Showing posts with label Urban Decay. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Urban Decay. Show all posts

Monday, April 11, 2016

Urban Decay UD x Gwen Blush Palette, Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Highlighters and Beached Bronzers


Today I have a roundup of several cheek products from Urban Decay including the UD x Gwen Blush Palette ($45), Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Highlighters ($26 each) and Beached Bronzers ($28). All the items are very pretty and give the complexion some life and color in a natural way. The UD x Gwen Blush Palette in my opinion is one of the best blush palettes I've ever tried. It has a good mix of cool and warm and also matte and shimmer finishes to give you a lot of options. The colors layer nicely and application is smooth. I do find some similarities between the colors in the palette and the new highlighters/bronzers. You may want to shop your stash too as some of these will probably be duplicates or similar to what you own but more thoughts on each one below.

First a quick look at the cheek, highlighter and bronze items from Urban Decay side by side. I'm trying out a new interactive tool so you can shop the images by clicking on the icons. Let me know what you think!


Swatches on bare skin:


Up first is the UD x Gwen Blush Palette. This comes in a medium-sized mirrored compact similar in style to the UD x Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette. The packaging is very sturdy and well made. The colors have medium but buildable pigment and the texture is very soft and smooth. There is quite a bit of powder kick-up when I dip my brush into the powders but it's easy to clean up and once the product is on the face there isn't any fall out. Cherry is a soft cool matte pink, Easy is a medium rose with gold shimmer, Angel is a soft champagne gold, Lo-Fi is a medium tan, Hush is a shimmering peachy champagne, OC is an iridescent soft peach that flashes pink.




As you can see from the swatches above near the top of the post, Angel has a similar effect to the Afterglow Highlighter in Sin, Lo-Fi is a more yellow toned version of the bronzers, OC has a similar pinky sheen to the Afterglow Highlighter in Fireball. I would say by comparison the Blush Palette has a softer more natural look on the skin compared to the others. I love this palette because it's so versatile and goes well with a wide range of looks. That being said the colors are fairly standard and I suspect you can find similar shades from MAC, NARS or other brands. I do really like that Easy Blush is a rose gold that is medium in undertone but doesn't darken on my skin. So many rose blushes end up darkening and look muddy on my skin while Easy stays true to color. Angel has that pretty warm golden champagne undertone which makes it look soft and diffused on my olive skin. Hush is borderline a highlighter so I mix it with Lo-Fi to add more color on my skin.

Next up are the Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Highlighters. These are designed to be long-lasting and the claim is they last 8 hours. On my normal combination skin I found they did not last on my cheeks for the full 8 hours. I would say color stayed true from morning around 8 am until 2 pm (so for around 6 hours). After that the color faded a bit. It was still visible but there was noticeable fading, at least on me. The colors are very pigmented and intense but are easy to blend and buff out. I've swatched them heavy and blended to try and show the difference. The heavier you swatch these the more intense the shimmer and with a heavy hand the colors are lighter in color.

Sin is a pale champagne gold, on my skin it looks very pale, almost like a pale cream. Fireball is an iridescent peach that flashes pink. Aura is a pale pink that flashes slight pink and blue tones.



Shimmer-frost wise I think these are definitely on the more shimmery side but they blend out smoothly on the skin. Sin is the most frosted on me since it has a sharper contrast to my olive skintone. I expected Aura to look really frosty but on the face it gives the skin a pretty glimmer. Fireball has a smooth shimmer that isn't overly frosted. I didn't have time to reswatch comparisons, but Fireball is similar to the Anastasia Hard Candy Highlighter reviewed here and Aura compared to the Laura Mercier Highlighters in this post here. Sin is one of the more unique shades I own for highlighters but it has a similar effect to that of MAC Nylon Eyeshadow.

