I admit, I’m still a newbie when it comes to Urban Decay. In fact, I got my very first Naked palette just this year. Shocker, I know. Really what made me hesitant in picking up one of their palettes for so long was the fact that they honestly intimidated me. While I do like to sport the occasional edgy makeup look, I’m not a huge fan of heavy shimmers and metallics, and very intense, deeply pigmented shades. I much prefer soft neutrals – like mauves, taupes, and rose tones – that can be blended out to a sheer wash of color. The Naked 3 palette looked perfect for that and was actually next on my list to pick up, but even that sat in my Sephora shopping cart without me ever pushing the trigger.
And then a new palette from Urban Decay come along – their Backtalk Palette – inspired and named after their #1 selling Vice Lipstick shade (also a personal favorite of mine, which I reviewed here). It promised nude-mauves, soft berries, and muted roses, with not only eyeshadows, but a second side filled with blushes/highlighters. (And just as an extra bonus, it also has a removable divider that serves as a protector for the pigments and a handy mirror.)
In my eyes, it had all the shades I wanted, but I still had some reservations about the shades – if they were anything like the formulas in the Naked palettes, I knew they’d be very bold and dramatic.
Surprisingly, the biggest complaint about this palette – lack of pigmentation – actually works in its favor if you’re someone who prefers softer looks. No, the formulas aren’t as rich and smooth as I expected – the matte shadows are quite powdery and chalky, while the shimmery shades, though a bit smoother and more pigmented, still take a good 2-3 layers to show up on my light-medium skin. However, the plus side is that this gives you the ability to build up the shadows – starting from a sheer wash of color, to a slightly bolder, edgy look. And no matter the combination of shades – even if you’re reaching for the ‘louder’ ones like Shade or Attitude – the end result always looks surprisingly wearable.
Swatches build up with 3-4 layers each
Eyeshadow shades (from left to right):
- 3 Sheets – pale pink-nude matte
- Bare – light pinky-peach satin
- Curve – metallic rose shimmer with silver micro-glitter
- Attitude – metallic red-copper
- Backtalk – soft rosy mauve matte
- WTF – reddish brown matte
- Shade – deep fuchsia satin
- 180 – metallic brown-red
And the blush and highlighters? To me, those are the real gems. They’re a bit more impressive in pigmentation, but also still buildable. Cheap Shot and Double Take – the two blushes – are the perfect match for those of us with light to medium skin with cool/neutral/olive undertones (whereas deeper skin tones will have to layer them up quite a bit, and warmer, more yellow-based skin tones may find them too cool). Cheap Shot is a cool medium pink with a satin finish, while Double Take is a neutral rose-mauve with a matte finish (and just the tiniest hint of gold micro-shimmer).
Meanwhile, the two highlighters add the most gorgeous sheen to the skin without the glitter or shimmer overload. They’re some of the prettiest powder highlighters I’ve come across in a while – they’re feel lightweight, smooth, and velvety and look almost like a cream once on the skin.
Swatches build up with 2 layers each
Blush/highlight shades (from left to right):
- Cheap Shot (blush) – cool medium pink
- Double Take (blush)- medium rose-mauve
- Low Key (highlight)- pale pink-peach with shimmer
- Party Foul (highlight)- light pink-champagne with shimmer
Demo & Quick Look
Now let me walk you though a quick look I put together using four out of the eight eyeshadows, and a blush and highlight…
I started off by applying Cheap Shot to the cheeks, followed by Party Foul on the tops of my cheeks.
Next, for the eyes, I began by applying Bare on the lid and also went up into the crease a bit (using a rounded blending brush).
Then I built up Backtalk in the crease using a Sigma blending brush.
To add depth to the outer corner, I applied Attitude in a V-shape using the Laura Mercier Eye Crease brush, extending it a bit past my crease.
Finally, I applied Shade along the lower lash line using the Sigma E34, and also extended it up to where I had just applied Attitude.
To finish off the look, I applied Urban Decay’s 24/7 Eye Pencil in Zero, and my all-time favorite mascara – Lancome’s Monsieur Big (which I reviewed here). I also added a few layers of Urban Decay’s Hi-Fi Shine lip gloss in Backtalk (which I reviewed here).
I applied this look without using a primer, and it lasted an impressive 9 hours on me before it started to fade and crease (though only just slightly).
Overall, if you’re a fan of berry, rose, and mauve tones and are looking to create softer looks, then the Backtalk palette is perfect. For me, it has become a staple in my routine – I’ve been wearing the blush and highlights everyday since I got the palette, and the shadows are great for days when I want to amp up my look and go for something edgy yet wearable.
Available at Sephora
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What are your thoughts on the Urban Decay Backtalk palette?