Saturday, 28 August 2010

Urban Decay Book of Shadows 3 - how does it compare to Books 1 and 2?

Disclosure - Book 3 is a PR sample

I can still remember the wave of acute longing that washed over me when I saw the first press images for the original Urban Decay Book of Shadows. A long-term UD palette devotee, I felt that my prayers had been answered by this 16-strong arsenal of epic eye colours, eight of which were completely exclusive, and which had been packaged up in a stunning embellished case reminiscent of a jewellery box. We're now on the 4th Book of Shadows (we've had Book 1, Book 2 and the Alice in Wonderland special), and had you told me back then that I would one day get my paws on a press sample of one of these, I wouldn't have believed you.

However, here it is. Seven exclusives, nine available elsewhere, plus two short-version 24-7 liners (Ransom and Zero) and a mini vial of UDPP. It pretty much goes without saying that this is a beautiful palette, superb value at £30 for 19 pieces and amazingly presented.

The art style is all about realism this time around, a departure from the lush, whimsical fungus-fest of Alice BOS. The pop-up display is similarly intricate, but features people and landmarks that you might expect to see in contemporary New York rather than a fantasy tableau. It's also been given light-up properties thanks to the addition of several craftily concealed LEDs that activate when the lid is opened.

I'm not going to dwell on swatches with this post, as that ground has been more than covered by the ever-awesome Lipglossiping. What I thought might be interesting, though, is to compare this BOS with its predecessors. I have BOS 1 and BOS 2, although sadly I missed out on Alice. Please note - Midnight Cowboy in my BOS 1 was traded out for a pan of Flipside (from the Foreshadow palette).

Here are the three together. BOS 1 introduced the pop-up concept, while BOS 2 was more generic, with the lid concealing a peacock-print compartment containing a book of tips and looks. The pop up returned with Alice and seems to have been a good selling point, as BOS 3 retains and advances this feature.

It's interesting that although each palette boasts exclusive shades, the overall colour mood is very similar between all three. You get a vivid green, a handful of neutrals, some purples and pinks and some dark jewel shades. This is obviously a winning mix for UD, although I wonder how many times they can remix it before it becomes stale. The choice of shades seems to be a very delicate compromise between new buyers and collectors: Each palette is *just* different enough to justify purchase if you already own another one, but new buyers are presented with basically the same enticing blend of colours each time a BOS is released.

There are straight-up duplications as well as general similarities - Matte black Perversion appears in the upper left of every palette, Last Call, Midnight Cowboy Rides Again (does anyone actually like this shade?) and Smog all appear twice, and there are strong similarities between some of the exclusive shades - Kush and Homegrown, for example, could pass for identical. The exclusive shades are always highly pigmented and of typical high UD quality.

The construction of each BOS is basically the same, but some tweaks seem to have been introduced over time. The drawer of BOS 1 is very difficult to pull out, though this was fixed as of BOS 2 which is easier to access. The dimension of the box seems to be steadily increasing - BOS 2 (middle) was bulkier than BOS 1 (left), and BOS 3 (right) is larger still, possibly to accommodate the wiring for the LEDs.

My favourite is probably BOS 1 - just because of that initial excitement and the memories I have of lifting the lid for the first time. I wasn't earning a lot at the time and it was a big purchase for me, which I think made it all the more special.

BOS 3 is out now, priced at £30, exclusively from Debenhams in the UK. (It will be released at a later date in the US.) Like the previous BOS palettes, it's a limited edition, so act fast if you want one!

Do you own more than one BOS? Which one is your favourite, and are there any you missed that you wish you'd bought?


  1. I've got BoS 3 on order, it should be with me next week. I'd noticed the similar colour schemes as well. Volume 1 is my favourite so far :)

  2. I like the first the most for the same reason. And at the time I didn't own repeats. I don't think I'll be getting 3 though. Maybe. I don't know!

  3. hmm this will make me feel less guilty if I end up getting this palette because I have the others as well. by the time I make up my mind about it, it will probably be sold out!

  4. I dont have any of them, though I imagine with the level of duplication going on here I would only need one :)

  5. I think the art style and the exclusive colours make repeat purchases totally worth it - I'll definitely be getting the next one when it arrives!


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