Artist/designer collaborations with beauty brands are fun (and smart tactics to get fans to buy), but they usually don’t excite me to the point that I buy the products immediately. My reaction was very different, however, when I first heard about the Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Palette. I was mentally jumping up and down and screaming like a tween at a One Direction concert.
Gwen Stefani has been the personification of one of my badass #beautygoals since I was a wee little thing watching MTV at my aunt’s house. I viewed her as this beautiful, glamorous, captivating front woman who sang and had crazy hair and outfits sometimes, but no matter what, she always projected sweetness and poise.
Although she and I couldn’t look less alike, I’ve always admired Gwen’s beauty game. She’s in her forties but looks much younger, and instead of baking in the sun or excessively self-tanning like other celebs, she embraces her paleness, and it really shows in her skin's radiance. And although she’s had the blonde hair/red lip thing going on for years now, I actually appreciate it because it shows that she knows herself and know what looks flattering on her. (Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it).
So for me, the Urban Decay/Gwen Stefani collaboration just makes sense. Urban Decay is a really edgy, fun brand that always ends up taking my money because they make really good-quality products. There’s a reason their stuff keeps popping up in my tutorials! Combining my love for Gwen Stefani and the quality of UD shadows, I knew I had to break my palette no-buy rule this season to purchase this product.
Some Background on the UD | Gwen Stefani Palette
Unlike some artist collaborations that basically entail the artist slapping his/her name on a random product, Gwen was actually very involved in the process of creating this palette; according to Urban Decay, she chose everything from the shades to the packaging.
Of the 15 shades included, 12 are new ones created just for this palette that Gwen always wished she had in her collection, and three are existing shades from the UD shadow collection that she liked.
The palette has gold, black and white packaging on the cove,r and it is very sturdy, which gives it a lux feeling. It uses a magnetic enclosure to stay shut, which is helpful since I sometimes drop my palette and break the little part in the middle that you need to keep it closed.
On the inside, there’s a full-length mirror, and a selection of neutral shades, plus a few jewel tones that will make you swoon.
Plus, it also comes with some Gwen Stefani lipstick collection samples!
If you’ve been following Gwen Stefani’s beauty game over the years, you’ll know these are mostly shades that are literal interpretations of how to get her look. She either goes for a neutral eye with black liner (paired with bold, bright red lips) or a smoky eye with toned down lips. So if you’re trying to emulate her look, you will definitely be able to do so only using the colors from this palette.
Here’s a rundown of the shades as described by Urban Decay. As you can tell, the ones she chose are all named after something personal to her, which is a nice touch. Also, note: the No Doubt quote/song title on the mirror that reads “Magic’s in the makeup!”
- Blonde (Gwen’s usual hair color, duh!): pale beige with pink iridescent shift
- Bathwater (a No Doubt song): pale beige with gold pearl
- Skimp (a Gwen pick from the existing UD shadow range): pale nude satin
- Steady (a reference to the No Doubt album “Rock Steady”): medium rose with metallic gold shift
- Punk (the music genre she first got involved in): Reddish brown matte
- Baby (A nod to her fashion line L.A.M.B.): cool metallic rose
- Anaheim (Gwen’s hometown): light taupe-brown matte
- Stark (a Gwen pick from the existing UD shadow range): nude pink matte
- Zone (an homage to the song “Danger Zone”): medium brown matte
- Serious (A Gwen song during her solo career): smoky gray with iridescent floating pearl
- Pop (Gwen’s current music genre): pale coral with iridescent sparkle
- Harajuku (one of Gwen’s style influences. Also, remember that phase?): metallic blue-pink with iridescent micro-shimmer
- Danger (who doesn’t want a bit of danger?): deep metallic royal blue with blue micro-sparkle
- 1987 (the year No Doubt came to be): bright metallic yellow-gold
- Blackout (a Gwen pick from the existing UD shadow range): blackest black matte
The colors are mostly warm-leaning, and all the neutrals might spell BORING to some, but I find the offerings to be very wearable and practical. I would use most of these shades on a daily basis and hit the pan within a couple of months. Plus, the different finishes—like metallic, pearl, iridescent and matte—make the neutrals more interesting in my opinion.
I found all the shades to be very blendable, and the nude mattes—Anaheim, Stark, Zone and Punk—were particularly impressive since they were so creamy. The shades seem to be best suited for doing a bright lid, contoured crease plus highlighter look.
As for the jewel tones, I found Harajuku much softer and therefore much more wearable when applied. It’s quite pretty. I honestly don’t see myself wearing Danger any time soon, but it is a nice shade if you like more daring looks.
My favorite shades from this palette—it’s hard to choose, ugh—are probably Anaheim (as a crease shade or blending shade), Zone (as a crease or blending shade), Baby (as a mobile lid shade), Steady (as a mobile lid shade), 1987 (such a pretty gold highlight), and Blonde and Bathwater (as highlighters). I realize this was likely unhelpful since I chose so many favorites.
The pigmentation ranged from good to excellent, which is pretty much what you’d expect from Urban Decay (Naked palette lover here!). If you glance at the palette, the shades look similar, but as you can tell from the swatches, the finishes make them quite different when applied to the skin.
As for longevity, I never wear eyeshadow without primer so when I wore these, the shadows managed to last all day on me. No surprises there.
My Final Thoughts
Overall, this is a very high-quality palette in terms of pigmentation and blendability. I didn’t deal with any dryness or fall out while using the shadows. If you work with neutrals a lot, you’ll likely get a lot of use out of this palette.
As we speak, I’m contemplating a different combination of colors to wear on my eyelids today. Also, expect to see this palette making frequent appearances in my future tutorials!
- So what you waitin' for? Will you be purchasing the Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Palette?
- Anyone interested in seeing additional looks using these colors?