I got the Urban Decay Naked 2 palette (eta: now available at Sephora) a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve been playing with it ever since. I wanted to really get to know it before I reviewed it here, but I made a couple of videos:
After working with the palette for a couple of weeks, I’ve found both some positives and negatives. I
f you adore Urban Decay and can’t stand to hear anything bad said about them, please stop reading! I’m just trying to be really, really honest and cut through all the hype about this palette, to help people make up their minds whether this is a palette they want to buy now before ever having seen it in person, or wait until they’ve checked it out at Sephora/Ulta (whenever those stores finally get it), or maybe put their money toward something else.
The short version
If you don’t want to read the detailed review, here’s what I think in a nutshell:
- The shimmer colors have great pigmentation and color payoff.
- Wear time is very good, even without primer.
- The mattes disappointed me. They’re not as highly pigmented as mattes by Mac or Stila.
- The glittery shades are slightly hard to work with, and tend to sheer out.
- The whole palette is on the pale side. Blackout is the only color that really, really contrasts with the others, so if you like to do high contrast eyeshadow looks, they’re going to have to involve black. If on the other hand you like low contrast eye makeup, this palette is a pretty good collection.
- The longer I have this one, the more I find myself reaching for other neutral palettes. But then, I do like higher contrast eyeshadow, and consider drugstore palettes like the Elf 32 warm palette to be good enough when I’m going for low contrast looks.
- I shot raw footage for about 7 tutorials using this palette, and ended up discarding all but 3 because the finished looks all looked alike! On the one hand, that means you cannot screw up with this palette. No matter what you apply where, you have about a 97% chance of it coming out a simple but elegant gold/taupe look.
- I’m not saying this is a bad palette. I’m saying that this is a palette for low-contrast eye makeup, and it’s not as versatile as a lot of similar brownish palettes. Including, I’m told, the first Naked palette.
What you get
The palette comes with a tiny sample of their Lip Junkie Lip Gloss in Naked, and when you order from Urban Decay (currently still the only place you can get it), you get a sample of something else – I got the El Dorado eyeliner pencil, which is gold.
The Naked gloss is beautiful. Very “barely there”. I’m not sure how it will look on darker or more yellow skin tones than mine, but I suspect it would be very shiny, slightly sparkly, and ever so slightly pink. I may re-purchase this one, but I do have some very similar glosses from NYC and Elf, which use a similar formula (mineral oil) to achieve superior staying power and a lovely shine.
Just to give you an idea of the sample’s size, here it is parked next to one of my Revlon lip butters.
The palette also comes with a double-ended brush, which is actually quite good, and I don’t just mean “good, considering it came in a palette.” One end is flat and stiff, and really packs on color. The other is rounded and more fluffy, for creases and for blending.
And then here are the colors up close. I’m going to discuss them in groups. Swatches are at the bottom!
- Foxy. A bit sheer, but it does the job if you use it for highlighting. Stila has a very similar color (see my dupes video) which works better both for highlighting and as a lid color.
- Half Baked. A gorgeous shimmery gold with great pigmentation – this is an old UD standby you may already own, but other than that, I can’t think of any reason not to be thrilled by this color.
- Bootycall. Pale champagne that’s less shimmery than Half Baked, but definitely shimmery. Works great as a highlight. Could also work as a lid color if you like a really pale lid.
- Chopper. A glittery warmed coral gold. Like all glitter shadows, some fallout is unavoidable, but with a good sticky base (like Kat Von D’s primer in Skin or NYX’s Jumbo Eye Pencils), it’s pretty minimal. The pigmentation is good if you pack it on, but it tends to sheer out.
- Tease. A very browned violet. This is mainly a taupe color, but there are hints of violet in it. Pigmentation is good – it feels dry and stiff, but you can apply it evenly and blend it well enough.
- Snakebite. Shimmery golden-bronze. A very nice color with decent pigmentation, but it doesn’t look as dark on the skin as it does in the pan. That’s what I was talking about above – the few colors that look dark enough to be outer corner colors in a high-contrast look really aren’t dark enough on skin.
- Suspect. Slightly warmed shimmery taupe – a cooler version of Half Baked, but still more golden than taupe in my opinion. Great pigmentation and payoff.
- Pistol. Gray shimmery taupe with great pigmentation and payoff. This one is great when you want to “fake” a gray eyeshadow look – most actual grays turn blueish on my skin, but a color like this can give the illusion of a gray eye look without doing that.
- Verve. Pale shimmery taupe. This will work as a highlighter and/or lid color on some skin tones, but it’s definitely cool and may not flatter more yellowy tones. Somehow in closeup it looks a little more beige (or maybe that’s my lousy camera/Gimp work), but it’s definitely a cool pale taupe.
- YDK. Sephora calls it a “bronzed mocha with golden glitter”, but I find it a bit warmer than that – strangely, it can look almost like a light cranberry shade on some skin tones. It’s another glittery shade, which means potential fallout and sheerness, but less so than with most glitter shadows. Like Chopper, it’s a lovely color.
- Busted. Deep shimmery bronze. As I slowly discovered that all of the colors are paler on skin than they look in the pan, I was relying on this one as my corner shade. Instead, it’s only really dark enough to be a crease shade for me. Also, blending it sheers it out really easily. The pigmentation seems good – until the sheering – but the color payoff is so not what I expected.
- Blackout. Was I wrong to expect this to be a particularly fabulous matte black? Because I have better ones from Nyx, Stila, etc. I’m aware Wet ‘n’ Wild has better blacks in some of its palettes. This one is kind of sheer, but applies patchy – it’s not easy to get even coverage at all. It’s okay as an eyeliner color, and it will darken other colors if you put it on over them. But I tried to apply it as a base color, thinking it might deepen some of the others and the unevenness caused that not to work well.
What I like and don’t like
So far, I’ve tried to be critical and objective, and let you know when something was maybe just a “me” thing. Now I’m just going to say what I think, based on my skin tone and what I want from eyeshadows, which may be totally different from you!
As a palette, this is a disappointment to me – I just don’t think it has everything I want to do a variety of looks. But I like a lot of the individual colors and look forward to using them with colors from the rest of my collection. Unfortunately for Urban Decay, the colors I like best (Half Baked, Snakebite, Suspect, Verve, Pistol) are colors I already have dupes of (and I actually own Half Baked already), so I won’t be re-purchasing either the palette or those individual shades. I do like a little glitter sometimes, and Chopper and YDK perform better than glitter shadows from many other lines, and they’re very nice colors, so I might re-purchase those individually when the time comes.