I really like self-contained, do-it-all palettes. I know some people get annoyed having so many similar shades scattered across palettes, but I don’t like to have to hunt through multiple palettes or singles to be able to create one complete look. An ideal palette, for me, would have an off-white highlight shade, a light matte transition shade, and a medium matte crease shade along with many fancy, special colours. (I can do without a matte black.) Most of my palettes – the LORAC Pro, Stila In The Light, Naked 3 – have everything I need in one place.
But I have two palettes that I really, really like that just don’t work on their own: Stila Eyes are the Window – Spirit, and the iconic Wet N Wild Comfort Zone. These palettes are almost perfect for me. They’re both neutral with some twists. I don’t wear much in the way of truly bright shadows, but I like slightly interesting neutral to neutral-ish shades. Both palettes deliver these.
I will say that the Stila palette is slightly underwhelming when looked at as a whole. Some of the shades are a bit too similar, and the two matte shades, Chinois (an off-white) and Puppy (a light taupe), don’t have great colour payoff. There is no darker matte crease colour, and Puppy is light enough that it would either be a subtle transition shade on someone fair or just straight up not work in the crease at all on anyone darker than about a light-medium skin tone.
However, some of the shades in the palette are gorgeous and different from things I have in my more standard neutral palettes. In particular, I love the shades Jezebel (a very orange-y copper), Slate (a taupe-y grey with an almost duochrome-like quality; looks pure grey in the pan), Pewter (a grey-blue), and Pigalle (a medium burgundy). When I use this palette I’m mostly reaching for those colours, because I don’t have them in other palettes. (It is worth noting for interested parties that it does contain the beauty blogger staple Kitten, which I already own in the now-discontinued In The Light palette.)
The Wet N Wild Comfort Zone palette was a more recent purchase. I don’t often to go to Walmart (despite having one in the mall that’s a 10-minute walk from my house) so I’m able to resist the Wet N Wild hype most of the time. However, a few weeks ago I was in Walmart, and here we are now. To be honest, I bought it mainly for two shades, the right eyelid colour (which is somewhere between a lime and an olive, leaning more towards the olive side), and, of course, the blue-brown duochrome. To be honest, at $4.67 I won’t be mad if I only ever touch those two colours.
Like the Stila palette, the Comfort Zone is not a standalone palette for me. It has a lot of gorgeous shades, but they’re all super shimmery, and there’s not much in the way of highlighting shades for my skintone. (That browbone shade on the left is quite a bit darker than my skin, though it would look lovely on other people, I’m sure!)
Enter the palette that fixes all “nice but not totally functional” palettes: Urban Decay Naked Basics. Like others, I do love Naked Basics for its extreme ease and its travel-friendliness. I’ve probably worn my go-to Naked Basics look (Venus all over the lid, Naked 2 in the crease, Faint on the outer corners) more times than any other look. And, obviously, its size and the durability of its packaging makes it an excellent contender for travel. But where it really shines for me is its ability to complete any look. It has all-over lid shades, a shimmery highlight shade, a transition shade, a deeper crease shade, and even a black. Barely a day goes by that I don’t at least use Naked 2, which is the perfect light transition/crease shade for my skintone.
When I first got this palette (a gift from Aisling, like many items in my makeup collection), it did not particularly excite me. But it’s proven to be an absolute workhorse. It makes all of my other palettes so much more usable as well as containing enough shades to make several of its own looks. Is it particularly thrilling? No, none of the colours are. But when paired with other palettes, especially those that aren’t complete in their own right, it’s practically indispensable. The Stila and Wet N Wild palettes make this utilitarian guy more exciting; Naked Basics makes palettes with a dearth of practical shades usable. They are perfect together.
There are two major downsides to the Naked Basics palette. First, I find the shades Foxy and Walk of Shame to be too similar; another brown would have made it that much more usable for me. As it is, I barely touch Foxy (I don’t like its yellow tone as much). Second, this is a palette that is more suited to fairer skintones. Naked 2, for example, would definitely not be anywhere close to a crease colour on many people, leaving only Faint (which is still pretty light, comparatively) or Crave (which is a straight-up black and not what everyone wants in their crease). The Naked 2 Basics seems to solve my first issue somewhat, but still skews a bit light. (Though less so!)
Sometimes it really is those boring products that get the most love. I don’t get excited when I look at this palette, but I use it every day and it’s automatically included in my travel makeup bag no matter what. Another lesson: I should probably stop buying palettes with funky colours just because they’re pretty. (That does not stop me from wanting the ABH Modern Renaissance palette with every bone in my body.)
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