Rant & Rave: Urban Decay

Tell us what you love and hate about...

Urban Decay

I love a lot of their core, permanent product ranges. I wish their palettes were more in line with the quality of the permanent range, because I feel like that’s how it used to be but is less consistent now.

— Christine


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K Avatar

I love love love UD. One of my raves about them is that over here in Europe their prices are the equivalent of the US prices, and not at all marked up or inflated like some brands do. They also get releases here very fast, at most it took us like a monthish to get all the new lipsticks, I was very impressed. However, super disappointed in their holiday stuff this year, especially the highlight trio. Their Afterglow highlight formula is so good! I don’t know why they wouldn’t use that to make a trio palette and instead would use the Naked Illuminated formula, which I have never seen anyone rave about, and with good reason. It’s a glitter mess.

Alice Avatar

I love UD’s commitment to bold non-traditional color and an “edgier” style (even with the amount of Naked in their range now), that they donate to women’s causes, and their permanent range is pretty high quality at a mid-range price point.

I don’t love that their palette offerings recently have been hit-or-miss, and seem to be repetitious.

Anime Avatar

As a whole, UD does not really appeal to me. I have used their original eyeshadow primer, which didn’t deliver, but their matte single eyeshadows were very pigmented and easy to use; something which has always stayed in the back of my mind. One of my favorite ways to ‘try a brand out’ is by purchasing a palette, but I need LOTS of versatility, so none of the Naked palettes call to me. They finally got the Spectrum palette right for me when they released the FULL Spectrum this year, (oh so many gorgeous pops of color!!!!!) but it’s just like you said: their limited edition releases never seem to meet up with their permanent lineup quality-wise. Also, Kimberly Clark made a very interesting point regarding the new FS palette: The white matte shade is called “Bump”, which could very easily be interpreted as a drug reference. I feel like Urban Decay weaves in and out between target audiences — they’ll make some products that appear to be more in line with something a teenager or younger MUA would use, (For example, the Alice Through the looking glass palette) but then turn out references like “Bump”? Pick a demographic, stick to it, and stop making drug references. Furthermore, (and I know I’m being a little unreasonable here, but these are mistakes I would be careful not to make if I were the head of a cosmetics line) their marketing campaign for the Razor Sharp eyeliners was cringe-worthy. I understand that products are commonly swatched over wrists to provide skintone comparisons, but it just didn’t seem like a world of thought went into it. Razor, wrists, etc… Maybe it’s just because I grew up with friends who went through that issue, but I would have been more careful to present the product in a way that didn’t seem to ruffle SO many feathers. I don’t know — there are several aspects of the company that seem hurried or rushed, and that’s unfortunate, because I feel like they used to be more consistent 2 or 3 years ago, before all the hype was so insane. I have trouble with the makeup industry these days because there are so many companies releasing so many new products all the time, when half of their regular range is still in need of some T.L.C.! I can’t tell you how many bad reviews I have seen about the new All-Nighter foundation, from different skintones and skin types. (oily, dry, pores, wrinkles, etc) It boggles my mind that companies would push out more junk instead of making their permanent junk less junky!

Sorry, Christine — I think you hit a nerve! You know I’m a big beauty lover, but UD has just rubbed me the wrong way this past year.

Sarah Avatar

I feel the exact same way about the Razor Sharp liner debacle! Honestly, I understand that most products have wrist/inner arm swatches, but the name combined with UD’s mixed messages towards target audiences threw me off. They could’ve drawn shapes or something to show off the liner precision without straight lines over an arm with a clenched fist.

Asche Avatar

I agree with you completely (and UD used to be my fave brand). They try so hard to be “edgy” that it’s almost like they lose where their boundaries are. “Bump” is a good example of that.

Anyway, all that aside, I have flat out disliked their more recent products. The Naked 3 and Naked Smoky were probably the worst palettes I’ve ever owned (which is a shame, because I loved the shades in both palettes). I’ve been so disappointed with their products that I just don’t associate them as a top-notch brand anymore. I definitely think everything they’ve done recently seems rushed. They want to get new things out so fast that they’ve sacrificed quality. I have little to no interest in their products anymore.

Anime Avatar

I’m sad to hear that the Naked3 and Smoky didn’t work out for you. I have also heard from other people that the Smoky was a miss, but if I ever wanted to try ANY of their products, it would be the Naked3. I love the colors, but when I swatched it, the texture wasn’t the same as their singles, so I decided to pass. Now, so much has happened since then that I am just ready to move on from UD.

