palette battle: anastasia beverly hills subculture vs bad habit beauty retro love

bad habit retro love vs anastasia beverly hills subculture

A few weeks ago, I picked up bad habit’s retro love during my shop hush haul, which looks extremely similar to the subculture palette from anastasia beverly hills. I picked up the subculture palette while it was on sale on sephora (which I was able to stack another coupon on it, bringing the price down to nearly half) and wanted to compare both palettes. Are they dupes? Which one would I recommend? Let’s take a look at how they perform:


For both palettes, I used my trusty nars pro-prime eyeshadow base which dries clear so it wouldn’t affect the colors and I could do a true comparison. If you compare both palettes, the colors of the retro love palette looked darker than its subculture counterpart.

retro love: I found the shadows, once applied to the eyes, sheer and not as pigmented as if you were doing finger swatches. It wasn’t necessarily bad – it was more forgiving if you picked up a ton of product on your brush. However, I found that I really had to build the color on my lids, with some of the shades being more sheer than I prefer. It was blendable and easy to work with.

subculture: Where retro love is sheerer and you need to really build it up, subculture is insanely pigmented. You definitely need to go in with a light hand when you work with it. You really only need to tap your brush in the shadow lightly to have enough to work with. I did make the mistake of picking up too much product, which resulted in having to spend longer blending and slowly building up the color on the other lid to get it to match. It is not beginner friendly, because there’s a bit of a learning curve, but the result is worth it – the colors are beautiful and work so well with each other.

winner: this one is a toss up – while subculture needs more finessing, retro love needs to be built up. If I had to choose, I would say subculture.


I wore both eyeshadow palettes for more than 8 hours. I typically wear my makeup for 10+ hours a day, so longevity is huge for me. I also have very hooded eyelids, so I also like to see if shadows stay in place or if it settles in the folds.

retro love: After a full work day, I found that the shadow collected in my eyelid folds, losing color on majority of my eyelid. While it doesn’t look that bad with my eyes open, it is definitely noticeable if I close my eyes. Plus, the color faded after a while, so at the end of the day, I really only had color on my crease and outer corner. However, the color fading is probably caused by my eyelid folds, because it did stay in place everywhere else.

subculture: In comparison, I found that subculture lasted well through the day. One of the days I tested, I wore it for over 15 hours (6am – 9pm) and it only really disappeared in my eyelid folds, but it was not noticeable. The color was slightly faded, but that’s expected with an extremely long wear time. I was very pleasantly surprised that when I got home and found it looked almost identical than when I left for work earlier that day.

winner: 100% subculture. This sucker lasts all day.

comparison of retro love vs subculture

comparison of bad habit retro love (top) and subculture (bottom): the shades are extremely similar, but subculture looks more saturated in comparison to retro love, which looked more muted, deeper.


I thought I would include a comparison on how the palettes are packaged (overall design, durability, etc).

retro love: The actual palette is very sleek cardboard packaging, with a mirror. The names of the shades are on the same side as the shadows, which is very helpful. I do think the packaging is very nice quality for a $10 palette. I’m not the biggest fan of the design on the outside, but I can look past that because the actual form factor is nice.

subculture: This is also a cardboard palette, with a velvet cover in a beautiful shade of blue. It also includes a mirror and a two-sided brush. The brush isn’t bad, so I am okay with this being included. I actually love the velvet texture; it’s a unique touch to the typical cardboard packaging. It is thicker than the retro love palette, but it’s not as long.

winner: again, subculture. The velvet is beautiful and it feels more sturdy.

final verdict

Here’s the thing – subculture is a beautiful palette and is very unique in the color combination, which retro love emulates, but they are not dupes in terms of formula. So the winner would have to be subculture because of two factors: it doesn’t collect in my eyelid folds and it lasts all day. For me, those as very important and if you wear makeup to work and have crazy lid folds, I would choose subculture over retro love.

However, retro love is a fine palette if you don’t have hooded lids. If you’re interested in the colors and not necessarily swayed by ultra pigmented formulas (which, frankly, is okay for most people), this is well worth the $10. You get more shadows than you would in the drugstore for the same price and is a fun, versatile palette.

I can’t end without addressing “subculture-gate,” where people had palettes were shadows were kicking up a lot, leaving you with near empty pans. I did experience a little kickup, but it wasn’t terrible like I’ve seen online. Apparently, newer palettes were repressed to combat those issues. Since I didn’t experience those issues, I probably got one of the newer palettes.

I found the formula was very similar to modern renaissance, which I adore. If you’re worried about any of those issues, retro love might be your answer if you want those colors. I didn’t experience the same amount of kick up with retro love and, as I mentioned, is workable.

Which one do you prefer? Share some of your favorite palette dupes in the comments!

’til next time, xo!

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