Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Review: Urban Decay Electric Pressed Pigment Palette

In the past few years, Urban Decay has been toning down their makeup lines. A company that crashed into the makeup scene with the tagline "Does Pink Make You Puke?" has slowly transformed into a brand that's suspiciously office appropriate.

When they released their sheer, neutral lip glosses, a friend of mine noted, "Urban Decay is now like if Laura Mercier had a potty mouth. They could release an entire palette of matte browns and if they were all named 'drugs mcslutface' they would still be 'beauty with an edge'."*

The Electric Palette was a really exciting release for 2014 because it's the polar opposite of the Naked palettes. Instead of endless rows of substandard (yeah, I said it) brown glitterbombs, it's an explosion of what rainbows would look like if you turned the saturation way up.


Because neon pigments have not been FDA-approved as eye-safe in the United States, Urban Decay is a loophole queen for this palette, calling it a "pressed pigment palette" instead of an "eyeshadow palette". This not only lets them sell the product in the United States, it has the benefit of alliteration.

Realistically, though, Urban Decay customers are using this as an eyeshadow palette.

The pigments in the four non-eye-approved shadows are approved for eyes in everywhere-that's-not-America and they are FDA approved for everywhere-that's-not-your-eyes. I am a non-smoker. I wear my seatbelt. I deserve this risk. STRAIGHT TO THE EYELIDS WITH YOU, PIGMENT.


I find the packaging really appealing. The plastic case is covered in an explosion of color, and the size is substantial. It comes with a big mirror that I assume would reflect my face if I cared enough to remove the plastic coating. There is also a brush included.





The ten colors, as a rule, swatch beautifully.

As always, all swatches are two swipes, no primer.
Note: the colors that are not FDA-approved for eyes are in italics, just like this sentence. 

Revolt is a super-metallic glitter bomb that looks like it would be right at home on a tinsel-laden Christmas tree.

Gonzo is an almost glowing summery blue. It's almost matte, but not quite: the faintest hint of silver glitter is evident, although, to me, it's not visible when applied. This is the only name in the palette that really gives me pause. It's either a Muppets reference… or it's really, really dirty. Gonzo from the Muppets is blue, but he's not that color blue! If it is the porn-y version… I'd say that's worse than the naming 100 products "ultra-clitoris threesome".

Slowburn straddles the line between red and orange. I believe the Crayola as a name for this: "red orange". It's okay to be a little literal, once in a while. It's another one with a "Eh, basically matte. Matte enough for me!" finish.

Savage is a classic hot pink. Savage is also the only color that doubles as a semi-permanant skin dye. I have massive staining after using Savage. The next day, I look like I have a serious disease.

Fringe is a metallic teal. This shade got a lot of love from reviewers, but I didn't find it to be any more stunning than the other colors in the palette.


Chaos is a vibrant cobalt with just the faintest shimmer.

Jilted is an incredibly buttery red-leaning purple. It's like a fictionalized, metallic bruise with a hint of iridescence.

Urban is the metallic medium-purple of your dreams. If I could lucid dream, I would lucid dream in this color.

Freak is a neat little grasshopper green with a golden sheen.

Thrash can't decide if it's a greenish yellow or a golden chartreuse. It also contains a small amount of shimmer.

I think all these shades (except, perhaps, Revolt) blend really beautifully and have great pigmentation. Still, I don't feel this palette is very complete on its own. In my opinion, a matte white and a matte black would have increased the versatility of this palette by tenfold. Black and white might not be "electric" colors, but they're damn helpful when planning a look. If you already have a matte white and a matte black, obviously, you can use those. Still, lazy lady that I am, I prefer not to have to open up a myriad of palettes for my daily eyeshadow alone.


The palette also does come with a double-ended brush. I like the fact that the bristles are purple. That is the extent of what I like about this brush.


The bristles are not soft and they feel very plastic-y. It's also kind of a weird combo of a "pack on the shadow" end and a "almost a detail brush but actually it's too big" end. I would not use this to apply my eyeshadow on it's own.

I do like having it, though, because I can moosh some bright color onto my face as an accent without neon-ing up my everyday eyeshadow brushes.


