Urban Decay has been my favorite makeup brand for over 10 years, but I, like many others, have been critical of the Urban Decay Naked palettes. Past problems have included an overabundance of shimmery shades with few mattes to help create a full look, and palettes featuring too many of the same tones, thus reducing the number of looks that could be created. UD has clearly been listening to our criticism by the looks of the Urban Decay Naked Heat palette, but did they finally get it right or is there still something lacking? Today, I’m giving you an in-depth review of the palette, as well as what I would have done differently if I had designed this palette.
Disclosure: I purchased this palette with my own money. This post does not contain affiliate links.
Overview of Naked Heat
This is the Urban Decay Naked palette I’ve been waiting for. Finally, one that contains the shades I love to wear on a day to day basis. I’m totally a fan of rocking the reds, oranges, and pinks that scream ‘might be cool girl chic, might be a vampire’ (tip: if you feel like these tones make you look sickly, try lining your eyes with a black or cool-toned brown eyeliner. This will create a visual separation between the warm tones and your eyes, making it clear that it’s just eyeshadow and not irritation or infection). What makes this palette even more exciting for me is the number of matte shades in the palette. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a hardcore glitter lover, but even I want/need matte eyeshadows for my day to day looks. Previous Naked palettes have been seriously lacking this much-needed feature, dominated instead by shimmers and satins, with only 2-4 mattes thrown in, almost as an afterthought. The stats on this palette are much better, clocking in at 1 satin, 4 shimmers, and 7 mattes. Additionally, the shades that should be matte, are. What I mean by this is that shades most of us would reach for to use as a transition or to darken the crease are matte, which enables us to create shadows in the crease and to easily blend one shade into the next. It makes the palette more versatile and more wearable, which is an important step toward making it user-friendly and justifying the price point ($54) for someone who isn’t as big of a fan of the low-key vampire aesthetic like I am.
I’ll be talking about these shadows out of the order because it makes it easier to discuss the tones and textures in the palette. Let’s start by discussing some of the stand-out shades in this palette.
Matte-ers of the Heart
With a palette like this, the mattes are really what turn it into an everyday palette.
Low Blow is a perfect, silky, blendable matte brown. The undertone is perfect to pair with the other colors in the palette and it’s just the right depth to make it wearable for a variety of skin tones. On lighter skin, this is going to be a great shade to wear in the crease or to smoke out the lower lash line. On medium skin, it’s going to be a transition shade that lays the foundation for a deeper crease color. This color also looks great on its own for a soft, hazy smokey eye.
Sauced is a lighter version of Low Blow. It has a bit more slip to it, compared to Low Blow which feels a bit creamier. I do prefer the formula of Low Blow because it sticks to the skin a little bit better, but Sauced is a very effortless peachy brown that will work as a transition for lighter skin tones. Sauced also has quite a bit of kickup in the pan, which isn’t a problem for me, but I know some people hate that. While it may look a little bit repetitive to have these two light browns in the palette, I think they both serve a purpose and I wouldn’t change anything about these two color-wise.
En Fuego feels quite dry to the touch, which would concern me with most eyeshadows, but in this case it works. It gives it an oddly flattering hazy quality when applied to the eyes, yet still has the potential to be built up to create a more concentrated color. I love shadows like this to add darkness to the outer corner or bottom lash line because they have a quality about them that makes it look like you’ve just spent 10 minutes blending it with the most perfect blending brush ever. Would I want all of my eyeshadows to be this formula? No, but for this shade, and for the purpose that I would use it for, it just works. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea though, and I’ll explain why in just a minute.
Ashes has a similar hazy quality, but is a bit more sheer. It makes it more versatile in my opinion because you’re not instantly faced with the task of having to blend out too much pigment. I’m usually a stickler for intense pigmentation, but in this case it works, especially because it doesn’t become overblended and start to disappear like some drier formulas tend to do (I’m lookin’ at you Too Faced). Similar to the way that He Devil and Cayenne play off of each other by being similar shadows with different undertones, En Fuego and Ashes have undertones that lend balance and versatility to the palette. Ashes is one of my favorite shades in the palette because there’s something very sultry about this smokey matte purple. I love this or En Fuego smudged into the lash line in place of black eyeshadow.
