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Urban Decay Cosmetics Favorites and My Top Picks for Neutral Makeup Lovers

October 1, 2014

Readers often ask me if I had to pick one high-quality eyeshadow palette, what would it be? Picking a good eyeshadow palette depends on a number of things such as what kind of look you want, your skin tone, hair color, eye color, shimmer vs matte preferences and lifestyle. For my neutral makeup loving self, I find my most-reached-for palettes are Urban Decay Naked2 or Naked3. They both have a really good mix of neutral shades with matte, shimmer and satiny finishes. I find them extremely versatile and for me they are my do-it-all kind of palette. You can create so many different looks for day and night. If you like more neutral cool tones, I recommend Naked2. If you want something warmer or more unique, I vote for Naked3. I love the soft romantic feminine tones and they are neutral enough so you don’t end up looking like you have pink-eye if you wear these.

 Naked vs Naked2 vs Naked3 swatched

For those who prefer matte-eyeshadow the new Naked2 Basics is a godsend. I’m not usually a fan of an all-matte eye look because matte shadows end up looking so flat on my skin and age my face. I will occasionally use one as a liner because I like a soft defined line along upper lashes. The Naked2 Basics has completely changed my outlook on matte shadows. It has a selection of medium taupe neutrals where every single one is wearable and layerable. I prefer it over the original Naked Basics which I found was too pale for my skin tone.

If you’re the type who prefers to pick out individual shades, Urban Decay has a wide selection of beautiful taupes and sandy shimmers in the single Eyeshadow format. My favorites include Chase (a soft metallic gold), Suspect (shimmering sand), Busted (dark plum taupe), Lost (shimmering brown) and YDK (metallic taupe). They are on the shimmery side but I don’t find them too frosty. The texture of the Urban Decay eyeshadows is amazing. They have this rich almost buttery feel that melds in with the skin. I don’t need an eyeshadow base with these and they last all day. I like mixing and layering these with the matte shades for added depth. There are also some matte options available individually.

Some other favorites from Urban Decay include their 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils. These have a super creamy texture and apply easily. I like these because they really do glide onto the eyes and don’t tug at all. They last pretty long on me with normal wear, although if it’s really hot and humid they will smudge a little by late evening. I like to use them along the upper lash lines as a base for deeper/smokey eyeshadows. I find they bring out the pigment shadows when they are layered over the liners. My top three picks are Zero (matte black), Underground (soft shimmery neutral taupe) and Rockstar (a deep eggplant).

I haven’t explored much in the lip arena from Urban Decay recently. Their lipsticks and glosses have been repeatedly revamped and repackaged. I purchased the Naked Ultra Nourishing Lip Glosses in Liar recently and really like it. There are 9 variations of nude in the lipgloss lineup, all of which looked really stunning but the sheer texture and finish make many of them look similar on my lips. I picked out Liar which is a gorgeous sheer cool mauve pink. It has a slight minty feel but doesn’t numb the lips. It’s a good everyday swipe and go color that adds just the right amount of shine. I like that it’s smooth and not sticky. It gives a super lush lip look.

Last but not least, I’m a huge fan of the Naked Skin Beauty Balms. I have the original one (which now comes in extended shades) and the Bronzing Beauty Balm. I like to use the Naked Skin Beauty Balm as a primer. I find when I use it over moisturizer and under foundation, it helps liquids blend better on the skin. The Bronzing Beauty Balm is something I like to use as a subtle contouring product or a base for powder blushes. It adds a bit of dewy texture and color to help powder sheer or light blushes go on better without looking heavy or changing colors. I also like using the Bronzing Balm mixed in with foundations if they are too light (I tend to tan easily) so it works wonders to adjust foundation colors for me.

Here’s a quick summary of my favorite Urban Decay items:

Urban Decay Cosmetics has just re-launched their line at Nordstrom. I remember back in the 90’s through the early 2000’s when Nordstrom had their modern/edgy beauty section with Urban Decay items when they had these out-of-this-world nail polish colors, iridescent blushes and scented shimmer body powder. I was sad when the line was pulled but I’m really happy that is is back now.