Mariella Avatar

I bought Naked Smoky with a bit of trepidation but I have to say, I really LOVE it. I skipped Naked 3 because those pinky shades look not too good on me but I am happy as can be with the original, 2 and Smoky.

Anime Avatar

I’m SO glad it worked out for you! I bought the MetalMatte palette from KVD even though the reviews were very mixed, but it’s become my go-to. Sometimes you just have to take a chance!

Jenny Avatar

Agreed re: drug references, razors. Wish they’d be more cognizant of their wide audience. That was the first thing I thought of when I saw the FS; no way it’s not on purpose.

Shannon. N Avatar

The urban decay naked 1 was my very first high end pallet purchase, And that was like. My very first eye shadow pallet, (What i’m trying to say was I only ever had singles before I bought the naked 1)

And I was like 16 when I bought it and still getting used to eye shadow, and how to do makeup on my monolided/hooded eyes. And it TOTALLY overwhelmed me. To the point I started crying over it one day LOL.

So I sold my Naked 1 pallet because it was used like 3 times. And now I wish I had put it away and saved it for when I was older/more experienced with eye shadow!!

I also was given the genie bottle of primer potion, and It did NOT work at ALL on my oily severely hooded eyes. to get it to work, i had to put a layer of Shadow Insurance, then primer potion. And at that point it was like ? why? Because Shadow Insurance works perfectly fine for me!!

Now that i’m in beauty school/taking a break from beauty school I wish I had my naked 1 back. And the only reason i DON’T is because it’s like $62 I think here in Cananda. And that’s just BANANAS for a basic, neutral pallet that I already have the shades in singles!!

I heard their foundations that are labeled as warm are very yellow. Which interests me as a very yellow toned person. So i’ll def have to look into that!!

Overall, I don’t really have a Negative or Positive opinion on the brand. It’s just too expensive for my broke student ass LOL.

Christina D. Avatar

UD is my favorite brand! UD reignited my love of make up, particularly as a creative outlet. Before UD, I had been disappointed so many times by department store cosmetics that I was shopping only at the drugstore. That got real old real fast! Once I discovered UD and in particular the Naked Series, the makeup junkie in me was reawakened.

What I don’t like about UD is the glittery products. Ironic, since I know UD is known for their bright and sparkly colors, but I stay away from those. I also agree with you, Christine, that the quality isn’t always what I’ve come to expect from the brand. I noticed the change once UD was bought by L’Oreal.

Heather Avatar

-I love the quality (and value) of their older palettes and current permanent-range items. My Naked, 15th anniversary, and other palettes created prior to the acquisition by L’Oreal are still going strong.
-I love that they aren’t afraid to experiment, especially with color or texture! I’m not the sort to wear sparkly purple to work (whether it be shadow, liner or lipstick), but I’m happy that those are options.
-Their blushes are awesome. (But I’d also love it if they’d expand the range to include more wearable, everyday colors for pale people!)

-I’m tired of the drug references. I get it. UD is “edgy.” It’s about “Urban Decay,” not unicorns and teddy bears. But I work with a lot of addicts, and the glamorization (or even cheeky references) to drug use is starting to get on my nerves. Half-baked/blunt/etc? Whatever. Bump? Not cool. (I’m just waiting for “Methadone” next.)
-I’m disappointed that the quality of their LE products no longer matches their permanent range standards. It’s one of the things I used to love most about UD (and why I felt comfortable dropping $50+ on a palette, even if I wasn’t sure I’d use all the colors). I’m used to crappy LE palettes from Too Faced and Tarte–that’s not a club UD should want to join.

Mariella Avatar

Thanks for reminding me about my other “kvetch” – the names! Not just drugs but violence/overt sexual stuff. Honestly, it’s not clever, it’s not “edgy”; it’s just vulgar and, at best, childish! When I’m spending $30 on a product, I don’t like it having a vulgar name. Nars is somewhat less guilty of this but still guilty!

Stacie Avatar

I love my 15th Anniversary palette. It’s the first high end palette that I bought, though I also ordered the Tarte for True Blood palette at the same time. It’s just SO good! Urban Decay, please go back to making your LE palettes s good as that one!

