Let’s face it, it’s tough being an eye shadow palette these days.
Sure, back in 2013 palettes were a rarity and we tripped over ourselves, trying to get our hands on any and every new palette released. (Paying rent be damned). But with the absolute flood, nay- the deluge of palette launches in the past five years, it’s getting easier and easier to talk myself out of purchasing the new collections. I mean, when you’ve got two whole drawers crammed to the brim with palettes, you’ve got to expect that you already own those colors in some form or another.
So if something does catch my eye, it’s because there’s something there we haven’t seen before. A feat that’s becoming increasingly more difficult to accomplish, but one the Natasha Denona Safari Palette managed to do.
In the veritable sea of eye shadow palettes available, Natasha Denona’s collection stands out, ostensibly for its superior quality, but mostly for its high price point. With most mid-high end palettes ranging between $40-$65, her $129 palettes are priced far above average.
So what would make the all matte Safari Palette worth it? Let’s discuss.
The Natasha Denona Safari Palette is an all matte eyeshadow palette, retailing for $129. It contains fifteen shadows and each shadow holds 0.08 oz of product.
The shadows come housed in a hard plastic palette which at roughly the size of an iPad Mini and about a half inch thick, is easy to store without taking up too much space.
While some users like to point out that if you consider each shadow individually it works out to $8.60 per shadow, I think most people don’t really consider the amount included as a defining factor when purchasing a palette as it’s not likely they’ll end up finishing a complete shadow.
We have seen the palette go on sale for $89, even during Sephora’s sales when you can stack an additional 10%-20% off making the price drop down to $71.20 at its cheapest, which still is not affordable by any means but a significant reduction from the original price.
As of May 2020 the Safari palette is currently on sale for $64.50 at Sephora.
The Safari Palette holds a four star rating from over two hundred reviewers on Sephora’s website.
Natasha Denona Safari Palette Review
The shadows range from light to deep, and feature both warm and cool neutrals with a few pops of color mixed in.
What makes the color story unique to me is the fact that the brighter colors are all subdued enough to retain an element of neutrality to them. I’d describe the colors almost as dusty like you’ve just slightly dimmed the lights on them. And this is why this palette caught my eye. Because it gives you the opportunity to incorporate color into your look, that’s still wearable and flattering.
I think many makeup users who’ve graduated from their standard neutrals are looking to add some color to their looks, but struggle with integrating the bright pops included in lots of palettes. The neutral quality of the colors included here, makes them less intimidating for the average user, as well as more flattering on the eye. If you’re someone who likes using bright, primary colors than this might not appeal to you. While you can still get a colorful look it’ll be subtly colorful, not in your face, see it from space.
Another factor that makes the color story unique is that all the shadows are matte. I feel like we’ve seen mixes of neutrals and color but usually its a mix of shimmer and matte finishes. A lot of palettes also seem to lean toward one side of the color spectrum, either primary warm or cool, the Safari palette does a good job incorporating both.
The shadows have a smooth texture that’s soft enough to pick up on a brush and blend out easily but is firmer than say Anastasia and Lorac‘s matte formula, resulting in minimal fallout. The pigmentation is intense but it applies evenly, even with the darker shades. I was pleased to see this because so often darker pigments are difficult to blend. The deeper shades also retain their color as they blend out instead of becoming muddy or just looking dark. The quality remained consistent across all shades in the palette.
Possible Dupes for the Safari Palette
When comparing the Safari palette to other all matte palettes on the market, I found several that had similar colors. Most, however, lacked the range of both warm and cool colors contained in the Safari Palette, highlighting the uniqueness of the shade selection.
The Too Faced Just Peachy Mattes ($45) has some similarities with the lighter neutrals and the berry tones but overall leans a lot warmer and obviously lacks the cool blues, greens, and grays.
It’s a similar story with the Tarteist Pro palette ($49), the lighter, berry, and dark browns are somewhat comparable, but again, lacking the mid-tone neutrals and those unique cool, dusty greens.
Viseart’s range of matte palettes ($80) had so many similar colors but no one palette contained the same combo of shades as the Safari Palette. The Viseart Dark Mattes (04) has some similarities in terms of the orange, navy, and berry shades but lacks the warm neutral mid-tones and any of lighter colors featured in the Safari Palette. I also find the colors in the Dark Mattes much more difficult to blend and the blue just ends up looking dark as opposed to the Tata Morgana shade in the Safari Palette which retains its blue color. The rest of Viseart’s matte palettes are either all cool, all warm, all neutral, or all bright.
