I feel really behind putting this blog post up nearly a month after it was released in Australia, but I did do a first impressions video and thought I should use this palette for a while before I do the full review. This is the Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Palette which was released in Australia on Boxing Day 2015 and retails for $95 at Mecca Maxima (US$58 in America).
$95 for a palette is pretty pricey but it does contain 15 shades which each contain 1.4g of product. The normal Naked Palette contains 12 shades with 1.3g each shade and retails in Australia for $81. That means you are getting 5.4g extra in the Gwen Stefani Palette for an extra $14 compared to the Naked Palettes - which is actually a lot better value than the Naked Palettes.
Clearly this is a collaboration with Urban Decay and Gwen Stefani so there are many references to Gwen Stefani when it comes to the shade names and the design of this palette. Gwen picked out all the shades to create a palette that she would use on a daily basis and most of the shades are exclusive to the palette. There are also eight lipsticks, six lip liners, a blush palette and a brow box coming out from the Gwen Stefani collection - they are currently out in the US (check out the UD website) but are not yet available in Australia.
So the packaging is beautiful! You can tell this was designed by Gwen Stefani because it has elements of her design aesthetic all over it - bold patterns, gold detailing, bright colours, and of course black and white. The outer box has a gold and white lined design on the outside and a red and white polka dot design on the inside (I really appreciated the effort they put into the inside of the box). In the box you also get samples of four of the lipsticks that will be released in the Gwen Stefani lipstick range.
The palette itself is made of very sturdy plastic and has a magnetic closure and a large mirror in the lid. There is the phrase "magic's in the makeup" printed on the mirror, which I believe is the title of a No Doubt song, and is a cute detail for all the Gwen fans.
The packaging is mainly gold on the outside with a layered plastic effect on the lid which has a layer of black, a layer of white and then a clear layer so you can see the black and white spotted effect that it all creates. I appreciate that there was a lot of effort put into the packaging and they didn't just print a pattern onto plastic or cardboard.
Inside the palette there are 15 shades (3 rows of 5 shades) and the pans are set in a shiny black plastic and the shade names are printed in pink above each shade.
Onto the shades...
|Full swatches are at the end of this post|
Blonde: shimmery light champagne shade with a soft pink sheen
Bathwater: shimmery champagne
Skimp: light peachy nude with a satin sheen
Steady: shimmery peachy nude
Punk: matte deep burgundy brown
Baby: sparkly nude pink
Anaheim: matte rosy taupe brown
Stark: matte peachy nude
Zone: matte warm mid toned brown
Serious: deep grey with very fine shimmer
Pop: peachy beige sparkle
Harajuku: cool toned sparkly pink
Danger: deep royal metallic blue with blue sparkle
1987: shimmery light acid gold
Blackout: matte black
I really like the pigmentation of this palette, all shades swatch well and most of them apply beautifully and blend evenly. The exceptions are some of the very sparkly shades (Pop, Baby, Harajuku) look nice swatched but can be hard to pick up with the brush and apply to the eye - these shades are best applied with your finger or with a wet brush. My favourite shades are; Danger which is the most beautiful blue shimmery shade and is actually very flattering on the eye, Steady which is a nice all over the lid shade for people who like warm nude shades, and Punk which is a very unique deep burgundy brown matte shade.
I am happy I bought this palette for Danger alone because that shade gives me life! Here is a photo of I look I did where I applied Danger over my liner.
The formula is great and the packaging is great, but what do I think of the overall palette? I know that some people love this palette and others hate it and I can see both sides.
The pros are that you can get complete looks using the one palette, there are some fantastic every day shades mixed with some more interesting colourful shades, the quality is lovely, and there are a nice mix of finishes and a good amount of matte shades.
The cons are that this would mainly suit people who love very light shimmery eye looks (if you are the type of person who has hit pan on Sin and Virgin in the Naked palette then this palette is for you), and because this is a light palette it will mainly suit fairer skin tones as a lot of these shades may look too similar on medium to deeper skin tones. If you are like me and prefer to use bronzes, deep golds or even taupes all over the lid then you will find yourself a little stuck with this palette. I do appreciate that this has a great selection of matte shades that you can easily incorporate into any daily look, but it is missing a matte cream and I would have loved to see Skimp replaced with a matte shade. Lastly, even though I appreciate the pops of colour I only really like Danger and 1987 and I feel that Pop and Harajuku could have been much better colour choices (imagine them being replaced with a deep metallic cranberry red and a silver).
Overall, despite the criticisms, I really like this palette and I feel like it is a lot more wearable on a daily basis and is more school/work appropriate than the Naked 1 or Naked 2 palettes (which in my opinion are waaay too metallic for daily use). I also like seeing Urban Decay deliver a palette that is day time appropriate but also fun - I find that Urban Decay usually bring out palettes that are completely nude or full on colour so it's nice to see a balance. Are there flaws with this palette? Yes. Would I have changed things if it was my palette? Definitely! But, I do need to realise that this palette is designed by Gwen Stefani who is fair skinned, blonde, and tends to wear very light eye shadows paired with accents of smokiness and black. If you love Gwen's makeup and want to imitate her makeup then you will definitely be able to achieve that with this palette.