Tuesday 16 February 2016

Urban Decay X Gwen Stefani Collection | Review, Swatches and Tutorials

Hi Everyone!
Hope you all are well :)

You may brace yourselves for todays blog post. Maybe go get a cup of tea and a snack and come back if you haven't got any goodies at your side at the moment because this is going to be a long and picture heavy post. Today I'm reviewing the entire Urban Decay X Gwen Stefani Collection, well, the products that I have in my possession which is nearly a little bit of everything. I just figured it would be handier to lump it all into one post and then at the end I could sum it up and tell you my final thoughts and what products I think are worth the money.

I attended the launch of the eyeshadow palette back in December and I've been trialling that product ever since. More recently though I received some items from the rest of the collection in the post and I've been putting those products through their paces over the last couple of weeks. 

The UD | Gwen Stefani Collection consists of the following:
  • 1 Eyeshadow Palette
  • 1 Blush Palette
  • 1 Brow Box
  • 8 Lipsticks
  • 6 Lip Liners

The Packaging

I decided to discuss the packaging in one section opposed to under each product as there is a general theme in place and the design only various slightly from product to product, that and along with the fact I want this post to be straight to the point! 

The entire collections packaging was designed around Gwen's love of black and white graphic prints and antique gold accents. The eyeshadow palette, brow box, and blush palette are all housed in a similar fashion. Each of the three products have a polka dot pattern layered on top of a coloured background with a surrounding border.

In relation to the lipsticks and lip liners the design of the packaging is very similar to the ranges outer cardboard packaging. Instead of a black, gold, and white colour scheme, the lipstick and lip liners are gold in colour but are covered with various thick black lines with the UD Gwen stamp on the side.

UD | Gwen Stefani Brow Box

I love the idea of the Brow Box it has absolutely everything you need in it. When I first opened it I was surprised at just how small it was, it's so dainty and adorable! When you open the box you will be greeted by 2 cool toned taupe brow powders, a brow wax and a mirror. There is a second compartment and when you open that you will see 2 mini angled brushes, 1 set of tweezers and another mirror. The Brow Box is pocket sized therefore making it convenient for travel purposes. What I like as well is the fact that there are two mirrors, one magnified mirror and one standard mirror inside the box.

As a brunette the shades in this kit are just too light for my brows. Brows are all about personal preference really and I like mine to appear dark and defined. Based on the shades in this particular kit I can't achieve the look that I desire.

Recently though I was doing my friends Mam's makeup for her birthday and she has blonde hair so I decided to put the kit to some use. I used the lighter shade to fill in the front of her brows and the darker shade to fill from the arch to the tail of the brow. To set everything in place I then lightly brushed the brow wax through the brow hairs. I was happy with how the products performed but most importantly she was happy with the appearance of her brows.

If you are fair or like to have a light appearance to your brows then this is definitely worth the look. I only wish it came in a darker shade!

Price wise the brow box retails at €25.50.

UD | Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette

Next up we have the product that I was most excited about, the eyeshadow palette. Though I will say that it took a little time for that excitement to build. When I first saw photos of the palette I was disappointed with the colour selection. I thought Gwen could have created something with a little more edge. Yes there were some fun jewel toned shades but mostly it was a neutral eyeshadow palette. Initially I figured it was a bit boring and thought that there was little differentiation between shadows. I don't really know what I was expecting but this wasn't it and I had wrote the palette off before I had even given it a chance.

It was only when I read more about the range that I became aware that this collection wasn't something that Gwen just stamped her name on. She was heavily involved in all aspects of the process from choosing the shades, to designing the packaging and so on. That made me think about how Gwen wears her makeup and then I copped the palette was Gwen down to a tee. I thought about it differently after that and I then started to look forward to seeing the palette in the flesh! 

In the palette there are 15 eyeshadows in total which includes 12 brand new shades. With this palette in your collection you have everything you need and more to recreate Gwen's signature makeup looks, with shades hand picked by the lady herself! Let's take a closer look at the shadows shall we?

Urban Decay describe the shadows as follows:

Blonde: Pale Beige with Pink Iridescent Shift
Bathwater: Pale Beige with Gold Pearl
Skimp: Pale Nude Satin
Steady: Medium Rose with Metallic Gold Shift
Punk: Reddish Brown Matte
Baby: Cool Metallic Rose
Anaheim: Light Taupe Brown Matte
Stark: Nude Pink Matte
Zone: Medium Brown Matte
Serious: Smokey Grey with Iridescent Floating Pearl
Pop: Pale Coral with Iridescent Sparkle
Harajuku: Metallic Blue Pink with Iridescent Micro Shimmer
Danger: Deep Metallic Royal Blue with Blue Micro Sparkle
1987: Bright Metallic Yellow Gold
Blackout: Blackest Black Matte


L - R
(Blonde, Bathwater, Skimp, Steady, Punk)

L - R
(Baby, Anaheim, Stark, Zone, Serious)

L - R
(Pop, Harajuku, Danger, 1987, Blackout)

Before I had even swatched the shade 'Punk' I knew straight off the bat that it was going to be my favourite shade. Of course I had to incorporate that colour into a look first, I did, and here is what I came up with. I have a tutorial on this look which i'll link below along with another tutorial featuring the entire collection and i'll leave that at the very end of this blog post.

