Urban Decay recently released a super, super pricey value set for the 2016 holidays called “the Mother Lode” The Mother Lode contains 68 full-sized single eyeshadows at 0.05 ounces each, a total of 3.4 ounces of eyeshadow. It retails for the SERIOUSLY WHAT THE HELL price of $595. One of the most common comments I’ve seen about this set is what a “totally good deal” it supposedly is. Unfortunately, I don’t think that the math supports that conclusion.
An Urban Decay eyeshadow single retails for $18 for 0.05 ounces ($360 per ounce), so, using single eyeshadow prices, the Mother Lode contains $1224 worth of eyeshadows. The Mother Lode comes out to $175 per ounce. By that logic, it sounds like a good deal.
The problem is that eyeshadow singles are usually a total rip-off in terms of price. However, there is one benefit to buying a single eyeshadow: you can make sure that you buy the exact shade that you want instead of the shades picked out by whoever-the-fuck designed the palette. You pay extra for that privilege. However, the Mother Lode doesn’t offer that option. Thus, I don’t think it’s fair to use the prices of eyeshadow singles to calculate the value of the Mother Lode. I think that a palette is much more reasonable comparison.The Urban Decay Naked Palettes retail for $52 for 0.6 ounces of eyeshadow. That’s $86.66 per ounce. I chose this as a benchmark because it’s the quintessential Urban Decay eyeshadow palette. If the Mother Lode was being sold, ounce per ounce, at the same price as the Naked Palette, it would cost only $294.64. That’s $300.36 less than the price of the Mother Lode.

The new Urban Decay Vice 2 Palette is $59 for 0.6 ounces or $98.33 per ounce. At that price per ounce, the Mother Lode would cost $334.33.

The Urban Decay Ammo palette is $34 for 0.3 ounces or $113.33 per ounce. At that price per ounce, the Mother Lode would cost $385.32.

No matter what palette you pick for comparison, it is clear that the Mother Lode is overpriced.

Presumably, Urban Decay priced the Mother Lode so high because they wanted to avoid devaluing the cost of their single eyeshadows. However, the price borders on the ludicrous, no matter what Sephora and Urban Decay try to tell you about the “discount” you are receiving. I’m forced to conclude that those who buy this product for personal use (as opposed to, say, splitting the shadows to sell at profit) are people with more money than sense.


1. That’s ridiculous. I could never see myself dropping that much money in one go on makeup unless it was something like an airbrush. Especially not on Urban Decay. I like their products, but not that much.


2. Yeah. Urban Decay eyeshadows are fine, but they definitely don’t blow me away.

3. I’ve had enough of UD’s glittery fallout to last me a lifetime. And I definitely have no desire to spend ~$600 on even MORE glittery fallout. I’m just gonna go hug my LORAC Pro Palette now.

4. LORAC Pro is my one true love. I wish they would make a “brights” version!

5. I am a huge Urban Decay fan, but what the hell! I feel like there’s absolutely no way anyone would be able to use every (or the majority) of these eyeshadows to justify a nearly $600 price tag! I admit that I’m totally guilty of buying makeup that I don’t use often, but dang mustang I just find it so hard to imagine someone needing 68 eyeshadows when in reality they’ll probably only use 13 of them!

6. If you want variety, buy a couple of palettes!

7. I can’t imagine anyone buying either that or the eyeliner vault unless they were a professional makeup artist who, for some reason, used a ton of UD products. and I love me some UD eyeshadow, glittery fallout and all. (the Lorac Pro palette is on my Christmas list, though. . . I’m getting old enough that the glittery eyeshadow is edging towards truly questionable taste.)

8. Even if you were a professional makeup artist, palettes seem like a better option to me!

9. Thanks so much for this! Seriously refreshing to see this view that breaks it down like this instead of comparing it to single e/s prices. My friend and I were saying that around 300 is a much more reasonable price and looks like we were on the same wave length! I can’t see anyone spending such an exuberant amount of money- especially when you consider that you don’t even know EXACTLY which eyeshadows you’re getting- right? I didn’t see a list anywhere, but I could be wrong! But moreso judging from the picture it seems like it contains soo many similar shades, would it even be REALLY worth it? I say no…

10. Not that I’m disputing your analysis, but there is a list of the shadows on the Sephora site. I won’t reproduce it here, because it’s loooooong, but it’s there!

11. Oh ok. Like I said I could be wrong. I couldn’t remember seeing one but I guess just none of the blogs I saw this on listed them.

