The Urban Decay Black Palette Is Not Just for Bad Girls

Published in: Makeup, Product Reviews

karen of makeup and beauty blog wearing the urban decay black palette
Urban Decay: The Black Palette (with Toasted from the UD Show Pony Palette) on eyes, UD Hookup Blush on cheeks, UD Lipstick in Naked on lips

Did you ever read those Sweet Valley High books? I loved ’em when I was a kid. There’s like a billion in the series… Okay, not a billion, more like 181, but that’s still A LOT of books. They’re all about the trials and tribulations of two teenage twins, Elizabeth, the perfect little goody-two-shoes, and Jessica, the unscrupulous yet lovable bad girl, who live in the fictional town of Sweet Valley, CA.


I had a Sweet Valley flashback today while swatching Urban Decay: The Black Palette. The $36 set, exclusive to Sephora, came out for fall, but I wasn’t ready for its darker shades until now.

The six powder shadows strike me as shades a Jessica would like — naughty and smokey with a bad-girl edge.

urban decay black palette review swatches photos

She’s the girl who’d steal your boyfriend but then charm her way back into your good graces (without you even realizing it!). Despite how dark and moody they are, the colors are still flexible enough to wear to school or work.

karen of makeup and beauty blog wearing the urban decay black palette eye closeup

The palette, with its five shimmery jewel-toned shades and black-as-night matte, are the stars of the show, but the set also comes with two of Urban Decay’s cult faves, a tiny bottle of Eden Primer Potion and a 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Zero, all for $36.

Shimmery gunmetal gray Barracuda, shimmery dark plum Jet, shimmery indigo blue Sabbath, shimmery black-and-gold Cobra (like a beefier version of the middle shade from the Clarins Barocco Eye Trio), shimmery blackish green Libertine and matte Black Dog round out the palette.

urban decay black palette review swatches photos open

All of them pack hard core, intensely rich pigment; consequently, if I only had 10 minutes to do my entire face, this would NOT be the palette I’d grab. The shadows are just so intense that blending them can be tricky (also apt to be fallout), but for traffic-stopping smokey eyes, assuming you have the time for a lot of layering, The Black Palette would make an excellent choice.

On my eyes, these shimmery shadows broadcast both black and color. They’re more like interpretations based on black, rather than straight-up shimmery blues, greens and the like.

urban decay black palette review swatches photos in box

urban decay black palette review swatches photos swatches on arm 1
Swatches from left: Black Dog, Barracuda and Jet

urban decay black palette review swatches photos swatches on arm 2
Sabbath, Cobra and Libertine

urban decay black palette review swatches photos swatches on arm all
Black Dog, Barracuda, Jet, Sabbath, Cobra and Libertine

urban decay black palette review swatches photos swatches on arm liner primer
24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Zero, Urban Decay Primer Potion in Eden unblended and blended

karen of makeup and beauty blog wearing the urban decay black palette 2


Even if you’ve never attempted a smokey eye before, don’t be scurred! You could totally rock this palette. Maybe start with something easy, like pairing one of the shimmery shades on the lid with your favorite neutral shadow in the crease, which is what I’ve done here using Sabbath, and shimmery brown Toasted from the Urban Decay Show Pony Palette. Then…blend till ya can’t blend no more! πŸ™‚

Oh, it might help to do your eyes before the rest of your makeup. That way you can clean up any fallout or fix any missteps before you move on to concealer, foundation, blush and/or powder.

PRICE: $36
AVAILABILITY: Exclusively at Sephora stores and online

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 58 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Cindy says:

    This is a great look for you! The smokey eye makes your peepers pop! Fabulous.

  2. Amy says:

    What are you doing to me!?!? πŸ™‚ Sigh. Ordering this now, thank you very much. Oh, BTW Karen, francine Pascal is coming out with a modern Sweet Valley High Novel, in case you had not heart. Liz & Jessica circa 2011…even that Todd character is involved. Loved those books too. Had the entire collection, which I’m sure is up in my parents attic. πŸ™‚

    • Karen says:

      Hi Amy,

      I wonder if Bruce Patman’s gonna be up in the mix!

    • Emma says:

      OMG, I was a SVH junkie too! I’ll have to look out for the new book to relive my teenage years. Did you read the junior high versions too? And watch the TV show that was on sometime in the late 90’s I think?

      • Karen says:

        I never got around to reading the junior high versions of the books; I think those came out when I was in college. I’ll have to see if I can find clips of the show on youtube…

  3. JJ says:

    Wondering what brushes you used to apply your eye makeup… especially for the shadow below your lower lashline. I can never manage to create a thin shadowing you’re sporting here.

    Anyway, you look amazing! Thanks for the post!

  4. Amber says:

    The font on the outside of the palette confirms for me that UD loves Led Zeppelin!

    I like this palette a lot, but I think I’m close enough on several shades I already have. I always love seeing your ideas for inspiration, though.

    I just woke up from a really weird dream. In part of it I was reaching for something under my desk and found a bunch of makeup I’d dropped there, including that 3-color Clarins palette you reviewed the other day. I was so excited, haha.
    Amber recently posted … Santa Fe birthday- part I

  5. Jeni says:

    I used to love Sweet Valley High books. I thought I had read all of them, but I only remember reading about 50 of them. I’m not sure if I’m ready to be a bad girl, but I really like the makeup on you!
    Jeni recently posted … Female Celebrities With Hair Loss

  6. Paris B says:

    And you have just reminded me of my Black palette that I haven’t swiped! You did a lovely look and look lovely πŸ™‚
    Paris B recently posted … As Fruity as Mentholatum Mojitate Kajitsu Lipbalms

  7. LC says:

    I’m loving your complexion! What foundation are you using in these pics?

