Saturday, 8 August 2015

Review: Urban Decay Naked Smokey Palette




The wait was finally over. With fast beating heart and steps quickening with every pace, I approached the counter. Would it be there?

My pulse quickened as I caught a glimpse of shiny packaging. And then….all of a sudden….in a glorious rush of adrenaline, my clammy hands closed on it.

Before I knew it, I had handed over my card, and plunged into the brightly-lit corridor with my precious purchase in hand. I peeled back the plastic wrap and there it was….Urban Decay’s Naked Smokey.

Okay, okay, that’s a bit of a dramatic description.

But I was really that keen to get my hands on the latest offering from the Naked stable. Such is the life of a make-up addict. I feel like we’ve been waiting for this palette for a long time, right?

It was torture to see Youtube and Instagram fill up with smug pictures from our American cousins while we were left wanting – I have no idea why on earth they can’t make these things globally available at the same time.

But was the palette worth the wait? Read on for a full review….


About the Naked range

Pretty much everyone in the beauty world has been bowled over by ‘Naked’ products, which have turned Urban Decay from a niche grunge brand aimed at emo teens to a global powerhouse producing beautifully slick, functional, desirable products.

The inescapable rise and rise of the first three Naked eyeshadow palettes turned ‘neutral’ into an artform. Never have shades of brown been so desirable.

Suddenly, palettes went from a hit and miss affair where there would always seem to be at least five shadows you never touched, into a carefully curated selection of beautiful shades that worked together to create endless combinations. Other brands took notice. A thousand imitator products were launched.

Then, UD began diversifying, taking the Naked brand into skin products and lip shades as well.

Generally speaking, everything I’ve tried with the Naked badge on has been a success. And certainly when it comes to the eyeshadows, there is an expectation that anything launched under the Naked name will be the best of the best.

Smokey is a great move for them. Some people said it was too obvious – but I’d argue that’s what the Naked range actually does best.

They don’t introduce anything wild. They just do the classics better than anyone else. And as smokey eyes are a perennial favourite that never goes away, producing a collection of shades catering to this is pure genius.

Packaging

The look and feel of this palette is beyond gorgeous. Its just an object of desire as soon as you spot it.
Instead of the tin packaging used on Naked 2 and 3, here they’ve moved to a toughened plastic, similar to that used in the ‘On The Run’ palette.

There’s a double layer, with swirls of smoke graphics suspended in clear tinted Perspex and the writing in raised mirrored plastic on the top. It certainly has the wow factor.

Inside, there’s the usual large clear mirror, your range of shades shimmering enticingly, and a decent brush.


The brush is also made from a translucent perspect handle with gunmetal ferrules, and is double ended. One side is a fluffy blending brush, and the other a more compact rounded pencil brush.

This is more useful than the flattened shape they’ve used for the brush on Naked 2 and 3, because it allows for more precise shaping and crease work.

Shade Range

It was a relief to me to see that, although there’s plenty in the way of deep, dark mysterious shades, they haven’t completely abandoned including some more neutral colours. 

This makes the palette much more versatile that just including dark shades, and it allows a wider range of looks to be created, from a subtle daytime smoke-out to the full on rock chick experience. 

Unlike other palettes that have favoured warm or cool shades, Smokey contains a good mix of both. 

There are matte highlight shades, a few shimmers to make the lid pop and those sexy, smokey velvet colours that are rather irresistible to boot. From silvers and blue tones to rich golden beiges, this palette certainly goes for the mass market appeal.

Consistency

As you’d expect, the shadows live up to the great name earned by the Naked series. Creamy, blendable and intensely pigmented. The shimmers are super pretty without too much in the way of fall out. The metallic sing. But where UD really excel are the matte shades.

These are often chalky and disappointing in most palettes, but UD have cornered the market in velvet textured, creamy mattes that pop.

Swatches

High - A light, pink toned shimmer with silver microglitter particles
Dirtysweet  - A golden peach metallic
Radar – A light, warm toned, metallic brown
Armor – A super-glittery metallic taupe (I love this shade so much!)

Slanted – A silver-grey satin
Dagger -  A cool gunmetal satin
Black Market – A charcoal black satin with warm undertones
Smoulder – A deep, smoky plum satin with purple undertones

Password – A deep lavender taupe matte
Whiskey – A rich, mid chocolate brown matte
Combust – A pale, pink-toned beige matte
Thirteen – A warm ivory matte satin

These are all new shades apart from Radar, Armour and Black Market, which have appeared in the Vice palettes.

I love the range of options this colour selection represents. Everything from a neutral look to a coloured smoke and a deep, dark evening eye in one. This goes far beyond the usual black-white-grey combinations we get in smokey eye kits and is so much the better for it. Each shade has more dimension, balance and depth.

Inside the box is a ‘cheat sheet’ that gives you a couple of options for how to use the shadows – the ‘Iconic UD’, ‘Smokey Reality Star’, ‘Smokey Cat’ and ‘Everyday Smokey’. This is really handy for when you’re feeling uninspired and don’t know where to start!

Verdict


This palette had a lot of hype to live up to, launching as part of a family of products that are arguably the Porsches of the eyeshadow palette world – glamourous, coveted and high performance.

Smokey was in many way, both a gamble and a sure bet. It had to be perfect. If you’re going to take something so classic, and so beloved of so many people, you need to do it justice, and Urban Decay have certainly done that.

A smokey eye is a classic staple in the make-up arsenal of most, and although there are few surprises here, the shade range and the quality make it a must have.

Naked Smokey breathes new life into a much loved line that had about exhausted its run with the neutral shades. Its easy to use, great for beginners and dedicated palette lovers alike, and comes wrapped up in a package that’s so desirable, it would be a crime not to treat yourself.

The Urban Decay Smokey palette is available to buy here for £38.00.

Have you got your hands on the Naked Smokey palette? What do you think? Hit or miss for you? Let me know below!

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1 comment

  1. I'm so torn as to whether I want to go for this one or the Naked 3 palette! I love how they haven't completely abandoned the neutral shades though. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, it is a great review!!

    Jessica Grace

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