A quick look from the weekend with Lo-Fi and Fireball Highlighter on one side vs just Lo-Fi on the other so you can see how the highlighter adds a bit of a glow and more dimension:


Last up are the two Beached Bronzers. These are matte bronzers that come in round mirrored compacts. I love the packaging - the palm trees add a fun twist with the summer theme. Sun-Kissed is the lighter and warmer option of the two, it has a pinkish undertone which makes it more wearable and natural on my skin. Bronzed is the deeper option and gives my skin a more bronzed brown look. For my medium skin I prefer Sun-Kissed right now - it just looks more natural while Bronzed borderline makes my skin look a bit weathered as it's more brownish and deep. I love a good bronze but these days try to go a bit easy on it since I'm not as tan as I am in the summer time. They are different enough to justify owning both - I think fairer skins will prefer Sun-Kissed. Deeper skins will probably find Bronzed better for their skin tones. Neither turns orangey and I was relieved to find they did not darken on the skin. The texture is very smooth and the blend nicely on the skin without any streaks. If you're super fair I'd recommend you opt for either Gold Dust or Terra from Tom Ford instead as those will look more natural on the skin.


In terms of performance all the cheek products work very well. The quality is excellent and I really didn't know what to expect before hand since the Naked Flushed palettes did not work for my skin type at all (they look super chalky and emphasize pores on me). I think the UD x Gwen Blush palette is the winner and if you're trying to narrow down your picks, I'd say opt for the palette since it will give you the most options packaged in a single convenient compact. If you like more visible pigment or color for the cheeks you may find the Blush Palette too sheer or natural looking. In that case I'd recommend you opt for the NARSissist Cheek Studio Palette which has more pigment and more color but will also give you a wide range of options.

The highlighters are really pretty but I can't say any of them are absolute musts. If I were to pick one favorite it would be Fireball - the mix of peach and pink is really pretty although it's nearly identical to one of the shades in the Anastasia Gleam Glow Kit, the UD one performs exceptionally well.

The Bronzers are nice to have but not musts. That being said I find it rare to find good matte bronzers that are smooth in finish and application that don't darken. The ones from Urban Decay perform really well - I like Sun-Kissed the best and the packaging is fun for the upcoming warmer weather months. Even though I can probably find similar shades in my collection to all the cheek items featured, I don't have any regrets purchasing them - the formula works really well to add color or highlight without emphasizing pores.

You can find the Urban Decay cheek palette, bronzer and highlighters at all Urban Decay counters now. Online at Sephora, Nordstrom, Macy's, Ulta Beauty and Urban Decay.

Have you checked out any of the items yet? What did you think?


Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Makeup Show LA March 2016 Event Recap + Haul


I attended The Makeup Show LA last weekend and it was one of the best makeup events I've attended. This year they had over 150 brands at the show - I love events like these that support beauty professionals in so many aspects. If are able to attend one I highly recommend you do. In recent years they've expanded their stops to some additional cities with pop-ups. Full calendar and list of upcoming shows on their website The Makeup Show. This was my second year attending although they've been making an appearance in LA for ten years now.

Urban Decay Cosmetics made an appearance this year with their full line available (items were offered at a 30% pro discount). Most of the brands offered generous discounts during the show for professionals to stock their makeup kits or explore new launches (some like Kevyn Aucoin offered discounts of 40% off). In the excitement of being able to swatch and play with so many things I neglected to take as many photos of the show as I had hoped, but here are a few I hope you will enjoy.

In the morning I attended the Press Preview where The Makeup Show Director of Artist Relations and Education James Vincent gave us an overview of show highlights, new product launches along with some inspirational thoughts about the business of beauty, building your own brand and the importance of knowing how to merging art and commerce.


A look at some of the booths, first is Kevyn Aucoin. They had the new Featherlight Collection for spring available along with the full line of makeup and brushes. I had their Sensual Skin foundation on my wishlist to try out but did not want to wait to get matched at the show.


Inglot booth:


Sephora Collection booth was very busy with lots to explore, pro discount offered at the show was 30% off so I picked up another of my favorite foundation brush and a few of the matte lip products:



Scott Barnes was showcasing their new Multi Media Liquid makeup, based on the raves from several of you, I did get a color match and picked up the shade Creme Fraiche. I haven't tested it yet, but will have to see in natural light if the match was indeed correct. They also had mini Body Blings which I wish I had picked up one to try out, but since I don't usually use body shimmers, it's probably not a huge miss.