Nancy T Avatar

I agree with what you stated above, Christine. Their permanent products are really good, but their LE products, specifically the eyeshadow palettes, are becoming worse and worse. This really makes me sad, because we KNOW that they do know how to put together a fantastic LE palette! The Urban Spectrum attests to this fact. So do quite a few others from awhile back.
I will say that I am quite enamored of their updating and expansion of their lipstick line. A *bit* addictive, however!

Cj Avatar

Rave: One of the first brands to be higher end with non-traditional color choices, a progressive attitude towards animal rights/veganism, etc, and yes, most definitely edgy!

Rant: Nowadays, they really aren’t that edgy. I feel they’ve lost the creative edge while other brands have gone on ahead. The cross-brandings aren’t working for me, even the Gwen Stefani collection was a surprising snoozefest. Also, they keep pumping the same ideas excessively. (I.e. Naked Smokey seemed like a slight over-extension of the Naked line to me…)

Rave though: The 24/7 pencils are my favorite eyeliner formula period. I have them in around 20 colors and I wish they had even more than they have.

Lisa Avatar

I’m surprised there hasn’t been more raving about the 24/7 eyeliners. They’re pricy for me, but I’d rather have 5 of those than a drawer full of drugstore liners. Corrupt is my absolute favorite of all time!
I actually don’t have any of their palettes but I bought my daughter Naked 2 last year & she did my eye makeup for a wedding a few weeks ago with it & I really liked it. I’m thinking of getting it now.
The only thing I sorta don’t like is that I feel the brand doesn’t want me as a customer because I’m older & not edgy. I guess I’m just not their target customer 🙁

Joaliz Avatar

I have a large amount of UD products. I really love their Vice Lipsticks. I bought most of the Comfort Matte and the Mega Mattes. I have almost all of their current palettes and most of them are really good; pigmented, highly blendable, etc..

Mariella Avatar

Although I am way older than their target demographic (whatever age that may be), I love UD – so many of their products are fabulous and UDPP was the first eyeshadow primer I ever discovered and it changed my life (that sounds rather dramatic but I’m sure many here know what I mean). What I hate – shadows like MCRA, Maui Wowie (even the newer reformulated one), Midnight 15 (from the 15th Anniversary Palette) and Sidecar – I love the colour of all of these shadows but the glitter is just about uncontrollable, not just during application but even if you can get the shadow applied okay and the fallout wiped away, touch your eyes during the day and – BA-BOOM – you’ll find it all over the place.

Lisa Avatar

I just said the same thing before I saw your comment, older than the target customer! You know they say we’re not supposed to wear glitter after a certain age but I’m not giving up my sparkles! I might wear it in a different way or on a different place on my eye, but I will still wear it!

Mariella Avatar

I sparkle like a newly minted penny! My own experience is that a good quality sheen makes my eyes look younger, more bright and awake than many matte shadows do because those can look so dry and aging. So, like you, I have not and will not give up sparkly shadows, highlighters, etc. Inglot’s Pearl finish and MAC’s Veluxe Pearl are among my favourite eyeshadow finishes. What’s funny is that in my younger days, I ran from frost like nobody’s business but back then, a lot of it was harsh and nasty, rather than subtle and with a nice glow.

Sarah Avatar

Rave: their permanent palettes have incredible quality. I’ve never purchased one but I’ve borrowed friends’ palettes (not the most sanitary but definitely part of student life lol) and the textures of the shadows are stunning. Same with their single shadows! I haven’t tried any lipsticks in the newest formulas but the shade ranges are impressive.

Rant: more than anything, the names. I’ve gone through some serious trauma in my life and the names of these products put me off so much.

LMM Avatar

Urban Decay is a brand I trust, and for me the misses are very few and far between. I use Urban Decay foundation (the One and Done is my favorite face product ever, and I also like the Naked Skin quite a bit but no longer need its coverage on a regular basis); eyeshadow (the only eyeshadow that stays on my oily eyelids; I would rather save for a UD shadow than buy 10 cheaper ones); and lipstick (the new Vice formula is fantastic). I have or have had all of the Naked palettes at one point or another, except the original Naked Basics; my Naked 2 was retired after I hit pan on several shades and/or they fell out – I definitely got my money’s worth. I use one of them daily, alone or in conjunction with other shadows. The Electric Palette was an impulse purchase that’s so incredibly high-quality.

I haven’t yet tried their blush, but I want to! Concealer and the Beach bronzer are two other products I would like to try but don’t need, so have avoided buying until something else is used up.

