At its initial price of $64, Urban Decay’s Book of Shadows IV may have seemed overpriced compared to some of their other palettes, especially if you had a chance to check out the shadows and noticed they’re not all quite as pigmented as we’ve come to expect from Urban Decay. Now that the price has been reduced to $29 (follow the link above and use the coupon code SEVENTEEN11), it feels like a much better bargain – even with its flaws. This palette contains sixteen eyeshadows, a fluid eyeliner in Perversion (black), a trial of Supercurl Curling Mascara, a trial of the Primer Potion… and a bunch of gadgets I doubt many people will have much use for.
Unlike many sleeker Urban Decay palettes, the Book of Shadows IV is bulky and not particularly travel-friendly. It’s a beautiful package, with pop-up plastic butterflies and a pull-out drawer full of products that slides very well. It’s made of reinforced cardboard, and feels very sturdy. The packaging in this case is something you’ll probably either love or hate – a lot of people reviewing it at the UD site recommend de-potting the shadows, they dislike it so much.
The palette comes with a “get the look” card that only works if you have a smartphone with a Quickcode reader app installed, and some kind of purple speaker device with cords to hook up to a PC or phone or something. There are no instructions for the speaker thingie, and I was unable to get it to do anything. It might make a nice paperweight.
But let’s forget that stuff. The shadows are mostly Urban Decay quality (more detail below). The finishes are all shimmer, satin-shimmer or glitter, with one exception (Skimp is matte). What’s interesting about this palette is that it’s a combination of neutrals and more colorful shadows – most UD palettes go one way or the other. This is not one of Urban Decay’s best palettes, but if you’re torn between a colorful UD palette or, say, Naked 2, I would actually recommend this one. It makes for a good compromise.
The Perversion eyeliner is very good stuff – a very deep, dark black – and so is the Supercurl Mascara, which not only curls, but also does a nice job of volumizing, defining and bringing out every millimeter of length in your lashes. And you probably already know about the infamous Primer Potion, much beloved by many people.
Blue Bus is one of the disappointments in this palette: it’s so beautiful in the pan, but it’s so lacking in pigment that it’s somewhat sheer. It’s a satin-shimmer medium blue with purple undertones. Gunmetal also appears in the Naked palette – it’s a medium gray with blue undertones and some glitter. Cobra is a deep brown with green and gold sparkles – very pigmented, but how it looks in the pan is misleading. Wet ‘N’ Wild makes a near-perfect dupe for this in their Comfort Zone palette. Baked is a bright shimmery gold with the usual high pigmentation and buttery texture of Urban Decay.
Bender is a dark green with gold shimmer that gives the overall impression of deep olive green. It’s the usual UD quality. Gravity is a shimmery true purple with pink and blue sparkle – also very pigmented and creamy in the usual UD style. Lost is a neutral shimmery brown – a little pinker than Snakebite (Naked 2) and a little darker and less golden than Smog (Naked). Hijack is a frosty teal that’s rather unique – I don’t have anything very close to it in my collection.
Midnight Cowgirl is a buttery yellow with glitter, and it applies like other UD glitter shades – it’s best to pat it on and use a sticky base, or you might get fallout. Sin is another color that appears in the Naked palette – it’s a shimmery pale pinkish beige. Midnight Rodeo is a mocha with glitter – it’s more pink than Suspect, but a similar tone. Crystal is another disappointing color, which is doubly frustrating because it would look so good with Blue Bus if either of them were cooperative. It’s a shimmery light gray with blue undertones, but the texture is so dry and stiff that it’s almost impossible to get enough on your brush to get any pigment.
Bust is a satin-shimmer light mocha that’s a little bit more cool-toned than Midnight Rodeo. Missionary is a shimmery cool beige that’s less pink (more white, actually) than Sin. Skimp is a matte beige ivory. Zephyr is another dry color that doesn’t apply easily – it’s a satin-shimmer yellow off-white.
Despite a few disappointing shades, I feel like at $29, this palette is a bargain. Even if you hate the packaging enough to depot it, you’re getting a full-size eyeliner, a decent trial size mascara and primer potion, and at least twelve awesome shadows along with a few that aren’t quite up to snuff. The neutrals in this one are great, and I don’t feel they’re all that close to either of the Naked palettes. I mean, with any two brown palettes in the world, you’re going to have some similarities, but if you’re not the sort of person who feels Naked addressed all your brown eyeshadow needs, this one’s definitely worth checking out.