I've been a huge fan of the MustaeV Lustrous Cream Base and Skinny Tint Foundation. They are expanding their color selection for the foundation since it only comes in three colors right now.  I was hoping they would have the new shades available at the show, but they won't be launched for a few more months. If you'd like a review now of what I do have - let me know in the comments.


Nigel's Beauty Emporium is a beauty supply store - at the show they had some of the best values and discounts. I stocked up on beautyblenders last year and did again. They had a Beautyblender Propack of 6 pink (or white) beautyblenders + the solid cleanser for $64 at the show (listed price on their website is $80). Individual blenders were on discount for $16 each. They also had a large number of mixed sets. If you're in the LA area they have a store in West Hollywood and carry a wide range of brands like Anastasia, Ben Nye, Artis, Becca, Black Up, Make Up For Ever etc.
 

NARS also had their own booth with the full line. The Laguna Tahiti Collection was available for purchase at the show so I picked up several of the new items as they were available at a pro discount (I can't locate my receipt at the moment but it was either 30 or 40%).


Kat Von D Beauty had amazing bundles at discounted prices on their Shade + Light collection, but the line was insanely long, I took a few photos from outside the line area:


Viseart has three new eyeshadow palettes launching exclusively at MUSE Beauty Pro at the end of the month called Theory Palettes ($45 each). I was hoping they would have these available for purchase at the show, but they only had the testers to play with. The texture and pigment is amazing. You can pre-order them from their website now (estimated ship date is end of March). MUSE Beauty Pro has the exclusive for 3 months on these palettes. I've never tried any of the Viseart palettes before - the pro discount at the show was 30% off so I was thrilled to buy my first two last weekend.


Beautylish had some of the Natasha Denona items on display. I was hoping they would have the entire line available to play with like they did at IMATS Los Angeles, however the selection was a bit more limited this round. A look at all the Natasha Denona Blush Duos.


For those curious about what I hauled, here is the loot. I did haul more than I had planned - some of the 30% to 40% off discounts were just too good to pass!


Items shown above listed below, items purchased by me except for a few press samples noted:
I'll be reviewing items as I work my way through testing them. I did pre-order the new Viseart Palettes at the show and will be swatching as soon as they arrive (estimated ship date is 3/30). I'm always looking to try new brush cleansers so I'm excited to try some of the ones I picked up at the show - I know many of you love baby shampoo, I used to use it, but I feel like these days it just leaves a film on my brushes that I cannot rinse off properly. 

Did you visit The Makeup Show LA last weekend? Or do you have plans to attend on in another city later this year?


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Color Correcting for Beginners


Last week I stopped by Sephora at South Coast Plaza for a Correct and Conceal Mini Makeover to learn more about the color correcting trend happening right now. I was curious to see if there was anything that could cover dark spots and redness better than a full coverage concealer or foundation. I had a session with artist Dre who was one of the most knowledgeable artists I've ever worked with. She was very thorough in explaining color correcting, going through all the options and application techniques, gave me awesome skin prep recommendations and I could not have had a more fun experience. If you're like me you and consider yourself a novice or beginner when it comes to color correction you might be intimidated by the whole concept. I'll share my makeover experience, what was used, what I bought and some thoughts on the product testing process. I hope this will help give you some tips and ideas of what to try on yourself. If you have a Sephora near you I highly recommend you call them to schedule a mini-makeover. They can be as quick as 15 minutes and I think you will be impressed with how much you learn - I learned a lot. Scheduling one in advance is probably best to make sure they have someone on site to sit down with you although they can accommodate walk ins sometimes and they are free of charge!