12. I got bored! Here’s the list of all 68 shadows, in alphabetical order:

ABC Gum , ACDC , Asphyxia , Baked , Bender , Blackout , Blunt , Bordello , Buck , Bust , Busted , Chase , Chopper , Cobra , Darkhorse , Evidence , Fishnet , Flash , Foxy , Freelove , Gravity , Grifter , Gunmetal, Haight , Hijack , Kush , Last Call , Loaded , Lost , Maui Wowie , Midnight Cowboy , Midnight Cowboy Rides Again , Midnight Cowgirl , Midnight Rodeo , Mildew , Mushroom , Naked , Half Baked , Oil Slick , Peace , Pistol , Polyester Bride , Psychedelic Sister , Radium , Roach , Rockstar , S&M , Scratch , Secret Service , Sellout , Shattered , Sin , Smog , Snakebite , Snatch , Stray Dog , Suspect , SWF , Tease , Toasted , Twice Baked , Vanilla , Verve , Virgin , Woodstock , X , YDK , Zephyr

13. crap. my regular expressions parsing stuck an extra space in before every comma and I didn’t realize it until after it published.

14. I definitely agree with you on principle, but I do think there’s something to be said for the fact that all of the shadows are packaged (and can be transported) individually, or popped into the palette, which makes it a lot more versatile than the Naked palette, or especially something like the vice palette or those horrifyingly unwieldy books of shadows. You could also gift any shadows you don’t like, or sell them on e-bay, which wouldn’t be possible with a normal palette. I’m still not paying $600 for it, though.
What I don’t get is: if they were gonna go this route, and make it insanely expensive anyway, they should have done a set that had the entire permanent range of eyeshadows. THAT I could get excited about, because I’m just OCD enough to be obsessed with the idea of owning every shadow AND having a specially designed cased that has a special slot for each eyeshadow.

15. Yeah, I know. They have 78 colors listed on their website. YOU’RE SO CLOSE. JUST GO FOR THE GOLD.

16. All of the extra packaging for each individual shadow must factor into the cost too. Not that that justifies it for the consumer, but I’m guessing it makes it a little more expensive for UD. But yeah, really does not seem like a worthwhile purchase, and it’s nice to see it broken down like that, thanks.

17. I’m sure it is more expensive to have individual packaging, but I don’t think it justifies the cost.

18. hellocampcomfort.com, as always, I loved reading this analysis. I’ve been wondering something for a while. I know you put a ton of work into this blog, and it is seriously the first thing I go to when I have a new article in my feed. Would you be interested in setting up or sharing a wish list with readers who might feel inclined to send you a token of thanks? I reap so much useful knowledge from your posts, and you have influenced my makeup choice for the better in ways you wouldn’t believe. [If I want to shirk free will, I can also say you’ve basically cost me hundreds of dollars!] 🙂 But seriously, I feel prettier and happier every day because of the work you do here. I’d like to say thank you in a tangible way if you are amenable, and I imagine there are others who would as well. Thanks so much, and please keep writing!

19. You’re so sweet! I would feel ridiculous making a list of things that I wish people would send me, though, haha.

20. One thing I’ve seen on other blogs is a (discrete) link to an Amazon Wish List. You can add goodies from anywhere – doesn’t have to be Amazon. Or you could start two Pinterest boards – one for your favorite products, and one for those you plan to try. That way you aren’t “asking” for anything … you could even review products people send you. It’s an even exchange! (Not sure how you’d give private shipping info if you don’t use a PO Box, but I’m sure there’s a way.)

Anyway, I don’t want you to feel ridiculous. If the adoration of your fans is thanks enough, I am happy to add my voice. 😉

21. I agree a wish list would be a good way for readers to send you gifts or even things they might like a review on that you don’t really want to buy

22. Plus, when readers want you to review or compare specific products that you don’t already have, you could add them to the wish list 😉 seriously, how many of us have been like “I wish hellocampcomfort.com would review X! I wish I could just send her it to review”?

23. I agree with the price point on this palette. I love your blog!

24. Thanks!

25. Looks like it sold out on the first day of the VIB sale. Touché. Well played, Urban Decay.

26. I just bought my first UD eye shadows (Book of Shadows IV) a few weeks ago and honestly I was not real impressed with them. Thankfully I had some discounts at Ulta so I ended getting it for pretty cheap. I would never spend $600 on eye shadow!

27. I have to say I seriously debated buying this set. And I would like to think that I have more BRAINS than money. BUT…… I wanted 28 shades out of this set. That means that I would have had to pay $504US for each one on its own, or more likely $600+ since I am in Canada and they cost $22-$24 each here. IF I had bought the set in the USA during VIB it would have cost me $440 after discount and ebates. and I would have had 40 shadows to sell. If I sold them for $8 each I could have gotten back $320 bucks or at $10 each $400. I really came close.

I think that it could be a great deal if you wanted to split it four ways or something. But I guess I am certainly in the minority here. I did get the liner stash and am splitting it 50/50 with someone else.