The Balm’s Meet Matte Adore ($42) seems to be the most comparable color story, with only twelve colors it’s almost like an edited version of the Safari Palette. You’ve got a pale pink, deep blue, grayish-green, mid-tone browns and pale cream shades that are in no way exact dupes but can give you a similar look. What’s missing are the berry, orange, warm yellow, and olive shades. I also prefer the quality of Natasha Denona’s mattes over the Balm’s shadows. I find the Balm’s mattes significantly drier and the pigment has a hard time showing up on my skin.
Natasha Denona Safari vs. Anastasia Subculture
I was initially surprised to see several Reddit users comparing the Safari palette to Anastasia’s now discontinued Subculture palette. If you recall, it got decimated by reviewers when it was released.
After comparing swatches it turns out that the majority of Subculture’s shades are similar to Safari’s. The most obvious difference is the three shimmery shades included in Subculture. For me, the lack of the pale pink, and the teal instead of true navy are the deciding factor. Somehow it makes Subculture seem deeper overall and less well rounded than Safari (I always associate it with Fall).
I didn’t mind Subculture’s texture as much as the internet seemed to, but I definitely find Safari’s mattes easier to use. I also don’t see myself reaching for Subculture unless I’m going for a vampy, fall look. However, it’s certainly something to consider if you still own Subculture and are considering buying the Safari palette.
If you loved the color story of Subculture but couldn’t handle the texture then I think you’d be really satisfied with the Safari palette as the color stories are very similar.
Here I’ve swatched all the similar shades from both palettes.
Cruelty Free and Vegan Status
Natasha Denona is a cruelty-free brand. As per the brand, they don’t test on animals, nor do they sell in countries where animal testing is required by law. They source all their ingredients from manufacturers in Europe where animal testing is banned. Note however that they are not Leaping Bunny certified.
Natasha Denona’s line is not Vegan as some of their products contain Carmine. It seems that some shadows are listed as vegan, however, since her shadows are sold as palettes it would be difficult to determine the status of the palette as a whole. The complete list of vegan shadows can be found here.
What Reddit Users Say About the Natasha Denona Safari Palette
A quick perusal of Reddit showed overall consistently good reviews of the Safari Palette.
There were a lot of people looking to talk themselves out of purchasing. Mostly due to its insanely high price point.
Quite a few reviewers compared it to the Viseart Dark Mattes. (As I’ve indicated above I think the lack of light shades makes Dark Mattes an incomplete palette. I also way prefer the formula of the Safari Palette).
Some users said that the matte formula was an improvement over the mattes in previous Natasha Denona palettes.
Someone mentioned that a lot of people said that they didn’t realize how colorful Safari is until Natasha Denona released the Biba palette, which is entirely neutral. This goes back to my earlier point about the neutral quality of the colors.
Overall those who did purchase the Safari palette seemed to be enjoying their palette.
Sephora – Free shipping on orders over $50. As noted above, Sephora has previously discounted this palette down to $89 and it’s currently on sale for $64.50.
Natasha Denona – Free shipping on orders over $50. International shipping available.
Beautylish – Free shipping on U.S. orders over $35, $5 flat rate for international shipping.
Regardless of where you choose to buy from, make sure to check if Rakuten (ebates) is offering cash back. Sephora offers cash back for anywhere from 2% to 8% so it’s definitely worth looking into. If you haven’t signed up for Rakuten yet, you can do so here. It only takes a minute and you’ll earn cashback every time you shop through their link. They also have an extension which I recommend installing, that activates cashback on all eligible websites with one click. It also scans for coupons.
Pros of the Natasha Denona Safari Palette
Beautiful and unique color story
Good mix of cool and warm shades, neutrals and colors
Maintains true color when applied
Complete palette in terms of color range. Works as a stand-alone palette.
Cons of the Natasha Denona Safari Palette
So overall I’m really happy that I purchased the Safari palette. It works well both as a stand-alone palette and a companion for shimmery and metallic shadows. That being said I did snag mine on sale for $89. It’s also discounted at most retailers now so if you’re interested, this would be the time to get it.
If you’re looking for a matte palette that incorporates wearable color and neutrals, and has also a complete range of light to dark shades, you might really enjoy this palette. If you prefer only neutrals or you like your colors super bright then I’d say skip it.
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