Urban Decay Black Palette Review, Photos, Swatches

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!

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! 🙂

  • 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.


Urban Decay Black Palette
Urban Decay Black Palette

Urban Decay Black Palette
Urban Decay Black Palette

Urban Decay Black Palette
Urban Decay Black Palette

Urban Decay Black Palette
Urban Decay Black Palette

Urban Decay Black Palette
Urban Decay Black Palette

Urban Decay Black Palette
Urban Decay Black Palette

Urban Decay Black Palette
Urban Decay Black Palette

Urban Decay Black Palette
Urban Decay Black Palette

Urban Decay Black Palette
Urban Decay Black Palette

Urban Decay Black Palette
Urban Decay Black Palette: Sabbath

Urban Decay Black Palette
Urban Decay Black Palette: Black Dog

Urban Decay Black Palette
Urban Decay Black Palette: Cobra

Urban Decay Black Palette
Urban Decay Black Palette: Barracuda

Urban Decay Black Palette
Urban Decay Black Palette: Jet

Urban Decay Black Palette
Urban Decay Black Palette: Libertine

Urban Decay Black Palette
Urban Decay Black Palette: Black Dog, Barracuda, Jet

Urban Decay Black Palette
Urban Decay Black Palette: Sabbath, Cobra, Libertine

Urban Decay Black Palette
Cobra (left), Libertine (right) swatched over Urban Decay Eden Primer Potion

Urban Decay Black Palette
Cobra (left), Libertine (right) swatched over Shiseido Lemon Sugar Cream Eyeshadow (shimmering white gold)

Urban Decay Black Palette
Cobra (left) over MAC Indianwood Paint Pot; Libertine (right) over Make Up For Ever #22 Aqua Cream

Black Dog, Cobra, Libertine; (View breakdown for this look here)


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Jaime Avatar

Christine, do you think you might ever do something like a comparison swatch of a few different matte black eye shdows? I keep hearing that Sugarpill’s Bulletproof is the darkest out there, but I always get curious about other brands.

Just a thought!

Dusty Avatar

i don’t actually own any urban decay palettes and was attacted to this one… but mostly for the green (then i think, “just wait for the villians collection if you want a black/green shadow). i imagine i’ll pass on this… i really love black but nothing really stands out here. thanks for the review! i was hoping you’d do this one! 🙂

Dusty Avatar

I can see that… Some of these colors are pretty but they do look a little… Flat. Almost like a glittery nail polish with a matte topcoat on it… If that makes sense 🙂

baby in a corner Avatar

i knew I would never use this before the review but now i’m even more convinced! Btw, did you get my email for the feline challenge thing? I hope i sent it to the right address!

Steph Avatar

How boring. You can use a black base and any colour on top and have endless combinations, or spend $36. Thanks for doing a look with the shadows, just confirms how boring it is because you manage to make everything look great, and these just fall flat.

Anitacska Avatar

Lipglossiping recommends using Fyrinnae’s Pixie Epoxy primer under these to make the glitter pop a bit more. I’ve ordered mine, just waiting for it to be dispatched. I agree about them including Gunmetal or Dime instead of Zero, I have far too many Zero eyeliners now. For the Vegan palette they should’ve included a brown shade or Baked or even Eldorado.

Christine Avatar

I tried out several bases, and I found that a colored base worked the best. The problem is more when they’re used on the eyes than swatched (for me), because they looked just fine swatched even without a base – but when you used, the colors themselves disappear and everything just looks black with a bit of glitter!

Jackie Avatar

Oh gosh! Dark eye colors are definitely not my thing, but the names of these shades alone kind of make me want to splurge. What a waste of money that would be!

Lottie Avatar

I ordered this online but my order got messed up and canceled, and I think that was definitely a GOOD thing. I loved this when I first saw it, but the colors look so much better in the pan than they appear in practice. Thank goodness for you, Christine! You saved me $36!

