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When you think of intense and highly pigmented makeup, Urban Decay is likely one of the first brands that will come to mind. UD took the makeup game up several notches when they introduced their versatile and long-wearing makeup, specifically their eyeliners and eyeshadows.
Since then, this brand has developed a cult following. So much so to where their Naked palettes generate over $1 billion. I first discovered Urban Decay when I was in high school, getting into makeup and wanted products more pigmented and better quality than what I could find at the drugstore.
Funny story, I discovered Urban Decay from My Chemical Romance singer Gerard Way. In an interview, he said he used their products. I was curious and decided to research the brand. Online shopping was first becoming popular, so I found their website and ordered a couple of single shadows.
Since then, I’ve been in love with this brand. I’ve used just about all types of their products, but their eyeshadows still remain my favorite. For this article, I took out my Urban Decay shadows and did a few looks with them. But I can’t possibly own every Urban Decay shadow and palette, so for the ones I don’t have, I searched the internet for the best looks.
How We Evaluated These Eyeshadows
We ranked these eyeshadow palettes and shades based on a few factors, such as:
- Shade options
- Palette themes
- How they complement certain skin tones
Now, I never bought Urban Decay’s classic Naked 1 palette because I thought the colors were too brown. That and they all looked the same to me.
But I may change my mind after watching YouTuber AllThatFresh wear this palette. I love the neutral glimmery look she did. It’s an easy look and the cool tones look beautiful on her. While this palette is discontinued, it’s great to look back on this classic.
- Easy to apply
- Good price for the quality and color options
- Great eyeshadow formula
- Perfect when traveling
- Great as a gift
- Long-lasting shades
- Fall out
- Can be difficult to blend for beginners
When I first saw Naked 2, I had to have that palette! Unlike Naked 1, where the colors are too brown for my tastes, I loved all of the versatile colors in Naked 2. Surprisingly enough, I mainly use Naked 2 for a smoky eye. But for today, I’m actually combining a smoky look with more neutral colors to show off the versatility of this palette.
I legit only used these two colors: Tease and Snakebite. Tease actually reminds me of the more intense version of Nooner in Naked 3. It’s a smoky mauve. I actually use this color quite often, but mainly in my crease. Now, I’m using it as my base shade. Then I’m following with Snakebite, a shiny and golden brown, on my crease.
Honestly, Tease may become my new base shade. It melts perfectly into my skin. I only applied a little to my lid. From here, I followed with Snakebite. Just a little blending and I’m done!
I love how perfectly these two colors blended together. Just a little eyeliner and mascara, then you’re done! This is perfect as an effortless running-late-to-work look.
- Long-lasting colors
- Great product quality
- Applies easily
- Super pigmented
- Love the powder formula
- You can’t see it in my pictures, but the black color “Blackout” fell out of the tin and I lost it.
At first, I was hesitant about using Naked 3. I’m not the biggest fan of pink in general, let alone pink eye makeup.
Urban Decay first released this palette when I worked at Sephora. I ended up demoing the palette for clients who were curious about it, and I was shocked by how natural the colors looked and how subtle the pink was. So I caved and bought it. Now, it’s one of my favorite palettes.
I usually use this palette for natural, rosy looks. But today, I was curious to try something a little more dramatic. I also used colors I typically don’t use, just to experiment. I started with Burnout, a metallic light rose, as the base shade.
I dusted it all over the lid and crease. Looking at the pictures, it looks so natural yet adds that little bit of pinky sheen.
Next, I took Nooner and applied it all over my crease. Nooner is actually a color I use quite often. It’s a deep mauve, but it’s not so dark to where it’s smoky.
From here, I took one of my favorite colors ever, Blackheart, and applied it to the outer corner of my eye. After blending it in, it adds just the perfect amount of definition.
I kept my eyeliner the way it is. As I said, I mainly wear Naked 3 as a natural-looking palette, so I usually don’t do anything extreme with my eyeliner. But if I were going out and rocking this look, I would add a cat-eye.
- Very nice, rosy feminine colors
- I personally was impressed with this palette
- Not everyone will use or appreciate the pink colors
This is a pretty palette but not one I would wear, personally. It’s too gold and mustardy for me. I do like those dark browns, though. But I would rather watch other MUAs play around with it.
YouTuber Angela Bright did a great look with this. She used some warm browns with a glimmery yellow and smoked it out with a dark brown. It’s not a look I would do and it’s definitely too complex for a beginner, but the final result is absolutely gorgeous!