I'll get the negative out of the way first! After the first time I used the palette my excitement turned back to disappointment. Based on how I got on with some of the matte shades in the Naked Smoky palette I was a bit iffy about how the shade 'Punk' would perform, I had used 'Blackout' before so I knew what the story was there. In terms of quality and longevity I wasn't happy with how these shadows performed. I had to layer the shadows which I don't mind, its very common with matte shades but my problem was the creasing. I rarely have a problem with creasing but I used the Urban Decay Primer Potion prior to eyeshadow application and still within a few hours these two shades had creased, quite disappointing as they are lovely to look at in the pan. The only other shade in the palette I didn't like was 'Pop'. I just found it to be far too chunky and the fallout issue was something else.

I cast the palette aside for a couple of weeks before I decided to give it another go. It definitely grew on me because the more I used it the more I started to like it. I guess I was just bitter that my favourite shade ended up being a bit of a dud, the rest of the palette I ended up being really pleased with!

Despite not being happy with three out of the fifteen shades overall I love the palette I get so much use out of it so regardless of the couple of blips I do think its worth the €46 price tag.

If you would like to see how I created the above look then just click the play button below!

UD | Gwen Stefani Blush Palette

I'm a massive fan of the Urban Decay After Glow 8 hour blushes so I gathered I was really in for a treat with this palette. Actually, I have a demo on those 8 hours blushes which you can watch here if you are interested. Being that the After Glow blushes retail for €28 each I figured I'd hit the jackpot with this 6 pan blush palette for €42. 

To briefly jump back to the packaging again I was delighted to see that the blush palette was housed differently to the eyeshadow palette. They are easy to differentiate between which is handy storage wise.

Now let's take a closer look!

Urban Decay describes the blushes as follows:
Cherry: Light Pink Satin
Easy: Deep Rose with Gold Shimmer
Angel: Champagne Nude Shimmer
Lo-Fi: Soft Bronze Matte
Hush: Medium Pink with Gold Shimmer
OC: Soft Pink with Peach Shift

L - R
(Cherry, Easy, Angel)

L - R
(Lo-Fi, Hush, OC)

I'll start out by saying that the pigmentation of the blushes is phenomenal, exactly what I was expecting based on past experiences with the After Glow blush range. Also, the longevity of the products is something that I was really impressed by. You're looking at 7 - 8 hours wear time which is incredible in my opinion.

My gripe with this palette is the shade range. Naturally, being that  Gwen designed the collection the shades in the range are going to be those that compliment fair complexions. That isn't my issue though as a fair skinned lady myself I'm delighted but those with a darker skin tone won't be. My problem is that despite that the palette was designed with Gwen's colouring in mind I think that a couple of the shades are unsuitable for very pale skin.

OC is pretty much a straight up yellow which isn't going to be flattering on anyones skin. I thought I was seeing things when I applied the product I was expecting a peach shade but no, yellow haha.
Lo-Fi looks lovely in the pan but I find its just too warm toned for my skin and it gives an orange cast to where its applied. It you are pale like myself unfortunately this shade is not going to suit your complexion. This shade gives a lot of fallout and soon as my brush hits the pan the product crumbles so I wasn't happy about that either.

In relation to the rest of the shades in the palette, Hush while it's nice it's not a shade that I would really gravitate towards and I've the issue of fallout with this shade too. I'm happy with the top row of shades in the palette although I would consider it to consist of two blushes and a highlighter as opposed to three blushes.

Unfortunately I was disappointed with the Blush Palette. It's not something I would go out and spend €42 on being that half of the palette would go to waste. I would rather save my money and buy another shade of the After Glow 8 Hour blushes (€28) which I really like. The Blush Palette is a miss from me I'm afraid!

UD | Gwen Stefani Lip Liner

Moving onto something a little more positive.. lip products! As I mentioned there are 6 Lip Liners one to compliment each lipstick with the exceptions of the shades 'Plaid' and 'Spiderweb'. I own one of the lip liners, the shade 'Firebird' and I had very high hopes for the product being that I'm already a fan of the 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil range.

