First Impressions + Swatches: Bad Habit Retro Love & Aura Palettes (dupes for ABH Subculture & Prism)

In which I passed through the seven levels of ABH palette controversy, through the sea of swirly twirly Bad Habit dupes, and then I swatched through the Subculture and Prism palette dupes myself.


Featured Image_Retro Love & Aura Palettes

Greetings, loved ones.  I’m back with some first impressions and swatches, as well as a Snoop Dogg reference from the 2010 classic “California Gurls” to convey approximately how long it’s been since I’ve posted anything.  Now… let’s take a journey.


Our journey begins with a recollection of August 2017: it was the tail-end of summer – the weather was hot, but the newly-released Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture palette was hotter.  In a bad way.

If you read my Makeup Hype on this palette, you’ll know there was a ton of controversy surrounding it.  Chances are, even if you didn’t read my post (I’m not bitter…), you’d know about this controversy – this was a palette that seemed to have incredibly pigmented swatches yet hardcore blending and patchiness issues… for some, prompting conspiracies over “bad batches” and discussion about why the f*** ABH would change their formulations around.

Continuing our journey to last month – February 2018, where Bad Habit Beauty began trending on YouTube.  This brand, which can be found on Shop Hush, was noticed for its palettes which look remarkably like other palettes from higher-end brands, yet are sold at a $10-$16 price point.  I did some scouring and compiled an entire list of of dupes of Bad Habit eyeshadows to other brands and came up with 12 in total, including the ABH Subculture palette.

Now our journey has almost come full-circle because late to the party as always, I’ve decided to see what these palettes are all about.  I decided to pick up the Retro Love palette ($10), which is an apparent dupe for Subculture, as well as the Aura palette ($12), which supposedly dupes the Prism palette, which was released for the holiday… yet is still in stock #hmmok.

I’ve never tried the ABH Subculture palette, the Prism palette, or any ABH eyeshadow for that matter so I can’t really comment on the whole “dupeability” aspect or anything in terms of formula, but I mainly just wanted to see what the Bad Habit eyeshadows felt like and what I thought of the colors themselves!

Retro Love // $10

The first thing I noticed about both of these palettes was how nice the packaging is – I love the sleekness, the fact that they both come with a mirror and that the ingredients and weight are clearly listed on the back of the palette itself and not just the box it came in, and the cruelty-free status.  I would like to note that although both claim to be a “cruelty-free” product on the back, only the Aura palette actually has the PETA cruelty-free logo on the actual palette, so I’m not sure what that’s about.  They do both say cruelty-free on their product pages online, but if you’re a hardcore cruelty-free person, that might be something you want to look into more!

Something that I like about this palette is that it really took the “retro” vibe of the original Subculture palette and literally ran with it, which you can see in both the shadow names and product description:

An ultimate throwback to the 1960’s, this 14-shade eyeshadow palette features 11 velvety mattes in bold, edgy shades, 2 duo-chromes, and a metallic bronze.

A lot of gurus in the YouTube videos I watched on the Subculture palette commented on the whole vintage feel of the colors, especially with the mustards included, which is something I don’t think ABH took full advantage of in its marketing efforts, but again… hindsight is 20/20.

In general, I was really impressed with the way these shadows swatched – they were very soft to the touch and super pigmented, but that did come with a little bit of a drawback: if I “dug in” a little too hard with my finger in the pan and then used too much pressure in the swatch, some of the mattes tended to “pill up,” which you might be able to see in the swatch with flash above, particularly in Flower Power and Fab in the bottom row.

Still, with the exception of Mod, which was kind of lackluster in pigment and a bit patchy, as well as Icon, which swatched evenly yet seemed to be a bit sheer, I was still happy with the swatching quality of these.  My favorite of the bunch were Flower Power (a matte peachy pink) and Revolution (a metallic bronze).

If we’re being honest here, these colors really kind of intimidate me – anybody who’s read my blog in the past knows I tend to shy away from peachy shades because I feel like they tend to make me look like a clown baby and I don’t think I’ve ever worn a blue eyeshadow in my adult life, mostly because I think I was slightly scarred by a parody video that went viral my freshman year of highschool in which the “guru” uses copious amounts of blue eyeshadow to achieve the perfect “slut” look.  Since then, I’ve become more educated and learned that slut-shaming is a bad thing indeed, and although I knew back then that this video was 100% just meant to be a joke, I’ve always had some kind of aversion to blue eyeshadow.


