I have been anticipating the release of this palette for what seems like forever. Urban Decay are doing this sneaky thing where they send their new releases to US bloggers and YouTubers who release a video a day or two before the products come to stores. Cue the mass hysteria and products selling out instantly in the US. It’s a great marketing scheme if you ask me but sadly, the same doesn’t happen for us in the UK and Ireland. We watch the videos, share the excitement and then have to wait months for the release here. That is exactly what happened with the Ultimate Basics, in fact, it still isn’t available on our shores until the 29th. Lucky for me – I am currently working at Urban Decay in Dublin Airport where it miraculously appeared a few days ago without our prior knowledge. The beauty junkie in me meant that I had to buy it straight away.
Now obviously as I have only owned this for a few days, I can’t give you a thorough, in-depth review but I did want to write a first impressions piece for those who are tossing up whether or not to pick it up on the 29th. I have included lots of swatch photos, as usual, but as someone who is a massive fan of matte eyeshadows myself, I decided to try to find dupes for the shadows too. I think for some shoppers, the ‘another matte palette?!’ bell is going to ring so I thought the best thing to do was to try to find similar shades among my collection to see if this is worth having, or too similar to palettes we already own! I will also write a follow up piece once I have had time to play with the palette some more and give you my final verdict along with looks etc. like I usually do with palette reviews.
Urban Decay claim that the Naked Ultimate Basics palette is full of 12 all-new, matte neutrals. Every shade is not only new but exclusive to the palette also. The palette is said to suit all skin tones, have a range of cool and warm colours and be highly requested by Urban Decay junkies.
Firstly, I adore the packaging. It is stunning and as I show it to customers in work, it is eye-catching enough to herald a response from almost everyone. It contains a full size mirror, a mini double-ended brush and the twelve shadows. I should point out that the 12 pan Naked palettes and the 6 pan Naked Basics palettes contain 1.3g of each eyeshadow while the Ultimate Basics contains 1.2g of each eyeshadow. While it isn’t a major difference, it is something to note! I am also a huge fan of the mirror as it stands up by itself and is a great size – very handy on the go!
The double-ended brush looks tiny and cute but is actually functional too. While I’m not a huge fan of the brushes included in Urban Decay palettes usually, they are some of the best from any brand. The fluffy ends are usually a little too floppy and don’t blend as well as I like but they definitely work if you’re in a pinch.
The other end of this brush is a tiny smudger that is perfect for the lower lash line or detailed crease work. I could actually see myself getting some use out of this one!
Now on to the shadows! As usual for my swatches, the swatch on the left is one swipe to showcase pigmentation and on the right is the shadow built up to show the true colour.
The first shade in the palette is described as a light nude demi-matte.
While heavily marketing this as an all-matte palette, the first shade is a complete cop out. I don’t know what they think demi-matte means but this is somewhere between a strong satin and a subtle pearl. I’m not complaining – I like a shimmery inner corner highlight and it works nicely on the brow bone too, especially in contrast with an all-matte eye look. It has, however, quite strong sheen-wise so I know this won’t be for everybody – particularly those looking for all matte shadows! I, personally, think this is a nice addition and have been reaching for it quite a bit. I didn’t bother to include dupes for this as it barely shows up on my skin in photographs.
This is described as a soft pink-nude matte.
I swatched all of these shadows for the very first time for these photographs and with this being the first proper coloured eyeshadow I swatched, I was very disappointed with the pigmentation. It takes quite a lot of building to get any colour payoff but the colour is pretty and a good staple. I can see myself using this to buff out the very outer edges of eyeshadow but if you’re looking for bold colour intensity, this isn’t the one for you.
While they may not have the exact same tone, it was pretty easy to find similar shades to this. It is a pretty generic non-descript colour and I’m sure you have a dupe in your collection.
This is described as a light taupe-brown matte.
To me, this is a slightly deeper version of Nudie with slightly less pink to it, although this has much more impressive pigmentation. Again this is a good transition shade or one to buff out the edges of other shadows. It is a great staple to have in any palette and I can see myself getting a lot of use out of it. I do question the need for Commando and Nudie though. One would definitely suffice.
I couldn’t find a close dupe for this amongst my vast eyeshadow collection. It is deeper than most of the similar shades I could find and the others all seemed to lean a little peachier.
This is described as a pale brown matte.
This is much cooler in tone than Nudie and Commando, and again, is slightly darker. This is also a staple shade, perfect for chucking in the crease or blending out. I do feel like this works in the palette even though we have Commando as one is warm and one is cool but I do still think Nudie is pointless.
When I saw this, I immediately thought of the Naked Basics palette but as you can see there is no dead-on dupe for this.
This is described as a medium pink-taupe matte.
I would say it is a light muted mauve. If I saw this shadow standing alone, it probably wouldn’t appeal to me but I know myself that I get use out of shades like this alongside red and purple tones. Again, it is another sort of crease or buffing shade but it is very pretty and more unique than the rest.
The closest shade I could find to this is Nooner from the Naked 3 palette but Nooner is lighter and pinker. I actually think this photograph makes them look closer than they do in person! I definitely think this is an unusual shade.
