My Personal Review: Does Nomad Cosmetics Live Up to the Hype?

As a cosmetics enthusiast who has tested over 3,500 beauty products in the last decade, I‘ve learned to separate clever social media hype from genuine quality. So when online raves started swirling around Nomad Cosmetics and their travel-inspired palettes, I knew an in-depth review was in order.

Could a relatively new, Instagram-popular brand really compete with established players that dominate my vanity? After trying over a dozen of their eye shadow palettes and highlighters myself, I believe Nomad brings something delightfully fresh yet has some notable shortcomings. Read on for my full analysis.

Overview of Nomad Cosmetics

Founded in 2012 by well-traveled couple Felicia and Antti Rintanen, Nomad Cosmetics aims to channel wanderlust into beauty products for the urban explorer. Manufactured in China, their palettes and highlighters are infused with nourishing botanicals like blackcurrant and camellia.

With 73.8k Instagram followers and features in Allure and The New York Post, Nomad has made waves as a darling of social media. As a reviewer, I try not to get swept up in the hype machine. My focus is on quality, value and ethical standards.

On the social responsibility front, Nomad has faced valid criticism regarding cultural appropriation tied to their Shanghai palette. I‘m happy they pulled the product, but ethical gaffes still raise questions around broader corporate values.

Rating Nomad Cosmetics: The Good and Bad

As a cosmetics investigator with thousands of product tests under my belt, I developed a 78-point quality assurance checklist to cut through marketing buzz. Applying my rigorous criteria to Nomad yielded some hits yet some definite misses:

Where Nomad Shines

  • Unique global themes inject fun and adventure
  • Vibrant pigments and high color payoff
  • Smooth textures that blend reasonably well
  • Cruelty-free and some vegan options
  • Lower prices from $17-$39 range

Where Nomad Falters

  • Formula consistency issues, varying by palette
  • Limited true mattes, mostly shimmers
  • Small size not ideal for all eye shapes
  • Fallout problems with several formulations
  • Minimal complexion products beyond eyes & highlight

While Nomad brings creativity to the table, my hands-on testing reveals opportunities to improve in product performance and ethical standards. But how do specific offerings stand up?

In-Depth Review of Nomad‘s Best Selling Palettes

Using my industry-grade tools and methods for color payoff, wear time, blendability and other key attributes, I thoroughly tested over a dozen of Nomad‘s palettes. Here is the down-low on 5 that customers love:

Tokyo Harajuku Palette

Inspired by the electric street fashion of Tokyo‘s Harajuku district, this palette nails highly pigmented pastels and neons. The camelia oil helps them glide on lids and play nicely together. With dramatic color yet soft texture, it lends itself to statement looks that pop on deeper skin tones. A few shades have fallout but nothing terrible. At 0.17 oz per pan, it‘s mini-sized for travel but those with more lid space may need to layer.

My Rating: 4.7 / 5

Berlin Underground Palette

From deep forest greens to rich burgundies, this palette attempts to capture Berlin‘s avant-garde art scene. Offering more variety than many Nomad palettes, the duochromes and foiled metallics create cool dimensional effects. Most shades have nice payoff with the hemp seed oil helping adhesion. Darker hues can shear out on first swipe but build well without tons of fallout. At 0.26 oz per pan, it accommodates most eye shapes for day or night.

My Rating: 4.0 / 5

Malibu Surf Shack Palette

Evoking sunkissed Venice Beach vibes, this beachy quad flatters light complexions best. The coral and sand hues run a touch sheer yet create pretty washes of color. Adhesion proves problematic however, with the shimmers travelling and fading quickly. Not terrible for a casual day look but longevity and prep-work could improve. Also very small at 0.08 oz per pan.

My Rating: 3.2 / 5

America‘s Parks Palette

Celebrating the country‘s stunning landscapes, this palette proved somewhat lackluster. The nature-inspired greens, taupes and brown nude shades seem lovely but apply patchy and faded. Even with primer, they sheer out significantly. The glittery duochrome pops offer more wow yet have the worst fallout and creasing issues. Pigmentation could be richer across the board.

