Farewell, Urban Decay “Naked” – we loved you well!


In what can only be described as a shock move, Urban Decay have done something I never thought they’d do, and discontinued the original Naked palette.  And of course they’ve done it in the way that only Urban Decay can, complete with YouTube funeral, attended by “badasses and beauty influencers” and with a eulogy given by Nicole Richie.  Bravo, Urban Decay.  Well played.

“Naked” was, it’s fair to say, the palette that started it all.  Back in 2010 when it was released, palettes weren’t half the thing they are now.  The expression “game changer” is flung around like glitter in the beauty industry, but this is one of those rare products which really earned the title and gets to keep its crown.

The palette was created (so goes the story, told by Wende Zomnir, co-founder and chief creative officer at Urban Decay) as the result of an office brainstorm.  Those involved were asked: “If you could only take 4 eyeshadow shades to a desert island, what would they be?”   The shades were thrown into the middle of the table together, and turned out to be quite a beautiful selection of nudes, near-nudes and naturals.  The original 12 shade Naked palette was the result.

Up to this point, eyeshadow palettes (as such) were a very different thing, you’d find one or two usable colours and then a load you’d never consider using, which would ultimately go to waste.  Naked provided a full palette of harmonious and completely usable colours, giving the ability to create any number of looks, for day or for evening, and came with a decent quality brush to allow you to do a complete job from one neat package, if you chose.  Crucially (I think), it also gave a fantastic base of neutral colours which easily combine and blend with brighter colours from other palettes by other brands to create a final look.  Many an occasion has seen me reaching for my own Naked for a specific base colour before using a different toned palette to finish the job.  Many makeup artists and beauty influencers have said the same thing.

Taking all this into account, and being a second-generation dyed-in-the-wool cynic, I find myself wondering what has really prompted Urban Decay to discontinue the palette.  It’s as it would be if Apple discontinued the iPhone or Chanel discontinued “No. 5”.  It’s an icon, and for a very, very good reason.

With all very considerable and sincere respect to Urban Decay’s decision makers, I think discontinuing the original Naked palette is a mistake.   Had they discontinued Naked 2 or Naked 3, I wouldn’t have missed either and probably wouldn’t have had much to say about it. My Naked 3 is barely used, and is likely going to end up finding a new home in due course.

So: is the palette truly being discontinued, or is it simply taking a break – will we see it, perhaps in the first quarter of 2019, resurrected and re-released in new and shiny packaging, perhaps with some slightly updated colours, in the hope of appealing to a younger market?  With, again, all due respect to Urban Decay, I think this would be a mistake too.

My love for the original Naked palette is very well known, and I’m not quite ready to say goodbye just yet. I think I shall replace my own very aged Naked with a new one, just to keep the love going a little bit longer.  If you’ve been considering investing in one but haven’t got round to it, now is the time.  They’re still available online and at retailers across the world, at varying prices, but only while stocks last.

Farewell, Urban Decay “Naked”.  Very often copied but never, ever bettered.

DISCLAIMER: This post is not sponsored by Urban Decay Cosmetics or L’Oreal (UK) Limited, and I have no affiliation with the company.  I have not been paid or otherwise compensated for this post, and I (or my very generous husband) pay for every product I use. All opinions are my own unless otherwise stated.

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