Generally speaking, the Naked palettes are highly obsessed over by nearly everyone that shops regularly at Sephora. Sure, it’s a bit spendy, but there’s a dozen different neutral shades (supposedly good for all skin tones?) AND a hyped up dual sided usable brush – they each even come with their own little mini-version of some popular complimentary Urban Decay product. I was, what, in high school? when the Naked 1 palette came out and I was distraught that I just didn’t have the income to get it. My parents, understandably, figured $50 was too much for a teenager’s makeup and refused to relent, even to my consistent begging.
BUT then in college the Naked 2 palette came out and not only did I actually have money, the colors were much better! Finally there was a black included, as well as a lot more gold tones rather than the greys and navys (navies?) that the first included. Armed with a $20 Sephora gift card, I excitedly marched to the nearby Sephora and picked up my first Urban Decay product. The subsequent disappointment I experienced thereafter is enough to dissuade me from purchasing Naked 3, even with it’s 1000% improved color scheme and my increased income.
1. The Brush Oftentimes, Naked junkies defend the high cost of these palettes with cries of “but, the brush! It’s not just a shitty Q-tip!” and that’s certainly true! However, for how soft the Urban Decay shadows are the brushes are not nearly firm enough. The flimsy brushes just fling the pigment powder everywhere with little control, making it difficult to make the precise, natural looks that the palette supposedly is designed for.
2. The Fallout Oh dear god, the fallout. When, on the “instructions” with any Urban Decay shadow you purchase it says to use over their primer potion, they don’t mean it as a suggestion. Even if the shadow is packed on the brush with excess tapped off, a seemingly endless amount will still manage to find its way onto your cheek, bottom lid, or even on your white jacket, as I was aghast to discover. And since the shadow is so highly pigmented (one of the best qualities of the Urban Decay products) if you try to just wipe it off you will soon have a face messier than a chimney sweep’s. Just picture that scene from Mary Poppins – not a good look for a night out, I promise. And I don’t know about you, but eyeshadow that essentially requires a sticky primer to not fall all over your face really isn’t worth $50, even for a lot of different shades.
3. The Colors Palettes are fun! And neutrals are great! But honestly, Urban Decay, don’t you think this Naked series is getting a little old at this point? First there was the palette, and everyone loved it. Then there was the SECOND palette and everyone loved that one even more! There’s now also a “Naked” lip gloss, bb cream (that only comes in one shade and magically adjusts to your skin tone, supposedly (hint: it does not)), and even a line of neutral nail lacquers. Talk about milking that cash cow… Anyway, even with my 12 available shades of my palette there’s just no reason to use all of them. A few are almost duplicates (same tone, similar value) and half at most are really flattering to my skin tone and eye color. For the money that you spend you’ll more than likely stick to 3-4 of your favorites from the set.
Don’t get me wrong though, there’s good qualities about the Urban Decay shadows, and some other products in their line are genuinely good (I love their pencil and liquid liners, for example). For the relatively high cost that you’re paying, especially for a brand that is not even considered a “luxury” line like Chanel or YSL, there’s much better alternatives out there.
My suggestion? Ignore the hype and swatch the shadows in store. It’s much better to just pick up the 2-3 from the palette that are your absolute favorites in full sizes! Trade the gimpy brush and travel sized extra for an extra $20-30 in your pocket.