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

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


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

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.











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Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4

Urban Decay Blue Bus Eyeshadow

Urban Decay Blue Bus Eyeshadow

Urban Decay Gunmetal Eyeshadow

Urban Decay Gunmetal Eyeshadow

Urban Decay Cobra Eyeshadow

Urban Decay Cobra Eyeshadow

Urban Decay Baked Eyeshadow

Urban Decay Baked Eyeshadow

Urban Decay Bender Eyeshadow

Urban Decay Bender Eyeshadow

Urban Decay Gravity Eyeshadow

Urban Decay Gravity Eyeshadow

Urban Decay Lost Eyeshadow

Urban Decay Lost Eyeshadow

Urban Decay Hijack Eyeshadow

Urban Decay Hijack Eyeshadow

Product & Review FAQ

Where can I purchase it? How much is it?

September 2011, $64.

Is it limited edition?


Any dupes?

See individual shade description.

Discussion and debate are highly encouraged, and we expect community members to participate respectfully. When asking a question, please check the FAQ section (above) for information about purchasing, price, dupes, and the like. If you have general feedback or need technical support, please contact us.

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

  1. Adrienne

    I’ll probably get just bc it does have nice extras unusually seen in their book of shadows. Primer, mascara & eyeliner? They should’ve added a mini blush & gloss to complete the set & completely did without the speakers. I’ve always hated those Stila talking palettes.

    • Carrie Ann

      That’s a good idea. People would probably appreciate this palette more if it came with a blush & gloss/lipstick.

  2. Geeze! Just the packaging makes me want this!

  3. Amanda

    Wow these colors are so boring.

  4. Marieke

    I absolutely love the color of Blue Bus, so I looked at the dupes but those also lack pigmentation :(

  5. Heather

    Aw, man. I love UD, now I’m not so sure I want it though. :(

  6. lily

    The ipod thing is the DUMBEST marketing scheme ever. It is useless!!!!!!! I would have rather had a necklace or something.

  7. Pastrygirl4life

    Packaging is HOT. The eyeshadows seem like the last book of eyeshadows color range. The mirror is too same but then again I never use the mirror anyway. The speaker is ok nothing special seems very gimmicky. Overall I don’t think I would buy this cause I have some of the colors but like 3-4 of them even am LOVING the packaging.

  8. Mai

    Thank you for the honest review (all your reviews are honest but I especially have to thank you for this one because of how hyped up it is). It looks interesting but I know I definitely won’t like the packaging despite how pretty it is plus I have no use for the rest of it. I may just pick up the 15 Anniversary palette instead.

  9. Carrie Ann

    The eye shadows are pretty and I like that this comes with a liquid eye liner, primer potion, mascara and mini speaker. I also love butterflies. What I don’t like is the price. I may get this eventually, if I can get it at a discounted price. I’ve been able to get 20% off UD Book of Shadows palettes from in the past. In that case, it was worth it. I can see spending 40 bucks on a large eye shadow palette, but most people can’t afford to spend $64 on something like this nowadays.

  10. I was excited about this, but I may have to pass on it after this review – or at least see it for myself before making the decision to buy or not to buy. I was disappointed with BoS3 – too much glitter – but love my Naked and 15th Anni palette’s a bunch. Thanks Christine!

  11. Becca

    while the colours are pretty enough, I’m going to get the 15th anniversary palette instead if I can still get my hands on it…
    this is a bit of a let down

  12. AnGeLwInGz

    I usually jump right on UD palettes but this one is gonna require a little more thought. I already have 5 of the colors, Bender looks like a total dupe for Humid or Mildew (have both), don’t wear mattes, have the liner, have no idea what a QR code is, only use Inimitable Intense mascara,and have enough Primer Potion to last a lifetime. Who am I fooling, I’ll get it anyway!

  13. Thank you! I feel a ton better about skipping this. The gimmicky aspect bothers me. I have a good amount of makeup and a limited area to store it in, so even if I liked the colors better, I would still skip it just because of how much space it wastes.

  14. Erin

    I’m so glad I opted for the 15th Anniversary Palette instead of this. Without your review it would’ve been harder to make a decision! Thank you.

  15. Hijack is the only shade I really like from this. It’s not worth paying for the whole palette just for one shade (at least for me).

  16. Tigress

    I kinda feel like UD thought since they had SO much success with the Naked palette, they would continue with more neutrals in the new BOS. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like most people are digging the blander colors.

  17. LindseyD

    The Anniversary Palette shadows were a lot more exciting than this :( And the technology part…well, didn’t Stila jump the shark with the talking palettes? I think this is even worse, at least those had to do with makeup, this is just ridiculous.

  18. Kristina

    The 15th Anniversary Palette is so much better. However, I do love the packaging of this book.

    Thanks for posting this review! I was debating between this one and BOS3, and I just bought BOS3 off the UD website.

  19. msharma3

    yay! you don’t like it! not that i was gonna buy it anyways.

  20. If they offered the new shade as singles I may consider 1 or 2 of them, but I agree. It’s a little disappointing after the Naked & 15th anniversary palettes. Also, the i-pod connector reads just as gimmicky as the Stila case with a similar feature from 1-2 years back.

