Monday, 21 May 2012

Urban Decay new eyeshadow singles and Build Your Own palette

I have been a bit worried about Urban Decay's single eyeshadows over the last couple of years. Don't laugh. With all the insanely popular palettes offering incredible value, it felt like the stand-alone singles had been getting neglected. The permanent line of subway-token themed circular pots sat on the counters much as they had for nearly 10 years, notwithstanding a few additions and discontinuations of shades.

I shouldn't have worried - the singles have just undergone a colossal revamp, bringing them up to date with the latest packaging themes (shiny chrome and gothic script) and with a new and more vividly-coloured buttery formula.

Here is Evidence (new type, right) next to Mildew (previous packaging). I tried to dig out one of the even-older-style metal tins, but the ones I had seem to have passed on to makeup heaven.

The eyeshadow singles have also been given a new lease of life in the form of the Build Your Own Palette, which as the name suggests, is a customisable palette with slots to house your choice of shadow singles. It comes with a starter eyeshadow in Walk of Shame, a matte pinky-beige, a big "proper" mirror and a short-handled taklon eyeshadow brush.

To use the BYO palette, you pop out your shadow from its casing by pressing on the bottom - the pan and fascia of the pot then pop out, ready to be pressed into the palette.

This mechanism seems to work really well. The design of the wells in the palette means there's plenty of purchase for your fingertips when retrieving a pan, and getting them out of the pots is as easy as applying a bit of gentle pressure with a finger on the base.

There's virtually no risk of dinging your eyeshadow when doing this thanks to the wide lip of the fascia. If you remember the agonies of trying to depot the old-style shadows to use in MAC palettes (hands up if you  burned yourself on your hair straighteners while melting off the plastic), you'll be delighted with how easy it is to reorganise your palette or add new shades.

The palette is also retrocompatible with old-style pots, although you'll need considerable confidence to take off the outer part of the pot if you want to do this. To take the picture above, I used a screwdriver and a lot of patience and force to depot my old-version Mildew, which promptly flew across the room like a cricket - luckily no damage was done. It sits perfectly in the palette though, and is easy to take out again.

The palette's outer is made out of brushed metal with a textured, brightly-coloured cover design. There's a snap-shut clasp with a very large indented access point that should be easy for most people to open.

The brush that comes with it is excellent quality too, with soft, springy taklon fibres in a rigid oval shape.

Overall, I love the design of the palette, with max points going to the big mirror and how easy it is to change out colours. The one point I would query is the hinge. It's made out of a plastic strip across the back of the palette, which is crimped in two places to allow movement. I'm slightly concerned about the durability of this - a couple of barrel-type hinges might have been better. But it's hardly a deal-breaker.

Colour-wise, there's been a massive update to the range of eyeshadow singles, with many of the previously palette-only colours now available in single form. Great news if you have a few favourites from - for example  the Naked palette - and want to be able to replace them without buying a whole palette again.

I chose a mix of neutrals and dark teal/blue shades. L-R Walk of Shame (which comes with the palette), Pistol, Verve, Hijack, Evidence, Loaded.

You can see the complete list of shades at the Urban Decay website, or for swatches, see Makeup And Beauty Blog for nearly all the colours swatched in one post

Quick EOTD: Evidence, Hijack, Verve and Pistol:

The new eyeshadow singles cost £14 each. The palette (which includes Walk of Shame and the brush) also costs £14, making it excellent value (although if you want multiple palettes, you will end up with multiple Walk of Shames - I can see these flooding eBay and MUA in droves in a year or so). Both are available from Debenhams and House of Fraser.

At the moment, Debenhams is offering 10% off all beauty, so you can get the palette and shadows for £12.60 a piece until 27 May.

Disclosure - PR sample


  1. Thing palette + 5 eyeshadows comes out to about £85.

    Urban Decay shadows are lovely, especially the new formula, but are they worth that much? Not for me. (And also, you can't depot the pans from the new style. Or maybe you can, but I couldn't.)

    1. Well, if you compare the individual shades with the cost-per-shade in a pre-made palette, then yes, they're very expensive. But I doubt many people would be filling one of these in one go. I think it's more for people who have a few favourite shades and want a nice way to keep them. If you loved, for example, Busted, but you couldn't get it in a single (as was the case before now) you'd have to shell out for a new Naked 2 every time you hit pan. Even worse if your loved shade was in an LE palette that you then had to pay inflated prices for on eBay.

      I haven't tried depotting the new style, but I guess it would be like depotting MAC in the old days - heat up on a hair straigtener to soften the glue and then prise out with a knife edge.

  2. Completely agree with you about the singles being pushed aside for their great value palettes. I only have two single eyeshadows from UD, and I always thought they looked quite cheap and tacky. I love the new updated packaging though, it finally matches the price tag (I know you're paying for the quality of formula, but I'm a magpie at heart).

    With money the way it is right now I can't see myself customising my own palette. The starter pack for creating your own is great value though, and fantastic if you just happen to collect a lot of the new singles and want to carry them around. Maybe buying the shadows first and then the palette would make me feel less of a bad person.

    1. I don't think you'd be a bad person either way, Lydia. Hope you enjoy the palette if you get one.


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