My Newest Vice: Urban Decay’s Delicious Distortion

Published on March 8, 2018 by   ·   1 Comment

So obviously Urban Decay didn’t do it first, but they sure as hell did it best.

UD 01

I’m talking about their newish Distortion palette.  If you haven’t checked it out yet, it’s available through Urban Decay or Sephora (and other places as well I’m sure, but those are my two go-tos!), and it’s 15 shades of fabulous, pigmented eyeshadow.  But rather than just being another collection of shades around a theme, this one has 10 standard shadows and 5 “shifter” shades that can be used alone for an out of this world duochrome effect, or layered over other shadows to transform them.

That’s the part that isn’t new.  Anyone who has blended eyeshadow for two seconds can tell you that you can blend a shimmer or a duochrome on top of another color to get a totally custom look.  Kat Von D’s Alchemist palette, which was originally promoted as a highlighter palette, is actually just 4 small duochrome shades that work best when paired with other eyeshadows.  The colors in the top row of this palette could easily supe that palette plus one, and the price isn’t that much more, so if you haven’t laid your coin down for Alchemist, you may want to give this baby a chance.  The pans are similar in size, and you get 15 instead of 4.  For $48, instead of $32.  I didn’t do the math, but you can do the math – that’s definitely a better deal!

KVD Alchemist

What I love about this palette, and why I think they are actually doing this trend in a way that hasn’t really been done before, is the way that they are not only packaging the regular shades and the shifter shades all together, but they have laid out the palette to give you not only 5 cohesive color stories, but also 4 alternative stories for those who like to get daring with their colors.

For all of my swatches below, I put down a layer of Urban Decay Primer Potion in the Anti-Aging formula.  From left to right I swatched the bottom row shade, the middle row shade, and then the top row shifter shade.  These were all done as finger swatches.  Then to the right of that I made two circles, bottom row shade on top and middle row shade below, with my fingers and then used a fluffy brush from Medusa’s Makeup to blend the shifter shade on top of each color.  I cleaned the brush between shades with my Color Switch pad, and occasionally I would finesse the shades with a little finger action.

UD 02
The first trio consists of bronze Territorial and orange-copper First Offence, and you’ve got ultra yellow-gold Bleach to power it up.  Bleach is pretty pigmented, and you can see on the right that it almost overpowers the shadows underneath it.  I think this combo is absolutely gorgeous and I can’t wait to wear this with a squash-colored liquid lipstick (I’m thinking either Haphazard from Impulse Cosmetics or Squash from Lime Crime).  The pigmentation is everything I expect from their shimmer shadows.

UD 03
Blackout is a pretty fantastic matte black shade.  I sometimes find UD’s matte shades to lack blendability and staying power, but this one seems to have a great, non-patchy formula.  Hot Box is a gorgeous deep forest green.  Shifty is a white based shifter shade with bright green duochrome.  DO I even need to say it?  I love this combination.  It’s not my favorite, mostly because I expected to love the green, and I think pairing the green shade with the black isn’t exactly daring.  I get that this is supposed to have the potential to be a “one and done” kind of palette, but does anyone really need another matte black in their collection?  Regardless, I really do love this combo and I’m sure I’ll get plenty of use out of it.

UD 04
Smoke is a pretty light base for this, but I love the light taupe paired with that striking sapphire blue!  So gorgeous!  It’s very Atlantic coast New England snob.  5.0 is stunning, and I think Space is a gorgeous light blue duochrome.  Over Old Smoke it is FIRE!  I love those two shades together!  It’s sort of like MAC’s blue brown pigment but with a lighter and more striking blue.  This is probably my favorite combo of the palette.

UD 05
Ready for some plum-purples?  Shag is the lightest of the bottom row shades, and I think this trio would be the hardest to use as a complete eye look.  If you love a light combo you’re good to go, but I always like to have a deeper shade to sarken and create more dimension.  But you do you, boo!  Shag has some silvery tones that I think pair well with Rogue’s deep purple and Mind Game is a lovely pinkish purple duochrome.  This one looked really pink to me…until I swatched the pink duochrome in the next trio.  It’s not very unique and I wonder if maybe they could have done a peachy-orange duochrome trio instead?  But I suppose purples are a staple of most people’s makeup (not mine, but I know they are super popular) so I guess it’s the obvious choice.  Although how how would it have been to have a 6th trio?!  A rainbow of duochromes!  Spectrum palette 2.0!  Shag and Mind Game don’t really do anything but look sort of muddy…well, sparkly mud, but you see what I mean, right?  The Rogue and Mind Game combo is much more striking.

UD 06
Ready for some pinks?  Velvet is sort of a brown, with some pinkish tones.  It’s a unique shade that I really like.  If I searched my collection hard enough, I might find something like it, but nothing jumps to mind.  And with Blur over top?  Gorgeous!  Trash Talk is a nice medium pink and I love this combo.  It’s sort of neutral and won’t scare off beginners, but I think you could really play it up and make it fabulous!  It’s girly and sexy without being over the top.  Another great combo.

In addition to the trios, the palette also lays out the trios next to each other so they can connect contrasting shades diagonally.  There are 4 diagonal trios:

UD 07
Top Row: Bleach, Hot Box, and Old Smoke.
2nd Row: Territorial, Hot Box, Space
3rd Row: Old Smoke, Rogue, Blur
Bottom Row: Space, Rogue, Velvet

These are combos that are a little more adventurous with color but show you ways that you can blend shadows outside of their coordinated trios.  Obviously you can use any of the shadows with any of the others – it’s all about finding colors that work together for the look you want to create.  What this layout does is help give inspiration and help people who might be less experienced with non-coordinated color combos step out side of their comfort zone.

Let us know in the comments: what do you think about the shifters in this palette?  Is it a super fun way to package shadows, or does it feel like a gimmick?  Are you generally a fan of Urban Decay’s palettes?  Do you prefer their singles?  If UD isn’t your go to for shimmer shades, what brand do you prefer?

This palette was one of the bigger releases around the holidays when Urban Decay used to always give us a Vice palette.  No shade to those palettes (I have Vice 2-4 and I generally like them!), but this one is a much more coherent collection and I think they did a great job of integrating the duochrome highlights in a way that really makes sense and is accessible for people at all skill levels.  Urban Decay created the standard collections for people looking to learn about creating nude looks with their Naked palettes, and though they’ve always been known for vivid, daring colors they’ve never before created such a user-friendly collection of shades.

And that holographic packaging?  I live, I die, I’m resurrected, and I love again.

Now Go Forth & Get Painted!

Here’s a first impressions and tutorial from Phyrra Nyx, who reviews cruelty free beauty.  Check out this video and her YouTube channel!

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Readers Comments (1)
  1. hemanth says:

    Oh yeah, I love Option #2!! I swatched a bit last night paperhelp

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