I already owned the original two Lime Crime Venus Palettes which contained some of my favourite eyeshadows to use but when I first saw the Venus XL Palette, my heart skipped a beat. Those reds and pinks were so up my alley that this palette could have been created especially for me. Now I know there is controversy surrounding the brand and while I’m not one to shy away from the drama, I just feel like it’s old news so if you don’t want to support Lime Crime, that is completely up to you. I have loved every product I have tried from them so I will continue to be a fan.
The Venus palettes are all labeled the “ultimate grunge palettes” by the brand itself and this is a bigger palette than the previous two. Both the original Venus and Venus II palettes featured eight shades each while the Venus XL houses a whopping eighteen. Across all three palettes, there are no repeats which I love; a feature that definitely makes me feel I need to buy it. If there are overlapping shades between palettes, I can usually use that to talk myself out of the purchase.
The palette itself is made of a sturdy cardboard and while it doesn’t click closed or have a magnetic fastening, I would be quite content to travel with. It also includes a very decent sized mirror and no stupid unnecessary brush.
Lime Crime claim that these shadows have a highly pigmented, ultra-buttery formula that lays down a supreme colour payoff that doesn’t fade or fall out. As I’ve already mentioned, I already adored the formulas from the first two palettes so I spent no time considering if the quality of the shadows would be worth the splurge.
There are four different finishes to the eyeshadows in this palette and Lime Crime describes them as thus:
Matte: Buttery smooth and totally matte.
Matte Sparkle: Same matte formula but with sparkle.
Glow: Soft, luminous finish. Not satin, not shimmer, it’s glow!
Metallic: Ultra-shiny shimmer!
With eighteen shades here, I’m going to break these down into twos so I can discuss the quality of them in detail. I have included both a brush swatch (on the left) and a finger swatch (on the right) but as I mentioned in my previous post on Penneys PS Range, I hate eyeshadow swatches. I honestly don’t feel that a swatch showcases how an eyeshadow will actually perform on the eye but I digress, my swatches are done on clean, dry skin with one swipe of either a brush or finger and no base or primer underneath.
Eden is described as a rusty rose with a metallic finish.
Love is described as a bronzed peach with a metallic finish.
Eden is a gorgeous pearlescent peachy-pink shade with good pigmentation. This is one I have used to pack all over the lid and with a flat brush, it applies beautifully. Shades like this can sometimes benefit from being dabbed on with a finger for an even bolder pay off but I was perfectly happy with its performance even without doing that.
Love is an orange-toned pearlescent bronze with really good pigmentation. This is not the type of shade I usually gravitate towards but the quality of it is amazing and I plan on challenging myself to use it. I think paired with all of my favourite orange tones, it could be stunning.
Passion is described as a bright raspberry with a matte finish.
Fresca is described as a taupe with pink sparkle and a sparkle matte finish.
Passion is a gorgeous bright red-pink matte and the type of shade that attracted me to this palette in the first place. I have been obsessed with reds and oranges for years so the idea of trying some vibrant pinks really excited me. Here is a classic example of a shadow that swatched really poorly but actually applies beautifully. The slightest bit of building and this packs an extreme punch.
Fresca is a cool-toned grey-taupe with gold sparkle. This stands out as quite a different tone to most of the others in the palette but one day when I was throwing on a little makeup to run errands, I decided to give it a go and popped it in my crease. That’s the only eyeshadow I wore that day but I absolutely loved the tone of it and it had great colour pay off. The sparkle pretty much disappears when you use this with a buffing brush but I wasn’t complaining, I’d much rather it without!
Inspire is described as a metallic berry with a metallic finish.
Idolized is described as a toasted caramel with a glow finish.
Inspire is such a gorgeous pop of metallic pink. I honestly can’t think of another shadow in my (vast) collection that is similar. However, when I first tried to apply this, even with a stiff, flat brush, I found it fell out on to my face a lot and had a really hard time sticking to my eye. I ended up going over the top with my finger and it stuck a little better but honestly, the quality of this one was a little disappointing (which again shows that swatches aren’t everything!).
Idolized is the most beautiful warm toned caramel shade. However, the glow finish confuses me a little. Before doing my research for this post, I assumed this was a matte. It looks like a matte. It performs like a matte. I can’t seem to see any glow – shimmer or shine – to it. I’m not complaining. I love everything about this shade including its finish, I’m just not entirely sure how it is supposed to differ to the mattes.
Aphrodite is described as a rich red-brown with a glow finish.