Laci Avatar

I bought the Black Palette because I’m a UD junkie, but after I ordered I saw quite a few reviews that said exactly what you did Christine — they all look flat. I found one site that recommended using the Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy under the shadow (over primer) and WOW! the swatches looked like totally different shadows. I ordered some of that specifically for this palette. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Sarah Avatar

According to lipglossiping its much more amazing over fyrianne’s pixie epoxy
its gorgeous over the shishedo though, seems like a flop palette to me though

kapi Avatar

Hey Christine,

Sorry, this isn’t about the black palette, but have you ever used Urban Decay all nighter spray? Is it any good? Any help would be much appreciated! Thank you.

Emma Avatar

Can you suggest alternatives to Jet and Sabbath? Those are the only colors I’m interested in, def not worth buying the whole palette for. Is Sabbath close to MAC Blue Flame/Blue Flame Mineralize Eyeshadow? These seem somewhat dupeable, I just can’t remember with what. Thanks!

Nora Avatar

Haha, I was initially attracted to this because of the names – Black Dog reminds me of Zeppelin, and Libertine reminds me of Cannonball by The Breeders. But I’m always disappointed with Urban Decay: I find they’re great brand new but they don’t last at all (their liquid liners, omg), so I’ll pass.

Pretty to look at, though!

Evelyn Avatar

Reminds me of the new Bobbi Brown black velvet collection. The makeup artist went straight to “apply the kohl pencil all over your lid and pat the shadows on.” It’s the only way to make the colored glitter/shimmer stand out otherwise the colors are blah on the skin. I have one of those black/purple mineralize shadows from Mac’s black collection a while back, again you can’t see the sparkle unless it’s on a colored base. The sparkle fades away otherwise.

tg Avatar

You could dupe three of these colors with the NYX Lake Moss trio. They swatch almost black, but layered over a creamy base, the color comes out. The quality is good compared to the other NYX trios, too – not powdery or difficult to pick up pigment.

UD is on autopilot, IMO. Except for the Naked palette, they just seem to regurgitate the same old colors or come out with half-baked stuff like this.

nessa Avatar

That is some BAD French.

Fabriqué aux l’Allemagne??????

It should be “Fabriqué en Allemagne”……………….. wow…

(in the pic of the back of the palette)

Hilana Avatar

Very sexy. I like these. Will never wear them (I can just imagine myself turning out looking like a very messed-up Courtney Love), but I think these are rockin’!

Serenity Avatar

I feel that if you didn’t like the palette, you should just say so, instead of showing this ridiculous “look” to persuade others not to buy it.

Piling three black shadows on top of each other is a really silly idea. Would you do a look using only NARS Night Porter, Night Fever, and Night Clubbing? Of course not…no one would, since the shadows are not intended to be used that way. I feel that showing this “look” was disingenuous, unfair, and disrespectful to your readers.

I don’t own the Urban Decay Black Palette, but I do usually use the NARS Night Series shadows wet, as that brings out the color. Or I use them on top of a colored base. Either way, these types of shades should be used as a sexy smudged liner, or in the crease, or as an accent…using them all at once over the entire lid is a recipe for disaster.

Christine Avatar

These are packaged as a palette, includes an eyeliner, and an eyeshadow base – to me, why wouldn’t you do a look with them together? Particularly when they swatch and look different enough to work together – they certainly swatched with more distinction than when applied. They didn’t swatch all black (and they definitely don’t look all black just looking at them in their pans), it was only when applied to the eyes, over Eden Primer Potion, that they lost much of their color. I think that’s important to show and note — seeing is believing. Just as I showed that you can get a different result by using a shimmery or colored base to bring out the color.

Ultimately, reviews are an opinion based on my experience with the product. I completely disagree that no one would use these together or that it is completely out of the realm of normal to even consider doing so – it was my first thought, and I don’t think I’m crazy. I respectfully disagree with your entire assessment that I was disingenuous, unfair, or disrespectful.