Here is a few looks I have done using the Electric Palette:





Note: In this photo, Savage is used as a blush, and the contour-that-kinda-looks-like-sideburns is Urban. Plus, you know... my eyebrows.
Because I don't believe that this is a complete palette on its own, I also wanted to show how these colors work when mixed in with neutrals. Because they blend so beautifully, I think it's actually pretty easy to incorporate them into other, less fancy eyeshadow looks.

Here's Urban under my eyes:

Also featuring LORAC Pro.

Here's Freak on the inner corners of my eyes:

Also featuring LORAC Pro.

Here's a hint of Fringe in my crease:

Also featuring theBalm Nude Tude.

And here is Chaos as a liner:

Also featuring Urban Decay Naked Basics

Urban Decay's Electric Palette retails for $49 for 0.4oz, putting it at $122.50 per ounce. May this be the sign of more bright colors to come.

*I totally did not ask for permission to quote you. Sorry, Amanda. Also, editor's note: Urban Decay did in fact release an all neutral matte palette (Naked Basics).

74 comments:

  1. Love the look with Freak in the inner corners.

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  2. I want to google the Gonzo thing to find out what you're talking about, but…I'm afraid.

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    Replies
    1. According to Wikipedia, it's not that bad, it's Point-Of-View pornography.

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    2. The Urban Dictionary definition is definitely more NSFW.

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    3. Everyone's covered it, I think. It's just not a name I want on my eyeshadow, personally.

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  3. Could the name Gonzo refer to gonzo journalism? Or the dictionary definition, "crazy; eccentric"?

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    1. That's what I thought too. Not aware there was some dirtier meaning and NOT going to google it now.

      I like the idea of the palette but I agree, it's missing a white. Or a yellow or something to connect some of the colours.

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    2. Third! And "gonzo porn" is actually not too bad, unless you are categorically opposed to pornography.

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    3. It's Urban Decay. I don't think so.

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  4. I bought this palette because I could not find anything in Ulta that was at all as awesome as Urban. I have actually been really enjoying using it (I mean, I graduated high school in 1986, so I get to relive the eye looks of my teen years), but I probably would have skipped it if Urban did not make my heart sing the way it does.

    Also, in case you were curious, the Lorac summer thing with glo in the name is as crappy as last summer's iteration. Did not help that I bought it the same day as Electric, but the clerk at Ulta agreed with my assessment of "swatches great, does nothing on the face" when I returned the thing.

    I also associated the color name with "gonzo journalism," FWIW.

    ALSO also also... The MUFE aqua matics in the super brights go v well with Electric.

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    Replies
    1. Good to know! I skipped that LORAC palette this year for obvious reasons.

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  5. I'm really loving the heavy eyeshadow on your lower lash line, Robyn! The look with Urban is especially nice.

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    1. Thank you! That's one of my favorites as well.

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  6. For the love of god, I had JUST convinced myself that I didn't need this palette because the colors were just far too crazy to be usable or look pretty and there were far too many blues and then I saw them on your face and although I know I will never be able to pull them off the way you do...now I must have this palette. Way to look awesome...jeez.

    Also, what lipstick are you wearing in looks 3 and 4? 4 looks like a matte version of shame and it is so gorgeous. Is it endless purple in the Sephora lip cream? Or something else?

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    Replies
    1. It's Loreal Spiced Cider. I have forgotten what 3 is.

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  7. I have been anxiously awaiting your review of this! Every time I go to Ulta I think impatiently think "when will Robyn review this and show us how to wear it??!"...so, thanks! Love the looks where you combined it with some neutrals. I'm surprised by how wearable some of the colors are!

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    1. What are you going to do when I don't buy something you want?!

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  8. I love this palette. It's just so pretty.

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  9. love the look you came up with :)

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  10. I'm insanely jealous of your lid space </3 Monolids suck. I love all the looks that you did, especially the ones with colored eyebrows!

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    Replies
    1. Check out StyleByCat! She has amazing, BOLD looks and tutorials for monolids!

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    2. Have you tried going above the natural lid? I think that looks lovely on monolids and creates a little more space.

