Firstly, I know there are dozens of reviews around at the minute and I wanted to do something different, so I've made a playlist of all the songs that inspired the palette (plus a few of my own faves) for you to pop on while you have a read. Those of us of a certain vintage will remember October 1995 as the month that Tragic Kingdom was released - that was my first experience of Gwen Stefani and my first year in Secondary School. That album was a huge part of my new friendships and transition from child to teenager (that and Alanis Morrissette's Jagged Little Pill ) so I've included a few songs from it.
Now - on to the palette. When this landed on my hall mat I nearly had a conniption, I couldn't believe it. I've actually never owned any Urban Decay palette at all, I tried my first items from the brand this year. I'm incredibly grateful for the chance to own something like this, so thank you!
Gwen had a say in every aspect of this product, down to the little "The Magic's in the Makeup" on the mirror, and the hot pink inside the box. Each eyeshadow is either a favourite of Gwen's, or inspired by something in her life.
The colours on the packaging were chosen because of Gwen's "love of black and white graphic prints and antique gold accents".
The palette feels sturdy and heavy. It has a mirror the full size of the palette that has "Magic's in the Makeup" printed in the corner (the title of a No Doubt song).
The palette contains 12 exclusive shades and 3 of Gwen's favourite Urban Decay shades. There's a mixture of matte and shimmer.
- Blonde (because Gwen is) - a pale beige with pink iridescent shift. This is a very, very subtle shade that works as a base.
- Bathwater (a No Doubt song) - a pale beige with gold pearl. More pigmented and more noticeable than Blonde, but still not a strong enough colour to work on its own.
- Skimp (one of Gwen's favourite UD shades) - pale nude Satin, a great all-over colour.
- Steady (after the No Doubt album Rock Steady) - medium rose with metallic gold shift. I wouldn't have described this as rose at all, to me it's more of a light copper.
- Punk (after the genre of music that Gwen started off in) - a reddish brown matte, I've been wearing this a lot in the crease or on the lower lashline.
- Baby (an homage to her fashion label L.A.M.B) - a cool metallic rose, gorgeous all over the lid.
- Anaheim (where Gwen grew up) - light taupe brown matte, a really handy shade to own, great for daytime.
- Stark (another of Gwen's favourite UD shades) - nude pink matte, a warm nude that makes a nice base colour.
- Zone (after the song Danger Zone) - medium brown matte, again another lovely daytime shade. I've been using this one a lot.
- Serious (another of Gwen's songs) - smoky grey with "iridiscent floating pearl" - this is where the palette starts to cross over to night time for me, it's a strong grey shade that's really pigmented and blends well.
- Pop (like her current music) - a pale coral with iridescent sparkle. There's a fair bit of fallout from this one, but it looks great when patted over the lid.
- Harajuku (one of her style influences) - a metallic blue pink with iridescent micro shimmer. This is the one that draws your eye in when you open the palette - but it's not as scary on as it looks.
- Danger (because we like a little danger) - a deep metallic royal blue with blue micro sparkle. This is a great alternative to black or grey for creating a smokey eye, and I'm looking forward to experimenting with it more.
- 1987 (the year No Doubt formed) - a bright metallic yellow gold that's perfect for Christmas.
- Blackout (Gwen's favourite black shade) - UD's staple matte black eyeshadow. Black eyeshadow has always scared me a bit so I haven't really used this as an eyeshadow yet, but I have used it with a liner brush on the lashline.
Contrary to what I thought when I initially saw this palette on the press release, it's not full of mad colours. Apart from the last four shades, it's a really wearable nude palette that's perfect for everyday. The addition of the last four takes it into night time and makes it a really nice palette that's adaptable to suit most situations. There are mattes and shimmers, shades that can be used wet or dry, as shadows or liners, and it's really pretty. The packaging is gorgeous and feels more expensive than the €46 price tag. I actually ordered another one from Debenhams as a Christmas present.
The lighter shades won't be to everyone's taste - they are very subtle and not as eye-popping as they might appear in the pan. Some of them reminded me very much of Stila's iconic Kitten, so I've done a quick comparison:
Here's a look I did using the first three colours on the bottom row. They're only as scary as you want them to be! The pink and blue blended into a lovely purple shade. Also I can't do eyeliner for shite.
When you buy the palette, you also get some samples of Gwen's forthcoming lipstick range with Urban Decay. There appear to be a number of different finishes, but I haven't tried these out yet, I don't want to waste them. As I wear them, I'll take photographs and pop them up on my facebook or instagram.