To Run or Not to Run? Urban Decay Born to Run Palette – In-depth Review, Swatches and Ingredient Analysis

Urban Decay is well-known for their good quality eye shadows and they’ve been releasing a lot of very exciting and good looking palettes. I was very excited for the Urban Decay Heat palette and I was nearly loosing my mind while waiting for the Backtalk palette.

If you missed those posts check out:

Urban Decay Naked Heat Eye Shadow Palette and Lipsticks! Swatches and Reviews on National Lipstick day!

Let’s Backtalk. Urban Decay Backtalk Palette and Lipstick. In depth review, functionality and ingredients

Urban Decay recently launched a new palette called “Born to run” and even though it’s all over Youtube and Instagram and the vast majority of people seem to like it…I just wasn’t feeling it. Is it just me?

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To me, it initially looked overwhelming, there are too many colours and I didn’t think I will use it enough to warrant the money.  I don’t wear eye shadows every day and when I do its often natural, browns, golds or pinks, generally not very intense colours. Not only does my profession not allow intense eye colour makeup, it’s already hard enough being a woman in science, but perhaps because I’m also not used to it, I don’t feel that I suit intense colour looks as much.

With all that being said, I bought the Born to Run palette! I bought it because I trust the Urban Decay quality of eye shadows and because I wanted to have at least one palette in my collection with a reasonable spectrum of colours. I also want to challenge myself to incorporate more coloured looks, during weekends at least, and I thought that this palette is very well set-up for this. We only live once, let’s colour it up!

So, I wasn’t interested at first then I bought it with hesitation, I swatched it once and I hated it (read below to find out why) and then I created a couple of looks and I liked it. That is a lot of emotion for a palette and so I wanted to write an in-depth review, especially for those who were not as convinced to begin with like I was.



Both the outer and actual palette packaging are a little different for Urban Decay. However, that is actually a good thing because it shows they can create different palettes that look and feel unique.

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The outer packaging is black with the UD logo at the front, that is raised slightly higher than the rest of the packaging, and is decorated with pictures from all around the world. The back of the packaging contains some information about the palette and one by one the placement and names of the colours.

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The actual eye shadow palette is made of very good quality plastic and is also decorated with pictures from all around the world. According to Urban Decay, these are pictures from their own personal travels (who knew that the Urban Decay employees were such good photographers) and even though the collage is very well made and some of the pictures are breath taking, I personally find them a little cheesy as well.

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The palette looks different though and has a nice theme and feeling to it, so for that the design is a success.

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The palette closes magnetically and inside contains a humongous mirror. The entire top lid is a mirror with a very small border and a lovely “UD Born to Run” inscription at the bottom right.

The inside background of the palette is black which is a very clever choice and works amazingly well, as it showcases the colours nicely. It also gives the palette a more serious and professional look which is probably why I chose to buy this over the other many multi-coloured palettes out there. It just doesn’t look as “crazy” or overwhelming as other intense coloured palettes.


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This palette contains 21 different colours of which 13 are shimmers and 8 are matte(ish). The black colour, called Jet, can be considered to be a subtle satin (between shimmer and matte). All shadows are well and evenly pigmented.


There are a couple of options for transition shade colours, highlighting colours, shading colours and even lid colours. From beige to browns, oranges, purples, greens, blues, copper and even a black, this palette covers a good amount of colour options in a small space.

I love that this palette is fairly stand alone, it contains a few options for highlighting or brow lightening, a few shading options including a must have black and brown, and a good mixture of matte to shimmer. The biggest hidden gem in this palette is the colour Baja, an orange colour, which is a colour that almost every palette should have.

If you are not into very colourful looks you are already running away by just looking at an orange, but after you start creating some you will quickly realise its usefulness. It can almost transition any look, even a dark, full black eye! If you’ve never seen a black eye that transitions with an orange shadow look it up now, you will understand immediately what I’m talking about.

One of the reasons why I avoided intense colour palettes before is the fact that they often tend to be either too small, having some random intense colours that you can’t always combine, or too large, having so many colours you don’t know where to start. The Urban Decay Born to run is a good medium. It doesn’t cover all the colours in the spectrum but there are more than enough to create a lot of unique looks.


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Pigmentation and texture:

In the intro I mentioned that the first time I swatched this palette I hated it. I had already bought it and I was swatching it at home, while it was brand new, and a lot of the shadows felt really powdery and a little harsh on the fingers. I was very shocked because this is not like Urban Decay but then moved forward into creating a few looks which I loved.

