Saturday, 19 November 2011

Review: Urban Decay Book of Shadows Volume 4

BOS 4 has been out for a while now, but I thought it might be helpful to review it ahead of Christmas as it's likely to be on a lot of people's Christmas present wishlists.

The first thing I want to say is that this palette is BIG. Compare BOS 4 (on the right here) with the previous editions and you can see that there's been a steady increase in bulk with these palettes over the years, with BOS 4 exceeding BOS 3 both in width and length.

It's not a portable palette by any means, although the BOS format has always been more of a dressing-table piece, so hopefully this won't put people off it.

Design-wise, it's very attractive, with a mix of embossed, holographic and coloured graphics on a black background. On the front cover, linear patterns radiate out from a large UD logo, along with a burst of butterflies, a photomontage of animals and swirling, ethereal shapes.

Inside, the butterfly theme continues, with clear plastic butterfly cut-outs applied around the mirror and on the horizontal surface under the lid. There's also a card in a slide-in holder, and a folded shelf-type thing designed to hold your smartphone. The card features 5 QR codes which you can use to download 5 videos on your phone, each one with a tutorial. The idea is that you put your smartphone on the shelfy bit and play a tutorial as you do your makeup, assisted by the speaker which is included in the box (along with a USB to 3.5mm audio jack and 2-ended 3.5mm audio connector).

I have to say that the speaker doesn't really measure up to the "big sound" advertised on the box - it's not great, pretty tinny and not much better than the speaker already included in my HTC Sensation smartphone. I'm sure the cables are fine, but overall I don't think the multi-media concept is a winner for UD. They would have done better to stick with the intricate pop-ups they've featured in previous Books of Shadows. Makeup is their thing, not hardware - and that's fine.

There are 16 shadows:

Baked (shimmering bright copper)
Bender (shimmering dark mossy green)
Blue Bus (bright blue w/ purple shimmer)
Bust (taupe brown w/subtle gray shimmer)
Cobra (sooty black w/golden shimmer)
Crystal (light silvery blue w/multi-dimensional shimmer)
Gravity (deep vibrant purple w/ multi-dimensional glitter)
Gunmetal (dark metallic silver w/silver sparkle)
Hijack (greyish green w/blue and green shimmer) 
Lost (shimmering dark brown)
Midnight Cowgirl (shimmering gold w/gold sparkle)
Midnight Rodeo (metallic medium brown w/silver and gold glitter)
Missionary (light taupe w/pink shimmer)
Sin (shimmering champagne)
Skimp (shimmering ultra-light nude)
Zephyr (shimmering off-white)

(These are all UD's descriptions).

You also get a full-size Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Perversion (black), which is as precise and excellent as its more colourful sister Retrograde, plus a miniature UDPP in the new squeezy tube format, and a small Supercurl Curling Mascara, which I haven't tried yet.

I really like the colours in this BOS. It's the first one in the series that really seems to have a clear colour story to it. Previously, they've been a general mix of colours, but this one is definitely based around purples, greens, blues and neutrals, with colours varying from delicate highlights to vivid jewel tones.

Top to bottom: Baked, Cobra, Gunmetal, Blue Bus

Hijack, Lost, Gravity, Bender

 Bust, Crystal, Midnight Rodeo, Sin, Midnight Cowgirl

Zephyr, Skimp, Missionary, Bust (again)

My favourites are Hijack, Gravity and Crystal, and while I've got to say I wasn't totally delighted to see Midnight Cowgirl and Midnight Rodeo again, there aren't any colours in this palette that I won't get some use out of.

At £46, it's the priciest BOS yet, but given the quantity and variety of products included, it's a definite bargain, and contains everything you need for hours of creative enjoyment and myriad beautiful eye looks.

You can buy Urban Decay Book of Shadows 4 from Debenhams, where you'll currently get a handy 10% off all beauty.

*Disclosure - PR sample


  1. Looks amazing! I love your collection of UD palettes on the bookshelf too.

  2. Thanks Jen. They're books after all... well, kind of :)


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