I feel like there has been a fair amount of buzz surrounding Urban Decay’s recent collab with Gwen Stefani. The Eye Shadow Palette seems to have divided people and I can see why. It’s absolutely stunning, but it’s not for everyone. One thing to keep in mind when considering this palette is that it was designed by Gwen for Gwen. In other words, if you love her style, you’ll probably love these shadows. However, if your makeup style is different, it may not be your cup of tea. Even if you adore Gwen’s signature look, this palette still may not be the right fit for you. This palette was designed with Gwen’s milky skin tone in mind, making some shades potentially impractical even for those with medium skin tones. I feel like there is a decent balance of warm and cool, but if lighter shades aren’t your thing (or don’t work with your coloring), this palette could be a big fat dud! Now that you have my thoughts in a nutshell, let’s take a closer look so you can decide if it’s something that you want to pass or grab!

The first thing you’ll notice with the palette, aside from the gorgeous packaging and the many Gwen-related references in the names, is that is heavy on the neutrals. More specifically light toned neutrals. Given Gwen’s fair skin and typically subtle eye shadow with bold lips and winged liner I cannot think of a more suitable color palette. However, if your skin is anywhere near medium or deeper, I’m guessing this palette will not work for you. Even if you are more on the fair side like myself and prefer a smokier look, this still may not be for you. Despite the few pops of color, I definitely think the color lovers of the world should pass. That’s not to say these are not beautiful and well-formulated shadows. Quite the opposite, but the shade selection is definitely geared toward a specific look – Gwen’s!
Moving along. Not only is this a predominantly neutral palette, but a lot of the shades look very similar. They’re not. The differences are subtle and don’t really create a huge difference when applied to the eyes, but they are different. Some are cooler; some are warmer. Some shift colors (“Blonde” for instance has a subtle pink duo-chrome). Some are more metallic than shimmery. Obviously there are a few pops of color – most notably a pale shimmery pink, an intense shimmering blue and a very yellow-toned gold metallic – but this is more or less a palette for more “natural” looks.
The quality of the shadows is spectacular. Buttery smooth and very easily blended without a hint of dustiness.  When photographing the swatches I noticed some dryness on my arm, but the shadows did not stick to or emphasize the flakiness at all. They are an absolute dream to work with! I dare to say that the formula is even a step better than Urban Decay’s traditional formulation! There are 5 matte shades (Punk, Anaheim, Stark, Zone, and Blackout), 6 shimmery shades (Bathwater, Skimp, Steady, Serious, Harajuku, and Danger), 2 metallic shades (Baby and 1987), 1 duo-chrome (Blonde) and 1 chunky glitter-ball (Pop). I am actually pleasantly surprised by the variation in finishes that Urban Decay (or in this case Gwen) chose to include in the palette.

 

 

Though they aren’t lacking in pigment, I find that the shades are light enough and close enough in tone to my pallor of a complexion that some don’t show up terribly well. But then again, that’s kind of Gwen’s look. Many of the shades look quite similar – both in the palette and on my eyes. However, there is a great mix of crease shades, lid shades and of course the blackest black, “Blackout” for liner. It’s a very well thought out palette in terms of what colors and finishes are typically used in an eye look – light shimmery lid shades, medium matte crease colors and deeper shades for lining and deepening the outer corner. I do wish there was a bit more variety in the shades though.

 

 

As far as previously available shades, there are three included in this palette. They are “Skimp,” “Stark” (both only available in the Naked 2 Basics palette) and “Blackout.” To be fair, they are useful shades and every palette needs a good matte black, right? No sense reinventing the wheel given the superb quality and pigmentation of Urban Decay’s standard black shadow.
Now for perhaps the most noticeable aspect of the palette – the packaging! It is absolute perfection! The outer box has a stunning white and gold cross hatched design with a “tag” that is “stamped” with “UD | Gwen Stefani.” Open the box to reveal playful pink and white polka dots.
The palette itself is very well made. It is plastic, but it feels sturdy for a plastic case. Metallic gold surrounds the entire palette with a graphic white and black dotted front. Again, there is an actual tag on the palette stamped with the “UD | Gwen Stefani.” All of the design work is actually 3-dimensional! It’s an absolutely stunning design and no detail was passed over. It’s beautiful!
The palette feels weighty enough to feel expensive and well made, but not so heavy that it would be a burden to travel with. It also has a magnetic closure that should remain shut while shuffling around in a suitcase or makeup bag. Open it up and you will find a great quality mirror that spans the entire palette. In the bottom right corner “Magic’s in the Makeup” is embossed into the mirror. That’s actually the title of a No Doubt song that always gets stuck in my head, but it’s a nice touch and an example of the attention to detail (and Gwen-centric trivia) that you’ll find in this palette!
So, is this palette worth grabbing? That depends. It isbeautiful and if you’re a huge fan of Gwen it’s a nice collectable to have. If you’re looking for a great neutral palette, this is probably only going to work for you if you have very light to medium skin. Much deeper and I think many of the shades will just vanish on your skin, and even medium skin tones may be pushing it. Another aspect to consider is what types of eye looks you like to wear. If you love Gwen’s trademark barely there eye shadow look, this will definitely be up your alley, but if you’re more of a deeper lid shade or smokey eye lover, this palette will probably be limiting and underwhelming. Personally I don’t love this palette. I like it enough and I’m glad to have it because it’s beautiful and I’m a bit of an Urban Decay collector, but most of the lid shades are just too subtle or too matte for my liking making most of the looks I come up with slightly underwhelming – they do remind me of Gwen though. It’s a beautiful palette that definitely has its place in the market and if you tend to go for looks similar to Gwen’s then you need this, but for this somewhat smoked out eye lover, it’s not my perfect palette.
The Urban Decay | Gwen Stefani Eye Shadow Palette is a limited edition palette that retails for $58 and is available wherever Urban Decay is sold (Sephora, Ulta, Urban Decay). I should also mention that a blister card containing 4 of the limited edition Urban Decay | Gwen Stefani Lipstick shades is also included so you can try before you buy! The shades included are “Rock Steady,” “714,” “Ex-Girlfriend,” and “Firebird.” All gorgeous and all very Gwen!

 


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