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We tried Urban Decay’s new Naked Wild West eyeshadow palette, here’s how it went

Inspired by Californian deserts and endless skies, is the latest launch worthy of your collection?

Tara Breathnach
Wednesday 10 February 2021 13:37
<p>Saddle up for our review of the Wild West palette, boasting turquoise and golden hues</p>

Saddle up for our review of the Wild West palette, boasting turquoise and golden hues

With face masks continuing to be the accessory of 2021, we're ditching the glossy lip and dewy foundation and honing in on our eye make-up looks.

But what does this mean for our eye make-up choices? Speaking to The Independent about make-up trends during the pandemic, Pablo Rodriguez, global director of artistry for Illamasqua, predicted that in 2021, people would be “opting for bold, bright colours through our eyeshadow taking a fun approach to make-up after spending almost the whole year at home”.

Read more: Best skincare products under £10

True to its form, Urban Decay has not shied away from this trend, launching two new versions of its cult-favourite Naked palette during the pandemic. The collection has been much-loved since the original launched in 2010, and now it's launched a new iteration to add to the mix, named Naked Wild West.

Inspired by "California deserts, Joshua trees, and endless skies", Urban Decay's latest venture feels like the escapism we're all yearning for.

When the first Naked palette came out 11 years ago, it offered a comprehensive colour story of neutral shades, going from light to dark, in a range of mattes, shimmers and metallics. Naked 2 came next, offering cooler tones, then Naked 3, which had rosier hues.

Other palettes in the range include Naked Cherry, featuring red tones, and the more recent Naked Ultraviolet, which offers a mauve-purple colour story.

The latest offering, Naked Wild West, features warm browns as well as two green-blue shades which offer a vivid take on some of the brand's earlier, more muted palettes.

Because of comprehensive colour stories and choice of finishes in the Naked palettes, Urban Decay has made eyeshadow easy for novices and experts alike, offering everything in one palette for both simple daytime looks and dramatic finishes. Inspiring creativity with every release, it’s easy to see why they’ve become cult.

So how does the latest palette fair against its predecessors? We put it to the test.

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Urban Decay Naked Wild West palette: £45, Urban Decay – Buy now

The packaging 

The snakeskin box with gold embossed lettering has all the feels of the wild, wild west. Perhaps more importantly or at least, more practically, it’s sturdy and shuts nice and solidly.  

As with all of the other Naked palettes, there’s a generously-sized, good quality mirror inside and 12 eyeshadow shades. You also get a full-sized two-ended brush too, one of which we’d use for all-over lid application, the other (flatter brush) to blend corners out with. 

While you may prefer to use your own eye tools, the addition of a good quality brush in this palette is welcome, mainly because it means you don’t need to remember to put a brush in your bag separately for on-the-go touch ups.

This is a nice sturdy double-ended brush with soft bristles and adds to the palette as it feels like good quality, and not just an afterthought (like the less high quality foam applicators which are often included in similar sets).

The shades 

One thing that works so well with the Naked palettes, and why they're so popular, is that the shades compliment each other together so nicely on the lid, and they are laid out in a way that makes it easy to plan a range of different looks. Sure, there's some unusual colours in the mix, but once you start to have a play, they feel more accessible thanks to the accompanying neutral tones. 

This palette, like the other Naked offerings, starts with the paler colours: in this case warm matte browns (like "standoff" and "spur"), before moving into shimmers and then into the darker and more dramatic shades like "tex", a deep blue green.

The surprisingly versatile mix of colours means you have a range of looks at your fingertips: using the cool-toned mauve named "pony up" all over the lid with one of the shimmers in the inner corner will give you a smokey eye.

Or, for a more neutral day look, sweep one of the mattes, like "spur", all over the lid for a simple but put-together look.

And the bright shimmer colour "bud", the paler green in the palette, will provide a serious pop of colour, meaning this palette really will give you plenty of choices for the final look of your eye make-up.

The formula

These shadows are designed to be “high pigment”, ultra-blendable shades. There’s a good balance of mattes (eight), shimmers (two) and metallics (two), as with the other palettes in the range.

Using the brush these came with, the eyeshadows blended beautifully. There was zero fall-out with any of the shades and no kick-up in the pan or smudging when blending.

If you want to get a little more punch from the shadows, try using your finger to apply the shimmer shades. I tried this with "rustler" which gave a lovely, warm brown shimmer to the lids.

Or, if you like using a wet brush, you’ll hopefully find that the lighter green "bud", also a shimmer shade, delivers serious impact this way.

I tried this application and the colour looked as bright on the eyelid as in the pan when I swept it across.

I’d also recommend using the metallic shades with a wet brush: "cowboy Rick" offered a brilliant sheen to the lid when we tried this.

The verdict: Urban Decay Naked Wild West palette

As with the other Naked palettes, the colour story works brilliantly.

Fans of the warm-toned brown eye will enjoy those shades, while the silver (yet warm) tone of "cowboy Rick" allows for a sparkly party eye too.

The formulas are excellent: easy to work with, long-lasting with a primer, and blendable.

Where a number of the Naked palettes tend to stick with one colour story, eg, Naked honey, which features warm browns, or Naked 3, which offers rosy neutrals, the greens in this one add a little more diversity to the shades and are a brave addition.

The mix of shades means you can play around with eye looks that little bit more than with a more neutral palette: perfect for some lockdown experimentation.

We also reviewed Urban Decay's Lash Freak mascara – here's how it went

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