I hope this has been a helpful overview of some of my Urban Decay favorites. I’ve played with the line for over a decade now and I’m glad many of favorites are still in the line (like the Stray Dog, Sin and YDK eyeshadows). If you’re looking for an eyeshadow palette to start with, I do think the Naked Palettes are the best for the price, quality, ease of use and versatility. I consider all 3 of the Naked Palettes and the new Naked2 Basics must-haves in my makeup wardrobe.

Do you have any Urban Decay favorites? Everytime I check out the eyeshadows, I am amazed that I’m always discovering new shades.

Many thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. More information on my Disclosures page.

Bronzer + Blush Urban Decay

Urban Decay Naked Flushed Palettes – Native and Streak

July 6, 2014

Earlier in the spring, Urban Decay released some new shades of their Naked Flushed Palettes ($30 each for 14g/0.49 oz). These are well-packaged face trio compacts with a bronzer, highlighter and blush. I’m a huge fan of their Naked Eyeshadow Palettes (#3 is my fav) and thought these had a lot of promise. I purchased Native (pink) and Streak (peach) in store at Sephora after reading an overwhelming number of rave reviews (4.5 stars out of 5 average rating with 600+ reviews).  
  • Native is a pink option with a medium-dark bronzer with a soft shimmer, a opal pinkish champagne highlighter and a matte pink blush
  • Streak is a warmer option with a lighter shimmery bronzer, a pale peachy shimmer highlighter and a stunning coral matte blush 
Swatching them in store on my hands revealed a soft well pigmented texture that seemed easy to blend. Testing at home with a variety of brushes has me less than pleased. I purchased these late May/early June and have been desperately trying to make these work for me.

The texture is finely milled and soft which is easy to pick up with brushes but the bronzer and blush are both very powdery resulting in a lot of debris/powder kick-up. They don’t show up well on lightly powdered skin. Right over foundation the color picks up more but the colors look muddy and look like they just sit on top of the skin. The highlighters are creamier in texture (although they are powders) and blends easily but the frost factor highlights imperfections and after softly applying on the cheeks, I suddenly have large visible pores. I’ve tried both with a large variety of brushes, cream highlighters, foundations, dewy cheek products as a base even. With the right amount of creamy base underneath I can get the bronzer and blush to apply ok sometimes (I like Tom Ford Fire Lust and Armani Fluid Sheer #3 or #10 the best), but I cannot wear the highlighter on the cheeks at all. That being said, the highlighters are pretty on the eyes. Half of the times I’ve applied these I ended up taking them off immediately after putting them on the face.

Photos and swatches:

Swatches side by side:

Closeups of each palette, up first is Native:

Streak

One last view, Streak (left) and Native (right):

I’m overall disappointed. I’ve tried numerous times to make these work, and with extra tweaking I can only make them work 1/2 the time. They look so beautiful in the compacts and when swatched on the hands or arms. On the face the pigment and texture don’t quite translate the same. Given the overwhelming number of rave reviews, I suspect I’m in the minority with my thoughts. I’ve mentioned in recent posts I’ve had skin issues and breakouts – my skin issues aren’t on the cheek area in case you’re wondering if it’s skin problems causing the issue in application. For additional reference, Temptalia has detailed thoughts on Native, Streak and Strip, my experiences are similar to hers.

Based on the price, packaging and convenience, if you’re at a Sephora or Urban Decay counter I think you should still give these a try. If there are clean brushes available, ask a makeup artist or sales associate to apply it on you.
If you’ve tried these, I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have these which shade do you have and who do you apply them?
The Urban Decay Naked Flushed Palettes retail for $30 each. I found mine at Sephora. They come in four options, Naked, Native, Streak and Strip.
Eye Makeup Urban Decay

Urban Decay Naked3 Palette

December 11, 2013

Urban Decay’s latest addition to the Naked family is the Naked3 Palette ($52 for 12 shades, 1.3g each). The theme of Naked3 is rose-gold. It’s a warmer palette compared to Naked and Naked2, but still neutral. I’m a huge fan of the other versions. Urban Decay makes amazing shadows with impressive pigment and wear. Naked3 comes with a double-sided brush and a sample packet of their primers. The brush is very well made however I prefer softer hair brushes for powder shadows (versus synthetic material) mainly because it’s what I’m used to.

