match, but i knew right away what i was going to use. a few years back, mac released a limited shade called "saffron". i think it's a bit brighter and a titch warmer, but i'm fairly confident it's a solid stand-in. the permanent mac shade "red brick" is supposedly fairly close to "saffron".

colour #12 :: venetian red :: crimson with an ultra-matte finish
this is one of the "superstar" colours of the palette and one of the most difficult to duplicate. red eyeshadows are not common. i pulled out inglot #495, but it's warmer, lighter and has gold shimmer. the limited edition mac pigment "new temptation" seems a little closer, although still brighter, and it can look more fuchsia, depending on what's around it.

l to r :: inglot 495, mac new temptation, saffron

colour #13 :: warm taupe :: earthy gray with an ultra-matte finish
heh heh. i have so many taupes i forgot to come up with a specific match for this one. most taupe shades are cooler, but the nature of the colour is that the shades that surround it tend to affect what it looks like. rbr "solstice halcyon" is pinker. "bohemian waxwing" is more shimmery. i don't have the rbr shade "chestnut-napped apalis", and probably the best match that i found in my collection was the soft brown shade [#3] from guerlain's les sables. taupes are pretty common is my point.

colour #14 :: realgar :: brick with an ultra-matte finish
this seems like a somewhat lighter, warmer version of "raw sienna" and immediately put me in ming of the guerlain palette les fauves. i think shade #2 from that palette looks like a pretty good substitute, and may even be a little more unique.

l to r :: anastasia suede, marc jacobs the ingenue #3, guerlain les fauves #2


so, now that we've gone through that, how about a few looks so that you can compare them to what's been done with modern renaissance by other bloggers? [again, check out auxiliary beauty, but there are tonnes of people who've posted looks on blogs, youtube and instagram showing off what they've done with this palette.]

eyes - mac era, soba; viseart bijou royale berry, light shell; guerlain liu gold; inglot 495; anastasia suede; rbe papyrus canary; gosh felt pen eyeliner brown; mufe concealer pencil; marc jacobs velvet mascara
cheeks - guerlain red hot
lips - bite beauty enoki

eyes - inglot 352, mac one to watch, natural wilderness, saffron, guerlain les fauves #2, rbr angelic cockatiels, pixi eyeliner black plum, ysl eyeliner gold star, marc jacobs velvet touch mascara
cheeks - nars amour, nico
lips - ellis faas milky lips 202, mac gold dust

eyes - inglot 352, lmdb nouvelle, icon, mac sable, rbr umber firefinch, pixi eyeliner black plum marc jacobs velvet touch mascara
cheeks - rbr gracilis
lips - armani sheer 600 bitten

when i was taking these photos, i didn't realise that i had actually switched my camera [which is still the one on my phone, because i keep forgetting to buy a battery for the proper camera] to taking a short video clip every time i took a photo. so what the hell, how about some real action shots?

similar enough? or lacking an edge that modern renaissance gives?

by my count i found:

nine shades for which i have good matches
one shade ["primavera"] for which i have some decent options
four shades for which i have poor or no matches

as one might expect, the four unmatched shades are ones that give the palette its character, and which stand out as very different from the usual.

seeing as i've not had the chance to meet the palette in person, i can't comment on the quality of the anastasia shadows versus my dupes. i can say that i'm very satisfied with the quality of everything i've chosen here, so each shade would have to be pretty impressive.

the other question, of course, is how much it would cost me to buy four individual shades that are similar to what i'm missing. at $55, modern renaissance isn't cheap, but, assuming i could find four good matches, they would need to come in at $13 each or less, including a palette to put them in, which further supposes that they would need to come from the same brand, or at least be the same size. looking through what's available, the best bet to find better matches for all four colours would be makeup forever. getting three shades from them, with palette, comes out to $52. adding a fourth, separate shade, would be another $25.

i don't travel a lot at this point in my life, but i don't consider that a permanent thing. clearly, the single palette has a massive advantage in this regard. i would never carry this many shades with me, even if i were gone for a month. and when i do travel, i just grab one or two palettes that give me enough options so that i'm not wearing the same thing every day.

finally, i have to ask myself how often i'd actually wear modern renaissance, particularly how often i'd wear the specific shades i can't already match. i'm surprisingly good about cycling through my trove of goodies, but there's no question that the colours i'm missing are the ones that would stand out the most and therefore are ones that i'm more likely to use when i'm doing makeup for an "occasion". not unheard of, but definitely less common. and, if i buy the palette, does that make other colours in my collection redundant?

damn, that's a lot of things to think about and, being a libra, i will think about them way too much. the fact is that, despite a lot of work to identify stand-ins, scouring the internet for pictures and reviews, and working on looks that i think approximate the possibilities of modern renaissance, i still haven't decided whether or not i want to buy it.

now, as long as the palette wasn't available anywhere i could easily purchase it, this didn't matter. but wouldn't you know it, the day i finished photographing the best duplicates i'd found, after trying many options in looks to see what might work, the palette came back in stock at sephora. sigh. 


Thanks so much for linking to my review! I think you've found great dupes for most of the shades. New Temptation actually looks very similar to Venetian Red. (Not sure what the people at Anastasia were smoking when they wrote those descriptions, because Venetian Red is not "ultra-matte"--it has a slight shimmer.) I wouldn't worry about not having a dupe for Burnt Orange, because to my eye it's virtually identical to Raw Sienna. In fact, I think the close similarity between those two shades is one of the palette's big weaknesses. I do like that I can sheer out Burnt Orange on its own for a more peachy look, but in a more complex look it plays exactly the same role as Raw Sienna.

I've always thought of us as having very similar coloring, but I'm blown away by how good Bite Enoki looks on you. It looked straight-up mustard yellow on me.
Kate MacDonald said…
I loved your review, because I've really wanted to see someone do a comparison of the colours with art from the Renaissance. So thank YOU for writing it. (I'm still chuckling over the fact that the one painter who got a shade named after him wasn't from the renaissance period...)

I can't explain why, but I was really drawn to Enoki, even though it's the sort of shade I would normally avoid like the plague. I guess my gut knew better in this case, because I do really like it as a nude shade, and that never happens. I think that there is a lot of "secret yellow" lurking in my complexion, whereas I think yours is very cool. That might explain the difference.

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