Beauty · Humour · Makeup

A High-End Look On A Shoestring Budget

I wanted to get my hands on a much-hyped Urban Decay Naked Palette for years, but I could never justify the £38 price tag that accompanied owning the eyeshadows considering It’s basically just pretty pressed powder. I figured that I’d be paying more for the brand name rather than the eyeshadows themselves and I couldn’t imagine any eyeshadow being much better than my beloved, holy-grail Sleek eyeshadows. Finally, I took out a loan and sold my soul to the devil so that I could finally try the eyeshadows and see what the hype was all about.

So I divided my eyes into high end and budget then began with the transition colour. For the Urban Decay, I packed my brush with the shade Nooner a mauve-ish colour that would be perfect for the pink-brown eye look I was going for. On the Sleek side, I used Propose in Prague from the Vintage Romance palette which from the swatches on my hand seemed like a fair match… this was when I encountered my first problem. The sleek colour looked slightly different on the skin than it did in the palette. It came out a lot more orange than It looked.  To try and counter this I took a tiny amount of Eye of The Storm from the Storm Palette and tried to infuse the sleek with the same brown undertones as Nooner in the Naked 3. It worked a lot better, but still didn’t achieve quite the same finish as the Urban Decay.  I also found that I had to pack a lot more Sleek product onto the eye compared to Urban decay, a comparatively minuscule amount.

UD on the left, Sleek on the right of my terribly blended eyeshadow.

Despite my arm looking like camo from all of the colour swatching and comparing, the dark outer corner colour still did not match completely, eventhough I was sure I had it this time. On the Urban Decay side, I applied Factory and on the Sleek side I used Court in Cannes but found it wasn’t dark enough to match the incredible pigment of the Urban Decay; so once again I used a little more Eye of the Storm and surprised myself when I got a relatively similar finish in colour. However, what really surprised me was the similarity of the centre eyelid colour . I used Urban Decay’s Mugshot and Sleek Lust in L.A. Urban decay actually lost out in pigmentation here but did have a much smoother well-blended finish.

Sleek on the left, Urban Decay on the Right… featuring that juicy vein

The same can be said about the inner corner highlight colour I used. On the Urban Decay, I used a mixture of Dust and Buzz, because I didn’t like the powdery texture of Dust (even though I guess that is the point). Perfect Storm from the Storm palette is almost an exact dupe for this highlight colour. I couldn’t tell the difference.  

                         Urban Decay on top, Sleek on the bottom… but I can’t tell the difference.

Can anyone justify the price?

Here are a few pictures of the finished look. It’s nothing complicated and could probably have done with a little more blending (but ain’t nobody got time or the arm strength for that) but what’s important for this post is the colour. I actually think that from a distance you couldn’t tell that you were wearing two very different eyeshadows and ultimately the colour match is quite similar.

Urban Decay on the left, Sleek on the Right.

However, where I can achieve this look in minutes with Urban decay, it took significantly longer on the Sleek side. This is because I had to layer colours to get a similar colour. As a result, the Naked side was better blended and appearing of a higher quality. You use less product (literally, just a few taps of a base shadow brush) and as I said before, you achieve the end result in a much shorter amount of time.

Urban Decay 

Despite much layering, and using way more product the Sleek side did not achieve the same level of pigmentation. It also settled into the fine lines of my eye more, because there was so much more product. This could be corrected with an under eye primer, but for the sake of testing, I didn’t use one. The sheen isn’t quite as strong and it didn’t blend quite as easily. But it still looked beautiful for such an affordable price.


Before I wrote this article, I didn’t expect to see such a difference between the eyeshadows and expected to write ‘just get the sleek, don’t waste your money screw capitalism’, but I don’t think I can say that anymore! Although they achieve a similar finish in colour, the blend ability and amount of pigment used made a real difference between the high end and the budget, where the Urban Decay ultimately won out. Do I regret buying the hella expensive Urban Decay palette? No, not at all (although my soul might have come in handy a little later in life). But at £8.99 the Sleek palettes are certainly nothing to turn your nose up to! With a little layering, you can achieve a similar colour to the Naked 3, which is no mean feat considering the price difference and how Urban Decay is renowned for their unique eyeshadow shades. I didn’t realise the luxury of a quick, easy to blend, no fuss eyeshadow until I bought a Naked Palette but the Sleek eyeshadows will always have a place in my heart; I’m forever recommending everyone I know to buy one. Because everyone has to have at least one Sleek palette in their lives.



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