What is it about palettes that makes them so exciting? There is something about them that makes them more interesting products than singles. This might be what some brands are banking on when they are creating palettes of all sorts, like the Urban Decay Naked Skin Shapeshifter.
This palette contains powder and cream contours and highlighters but is it better than singles and is it worth your money and time? Let’s find out.
Urban Decay palettes have a very specific and characteristic packaging that is made from hard, durable plastic. They always come with outer cardboard packaging as well and a design that suits the product.
The Naked Skin Shapeshifter palette has a brown abstract shape design which suits the product. The palette closes magnetically, and it has a double-sided mirror inside. The mirror is the same on both sides, there is no magnification.
It doesn’t come with a brush but that’s ok.
The Naked Skin Shapeshifter palette comes in two versions (the light medium and the medium dark). In this post I am looking at the light medium which contains 3 powder contours, 1 powder highlighter, 2 cream contours, 2 cream colour correctors and 1 cream highlighter. Although it sounds like there are a lot of different options in this palette, there actually aren’t. This palette is not flexible and does not allow people of many skin shades and tones to use it comfortably.
The three contours offered would have made sense if they were dark, medium and light. And although that’s what they are named, they do not reflect dark, medium and light skin tones. The light contour is just white and there is no brown in it at all meaning that it’s more of a setting powder than a contour. The medium and dark browns are the only options then for a powder contour and although they can be used by light skin tones (like myself) you have to be careful to only use a tiny amount of product and perhaps even go over it with foundation to make it a little less intense. Definitely not ideal.
There is only one powder highlighter with a beige-silvery shade. Highlighters don’t tend to come in different shades for different skin tones (maybe they should!) but rather in different undertones. It looks natural and doesn’t add much texture but it won’t blind anyone, so if you are looking for a blinding highlighter, this is not for you.
On the other side of the palette, the cream collection is not far better either. There is only one brown contour and one white contour. The brown contour is too dark for light skin tones and maybe even for medium skin tones too. You can mix it with the white or work it in to death until the colour is not as strong but you can always sort of tell that the colour doesn’t match 100%.
There are two creams for colour correcting, a peach and a pink toned. While colour correcting can be an absolute life saver, especially under the eyes, it feels out of place in this palette, especially when the powder and cream contours are lacking. It would have been much better if those two spots were dedicated to adding appropriate brown shades for medium and light cream contours. It is called a Shapeshifter palette after all, it should be all about contour.
There is also one cream highlighter which is again a beige-silvery tone and will probably work best for lighter skin tones. It also looks very natural, but it won’t blind anyone, so if you are looking for a blinding highlighter, this is not for you.
Overall, this palette feels a little confused. It doesn’t have enough shades to be comfortable for many and even if it did, it feels very wasteful to have a palette with different shades that not everyone will use. So, this type of product would be best for makeup artists that have to serve clients of different skin tones, but the average cosmetic consumer won’t get their money’s worth.
Pigmentation and Texture
The powders all feel powdery but not harsh and the creams all feel creamy. All shades are also appropriately pigmented, they are the colour they look like in the pan.
It is also worth noting that the medium powder contour has a lot of kickback but the rest of the powders are normal. The picture below shows what happened after just one tap of a brush into the medium powder contour.
All powders and creams in this palette blend easily and well.
The Urban Decay Shapeshifter palette retails for £39.50 and it contains 5 x 2.15g of creams and 4 x 3.7g of powders. It’s a high price considering you won’t be able to use all shades in the palette but on the other hand, if you can use most of them, it is cheaper than buying all those products individually. So, for some people this price is not worth it but for others it might be a great option.
This palette doesn’t smell of anything.
This palette lasts for 24M which is a reasonable amount of time. If you don’t use it up in two years, it’s time for a declutter.
Here’s what the brand says about the product:
“Naked Skin Shapeshifter is more than a contour kit. This three-in-one complexion palette provides everything you need to contour, colour-correct and highlight. One side contains powders (three contour powders and one pearl shade for highlighting), and the other holds creams (two for cream contour, two for colour-correcting and one pearl shade for highlighting).
Available in two colour ways that span the complexion spectrum – Light Medium Shift for light to medium skin tones and Medium Dark Shift for medium to dark skin tones – Naked Skin Shapeshifter has everybody covered. If you fall somewhere in the middle, mix the contour makeup shades in either palette to create your own custom tones. You can even layer the powder and cream formulas to achieve a longer-wearing, more intense effect.
