Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Saga Continues: UNII Palette Review Part III

Hello, 2012! With the new year, we have a chance to start over; wipe the slate clean, if you'll pardon the cliche. Thomas and I are ringing in the new year by moving into our very first house. No, we're not homeowners (yet), but we'll be in an actual house. Not a townhouse. This is a real house with a real yard and real driveway to separate us from the immediate neighbors (finally). There is even--get this--a white picket fence. Seriously. Best of all, the landlady's a real doll. She's also my mom.

Oh, did I neglect to mention that? Thomas and I are moving into the house I grew up in. My family moved out of it ages ago, and it's just sitting there, waiting for the housing market to turn around so that someone can buy it. Ridiculously long (like, Tolstoy-length) story short, we wanted a house, the house needed a family, and Jupiter aligned with Mars. We're moving in!

Of course, this requires packing, which requires organizing, which requires boxes, storage containers, and the like. I decided to start small and work my way up, like a Russian stacking doll. Maybe the little stuff can consolidate into the bigger items, and take up even less of the U-Haul's precious real estate? I don't know, yet, but I figured it was worth a shot. I'll let you all know how it works out.

Now, by small, I mean small. I've started with the makeup I tend to keep out on my counter. Most of my cosmetics are in a fantastic train case in my closet, and I just grab as I need. However, a few of more frequently used products are kept in an organizer on my bathroom counter (which is horrible, as the steam from the shower can damage them, but I really have no other option right now. I'll have a drawer in the new house, but my current bathroom has no drawers. Not one. Zip. Nada. It's a scandal, it's an outrage). In an effort to reduce some of larger, less efficient packaging on a few of these go-to products, and save a couple of those products from some serious damage (caused by the larger, less efficient packaging--again, long story), I turned to the UNII company.

If you recall, back in April, I ran across this new, innovative product, the UNII palette. This was a completely customizable palette that could be filled with refill or de-potted cosmetics. After reading and watching review after glowing review, I ordered my own and wrote my own review here.

The palette was a revelation. It was sleek, gorgeous, and held positively everything I could need for travel. The design was sturdy, air-tight, and I never worried that my makeup would break, or that any dust/glitter/residue would end up all over my purse or luggage. I wanted a dozen more, but, alas, had to make do with the just the one for the time being.

Well, the impending move came up, and my amazing UNII was stuffed to the gills (to the point of needing to move things into another case), so a second palette had moved from "want" territory on over to "necessity". However, when I went to order the new case, I was met with the news that things had changed on the UNII front. The cases were...different.

Well, different is good, right? Change can be for the better, right? Um...let's talk about this for a sec.

I ordered one. I had no real choice, at this point. Here's the breakdown:

The Good: The color is just gorgeous. I ordered turquoise, and it's a bright, Spring-y teal with just a sprinkling of fine glitter throughout. The inner plate is a coordinating shade of pale aqua, and the new thumbgrip is much more space-conscious than the older design. The palette looks amazing, and seems just as sturdy as ever.

Photo Credit: UNII
The Bad: It's no longer air-tight. Not even close. The rubber gasket in the original design has been replaced by hard plastic, and none of the inner workings are removable for cleaning. The UNII company has stated, though, that the intend to bring back the rubber gasket. The magnetic plate is nice, as most of my pans are plain old ordinary metal, but not everything sticks right to it. Magnet to magnet doesn't work very well, and some items that already contain magnets have to be moved around the palette until they "click" into place, while other items (including anything aluminum) require a "Not-A-Magnet" sheet to allow them to even stick at all. Let me just say that this "Not-A-Magnet" option does not seem secure. The hold is weak, and I am very concerned. Luckily, only one product needed it. If your pans are just plain metal (think: Stila refills), you'll be good to go.

The Ugly: The palette is not as deep as it used to be. The magnetic plate is thicker than the sheet metal that used to line the bottom of the case, so you can't fit the same products from the old into the new. For example, in this picture, you can see where I have a mini eyeshadow primer, travel brush, travel eyeliner, and short (really used) lipliner.
Photo Credit: Me, but now on the UNII website. That's how much I love the old design.

Um...yeah...the brush still fits. That's it. The flat product pans fit without any problem, but the round items are too large for the new case to close around. If I take the lid off of the lipliner, it works, but then I have a whole host of other problems to contend with.

So, in the past, I could fit everything I could ever need for touch-ups in a UNII palette. Now, I have to carry my eyeliner and lipliner separately. It doesn't seem like a big deal, unless you've ever had to turn a purse upside-down to find an errant lipliner, only to find out later that it fell out in your car, inbetween the seats, and you're never going to be able to fish it out, so you have to buy a new one, which will only get lost again...not that that's ever happened to me. Strictly hypothetical, of course.

In the end, it's still a really good case, and a fine way to organize your products or keep badly packaged items from being destroyed. Honestly, when the rubber gasket returns, I plan to purchase another palette. It's just not as good of a case as it used to be. To use another cliche, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Final Verdict: 7 out of 10. Anybody know where I can find some flat liner pencils?


  1. I'm considering buying a couple of unii palettes and I know some websites that still offer the old design. Overall, would you recommend the old over the new one? By the way, Smashbox has these credit card-sized versions of their cream eyeliner in palette form, 10 colors total. They come with a tiny but still perfectly usable application brush that'll fit anywhere. Each color can be depotted. Maybe that'll work for your new unii.


    1. @Stay Kind, who still has the old Unii Palettes in stock? Would you mind sharing with us?

    2. @Stay Kind, Could you please share with us where to buy the original Unii palettes?

  2. Olga,

    Overall, I much prefer the original Unii. If you can find them, grab a couple. You'll fill them up.

    Thank you so much for the heads up on the Smasbox! That's fantastic, and I'll have to check it out!

  3. There is someone on Etsy.com who sells hand made magnetic palettes that look pretty amazing, though I doubt they're air tight. They seem more like Zpalettes, but with a solid top instead of the clear plastic window that the z palettes have.

  4. SBlair,

    Coolbeans! I'll see if I can find those. Thanks!


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