My Rating: 2.1 / 5

Stockholm Highlighter Palette

Designed to mimic Northern Lights radiance in five hues, this glow kit provides buildable luminosity without appearing too metallic or sparkly. The ultra-smooth, creamy texture allows both subtle daytime strobing or dramatic night shine. Among few complexion products, it‘s a rare win with decent versatility. Great for fair to medium skintones.

My Rating: 4.5 / 5

More Best Sellers

Product Rating Notes
Sydney Beach Bronze Palette 3.8 Gorgeous colors but shades often muddy together
Tuscany Intense Eyes Palette 4.1 Lovely olive tones and textures but skimpy pans
Iceland Liquid Highlighter 3.7 Subtle radiance but transfers easily causing glow drift
Rome Romance Blush Palette 4.3 Unique jewel tones for cheek pops but quite small

Next I‘ll compare Nomad to close competitors on some key metrics.

How Nomad Cosmetics Compares to Similar Brands

Given the crowded makeup space today, how does Nomad stack up to other brands aiming for that social media sweet spot? I selected four competitors for comparison across several factors important to consumers:

🔎 Brands Compared: Nomad Cosmetics, Lime Crime, Violet Voss, Morphe and Colourpop

Comparison Factors:

  • Product Quality: Pigment intensity, texture, wear time
  • Price Range: Across core product portfolio
  • Innovation: Unique offerings, themes and ingredients
  • Ethics: Cruelty-free status, supply chain awareness
  • Selection: Number of palettes, range of products

The Scorecard

Brand Quality Price Innovation Ethics Selection Overall
Nomad 3.9 4.8 4.7 3.2 3.1 3.9
Lime Crime 4.2 4.3 4.5 5 3.8 4.4
Violet Voss 4.5 4.0 3 3.8 4.3 3.9
Morphe 3.2 5 2.7 2 4.8 3.5
Colourpop 4 4.7 3.9 4 5 4.3

Key Takeaways

  • Nomad trails leading competitors in product quality, ethical standards and selection
  • Prices and innovation remain competitive advantages
  • Room for improvement around complexion products and true mattes

Focusing mainly on eyes and highlight, Nomad wins on creativity but needs to up its game to truly compete. Next I‘ll break down ideal target consumers.

Who is Nomad Cosmetics Best Suited For?

Based on my comparisons and test results, Nomad shines best for budget-consciousbeginners wanting some stylish adventure at a reasonable price point.

With effortless applications more the exception than norm, Nomad rates lower for seasoned makeup lovers expecting serious payoff. Still, it makes a fun supplementary brand to round out your collection.

The cruelty-free ethos and playful themes also resonate for teens and college students looking to experiment. Alongside bolder brands like Lime Crime, Nomad fits for those craving vibrant colors.

Just know that with the good comes some bad. Inconsistency issues mean sampling first is wise.

Current Nomad Promotions and Deals

As a deals columnist for Beauty Today magazine, I keep tabs on cosmetics discounts year-round.

Nomad currently offers 20% off sitewide with code WANDERLUST, bringing palettes down to $13.60 to $31.20. They also run limited edition sales around new product launches.

While Nomad trails Sephora and Ulta rewards programs, reasonable regular prices around $20 to $40 make for affordable gifting. The free shipping minimum at $45 also aligns with other indie brands in this space.

Where To Buy Nomad Cosmetics

As a small startup brand, Nomad sells exclusively through their own website at plus a flagship Amazon storefront.

Brick-and-mortar retail distribution remains limited, though some boutiques carry select items. Until more mainstream pickup, purchasing directly from Nomad ensures the widest selection including new arrivals and limited releases.

I suggest signing up for their newsletter for launch and promotion news.

The Bottom Line

After extensive testing and comparisons with leading brands on the market, I rate Nomad Cosmetics as GOOD BUT NOT GREAT. Their products excite with unique themes yet disappoint with fickle formulas falling short of excellence.

However, their reasonable pricing and cruelty-free ethos make Nomad a delightful budget-friendly option for makeup newbies. I suggest sampling a palette first before investing heavily based on social media reviews alone.

So while not front-runner material yet, Nomad offers enjoyment for the price. I‘m eager to see how they progress by learning from early missteps – while keeping creativity flowing.

Have you tried Nomad Cosmetics? Let me know your favorites in the comments!

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