The colors in the palette vary from matte to shimmer to sparkle and tiny micro-glitters. I’m on the conservative side when it comes to glitters and find each and every shade in this palette wearable and suitable for everyday. The pigment on all the shades is really incredible. The only color I had issues with is the Blackheart which applied a bit chalky alone but works well when applied over a creamy liner with a tiny detail brush. There was no fallout with any of the glittery colors. Most of the shades in this palette appear to be new colors:
  • Strange is a soft matte ivory pink
  • Dust is a glittery light pink
  • Burnout is a warmer pink shimmer
  • Limit is a matte mauve-pink
  • Buzz is a pink mauve shimmer
  • Trick is a coppery pink glitter
  • Nooner is a matte mauve
  • Liar is a warm taupe
  • Factory is a darker brownish taupe shimmer
  • Mugshot is a neutral taupe shimmer
  • Darkside is a satiny purple brown
  • Blackheart is a dark black with red shimmer
Close ups plus swatches:

After my Instagram picture a few weeks ago many emailed me asking for comparisons to Naked and Naked2. I do think Naked3 is different enough to justify owning if you have either of the other two. Naked3 is the warmest and pinkest of the three options but has the most universally flattering colors. Here are the palettes photographed and swatched:

Swatches:

I really love the Naked3 palette. The color options are simply stunning and combinations endless. It’s priced well for the size and quality. The packaging is well designed and sturdy. I think it’s a definite must-have and will make an amazing holiday gift for beauty lovers.

Naked3 was a quick sellout online at a many locations but keep checking back – they are restocking frequently. You can find it online at Macy’s, Sephora, and Urban Decay.
Urban Decay

Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm

March 2, 2013
My latest skin/foundation/primer discovery is Urban Decay’s Naked Skin Beauty Balm ($34 for 35 ml/1.18 fl oz). I had been saving my Sephora Beauty Insider Points for months but as soon as I saw the Naked Skin minis available in-store, I redeemed some points for two mini 3.7 ml samples to try. I liked it so much after using a few days that I immediately ordered a full size tube from Urbandecay.com when they had their Friends and Family Sale.

After reading numerous reviews on this product, I decided to try this as a primer, over moisturizer but under foundation. I found that the Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm has a peachy beige color but applies to an almost transparent finish. Since it comes in only one shade I was concerned about the way it would look on my skin. I have light-medium olive skin and right now use NARS Tinted Moisturizer in Alaska and Chanel’s Perfection Lumiere in B30 along with Dolce & Gabbana’s Warm 100 in the Powder and Cream. I think I’m at the right skintone where the Urban Decay Naked Balm is perfect for my skin. I’ve been using it two ways:

1) Apply moisturizer, then layer Urban Decay’s Naked Beauty Balm, then dust powder foundation on top (I like Dolce & Gabbana’s and Chanel’s): the beauty balm helps to even out and prime the skin to help the powder adhere better but apply evenly, sometimes layering powder foundation over foundation can be too heavy, but applying powder foundation over moisturizer only doesn’t give enough coverage, the UD beauty balm helps give a good in-between
2) Apply moisturizer, layer Urban Decay’s Naked Beauty Balm, then feather in liquid foundation on areas that need coverage: the beauty balm helped the overall application of foundation and also helped it last longer on my skin throughout the day

I have normal but sensitive skin, I don’t typically use primers or beauty balms. When it comes to foundation, I like to keep the layering as minimal as possible: moisturizer, foundation then powder. Adding anything else usually ends up feeling too heavy for me although I have used and loved Guerlain Meteorites Perles Light Diffusing Perfecting Primer, Chanel Le Blanc de Chanel and Chanel Base Lumiere. The results of the Urban Decay Beauty Balm surprised me. I haven’t used it a full eight weeks to test out everything such as improvement of lines, lift, smoothness. After using it for a little over two weeks now, I can say that the overall look of my skin with foundation added has improved tremendously. There is a soft slightly minty fresh scent to the balm, it seems odd, but it’s really subtle and rather refreshing. The scent disappears on me after a few minutes of wear.