However, it’s worth noting that some people are going to hate Ashes and En Fuego. The texture and the way they blend works well for very diffused, hazy looks, but depending on your preferences, you may feel that this doesn’t blend smoothly enough or build the way you want it to.
Queen of the Damn That’s Pretty
He Devil and Cayenne are very similar in depth and in formulation. They’re both mid-tone, nicely pigmented, silky mattes with great blendability. I think of these two shades as siblings, almost. They may seem almost too similar, but they have different undertones and they both serve a purpose. He Devil has a red undertone that really compliments several of the reds and peachy browns in the palette. Cayenne is more of a neutral brown, which I think is a very important addition to this palette because it can act as a way to tone down a more vivid red look. I know that for a lot of people, these super warm colors may be something new, or just something that can be a little overwhelming. Cayenne gives the option to meld a more comfortable, familiar shade of brown with the red tones in the palette, making it much more wearable for people who feel like all of the red at once can be too much.
Ember. is. stunning. Smokey bronze base with hints of purple and a pink flash. Shimmery, super pigmented, blends like a dream. Love, love, love. It’s easy to get distracted by the warmer tones, especially when Ember is just chillin’ in the corner doin’ it’s own thing, but what it does, it does very well.
Red-y or Not
Let me preface this by saying, these three shadows are all beautiful. My problem is not that they’re bad shadows, my problem is that they’re way too similar.
Let’s start with Lumbre because this is the only one of these shades that I actually do have a (minor) problem with. In the pan, it’s a stunning golden red with an iridescent gold flip that had me hoping it might be a duochrome. It’s the kind of shade that makes me start crooning “I want you, I want you so baaad…” only to leave me feeling like it hadn’t achieved its potential. It’s a little bit on the dry side in comparison to the other shimmers in this palette, but it still performs well. Sticks to the skin well, blends properly, it’s good, but not ‘blow-me-out-of-the-water’ good.
However, the golden tone in this fades almost completely into the red, creating a mild shimmer/satin rose gold with identity issues. Does it want to have a gold flip? Does it want to be a shimmer? A satin? Does it want to add drama? Or does it just want to fade into the background? Some of the other tones in this palette are so strong that this just falls flat. I actually think that if it didn’t make me think it was going to be a duochrome in the pan and it didn’t have to compete with the much stronger red shimmers in the palette, I wouldn’t be so critical of this shadow, but taken in context as part of the Naked Heat palette, it just doesn’t quite achieve greatness.
Dirty Talk is a fun shimmery red, and I think it’s a perfect eyeshadow. It’s creamy, blends well, and has beautiful, even pigmentation. I love this eyeshadow, it’s one of my favorites.
The same can be said of Scorched, which is a bit more pink and a lot more shimmery. Stunning formula, excellent color. Love it. The only thing that concerns me about this eyeshadow is how crumbly it is. I’ve definitely used shadows that are a lot more crumbly than this, but it does present the problem of fall out during application. Be sure to tap the excess off of your brush or press your brush gently against the back of your hand to push the excess pigment into the brush to prevent fall out.
The problem that I have with these three is that they’re such close variations of the same color that when they’re applied to the eyes they lose those subtle differences and become almost indistinguishable from one another. It’s very frustrating because individually, they’re beautiful, wonderful eyeshadows, but trying to create looks with them I felt like I was unable to make them look different enough from one another. Despite different placements and different color combinations, it felt like I easily could’ve subbed one in for another and not been able to tell the difference. That’s honestly my biggest gripe about this palette, which all things considered is a fairly minor problem to have. It does irritate me because I feel like it could have been a more versatile palette if this issue was fixed, but is it enough to make me say it’s a bad palette? Hell no.
And the not-so-great…
Are You There Pigment? It’s me, Cristine…
Ounce is a soft, creamy satin with the faintest hint of shimmer. This is good as an inner corner highlight or all over the lid for a much more laid back, subtle look. It’s one of the weaker shades in the palette, not quite what I would consider a bad eyeshadow, but definitely not up to par with typical Urban Decay eyeshadows. I love a bangin’ inner corner highlight, so this shade is a disappointment for me. I know damn well that UD is capable of a beautiful, intense highlight shade, this palette would’ve been a great place to showcase that.