For the makeup I use, Urban Decay products have been failproof alternatives. I’ve had products or shades I haven’t used as much as others, but I don’t see them as fails for me personally. I have avoided purchasing products I wasn’t impressed with the reviews on.

Erica Avatar

Gimmicky and overrated. I have returned far too many of their products for being utter garbage. Their eyeshadows have far too much fallout and fade too soon. Bought a liquid liner from them and it stunt my eyes. Not a fan of their products at all. The worst mid/high end brand imo.

Amy Avatar

The permanent palettes of theirs that I have are really solid, but I really hope they’re through with the whole Naked trend. Like, with the availability of Naked 1, 2, 3, 4, basics 1, basics 2, and matte, like, I think we’re covered.

Their limited items can have huge quality control issues.
Question to the group: Does anyone remember/own the UD Full Frontal mini lip set from 2014, and has anyone noticed a white and fuzzy film develop over the untouched portions and if so, do you know what it is???? I figure one of you guys might know what I’m talking about.

Ae Avatar

Rave: I feel like there’s a lot to love about UD. A lot of good to decent products at an mid-end price range. Awesome selection or eye and lip colors including a few less traditional colors.

Rant: I know being edgy is UD’s thing, but sometimes I think they might want to think through some of their names. There are lots of ways to be edgy w/o using some of their name choices that may invoke certain racial/ethnic issues.

Genevieve Avatar

Rave: Cruelty free and the Nakeds 1, 2 and 3 are great products. The first two Vices, 15th Anniversary and Spectrum palettes are sensational.
Rant: The last few years the brand has produced some really average products: Alice, Smokey palette and now the Full Spectrum. It is really hard to see how the brand has let down its loyal customers this way. I hope they are reading these comments!

AB Avatar

Rave — when UD gets color a/o quality right, the products are excellent; eg, Vice lipsticks and many single eyeshadows. Edgier, more unusual colors.
Rant — quality has become very unpredictable, to point I no longer pick up an item without researching first. When they have an unusual color and discontinue it, it’s gone since they’re sometimes hard to dupe (there was a copper eyeliner I miss a lot). A lot of LE’s and hyper-promotion, resulting in fast, fast selling out (so I ignore the LEs and promotions anymore)

Stacie Avatar

I have quite a bit of stuff that I love. The 15th Anniversary palette and the Oz palettes are fantastic for me. I had Naked 2, but gave it away when I hardly used it and just bought the single of Verve. Verve is LIFE. I also have several of their blushes that I love, though I wish they’d release more pale faced options. And we will now have a moment of silence for Revolution lipsticks. Naked is my HG nude. *bows head*

I do genuinely like that they have a huge shade range in both their foundations and concealers. I’m glad that they try very hard to be inclusive of deeper skin tones. I feel that a lot of other brands are lacking in that department. I’m looking at YOU Guerlain and Dior.

But geez. Enough with the awful names. It’s not clever. It’s not cute. Just stop. I also feel that they really dropped the ball on the Ultimate Basics. We begged for a matte palette for so long. I feel like it’s almost too little too late. Also, pick a shape of packaging, please. I store my palettes by brand and theirs are becoming a bitch to store since they vary so much in shape.

Rachel R. Avatar

RAVE: UD is one of my favorite brands. I originally loved their edgy image and product colors. I think UD is one of the few companies out there who consistently make good purples and blues. They have a lot of great permanent products: Vice Lipsticks, Afterglow Blushes and Highlighters, 24/7 pencils, Perversion Mascara, Primer Potion. I love that they have stayed cruelty free. I appreciate that the last year or so has seen color again, after so much focus on the Naked line. I really enjoy their beautiful packaging. I like the Junkie program they introduced a few months ago.

RANT: The cheap packaging on the lipsticks and the Ultimate Basics palette. Eye palette quality seems to be decreasing. Full Spectrum is so disappointing; it’s not a worthy follow-up to the Urban Spectrum. I really, really hope this cheapening will not continue to be a trend. I was resenting how much the Naked line was taking over the brand, but I think that is turning around. We’ll see. I HATE that they discontinued the Electric Palette, and aren’t offering an updated version or replacement. The new foundation oxidizes like crazy and doesn’t have light enough shades.

Susan Dowman Nevling Avatar

Rave: I love UD shadows and use mostly palettes and 24/7 eyeliner and have a ton of both. There are a few I’ve skipped like Full Spectrum and Alice. I use the basic eye primer but have tried them all. I like the lipsticks except super matte, too drying for me. I also love the setting spray. Love Perversion mascara.
Rants: I don’t care for the face makeup products. It doesn’t get along wth my skin. I understand what you all say about the names. It would bother me but I can’t read them without my glasses and don’t wear them to apply makeup. You do have a point.