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    3. There's a makeup pro on YouTube who recommends that exact thing. I think he might even have said that that's the greatest kind of eye to have because you can use that whole canvas. It's gossmakeupartist, he has a couple of videos about finding your eye shape and knowing what looks will be good with your particular eye shape. I love him, he's British (accents!) and really positive about how people look and really thorough about including different face shapes, ages, skin colors, etc.

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  11. I've been a fan of UD since the beginning, I believe the first item I had was a nail polish, and I still have the original Face Case. I have to say, I HATE the Naked palettes. For me, the whole point of UD is the creative edge to it. Palettes like Ammo allow for a colorful look and a more natural look, I have another one that's not sold anymore, and it was the same thing.

    I bit the bullet last year during a Sephora sale and purchased the Vice 2 palette. There's some colors I'll never use, but I think the color selection is exactly what the brand was originally intended for. I feel like with the Electric palette, they've gone totally to the other end of the spectrum to prove that the company is still "edgy". I think the colors are great, but its the same problem as the Naked palettes - it only allows for very, very bold looks (sticking to the palette alone and not bringing in other colors) where is the Naked palettes pretty much only create neutral or neutral smoky eye looks.

    Bring back the variety, Urban Decay! Create a palette that mimics the full range of the 24/7 liners.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. By 2000 it was old news, if we're being persnickety about old school. :P
      Also, isn't it probably a bad idea to put SUPER old cosmetics on our faces?

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    3. I really like this totally bright bold palette, personally. It's less versatile, but I don't love a palette that's 3/4 brown with only a few shades I can get really excited about.

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  12. Am I the only one that thought of the Muppet? P.S. I've not bought this since I have the Kat Von D Mi Vida Loca palette and Sleek Acid palette...I'm wondering if there's room for 3 brights.

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    Replies
    1. Personally, I always have room for more brights.

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  13. I love this palette. Absolutely LOVE IT. I think it goes really, really well with Urban's old Deluxe Shadow eye palette (Grafitti and Peace get mixed with the electric colors very often on my face).

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  14. So pretty! Those colors! I am also super impressed with your eyeshadow skills. I am pretty sure those looks would not look like that if I did them.

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    1. It definitely takes practice! Don't give up on yourself.

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  15. Love your blog! Less crazy about your punctuation outside of quotation marks. http://www.grammar-monster.com/lessons/quotation_(speech)_marks_punctuation_in_or_out.htm

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    1. Ugh. Correcting someone's punctuation on a blog post is kind of tacky.....

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    2. Totally. I'd prefer plentiful posts to perfectly-groomed grammar any day, and I'm a grammar policewoman.

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    3. You are so right, but let's not deny her the chance to improve this totally awesome work she's doing here.

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    4. I'm actually pretty happy with my punctuation. Thanks for the concern.

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    5. Also, isn't that totally a British/u.s. thing? I've done tons of research on the punctuation inside or outside of the quotes thing and there doesn't seem to be a One True Way here, just different ways that have become standard in differ countries and the ever-popular "if it's part of a quote leave it in, if it's not part of that quote leave it out." It's not something that adds to or affects meaning, it's purely aesthetic.

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    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    7. Let me rephrase:

      No, it's incorrect, but pointing it out seems rude... but the thing is, grammar policing is a part of this blog, as are snarky comments about companies' bad grammar. For example, the latest Ipsy review points out the use of the wrong "its," but that same "it's" is used incorrectly in this post. Just saying, I get it. But it's still sort of rude. I make grammar errors, too, and I've been trained by the AP.

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    8. I don't know the web addresses for grammar lessons about sentence fragments and, honestly, it's all really boring. But I do know that the two statements in the original comment are "lonely verb" sentence fragments. Neither statement contains a subject. ("Love your blog!" should be "I love your blog!" or "They love your blog!" Similarly, "Less crazy about..." should be "I am less crazy about..." or "Ron Artest is less crazy about..."

      Still, freelance grammar policing is pretty weird. People will correctly feel weirded out when your response to their expressed ideas is, "Yooo, there's a comma missing in the third paragraph, brah."

      And, while it's true that we all do weird things, the weird things that grammar police do belie an incredibly strange view of language. I don't write because I love putting all of my commas in the right places. I write to express ideas.

