First Impressions: Melt x Beetlejuice

In the span of a year, I’ve gone from owning 0 to 4 Melt palettes, and I love them all. The colour stories, the formulation, the finish, the packaging – that’s right: I actually love the packaging on them, and it’s not glossy black plastic. Everything about these palettes is utter perfection. I even tried to justify the cost for a fifth during the VIB sale, but thanks to Sara, I dodged the perfunctory addition to my make-up collection.

Melt is a brand that gets a free pass on everything they do from me now, so when I found out they were doing a Beetlejuice collab, part of me had already said yes. Yes, please, thank you, when is it out? 

But then I saw the collection, and…yeah. 

Melt x Beetlejuice consists of two pressed pigment palettes, a mascara, gel liners, pigment paint, and lip colours. The collection champions greens, purples, and reds – fitting, given Beetlejuice’s aesthetic. I admit, I’m intrigued by the gel liners and the pigment paint. I don’t think they’re a good fit for my collection, but I can see how they’d work for others. Lip colours seem like an odd choice, but these collaborations are often in the works for months. This is likely a pre-Covid decision come to fruition.

As with every new collection, though, my eyes went straight to the shadow palettes – er, the pressed pigments, and thus they are the target of my scrutiny. Hence my overall review of…yeah, just yeah. 

Collab palettes and products don’t bother me. I get that they typically include some overlap with a company’s permanent collection, occasionally rebranding old shadows in new packaging. I also get that collab palettes tend to be incomplete or partial colour stories. Sugarpill’s Little Twin Stars palette is not a standalone product, but I still love it. I’m head over heels for Colourpop’s The Child palette and I don’t wear pastels or watch The Mandalorian. But there’s something distinctly disappointing about Melt’s new Beetlejuice pigment palettes. 

Recently Deceased Pressed Pigment Palette
The Waiting Room pressed pigment palette

The new products in question are Recently Deceased and The Waiting Room: the former has eight eyeshadows, the latter has ten, and both represent an incomplete half of what might have been a solid whole palette. 

Some Redditors have been kinder in their assessment, saying that they will wait for swatches, but I’m less optimistic. Recently Deceased has a good top rough of green and yellow metallics along with two, orange-y yellow mattes, but the bottom row is four purple shadows that, aside for the finish, look almost identical. The Waiting Room seems to have a similar concept, only thing time, it’s the bottom row that shows the greatest range, including shadows from white all the way to black, while the top row is a whole bunch of ruddy reds, some a little more brown than others. 

Melt’s colour stories have gotten criticism in the past, but it’s not the cohesion of these shadow palettes that leave me skeptical and disappointed. The cohesion itself is the problem. Green, purple, and yellow eyeshadows can be worn together. But why that solid block of purple on the bottom row? The palette could have made good use of a ruddy red or black to lend some variety and increase the number of looks that can be created. 

Ditto The Waiting Room, which, will what? Will create a great gradient white-to-black smokey eye or a red eye, but that’s it? Unless a person has another palette, say one with greens and golds and purples – oh, wait. 

This isn’t the first time Melt has released palettes in tandem. The Muerte and Vida palettes work together, with Muerte including dark, cool tones and Vida including light, warm tones. But each of these palettes also work on their own, meaning a person can conceivably own one or the other and still create a range of looks. Recently Deceased and The Waiting Room look like two halves of the same palette, broken up so that people will invest in two palettes instead of one. Melt has a few unique shadows in this collection, but instead of putting them all in one palette, they split them up and loaded each palette with vestigial shadows to make it look like they were complete colour stories. 

But they aren’t. Even purchased together, there is so much overlap: within the palettes themselves and with other products. Melt’s other palettes – Smoke Sessions, 4/20 (which looks so much like Gemini it may just be a renaming), She’s At Parties, or Vida/Muerte – can probably put together dupes for everything in the Beetlejuice collection (excepting that gold metallic from Recently Deceased, which is, admittedly, stunning in the promo photos). Melt isn’t alone in packing collabs with shadows similar to ones already in their collections, but especially divided over two products, with little to no shade variation, this is disappointing. 

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