If You Like Neutrals, the Urban Decay UD Gwen Stefani Palette Is B-A-N-A-N-A-S

Published in: Eyes, Makeup, Palettes, Urban Decay

There should be a video in this post, but if you can’t see it, you can click here to watch it on YouTube.

urban decay gwen stefani open


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. πŸ™‚ 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.

urban decay gwen stefani closeup

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.

urban decay gwen stefani packaging

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.



urban decay gwen stefani swatches 3

Pop, Harajuku, Danger, 1987 and Blackout

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.

urban decay gwen stefani swatches 2

Baby, Anaheim, Stark, Zone and Serious

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.

urban decay gwen stefani swatches 1

Swatches from the left: Blonde, Bathwater, Skimp, Steady and Punk

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…

urban decay gwen stefani eye closeup

Wearing Stark, Anaheim, Zone, Punk, Steady, Skimp and Blackout from the Urban Decay Gwen Stefani palette

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.

urban decay gwen stefani

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.

urban decay gwen stefani packaging

The bottom row is where we find the “fun” bright shades, like blue, gold, pink and coral. πŸ™‚ 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,



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So far, 27 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Erin says:

    So many people complained this “isn’t Gwen” but it so is just like you pointed out. Maybe not 90’s Gwen but it is her now and for 10 years! The lip collection will be more bright! If this wasn’t such a warm palette, I’d get it! Danger is my jam!
    Erin recently posted … VINTJS Arneis

  2. Majick says:

    I will definitely be taking a serious look at this one.

  3. Elena says:

    I love the look of this palette actually. Don’t need it but I love neutrals. I always go back to boring old neutrals lol. Very pretty and it appears to swatch well! Everyone online seems to be complaining the palette is boring- but I feel like Gwen does more understated eye looks and usually rocks a red lip…so the palette does seem to match her style in terms of what she actually wears.

    I will probably pass on this because I just ordered the new Tartelette palette from Ulta (along with a few other things) to get the new GWP beauty bag that had some decent samples and some good coupons.

  4. Stephanie says:

    I wasn’t planning on buying anymore palettes for awhile but I think I may need to pick this one up. It’s perfect for us pale girls.

  5. Agata says:

    I am literally counting days till the launch of this palette. I love Gwen Stefani and her style and I always admire her Voice looks. It is another neutral palette, but I love neutrals and the packaging is absolutely gorgeous too!
    Agata recently posted … A Pumpkin Spice FOTD feat. Makeup Geek Pigment in Vegas Lights

  6. Astrid says:

    Oh Karen, how you make so lusting after this palette!! Even after I thought I have enough palettes to last 7 lifetimes 😹😸
    Astrid recently posted … Holiday collection hauling #3: Armani

  7. Lauren says:

    Must get this pallette asap!!! 3 more days!!

  8. I love Gwen, I love her music and I love her style so I guess I’m a bit biased when it comes to this palette. Like it a lot!
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Personal | Even though the leaves have fallen…

  9. Rachel R. says:

    I’m lusting over this one pretty hard. It just looks like such a great palette for fair-skinned people. My mattes collections is pretty small, and it will be great to have some that actually suit my skin tone and won’t look muddy. I love Punk, that incredible blue, and that pretty slightly green gold.

  10. Natalye says:

    I love Gwen but I have a lot of these colors already, I’ll be passing on this

    Natalye recently posted … Covergirl: Star Wars Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Polish in Golden Opportunity Review and Swatches

  11. Kim says:

    I love neutrals AND Gwen. πŸ™‚ I couldn’t get enough of No Doubt, back in the day. I also loved Bush and was so happy for her when she and Gavin got together. It’s sad that it didn’t last but I’m sure she’ll continue to be fabulous.

    Happy Friday and have a great weekend!

  12. Suzanne says:

    Perfect timing- I happen to be needing a new eyeshadow palette! The title of the post made me laugh- I listened to Hollaback Girl just last night and have been singing it all day.

  13. I like Gwen Stefanie a lot, and I adore her taste in makeup. I think every girl out there tried to be her back in the days.
    Who am I kidding, I would want to be her these days still. Or at least look like her.
    LindaLibraLoca recently posted … Old wives mill – The Body Shop Nutriganics Drops of Youth Concentrate

  14. Fancie says:

    I swear you can make anything sound or look good LOL! I was a little disappointed this came out to be so neutral but I do like the pops of color here and there and I definitely appreciate a good mix of mattes. Now part of me is reconsidering getting this lol. I don’t need another neutral palette but I just love the packaging!
    Fancie recently posted … Urban Decay 1993 Matte Revolution Lipstick Review

  15. Kirsten says:

    I wasn’t too excited for this until I saw your swatches. I may have to put it on my Christmas list.

