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Which Urban Decay eye shadow palette is best?

Urban Decay boasts a diverse range of cosmetics, and its eye shadow palettes remain among its bestselling, most-loved products. With unique color stories that run the gamut of subdued neutrals to ultra-bold glitter shades, Urban Decay never ceases to impress.

Urban Decay offers over a dozen palettes, ranging from limited-edition sets to its signature Naked collection. Urban Decay Born to Run Eye Shadow Palette tops our shortlist for its well-rounded collection of travel-inspired shades. 

What to know before you buy an Urban Decay eye shadow palette

Types of Urban Decay palettes

Urban Decay is best known for its original Naked eye shadow palette. These palettes are available in two sizes, either six-shade mini palettes, or full-size palettes featuring 12 shades. Urban Decay occasionally produces other types of mini palettes with newer shades. Limited-edition palettes feature color stories inspired by art, fashion eras or famous musicians like Prince. These palettes typically feature ornate packaging as well. 

How to apply Urban Decay eye shadow

Urban Decay eye shadow is high-pigment and can be worn on the eyelid without additional makeup products. However, to get the most color payoff and longest wear time, consider investing in a few key skin care and makeup products.

  • Eye cream, including those with hyaluronic acid or collagen, soften skin and create a smooth base for better application.
  • Eye shadow primer or base holds onto color and may prolong the shadow’s wear time dramatically. 
  • Once a shadow look is fully applied, close your eyes and spritz a light mist of setting spray across your face to lock in the look.
  • Because Urban Decay shadows are high-pigment and long-wearing, you’ll need to use waterproof makeup remover to take them off. 

What to look for in a quality Urban Decay eye shadow palette

Shadow formulation

All Urban Decay eye shadow palettes have powder formulas. These shadows have smooth, velvety textures that are easy to blend, layer and build. Besides high-quality texture, the shadows have a lightweight, barely-there feel. Urban Decay eye shadow is also cruelty-free and vegan, and most collections are free of harsh chemicals like parabens, sulfates and phthalates. 

Compact design

Urban Decay’s Naked palettes have iconic compact designs that feature full-length mirrors, rectangular pans and decorative lids that feature their color stories. As for other types of palettes, Urban Decay has experimented with several compact styles, most of which have unique layouts. Unlike the Naked palettes, however, other palette styles often feature round or square pans.

Finish variety

Some Urban Decay palettes, including certain Naked mini palettes, feature only matte shades. However, others have a combination of finishes that may include shimmer, metallic or glitter shades. Generally speaking, the more pans the Urban Decay palette has, the more finishes it usually includes.   

How to pick the best eye shadow palette for your eye color

The key to picking the right eye shadow palette for your eye color is picking one with complementary colors. To find which colors complement your eye color, look at a color wheel. The color that is across from your eye color is the one that will be the most complementary. While you can always wear whatever eye shadow color you want, these complementary colors will help your eyes to stand out.

  • Brown eyes: Brown eyes look best with colors like browns, burgundies, golds, purples and blues.
  • Green eyes: You can make your green eyes pop with warmer colors like golds, reds and oranges. Pinks and warm purples like eggplant and violet also look nice.
  • Blue eyes: Blue eyes look amazing in bronzy browns, oranges, coppery tones and other warm colors.
  • Hazel eyes: If you have hazel eyes, your best bets are a mix of those good for brown and green eyes. 

How much you can expect to spend on an Urban Decay eye shadow palette

Urban Decay’s six-shade Naked palettes cost $29, whereas full-size versions with 12 shades cost $44-$54. Limited-edition Urban Decay palettes run $25-$55. 

Urban Decay eye shadow palette FAQ

How long do Urban Decay palettes last before they expire?

A. Urban Decay eye shadow palettes have powder formulas, which means they’re expected to have a shelf life between two and three years before it’s time to replace them. To prolong shelf life, only use a makeup brush to pick up color instead of your fingertips. Otherwise, you may introduce bacteria or dirt to the shadow, which in turn contaminate and deteriorate the shadow. 

