A handful of occasions aside, I can safely say that I’ve worn eye shadow almost every day for the last 19 years. From my earliest experiments with Barry M’s iconic loose-powder pots to my signature smoky eye—a look I’ve sported since my late teens—I’ve tried my fair share of eye shadows in my time. This is largely because my eyes have, and always will be, my favourite feature, so I'm constantly looking for ways to enhance them. Open my bathroom cupboard and you’ll find a relatively small selection of beauty products (for an editor, anyway)—my one indulgence, however, is unsurprisingly eye shadow palettes.
Counting them this morning, I realised I have 13 eye shadow palettes of varying sizes. Some of them are quads—my most recent being Charlotte Tilbury’s The Sophisticate palette (£39)—while others are large, boasting 28 shadows in an array of finishes, pigments, and tones. However, the palette that’s by far my most-used (and most-bought—I think I'm on my third or fourth) is a small but perfectly-curated edit of six neutral shades from Urban Decay.
Liv creates a warm eye look using the Naked Petite Heat palette.
Urban Decay’s eye shadow palettes are the stuff of legend. For a brand that was largely known for its rich rainbow of colour (one super-fan even had their car sprayed to match the vibrant hue of her favourite Urban Decay nail polish, the now-retired Asphyxia), its 2010 debut of Naked, a 12-shade nude eye shadow palette, was a gamble; one that certainly paid off. It might have started out as an office brainstorm, but the Naked palette became one of the most iconic beauty products of the last decade. Since then, the success of the original palette has spawned an array of iterations: Naked2 (retired), Naked3, Naked Smoky (retired), Naked Basics (retired), Naked2 Basics (my beloved six-shade palette, which I'm buying in bulk incase it also gets retired), Naked Heat, Naked Petite Heat, Naked Reloaded, Naked Cherry, Naked Honey, and most recently, Naked Ultraviolet.
Beloved by beauty editors, enthusiasts, celebrities (here's looking at you, Lizzo and Joey King), and makeup artists alike, Urban Decay's eye shadow palettes are so popular, it has been reported that one Naked palette is sold every seven seconds worldwide.
Aside from the Naked collection, Urban Decay's other eye shadow palettes are just as high-performing and offer Urban Decay devotees the change to experiment with brighter, more varied hues that go beyond the colour-coordinated Naked palettes.
When it comes to application, I've found that Urban Decay's eye shadows glide on with ease, and blend with the slightest buff of a brush. But to fully unlock the potential of Urban Decay's palettes, I consulted with Danielle Roberts, the brand's Global MUA, to find out all of her tips and tricks…
Joey eye makeup was created using Urban Decay's Naked Heat palette.
"The best tool to apply any eye shadow is Urban Decay's Eye Primer Potion (£20)," explains Roberts. "It fills in any imperfections on the skin’s surface, prepping the lid for all-day shadow."
Something you should also consider before investing in any palette is which shades will work best with your eye colour. "For those with beautiful brown, hazel or amber eyes, I'd recommend the Naked Honey palette (£43); a selection of 12 golden neutrals—it's currently one of the best-selling Urban Decay palettes. To really intensify the eyes, opt for golds, champagnes, orange tones using the Naked Honey Palette and smoke out the lash line using a warm brown shadow for a softer look."
Lizzo is another noteworthy fan of Urban Decay's Naked Heat palette.
"For gorgeous blue, grey or green eyes, I'd suggest investing in the Naked Reloaded palette (£43)," continues Roberts. "Soft golds, bronze metallics, and warm mattes with a coral undertone are perfect for people with these eye colours. Some of my favourite shades to use are Boundaries, Distilled, and Reputation. To elevate the green tones in your iris, apply Loaded eye shadow along the upper lash line."
Now that we've covered everything you could possibly need to know about Urban Decay eye shadow palettes, now's the time to check them out. Scroll below to see and shop the brand's current palette lineup.
BROWSE URBAN DECAY EYE SHADOW PALETTES