Nu Classic is described as a bronzed brown with a metallic finish.
Aphrodite is a stunning burgundy which again, seemingly has this glow finish that in my eyes appears to be a matte. I wouldn’t even describe it as a satin! This is another shade that I couldn’t wait to play with as it’s right up my street and it didn’t disappoint although this is probably one of the few that I could easily find a dupe for amongst my other shadows.
Nu Classic is a lovely warm pearlescent brown. This is another beautifully pigmented shade that works well. Years ago when I first got into makeup, I was obsessed with these pearlescent brown shades and bought almost every one that Inglot had to offer. (I worked there at the time). Now I usually stick to mattes with the exception of a pearl shade on my lid now and again so this isn’t one I have found myself particularly drawn to. Again this is just a personal preference, I know this is going to be one of the least used in my palette but the shadow itself is beautiful!
Burnt Gold is described as a dark terracotta with a glow finish.
Flora is described as a deep coral with a matte finish.
Burnt Gold is a very misleading name. I would call this more of a warm, orange-toned medium brown (or even a deep terracotta as the brand themselves do). Again, this is matte to me but glow to them. The second I took a good look at the palette, I was instantly drawn to this shade and couldn’t wait to pair it with Idolized on a day where I wasn’t feeling the pink/red vibes. I have since tried them together and they do not disappoint, creating the most beautiful warm-toned neutral eye.
Flora is a dark matte red-coral that is stunning. The pigmentation is brilliant and the colour is really unique. This is another that I just cannot think of a dupe for in my collection which is refreshing considering the amount of oranges and reds I own. This colour reminds me of summer and definitely inspires me to create some bold, bright looks.
Scallop is described as the softest warm pink with a matte finish.
Celestial is described as a brick with gold sparkle and a sparkle matte finish.
Scallop is probably one of the least eye-catching shadows in the palette as it just doesn’t stand out next to all of the bold and unusual shades but it is still unique in its own way. It is the perfect transition shade to work with almost any other colour in the palette and its warm peachy pink tones make it differ to your average taupe or soft brown transition.
Celestial is the only shade in the palette that really disappointed me. It has a sparkle matte finish which are said to have the same matte formula as the standard mattes but with added sparkle. This shadow is severly lacking in the pigmentation department, unlike any of the rest of the mattes. The finish isn’t my favourite anyway – I would happily forgo the sparkle – but the fact is, the matte base underneath just doesn’t stick to the skin at all. I’ve tried this a few times and quickly get frustrated at the fact that it doesn’t build up so opt to use a different colour instead (Aphrodite or Boticelli are similar alternatives) but the stubborn part of me doesn’t want to give up on this as it is the only real dud in the palette.
Ethereal is described as a dusty blush with a metallic finish.
Triumph is described as a muted cranberry with a matte finish.
Ethereal is a gorgeous pearlescent peachy shadow with a bold colour payoff. This works beautifully as an all over lid shade with either the reds or the neutrals on the rest of the eye. I find it hard to get excited over colours like this as I have so many similar ones that do the same job but it is definitely a welcome addition to the palette as a whole.
Triumph is a dark raspberry-red matte. This immediately reminds me of Venetian Red from the Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance palette which just happens to be one of my favourites. I haven’t compared them side by side so don’t come for me if they aren’t alike! This is one that takes a little building to reach full pigmentation but it is definitely workable, it just isn’t as bold straight off the bat as some of the others.
Supreme is described as a deep mauve with a glow finish.
Blank Canvas is described as a cool beige with a matte finish.
Supreme is a gorgeous, dark burgundy red shade that looks matte to me but has that supposed glow finish. It reminds me of dark strawberry jam and is another absolute beauty to both work with and look at.
Blank Canvas is a matte cream shadow that is velvety smooth to apply. Despite it appearing boring amongst the backdrop of reds, pinks and metallics, every palette needs a shade like this to use as a base. My one wish was that this was about a shade lighter so it would highlight my eye area a little more but I am super pale so this will probably do the job for most. This isn’t too dark for me, it is about the same colour as my skin tone, I just prefer a base shadow slightly lighter than that.
Boticelli is described as a midnight wine with a glow finish.
Goddess is described as a dusty rose with a glow finish.
Boticelli is a rich, dark, velvety maroon shade. It is so stunning that I was immediately drawn to it when I first opened the palette and every time I have this palette out, I feel excited to intensify my eye look with it. It is so rich and unlike anything else I own. It is gorgeous!
