The Full Review on Subtl Staks 2.0

Subtl Beauty

I travel a lot, and in doing so I also have to dedicate a certain amount of space in whatever bag – suitcase, weekender – for my beauty products. Space has always been a give and take situation. Less options means more space. Less items means easier to carry around. But for when the bare minimum is still awkward with multi-shaped products, bringing your routine with you can still be a hassle.

Subtl Beauty addresses this exact issue. Subtl was founded in 2019 by Rachel Reid in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It spawned from a situation that I, at least, can very much relate to.

“I was in this new relationship and thinking about spending the night at my new boyfriend’s place. What would I need? What if I forgot something? My just-in-case bag turned into an overflowing not-so-subtle bag.”

Thus, Subtl was born – a beauty stack with your entire routine conveniently in your bag and on the go. It’s a brilliant concept that allows security for those “whoopsie I forgot this” moments.

I used to think that I could throw in “one of each ” and be done with it. A mascara, one eyeliner, one eyeshadow, one lipstick, one concealer – and so on.

Except that list DOES add up and I’m a girl that likes having options. Sometimes too many options. I usually like to split my makeup selection into a “day look”, a “night look”, and a “fun look” that has more color and glitter.

I’ve practiced my packing skills quite a lot over the years. You only need a few carry-on-only multi-country trips to make you remove the excess.

I also do a lot of weekend trips, pet sittings, and last minute overnights at “friend’s” houses.

Either way, when I’m on the go, I’m constantly throwing travel sized beauty products into my jacket pockets, purses and duffel bags. I then misplace them or forget to bring concealer.

So I decided I needed to try Subtl. Because – It’s me. Hi. I’m the target market. It’s me.

Unboxing my first Subtl Stak set

The custom order came with a bunch of extremely cute travel themed accessories like a luggage tag, phone stand ( that was actually much sturdier than I expected ), and a travel TSA approved sized bag.

However, the little Subtl Stak containers are the star of the show. Each order comes with a mirror lid, base and brush.

The staks are customizable or you can get a pre-made set to get you started. I will not lie – I felt like a kid after a Halloween haul while unboxing the little stacks of makeup together. Halloween and Christmas were combined in that glorious moment.

Opening each item, swatching it and screwing them into place with the mirror lid on top also reminded me heavily of Polly Pocket for all my 90s kids.

Needless to say more – it is very fun.

Subtl has a lot of options, especially with each eye shadow coming with a shimmer half. So it can definitely be a lot to choose your set. However, most of what Subtl offers is designed with the intention of daily wear and minimalist looks. It wouldn’t be too hard to find something cute and wearable.

The options likely wouldn’t be suitable for a “full beat” type look, but you could always try for yourself to see what’s the limit. I found there is just a little bit of goodness in every circular capsule to keep you secure on the go.

On the Subtl Stak Eyeshadow Duos…

I found every eyeshadow to feel incredibly smooth. The eyeshadows had good color and the shimmery side had no fall out and went on your skin like butter. While Jelly is a popular duo choice, I did prefer Dune.

On the Subtl Stak Concealers…

Subtl clearly understands what people need for makeup on the go. Subtle offers their creamy concealer in 19 shades with different undertones. I would say the concealer offers light to medium coverage, but I also have a habit of trying to conserve my products due to scarcity issues. The concealer’s texture is indeed creamy and I know for sure it would have to go into every stack I pack.

On the Subtl Stak Lip and Cheek…

The Lip and Cheek containers without a doubt will be the first to go in my collection. They provide a cute, light color and Hibiscus Highway was a lot brighter than I thought it would be. This might be mainly because I had assumed the worst of all of them being more like a slightly tinted balm. I like to be wrong sometimes.

On the Subtl Stak Powder Blush…

I initially thought I would have no need for the blush with the lip and cheek combos. But after actually swatching the blushes ( go figure ), they felt so nice on skin. The blushes had such a pretty, soft texture. It kind of surprised me how much I liked the powder blush, with my favorite being Blossom Bound.

