Alleyoop Stack the Odds Review
Alleyoop’s Stack the Odds is a convenient three-piece makeup kit you can use on the go thanks to its slide-out design, though customization is a bit limited.
- Slide-out mechanism satisfying to use and keeps it in one piece
- Cream instead of powder, so there’s no risk of shattering
- Full coverage with just a dab due to deep pigmentation
- Layers can accidentally slide out when squeezing into pockets
- No customization options at the time of this review
- Easy to transfer too much onto a finger or brush during application
0.28 oz (7.9 g)
1 in x 2.25 in x 2.25 in (2.5 x 5.7 x 5.7 cm)
Using makeup while traveling is arguably one of the toughest things to do. Never mind creating a packing list or crafting the perfect travel itinerary—looking good while hopping between airport terminals and tourist spots? Now that’s a different kind of travel acrobatics. Fortunately, makeup brands have been finding more and more ways to make it easier to keep looking fresh, fashionable, and, as some might say, “on fleek.”
Meet Alleyoop’s Stack the Odds makeup set. With a name like that, we can already feel that the brand knows the challenges of using makeup on the go—a good start. It’s a compact with a fold-out mirror and a three-stack of different makeup. You can choose from three presets, each tailored to a particular range of skin tones. That means you are, unfortunately, limited in terms of customizability since you can’t freely swap out parts of the stack. Nevertheless, let’s take a look at how the Stack the Odds may be in your favor and become the all-in-one compact you’d want on your trips.
So the core configuration of the Stack the Odds can be broken into three components. There’s a highlighter, a blush, and a contour/bronzer. They’re stacked from top to bottom in that order, and it’s all topped by a fold-out mirror. While the fold-out mirror covers the blush, the contour/bronzer and highlighter each slide out from the side in a cascading fashion. Actually, they pivot out from underneath the blush, but the smoothness of the mechanism makes it feel more like they slide.
We dig the mechanism Alleyoop has come up with for various reasons. First off, the whole stack feels well assembled for something made out of plastic. It’s not flimsy like cheaper or other off-brand makeup we’ve tried, making the mechanism a bit fun to fidget around with. Okay, that’s a pretty small, off-tangent, and seemingly unrelated quality, but we thought we’d mention it anyway since it speaks to Stack the Odds’ build quality. Makeup substances can be sensitive to external factors, so a quality container is a must-have.
Our only gripe with the slide-out mechanism is that it can be too easy to open. For example, we’ve sometimes accidentally opened the bronzer when we’re trying to slip it into a liner pocket. We’re not engineers, but we wish it locked somehow. Then again, we also like how easy and smooth the whole thing is to open. With that, just be careful whenever you’re packing it, and make sure it’s properly closed before you zip up your bag.
Build quality and mechanisms are all important aspects, but how does Alleyoop’s makeup actually stack up when you use it?
The best part about all three (the highlighter, blush, and contour/bronzer) is that they’re all cream-based, not powders. Plus, they’re also cruelty-free and vegan, in case that’s a factor for you. We’ve nothing against powder makeup, as we still use it from time to time. However, cream is much more resilient from a travel perspective. Powder in compacts can break up, whether due to vibrations, an accidental drop, or if their containers flex and bend; not an issue for cream. That said, Alleyoop’s cream makeup does have its shortcomings.
Despite their creamy consistency, it takes us a few swipes of a finger or brush to get the contour/bronzer and highlighter to a more applicable consistency. At the same time, though, it’s also quite easy to swipe too much, getting more than what you want to use. All three makeups are very pigmented, so we think even a small amount is enough. Fortunately, this is less of an issue with the highlighter since that’s a bit drier than the other two, and it’s easy to get just the right amount.
Lastly, we have to point out that there are only three predetermined sets of these stacks. They’re each tailored to a particular range of skin tones, and, at least with our sample, Alleyoop has done a good job matching the pigments and shades. However, this also means you cannot add, remove, or pick whatever shade or makeup you want with your stack. It’s noteworthy, though it’s not a dealbreaker if you’re not looking for a full-suite makeup set and are okay sacrificing ultimate skin tone compatibility.
As mentioned above, Stack the Odds comes in a well-made package. We like that it’s one unit that slides out and doesn’t require disassembly or other fanciful setups. You can hold it in one hand, and we found that particularly helpful when we tried to apply makeup in a taxi where there was no nearby table. The mirror is a bit small, though, and we wish Alleyoop maximized the given space since the borders are quite thick.
The sliding stacks can be an issue when slotting Stack the Odds into a pocket. However, it’s a small one that’s easily corrected with some care and more than made up for by the relatively compact size of the package. We’ve no problem finding a place for the Stack the Odds in most toiletry bags. It works well with the Fjallraven Toiletry Bag, and even something as slim as the Peak Design Small Wash Pouch easily accommodates it. Sure, the circular shape isn’t exactly the most efficient when dealing with rectangular pouches—but we’re talking about makeup here; efficiency isn’t always a priority.
The closest comparison we have is the Subtl Beauty Build Your Stack. Like Stack the Odds, the Build Your Stack includes different makeup components that form a stack. The difference is in the amount of customization Subtl Beauty affords the user. You can pick each component, or you can select a premade set. Their selection is also wider than Alleyoop’s, as of the time of writing, and includes both cream and powders.
On the other hand, Build Your Stack feels more clunky to use. Each layer fits on top of the other and acts as the cap, as Stack the Odds does, minus the sliding mechanism. Having to twist and set aside parts of the Build Your Stack sometimes feels less organized. Overall, Stack the Odds feels easier and more cohesive to use when you don’t have a ton of room to maneuver and set things on a surface. In terms of size, the Build Your Stack does have another edge by being smaller layer-for-layer, though not too much to make a decisive difference.
- Fun to play with the expanding design
- Interested to see if it dries out easily
- Digging the slim design
- Very pigmented—a little bit goes a long way
- Makeup can dry out and takes a few swipes of a warm finger to get it creamy again
- Wish there were more customization options for shades