We test out the latest palette from Urban Decay that’s all over Instagram

2 months ago 14

Spoiler: it’s a winner.

The makeup marketspace is inundated with eyeshadow palettes – at this point, if you’re into makeup, do you even need another one?

Probably not. But there’s a reason eyeshadow palette releases are so hotly anticipated. We want them because they’re fun and can be inspiring depending on the colour story and textures offered.

One palette series that dominates the beauty scene is the Urban Decay Naked line. The first one dropped in 2010 and it went on to achieve cult status.

Still today the brand is churning out new versions that are highly rated by beauty editors and consumers alike, though some have done better than others over the years.

In that time, the eyeshadow market has filled itself with increasingly sophisticated brands and formulas, so our options are getting better.

This why we’ve decided to put the new Urban Decay Naked Wild West palette to the test to see how it stacks up.

We’ve got a makeup-obsessed writer (who is definitely not at MUA standard) to create different looks with it to see its versatility and what a regular beauty consumer can realistically do with it – let’s face it, most of us don’t have the skill to recreate promo photos.

Look one

When you open the palette the first shade you notice is Bud, so I centered the look around this.

Taking Nudie on a brush I applied it to my crease with ease, then I used Tex on the outer corner to deepen it.

Using my finger I applied Bud over the whole lid then finished by tapping Cowboy Rick into the centre of the lid (to draw more light there and add dimension) and to the inner corners.

Finally I took Tex and Bud onto my lower lashes with a fine brush.

Tex had some fallout so it’s a shade I’d use before applying base makeup. Bud worked best with a finger, as do most metallic shimmer shades.

After some fussing around with Tex (by getting the colour even and cleaning up the fallout), I was happy with the look – though it definitely made for a dramatic face for a lockdown walk in the park.

Look two

Browns and golds are much more in my comfort zone. I started with Spur this time for the crease but found it didn’t show that well on my skin, so went back to Nudie.

I then lightly used Ghost Town to warm up and deepen the edges with a brush, applying it to the outer and inner corners of the lid as I was going for a halo eye effect (when you apply a different colour to the centre of your lid).

I used Hold ‘Em on the centre but it wasn’t as buildable as I’d like. It’s a semi-transparent topper shade so will never have full opacity, but I really had to layer the product and even then the result is subtle.

Finally I used Whiskey to line my top and bottom lashes, slightly diffusing it out for a wing. I like this for an ‘everyday’ vibe.

Look three

Similar to look two in terms of bronzy warmth, but I wanted to try using the blue shades in a less obvious way.

I applied Rustler all over the lid with my fingers then tapped Bud into the inner corners and lined my lower lash line with Tex. I think if the blue tones intrigue but scare you, this is a way in.

Rustler is my favourite shade used so far – it had full opacity in one swipe and took all of eight seconds to apply.

Look four

I wanted to move away from the warm tones here. I used Standoff over the whole lid as a base to begin with.

Then I used Laredo, first with my fingers to pack it on then with a brush to diffuse the edges above my crease. I wasn’t excited to use this purple-taupe, but I loved how it looked on.

I then used Pony Up very lightly on the outer corners to create dimension then as a liner with better results than Whiskey, given that its darker.

Lastly I went in with Cowboy Rick again, but this time applied it with a damp flat brush to the left eye and dry on the right – you can see the difference. I’d definitely stick to using this shade damp going forward.


After using all the shades in the palette multiple times, I think this is the strongest addition to the Naked line that Urban Decay have released in years. For me it peaked at their Naked Heat release in 2017, but this has firmly topped that.

For the first time the brand have made the palette entirely vegan due to a change in the dyes used – this hasn’t come at the expense of the pigmentation you’d normally get from the Urban Decay formula and it’s allowed a wider range of consumers to use the product.

My first criticism is that some matte shades give a lot of kickback (especially Tex) so start with a lighter hand than you think is necessary when dipping your brush into the pans and tap off the excess. It’s always easier to build up than it is to knock back.

However, I do think this is common with Urban Decay palettes and not due to the dye change. Teal shades are notoriously hard to produce well (even my Natasha Denona Gold Palette struggles on the teal shade and it’s double the price point).

The other issue is that the two glittery topper shades, Hold ‘Em and Cowboy Rick, are a little lackluster. They show up and adhere far better to the eye when applied wet.

But the real winner for me with this palette is its versatility.

The Naked palettes in recent years have been hinged on one colour (Naked Cherry, for example) meaning that you’re somewhat limited as to the variety of looks you can create.

For this reason I’ve thought them to be more suited to makeup collectors as an addition palette than for those who use have a smaller curated set of cosmetics.

Whereas here, there are neutral shades, a couple of pops of colour, a mix of textures (matte, metallic and glitter) and a good range from light to dark tones (which is often amiss in palettes).

In those tone differences, there are warm and cool colours. Palettes of the moment often swing one way or another – you don’t get both.

Admittedly this does sit more on the warm side, but Cowboy Rick, Laredo and Pony Up give some balance. They aren’t the most exciting shades in the palette, but don’t underestimate them.

Is this the most original colour story out there? No. But it is a user friendly release? Yes.

Judging by the Instagram posts I’ve seen, I think beauty journalists have been more impressed by this than they wanted to be – because it’s not the most inspired shade range.

But oftentimes simpler makeup is what we gravitate towards day-to-day, and here is where the Naked Wild West palette sings.

Urban Decay Naked Wild West, £45, can be purchased online now.

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