Wednesday, August 17th, 2011


Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4 Review, Photos, Swatches (Part 1)

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4 ($64.00) is a limited edition makeup palette slated for a September launch. It contains 16 eyeshadows (0.03 oz. each), one Liquid Eyeliner (0.058 fl. oz.), Original Primer Potion (0.13 fl. oz.), and Supercurl Mascara (0.18 fl. oz.). The palette also contains a mini-speaker along with QR codes so that one can watch video tutorials designed for the palette. The value breakdown goes like this: $163.20 worth of eyeshadow, $18.00 worth of liquid eyeliner, $6.68 worth of Primer Potion, and $12.00 worth of mascara. Though you cannot purchase the items separately even if you wanted to, it amounts to the equivalent of $199.88.

Because of how photo-heavy this review is, and how long it is, the first eight eyeshadows are reviewed in this post, while the second set of eight will follow. The overall review for the palette along with packaging is included in this post.  Because there are differences in quality for each shade, I have listed a pigmentation and texture score for each (both scores are out of 10), which I then averaged across all sixteen shades to give the scores found in The Glossover below.

Blue Bus is a cool-toned, blue-based purple with a soft, frosted finish. This is a new and exclusive shade. The payoff is disappointing–it’s dry, stiff, and applies unevenly. It lacks the density of other Urban Decay eyeshadows along with the smoothness that comes from a softer powder product. The color is very similar to MAC Parfait Amour. Inglot #379 is similar in color but matte, so it has a darker appearance. (7/5)

Gunmetal is a darkened blue-based gray with a silver shimmer and sheen. This is a permanent shade. The color payoff is good, though it feels a touch less soft compared to the pot version of Gunmetal. Inglot #451 is similar but slightly darker–has more of a black base. (9/8.5)

Cobra is a dark, cool-toned brown with a mostly matte finish that’s layered with green-gold shimmer. This shade is a repromote from the Black Palette. It doesn’t reflect very green when I swatched it–more like a brown with gold shimmer. The color payoff is decent but it has a drier texture. If you wanted more of the color in the pan, Laura Mercier’s Pine Bronze is similar. Wet ‘n’ Wild Comfort Zone has a shade that is similar in the pan but also swatches browner–they are surprisingly similar. Milani Melange is also similar but has a blacker color base. (9/8)

Baked is a bright copper with a high frost finish. The color payoff is excellent, and it has a dense, buttery texture that applies very smoothly. This is a permanent shade. It is similar to Giorgio Armani Gold Blitz, Inglot #405, and MAC Amber Lights. (10/10)

Bender is a dark, forest green with a subtle green-gold sheen. The finish is a softened frost. This is a new and exclusive shade. It is one of the best performing shades in the palette–very buttery and smooth, while the pigmentation is tops. It is more yellow-based compared to Make Up For Ever #310. It has less green and more olive compared to Inglot #418. It is very similar to MAC Humid. (10/10)

Gravity is a plum-tinged medium purple with a frosted finish. This is a new and exclusive shade. It has decent color payoff, but it applies unevenly and splotch in places (see the bottom half of the swatch). Make Up For Ever #142 is similar in color but has a matte finish. theBalm All the Way Annie is a touch plummier. It is more pigmented than Milani Purr-fect Purple. It is not as intense as Urban Decay Psychedelic Sister, but it is darker (and plummier) than Urban Decay Ecstasy. (7.5, 7.5)

Lost is a dark bronze brown with subtle red undertones. It has a frosted finish. This is a new and exclusive shade. The color payoff is beautiful here–like Bender, it is one of the better quality shades in the palette. The texture is soft, smooth, and buttery. It is darker and browner compared to MAC Sable. It has slightly cooler tones compared to Inglot #422. There is a darker quality and a more reflective finish compared to Milani Rich Java. (10/10)

Hijack is a bluish-teal with a silvered sheen–a part frost, part metallic finish. This is a new and exclusive shade. The pigmentation in this shade was good, and it applies smoothly overall. The color is very similar to Bare Escentuals Vapor. It is darker and less teal compared to Urban Decay Aquarius. (9/9)

I’m usually really impressed by Urban Decay’s palettes, because the majority of the eyeshadows are high-quality with excellent color payoff, even if a few textures may be more prone to fall out because of the inclusion of glittery shades. I found Blue Bus, Crystal, and Skimp to be difficult to use, while Cobra and Gravity have a few concerns The standout shades were Baked, Bender, Lost, and Zephyr in terms of pigmentation and texture.    If one wants a neutral palette, Urban Decay’s Naked palette does it better.  If one wants pops of color, the 15th Anniversary Palette does it better.  Last year’s Book of Shadows Vol. 3 was much better (and still available at urbandecay.com).

The packaging is extremely bulky–it’s large and heavy. If you thought prior Book of Shadows editions were bulky, then you will loathe the size of this one, as it is 1 3/4″ wider (only marginally taller). I had issues sliding the drawer out, because the mini-speaker tends to get caught against the top. The drawer was not glued in, though, so it did pull out all the way for removal. The top flap opens up with pop-up butterflies, small-sized mirror, and a pocket for your phone along with instructions for using the QR codes. The upside of bulky cardboard packaging is that it will absorb impact better than a hard plastic case would if you were to drop it. I dropped mine a few times on the bathroom tile to no ill effects.

I didn’t play around with the technology too much myself, as I relegated that duty to our resident tech guy (I was busy cropping photographs). I did watch some and saw how it all came together. I think it’s an interesting concept, but in reality, it ends up more gimmicky than useful. The drawer is so large to accomodate a mini-speaker, which does enhance the sound of the videos, but your phone would likely do an adequate job with its own speakers. The QR codes are a bit close together, but it is a minor concern. We have iPhones here, so that is what we tested it out with, and if you have a case around yours, you’ll need to remove it or else the plug will not connect properly.