First a quick run through of the mini-makeover I had at Sephora. She started by assessing my skin type and skin concerns. I mentioned I had super sensitive skin and told her about a few products I had allergic reactions to. Personal concerns for my skin were to improve texture, cover dark spots from scars that were healing, under-eye darkness and redness in general. I also mentioned that I liked a streamlined easy approach to applying base face makeup so she picked out her four favorite color correcting products for my skin type that would be easy to use and incorporate along with some skincare items for me to try for calming and radiance.

For a bit of background on Color Correcting it's not a new trend but it has been very popular right now. The concept of color correcting is that you can use certain colors to counter or diffuse others. Green will correct red, peach will help with dark spots and undereye circles, pink and purple will counter dullness and brighten the skintone. I initially thought using a full coverage concealer or foundation would be sufficient but I often find it leaves the face looking a bit flat and sometimes those dark spots still show through. This is where color correcting can help. Here's a look at the Sephora Beauty Studio in store - it varies per store but most have a station with mirrors, makeup remover and tools for artists to apply product on your face.





A run through of all the products she used on me from start to finish:

Step 1: Prep the skin

She started by having me remove my makeup with the Ole Henriksen The Clean Truth Cleansing Cloths which are super gentle and non-irritating for my sensitive skin. This one cleans, balances and hydrates in one step which is convenient for on-the-go makeup removal. Next she used the First Aid Beauty Radiance Pads to help with surface texture. She followed with the Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum and Ole Henriksen Nurture Me since I mentioned my face was prone to irritation and flare ups. Skin felt smooth, nicely hydrated and calmed down.

Step 2: Base

Dre's theory of using color correcting was to use apply in steps and use it with your current foundation routine. She started by applying the Algenist Reveal Concentrated Color Correcting Drops in Blue to help brighten the overall skintone as a base which did indeed brighten the skin without looking scary blue. Blue helps to neutralize sallow skin. She followed with the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick in 128 mentioning one's foundation will do a lot of the color correcting as a starting point to neutralize uneven skintone or dark spots.

Step 3: Color Correct

At this point even with a fuller coverage foundation on my skin you can still see dark circles under the eyes and dark spots from acne scars that are healing still show through. Rather than layer on the foundation color correcting helps add coverage without caking on product. I was skeptical but was really impressed with how literally all the dark spots disappeared with a green color corrector and undereye circles disappeared with a peach/melon corrector. She applied the Sephora Collection Bright Futures Color Correctors in Green and Melon. The key here was to apply and let set so that colors don't get muddied when you blend them wet. For the green she dotted on spots and then blended with a detailed concealer brush in a cross hatch method to help blend and cover naturally. For the melon she applied directly under my eyes in a downward swiping motion and blended with the sponge tip applicator.

Step 4: Conceal, Set and Finish

Once the color correctors have properly set (takes maybe 3 minutes at most, as long as you don't pile on the creams) finish by taking concealer or foundation and pat it on top. She used the Sephora Collection Pro Foundation Brush #47 which is a more affordable similar version of the Marc Jacobs Beauty Sculpting Foundation Brush to roll and dab on the foundation over the corrected spots gently and then blend everything out gently with a beautyblender. You don't want to take a sponge or brush and press too hard on the face or else it will drag and mix colors to make it look muddy. The final step she used was to set with a loose powder. She showed me the difference between the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Powder and also the Besame Brightening Face Powder in Violet (both applied with a puff). She said the Laura Mercier is her favorite (it's one of mine too) but if I wanted to try something new she recommended the Violet to brighten the skin, for fairer skins she recommended the Pink (which I already own).

Step 5: Add color and makeup

She added a bit of blush and bronzer on my skin so my face wouldn't look flat from all the base makeup, but I asked her to keep it minimal so I could see how the correctors and foundations performed through the afternoon. We skipped everything else and I was impressed that my makeup lasted well into the late evening without any touchups needed. Her skincare recommendations and application made it so nothing budged or creased or faded. Once I use up some of my moisturizers I will need to buy some of the items she used on me.