I then when back and swatched it again and the shadows felt much more buttery and softer than before. As a result, I think the harshness was just from the initial layer of pressed shadow, once you break into them they are back to normal Urban Decay business. This is something you will not experience if you swatch it at a shop, because it will have been swatched and touched many times already, but don’t worry if you get this experience at home. Just use it more!

With all that being said, I still think that overall the shadows are not as buttery as some of the other Urban Decay palettes, but they are still pretty good. Here’s a more detailed breakdown, shade by shade:

Urban Decay Born to Run Swatches_20180917154759699_20180921114138960
These swatches were created with a finger and by going over them twice. No filters or colour enhancing products were used. 

Breakaway (shimmer), Stranded (shimmer), Weekender (matte), Jet (satin – between shimmer and matte) – Feel buttery and are smooth when swatched, blend easily.

Blaze (shimmer), Riff (matte), Baja (matte), Accelerate (shimmer), Guilt trip (shimmer), Ignite (shimmer), Smog (shimmer), Wanderlust (shimmer), Wild heart (shimmer), Double life (shimmer), Drift (shimmer), Radio (shimmer), Big sky (shimmer) – Don’t feel as buttery but still smooth when swatched, blend easily.

Still Shot (matte) – Feels powdery and not as smooth when swatched but blends well.

Good as gone (matte), Punk (matte) – Feel between powdery and buttery when swatched but blend ok.

Hell ride (matte) – Feels harsh as if it has bits in it but is still smooth when swatched, blends well.

The swatches are created by using a finger and going over the colour twice. You can enhance the shimmers even further by using a setting spray to enhance the colour and light reflectivity.


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All shadows blended easily, even the ones that felt more powdery and even the one that feels horrible to the fingers when swatched, the colour Hell ride.

Even though I don’t think that these shadows are as buttery as some of the other Urban Decay palettes, they are still very good and blend with minimal effort.



I always use the Urban Decay original eye shadow primer and with that the shadows last all day, do not crease and only loose minimal colour intensity.


Transfer proof tests:

These shadows do not transfer if you touch them but of course, if you rub them they will slowly fade away.



In general, Urban Decay shadows are one of the best, if not the best. This palette is generally of very good Urban Decay quality and the only reason to not buy it would be if you don’t like or suit the colours. Although perhaps you should buy it as your wild card palette, like I did.


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This palette retails for £39.50 which is the same price as any of the Urban Decay eye shadow palettes. You get more colours than their normal palettes for the same price but you get less amount per pan per colour. However, overall, it is a good price and is definitely a very affordable option for getting so many colours in one go.

In terms of overall price, it isn’t cheap but neither expensive. Eye shadow palettes from reputable brands of high quality tend to retail for £35-45 and so this fits the general ball park.



This palette generally doesn’t smell of anything. However, if you closely smell the eye shadow pans (and I mean putting your nose in them) you will get an almost plasticky scent. I am very tempted to say that this is likely from the packaging, but the lid of the palette doesn’t smell of anything itself which could mean that the scent is actually from the eye shadows themselves.

Anyhow, you will likely not smell a thing.


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This palette lasts for 24M which is a good amount of time. If you don’t use up this palette in two years then at least you know you are not into intense eye shadow looks!

Here’s what the brand says about this palette:

“If you find yourself packing multiple kits for one look, our Born To Run Eyeshadow Palette is your globe-trotting go-to.

When it’s time to grab your carry-on and dash off to the next big adventure, you’ll want to pack light. Enter Born To Run, an all-in-one eyeshadow palette that has everything you need to create neutral looks, add in pops of color and play with brights, no matter where you’re going. With 21 of-the-moment shades—from jewel tones and modern neutrals to more colorful shadows—you’ve got every possible eye look covered in one sleek kit. Made from our mind-blowing formula that gives each shade its velvety texture, rich color and blendability, Born To Run’s Eyeshadow shades hold tightly onto pigment that stays put.
Got a conference in Dallas where you need to look like a boss? Create subtle definition with creamy, light neutrals like Breakaway and Weekender en route (using the palette’s full-size mirror, of course). Or, blend Baja, a burnt orange matte, into the lids and smudge Accelerate, a reddish copper metallic, into the crease for a sunset-hued smoky eye that mirrors the view on your road trip through the Mojave Desert. If you’re dancing until daybreak in Prague, put a twist on the traditional cat-eye look and smudge Guilt Trip, a smoky purple shimmer, into the lash line to create an imperfect wing.