    • Karen says:

      Hi LC,

      I used my usual combo for photos — Laura Mercier Oil-Free Foundation and MAC Prep+Prime Powder on the face and Smashbox Photo Op Under Eye Brightener and MAC Pro Longwear Concealer beneath the eyes.

      I also took these pics in the morning, which is when the light happens to be really good in my place! Good lightening can make a big difference in how makeup photographs.

  8. Vonvon says:

    My sisters and i grew up reading Sweet Valley series too. πŸ˜€ Even though we are half way across the world.

    The EOTD is very pretty….I think I have some similar shades from my stash….need to dig them out and play with them.

    Have a great weekend, Karen!
    Vonvon recently posted … My Tartan Tale-Inspired Look

  9. chanel says:

    I just orded this palette from Sephora today. I love Urban Decay so I had to pick it up. I’m a little nervouse about the fallout that these colors may have….we’ll see how things go.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Chanel,

      The fallout’s a little annoying. You could always try doing your eyes first so you can clean up any stray glitter before applying foundation, etc. That’s what I usually do.

  10. Nina says:

    i was seriously thinking of buying that last thurs @ the sephora event but i feel like i have shades that will approximate those colors… maybe i should rethink LOL!

  11. Jasmine says:

    This smoky eyes is beautiful on you !
    I love the black shade with gold glitters…

  12. Ashley says:

    I never read Sweet Valley High books but my sister and older cousin collected them together.. they were obsessed! I kind of want to read them now…
    I kind of want to attempt a smokey eye look too.. I’ll choose reading since it’s much easier!
    Ashley recently posted … Neutrogena 3-in-1 Concealer For Eyes – Review

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ashley,

      Smokey eyes don’t have to be hard. Maybe try smudging different colors on top of black eyeliner? That’s the fastest, easiest way I know to bang out a look! πŸ™‚

  13. Jen says:

    When this was first released, I wasn’t impressed. Then, today, during my break, I went over to Sephora and swatched it… and fell in love. This post isn’t helping, either! I waaant!

  14. Shauna says:

    I love this pallette. The packaging rocks ;), and so does it’s high intensidy colors. A great deal if you don’t have simalar colors already.

    PS:: I love the look you did here πŸ™‚ It’s very pretty on you

  15. Shirley says:

    This smokey eye looks great on you, Karen! Very pretty =) What foundation are you wearing in these pics? Your skin looks amazing for reals!

  16. Emma says:

    I like the colours but I think that the packaging kind of looks cheap and nasty because it looks like shiny cardboard embossed with the silver lettering. I’m too much about really nice packaging to buy this one.

  17. Allie says:

    I loved Sweet Valley High (I even had the board game!), I want this palette, and I adore this blog. Also, great look for you! Enjoy your weekend πŸ™‚
    Allie recently posted … Totally Tubular

  18. Jessica W says:

    Sweet Valley series were my life those days! I’d slog and slave, just to have some money to buy these babies every month, every book that was out! (I started reading in 1995, so have to scour for the older books) Gosh, those days have really gone by eh?

    I love your look πŸ™‚ and you made me thinking again about purchasing this….

  19. mkdallas says:

    Wow, that looks GREAT on you…and not the least bit overdone. I looked at that palette briefly in Sephora the other day and in a million years, I wouldn’t have thought you could make a tasteful, daytime smoky eye from those colors. Can’t tell you how cute it looks with the new bangs, too; the lipstick is also super-flattering.

    • Karen says:

      Hi MKDallas,

      A lil’ bit of contrasting shadow in the crease works wonders! πŸ™‚

      How’s your weekend going? Doing anything f un?

      • mkdallas says:

        Well, I just bought a new giant jar of Nutella, lol. Actually, the Mr. and I are going to a fun charity dinner in Austin tomorrow night. Dennis Quaid will be playing piano (he’s pretty good, too) while we eat & drink way too much. Wonder if I should ask him wassup with his crazy brother, lol. Hope you and your 2 boys have a joyful weekend.

  20. Cool palette! I need to check this one out. BTW, your eyebrows look really great in these photos, Karen! Lol, sorry if that’s wired to say πŸ™‚
    Polish Earthgirl recently posted … Color Club Halloween Preview

  21. anothersteph says:

    Hey Karen. I de-lurked last weekend but realized there are so many “Stephs” so I’ll now post as anothersteph. Dull but I’m tired and not creative at the moment. You said in your review of the NARS Follow the Boy set that you used 3 of the shades in the Black Palette over UD Zero on your eyes. You looked amazing and I’d love to know which ones you used so I can be a copy cat! πŸ™‚ How’s Tabs today? Mr. Sun is sleepy and calm for a change.

  22. Alexandra says:

    I will have to check out that palette. Ive yet to get the naked one.
    I loved the Sweet Valley High books, also loved the sweet dreams books too πŸ™‚

  23. Kim says:

    Yes, on you. There are not enough ways to say “NO” on me. I literally got itchy just thinking about it. Sweet that it comes with one of your fave primers, though. πŸ™‚

  24. Tahnee says:

    omg, i LOVED Sweet Valley High!!! I seriously had almost all of them…i was obsessed.
    Oh, the palette looks awesome.

  25. Jennie says:

    Hi Karen,

    have you tried those eyeshadows over Fyrinnae’s Pixie Epoxy Base? This base truly bring out all the lovely glitter of the shadows.

    Have a look at this review, this is so amazing:

    LG Jennie

    PS. No, it’s not my blog (I don’t have one) and I don’t know the person from the blog. I just think she’ve done a fantastic jobs by taking this pictures! πŸ™‚

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