I have never been so impressed with a makeup session as I have been with my visit to Sephora. Dre taught me so many things - I really appreciated her taking the time to go through application tips and recommending products specific to my needs. My brother tagged along to help me take photos and afterwards I asked him if he thought my face looked ok. He said yes, it looked natural and he couldn't tell that there were any weird colors. So it passed the brother test :) In discussing the different color corrector options, I asked her why she recommended the Sephora Collection Color Correctors over the ones from Urban Decay Correcting Fluids or YSL Touche Eclat Neutralizers or even the ones that come in cream compacts. She said it was a matter of preference - the cream palettes can definitely multi-task with all the options for color correction and concealer, but to keep things simple she said the Sephora Collection correctors were her favorite for consistency, texture and coverage. (I bought one each of the Urban Decay and YSL to test against the Sephora Collection and I'll say right now she was right.)

Next up is a run through review of everything I bought and tried along with a mini tutorial of how I've been recreating the color correcting look to diffuse dark spots and dark circles. Here are the items she used on me during the makeover. I bought all the items she tried with the exception of the Violet powder because I already own the Pink although I'm seriously considering going back to the store to pick it up this weekend.


Left to right are:
  • Micro Mini Correct Four by beautyblender - there are some new beautyblender options, for the color correcting trend they launched a set of four in different colors, I really like these for blending under the eyes or in the creases of the nose, it's nice to have different colors on hand to match the correctors so you don't have to worry about mixing colors together 
  • Algenist Reveal Concentrated Color Correcting Drops in Blue - you can use these alone or mixed in with foundation to help color correct the skin. I've been using this as a base, almost like a primer to help counter my sallow undertones with my olive yellow skin. It brightens the skin without looking too blue. You can even mix it in with moisturizer to blend all over to make it a bit more sheer. I really like the way this performs. 
  • Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundation in 128 (looks dark but blends out to a slightly lighter finish, that being said I am getting lighter right now so I will probably have to purchase a different shade soon to mix) is one of the most amazing foundation sticks I have ever tried (it rivals Tom Ford's) - I'll have a separate review in the upcoming weeks once I've given it a thorough test drive but it offers medium to full buildable coverage that looks amazing
  • Sephora Collection Bright Future Color Correctors in Green and Melon - After testing this compared to YSL and Urban Decay, I have to say that my favorites for texture and consistency on my face are the Sephora Collection ones, they don't crease or emphasize fine lines and they have enough coverage and pigment to truly neutralize my face issues, the Urban Decay Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid in Peach has a similar coverage to the Sephora ones and looks great on the skin but if I don't have enough primer under my eyes it emphasizes all the fine lines that I don't want to show up, the YSL by comparison is a lot more sheer in finish and I need more coverage
    • A quick side note, during my make over I mentioned my favorite under eye concealer of the moment was the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealer and that I liked the ones with peachy tones (mainly R32) to warm up and brighten under eyes, Dre did mention that this was also one of her favorites to use, but she showed me the Sephora Collection in Melon for me to try something new
  • Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay In Place Flawless Wear Concealer in Warm Light Medium - she used this to highlight my face and I was so impressed with the coverage and texture I had to try it out - it offers smooth flawless coverage and really does stay in place without caking or creasing through out the day
  • Besame Brightening Face Powder in Vanilla Rose (she used Violet on me in store)
  • Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Powder - I already own this and have repurchased numerous times, it's one of my favorite loose setting powders, if you haven't tried it I will say you need to
A simple step by step mini tutorial showing before and after. I took the tips learned at my appointment to recreate a flawless base at home. I hoped to take an after show last week but the store lighting wasn't ideal. In the first shot I did prep my skin with a thin layer of foundation, but as you can see dark spots and dark circles are still highly visible:


Below are the tools I recommend using, but you can shop your stash and find what works:


A look at packaging and different applicators for each kind of color corrector that I've been testing out ranging from droppers, sponge tips, squeeze tubes and click brush applicators:


Side by side swatches of the color correctors and some concealers:


A look at the Sephora Collection Bright Future Color Correctors, note there is also Orange/Deep and Lavender available online but when I was in store they didn't have those colors yet:






In case you missed the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealer post, here are all the shades swatched:



I hope you enjoyed this overview on color correcting! If you're a novice like me I hope the rundown of my makeover, all the options I tried and swatches help make the color correcting concept seem less confusing or intimidating. I went into my appointment thinking that there wasn't going to be much that could be done for my dark spots but I went in with an open mind and learned so much. Sometimes makeovers can be a daunting process especially if you get a pushy artist or one who just doesn't listen to your needs or who doesn't care preferences. I really recommend trying to book an appointment at your local Sephora - I am already planning on going back for a second appointment hopefully in the next couple of months because my experience was that good. If you're in the area of South Coast Plaza try to book one with Dre - she's awesome. If you can't make it into the store, there is an online survey on the Sephora Color Correcting Makeup page to guide you and help narrow down the picks according your specific concerns and skin type.

Have you tried color correcting recently or is it something you've always done for your base makeup routine? Please let me know what you've tried and your thoughts. I always learn new tips and tricks from you and would love to hear about what you have been testing or if you have any favorites.

This post was created in partnership with Sephora. As always all opinions my own. Most products picked out and purchased by me, press samples include the Besame Powder and Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealers.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Best in Beauty 2015: The Beauty Look Book Makeup Favorites


I look back on the last twelve months and can't believe an entire year has gone by. This has been one of the most challenging yet rewarding years I've had yet and I have lots to look forward to for 2016. I took a quick look at my blog posts for the past year along with an inventory of my favorite beauty products. I started with a massive list - there were so many good launches this past year, especially for lipsticks. Brands have really upped their beauty game with better formulas. I've edited my list as much as I could to what I considered game changers this year.

I have four categories of best in beauty this year. The first up is makeup favorites. I have 20 of my top makeup picks for lips, eyes and face - nails have their own category (up next).
  1. NARS Chelsea Girls Lip Gloss is this year's best creamy nude (review here)
  2. Charlotte Tilbury Penelope Pink, Iconic Nude + Seduction make for the best nude lip combo ever, I used up an entire tube of Penelope Pink this year! (swatched here and here)
  3. Marc Jacobs Hi-Shine Enamored Lip Glosses = the best lip gloss launch (swatches here)
  4. Rouge Louboutin Silky Satin = most luxurious lipstick formula created and the best red lipstick I've ever swatched (3 formulas swatched here
  5. MAC x Ellie Goulding Lipsticks were the best pinks launched (swatches here)
  6. Burberry Kisses Lipstick = the best lipstick formula launch this year huge plus that they are unscented and also non-drying on the lips (my picks swatched here
  7. Tom Ford Lip Color Sheers in Skinnydip and Rose Soleil (swatches here) were the best new colors launched for the entire year (so good I have backups even though they are permanent)
  8. Hourglass Lip Treatment Oil in Icon is best new tinted lip treatment formula (swatched here)
  9. Urban Decay Naked3 was my most-used eyeshadow palette of the year (swatches here)
  10. Burberry Wet & Dry Glow Eyeshadow in Shell = best all over eyeshadow shimmer color for the lids ever made (review here)
  11. Clio Kill Bill Liquid Liner was the best liquid eyeliner discovery (review here)
  12. NARS Yeux Irresistible Palette wins for the best smoky eye palette of the year (swatches here)
  13. Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerise colors are the best cream shadow launched this year for formula and color selection (swatched here)
  14. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer wins for most luminous bronzer + highlighter combination (swatches + review here)
  15. Tom Ford Moodlight is the best highlighter launch of 2015 (look + review here)
  16. Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow in Medium Dark = the best bronzing duo launched and also the one I used the most this past year (look shown on face here)
  17. Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder in #2 is best setting powder of the year, if it ever gets discontinued I will literally want to die (thoughts + review here)
  18. Sephora Pro Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation Brush #53 best foundation brush discovery for flawless streak-free coverage (review here)
  19. Wayne Goss Anniversary Set = the best brush set launch of the year (review here)
  20. Edward Bess All Over Seduction = most-used cream highlighters of the year (swatches here)
What were your favorite makeup picks this past year?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Best of Urban Decay Cosmetics

