Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Urban Decay Naked Basics: Yeah or Meh?

Urban Decay must have listened to all of the harumphing over the lack of matte shades in the Naked and Naked 2 palettes, because they've responded with an almost completely matte companion palette. As soon as I saw it, I knew it would be right up my alley, and I also had a gift card for darn near the price, so I called "kismet" and picked one up yesterday.

The outer packaging is, as you would expect, basic. There are no pop-up butterflies, USB ports, or extras like lip glosses, eyeliners, or Primer Potion. In fact, this may be the only palette EVER to not come with primer or a liner. I swear, if Urban Decay threw a Mardi Gras parade, they'd toss Primer Potions and Zero eyeliners.

Inside, the palatte case is sleek, a lovely rosy-beige, and rubberized so that the feel is similar to that of NARS packaging, which I happen to like. Normally, that could lead to an over-all grubbiness after a while, because that sort of material picks up everything, but the light color should prevent most of that from showing up. I am not a fan of the clasp. It was very difficult to open, and I came very close to breaking two nails in the process. I'm hoping it becomes easier to manage over time.

Now, here's a gawdawful photo, but I wanted you to see how large this mirror is. This is definitely a functional travel mirror, and for that, I'm grateful. I do wish that there was a spot for a small shadow brush, but we can't have everything, now can we? I didn't intend to catch that little Sephora card back there, but since I did, let's use it! The card is the size of a credit card, so that should tell you something about the size of this palette. It's not large. It's, quite literally, half the size of the Naked and Naked 2 palettes. That makes perfect sense, though, since this holds exactly half the number of shadows of one of the large palettes.

The shadows, from left to right, are Venus, Foxy, W.O.S. (Walk of Shame), Naked 2, Faint, and Crave. Foxy can also be found in Naked 2, and W.O.S. is from the Build Your Own Palette. The other four are brand new releases.

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for: Swatches!! Please bear in mind that I am a MAC NW15, so super pale with yellow undertones. In Urban Decay Naked Skin, I'm a 2.0. On the top row, I have Venus, Foxy (really!), and W.O.S. (no kidding!). On the bottom, Naked 2, Faint, and Crave.

Venus is stunning, and easily my favorite out of the group. It's a soft, golden-white demi-matte. Basically, it reflects light without using shimmer or pearl. It's just gorgeous, and makes a great highlighter. Think of it as a white version of Bootycall from the Naked 2 palette.

Foxy is a butter yellow, and W.O.S. is an eggshell pink. More on them in a bit.

Naked 2 is a true taupe. There are no lavender undertones like you find in so many other taupes. It's just a matte, cool taupe.

Faint is a warm medium brown. Period.

Crave is a black with deep brown undertones. It reminds me of dark chocolate, and makes a lovely shadow liner. It's very similar to Blackout from the Naked 2, but not quite as harsh.

Foxy and W.O.S. are not duds. I know that they don't show up on my hand, but that's neither their fault, nor is it necessarily a bad thing. These are both nicely pigmented, but they also happen to be very similar to my skin tone. For me, this is a plus, actually. Foxy was already a favorite from the Naked 2 palette, because it works beautifully as a blending and "clean-up" shade. I can fix mistakes, soften edges, or use it on natural looks from crease to brow for polish. I've even used it as a lid color because it counteracts redness. I'm, honestly, very happy to add W.O.S. to my arsenal, because the pinker shade will work in the same way, but coordinate better with rosier shadows, like Sin and Toasted.

This is not a tutorial, or even a "look", really. I just wanted you to see how the shadows look in a real-world setting. The only one not used was Foxy, and that's partly because of its place in the Naked 2 palette, and partly because I only have so much eye area. W.O.S. is on the lid, Faint in the crease and as lower liner, Naked 2 as a blending color, Venus to highlight brow and inner corner, and Crave as upper liner. If you wanted to travel with only this palette, you could get a look or two out of it. The shadows were buttery, applied smoothly, and blended easily. I have no complaints with the quality of the shadows; they're top-notch.

Urban Decay, Sephora, and Ulta all have this priced at $27. If you only consider the fact that the price is less than two full-sized shadows, and you're getting six not-quite-but-darn-near full-sized shadows in the palette, that's amazing. However, if you compare it to either of the larger neutral palettes, which were priced at $50 and came with deluxe samples and brushes, then suddenly $27 seems a bit steep. Still, it's not a bad deal, and you can always wait for a coupon.

Now, would I recommend this palette? Yes and no.

I can see where this could be an essential palette for some people, while others would find it completely unnecessary. These are not groundbreaking colors. They are exactly what they are advertised as: basics. If you look, you can find oodles of good mattes, many in these exact shades, at the drugstore, as singles, or in other palettes--possibly already in your collection. Heck, if you have the Naked 2 and the Build Your Own, then you already own a third of this palette.

However, if you honestly need a convenient collection of neutral mattes, housed in a travel-friendly container, then this would fit the bill. I actually did need one. Between auditions, filming, and publicity gigs, I'm on camera fairly regularly, and mattes are far more camera-friendly than shimmers or glitters, however neutral. I can't always carry a full train case, and this is handy enough to fit in my purse. Plus, I use my Naked and Naked 2 palettes more than anything else, and while I've been able to make-do with mattes from other palettes, they've never been quite right. These were designed specifically to coordinate with those palettes, so this collection should make my mornings much easier. I've actually been trying to cut down on my makeup...oh, let's just call it "hoarding"...so this purchase was well-researched and still deemed necessary...for me. Maybe not you.

The necessity of this palette is completely up to the prospective buyer. If you specifically want a small travel palette of Urban Decay mattes that compliment their larger neutral palettes (and I did, so that happens), then this is your palette. If you just want some neutral mattes to add to your collection, you have a world of options. This is cool, but it's nothing special.

Packaging: 7 (out of 10)
Quality: 9
Shade Range: 5
Application: 9
Wear: 10

Final Verdict: 8 out of 10. If you need this exact palette, it's worth it. If you're even slightly on the fence, then don't waste your money.

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