Review: Urban Decay Naked Basics (Revisited)

Unless you are best hipster ever and have been reading my blog since literally day 1, you probably started reading in 2016. I started blogging on December 11, 2012 with the express purpose of keeping track of what I got from subscription boxes like Birchbox and Ipsy. I kind of assumed that no one would read my blog. I kept track of the things that I personally found to be interesting and important, but that’s it. Everything else just kind of fell out once I had an arena to express my (numerous) opinions.

One of my first product reviews (my third product review, if you want to get technical) was for Urban Decay’s Naked Basics palette. This review happened almost exactly a year ago (if you want, you can read it here). And let’s be real. It wasn’t the most helpful review. I still struggle with photos, but my photos at the time were substantially awful-er. I also didn’t provide a lot of information and didn’t show you how the shadows actually looked on my face.

A few days ago, a friend of mine requested some eyeshadow inspiration using Naked Basics. A re-visit seemed like the perfect way to close out the year: it’s a demonstration of my growth as a makeup blogger in 2016.

Naked Basics was released in late 2012 as a response to pleas by eyeshadow addicts who were begging for an all-matte Naked palette after its two glitter-bomb predecessors. Even in their “all matte” palette, Urban Decay eyeshadow formulators couldn’t help throwing in a non-matte shade because fuck it, they’re Urban Decay and they’ve got to be true to themselves.

The color scheme of Naked Basics is pretty bland but in a versatile kind of way. I kind of think of Naked Basics as the eyeshadow equivalent of a potato. You could live your life without potatoes, but they really come in handy. On their own, though, potatoes are not super interesting. They are great supporting characters– who doesn’t love big hunks of potato in their soup?!– but the thing about your food that is interesting is not going to be the potato itself. The potato just helps your soup (or whatever you made) be complete. Likewise, with Naked Basics, the thing about your makeup that will have a “wow” factor is probably not going to be your eyeshadow. You can blend it beautifully and it will look awesome, but there has to be something else in your look to create real visual interest. Combined with the rest of your makeup, Naked Basics can be used really effectively to create a beautiful look.
Naked Basics is half the size of a full-size Naked Palette, containing six 0.05 eyeshadows. The colors lean on the light side, which is nice for all of us who find that we use up a palette’s designated highlight at a much faster rate than the other shadows. It’s less helpful, though if your goal is to create as many diverse looks using the palette as possible since the three lightest shades are relatively similar.
The palette contains:

Venus, which is a creamy satin shade with a hint of a frosty finish. It’s the color of whipped cream with a ton of vanilla poured in. (Everything else is matte.)

Foxy is a soft, creamy yellow that is reminiscent of manila envelopes.

Walk of Shame is a pale, pink-ish beige.

Naked 2 is a very soft, brown-leaning taupe.

Faint is a medium-dark brown.

Crave is black.

Every single shade in this palette is creamy and richly pigmented.

Over the past year, this palette has been my staple for “professional” makeup. I wore these shadows on every job interview that I went on. Since someone did, in fact, hire me, I can only assume they didn’t shoot me in the foot too badly. Clearly I can attribute my new job to Urban Decay and not, like, my resume or some bullshit like that.

For this post, I did three looks using Naked Basics, each of which had a different level of intensity:

At $27 for 0.3 oz of product, Naked Basics is pretty medium-priced, ringing in at $90 per ounce.

Basically, given the quality of these eyeshadows, I would recommend this palette to anyone who looks at it and says, “That looks like something I would like to wear. I would get a lot of use out of that.” If this palette is a yawn for you, don’t buy it. There are tons of neutral palettes you can wear to work that have a bit more pizazz. If you like how it looks, though, you will love it.


1. Okay, I’ll go ahead and say it–you look stunning in the last photo.

2. Thank you!

3. Long time reader first-time comment writer (I think I must have started reading your blog pretty early, the first post I read said something about the blog not having been around long). Thanks for providing laughs and science throughout the year.

You’ve inspired me to not ignore this palette with that last photo. In fact, it’s like your blog is goading me to get it out and use Naked Basics because I read your earlier post on it yesterday. My UD collector-itis kicked in on eBay, I am totally someone who would have looked at this and said yawn IF it was by any other brand… But maybe I need to get over my hatred of matte eyeshadow.

4. What lipstick are you wearing in the last photo??? It’s amazing.

5. NARS Train Bleu with gold from the MUFE Flash palette on top.

6. I like the progressive ramp-up of these looks. That last one is stunning! I assume that’s exactly how you did it for the job interviews 😉

7. Of course! It screams, “Professional!”

8. I was going to make a “Oh, it looks like a professional SOMETHING alright!!” joke, but I just can’t. It’s all gorgeous and classy and really fantastic.