Chaser is a very light, matte peachy sand. The formula of this one is also mediocre compared to other eyeshadows in the palette, but usable. It’s a nice transition color for lighter skin tones, but is too light to be useful for medium to deep skin tones. This one is a miss for me. As much as I love seeing a brand think about skin tones that are often ignored because they’re towards one end or the other of the spectrum, this one is so light that it’s going to be useless for a large range of people. Sauced is a similar tone and light enough that most people who have light skin would be able to use it as a transition, especially with a light hand. If Chaser was a shimmer, it could be used by a wider range of skin tones, but as a matte it’s very, very limiting. For reference, I’m about an NC-15 to NC-20 in MAC and this shades does work on me as a transition shade, but I fear that even people with light-medium skin won’t be able to use this shade.
As is typical of Urban Decay Naked palettes, this one includes a double-ended brush. For this palette, they went with a relatively large rounded blending brush on one end, and a large flat shader brush on the other.
I love the round side of this brush, though it’s not quite perfect in terms of what I look for in a blending brush. It’s soft, it’s cut well, and it comes to a relatively fine point. I do wish the brush was a tiny bit smaller and that the bristles had a little more movement to them, but I’d much rather have a brush that’s a little more stiff than I would like than to have a brush that’s too floppy. Overall, I’m pretty happy with this brush and I do feel like it works well with this palette.
The flat side of the brush… eh. What bugs me about this is that it can’t decide what it wants to be. It’s quite large for laying on shadow or for smudging along the lash line, and it doesn’t have enough movement to be a good blending brush. Like the other end of the brush, it’s soft and it’s cut well, but I think it would have been better if it had been a lot smaller, similar to the brush that was included in the Urban Decay Vice 2 palette, which is actually one of my favorite brushes.
What I Would Change About the Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette:
- Amp up Ounce to a brighter white, yellow, or champagne, maybe even a duochrome. UD has done some beautiful white shades in the past, such as Polyesther Bride, though that particular shade might be too stark for this palette. However, something like Dope from the Vice 2 palette would’ve added more life to the palette. A duochrome white such as ColourPop The Big 3 also could have been fun.
- Replace Chaser. It only works for light skin, which makes it very limiting. I would replace it with a matte pink, yellow, or orange, such as Makeup Geek Tuscan Sun, Poppy, Desert Sands, Chiackadee, or ColourPop Cannonball. A matte version of Crown from the UDxBasquiat Gold Griot eyeshadow palette could also work. Switching this out would keep the functionality of the matte texture, but add color options.
- Amp up Lumbre to make it a true duo chrome. Can you image if this shade had been a duo chrome? Stunning!
- Make Scorched more purple or a brighter, more impactful pink to differentiate it more from Dirty Talk. Scorched and Dirty Talk are both beautiful, but their similarities, especially when applied to the eyes, seriously limit their potential.
Despite my criticisms, I do think this is a good palette. It’s my favorite Naked palette by far and I don’t regret buying it at all. I do fear that Urban Decay has sacrificed versatility for the sake of having a more aesthetically pleasing palette. From a marketing standpoint, I can’t say I blame them as the gradient and harmony of the palette are stunning. However, from a consumer standpoint, I would’ve preferred to have a palette that had the potential to create more versatile looks, especially at this price point.
I think that as a standalone palette, you may struggle to get enough variety out of this palette. However, if you’re willing to supplement with other eyeshadows in your collection this may be worth it for you. I personally like to pair this with the ColourPop Yes, Please! palette or with my single shadows. I do feel like this adds some colors and textures I didn’t already have in my collection, so for me it was a good buy.
Another thing to consider is how often you’ll use these colors and how you like to place them. I love shimmer on the lids and mattes in the crease, so I feel like I don’t have as many options as I would like for shimmer in this palette. However, if you prefer a warm matte look, you’ll probably find that there’s enough options for you here. En Fuego and Ashes might be frustrating for people who prefer everything to be intensely pigmented, so that’s something to keep in mind too.
If you’re on a limited budget and are looking for a workhorse warm eyeshadow palette, this may not be your best option. However, if you can never have enough warm tones in your collection, I think you’ll probably like this.
Here’s one of the looks I did with this palette if you’d like to see it in action:
Thanks for reading!