Right now, NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Alaska is a good match for me, you can see side-by-side the Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm is warmer/peachier, it does blend out to an almost transparent finish.

Here are the ingredients from the sample package:


For me, I was lucky to try a sample (thanks to Sephora VIB points) long enough to see how it worked. This allowed me to decide whether or not to buy. I give it a huge thumbs up. However, given the fact that it comes in only one shade, I don’t think it will work for everyone. Also note that I like it as a primer which I don’t think is the intended purpose of this, so your mileage may vary. Hundreds of people have written reviews on Sephora.com and Urbandecay.com – I found them helpful.

Did you try Urban Decay’s Naked Skin Beauty Balm? What did you think? Did it work for your skin tone or skin type? Do you have any favorite primers or beauty balms?

Urban Decay

Urban Decay Naked Palette

July 6, 2010

I was one of those who jumped on the Naked bandwagon the day this palette was released on UrbanDecay.com. It contains 12 eyeshadows + 1 double ended eyeliner, retails for $44 and measures about 8 inches wide by 2.5 inches tall. I’ve been eagerly waiting for this ever since I saw it on Twitter and Facebook and it exceeds my expectations.

Here it is for size reference:

This is my first palette from Urban Decay. I’ve been intrigued by the Book of Shadows series, but unfortunately I won’t buy a palette unless I feel it’s at least 50% wearable for me. I was so excited to discover that all the colors in this palette are wearable. I already have a few of the shades in single format (Toasted, Sin and Naked), but couldn’t resist. There’s a good mixture of existing + new shades. Also, I hate to say this, but I haven’t been a fan of the Book of Shadows packaging. I like palettes to be sleek and simple. I found the BOS a bit bulky and just not my style. Plus I don’t dig glitter.

The Naked Palette comes in a soft velvety brown case with a small mirror. I love that it comes with a mini eye primer (I’m excited to try this).

L to R: Virgin, Sin, Naked, Sidecar, Buck, Half Baked,
Smog, Darkhorse, Toasted, Hustle, Creep, Gunmetal

Close ups:


Swatches in the same order as palette, on bare skin:


I am one of those girls who doesn’t like to buy palettes with over 5 shades because there is usually at least 1 shade I don’t like. I still cave occasionally. This one I feel is wearable for a wide variety of skintones. As a neutral lover, I find this very wearable.

Without flash:


I’ve been a huge fan of Urban Decay Eyeshadows since I was in high school (in the 90’s), but this is my first Urban Decay palette. I’ve loved the Urban Decay line back when it was the edgier counterpart to Hard Candy (pre-walmart days). I can’t say that I love all their shades (especially the glitter ones) but they are one brand I feel has revamp packaging and expanded their distribution to a wider variety of retail channels yet has remained consistent in quality and focus. I have to say, as a brand, Urban Decay is continuously true to their brand values. This is something I appreciate as a customer who panics when I hear the word “revamp” (since revamping isn’t always good). Even though I’m not the biggest fan of their packaging, I think for the most part, it still works. I find their matte and shimmer eyeshadows rank among the top in terms of quality. Now if they would only release a non-glitter version of Maui Wowie and Mushroom as a single/individual shadow and bring back their lip gunk I would be forever happy 🙂

Here is the old eyeshadow packaging for YDK compared to the new,
one might consider this from 1999 “vintage”:


I hope Urban Decay will release more palettes in this same style/format/theme. I find the name “Naked” a bit misleading, but it works for me. Perhaps it is naked for Urban Decay, considering they have some really bright shades. I hope they release more versions of this like they did the BOS (1, 2, AIW and soon 3?). A smokey palette (with Mushroom please!) would be divine. One can dream, but I will be very busy with this one until then.

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