Does Urban Decay sell other types of palettes?

A. Besides eye shadow palettes, Urban Decay has begun offering blush palettes that include highlighter and bronzer. These palettes are popular among those who want to create layered, well-blended looks with colors that coordinate well with one another. Like Urban Decay shadows, these cheek shades are high-pigment and offer long wear times. They also sell gift sets that include eye shadow, sometimes packaged with other cosmetics.

How often does Urban Decay release new palettes?

A. For the most part, the beauty brand releases at least one new palette annually. Some of these are brand-new palettes, like limited editions, whereas others are extensions or newer varieties of the Naked palette collection. 

Which Urban Decay palette is closest to the original?

A. While the original Naked palette was discontinued in 2018, Urban Decay released the Naked Reloaded palette soon afterward. Urban Decay intended it to be an improved version of the popular palette, but it’s not quite the same. It does lean warmer in tone than the original, but it still contains a lot of versatile neutral shades. The Naked Reloaded palette is a little more modern than the original and doesn’t include the blue shades, but you can still get a decent smoky eye with it. If you’re looking for something closer to the same neutral shades the original Naked palette had, the Naked2 Basics palette is the better option.

Best Urban Decay palettes

Top Urban Decay palette

Best Urban Decay Born to Run Eye Shadow Palette

Urban Decay Born to Run Eye Shadow Palette

What you need to know: This 21-shade collection features a travel-themed color story that includes both neutral and unique shades. 

What you’ll love: The palette features modern neutrals and jewel tones, all of which offer a high color payoff. The shadow has a velvety texture that blends well, plus the formula is vegan and cruelty-free. The compact has a full-length mirror for on-the-go application. 

What you should consider: There are mixed reviews regarding the compact’s construction quality, and the shades may be too bold for some. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Urban Decay palette for the money

Best Urban Decay Naked2 Basics Eye Shadow Palette

Urban Decay Naked2 Basics Eye Shadow Palette

What you need to know: Popular as an introductory palette, this six-shade matte set is ideal for creating classic day-to-night looks. 

What you’ll love: The taupe-hued set of full-size shades complements all skin tones, from cool to olive to dark. It comes in a small compact that even fits in mini bags. The longwear shades live up to their name and last all day long. 

What you should consider: Some buyers felt the shadows had chalky textures and shattered easily. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Sephora and Macy’s

Best Urban Decay palettes by eye color

Best Urban Decay palette for brown eyes

Best Urban Decay Naked Cherry Eye Shadow Palette

Urban Decay Naked Cherry Eye Shadow Palette

What you need to know: Bold and playful, this Urban Decay Naked palette is ideal for creating multidimensional looks. 

What you’ll love: The set includes 12 neutral cherry-inspired shades that are universally flattering and are especially popular among individuals with brown eyes. Their rich pigment photographs well. The compact includes a dual-tipped brush that is cruelty-free. 

What you should consider: It’s a larger palette, so it’s not as travel-friendly as other options. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best Urban Decay palette for green eyes

Best Urban Decay Naked3 Palette

Urban Decay Naked3 Palette

What you need to know: If you have green eyes, this 12-toned palette is perfect for creating a natural, everyday look.

What you’ll love: With red-toned neutrals, pearly pinks and shiny metallic shades, the Urban Decay Naked3 palette is sure to make your green eyes pop. It also comes in a miniature version.

What you should consider: If you have medium or dark skin, the matte shades might not show up as well on your eyes.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Sephora and Ulta Beauty

Best Urban Decay palette for blue eyes

Best Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette

Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette

What you need to know: Warm and bronzy, this palette features both matte and shimmery shades to give your eyes a sultry look.

What you’ll love: Each pigment goes on very creamy and blends well. This palette is also cruelty-free.

What you should consider: A few of the shades look pretty similar to each other.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Sephora and Ulta Beauty

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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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