- Simple to use
- Gorgeous colors
- Many people complained there weren’t enough matte shades
- Too many mustard and gold colors, I’m not a fan, and I’m sure others aren’t for this reason
I have to say, I absolutely love this palette, and I can’t believe it fell under my radar! While I wouldn’t consider this a typical Naked palette, this is definitely one that is absolutely stunning.
This palette has so many purple shades but also some neutral and smoky tones. You can easily create an extravagant and colorful look one day or a subtle and toned-down look the next. To amp these looks up, all you need to do is add some of the darker colors to make your eyes pop!
Of course, I had to look at Robert Welsh’s tutorial with this palette! He did a very non-traditional look with the Ultraviolet palette.
He started by blending some of the rosier tones in his crease, added a light lavender to the inside of his brow area, blended some of the darker purples to the outer corner of his eyes, added a light blue to his inner corner, and added a bright purple to his lower lash line.
The result is a very futuristic look that looks amazing on him!
- Edgier version of the classic Naked palette
- Combination of vivid purples and lovely nudes
- Can do different looks
- Works well with different skin tones
- Many people would have rather this be packaged outside of the Naked series since many of the colors aren’t neutral
I actually walked into Sephora and was looking at this palette. I was really intrigued because it looks like a prettier version of Naked 1. I definitely feel like this palette has more colorful neutrals if that makes sense. For example, Retro is like a natural peach color.
Kelly Strack did a pretty look with this palette. She used some of the more intense and glittery neutrals for a very pretty and almost gold-brown smoky look. She finishes off the look with fake lashes. This definitely looks like something I would do with this palette, minus the fake lashes because I’ve never found lashes that cooperate with my eyes.
- Cheaper than many palettes
- Wider pans
- More neutral and natural shades than other recent Naked palettes, but you can also make a statement with the darker colors.
- Beautiful packaging
- Many people are upset they discontinued the original Naked palette and replaced it with this one (I personally don’t care because I like this new palette better)
I have to admit; I was SO CLOSE to buying this palette. Then, I saw Urban Decay had a smaller palette that has practically the same colors (and was significantly cheaper), so I bought that one instead.
The other reason I didn’t buy the cherry palette is it looks too pinky. When I think of cherries, I think of red.
I love red eyeshadow, and it’s so hard for me to find them, let alone the red eyeshadow that doesn’t make your eyes look bloodshot. Urban Decay’s Gash is the perfect example of a reddish shadow that looks absolutely beautiful.
But looking around on YouTube, I love the look that Chloe Morello did with this palette. While her shadow is more on the pink side, she did use some of the more gorgeous maroon shades to balance out her eyeshadow look. There’s still plenty of colors here, but it’s not overpowering.
I also love the red glittery Marc Jacobs eyeliner she used in this look. I may consider getting this pencil for myself.
- Very juicy and lovely red-toned colors
- There are also many neutral shades
- Easy to use
- Probably the most unique Naked palette that Urban Decay has released
- It’s on sale at Sephora now
- Urban Decay has a smaller and similar palette (though I can’t find it on the Sephora website, so I think it’s discontinued)
- Many people complained this palette doesn’t work with all skin tones and eye shapes.
Honestly, this palette is nicer than I expected. It has some lovely maroons and neutral smoky colors. Maybe I’ll get this one in the future, too.
I’m including another video from Angela Bright. I just love the looks she does with these Urban Decay palettes. I also like her tutorials because they’re short and to the point.
For this look, she does a brown smoky eye with some glitter in her crease. The end result gives her eyes a lot of definition, and the glitter brightens up her eyes. All of the colors are beautifully blended, and the look is absolutely perfect.
- Beautiful colors. I especially love all of the fiery colors.
- Easy to use, especially for beginners
- Can do different looks
- Easy to blend
- It May look weird on certain eye shapes, like hooded eyes
Vice Palettes (Demoing Vice 4)
Urban Decay’s Vice palettes are some of my favorites, and I wish they came out with more of them.
I have the Vice 4 palette and absolutely love it. It’s so versatile, and I can achieve so many looks with this one palette. But I mainly do this smoky eye look. I love smoky eyes and red lipstick — I would say it’s my official look. I applied some red lip gloss before the eye tutorial, so I could look all glammed up.