Can’t decide which awe-inspiring shade to swipe on next? No matter which shades you try, we designed them all to be universally flattering for any skin tone and any lifestyle. Whether you’re a total road warrior, a weekend escapist or a staycationer—this one palette has everything you need when you’re Born To Run.”


So, can you run with this palette alone?

The main selling point that Urban Decay is advertising is that this palette is all you need for a trip, saving you from having to carry multiple palettes with. While the fact that it contains multiple colours means that you can create many day and night looks, I don’t really think that I could get away with packing just this.

This palette could only provide me with more fun and outgoing looks and the only options for a more natural or professional (for my profession) look is the top row, which is a little boring and flat. Maybe I should just change profession!

I would still pack one more palette if I was going away and I would definitely not take this on a business trip but admittedly, this palette covers a lot on its own and would likely be the second one I pack and the last. Maybe.


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Eye shadow palettes don’t often contain any “nutritious for your skin” ingredients but rather just the ones required to create the formulation and pigmentation. As a result, there isn’t really that much to say here. This palette contains 6 ingredient positives and 5 potential negatives as well as 4 potential irritants. It’s definitely not the “healthiest” or “lowest risk” eye shadow palette out there but it is neither harmful or toxic.

If there is an ingredient found in this palette that you’d rather avoid you’d likely have a hard time finding another palette you can use, as most of the compounds contained are pretty standard.

However, every time the subject of eye shadow palettes comes up a couple of people ask me about the safety of two ingredients in particular, talc and silica, so let’s address them head on.

As a chemist I can tell you that there is no scientific proof that talc is harmful, I will go through this in detail in another post. Talc is classed as a skin irritant on its Material Safety Data Sheet (aka MSDS) however, so is table or cooking salt also known as sodium chloride and….we eat it! Pretty much almost everything can be classed as a skin irritant, especially to those with sensitive skin and these labels are very loosely defined. If you use it and you don’t get skin irritation, then there is no reason to worry. The only time when talc can be dangerous to health is if it is breathed in, in large quantities, as a free powder. So…don’t mash up this palette and breath it in.

Same goes for silica, it is only dangerous in free powder form, if you breath it in and if it’s in large quantities or repeated breathing exposure. Sometimes I wish people spent more time being as mindful of the things they eat! Those will likely affect you more!

To keep this article short, I am only listing the skin nourishing or skin positive/negative ingredients and ignoring the ones that only play formulation or pigmentation purposes. For the full list of this product’s ingredients scroll down to the “full list of ingredients” section.


Ingredient positives:

  1. Boron Nitride – Can function as a lubricant and an optical diffuser (due to its light scattering properties) creating a soft focus with a shimmery and translucent finish. Has a silky smooth feel and adheres to the skin well. Can also absorb excess oils and helps disperse pigments evenly.
  2. Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride – A skin conditioner and replenisher. Can enhance the delivery of vitamins, pigments and other ingredients.
  3. Zinc Stearate – A lubricant with anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
  4. PTFE – Also known as Teflon, acts as a lubricant and skin conditioner in cosmetics, amongst other formulation roles, can help with a smoother application and fill in lines and wrinkles.
  5. Polymethyl Methacrylate – Can act as a lubrication enhancer and make it easier to apply cosmetics smoothly while at the same time covering up lines and wrinkles. Depending on the type of particles it is, it can also be an absorbent.
  6. Magnesium Stearate – A lubricating agent, amongst other formulation roles, that can enhance the silkiness of the product.


Ingredient negatives:

  1. Alumina – Although it is approved by the FDA and BDIH, the metal itself can bioaccumulate and it is a neurotoxin. However, it is believed that it does not penetrate the skin.
  2. Sorbic Acid – This compound has mixed evidence with some suggesting that it could be a human skin toxicant where others find it only slightly irritating. There are some studies that link it to cancer and some have reported it as an allergen.
  3. PTFE – Some studies have linked this compound with cancer, immune system and developmental effects as well as affecting the nervous system. However, more studies are needed to confirm these results and the amounts of this compound found in cosmetics are usually lower than it’s toxic limits.
  4. Polybutylene Terephthalate – Although there is still no conclusive evidence, some studies mention concerns over carcinogenicity, endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive toxicity and its ability to increase exposure of other ingredients.
  5. Carmine – Some report skin staining (redish colour) after the use of carmine. However, this is highly unlikely to happen, especially if you use an eyeshadow primer that you set first therefore, creating a small barrier layer.


