In my early teenage years (and actually still a bit now) third-wave ska was my thing. While the majority of my pals were more into the indie-rock scene, Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish and of course, No Doubt’s The Tragic Kingdom were my tracks of choice. So I have a huge space in my heart for Gwen Stefani. When Urban Decay announced their collaboration with Gwen, I kinda knew that I was going to buy it regardless. Luckily the first product to be launched, the 15-shade eyeshadow palette, is beautiful. It retails at £40, I purchased it from Feel Unique during the sale so received 10% off – not a huge discount, but when you’re meant to be saving for a house every little counts.
The packaging is super luxe. I love the graphic print on the outer box and the black, white and gold colour scheme. It’s a heavy plastic with a really strong magnetic closure. It has a full size mirror on the inside with a nice nod to the No Doubt song. It is a pretty thick and heavy palette so although it is sturdy it’s not a great option for travelling due to it’s bulk (in my opinion).
Unlike palettes like the Naked series there’s no brush included in this one and so no space in the palette to store it. I actually like this. Although the brushes included in other UD sets are really good quality I always think they’re a bit of a waste of space in the palette in general.
As you can see the majority of the Gwen palette is neutral with a good range from light to dark and a couple of statement shades. 12 of the shades are new and named by Gwen and 3 are repeats. Skimp and Stark are both in the Naked 2 Basics palette (which I have) and Blackout is in Naked2 (which I don’t have) as well as being available individually.
If I’m being really nit-picky, it’s weird that the names are printed above the shadow when normally they’re below.
Sorry, for the crappy swatches but hopefully you get the idea. Blonde is a pale beige with a subtle pink iridescent shift. Bathwater is a pearly pale gold shimmer. Skimp is an almost matte pale beige with the slighest hint of a satiny shine. Steady is a gorgeous rosy-gold shimmer. Punk is a matte reddish-brown that would be a great shade for lining or creating an interesting smoky look.
On the middle row, Baby is a metallic rose. Anaheim is a matte, cool, light brown. Stark is a matte beige. Zone is a mid-toned brown, also matte. Serious is a really unusual grey with a very subtle pink pearl that just lifts it.
On to the last row and Pop is a sheer sparkly champagne, Harajuku is a cool toned pink metallic. Danger is a really intense navy metallic. 1987 is a yellow gold metallic with much better pay-off than my picture shows. Blackout is a black matte.
The biggest disappointment of the palette is Pop. This is a really grainy glitter that has a tonne of fallout, much like Midnight Cowboy Rides Again and one that I probably won’t use even though it looks lovely in the pan. Harajuku also feels quite stiff in the pan and has a much more sheer pay off than one might expect. However, for a bright pink this is probably a good thing! The rest are all buttery soft, high quality shadows. The overall feel is a very wearable, neutral look with a couple of pops of colour and good smoky options. I also think that the navy Danger and the gold 1987 are still quite wearable shades, even if they seem a bit bold at first.
I know that a lot of people were surprised at how neutral the palette was, but this actually suits Gwen’s make up look perfectly – girl is all about the lipsticks! Overall, I think this is a beautiful, collectable palette and I am super happy to have it in my collection.
This palette is limited edition so snap it up quickly if you fancy it. Urban Decay will be adding to the Gwen Stefani collection with lipsticks and lip pencils, a blush palette (amazing) and a brow kit (strictly for blondies I think). The eyeshadow palette came with a set of 4 samples from the upcoming lipstick range so I’m excited to try those out. I will report back with my thoughts very soon.
What do you think of the UDxGwen offering? Were you a noughties ska kid too? I’m off to download No Doubt’s greatest hits now…