For this palette, I took the shade Low and applied it just to my lid. It’s a dark yet shiny gray-brown and is one of my favorite colors in this palette.
I love pairing it with Robbery, a metallic silver. I applied Robbery to my crease.
To amp up the smokiness, I applied Deadbeat, which is an intensely glittery black, to the outer corners of my eyes. I blended the colors in so they all are cohesive. There’s some fall out here, and the shadow is a little uneven. I’ll clean it up later.
To brighten up my eyes, I took a small definition brush and applied Bones (a metallic cream) to the inner corners of my eyes. As you can see, I’ve used this color quite often. It’s also the perfect base shade!
I only applied a thin line of liquid liner (Kat Von D Ink Liner) and used a black Sephora eyeliner pencil on my waterline and lower lash line. From here, I finished off with some Tarte Surfer Curl mascara. I used concealer and my foundation brush to clean up the fallout and imperfections, and voila! The perfect smoky eye.
- Love the colors and it has an incredible color selection
- Beautiful packaging
- Big palette, not the best for traveling
When I first saw the Electric palette, I was amazed. It looked like paint! I ended up buying it the day it was released.
I have times when I use this palette constantly and phases where I don’t touch it for months. The colors are extremely intense, so I use them sparingly. Actually, I tend to use this palette just for one color only. For example, when I did the crazy blue colors for my Nyx Jumbo Eye Pencil review, I used the shade Gonzo as the base shade.
I decided to use several colors to create a crazy multi-colored look. Just letting you all know, I typically never do a look like this.
I started by taking Thrash on my base and crease. Thrash is a yellow-green color.
I typically don’t use this as a base shade; I typically wear it on my crease with the silvery Revolt on my lid. But again, I wanted to play things up.
Next, I took the dark blue Chaos and applied it to the middle of my lid, blending outward.
The result is a mix of dark blue and lime green, so Thrash looks a little smokier.
From here, I took the dark purple Urban and applied it only on the way outer part of my eye, and blended it into my brow bone.
All of my eyeliner was gone at this point (I’m doing all of these looks in one night and wash off the makeup with a wipe after each application), so I decided to do a crazy cat-eye. But I took that same Urban color and applied it only to the lower lash line.
- Serious bursts of color, extremely pigmented
- Great quality
- Too bright for daily wear
- Applies intensely
- Can be difficult to blend
- Difficult to take off
I should have known to have used the Electric palette last.
There was no way a simple makeup removing wipe could have taken off those intense pigments. It was time to pull out the Ponds Cold Cream Cleaner — which washed off the rest of my eye makeup plus a good chunk of my face makeup. I just finished reapplying my face makeup, primed my eyes, and I’m ready to go again!
Now, I want to highlight one of my favorite palettes that UD did. Pulp Fiction is my favorite movie, and some years ago, UD released some makeup inspired by the film’s main female star Mia Wallace (played by Uma Thurman). I bought the palette and lipstick — both of which I still use.
For this look, I’m just doing a simple smoky brown eyeshadow look.
I took the lighter brown, Tyranny, and applied it to my lid and crease.
Next, I applied Vengeance to the outer corner of my eye. They blend so beautifully together!
I just did some simple liquid liner. After applying the pencil liner to my waterline, I took the white color, Anger (as you can tell, I’ve used it often) to the inner corner of my eye.
- Great quality
- Applies and blends well
- Super pigmented, even though they’re natural colors
- Love the powder formula
- The Pulp Fiction theme is amazing
- Other reviewers complained this is too similar to some of the shades in the Naked palettes. I personally didn’t care.
24/7 Single Shadows
Well, I did have more Urban Decay single eyeshadows, but I used a lot of them. Looking through my makeup, I only have two: Grifter and Peace. But hey, I can totally do an awesome look with these two colors!
Grifter is a pretty pale lilac. I dusted this one all over my lid and crease.
Peace is a light but intense blue. I took a flat brush and applied it like eyeliner. I started it on the lower lash line into the upper lash line but smoked it out to the outer corner.
- Easily blendable
- Super pigmented
- So many beautiful colors
- They’re long-lasting, but I wouldn’t say they last 24 hours
Okay, so if I were to pick a favorite palette, it’s probably the Pulp Fiction palette.
Beyond the fact that the theme is amazing, the neutral shadows are long-lasting, they blend well, and are seriously pigmented. You can create an easy neutral look or a full-on smoky look with them. People complained about the colors being too similar to others you would see in the Naked palettes, but I love how the Pulp Fiction palette is small and portable, and the colors are matte for the most part.