Camille Avatar

Rave: all the products that I own from them are excellent quality (although I do stick to more neutral stuff and research products quite extensively before purchasing). I love my Naked 1, 2 and Smoked palettes, and their 24/7 eyeliners are the best I’ve tried. Also, here in France, they’re less expensive than most brands carried by Sephora, which tend to up their prices significantly for he European market, so they’re good value for money.

Rant: I’ve gotta agree with many above, their names and marketing choices turn me off more and more these days. The constant references to drugs and violence to be “edgy” and “cool” are frankly offputting. I was recently on the market for a new lipstick and considered buying on of their Vice lipsticks, but reading that the packaging looks like a bullet casing completely turned me off the purchase. Pulling out something that looks like a literal bullet from my bag is about one of the last things that makes me feel cool, really.

Laura Avatar

I have all the Naked palettes and love them. I have recently had to repurchase singles of sin and pistol because they were used up. They’re definitely not the same as the ones in the pallets, sin is not as metallic and bright and pistol is also less pigmented. I was so bummed and probably won’t be buying any more singles. There has definitely been a change in their eye shadow quality as of late

HeavyMetalJess Avatar

I love UD. Most of my makeup collection is their brand. But, I hate that they’re chasing the dollar with their Naked product. That is not their brand identity and they’ve really watered down the edginess of their brand from tamer product names to tamer colors.

I give them an A+ for the improvement of their lipsticks, but I am at a lose for why they can’t seem to get a decent nail polish or eyeliner. Their polishes flake worse than any other I have used and what is with the peeling/flaking liner? This is a brand that should have the BEST liquid liner and it is horrible.

slick Avatar

Rave: quality and color range.

Rant: Bulky af packaging! Especially palettes. This has been my gripe for years.

One way to address the bulk factor would be to sell pans of product, but nope – they want me to buy a bulky af palette to put my bulky af ‘pans’ of shadow into. COME ON! I still depot their shadow singles to this day. Which is a shame, because as a standalone product the packaging for the e/s singles is actually great. Love the nail polish bottles too. But for the most part, there is just too much excess bulk for me, even if it looks nice. I would love to see the Naked Basics 1 and 2 packaging style applied to all of their palettes.

viv Avatar

i like their naked foundation. it settles into a nice glow on my face and does a good coverage on all my spots and freckles and lines etc and inci are probably good, but i didn’t check that yet..
i love the 24/7 eye liners, i owe nearly every shade, they work for years now, don’t dry down like marc jacobs, don’t break like mac
i love naked 3, other palettes are a bit difficult to handle, but i still use them the most.

and i really liked them for shipping to europe via uk unlike many other brands from the states. their german shop now is nice and fast. i am totally used to not having the full range in europe *sigh* they used to have a shop in a big warehouse in berlin, before the wall came down (!) and i still own a nail polish i bought there.
i share the opinion on their name giving, same goes to colourpop, nars and tarte for their awful cliched french. yeah and in that line the unforgettable eyeshade called “autobahn” by kat von d. mah. really.

Justine Avatar

UD used to be my number one favorite brand, but lately I haven’t been as interested in their recent offerings. Their eyeshadow palettes used to be 100% consistent with their permanent singles, which is why I literally bought or wanted to buy every single one of their palettes. I’ve literally skipped purchasing most of their palettes this year (except for the Moondust palette, since I love that formula as glitter toppers), due to inconsistency in their formulas. On the bright side, I’ve saved a ton of money!

Sherri Avatar

I’ve been using Urban Decay for many years (I owned ALL of the lip gunks back in the day). I love their use of color, especially brights, though I’m glad they did well with the Naked line. I keep buying LE palettes, but I do think they need to pay attention to quality. Like so many others, I am not amused with all the drug references, and trying to hard to be “edgy” just equals “tired”. Please, can I get one more email with sexual innuendo related to the Naked palette? I probably have one in my inbox as I write this. The razor eyeliner marketing was poor taste.

Primer potion is a staple. The Vice lipsticks have some awesome colors and finishes. I just bought Full Spectrum despite owning Spectrum and KvD Mi Vida Loca. I really love UD; they just need to make some small adjustments.

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