Hi all! Welcome to a new series on the blog that I’ve been looking forward to writing. This series, succinctly called “Brands That Don’t Suck”, is exactly what it sounds like. Each post will feature a different brand that I’m a fan of for various reasons.
Now we’ve all been down this road before – a brand gets super hyped on social media, we go out and buy a product from them, and it turns out it sucks. This feature will try to help you avoid this problem. I’m not going to do blanket “everything this brand touch turns to gold! Praise them as the new Midas! They can do no wrong!” type thing because frankly that’s bollocks. Instead, I’m going to take you honestly through some pros and cons of their products and outline which, in my experience, are hits, misses or things I’m on the fence about because they’re good but not necessarily good for me. Naturally I can’t cover every product they do because my collection is not even close to that extensive, but hopefully I’ll at least be able to give you some idea of what to look out for.
The first brand I’m focusing on is one of the first high-end brands I ever bought a palette from: Urban Decay.
Urban Decay is a brand typically associated with bright, bold colours – the idea of “beauty with an edge” was their original platform. Despite this, it was their “Naked” series of products that actually first caught my attention because, in my job, easy-to-wear products are generally a safer bet.
Originally I was drawn to the brand because of their cruelty free commitments. In saying that, I was doing some research to complete this writeup and apparently Urban Decay is now owned by L’Oreal. L’Oreal, by nature of doing business in China where animal testing is a requirement, does indeed test on animals, so alas Urban Decay would no longer meet the usual cruelty free requirements (this of course does depend on your personal preferences and beliefs around this – lots of people are different).
Urban Decay is probably most well-known for their “Naked” series of eyeshadow palettes. There was a time where you couldn’t watch a beauty related youtube channel without seeing these. Since then, they’ve expanded the Naked range to include foundations, powders, blushes, face palettes… you name it. They also still produce a range of limited edition products usually based around themes or collaborations.
Of the products I’ve tried, these are my top picks.
Naked 3 Palette – this seems to be a controversial pick, as I’ve heard lots of people say that Naked 3 is their least favourite of the UD palettes. For me, however, it’s an absolute win. The rose-gold colours are absolutely stunning and really wearable on a day to day basis. This is probably the palette I use most often for work. Some have complained it’s not pigmented but that hasn’t been my experience – I find the pigment is fine apart from on a few of the glittery or metallic shades. Whack on a bit of Fix+ (which I usually use with these kinds of shades anyway) and I have no problem. Apart from that, they blend very well (particularly the matte shades) so are easy to work with for beginners such as myself. The colours are probably best for neutral or warm undertones.
Naked 2 Basics Palette – small, travel-friendly, subtle day-to-day shades. A good pick when you need something to travel with and just want to add a little definition to the eye. Not sure how well it will show up on deeper skin tones but for pale girls it’s a good pick for work.
All-Nighter Setting Spray – This stuff deserves the hype around it. It won’t save your skin if it’s 40+ degrees celcius and you’re sweating like your boss just called you up to deliver a presentation to the CEO on a product you didn’t even know your company made, but it does make a big difference to longevity of makeup. I find in summer that it’s a lifesaver.
Naked Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup – this foundation has been my holy grail across winter. The shade selection is fantastic for us neutral-toned women. For some reason a lot of brands only offer cool or warm tones and forget that there are plenty of us in the middle for whom neither of those options work particularly well. I have my doubts this foundation will hold up through the heat of summer, but for the cooler months it’s fantastic. It has a gorgeous finish to it and it held pretty well throughout my 8-15 hour workday (except around my glasses, nose and chin – probably because I have a bad habit of touching these places most often). I just love the look of this – it’s light to medium coverage but buildable and just leaves the skin with such a gorgeous natural finish.
These are products I’m in two minds about. They’re good, but not necessarily for my needs or skin type/tone.
Naked Flushed Palette in Streak – This palette comes with a bronzer, highlighter and blush. The bronzer worked really well and I didn’t mind the blush with certain looks (too bright for others) but the highlighter was far too sparkly for my oily skin. For someone who prefers that more intense highlight, however, this palette would be great. It’s especially handy for travel.
Primer Potion (Original) – This primer SHOULD rightfully be a hit as it’s good enough that I use it every day, but in complete honesty that’s largely because I haven’t found anything better. This does a pretty darn decent job of keeping my eyeshadow intact. My eyelids are SUPER oily though (far and away the most oily part of my face), so unfortunately it doesn’t work every single day. I have more successes than failures with it though, so it’s still pretty damn good, just not holy-grail-can’t-fault-it good.
De-Slick Setting Spray – This is like the All-Nighter Spray’s slightly less talented sibling. It’s meant to be good for oil control as well as setting makeup. I have oily skin and I didn’t find this did any better or worse than the All-Nighter in regards to oil control, and I found All-Nighter’s longevity was a bit better, so I’m on the fence on De-Slick. It’s not bad, I just find All-Nighter better for the same price.
Vice 4 Palette and Alice in Wonderland Palette – I’m talking about both of these in one because I have identical feelings about them both. They’re beautiful – gorgeous colours, blendable, some more pigmented than others but overall very good. The reason these aren’t hits for me is simply because I don’t wear bright, bold colours often enough for these to be worth the price. If you’re someone who does like to try bold looks, these would definitely work well for you.
Naked 2 Palette – To be completely fair to this palette, the only reason it’s a neutral for me is because it was the first high-end palette I ever bought and I really didn’t know what kinds of shadow colours I would end up learning to use most often. As it turns out, I prefer warmer colours, so Naked 2 doesn’t get brought out very often. It’s a great palette, but the quantities of cool tones and really shimmery shadows (which I don’t use often for work) mean that it doesn’t rank as a hit for me. Cooler undertones would probably love it though.
These are the products I’d steer clear of, regardless of whether your needs are different to mine or not!
Single Eyeshadows (mine is in “sin”) – There’s nothing specifically WRONG with Urban Decay’s single eyeshadows, except… the price. For this price point I don’t think they’re superior enough to other available single shadows out on the market (e.g. Inglot, Makeupgeek, Colourpop etc). That makes them a big miss for me. At $31AUD a pop they’re in the same price-point as Mac shadows. I find the Mac lasts a bit longer on my skin, so Mac wins out over these if I’m feeling inclined to throw money away.
On the whole, Urban Decay provides a range of great products. Of the products I’ve tried, I’ve had more successes than failures and that’s pretty darn rare. Definitely a brand I’m happy to purchase from, but perhaps I’ll avoid the brighter limited-edition palettes they release in future. Must not give in to the pretty packaging… must not give in to the pretty packaging…
Until next time!