The Glossover

palette

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4 Review, Photos, Swatches (Part 1)

B
This palette lacks the quality level of previous Book of Shadows--it's not the colors but the color payoffs and textures that make this palette less than stellar.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Monday, September 13th, 2010

Urban Decay Black Palette
Urban Decay Black Palette

Getting Heavy with Urban Decay

Urban Decay The Black Palette ($36.00 for 0.24 oz.) contains six eyeshadows (0.04 oz. each), along with a miniature-sized Zero 24/7 Eye Pencil (0.03 oz.) and Eden Primer Potion (0.13 fl. oz.). As far as I know, this palette is limited edition and a Sephora exclusive (and Sephora lists it as “online only”).

  • Black Dog is an intense, deep dark black with a matte finish. It’s about as intense and deep as Sugarpill Bulletproof, but it’s not quite as smooth or as blendable. It is not at all unworkable, though. I just point this out because it seemed like Black Dog was one of the shadows readers were most looking forward to, and Bulletproof is an alternative to buying the entire palette.
  • Barracuda is a darkened gray with silver flecks; it is a very steely, cool-toned gray. I thought it was similar to Urban Decay’s Gunmetal, but it seems a little darker and less frosty.
  • Jet is a cool-toned plummy purple with very subtle red undertones. It has a semi-matte color base with flecks of blue glitter.
  • Sabbath is a darkened, smoky noir blue with flecks of blue glitter.
  • Cobra is a muddied blackened base with flecks of antique-gold and green-gold shimmer/glitter.
  • Libertine is a blackened green color base with flecks of gold and emerald green micro-glitter.

The Black Palette is housed in a sleek, slim rectangular palette with a mirror on the inside cover; it’s made out of cardboard/paper as Urban Decay palettes often are, but it’s very compact.  The miniature Zero eyeliner is stowed away inside along the eyeshadows, while the miniature Eden primer potion is loose (which does ensure that this palette is thin).  It’s definitely a more travel-friendly palette than the Book of Shadows.

Quality-wise, these eyeshadows feel like most of Urban Decay’s regular eyeshadow line (not to be confused with their deluxe eyeshadow line, which has a slightly differing texture); they’re pretty smooth and pigmented.  These do feel a touch more powdery and kick up some eyeshadow if you’re not careful, so I do recommend tapping your brush against your wrist to get any excess shadow out–that way it doesn’t just poof and land on your under eye instead!  I don’t think they’re the best of the brand’s eyeshadows, but they’re solid overall.

I find this palette too redundant to be a must-have for most makeup mavens.  When applied to eyes as part of look, they really don’t standout; they all look black with a touch of varying glitter (but it is so subtle, it’s hard to notice until you look for it specifically).  I did a quick look using Cobra, Libertine, and Black Dog, and if I saw that, I’d say I used two eyeshadows (a shimmery black, nude highlighter); the difference is nearly imperceptible.

You can really get the same effect by using a black eyeshadow/base and layering a shimmery color shade on top– in fact, a ton of people do this with MAC Blacktrack as a base and you can get some really cool effects (try using a duochrome shade on top!).   You might even find that the color pops even more.  These are just too black, too flat.  The inclusion of Eden with this palette is interesting, because it makes these eyeshadows look flatter and even more similar to each other than other bases.  I did some experimenting using Eden, a shimmery white gold base, and colored bases; these eyeshadows look best over colored bases–you can get that blackened look without losing the color entirely.

I feel like I do get the concept of blackened, smoldering colors that don’t scream color but at the same time, I want some differentiation between one shade from the next.  I don’t want to squint my eyes to detect slight differences in the flecks of glitter.  I also think the inclusion of Gunmetal or Dime 24/7 Liner (instead of Zero) would have helped these shades pop.  I recommend experimenting with cream eyeshadow in black and layering shimmery colors on top to see what look you prefer!

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I think it’s worth trying to recreate on your own at home — unless you wear a ton of black eyeshadow, you should be able to get something comparable–if not better–as you need it.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Monday, September 13th, 2010

Look:  Urban Decay Black Palette

Can you tell that I used four eyeshadows in this look?  If you can, you earn a merit badge for excellent, discerning sight!  Despite looking and even swatching relatively distinctively, when used, the eyeshadows look rather similar.  Just kind of looks like an all-black smoky eye to me!  Review to follow shortly.  This was a really quick look really just done to test out just how much color would show through when used in practice.

I added all that glitter to give this look more va-voom… it was just rather one-note beforehand.  I will say that Distortion over Deviant is stunning–more so in person as the glitter flashes.

You will need the following…

For eyes, start by applying Eden as your eyeshadow base all over the eye area with the 249. Using the 239, apply Cobra eyeshadow on the lower half of the lid and pat on horizontally.  Lightly blend Libertine eyeshadow on upper half of the lid, patting lightly, all the way across with the 239. Next, apply Black Dog eyeshadow into the crease with the 226, lightly blending onto the outer lid. Blend Trench eyeshadow with the crease shade and highlight the brow bone. Bring everything together by applying Deviant liner on the lower lash line, then lightly pat on Distortion glitter liner on top. Finish by sweeping lashes with Inimitable Intense mascara, and then use Distortion glitter liner brushed onto lashes.

For cheeks, apply Desert Rose blush on the apples of the cheeks and sweep upwards towards the temple with the 116.

For lips, apply Liquid Lurex lipstick first, and then layer Pink Poodle lipglass for a complementing lip.

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