Ahhhh, Urban Decay, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love your punky attitude, I love your celebrity collaborations (Gwen Stefani ♥) and most of all, I love your eye shadow palettes. The Naked palettes are LEGENDARY in the beauty world and there is a good reason why. Time and again, they bring out on-trend shades, giving you endless looks in one easy to use palette. Now, there are 3 “classic” Naked palettes, 2 “specials” (Smoky and Heat) and a whole sub-range of Naked Basics. That’s a lot of shade to choose from. So where do you start?
Time for a cheeky disclaimer – I don’t have all the Basics range (just the Ultimate Basics, which you can read about here) so I’ve stuck to the classic and special palettes in the original style for this post. Let me know if something similar on all the Basics is something you fancy reading and I’ll see what I can do!
The original (and best). Urban Decay nailed it in one and we may as well all go home now. Because the Naked 1 palette is the bomb dot com. I reach for it almost every day because the shade range is stunning, the colours are wearable and the pigmentation is insane.
I love the warm tones of the colours in this palette, they’re my go-to for an everyday eye look. The browns are pinky, the golds are yellowy and the browns are reddish. There’s a great range of pale and dark shades so I can create an entire eye look in one go. I also really love the brush – I can use the shorter side for more precise application and the fluffier side to blend and build up density.
Most of the shades are shimmery, which might not be to everyone’s taste, but they’re not in your face like I find some of the Colourpop shimmers to be.
For me, there are only a couple of downsides to Naked 1 – the mirror is too small (which was thankfully corrected in later palettes); the furry velvet packaging looks beautiful but gets dirty very quickly; and I also think the last shade – Gunmetal – doesn’t have quite the same warm tones as the others.
At first glance, Naked and Naked 2 look pretty similar, which is why I think the two are so hard to decide between. Like Naked, 2 has a whole range from light to dark, enabling you to create a complete look in one. The brush is pretty much the same, but this time the mirror is a decent size and there’s no furry outer to get filthy in your makeup bag. There is a great black in here (Blackout) that I use as a liner and I also love the shade Snakebite. But where Naked is full of warm tones, Naked 2 is very cool.
So far so good, eh?
However, I don’t find myself using Naked 2 as much as I thought I would. True, I prefer warm tones and this is cool toned, so that makes sense, but there are other flaws for me. For some reason, the formulation of the shadows in 2 just isn’t as good. The pans feel dry and I find it more difficult to get product onto my brush. The shadow also looks less pigmented on my eyelid.
I’ve had Naked 3 for a while and I’ve talked about it before because it’s one of my favourite palettes. Whereas the first two look similar, palette number 3 is clearly pink and has a totally different look. The packaging echoes 2 – big mirror, soft double-ended brush and hard outer case. I mean it’s fairly obvious that you’re not going to like this palette if you don’t like pink shadows, but I urge you to give it a go! They’re not scary, Disney, Barbie pinks, they are soft, peachy and browny pinks that work really well and blend easily together.
I love this palette because it breaks me out of the habit of always defaulting to a brown eye.
The downside with this palette (and maybe with all of them after a while) is that it does not travel well. I can’t count the number of times I’ve opened my makeup bag to find it’s popped open and the pans have fallen out. I don’t think that should happen when you’re paying that much for the palette – the packaging can be just as critical as the shadows themselves!
Again, I’ve talked a little bit about this palette before but let’s compare it here. Smoky is designed slightly differently to the classic palettes – it doesn’t just go from pale to dark, it has a real mixture of tones. To the left there are shimmery, warmer tones, in the middle are cool, dark tones and to the right are matte browns and pinks. It’s a great mixture in one palette because it can work for day or night, warm or cool and browns or blacks.
Weirdly though, that very flexibility is why I don’t use it as much as the others. I turn to this palette for a night out but, again, the blacks and greys are cool and always look too blue for me. I love the golds and browns to the left, but I can get those colours elsewhere. I don’t really use the matte shades because those few alone just aren’t enough to keep me interested.
It’s a special edition, but for me it’s just not special enough!
Oh my, Naked Heat. Heat really got people talking when it was released earlier this year. Warm, copper, red tones are all the rage at the moment and this palette was the answer to everyone’s reddish prayers. It’s completely different to the other Nakeds and I wasn’t sure whether to get it or not. Now that I have, I actually use it a whole lot more than I thought I would. I didn’t think I would get much wear out of it because the colours are so strong, but it’s actually easy to either amp up or dial down.
The packaging is the best I’ve seen yet – the case is hard, magnetic so it doesn’t pop open (same as Smoky), and has a stunning design on the front that looks like light shining through a semi-closed shutter. I also really like the brush – with a flatter side for application and a fluffy side to blend out.
One thing I would say is that I tend to always go for the same look with this one, just in different degrees of intensity. There’s also no black in here, which doesn’t bother me – I have tonnes in other palettes – but I know annoys others!
Which would I recommend?
None of the Naked palettes are bad per se and the product formulation is second to none (except on Naked 2 – did I maybe get a bad batch?!). The shadows in all the palettes are blendable and long-lasting, especially when worn with a primer.
As you can probably tell, the original Naked is the one I use the most because it’s an every day palette with gorgeous colours in flattering tones. Naked 3 comes in a *very* close second. Oh and FYI, all the Naked palettes cost £39.50.
For a night out, I pick up Heat over Smoky, even though I thought I wouldn’t. You just can’t deny that copper delight!
I can’t wait to see what the next Naked palette will be… but in the meantime, I’m trying out the new Troublemaker mascara!
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The Urban Decay palettes were kindly gifted to me but all opinions about them are my own.