Urban Decay Nordstrom The Beauty Look Book

If I were stuck on a desert island and could only have one makeup palette with me, it would be any of the Urban Decay Naked Palettes. I've been such a huge fan of Urban Decay for years and out of all the makeup I've bought, tried and tested, the Naked2 and Naked3 Eyeshadow Palettes are hands down my favorites - ever. I've done quite a few reviews on each palette in the past but I don't think I've ever rounded them all up in one post. Today I've teamed up with Nordstrom to share my favorites from the line along with swatches and thoughts on their latest launch the UD x Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette.

The Naked, Naked2, Naked3 and Naked Smoky Palettes all have a mix of beautiful neutrals. Each palette offers a diverse range of colors and textures ranging from matte, shimmer, frost, glitter and satin. The texture of the shadows are amazingly smooth, rich and super easy to blend. They last all day on my lids - although some of the glitter shades will have some fallout. I would say Naked has the most diverse range of neutrals from light, medium to dark. It has a split mix of warm and cool shades. Naked2 is the most neutral option with colors that will make any taupe lover go crazy. It has 2 of my favorite colors in YDK and Suspect (also available individually). Naked3 is the rosy pink neutral option, as one who rarely wears pink eye shadow, it was a huge surprise to me at how wearable the colors in this one are. The colors are absolutely perfect. The latest Naked palette is the Naked Smoky which I adore but is hit or miss for many. It's the darkest and most dramatic mix of neutrals - the texture of the shadows is slightly harder than the other palettes, but I find pigment to still be excellent and easy to blend.

Urban Decay Naked Palettes

Urban Decay Naked Palettes

Urban Decay Naked Palettes swatched

The best matte eyeshadow palettes on the market are the Urban Decay Naked Basics and Naked2 Basics. I passed on the Naked Basics one for the longest time because I thought the colors would be too light for my skintone. Thanks to the extra push from my readers, I bought it and have been really happy. I don't usually like matte shadows because I find they are either too sheer or too intense. Sheer ones just don't show up on my skin, intense ones are too powdery or creamy and make my lids look wrinkled. The ones from Urban Decay are the perfect texture to just melt into the skin but at the same time the pigment shows up really well. The colors are easy to blend with each other. I like using these alone or mixed with shimmer colors. If I had to pick one, I would say Naked2 Basics is my favorite for my medium olive-toned skin, but both are really good.
Urban Decay Naked Basics and Naked2 Basics


The 24/7 Glide-On Eyeliner Pencils come in a wide range of colors. I of course prefer the neutrals (there are tons of options in this range), but there are lots of bold brights and shimmers that are really fun. I always have Bourbon on hand, I have a few actually. One is a mini from a holiday set, and I also have the full size. It's a shimmering dark chocolate brown. Rockstar is a classic deep plum. I like that it's deep but not so dark that it looks black. The Naked Double-Ended Pencils are nice to have for travel because you get 2 shades in one stick.


If you've used Urban Decay for a long time, you are probably aware of the lipstick changes over the years. The formulas have changed numerous times (they used to have their glosses in a squeeze tube, anyone remember Midnight Cowboy?). Right now three current lip formulas I like include the Ultra Nourishing Lipgloss, Revolution Hi-Color Lipgloss and Revolution Lipstick.

The Ultra Nourishing Lipglosses are cushiony shiny glosses. They are on the sheer side, so many of them end up looking very similar once on the lips with slight variations. My favorite is Naked because it has the prettiest sheen and shimmer that makes the lips look full but not too full.

The Revolution High-Color Lipgloss is a rich pigment gloss that is almost like a liquid lipstick. The two neutrals in the line are Kinky and Liar, I almost bought both but they are really similar. Liar is deeper and more pink, while Kinky is more beige and peachy.