Urban Decay also does collaborations constantly, which I love. Now, they’re doing a collaboration with Prince. I can’t wait to see what they do next!
But if I had to pick a palette, they currently have in stock, then definitely Naked 2. While this one has a taupe theme, the colors are overall very versatile. Surprisingly, this is my favorite palette for smoky looks, but I do plenty of neutral looks for this palette. You can combine just about all of these colors, and they blend beautifully.
Question: Does Urban Decay Have the Best Eye Shadow?
Answer: UD is pretty much my go-to for eyeshadow. Their colors are pigmented, apply beautifully, are easy to blend, and you can find just about any eyeshadow color in the UD line.
But Urban Decay shadows aren’t the only ones I wear, and there are definitely cheaper/drugstore brands that offer similar quality.
First and foremost, if you want to wear good quality makeup without spending a fortune, I personally love Sephora Collection. While I don’t think their shadows apply as well as UD or blend as perfectly, they’re still good for the price.
In addition, Sephora Collection offers a wide range of single shadows and palettes. You can definitely find some comparable dupes to Urban Decay palettes, especially the Naked palettes.
If you’re looking for a drugstore recommendation, I love Milani eyeshadow. Their products are definitely comparable to UD in the fact that they’re extremely pigmented. I have a smoky eyeshadow palette from them that I frequently use, though it’s just about all gone.
I would also recommend Nyx. While their products are overall a hit or miss, they are one of the better drugstore brands. I’ve tried some of their shadows that rival Urban Decay, yet others that are barely pigmented.
If you find a good shadow or palette from Nyx, then great! But since they’re so cheap, it’s worth trying out their products.
Looking online, many people recommend Smashbox eyeshadow.
I absolutely love Smashbox, specifically their primers (I actually swear by them). But whenever I try their shadow, I never have luck. The colors are either not pigmented; there’s a ton of fallout or other issues.
But my mom loves them, so I guess everyone had different experiences. But I would recommend either Milani or Nyx over Smashbox shadows, easily.
I’m also seeing some people recommend Marc Jacobs eyeshadow. I honestly never tried his shadows, but his eyeliner and lipsticks are incredible. So I’m sure his eyeshadow is great, too.
Question: Are Urban Decay Eyeshadows Worth the Money?
Answer: I absolutely think they are. And if you choose one of the classic Naked palettes, that palette alone will likely last you for years — even when worn daily. I’ve had all of my UD palettes for years.
Not only that, but you’re buying a good quality product. All of their shadows, even the neutral ones, are some of the most pigmented out there. Not only that, but their shadows are also very blendable.
Their palettes and single shadows are also versatile, and you can find just about any color.
Question: What’s the Best Urban Decay Palette?
Answer: For me, it’s a tie between Naked 2 and Vice. But I know everyone swears by Naked 1.
Question: Is Urban Decay Good for Mature Eyes?
Answer: First, I’m the type of person who believes you should do whatever makeup look you want, regardless of how old you are. But I can understand why some people may be concerned about wearing makeup for their age.
I would say if fine lines are your concern, stay away from powder eyeshadow in general. Cream eyeshadow and eyeshadow sticks don’t settle into lines the way that powder does. Urban Decay also sells eyeshadow sticks, though I just reviewed some from Nyx that are pretty good (I honestly never tried the UD shadow sticks, though I assume they’re amazing).
If you are determined to use powder shadow, I would suggest sticking to matte shades. Glitter draws too much attention to the eyes and may accentuate any fine lines you have. Matte shades will give your eyes the definition they need while still staying subtle.
Question: Does Urban Decay Have the Best Eyeshadow Primer?
Answer: I personally think so, but I haven’t been using it lately.
I’ve been using a concealer as my primer, which I read isn’t good because the tint in the concealer may change the pigment in your shadow. Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion is colorless, so it will prime your lids without altering the color of your eyeshadow.
However, Urban Decay’s eyeshadow primer is expensive (I think $20). If you want something cheaper, I’ve used e.l.f.’s eyeshadow primer, and it’s definitely comparable. Covergirl’s eyeshadow primer got good reviews, though I’ve never used it. But I love Covergirl’s lip makeup.
Hourglass’s eyeshadow primer also got good reviews, though I never tried it.
Get More Eye Makeup Recommendations
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