Firebird is a cool toned fuchsia shade that leaves a matte finish to the lips. Despite being a matte lip product I didn't find the liner drying on the lips. I use the tip of the pencil to line my lips and then I turn the pencil on its side to fill in my lips. The lip liner is not as creamy as ones that I have tried previously but it didn't really tug or drag across the lips so I'm pleased with the consistency. In terms of the longevity, again not as long lasting as previous pencils that I have tried. The colour faded in the same way after about 5 hours wear the colour had noticeably diminished in the centre of my top and bottom lips and I needed to reapply. Even though this shade didn't last as long as I had hoped I'm still pleased with the quality as a whole. The lip liners retail at €18 and are well worth the money.

UD | Gwen Stefani Lipstick

I was sent out one of the lipsticks, the shade 'Rock Steady' to be exact and I was delighted. You all know I'm a massive fan of darker lip shades and this is the darkest colour in the Gwen range. I also got to try out three other lipsticks from the range as there was a sample sheet of colours included along with the Gwen Eyeshadow Palette. First up is Rock Steady.

Rock Steady is a gorgeous burgundy shade that leaves a glossy finish to the the lips. I love the fact that even though its creamy in texture the pigmentation of the product remains strong. This lipstick lasted around 4 hours on my lips and during that time it was very comfortable to wear and quite hydrating. After the 4 hour mark the lipstick had faded almost completely but there was still a stain left behind on my lips. The only issue I had with this lipstick was that it bled. The lipstick feathered regardless of if I wore a lip liner with it or not, I just couldn't stop the lipstick from bleeding.

The first lipstick that I tried from the sample sheet was '714'. This lipstick is a vibrant orange toned red that leaves a matte finish to the lips. It took me a while to build the colour up on the lips using a lip brush but I'm putting that down to the fact I was using the lipstick in pan form. I can imagine it would be easier to apply straight from the bullet. Once layered the pigmentation and lasting power of this lipstick was amazing. On the days that I was trialling this lipstick I didn't have my makeup on longer than 9 hours but at the end of those 9 hours this lipstick looked pretty good. It had faded from eating and drinking throughout the day but it didn't bleed, smear, smudge, come off in patches, nothing like that at all. The only thing I found with this lipstick was that my lips felt a little dry as the hours went on. Other than that though I have no complaints!

The next lipstick that I tried was 'Ex Girlfriend' and I don't have a photo of this on my lips. Basically because it looked like I had just applied some vaseline. This lipstick is described as a sheer finish but I'm telling you its extremely sheer, there is little to no pigment to it. It actually applied exactly like those tinted pots of vaseline, definitely not something I would shell out €21 for.

The final shade that I tried was the shade 'Firebird'. This lipstick took me completely by surprise and ended up being my favourite from the bunch. I'm not usually a fan of pink lipstick but this particular one is the nicest blue toned pink I have ever tried. It's a cream lipstick like the shade 'Rock Steady' so it will leave a glossy appearance to the lips. For some reason this shade performed better than Rock Steady in terms of lasting power, I hit the 5 hour mark with this lipstick before I needed to top up and I also didn't have a problem with the lipstick feathering. This gets a big thumbs up from me!

Now that I have talked you through each of the products i'll leave you a link to my final tutorial. In this video I decided to show you how to create a typical Gwen Stefani inspired makeup look using her entire range. If you would like to watch that then just click the play button below!

Final Thoughts

To summarise not everything in the range is good and naturally I expected that there would be hits along with misses. I'm a fan of the Brow Box and I do think its well worth the money, if you are in the market for a cool toned taupe coloured brow kit you can do no wrong with this one. I'm happy to recommend the Eyeshadow Palette despite not being happy with a couple of the shades. I still think its a fantastic palette especially for the price. The Blush Palette is a huge miss for me. The shade range isn't great and some of the blushes are quite soft and result in a lot of fallout, save your €42 on this one. I was sent one Lip Liner to try out and I'm very pleased with its performance so I'm definitely interested in picking up a couple of more shades, I think you're onto a winner with those. The Lipsticks are a bit hit and miss depending on the shades. I'd steer clear of the sheer shades unless your happy to pay €21 for a sheer lipstick. My picks are 'Firebird' from the cream finishes and '714' which is the only matte lipstick in the range. I wish there were more mattes shades in the collection because I was extremely pleased with the quality of the shade '714'.

So that's that! Well done if you made it to the end haha it was a long one indeed but I hope it was helpful. I wanted to make sure I could give as much information as possible alongside a couple of tutorials so you could see for yourself how the products perform.
The UD | Gwen Stefani Collection is limited edition and currently available from Debenhams.

Have you tried any products from the range?
What are your top picks?
Until next time,
Eimear x

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