This is described as a reddish brown matte.
It is a deep purple-toned burgundy-brown. The pigmentation is phenomenal and the colour is beautiful. This is my favourite shadow in the whole palette. To be honest, Urban Decay have been lacking an intense dark brown in their collection for a while and this is one of the nicest ones I’ve ever used from any brand.
While I found quite a few colours that were close, I think you can tell that Lethal is so intense compared to the rest. In terms of how it performs, I definitely don’t have another shadow that comes close.
This is described as a pale yellow matte.
This is a bit of an odd one as I imagine this is supposed to be the matte base shade in the palette but it is very yellow. This is definitely one for medium to deeper skin tones. Even though it doesn’t work as a base shadow for my pale skin, I tried it as a lid colour but still find it too yellow. This is a bit of a miss for me – while the shadow itself is soft and has good pigmentation, it just isn’t to my taste. Again, I didn’t bother to dupe this one as it doesn’t photograph too well.
This is described as a burnt orange matte.
This is the one shade in the palette everybody seems to be going crazy for and for good reason, it is a beaut. The burnt orange colour is wearable and works amazing for the Autumnal looks I’ve been seeing lately. It was practically made for blue eyes as it will really make them stand out. I expected this to be the standout shade for me in the palette and it does come second after Lethal but I actually have accumulated so many oranges lately that this doesn’t wow me as much as I expected it to. It’s still a stunner thought and I know others will love it.
As you can see here, it is little deeper and browner than some of the other oranges in my collection which I think adds to its appeal as it is easier to wear for those who fear brighter shades.
This is described as a medium warm brown matte.
This is a gorgeous medium brown with a yellow tone. This will probably be one of my most worn shades in the palette. You could pair it with either of my favourites, Lethal or Extra Bitter. You could wear it alone. You could pop it in the crease. This is a must-have.
When I saw it, I immediately thought of Makeup Geek’s Latte but Faith has much more warmth to it and is better pigmented too. This looks like quite an odd selection of swatches as nothing comes close to being a dupe but they all looked very similar in the pan, then swatched completely different.
This is described as a rich neutral brown matte.
It is a darker version of Faith with the same tone. I quite like when palettes contain light and dark versions of the same shadows as it means pairing them is a no-brainer and it makes for a really easy blend. While the duo don’t blow my mind in terms of originality, they are absolute staples and perfect for throwing on when you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to give it any thought.
Again, I couldn’t find a dupe for this even though it looks like a pretty average brown. I think this photograph really showcases the velvety texture of the UD shadow versus those from other brands.
This is described as a smoky gray matte.
I have to say that I never use any of the greys in the Naked palettes. They seem so random against a background of browns and taupes but they do add another level to the palette and give you something completely different to work with. It takes this palette from day to night in a second and makes it ideal for travelling with.
I also couldn’t find a dupe for this particular grey which again, is always a bonus.
This is described as a warm black matte.
A good black is hard to find and I have been disappointed by so many blacks in so many palettes that I don’t ever have expectations any more. Well, Blackjack proved me wrong. It is deep, dark, luscious and beautiful.
When I read the description of this as a ‘warm’ black, I wondered what on earth that was supposed to mean but when you see it alongside other blacks, you can see the difference. I love that although Urban Decay have created many variations of black in many different palettes, that they are, in fact, different! Also, look at how the other blacks show up the Inglot shade which I waxed lyrical about for years as being the ultimate black – eh, hardly!
Overall, this palette is gorgeous. If you are a fan of mattes, you need this and I’m sure you have probably already made up your mind to buy it. If you like the variety of mattes, shimmers and glitters that the other Naked palettes offer, then you probably won’t see the appeal of this. Several times I have revealed this palette to customers with a lusty ‘tah-dah!’ only to have them shrug and tell me they like shimmers so if that’s you, you obviously won’t like this. If you’re looking for a matte palette though, this is a must-have.
I always say for a palette to be all-inclusive it needs a base shadow, a matte crease colour and a black or very dark shade. This has a variety of shades perfect for the crease in a range of tones. It has both a black and a dark brown. It has Lethal and Extra Bitter which are beautiful and add a variety that the smaller Naked Basics don’t offer. The addition of the grey also means you can create a great smokey eye with this. Despite the fact that this doesn’t have a good base shade (unless you have darker skin), I think this is a brilliant palette and perfect for travel. You can create such a range of looks with it.
The other thing I think is worth noting is the quality of the shadows themselves. They are velvety, pigmented (with the exception of Nudie) and blend smoothly. In fact, as I swatched them next to shadows from other brands, I couldn’t get over how incredible the texture was, making shadows I thought I adored look poor and chalky in comparison!
In all, I can tell this is a palette I am going to get a lot of use out of for a long time. If mattes are your thing, I’d skip over the two small Naked Basics palettes and pick this one up instead. In fact, this is my favourite of all of the palettes in the Naked line. This is definitely worth a look. It will cost €47 and will be available at Urban Decay counters from the 29th of September.
What do you think? Is this one for you?
Are you a fan of the dupe photos?
Disclaimer: No press samples were featured.
No affiliate links were used.