Monday, December 13, 2010

Review: UNII palette


For the longest time, I have been looking at UNII cosmetics palettes. Watched reviews, followed their twitter, and browsed their website. The idea of such palettes appeals to me, because I have seen the dressing rooms of theaters and the mess the actors work in. Blush, lipsticks, foundation, eyeshadows and tons and tons more. It's a mess. Big mess.

Unfortunately, having no budget just to test things out for my fellows and the department, I was stuck drooling over the palettes without being able to properly test them. So can you imagine my surprise and a factor of "squee" when I received a parcel at my doorstep from one of my YouTube subbies that contained...

...dun dun dun...UNII PALETTES! In every color!

Now, she had requested that I do not release her name/username, but I can't not mention her at all~ (yay for double-negative?)
Aside from it being an amazing early Christmas gift, she intended for this to be something I could review honestly and find a use for (how can I not?), and hopefully mention things that others who have gotten them from UNII for free to review did not touch upon much. So. Shall I try? Let's do this~

Now, there are 5 colors of the palettes (and now that I look at their website, they have added a sixth recently, so I guess I have the earlier editions): Pomegranate, Twilight, Lemongrass, Eggplant, Snow (and the latest - Coal).

They come in white cardboard origami packaging, with stickers to reflect the color included within:

The palettes themselves are shiny plastic, very reflective, and the colors are not simply painted on. Instead, the color is "underneath" a see-through layer, which means that even if you scratch your palette (oh, no!), it will not take off the color.
[From left to right: Lemongrass, Eggplant, Pomegranate, Snow, and Twilight]:

Now, aside from the name, my favorite palette from all of the ones I currently own is Twilight. The color is a gorgeous blue with teensy sparkles. Makes me think of the beautiful night sky:

On the side, the UNII palettes have a snap, which makes the palette close up very tight and secure, with no way of opening in your purse/suitcase/makeup bag etc., especially during travel. A huge plus and a selling point!

Inside, it has a thumb grip, with their logo on it, which is slightly rubberized for best grip. It's quite a nice idea, because I constantly think of better ways to hold my full palettes, and it is never really...sturdy. I end up wanting to stick my finger into one of the shadows. This should not be a problem here. The best part? You can move it to wherever it is more comfortable for you:

The palette itself is not too big, but that's the appeal of it. It is not really for makeup artists, instead, they are more for the consumer. It is great for travel, makeup bags and to keep your everyday makeup organized, but it is not too practical for storing the countless eyeshadows a makeup artist may have:

On the back of it, there is the logo and the name of the company, their website, "made in korea" and "patent pending" imprinted ("" is just my watermark ;D):

Now, back to the packaging. It is fairly sturdy cardboard that is folded origami style to make a box for the palette, and when unfolded, it reveals the flower-like design that is the logo for the company:

On the inside of the cardboard, it has detailed instructions on how to use the palette, how to depot eyeshadows and pans, and some background on the company:

Now, to the criticism.

First of all, I am going to mention the price: $29. TWENTY NINE DOLLARS for a small palette. (they are currently having a "Holiday Sale," where they lowered the price to $24, which is a bit closer to what I would pay for it...but still...) In this economy, the "simple consumer" who has makeup pans lying around cannot afford to purchase a palette for $29. I know I can't just throw that around. And I thought MAC palettes were expensive (and they were $12.50 back when I got them). Of course, you are paying for the convenience, beauty, practicality and design. But when you think about it...$30 (plus tax, of course) is a whole load of cash you could be spending on so much more things.

Is it worth it? Well, to be honest, at this time I am going to say no. If I really needed to take my makeup with me and I really needed to take all my free-floating makeup with me, there are quite a few cheaper options to do that, including a DIY palette that I can wrap in bubble-wrap if I needed to shove it in a suitcase. Will it be pretty? Maybe, maybe not. But it will cost me less than $30 and will still allow me to bring my necessities with me.

I was thinking about this for quite a while and I noticed something. The packaging used for every single palette is an enormous amount of work, and is bulky. Although beautiful, it serves no other purpose than aesthetic appeal and will end up in my recycling bin in little less than 15 minutes. The whole concept of the UNII palette is that it is simple, it saves space and it is practical. The packaging is the opposite of that statement. It is complex in design, it takes up more space than necessary, and after removing the palette from it, you are either going to keep it because you are mesmerized by its design (which takes up space you just saved), or you are going to throw it away, which is kind of a waste, because when you think about it - the $30 you are paying for the palette...a part of that went in for the price of production of the packaging and the materials. So you are essentially throwing away some part of the $30.
Would it be the same without the packaging? Well, personally, I believe that it would be better without it. Right now, all 5 packages are stacked by my recycling bin, ready to be taken out tonight to be picked up by the recycling team tomorrow morning. Did I enjoy the packaging? Sure, for about 2 minutes, when I looked at it - the exact information I can simply find on their website, without wasting any resources. /rant. Essentially, I believe that if the package were to be simpler, the cost of production would also go down, making the palette more accessible to a wider audience.

Now, how do you justify the $30? For me, I am very excited about having my essentials in one place and being able to take them with me wherever I go. But on the other hand, having this convenience cost me $30 is kind of...intense. The only way I could justify this myself is that if while I traveled a lot, my expensive makeup broke during the transport and it spilled all over my bag, making everything unusable. But for drugstore makeup that I can just go and re-buy for $5, I don't think I would bother.

Now, I believe this is a great tool for actors, as they do have quite a bit of a mess at their vanities during a show. But then again - not every piece of makeup would fit in their palette, so that is a turn-off.

If you are very interested in having this and think that it is the best thing ever, get one. Just one. And see if you necessarily need any more. Right now, they are at $24, which is a bit more reasonable price. Personally, I would not pay more than $20 for it, as anything after that is slightly...meh. As an item, it is not worth $29. Its value to you may be the $29...if so - go ahead. If you can live without it,'ve got your answer.

Now, while watching reviews for these palettes, I saw that the magnets were in one sheet, with two pre-cut lines running length-wise. But mine came in as one piece. Honestly, I believe this is a slight improvement over the semi-pre-cut ones, as it gives the user a larger range of sizes they can use. Seal of approval! I am just hoping that other little things will be improved with future designs.

Now, let's talk about the black palette. It seems like the packaging is also black on it, and it looks pretty neat. It reminds me of the limited edition Macbooks way back in the day. Actually, the whole concept of UNII palettes reminds me of Apple products. may be because of the 'simple' thing they are going for...or it may be because they are so shiney in a "oooh, shiney~" way.

Now I kind of wish I had the black one. I have a feeling that the quality or at least some minor things are different from the rest of the palettes. But I may never know, eh? Do let me know if you have the black palette and tell me what you think about it, guys~

Love to all and cheers~

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