  21. HappyLittleNinja

    Baked, Bender, and Lost are luscious! I can see why you gave them top marks. Christine, if you were to make your own “Book of Shadows”, what shadows would you include? I don’t own any UD shadows myself. (yet)

  22. Mariella

    I really love some of the shades (Cobra and Bender, especially, and Bender was actually my mom’s maiden name) but I honestly think I’m sort of “paletted out”. I find these big, boxy palettes a bit of a pain to use so I actually think I might pass on this one.

  23. LustreBonBon

    i like the box better than the make up. except for baked. i can’t believe i dont own that yet.

  24. LM

    Christine– awesome job on the pics! Possible competitor for lamest least edgy palette possible. Butterflies and a ton of browns with some subdued accent shades?? And a cutesy speaker. UD is really getting kind of boring. Then again MAC has been stepping up it’s game. You know a company has jumped the shark when they’re trying to sell off tons of makeup dirt cheap (pigments for $1– and still people aren’t snatching them up!).

  25. only Hijack called out to me. :( will be skipping this…

    great pics and swatches again Christine! :)

  26. Melissa

    This looks like mostly office colors to, which is what I have with the Naked palette. I like the way it looks, but the only way I would buy it is when/if Sephora has a 20% off sale. More interested in the Anniversary palette.

  27. Miss Mercurial

    Hijack looks interesting, but not enough to make me consider the palette. Thanks for killing my lemming for Bender – green-olive eyeshadows are my kryptonite (pun intended)!

  28. Possibly poorer quality because the product is not made in the USA.

  29. erica

    This slot of swatches looks more beautiful a d interesting. love the colors.


    OH MY GOOODDDD !!!!! <3<3<3<3<3

  31. Chelle

    The box is beautiful enough to almost justify buying it for that… which is TERRIBLE. Sneaking marketing bums! Passing on this palette… despite how pretty the box is… because I really can’t justify buying those rather blah colours. Disappointing.

  32. Sandrine

    I’m not buying any more UD palettes. Was able to get my hands on their Naked palette after waiting for a long time but was really disappointed on the shadows’ longevity. They creased on me even when I used UDPP under them. The Wet n Wild color icon trios are better texture-wise, longevity-wise and price-wise. I have UD’s single shadows and I was happy with them. I guess the palettes have a more inferior quality. Such a waste!

  33. Hannah

    I couldn’t decide about getting the book of shadows NYC when it came out, but I might get that one instead of this. It does seem a bit too gimiky. The mini speaker is cute though.

  34. Jazz

    Welp that means Ill be getting the 15th anniversary palette instead . I wanted this palette but its just not doing it for me

  35. Laura

    I confess I was thinking about buying this just for Blue Bus and Cobra, thanks so much for the swatches, Blue Bus is such a disappointment! It looks almost glowing in the pan, too bad, but I should be saving up anyway!

  36. Kristal

    The box is beautiful but I am incredibly disappointed by the shadows colors. I always look forward to the winter eyeshadow pallettes to add some fun colors to my stash, but this is weak. I won’t be buying this. Hopefully Too Faced comes out with something much better.

  37. Denise

    I really appreciate your straightforward reviews. Based on them, I bought (and LOVE LOVE LOVE)the Naked palette and the 15th Anniversary palette and pencils. I was all set to lemming onto this new BOS, even though all the electronic gadgetry confused me a bit. After reading this review, I can safely pass. Thanks for talking me off the ledge!

  38. I bought this today in SF’s special event at Sephora. I was not planning to get it based on your review and the color swatches. But, after doing the swatches in person on some such as crystal, bender and hijack, I saw micro- glitter of different colors within the shadow. It does not show up on your swatches, as well. And yes, some of the colors are not pigmented and is not typical UD where as the 15 anniversary palette where the colors are chalky. Plus, I got a free awesome UD T-shirt….made in USA. I dont love this palette as much as the Naked or the other ones, but it is unique in its own way. Too bad, I have absolutely no use for all the gadgets.

  39. mumtaza

    i still really really want this and i am going to buy it i think. right now.

  40. Melissa

    Christine, do you know of any dupes of Cobra and Hijack?

  41. Maddy

    I was going to skip this, but then I realized that I could get it from the Urban Decay website for $29 right now, so I decided it was at least worth a try :)

    • Me too! Just got it today and love it! (I would NOT love it for $64, however.)

      • Maddy

        I feel the same way, I love it, but I wouldn’t if I had paid full price :)

        I especially like the liquid liner- I wear it almost every day and I will be buying more :)

        But it was definately worth the $29 😀

  42. Shelly W.

    Wow! What an incredibly honest, informative review!!!! The amount of time you put into this review is very much appreciated! Some of the colors I thought I really wanted weren’t exactly how I pictured them (Lost and HiJack) and then some of the colors I wouldn’t have maybe tried out (Bender and Baked, for example) are really pretty! And even HiJack, though not what I had pictured, is pretty! So again, I thank you for all your hard work!!! I just love this website :-) Shelly