The Vengeful Polyglot

Urban Decay Naked Palette

Posted on: November 27, 2011

Almost two months ago, my boyfriend bought Urban Decay’s Naked Palette for me after seeing me drool over it every time I dragged him to Sephora. Two months is an unusually long time for me to wait before reviewing a product, but I’ve been really reluctant to write this post because I wasn’t sure I could adequately describe just how much I love this palette while also not parroting all of the reviews which led me to get it in the first place.

Everyone loves this palette — and for good reason. I’ve heard people speak of Holy Grail items before, and never really gotten it. However, in the time that I’ve had this palette it’s easier to count the days I didn’t wear one or more of these shadows than the days I did. I get it now. This palette includes 12 full-sized, incredibly versatile shadows, the Good Karma Shadow Brush, and a travel-size Original Eyeshadow Primer Potion for $48. I don’t think any other palette has done neutral better, or for a better price.



The packaging is stylish and uncharacteristically indulgent for Urban Decay. Complete with velvet and gold foil, this palette ditches UD’s typical “edgy” style for pure class and luxury. It’s as much a pleasure to look at as to use. Here’s the exterior:

And here’s the interior:

The packaging is simple and elegant designed. The shadows are nicely separated (unlike the Tarte for True Blood Limited Edition Palette I reviewed before) and the folio is slim enough to carry around if you’re planning on applying while out and about. That it includes a brush is just icing on the cake.



From left to right:

  • Virgin: Iridescent pale beige
  • Sin: Shimmering champagne
  • Naked: Matte beige
  • Sidecar: Glittery beige
  • Buck: Matte taupe
  • Half Baked: Shimmering gold
  • Smog: Shimmering bronze
  • Darkhorse: Shimmering brown
  • Toasted: Shimmering pinky taupe
  • Hustle: Shimmering maroon brown
  • Creep: Shimmering silvery black
  • Gunmetal: Shimmering blue grey

I have always loved the texture and color payoff of UD eyeshadows and these are no exception. They’re soft and blendable with admirable pigmentation; this goes for both the metallic and matte shades, which is awesome. All of my prior UD shadow experience has been with crazy, sparkly colors, so I’m glad to know they rock at neutral and matte shades just as much. Even without a primer, I didn’t notice any fallout — with one exception. Despite being a color I’d like to use, Sidecar has such large pieces of glitter that it winds up all over me even when using a primer. One shadow out of twelve with issues is hardly cause to complain, though, when the rest are so sublime.

What bears saying about these shadows is the amount of flexibility they afford you. From cool to warm, from shimmery to matte, from highlighters to contours, these colors cover so many bases that you can create a ton of looks to suit any occasion. I can’t say it enough: this is an unparalleled everyday palette.

Here are all of the shadows swatched on my arm:


Primer, Brush

This being only the second eyeshadow primer I’ve used, I can’t really say for certain how good it is compared to the competition. However, based on the reviews I’ve read, it seems to be a staple and generally well-regarded. It also comes in several shades aside from the original sampled with the palette, which does give it an advantage over Tarte’s Lifted primer (the only other I’ve tried). Otherwise, I can’t say why I’d prefer this one over another — I tend to use the UD primer with UD shadows, and the Tarte primer with Tarte shadows. Regardless, this is a nice product and I’ll probably pick up a full size when the travel size runs out given how often I use these shadows.

The brush, on the other hand, is not my favorite. Well, that’s not really fair. It would be better to say it’s not my favorite eyeshadow brush. It actually performs fairly well as a concealer or cream shadow brush, but for powder shadows I prefer a bushier brush. The tip is good for linear detail work, but since it’s flat and relatively thin it doesn’t pick up enough shadow for general use. I use my Bare Escentuals brushes with this palette instead. That said, the construction is nice, and it’s cruelty-free. It’s a fine brush to have in a pinch, but I think it’s better suited to other applications.


Sample Looks

Since this palette is so versatile, I took pictures of two example combinations, one for daytime and one for nighttime. For the daytime look, I used Naked and Half Baked on the Lid and Virgin as a highlighter at the brow bone, followed by a top line and mascara.

I cropped in close here (taken in artificial light):

Pretty basic, pretty light, not terribly edgy. Still, neutrals are great for daytime, particularly for office or interview situations where a louder or more exotic look would be out of place. They’re also good if you’re shy about loud colors, not that I would know anything about that, wink wink, nudge nudge.

On the other hand, I’ve been trying a smokey eye (which takes me considerably longer than pretty much anyone else on the planet, I think) for nights out, and the result is considerably more dramatic. For the particular iteration below, I started with Buck as an overall base (including some on the bottom lid), Darkhorse just on the upper lid, and Virgin along the brow bone. I lined the top and bottom with my usual liner (Bobbi Brown’s Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in Sepia Ink), and then smudged Creep in over the liner close to the lashline on both the top and bottom lid. Then, I put on fantastic false eyelashes, which made me look 10x less like I accidentally punched myself in the face and 10x more like I intended to look this way.

Observe (taken in way more flattering lighting):

Clearly, these are two totally different looks, and don’t actually have any overlapping colors, but my main point is to illustrate how tremendously useful and attractive neutrals can be under varied situations. These make me feel like I can do anything (as demonstrated by how totally acceptable my smokey-eye looks, despite being only my second attempt).


Overall Verdict

I love this palette. Have I mentioned I love this palette? If you haven’t been totally steamrolled by my effusive and probably excessive praise, then you probably didn’t actually read any of this. I can’t think of a better example of how many different and interesting combinations of “brown” there are. I’ve never liked neutrals. Now, I wear them almost every day. It’s just that good. And don’t just take my word for it — on every review blog or site I’ve frequented, people just can’t say enough good things about it. Even if you’re a neutral skeptic, for the price, how can you go wrong? To buy all of these individually would cost over $200, and that’s ignoring the fact that several are exclusive to this palette. Seriously, if you don’t have this yet, I can’t tell you how much you need it.

Obligatory more-attractive shot! (Also, oh my god the 50mm f/1.4 is the best thing in the whole world that isn’t this palette.)


3 Responses to "Urban Decay Naked Palette"

[…] going to consider it kismet that the day I finally got around to publishing my review of Urban Decay’s Naked palette, Naked 2 was teased for the first time. Perhaps I am some sort […]

[…] reviewed both Urban Decay’s original Naked palette, as well as its much anticipated followup, Naked 2, I’d now like to take the chance to […]

[…] distinguish between six different kinds of pink. (For those who are interested, I also updated my Naked, Naked 2, and True Blood palette reviews with swatches.)  Here are the quads swatched on my arm as […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog by a programmer cum linguist cum writer cum total geek. One who pretentiously uses "cum" in place of any other logical connectives. Direct questions to the Ask Lauren page!

My Flickr Photostream

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 22 other followers

%d bloggers like this: