Friday, March 25, 2011

Urban Decay Naked Palette: Initial Thoughts

Like some of the other products that I have tried, I plan to make this a three part review (initial thoughts, first use, followup).  After what seemed like forever, I received my palette in the mail yesterday.  For such a small palette it came in a huge box!  I have yet to actually wear any of the colors, but I have swatched them all and really enjoy some of them.  For now my particular favorites are Sidecar, Smog, and Hustle, but that was just the test on the back of my hand.  I tend to like the darker colors on my hands, but on my eyes I enjoy the lighter colors.

Tonight I plan to try some of them out when I go to the grocery store.  I know it's just the grocery store, but I really want to try it since I stayed home last night because of the rain.  I didn't feel like wasting it on sitting around the house and watching Army Wives, which I'm addicted to.  This swatch was done by Marlena from  She is one of the first makeup gurus that I started watching back in NY and got me through my breakup.  ...Though admittedly I did try some of her more bold looks to go to clubs with girlfriends and now that I think back on it, whew, glad those days are over and that I discovered neutral colors.  Marlena, who I feel like is a close friend even though she doesn't know I exist, has done quite a few looks with this palette that I really enjoy.  You can also read her brief review and see more pictures here on her site or watch one of her many videos here.

Compliments of

Okay, so here is my initial reaction:

  • Aesthetics:  The casing is really pretty.  The outside is covered in a chocolate brown velveteen with gold printed writing.  I like that the box resembles a book.  There is a magnetic closure so that nothing falls out, but it does open easily enough that you don't have to pry it open with your fingers like some plastic cases from the drugstore.  When open, there is a nice clean row of 12 shadows ranging from light to dark and a fair sized mirror on the top flap.  Beneath the row of shadows is a slot for the synthetic-feeling eyeshadow brush.
    • As far as scent goes, I stuck my nose in the palette, (got a little too close and got Creep on the tip) and it has a funny soapy scent.  I'm not sure if this is the actual eyeshadow smell or the casing that it comes in.  It is not unpleasant and so mild that unless you were like me you won't be able to smell it.  It is not something that would deter me from buying it. 
The packaging straight out of the box
  • Eyeshadows:  The quality is great!  I love that there are different finishes within this palette.  I have noticed that a lot of drugstore shadows are full of shimmer.  Urban Decay has offered four different finishes: matte, shimmer, satin, and sparkle.  Personally I still like the shimmer shadows, but I know the value of having matte finishes in your palettes.  You don't want to be walking around looking like a disco ball.  The matte shades help give you a natural look and for what I can see there are two, Naked and Buck.  As for the others, they all hold some sort of shimmer whether it is a slight iridescence or full on bling.  I swatched the colors yesterday without primer and they turned out pretty well on my hand.  The light colors were difficult to see, but I like that quality.  It gives me the option of going really lightly with my looks or packing it on for more pigmentation.  Even though some of the shadows have some pretty visible glitter specks, all of the shadows have a silky feel to them. With the kit comes Urban Decay's famous Primer Potion.  I would most likely use this when using the light colors so that they pop a little more, but wouldn't always find it necessary for the darker shades because it might make them too bold for my taste.  Though I know that the primer is supposed to prevent creasing and make your colors last longer, I don't always use it.  
    • I'm not an expert, but these are the shades within each finish as far as I can tell:
      • Matte: Naked and Buck
      • Shimmer: Half Baked and Smog
      • Satin: Virgin, Sin, Toasted, and Hustle
      • Sparkle: Sidecar, Darkhorse, Creep, and Gunmetal
    • I enjoy all of the colors, but the Naked color really is naked.  I think this will be a pretty, matte base color, but against my skin, you really can't see it much. I think that if you are more fair or a little darker than my skin tone that this shade would look really pretty. I will probably use this color as my under-brow highlight.
I'm sure there are better pictures of this online, but since I took it I figured I wouldn't have to steal someone else's picture for the blog. 

This is a scan of the description on the back of the packaging. 
  • Brush: They call it the Good Shadow Karma Brush.  I'm not exactly sure why, but holy moly it retails at $26.00.  It must be made of gold or something!  It does feel nice in my hand and is much heavier than any other brush I own.  We will see how well it performs.  It is also apparently 100% vegan, which doesn't matter to me, but they have it in their product description.  I still would have rather had the eyeliner, but that's just me. 
    • I was quite disappointed when I found out that they were no longer selling the palettes with the dual sided 24/7 brown and black eyeliner, which normally retails at $18.00 for a singular color.  I really wanted to try out the liner and thought it was a great idea to have a dual sided liner included with eye shadows.  I suppose that it makes more sense to have a eye shadow brush instead, but I would have much rather had the eyeliner since people were raving about the quality. 
Overall, I think I got my money's worth.  This is the first time I've purchased high-end makeup for myself.  Since the palette was released in late 2010 the price has gone up by $4.00, but maybe that is because of the switch from eyeliner to brush.  Each palette comes with a mini Primer Potion.  I bought a regular sized Primer Potion a while back from Sephora for $18.00.  They don't sell the mini ones on their own so I'm not sure the value of that.  The whole palette retails for $48 on, but at the end of the day it came out to be $58.36 with tax and shipping.  Because this palette has been sold out at both Sephora and Ulta, I put myself on Sephora's email list to have them contact me when it was in.  I looked on Amazon, which is my usual go-to, but they jacked up the price to $85!  I couldn't believe it since they are usually so much cheaper than other websites.  I guess the palette was in really high demand.   As I see it, this is a great bang for your buck palette.  Without factoring in the "gold laden" brush and mini Primer Potion each shadow cost about $4 each, which is about the same as you would get in the drugstore.  Granted, the pans for each shade is smaller than a single Covergirl shadow, but I'm going to pretend that I didn't realize that. 

So far I love the palette and feel like I'm getting my money's worth.  This seems like something that I could easily take along with me on trips and be able to get many, many different looks from it.  

If you are interested in makeup tutorials for this palette I have linked a few of my favorite gals below:

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