The Rise of Eyeshadow: Does Norvina Make the Cut?

Saturday, 6 October 2018


How does one get ‘good at makeup?’ I don’t mean make-up artist level talented, but good enough that every now and then you may get an approving glance at being able to dust some pigment on the lids of your eyes. Now I’m not complaining, I do still crave validation, so keep those compliments coming. But looking back at what I’m sure was a lot of people’s journeys from clear mascara to Winehouse eyeliner and finally a half good cut crease, it strikes me not only how much the beauty industry has changed, but also our approach to makeup.

I recall a lyric from the Beatles’ song Eleanor Rigby:‘wearing the face// That she keeps in a jar by the door.’ Ignoring for a moment other meanings and connotations, I think this lyric nicely demonstrates how the way we use makeup has changed. Eleanor Rigby has a face, singular, it is a set piece of her every day routine and is more or less fixed. However, more and more the identity and place of make up in modern day society is shifting greatly and not only that, but it has become more mutable: its meaning, its importance, its role in culture. This is mainly due to the rise in influencers and the development of an online beauty community creating more demand for new, diverse and experimental looks. There’s even developed a new sub-genre of holiday makeup, be it ‘Halloween full face transformations’ or ‘Valentines and Christmas glam’. People no longer have not one face, but many. 


In my opinion, it is therefore natural that the humble eyeshadow should emerge as the go-to trend for this new direction in make-up. The sheer variety of designs, colours and possibilities that eyeshadow offers exemplifies the move towards more creativity and freedom. One brand that characterises this inspired approach is Anastasia Beverly Hills. In Summer 2016, Modern Renaissance changed the game for eyeshadow and became an essential for many make-up enthusiasts. Its complete colour story, high pigmentation and easy blending meant that it was the perfect buy for experts or beginners alike. But, does the company’s latest release: Norvina, continue on the Anastasia legacy or is it a victim of the brand’s own success?

As always, the packaging of Norvina is of the same luxurious quality as all the other ABH eyeshadow palettes, with its pastel purple covers, block graphic logo, complete with mirror and brush. Never underestimate the importance of a mirror! The amount of times I’ve had to open countless products and palettes, be it camping, or at a friends’ when mirror space is few and far between, that mirror can be a lifesaver! Well not really, but that sigh of relief is pretty good too. 

Norvina marks the shift towards a more daring approach to makeup, departing from the familiar, easy to use rouges, browns and oranges, this palette even makes blue look effortlessly cool! Also different from the original is the addition of more glitter and shimmer shades, with the palette now being aesthetically divided into half shimmer/half matte. Unlike the majority of eyeshadow palettes on the market now, Norvina boasts a variety of interesting and exciting colours, allowing for more experimentation. A little more exciting than your average nude palette; easy blending helps avoid patchiness and the design of a complete colour story means that almost all colours can be used together. After the disappointment of Subculture (also by ABH), the formula of the eyeshadows is back to its best and just in time!  


Now about the price. Coming from someone who hesitates spending more than £5 on anything (love student life) the price tag of £43 may understandably sound outrageous. But, take into account the quality, the length of use and compare it to the cost of other high-end palettes, you’ll realise Norvina is a worthwhile makeup investment. I brought Modern Renaissance two years ago and despite what it may look like, I’ve used it religiously and am only now starting to ‘hit the pan.’ 
Ultimately, Norvina not only makes the cut, but raises the expectation for more innovative and inspiring direction for makeup in a culture that uses it in a more creative and expressive way than ever before.

Like the idea of eyeshadow, but don’t know where to start? Try my 3 top tips:


·     Buy a palette! (Rather than individual shadows)
It doesn’t have to be £50, there are plenty of affordable drugstore options. Palettes can offer some inspiration on what shades work well together, giving you some safety and guidance when it comes to colour and application. It can also be more cost effective in the long run!

·     Blend, blend, blend!
It’s my mantra with eyeshadow that nothing can’t be fixed without a little (or a lot) of blending, even if it means blending till there’s no pigment left- you can always start again, right?

·     If in doubt: light to dark
When applying eyeshadow, imagine your eyelid crease like a semi-circle beginning from the inner corner of your eye to the outer edge of your crease. First, start with a transition colour (similar to your base skin tone) and blend all around the crease to make your final look more seamless. Then
gradually build up colours from the inside of your eye outwards, getting darker as you go, so that the boldest shade sits just above the outer corner of your eye. To finish it off, try the signature Nat and dab some light gold shimmer in the inner corner for a bit of pizzazz. 

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