  16. Michaela says:

    Hey Karen! Thanks for sharing the swatches they look really nice. What I really want to see is your circa 1995 picture with your Gwen Stefani-inspired outfit! Ha ha!

  17. Remika says:

    Thank you so much for your review! I wasn’t sure if this would be a good palette for me because I’m an olive skinned girl, but I love the look that you made with these shadows and I think you can definitely make them work with more darker skin tones πŸ™‚ I may consider picking up this palette after all, he he!

  18. JenJ says:

    Just watched your YouTube video and decided to pop on over here to see some more swatches. Damn it Karen lol. I was excited about this but saw some other swatches and was kind of leery since I am of a deeper skin tone. Now I think think might be ok. I love these kinds of shades from Urban Decay. So we shall see *insert shifty eyes*
    JenJ recently posted … #ManicureMonday Butter London Front Row

  19. So so pretty, I so need to try and get my hands on it when I get to Melbourne

    Nashia | MakeupandBeautyMayhem

  20. Maribel D. says:

    I go crazy for neutral colors as well. I haven’t bought or own any UD because their shadows are too shimmery for me but this is a great palette!

  21. Lauren says:

    This FLEW off shelves and websites…I am SO. SAD.!!!! πŸ™

  22. Adriana RP says:

    What I can say? L-O-V-E-D that! I skipped the Naked Smoky (that arrived last week on Brazil) just to put my hands on this new Gwen palette!!! The bad point is that I will need to wait one life to have it here!!! But ok, I will survive! =P

  23. Ashley says:

    What foundation are you wearing? Your skin is radiant!

  24. Laura says:

    Such a beautiful palette and I’m such a fan of all these beautiful colours. The UD Gwen collection impresses. This palette is perfect for the day and also to rock up eyes for the evening!

    Laura x
    Laura recently posted … Spring Makeup by MAC Cosmetics

  25. Annie says:

    We only got this palette when UD finally landed in my country last winter here in Northern Europe. This palette was straight away sold out along with the blush palette!
    However in April I saw this palette again when I was browsing through the make up counters in my local department store and the lady told me that they had gotten more stock in. I wasn’t even thinking of buying this but I started swatching the colours and was impressed! So I bought this as impulse buy although I have quite a few palettes already like the Naked 1 and 2, Lorac Pro I and II some Tom Ford stuff, MAC colours, Too Faced etc.
    Anyways, a couple of months later, guess which palette is the most used…This one! I am so impressed, the colours are perfect for my fair/light skin, they never look muddy and even the lighter colours show up and brighten the eye area. The staying power is great as in Naked palettes but what makes this my favourite are the shades and versatility. It’s like this palette was made for me! πŸ˜‰
    I have not tried Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette which probably is very versatile also but honestly I would definitely recommend this for all fair skinned/light skinned ladies! Did I say it already it is the first palette that really suits me the most…None of the other palettes have looked so great on my green eyes and on my light lids.
    I also love that this one has a a mirror, which I use everyday!

    • Sandy says:

      Hi since you have them both could you please help me out deciding between this palette and the Naked 1? I am tempted that Gwen Stefani is on super sale now but not sure if all those lights colors would make sense on my medium tan skin/brown hair/haze eyes combo … Thanks

      • Annie says:

        I think the Gwen Stefani palette works for all skin tones but the Naked 1 is probably more versatile for your skin tone since it has beautiful neutral tones but sometimes they might almost look a bit too much almost muddy on me especially the darker ones. Also because there are many light tones in Gwen Stefani palette, which are perfect for my fair/light skin but not sure if they are a bit boring for darker toned skin. Gwen Stefani palette is more subtle in my opinion meaning has less intense metallics (although the colour pay off is still great) and glitter which I personally do love since I’m in my late 30’s but that being said Naked 1 still is a great palette. Naked 1 also has Toasted and Half baked that would look stunning on hazel/green/medium toned skin and especially Half baked is great in the summer time. My fav also! Makes my green eyes pop! Gwen Stefani palette on the other hand has a couple of bright colours but for my green eyes, for example the blue doesn’t do that much. In Gwen Stefani palette the golden toned 1987 might show up quite yellowish on darker skin. So I would probably get the Naked 1 if I were you but it is better to do the swatches.:) Which ever palette you are getting, hope you enjoy it and I was able to help even just a little! πŸ˜€

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