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When I open the new UD Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette by Urban Decay and see all of the neutrals, I start getting ideas… My internal makeup monologue kicks in, and looks start running through my head.
They start simple, but that doesn’t last long. “I’ll just do a quick wash of color with one or two matte browns on my lids,” I’ll think, “then black winged liner with a red lip. Just like Gwen!”
But then I’ll think, why stop at just two browns? I should add a third one in the crease.
Ooh! — or why don’t I do a grayish brown smoky eye instead? Maybe with a touch of blue on my lids? Because that’s so Gwen!
BUT then I’ll remember that I almost forget about glitter! How could I forget about the glitter!?
Girl, you know how it goes. 🙂 What starts as a five-minute look spirals into 35.
It’s not me though. It’s not my fault. It’s because of all the inspiring neutrals in this palette.
Yup, this is one of those palettes, and to really feel the magic in the makeup (shout-out to No Doubt’s Return of Saturn!), you have to appreciate the beauty of browns and beiges.
I see this one as almost an extension of the Urban Decay Naked Palette family, except with the addition of a few brights, so if you’re the kind of girl or guy who’d rather wear electric teal shimmer, you might find the neutrals here a bit underwhelming.
Not me though. When I see browns and golds and mattes (and there are so many in this!), I get excited.
In the unlikely event that you were cryogenically frozen in 1993 and are only now asking yourself, “Who’s Gwen Stefani?” she’s a pop singer, fashion designer and current vocal coach/judge on The Voice.
I’ve always admired her casual So Cal punk style and cool girl vibe, and I kid you not, I was hell bent on being her in 1995.
I even designated a section of my closet for my “Gwen Stefani” outfits. My favorite was a pair of baggy navy blue pants with light blue stripes going down the sides, which I’d pair with a baby blue sleeveless crop top and baby blue stick-on bindis.
Gwen’s had a longstanding relationship with Urban Decay (the brand’s also from So Cal), and she’s also a makeup junkie, so with this eyeshadow palette, she basically had a hand in everything, from the packaging to the colors to the finishes. All dream colors she would have loved to have in her makeup bag.
There are 15 powder shadows total, with 12 completely new colors, including a pale beige with pink iridescent shift called Blonde, a pale beige with golden pearl called Bathwater, a medium rose with metallic gold shift called Steady, a matte reddish brown called Punk, a metallic cool rose called Baby, a matte light taupe-brown called Anaheim, a matte medium brown called Zone, a smoky gray with iridescent pearl called Serious, a pale coral with iridescent sparkle called Pop, a metallic blue pink with iridescent micro shimmer called Harajuku, a deep metallic royal blue with blue micro sparkle called Danger and a bright metallic yellow gold called 1987.
There are also three of Gwen’s favorite re-promoted UD shades in pale nude satin Skimp, nude pink matte Stark and matte black Blackout.
The colors in this palette make sooo much sense when you see Gwen on The Voice, on the red carpet or in her videos. I can really see her personal makeup style in the colors. She’s usually either wearing a neutral lid with black winged liner and a bold red or pink lip, or smoky eyes with a touch of blue, gray or sometimes gold.
Yeah, I’m not a Gwen stalker or anything!
OK, maybe a little…
In addition to the abundance of neutrals in the palette, I also love the number of mattes.
GIRL, there are five mattes up in this beyotch! FIVE. When do you ever see five matte eyeshadows in a palette? There are usually just one or two, and one is almost always a barely functional random brown, so you end up having to provide your own mattes to really flesh out whatever look you’re doing.
But there are three different matte browns, a matte beige and a matte black here, and I think every one is useful, because I’m always needing multiple shades to transition and create gradients in almost every eye look I do.
Leave it to me to get excited about matte neutrals…but the ones here are so incredibly useful! It kind of blows my mind that palettes like this don’t happen more often.
Even the neutral shimmers in this palette are colors I’ll wear, and you know how in most palettes there’s usually one tepid shimmery beige that is supposed to work as a lid, an inner corner and a brow highlight shade?
This palette has a number of light shimmers with various levels of shine, like a rose gold, peachy gold — heck, even the one called Blonde, the somewhat typical shimmery beige, has an undercurrent of pink in it.
It’s definitely a palette with an element of surprise.
The bottom row is where we find the “fun” bright shades, like blue, gold, pink and coral. 🙂 I haven’t worn the brights yet, but based on the swatches, Harajuku (the pink), Danger (blue) and 1987 (gold) are pigmented and soft.
The only one I don’t think I’ll like is the coral called Pop, mostly because of the chunky glitter… It gets all over the place (although it should help to wet your brush when working with that color).
And speaking of stuff getting all over the place…you have to expect a certain degree of fallout, since this is Urban Decay we’re talking about.
Yes, the shadows are highly pigmented, easy to blend and last all day long, but they’re also hella messy, even when you’re really careful about tapping off the excess from your brush.
But it’s an easy enough problem to solve if you do your eyes first, then clean up, and then do your complexion makeup after. That’s what I do when I work with Urban Decay eyeshadows. If you follow that workflow, you should be fine.
If you get fired up about neutrals like I do, I think you’ll love this palette. It arrives November 22 at Urban Decay and select Macy’s stores, Sephora, Ulta and the UD website.
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,