Ingredients that can cause irritation to some:

This is actually really case specific, as different people have different sensitivities and allergies. Just because a compound has been reported by some to cause sensitivity, it doesn’t mean you will have an issue. “Sensitizer” compounds being present is not a negative in my opinion, as this is the case with pretty much everything out there and funnily enough I’ve seen products that are targeted specifically for sensitive skin, containing some compounds that have been reported by some, or are known to be, sensitizers.

If you have sensitive skin or you are prone to skin sensitisation and unwanted reactions, try a little bit of this at the back of your hand first and consult a medical doctor if you are concerned.

The following compounds present in this cream have been either proven or claimed by some to be sensitizers, irritants, allergens etc: Phenoxyethanol, Sorbic Acid, Acrylates Copolymer, Polymethyl Methacrylate.


Full list of ingredients:

Stillshot Ingredients (Ingrédients): Talc, Boron Nitride, Ethylene/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Alumina, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Phenoxyethanol, Sorbic Acid, Zinc Stearate, PTFE. [+/- (May contain/Peut contenir): Mica, CI 75470 / Carmine, CI 77891 / Titanium Dioxide, CI 19140 / Yellow 5 Lake, CI 77491 / Iron Oxides].

Blaze Ingredients (Ingrédients): Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Talc, Zinc Stearate, Ethylene/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, PTFE, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Phenoxyethanol, Alumina, Sorbic Acid, Silica, Tin Oxide. [+/- (May contain/Peut contenir): Mica, CI 77891 / Titanium Dioxide, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 / Iron Oxides, CI 77400 / Copper Powder, CI 75470 / Carmine, CI 77742 / Manganese Violet, CI 42090 / Blue 1 Lake, CI 77400 / Bronze Powder, CI 77510 / Ferric Ammonium Ferrocyanide, CI 77510 / Ferric Ferrocyanide, CI 19140 / Yellow 5 Lake, CI 77288 / Chromium Oxide Greens].

Accelerate, Baja, Big Sky, Breakaway, Double Life, Drift, Good as Gone, Guilt Trip, Hell Ride, Ignite, Jet, Punk, Radio, Riff, Smog, Stranded, Wanderlust, Weekender, Wildheart Ingredients (Ingrédients): Talc, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Zinc Stearate, PTFE, Ethylene/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Polyethylene Terephthalate, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Phenoxyethanol, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Silica, Sorbic Acid, Alumina, Polyurethane-33, Tin Oxide, Acrylates Copolymer, Polybutylene Terephthalate, Polylactic Acid, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Stearic Acid, Calcium Stearate, Magnesium Stearate. [+/- (All shades may contain /Toutes les couleurs peuvent contenir): Mica, CI 77891 / Titanium Dioxide, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 / Iron Oxides, CI 77742 / Manganese Violet, CI 77007 / Ultramarines, CI 77163 / Bismuth Oxychloride, CI 75470 / Carmine, CI 77400 / Bronze Powder, CI 77400 / Copper Powder, CI 77000 / Aluminum Powder, CI 42090 / Blue 1 Lake, CI 77288 / Chromium Oxide Greens, CI 77510 / Ferric Ferrocyanide, CI 77510 / Ferric Ammonium Ferrocyanide, CI 19140 / Yellow 5 Lake, CI 19140 / Yellow 5, CI 77289 / Chromium Hydroxide Green].



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This is a nice eye shadow palette to give you many colour options for those intense colourful looks. The eye shadows are of good quality but not all are as good as some of the ones found in other Urban Decay palettes. Nevertheless, they are still overall of good quality and they blend well.

I recommend this palette as your one, fun and colourful palette but only after you have bought some of the more basic ones first, like for example the Urban Decay Naked series, Backtalk or Tarte Bloom! This is not the first palette you should buy, but it is a very good palette to start from if you want to learn or further explore your skills on some colourful looks.

Take on the challenge I’m following, add more colour to your looks because life is more fun with colour!

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I am not affiliated with any company or brand. These are my views and experiences.
Beauty is a very personal thing, we all have different skin, requirements and biological build which can influence things. What worked for me might not work for you and vice versa. Have you ever tried these products? Did they work for you? Let me know your experiences below!

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  1. […] However, while that was initially disappointing it later hit me that this could actually be a good thing too. It’s almost like having two palettes in one. Apply dry for casual or work looks and wet for more intense colours. However, even with wet application these colours do not compare to the colourful Urban Decay Born to Run palette (Check out: To Run or Not to Run? Urban Decay Born to Run Palette – In-depth Review, Swatches and Ingredient …). […]


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