Blue eyeshadow aside, I’m also not really sure how to approach the mustard shades.  I love wearing mustard colors in clothing form, but I’m not sure how they would look on my eyes.  I have a feeling that I’m just going to try to stick to the browns and bronzes in this palette which makes me #nofunatall, and as part of my makeup resolutions for 2018, I promised to try to go outside my comfort zone, so I’m going to really have to force myself here.

Aura // $12 

If you take a look at the second image above, you’ll see what I mean about the PETA logo certification only being on the back of the Aura palette.  I did a whole post on the different kind of cruelty-free logos and what it means to be cruelty-free, yet I am still no expert, so research at will!

Again – something that I really enjoy about these palettes is that Bad Habit gives them some kind of “personality” and story with the naming of the shades and the product descriptions.  For this palette, the product description is all about energy, which ties in the name of the palette itself:

Let your energy radiate with the wide range of shades and formulas in this exclusive eyeshadow collection. Featuring unique textures ranging from intensely pigmented mattes to ultra pearled metallics to shade shifting duo-chromes, Aura’s unique spectrum will push your boundaries to explore new looks and the energy within you.

I know that these shades were already “chosen” by ABH so the artistic element is kind of lost on Bad Habit, but I can appreciate Bad Habit’s thought behind the shade names and pairing them to the appropriate shadow – for example, I think naming the really cool perriwinkle color “Ethereal” and the almost neon yellow “Energy” was a good call on Bad Habit’s behalf.

In terms of the swatches, this is the palette that really impressed me.  The shadows felt identical to Retro Love and had the tendency to do the same pilling thing, which you can really see in Awakening and Energy, but I was just super into the colors themselves.  Ethereal is probably the coolest shadow I’ve ever seen, Ecstasy was also beautiful, and although Destiny was a little bit on the chunkier side, it looked like a galaxy in a swatch, which is something I didn’t know that I needed.

Me looking at Destiny

I do think this palette had three duds – Dreamstate, the peach, was a bit chunky and not very pigmented; Energy, the neon yellow, was very chunky and crumbly; and Haze, the dusty plum, was disappointing in terms of color payoff and crumbliness.

All in all, I’m again intimidated by the colors here, but I feel more inspired by the colors in the Aura palette (particularly Ethereal) than the colors in the Retro Love palette.  I think the Aura palette might lend itself better to spring/summer, while I get more fall/winter vibes from Retro Love.

Overall First Impressions

Bad Habit Retro Love and Aura Palettes Eyeshadows.png

I just want to note that I haven’t tried these on my eyes yet (and if we’re being honest y’all know that I’m very unadventurous when it comes to eyeshadow so IDK what kind of look I’d do with these #neutralskween) and if you were here with all the Subculture drama, you’d know that some palettes swatch great and then perform like *insert poop emoji here* – with that in mind, if you’re looking to just try out these colors to see if you like them before making the bigger investment with the actual ABH shadows, I think this is a great way to go.

The shadows performed well overall in terms of swatches with each palette having a few that I think didn’t really swatch all that great, but for $10 or $12, I’m generally satisfied.  Again, I haven’t put them on my eyes yet, but they were really fun to play with.

While you can’t really credit Bad Habit with coming up the shade combos themselves, as I just said, I NEVER wear these colors so it doesn’t make any sense for me to sink over $40 a pop of my money in the original shadow palettes so I’m perfectly hapy with these two if I ever want to attempt to play with color!

PS: I actually bought these palettes before my whole resolution to stop buying makeup happened, but they were shipped to my home in the US so I only got to try them now because I’m home for Easter, so don’t @ me anybody who actually pays attention to my life!!!!!



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*Disclaimer: I purchased all above products with my own money and am not affiliated with or compensated by any of the brands mentioned (I wish!).  As always, all thoughts & opinions are my own (unless stated otherwise)!

6 thoughts on “First Impressions + Swatches: Bad Habit Retro Love & Aura Palettes (dupes for ABH Subculture & Prism)

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