You can use your eyeshadows the way you feel fit, just like others are entitled to use them the way they want to. Nobody should be forced into a box saying you can’t do this, you can only do this or call it “ridiculous” if they consider an alternative to your way. I actually have no problem with an all black smoky eye–I like it, personally, and don’t think it’s ridiculous–my problem with the look was that it wasn’t supposed to turn out that way based on how the colors looked in the pan and swatched.

WBWright Makeup Artist Avatar

While I disagree with Christine’s review in a few spots, I feel her review went above and beyond what she typically does, specifically to SHOW that the colors do well, in various combinations with other non-UD products.
I would probably not use more than 2 of these at one time in a ‘look’ either, due to the muddy-ing effect HOWEVER just today I used UD Perversion and MAC Beauty Marked together on a model for a smoky look (a close comparison and coincidental given I only just read this at 11 pm) and it helped deepen the Beauty Marked but I mixed in the palette and not on the eye. I am not a huge fan of the UD original eyeshadow primer when blending as it tends to kill color in its tracks.

In regard to the ‘palette’ UD packages palettes and has said themselves that the layout is set to show coordinating colors within the palette. Although I do not think this is necessarily the case in this palette or the Naked palette for that matter, as those are monochromatic rather than color coordinate.
One of the things I love best about Temptalia as a review site is the CLEAR line drawn between OPINION vs “FACT”. I almost always learn something from the reviews that I read whether or not I completely agree, strongly disagree or somewhere in the middle.
I saw the swatches and the ‘look’ and I agree it was not a good pairing, however I didn’t quite have such a strong response to it. I’m a MUA in the USA and Israel and work regularly. I can handle a look or a palette gone wrong when its accompanied by a strong and thoroughly written and photographed review.

Christine Avatar

I always welcome everyone’s opinions, even if they are in disagreement in mine (in fact, I encourage it – it gives both sides of the “story” as it were!). I can only review based on my experience and hope that what I say, my explanations, along with photos and swatches, help paint part of the picture. Just like we all gravitate towards certain colors (or avoid others!), I never downgrade a product because the color doesn’t suit my coloring or it’s not my cup of tea – this palette isn’t something I’d recommend to others because I can’t do so and feel good about doing that – but I gave it a favorable score in the end based of the four factors (quality, value, etc.). I’ve always gotten frustrated when someone hates a product, gives it an F, and they do so because the color didn’t flatter them — it’s good to know it didn’t flatter them, but I am more interested in the quality – texture, color intensity, feel, scent, etc.

Thanks for understanding my position 🙂

Christina Avatar

uhm.. did not find the look “silly” or “ridiculous”.. I know people (fashion industry people, not necessarily makeup industry though) who sport such looks regularly.. not my cup of tea, but “ridiculous”? Come on..

Angela Noelle Avatar

Wow, I can’t believe how similar all of those shades look.. thank goodness I waited for your review before purchasing! I think I’ll hold off and hope that I can get my hands on Book of Shadows. Thanks for the great review 🙂

HautePJ Avatar

I feel like this was also the problem with the Bobbi Brown Black Velvet eyeshadows. They all looked awesome in the pan but swatched and wore the same! Sigh, maybe a brand will get it right and wow us one these days :).

Jennifer Avatar

I like it. Maybe not to wear alone, or maybe you can but. I think they put in the matte “black dog” so you can put any other color on top to give it that shimmer sparkle look. Definatley not a day time look i agree, but to go out at night and just have a sexy fun makeup look then, yea thumbs up for this palette.

Manuela Avatar

i wonder since you said that bulletproof is one of the darkest blacks out there, do you think that the black side of the nars pandora duo (which in my opinion is blackest black) is comparable to the sugarpill black? please let me know, thank you

D Avatar

Hey, Christine, I bought this, but the shade I was most interested in shattered and flew everywhere! 🙁 Do you know of any shadows that look like Libertine? I think NARS Night Porter does, but greener? If you could help, that’d be awesome.

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