Hi guys! I promised you to do a post where I advise you on what Urban Decay Naked palette is right for you, or how to choose between the four currently available options. I am lucky enough to own all four (one of the best things blogging has brought me yet!), so I think I'm pretty perfectly placed to lend a word of advise to you. And now is the time to do your research, because the holidays are coming up and you've got a wishlist to make!
If you don't understand the apparent obsession of beautybloggers with the Naked palettes, let me spell it out for you. First of all, the quality is gorgeous. Basically all of these shades apply like a dream, are highly pigmented, creamy and blend beautifully. Second, there's the fact that these palettes provide a pre-selected mix of eyeshadows that should allow basically anyone to create a wide variety of makeup looks, from soft and natural to shimmery glam to intense drama. Rather than having to go out and buy different palettes or monos to build towards a complete makeup look, you're basically set when you acquire a Naked palette. Third, having all of these gorgeously compatible colours together in one palette is really inspiring. You just pull out your palette in the morning, look at the range of shades in front of you, and start applying based on what looks good to you. Finally, the palettes all come with a really good eyeshadow brush, which makes them the perfect buy for both newbies who don't already have a stash of brushes, as well as collectors who want to expand their collection.
Here is a quick overview of all the Naked palettes. From top to bottom: Naked 1, Naked 2, Naked 3 and Naked Smoky. You can clearly see how all of these palettes are different from the others, so it's not like Urban Decay just keeps pumping out new versions of the same to milk its fans for more money.
Urban Decay struck gold when they brought out their Naked palette, and the original palette remains a classic for a reason. However, I absolutely think that every Naked palette has its own strengths and that none of these are redundant, they all have something to offer. And since most of you probably don't feel like spending 200€ to buy the whole lot, I'd advise you to look at each of the options I'll show you here to make your decision on what Naked palette is right for you.
First up, the Naked 1 palette (full review with swatches and four Naked 1 looks here)
Naked 1 is generally described as the most versatile of all the Naked palettes. It combines matte shades with more punchy shimmer and metallics. Naked 1 is heavy on beiges, golds and browns, and suited for warm, neutral and cool complexions. However, since Naked 2 came out, many beautywriters have also suggested that Naked 1 is better suited to people with warm colouring, while Naked 2 works better for cool toned individuals. I tend to agree with that assessment, but I feel like it's way too much of a broad rule to recommend a Naked palette based on whether you are warm or cool toned.
For one, most of us aren't simply warm or cool toned. Secondly, I don't think most of us fall in love with a garment or a makeup product based on how it suits our skintone. It's much more important to think about what colours you like wearing most. Look in your make up drawer: what shades are you continuously drawn to? Golds or silvers? Browns or greys? Beiges or taupes? Orange or blue based reds? Coral or bubblegum pink?
I mean, I am neutral to cool toned, which means that I should go for silvers, greys and taupes over golds, browns and beiges. However, in my experience, when given the choice I usually go for golds, brown and beiges. While those colours don't necessarily work best for my skintone, I enjoy how they interact with my dark hair and hazel eyes. The same might be true for you. In addition, it's perfectly possible to choose the coolest possible option while still working with warm colours. I know, this is getting complicated, but think of brown for example. There's warm chestnut brown, there's cool plummy browns, and there's neutral chocolate browns. While brown is a warm shade, not all of those tones of brown are equally warm.
In general, I'd say that anyone could make any of the Naked palettes work for them, but that choosing a palette should be based on what colours you like working with most. Let me illustrate by showing makeup look using similar colours on me (cool-neutral toned) compared to Jennifer Lawrence (warm toned).
One thing people often tend to forget when using colour theory on makeup, is that makeup isn't as opaque as clothing. Eyeshadow and lipstick work with the base colour underneath, i.e. your skintone or your lipcolour. When I use the beiges and browns in Naked 1, the end product leans more cool toned pale bronze rather than warm caramel brown. If Jennifer Lawrence were to use the same shades, the resulting look would read as much warmer because of her underlying skintone. More sandy than bronze. Both of us look lovely using the same colours, but the end product differs based on our colouring.
In my opinion, it's also very important to make sure your makeup products work together, that they are on the same side of the warm vs cool divide. For example, when I use my Naked 1 palette, I tend to reach for more peachy blushes and plums, browns or sheer corals for my lipstick. When I use Naked 2, I generally pick more pink leaning lip and cheek products to complete the look. If your blush or lipstick clashes with your eye makeup, you have a much bigger issue generally than when you wear a well thought out warm make up look despite being more cool toned in colouring.
To sum up: go for Naked 1 if you enjoy playing with browns, beiges and golds, because those are the selling points of this palette.
Next, the Naked 2 palette (full review of Naked 2 with swatches and four make up looks here)
As I mentioned above, Naked 2 is described as the cool toned alternative to Naked 1. Where Naked 1 mostly boasts warm shades with some cool shades to add variety (namely Creep and Gunmetal), Naked 2 consists of mostly taupes and greys with some very warm shades thrown in for good measure (Foxy, Half Baked and Chopper). Again, let me illustrate how the muted taupes of Naked 2 can work just as well on someone cool toned as on someone warm toned. My BFF JLaw helps me with the demo.