For the lipsticks, I've only bought one formula. There are three formulas of lipstick. The Revolution Lipstick is the classic version which offers creamy pigmented coverage with a bit of a sheen. Lasting power is really good. There is also the Revolution Sheer Lipstick and Revolution Matte Lipstick as well which I haven't tested on my lips, but when swatching them in store, the sheers are just that - sheer. The mattes are full coverage velvets.


For the face, the Naked Skin products have often received high ratings and raves. I have tried two items and really like them. The Naked Skin Ultra Definition Powder Foundation is a smooth powder that gives natural medium to full coverage. I use the shade Medium Light Warm. I like to use it to set liquid foundation or for mid-day touch ups on the T-zone. As a foundation it lasts pretty long and looks very natural. I like that it doesn't cake even if you use the sponge. The Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer is a great concealer for both under eye and spot coverage. It's full coverage without looking cakey. My match is Medium Neutral and I like how it really covers but blends well into the skin so it looks like your skin.

Swatches of all the concealer shades:


Last but not least, the latest from Urban Decay is a celebrity collaboration. They just launched the UD x Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette (limited-edition). Being a fan of both, I knew had to buy it even though at first glance there were 2 shades I thought might be questionable. Here's a quick snapshot below to show you the size/scale of the packaging compared to the other palettes. It has 15 eyeshadows in a large mirrored compact (Naked palettes have 6 to 12 shades). I love the little detailing on the mirror.
 

UD x Gwen Stefani Palette

The 15 shades are mostly neutral with 3 colors that offer a bit of pop. There is a good mix of matte, shimmer and satin with one glittery shade and two colors that are on the sparkly side. I've been playing with this for only a few days but initial thoughts are thumbs up.

UD x Gwen Stefani Palette

Descriptions of the colors in the UD x Gwen Stefani Palette:
  • Blondie is a shimmering pale cool-toned cream
  • Bathwater is a frosted yellow champagne
  • Skimp is a satiny soft pale cream with pink tones
  • Steady is a shimmering beige pink
  • Punk is a matte warm brown
  • Baby is a shimmering neutral mauve pink taupe
  • Anaheim is a matte fawn beige
  • Stark is a matte warm beige
  • Zone is a matte tan
  • Serious is a satiny grey brown with shimmer, goes on more matte
  • Pop is a glitter champagne sparkle
  • Harajuku is a cool-toned blue based pink shimmer
  • Danger is a sparkling bright navy
  • 1987 is a sparkling gold
  • Blackout is a matte black
Pigment on all the colors is really good. There is some fallout with a few of the shimmering sparkles like Harajuku, 1987 and Baby, but once on the lids they stay put. The only color I wasn't thrilled with is Pop mainly because it has crazy fall out with the glittery chunks unless you pat on the lids with a finger (over cream shadow to help it stick). I thought Danger would be a mess but it actually stayed put and didn't fall all over the face when I applied with a detail brush. I thought Harajuku would give me a pink-eye look but it's actually a very wearable pink.


Quick eye look with six colors layered and blended. The camera flash washed out the colors but I included a snapshot of the colors lined up together I used to help show the mix:


That rounds up my favorites from Urban Decay. There are a lot of single shadows that fall in the shimmer neutral category that are staples in my weekly makeup routine but the palettes are so much more convenient to use. Many times I find palettes have a few shades that I don't like but with the Naked ones, I like every color in every palette.

If you're looking for a versatile palette, you can't go wrong the Naked Palettes. My top 3 favorites are Naked2, Naked3 and Naked2 Basics - they are good for everyday, great for travel and have enough color to create a look for evening or special occasions. The colors are timeless and you can wear them any time of year.



Do you have any Urban Decay favorites? I'm curious about the Naked Skin Foundation, Loose Powder and Afterglow Blush - if you have any thoughts please let me know, I'd be interested to hear what you think.

Thanks to Nordstrom for teaming up to sponsor this post. As always, all opinions my own.

 

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