Is The Shane Dawson X Jeffree Star Mini Controversy Palette Worth The Hype?

5 Dec 2019

Here she goes again. Miss I'm-always-late-to-the-party-but-I'll-talk-about-it-anyway. Yes, I know that everyone and their dog has discussed the whole Jeffree Star x Shane Dawson collection, but in my defence, my order arrived late and then I had a few weeks off blogging, so don't @ me. Anyway, I was really keen to throw my two cents into this whole conversation because A) I'm keen to review the thing that I ordered and B) I've got a few things to say about whether you should buy into this collaboration or not.


I remember watching Shane Dawson when I was in my teens and showing his videos to my sister. As I got older and his content shifted to suit a younger audience, I stopped watching, but with the emergence of his documentary series, I became hooked again. Especially when he did his series with MySpace original and makeup mogul, Jeffree Star, who had been popping up in my recommended videos for some time.

After their first series together, it was announced that they were going to collaborate on a makeup line and film the whole process, and so, the second series was born. Again, I was hooked and it was really cool to see the behind the scenes of the makeup process. However, nothing in the collection totally grabbed me, apart from the Mini Controversy palette. I was intrigued in the shade choices and it seemed a bit more 'me' than the huge Conspiracy palette.

As soon as it hit 5PM on release day, I jumped on to Morphe and managed to order it within 3 minutes. I realise that a lot of other people had problems with ordering, but it was probably me that came off worse because my palette took 2 weeks to arrive. I was seeing everyone else receiving their orders and chatting about them, and I still didn't have a dispatch email. It was a long long wait, but I was so excited when it finally did arrive!
So what is the Mini Controversy? This little palette is the nine pan companion of the larger Conspiracy palette. I think it features a couple of shades from the big palette, but most of them are unique to the Mini Controversy. I suppose that this makes it a bit more valuable and exciting, so I know a lot of people bought into the larger palette, as well as the smaller palette.

I absolutely couldn't wait to crack mine open once it arrived, but I have to admit, I was a little bit disappointed. For starters, there was no sheet inside to protect my shadows and no film on the mirror, which meant that eyeshadow dust had kind of gone everywhere in transit. Thankfully, none of the shadows had broken, but it was still enough to make me think 'oh, do they not put film and sheets inside palettes anymore?' It was a little odd and not something that I've come across before!

The second thing was that I found the shades to be really underwhelming in person. Whilst watching the documentary series, I was really excited by all of the colours that were getting added into the Mini Controversy, which is why it was the only thing I fancied out of the whole collection, but in person, I found them a bit meh. I also struggle to wrap my head around the colour story (especially now that they've announced the return of the green shade for the restock in March... can you imagine an alien green in there? I can't...), but it looked so good in the videos, then didn't make sense when I was seeing it in my own hands.

I usually only go for palettes that are a good all rounder and that you can use completely for an eye look. No one really wants to have to go dipping into another palette to get the perfect smoke - it's easier to just have the one. And for some reason, when I ordered this, I was like 'sure, I can make at least one cohesive eye look out of this,' and I'll be honest, so far, I've struggled.

At a glance, I absolutely loved the blues, which is a colour that I don't have much of in my collection, as well as that bright purple, but the rest left me feeling a little bit disappointed. There was only one way to see a bit more potential - cue the swatches!
From right to left, we have:
  • Flat Earth - a super pale, icy blue matte. This is something that I think has been added to soften the other two blues, but it's a bit lack lustre for me. I had to really try and build up the opacity that you see in the swatch.
  • Cry On My Couch - every palette needs a good base shade and this is it. It's a warm creamy beige matte and when used with a light hand, it would be good for setting the base.
  • My Boyfriend's Purse - this is a shade that I had high hopes for because it looked like a gorgeous champagne with a silver shimmer, which it still is, but it's just a bit dull. When I've put this on my lid, I don't get that stunning pop of shimmer that I was expecting. In fact, I barely get any colour or shimmer at all!
  • Controversy - this is a beautiful matte violet. It reminds me of a slightly darker Root Canal from the Blood Sugar palette, but it doesn't seem to be as pigmented. That being said, it is a stunning colour.
  • Diet Root Beer - a warm brown matte. This is a staple shade for me because I love a warm eye look and this would make a brilliant transition shade.
  • My Apology - a warm burgundy shimmer. Now, in the pan, this shade looks so amazing, but I found that when I was swatching it, it just didn't pack that much of a punch. The shimmer just wasn't there for me!
  • Exposed - this is probably the most lack lustre shade in my opinion. In the pan, it's a beautifully soft lilac matte, but when it's swatched, there really isn't a lot there, as you can see in the image above. It's so disappointing because this should be a really unique shadow!
  • Cancelled - this is a matte aqua blue that really demands the limelight. It's probably the most pigmented shadow in the whole palette and my favourite of the nine. Will I be brave enough to actually wear it? Who knows!
  • The Simulation - a shimmering royal blue. Again, this is another favourite of mine because it just smashes the other shimmers in the palette out of the park. When you ask for a shimmer, this is the type of thing that you expect.

As you can tell from that run down, there weren't too many shades in the palette that captured my heart. Jeffree's eyeshadows are known for their colour payoff and smoothness, but with a lot of these shades, I just wasn't getting that. I can't help but compare to shades from the Blood Sugar palette, which are consistently unbelievable and without problems. But with the Mini Controversy, I'm finding shimmers that aren't that shimmery, colours that don't have that pigmentation and shades that look different in the pan.

Back to the colour story point. I feel like now that I've swatched the nine shades, you can kind of see how difficult it would be to create something cohesive and 'complete' from this single palette. There are little couples of shades that could possibly work together, like Flat Earth and Cancelled, or Exposed and Controversy, but even then, it's a bit of a reach. So if you pick up this palette, be warned that it's not the best to travel with, because you'll need to bring another palette to supplement.
Another thing that I found odd before purchasing was the names and theme of the whole collection. It wasn't something that was enough to put me off buying, but it was something that I thought I would mention. It's difficult to understand whether this is a collaboration about Shane Dawson or about conspiracy theories. Putting the big palette aside, let's just focus on the Mini Controversy. There are names in this palette that relate to Shane Dawson, like Cry On My Couch, My Apology and My Boyfriend's Purse. There are shades that relate to conspiracies, like Flat Earth, The Simulation and Exposed. So what is the theme?

This sort of blurring of the lines and messy themes seems to be something that is common with debut launches (I'm looking at you, Laura Lee), so I think there needs to be a little cohesion all round, in my opinion!

So final thoughts, I don't regret picking this palette up because I was super keen to try it. However, I do wish that I'd got a little bit more from it. I feel like my excitement was a little bit for nothing, but I know that there are a lot of people out there who love this palette. It would be great for costume makeup or for adding into an MUA kit, but it's not something that I'd recommend for beginners. You can't create cohesive looks from the shade selection and the colour payoff isn't up to scratch, so beginners, look elsewhere!

Is this the first beauty post that's kind of negative? Quite possibly! But I had a lot of thoughts on this palette that I needed to get off my chest, so I hope it's been an interesting read for you all. Let me know what you think of this palette below!

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@thenorthernist