      I once heard a singer tell a story about a little kid scaring an elderly cat. Of the little kid's actions, the singer says, "Not too good, not too bad, just kinda shitty." Condescending comments about typos on a well-written blog are about as sorta-crappy as a little kid scaring a cat.

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  16. such great looks! i am definitely scared of this palette but it's also so pretty...

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  17. Ohh so glad you reviewed this! I own it and have been using it quite often! What did you use for the third look? I am obsessed with it!!!

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    Replies
    1. It's just Revolt and Slowburn. :)

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    2. thank you for replying!!

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  18. Was hoping you'd review this! Can always trust you for an honest opinion and true swatches (they always look great on other blogs and then I get stuff and am disappointed half the time. Been eyeing this forever, and 15% ebates from Sephora right now means it will soon be in my grabby hands.

    Also, kudos to your friend. "Drugs mcslutface" almost made me squirt milk out my nose.

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  19. I have to say, I heartily disagree about the palette needing a black. While I often use these shades with other colors (I like pulling the lighter colors from Naked Basics or one of the transformer shades from the Glinda as the main lid color), I am so relieved to not have yet another palette wasting a pan on a black eyeshadow I will never use. I just don't ever use black eyeshadow. I find it too stark, I'd rather go in with a darker, complimentary color to my main lid/crease color than straight-up black. I already have several palettes with blacks I've never touched. Totally personal preference, though.

    This is also the first ever double-ended UD brush I've remotely liked, but I'm not a fan of synthetic bristles for powders at all. Mine's pretty soft, but on the shorter end it's really easy to scrape yourself with the ferrule bit if you're not careful--and THAT is scratchy.

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    1. I used to not use black eyeshadow at all, and now I find it indispensable!

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    2. If I ever change my mind about black shadow, at least I already have like twelve to choose from! ;)

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  20. I love this palette with the Naked Basics palette. They're my 2 favorite UD palettes, with the 15th Anniversary Palette close behind. I love the looks you created with it. I think the silver shade should have been a matte white, or maybe a split shade (like with the Oz palettes), of black and white or white and charcoal.

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    1. That would have been really handy, especially since the silver was a little more lackluster than the other colors!

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  21. Sooo nice! I love all the versions of your Electric look - thanks for the ideas :)

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  22. I was actually secretly afraid you wouldn't buy this because of your attitude towards the Naked palettes (which I share, I'm dragging my feet using up my Naked 1 so I can buy the Lorac Pro) and I'm so glad you did! I've been drooling over this for months but also wanted a trusted opinion in it's usability before I considered splurging. Beautiful eyeshadow looks, as always.

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    Replies
    1. Going from Naked to Lorac Pro is going to be like going from a clunker that gets the job done to a brand new car.

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    2. Letting you know, http://www.blush.com/ has a 20% off sale, so you can get the Lorac Pro for a little over $33 and save a few bucks :).

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  23. I never understood why other bloggers and youtubers were raving aboutthe packaging until you posted the close up. Wow! Now I'm drooling.
    I didn't think I'd want this palette until seeing how you've used them not just for out there looks but to accentuate neutrals.
    Now I'm intrigued

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    Replies
    1. I definitely really like the packaging! It's a lot of fun.

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  24. This review had me laughing my ass off. You and your friend are hilarious and also right. Thank you for incorporating the electric palette with neutrals because I think that's what sold it to me. :) Love the purple/pink look <3

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  25. I cracked up at the quote from your friend. SO TRUE. Also, I have been going with Gonzo as a Muppets thing, but now that you mention the other association...still not sure what it has to do with exactly that shade of blue, however :-P

    Fabulous looks, especially the eyebrows ;-)

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  26. I love this palette! I've been having loads of fun playing around with different color combinations.
    The other day I used the color Savage and two colors from the Deluxe Shadow palette, Honey (golden yellow) and Ransom (dark purple) to create a lovely sunset type look. Hopefully I'll get some inspiration from your blog for some new looks!

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  27. Those swatches are serious! That second look is so gorgeous - the blue on the outer edge looks amazing on you.

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