On the Subtl Stak Bronzer…

I don’t typically use bronzer, mainly because I forget to bring it with me ( I only own one bronzer ). However, having the Stak version actually lets me utilize it in a more “complex” routine. One that isn’t just “ hide your dark under eyes and put some color on my face to look more alive”.

On the Subtl Stak Pressed Powder…

The pressed powder I was also surprised with. I usually use setting spray out of habit, but upon trying the powder I was impressed. It did go on smoothly and you would never really tell it was applied. One less item to worry about bringing. One more item to add for on the go. However, you want to see it.

What’s NEW in the 2.0 System?

Subtl has also taken previous customer feedback and revamped their selection. Their 2.0 features a larger size ( more bang for your buck ), improved threading for how the containers screwed in together, a functional mirror and mini brush ( which I found essential for that Polly Pocket feel ), and a separate layer for the dry brush cleaner.

Also, the most important change is that the Stak 2.0 is now refillable. This means you can reuse your outer container and change the inner one. This can be to refill your original product or interchange it with a new one. The refillable aspect is amazing for sustainability, so you can keep your Stak system, and not be forced to purchase new containers. Refillable pans are also offered at a discount compared to the original item.

We love a thoughtful, sustainable conscious company that listens to their customers.

Some more thoughts on the Subtl Stak

The Subtl Stak system is perfect for those who need minimalist routines on the go. I will say, their formulas for their eyeshadows are indeed very smooth. I found it easy to use almost too much of the product. The shimmer shadows also do not take to “abuse” really well. Meaning, if you drop them, bits might fall out. However, the formula does create some of the nicest mixture of what feels like a creamy powder, so I don’t mind that it is more delicate than my pure-powder shadow pans.

The selection of makeup is also geared towards daily minimal use. The use-case scenario is for travelers on the go, not much for big glam event type situations. However, the Hibiscus Highway does lead me to hope that more vibrant colors might appear in the future.

Lastly, there were some comments out in “The Internet” that this system is pricey to get going. However, the sustainable refillable aspect helps afterwards. The quality is great. And the convenience is something to be noted.

I could condense bags of “potential” makeup into one. The final bag that housed my slightly unrealistic stack ( I had multiple lip and cheek combos and eyeshadow duos ), left room for more fun items – such as falsies, press on nails, glitter aloe gel, fragrances, eyeliner and so on. You get back on space what you spend on the condensed form factor, something I do appreciate.

Is there anything not to like about Subtl Stak?

While I do find the Subtl Stak 2.0 is amazing, incredibly innovative, fun to assemble, easy to use – I find myself trying my best to locate a flaw. Surely this can’t be everything I’ve ever wanted. And yes – aha. I found it.

This system is kind of addicting.

I found myself wanting more colors for more combos. I wanted a combo stack for every possible scenario. Every purse. Every backpack. Every gym bag. Just kidding, I don’t go to the gym ( yet ).

Yes, there it is. And in the future, maybe different colors for your Staks containers because I like to endlessly customize things. That may be a symptom of something. I’m not sure.

All jokes aside, the Stak 2.0 from Subtl Beauty is a beautiful addition to my life. Ease of use, convenience, and quality materials can all describe the Subtl Stak.

Subtl Beauty has taken the wheel at driving all of us – last-minute, minimalist packers, need-a-routine-in-every-bag-and-every-scenario people included – into a better future. They also are a Vegan, Cruelty-Free, designed with sensitive skin in mind and are made in the USA.

I honestly adore this stackable beauty system and the wonderful idea. I can’t wait for more additions to all their product offerings and am very excited to see where Subtl Beauty goes.

Until next time ~

Sophia Calderone

Sophia is a native Brooklynite with a deep love for food, drink and solo-travel. Previously a techie in the agency world, she has now swan-dived into more creative endeavors. She has a strong taste for whiskey with a growing spreadsheet of past affairs and can be seen eating anything from dollar pizza to Michelin star restaurants meals. Sophia is also a cat-lover holding a TNR certification and can be found taking care of community cats or professionally pet-sitting someone’s fur baby.

No Comments Yet

Comments are closed