Not the same make up look (we have very different eye shapes, after all), but definitely the same types of colours. While the taupes read as more pure grey on me, the colours become more muddy on Jennifer Lawrence's warm complexion. However, that just makes the colours work well for her. Her skintone warms up the colours, making this look cooler than the one she wore in the previous picture, but still perfectly flattering. Same goes for me: this look is cooler toned than the one I created with Naked 1, but both of my looks seem cooler than both of Jennifer Lawrence's looks.
Another illustration of the warm vs cool debacle: Kirsten Dunst, clearly pale and very rosey/cool toned, on the left wearing a cool grey/black smokey eye, on the right wearing soft orangy beige eyeshadow.
Referring to what I said before about how matching your eye, cheek and lip products to each other being more important than whether you're cool or warm toned: on the left, you clearly see that all of her make up products are cool toned (grey/blue eyeshadow, bubblegum pink blush, pale pink lipstick). On the right, the opposite is true (orange/beige eyeshadow, rusty blush, warm red lipstick). Both looks work wonderfully for her, they simply offer a different combination with her complexion.
Naked 2 is your match if you prefer working with taupes and greys. However, one word of notice: while I think every Naked palette has its own merits, I feel like Naked 1 and Naked 2 are most clearly two sides of the same coin. I think most people do have a clear preference for working with browns or working with taupes, and both palettes have that beautiful bright gold shade, an intense black, and a neutral highlight colour. In other words, you probably don't need both, and I'd advise you to pick one of these two as your everyday basic palette.
Third up, Naked 3 (full review of Naked 3 with swatches and four make up looks here)
Clearly, this palette is less diverse than Naked 1 or Naked 2. The colours are all roughly within the same colour family, Trick being the only one that sort of stands out. The range of shades is also lighter than that of the other two Naked palettes: only Blackheart is truly a dark colour.
I may sound relatively negative, but I actually really love Naked 3. Thing is, this palette is not for everyone. If you're not relatively pale, I would personally pass up on this palette as half of the shades would barely show up on your skintone, unless you're looking for a very subtle palette. If you're a bit tan and very warm toned, I'd also try to swatch this palette before you buy it: the colours might look a bit grey/muddy on you.
If you're a pale girl, however, this palette will very likely look stunning on you. Again, I illustrate this by showing myself and a more warm toned celeb wearing a super similar make up look using the colours you find in Naked 3.
Emma stone is pale, but much more warm/peachy toned than I am. The make up we're wearing is virtually identical, yet the colours translate differently. On me, the look reads as more pink, on Emma, the colours seem more lilac/grey. That's because of the aforementioned interaction of the eyeshadow with our skintone.
In short: Naked 3 is your best buy if you're pale and prefer pink based neutrals and plummy taupes over beiges or grey taupes.
Last but not least, Naked Smoky (full review of Naked Smoky with swatches and four make up looks here)
Naked Smoky clearly sets itself apart from the other Naked palettes in that its colours are darker, and much more cool toned. While I'd say Naked 2 is mostly neutral-cool toned, Naked Smoky half consists of shades that are purely blue based. There are some warmer shades in there, but they wouldn't make a complete look because the palette lacks a warm or neutral dark shade. If you want your smokey eye looks to be more warm toned and intense, I'd point you towards Naked 1. If you're feeling stormy blues and greys in your smoky eye, this is the palette for you.
However, that doesn't mean that this palette wouldn't work on someone with a warm skintone: the blue based shades would just read more grey (or, depending on how much yellow you have in your skin, green) than blue on them, probably.
Kirsten Stewart helps me demonstrate this.
The grey shades read a bit more green on Kirsten Stewart because of the peachy/golden tones in her skintone, while they lean more purple on my pink skin. Here, another tip I'd share is to choose your blending shades based on your complexion. If you're more cool toned like me, stick with the cool toned matte blending shades (Combust + Password), if you're warm toned, I'd use Whiskey + Combust as blending shades to add a bit of warmth to the look. Kirsten Stewart's make up artist did just that: you see that they used dark grey on the lid, but upward from the crease to the brow bone, they added some warmth in the form of brown eyeshadow.
Naked Smoky: best for people who prefer blue based colours, or who already have all the neutral daytime appropriate make up they need, as this one is definitely more intense, more party-appropriate.
Whew, this post got super long, but I felt like I had to be thorough and sum up all the qualities that set each palette apart from the others. To be honest, Naked 1 and 2 are the true basics here, and I think that those two would work best for most people who are looking for their perfect everyday palette. When in doubt, I'd say: go for Naked 1, because to me, it has the best variety of shades.
Apart from that, if you're really pale and don't enjoy beige or taupe neutrals, I'd recommend Naked 3 as your 'basic' everyday staple as the pinks will very likely look gorgeous on you. Naked Smoky really is an extra, not a basic, for those who want to add to their everyday Naked palette with some dark, cool toned shades for nighttime looks. My favourites are Naked 1 and Naked 3: Naked 1 for regular days, Naked 3 when I'm feeling more like doing a very feminine look, whether it's soft or more sultry.
I hope that helps! If you have any questions, hit me up, I love talking about makeup.