Goddess is a medium salmon pink shadow. This isn’t one that I have found myself that attracted to but with the amazing colours in this palette, it has some stiff competition! With all of the reds and darker pinks, this is definitely a welcome addition though as it will work well with most and it does have great pigmentation to boot.
In case you haven’t guessed from my descriptions of each shade, I am absolutely bowled over by the quality and colours of this palette. As I mentioned already, there is no overlap with the Venus and Venus II Palettes so even if you have those, it is definitely not a waste of time picking this up. I mentioned the Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette earlier on but with the exception of Triumph being similar to Venetian Red, there really isn’t a crossover between them either. In fact, if you’re a fan of the Modern Renaissance, then this is like an extended version and you will love it.
When the palette first arrived, I instantly sat down and filmed a video experimenting with it for the first time and this is the look I came up with. You can watch that First Impressions video here or check out my Instagram for a full list of the products I used.
And here is a close up. Look at those colours, just look at them.
And here is another look I created a few days ago complete with wig and an annoying eyeliner from NYX that looks very crumbly in the close ups. Again this is on Instagram with a full product list. (This post is long enough without listing everything here).
And this is the close up of that look. See what I mean about the eyeliner? Also, please ignore how my lash is popping off in the second photo. I could have edited it but I would rather keep it real with you.
I honestly cannot remember the last time I was so excited about a palette. The colours are so gorgeous and not to mention unique! Despite adoring red shades, I really don’t have too many dupes for these. Most of the eyeshadows in this palette stand out to me as dissimilar to any other colours in my collection which is no mean feat. I have acquired quite a few palettes over Christmas etc. and while I was excited to use them the first and second time, I quickly tire of them as I realise the looks can be quite same-y or I use all of the colours I’m attracted to right away and lose my inspiration. Every time I open the Venus XL, I see another colour I want to base a look on or challenge myself to use. Several weeks on from purchasing it and I still get excited every time I take it out of my drawer.
If I had to come up with some critiques of this palette, I do wish that it had a shimmery highlight shadow for the inner corner. The closest it has is Blank Canvas which is a matte or Ethereal which is a peach. If you’re travelling with this palette, obviously you could just use her face highlighter but it was the one gap that really stood out to me.
I would also like to see a black but I’m just really nitpicking now. Boticelli is the darkest shade in the palette and it is dark enough to add some real drama but I like a black in all palettes to really intensify a look, especially the type of bold looks you can whip up with the Venus XL. Obviously I have a million blacks in my collection that I can pair with it but I’m more talking about the palette being an all-in-one for travelling with.
Other than that, I cannot fault the colour selection or quality. Sure, I think Celestial is a bit of a dud but with eighteen shadows, I don’t mind one missing the mark. I am aware that reds and pinks will not tickle everyone’s fancy so if they aren’t for you, obviously it wouldn’t be worthwhile splashing out for the few neutrals that are in it, however if you’re a fan of these types of colours or you want something truly different to add to your collection, I cannot urge you enough to pick this up right away. It is incredible and won’t disappoint.
You can pick this up on the Lime Crime website for €45.28 ($56/£39.35) with €8.79 flat rate shipping to Ireland (Free shipping on US orders over $50 or £7.74 flat rate shipping to UK), making the total €54.07/$50/£47.09.
However I bought mine on the Cult Beauty website instead for €51.32 (£45/$63.68) with free shipping on all orders over £40.
Because this is a slightly more expensive palette (because of the size!) I wanted to do a breakdown of its price versus the original Venus palettes.
The Venus XL features 18 shadows that contain 1.67g of product each for $56, making it $1.86 per gram of eyeshadow.
The Venus and Venus II feature 8 shadows that contain 2g of product each for $38, making it $2.38 per gram of eyeshadow.
And to put that into perspective, the ABH Modern Renaissance features 14 shadows that contain 0.56g of product each (a quarter the size!) for $42, making it $5.36 per gram of eyeshadow!
Sorry for blinding you with sums (seriously, it takes me so long to do those calculations, I’m terrible at maths!) but I am often guilty of just looking at the overall price of a palette and spouting ‘that’s good value/really expensive’ without breaking it down!
Anyway, I hope that helps you make your decision! Let me know if you have already got your hands on this baby or if it was already in your cart and my review pushed you to click the checkout button!
Nothing to declare. I bought the palette with my own money. No affiliate links were used.
Lime Crime is a vegan and cruelty free brand.