I would like to have a lot of money so that I could hire you to come out here and teach me all about doing makeup. I spent pretty much all my 20s just… a non-person. I was so depressed and anxious that all I cared about was getting through the day, and sometimes just showering on a regular basis was hard enough. Then about the time treatment really started working, I went back to school and was too crazy busy to do much more than put my hair back in a ponytail. Now I feel like I’m too old for ‘fun’ makeup (at the ripe old age of 29, but trying to get into a professional setting), and I’m finally INTERESTED in it, but I’m not very good…

Plus, where the heck am I going to wear teal eyeliner to?!

9. There is no such thing as being too old for fun makeup! And my wildest looks just get worn around the house.

All you can do is practice! If you go re-visit my other looks from early in the year, tons of my stuff is either boring or not very good. But I’m doing much better!

10. *gasp* That last one is amazing! And the lipstick! Worn like a true rogue. Shadowy high fives for that one! 😀

11. Thanks!

12. Lovely revisit! Very pleasantly surprised with the looks produced. I’m not the biggest fan of this palette, so it’s nice to see a really intense look and great variation.


13. It’s really easy to stick this one permanently in the “no makeup makeup” category.

14. I love love love this palette. I got mine for Christmas last year from my wonderful mother in law and I have probably used it 300 days of the last year. I’ve majority hit pan on the highlight color and have made large dents in the next three colors. I do my make up in the car before school, to save time, and this is small enough to take with me and I use the darker brown for my brows. I’m totally buying another one to have as a backup. I really wish UD would make refill pans for their naked palettes. Eventually, I’ll have palettes with some shadows almost full and some completely empty.

15. If they many re-fill pans, plenty of people would only buy those in the colors they want instead of buying the full palette! 😉

16. The last look is amazing! And I just noticed that your style of eye shadow application stays consistent regardless of color (i.e. always darkest color on the crease, medium shade on outer corners, lightest shade on inner corners and lid). Can you do other color placement styles and show how they look on you?

17. OH NO. SOMEONE FINALLY NOTICED. I occasionally do the lightest color in the center of my lid like the eyeshadow here: but placement is one habit that is hard to break!

18. Hey, I love the look. Can you tell us how you do it? What brushes or applicators do you use? Do you use a different brush on each section of your eye?

19. I use MAC 239, 217, AND 219 as brushes! 239 on the lid, 219 under my eye and on the crease, 217 to blend.

20. I actually bought this palette based on your first review, so I don’t think it was all that bad, but it is nice to see some actual looks done with it. I might try to branch out more with it now instead of just using it for highlights or corner/crease shades as I’ve been doing. I love it because I find that “Walk of Shame” is a good dupe for MAC “Orb”, which I’ve hit pan on more than once, but this palette fits more easily in my makeup bag and I can still bring my most-used shade with me on the go.

21. The Orb, is that matte? I am going through the Cream pan on my LORAC Pro Palette frighteningly quickly and am looking for a single to replace it when I inevitably hit pan.

22. The MAC website technically calls it a satin, but I’ve never seen any type of sheen on it. It’s definitely a matte. I love it because it highlights under my browbone without being shiny (I also use it as an all-over color on “no-makeup” days).

23. Ha! Glad the original one was helpful to you!

24. Love the lip color on the last one- matches your top. The lip color and deep eyeshadow contrast nicely with your pale skin. Definitely a knockout look. Nice classic long braid is simple and does not compete with your make up. Keeps the emphasis on your face.

25. Thanks!

26. I’ve read every post on your blog, I can say that much–I started reading back when there was maybe two pages’ worth of posts. And whereas you have made an average of one post per 1.37 days in 2016, on my own blog I posted once. In all of 2016. At the very beginning of it. So my stupid excuse for not writing anything all year is that I had to spend all my time keeping up with what you wrote. :p

27. Never too late to start!

28. That last look is awesome. I always recommend this palette to people because it definitely is a great support palette. I use the mattes with brights or shimmers and it does a great job.

29. That’s an awesome way to use it!

30. I love your blog!! I’ve been following it for a while and think you’re hysterical. The looks all look kick ass on you 🙂

31. I love the potato metaphor. Its actually like really perfect. And just because you haven’t heard it a thousand times already, that last look is breathtaking. Now I really want this palette..

32. Why don’t you ever smile?!