New year, new favourites! Also, for 2018 Astrid and I decided to concentrate on featuring ONE favourite product for each of us in the monthly favourites – to give you a proper in-depth review for each piece we choose. We’ll also continue with our question of the month and would love you to chime in on that! Onto the reviews!

Dorit’s best-loved beauty product in January

Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture Palette

Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture Palette
I really like the ABH Subculture Palette (you can also do the prettiest peachy eyelook with it that’ll take 5mins – just use xxx and aaa!)

Yup, really. And I won’t really address the “controversy” surrounding this palette here. I read up a bit on it, on pressing machines, re-pressing, talc vs. mica in matte eyeshadows, batch codes etc., and I decided that ultimately, I don’t care. Instead, I’ll give you a few reasons why I love it and also a few helpful pointers to use it in a way that minimizes potential problems with the shadows. Because let’s face it, this is not the most user-friendly palette, and one that would’ve benefitted from a few words on how to use it on the back of the palette. And if you’re a newbie, stay away from it.

I fell in love with the moody, murky colour scheme of the palette. It’s rare for me to go for the matte eyeshadow look, but I love the deep, rich tones of the Subculture Palette, and Astrid was kind enough to gift me the palette for Christmas.

ABH Subculture how-to
No, it’s not a newbie-friendly palette.

With a lot of trepidation I started to use it. I tried simple, two-toned looks, often with the copper metallic shade on the lid. Then I started to use the darker mattes, and I started to see the “problems” with the palette. They’re all very, VERY pigmented, and still soft for matte shadows.


If you swirl your brush in the pans, you’re set for a catastrophe. Don’t do it. Start with a minimal amount of product on your brush. Also, don’t use a emollient base for the eyeshadows (MAC Paint, Paint Pot, etc.). You don’t need a coloured base to boost the shadows, and the formula of the mattes will cling to the rich base and your look will end up looking patchy. Use a very smooth, silky primer instead.

ABH Subculture swatches on light skin
Swatches of the Subculture Palette in outdoor (indirect) light. You can see the problems right here: See the crumbs that dropped from my swatch brush? The glitters are also quite glittery and prone to fallout, and the white duochrome is weak.

Don’t overblend. You’ll blend the shadows into nothing.

And yes, there’ll be some fallout from the darker shades. (I use simple scotch tape to remove it from my undereye area.) It just comes with the formula.

I tried the shades with both natural hair brushes and high-end synthetic brushes, and I can’t see a difference. A light hand at blending is definitely a plus here.

ABH Subculture Palette review, swatch
Swatches of the ABH Subculture in indoor light (indirect) on NC15 skintone. No primer.

The longevity of the shades is great (over eye primer). If you love the colour scheme of the palette as much as I do, and have some experience with doing your eye makeup, I can wholeheartedly recommend the Subculture Palette.

What do you want to learn this year?

Patience. I tend to explode at minor annoyances, and that’s a habit I really want to un-learn. I also want to learn to cope better with stress – I stress-eat a LOT, and after looking shocked at empty sweets bags after having to hit a deadline, this is something I’d really like to get rid of this year!


Astrid’s best-loved beauty product in January

NIOD Sanskrit Saponins
NIOD Sanskrit Saponins

NIOD Sanskrit Saponins

I’ve been wanting to try out NIOD Sanskrit Saponins for awhile now. The description is something I’m very curious about:

In our distant past, plant saponins were used to clean the skin well — and they did so very well. These saponins clean the surface of dead cells without peeling the skin. They delete dirt. They clean pores intensely. And they remove the skin’s own oils — yes, the skin’s very own oils and sebum secretions that everyone is so fearful of removing. The skin is not a cover. It is a living organ. Its function is to produce protective oils. To never clean these oils discourages their natural recycling — in a way, it would discourage the skin to engage in “exercise”. And removing these oils too aggressively results in excessive dryness and a compensatory overproduction of oils.


I’m not a big fan of acids because my personal belief is the body and skin are capable of healing themselves. I feel the idea of acids and peeling away my skin every day doesn’t really come from a place of loving my own skin. (PS: Also aware that this might not be everyone’s belief, and I do use some acids in my routine). BUT this description of helping the skin exercise the natural function is very intriguing to me (or some very good marketing buzz…).

Anyhow, during the Deciem Black Friday sale, I managed to score a big tube for the price of 9€. I couldn’t resist :D.

I have been using it for almost the whole month of January, so… here are my thoughts

NIOD Sanskrit Saponins consistency
NIOD Sanskrit Saponins consistency

Read the instructions. I only use this every other day, at night, after removing my makeup.


Have it in your eyes because it stings.


Since this is a favorites post, of course, I love it. The skin feels smoother afterward. It doesn’t dry out my skin, and the whiteheads on my chin go away!

It is worth the extra step to use every other night, and as a plus, I also love the nutty smell of it!

What do you want to learn this year?

Blockchain. I joined a learning group on blockchain late last year and I did not set out a time to learn. So I missed out on the Bitcoin bubble and the opportunity to be a somewhat early adapter on the technology. (I said somewhat because it’s been around for years). So this year my target is to understand the technology behind it, comfortable in making the decision if I want to invest in it (and not because someone said it’s cool and not cool), and being able to create something with blockchain.


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Beauty junkie with about 20 years of beauty experience under her belt. Editor, writer and twindly's PR heroine. Has an unbelievably large nail polish stash and a passion for skincare. Gets a kick out of pretty powders.

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