Naked Skin Shapeshifter is contouring the Naked way. Every colour-corrector and contour makeup shade is blendable, buildable and forgiving – so your skin still looks like skin. We curated a range of shades and textures for the flexibility to create any look. The medium and dark powder and cream contour shades allow you to achieve any level of contouring, from subtle shaping to more intense, sculpted effects. The colour correctors neutralize dark areas under the eyes for a wide-awake look. The light contour shades and highlighters enable you to bring light to the high points of the face – for glowing, youthful-looking Naked skin.
Our highlight & contour powders are finely milled for an ultra-silky feel and a clean finish. The creams blend into the skin for a seamless finish – giving you the best of both worlds.
This triple-purpose kit has everything you need to achieve a full spectrum of looks. Correct and Highlight is ideal for low-key days. When you want to dial it up, Everyday Contour creates a subtly shaped effect. And for special occasions, there’s Photo-Ready Contour. For in-depth tips and tutorials, go to UDShapeshifter.com. Naked Skin Shapeshifter comes in a super-sleek, travel-ready case with a dimensional, “contoured” effect. Slim enough to take with you, this palette is still packed with nine shades. A double-sided mirror separates the powders from the creams and keeps them clean and mess-free.
Naked Skin Shapeshifter comes in a super-sleek, travel-ready case with a dimensional, “contoured” effect. Slim enough to take with you, this colour-corrector, highlight and contour palette is still packed with nine shades. A double-sided mirror separates the powders from the creams and keeps them clean and mess-free.For added depth, dimension and staying power, try layering the powders on top of the creams.
Cream: NET WT. 5 x 0.07 oz
Powder: NET WT. 4 x 0.13 oz”
Contour products and highlighters don’t tend to contain many nutritious ingredients, they are makeup after all, so there isn’t really that much to say in this category.
There isn’t anything in this palette that you should specifically avoid. But it contains talc and silica so let’s address these head on. As a chemist I can tell you that there is no scientific proof that talc or silica are harmful, unless you breathe them in as powders in large amounts. This product also contains silica in nano form which some believe it can penetrate the skin, however, there is no scientific proof for that. So, in general nothing to worry about here. For more details and information on the safety on talc check out: Is talc in cosmetics safe?
Strangely, the creams of this palette contain vitamin A, C and hyaluronic acid. Although these are must-have skincare ingredients and I love it when makeup has skincare potential too, they feel out of place here. If these were ingredients in a foundation that you put all over your face then yes they could be beneficial but to add them in a cream contour or highlighter that you will only add in a small part of your face feels strange and unnecessary and almost as if they were added just for marketing purposes.
To keep this article short, I am only listing the skin nourishing or skin positive/negative ingredients and some that might enhance this product’s function and ignoring the ones that only play formulation or pigmentation purposes. For the full list of these products’ ingredients scroll down to the “full list of ingredients” section.
- Isononyl Isononanoate– A skin conditioner that leaves a silky feeling on the skin.
- Isodecyl Neopentanoate – A skin conditioner that leaves a soft feeling on skin and hair.
- Dimethicone – Creates a barrier and can therefore protect the skin. Also acts as a skin conditioner. It leaves a silky feeling and can even fill in lines temporarily.
- HDI/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer – Anti-caking agent.
- Tribehenin – Skin conditioner and softener.
- Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate – Skin conditioner.
- Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone– Skin conditioner.
- Hexyl Laurate – Skin conditioner.
- Retinyl Palmitate – Similar to retinol (aka Vitamin A) but this form is less irritating. Repairs skin’s elasticity and is linked to collagen production. Anti-ageing. Helps protect from sun damage and can help the skin shed the dead cells and produce new ones. Skin conditioner and anti-oxidant. For more details see “Vitamin A in skin care – is it worth it?”
- Tocopheryl acetate – A more stable form of vitamin E. A hero anti-oxidant molecule. A skin conditioner that also enhances the ability of sunscreens. Can help with inflammation. Check out: Vitamins C & E – Do they work in skin care?
- Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate – A stable form of vitamin C. Can increase collagen production keeping the skin healthy and younger looking, reduce melanin production giving a brighter skin appearance and can even repair the effects of UV-exposure. This specific form of Vitamin C even has the ability to stimulate production of moisturising compounds in the skin. A hero compound. Check out: Vitamins C & E – Do they work in skin care?
- Ethylhexyl Palmitate– Derivative of palm oil, can act as a skin moisturiser, smoother and cleanser.
- Sodium Hyaluronate – A hero compound, known as the “fountain of youth” Plays a major role in anti-ageing processes and is found in embryos in high concentrations. Can hold onto water 1000 times of its weight meaning that it is an amazing moisturiser by locking moisture in. Helps wounds and burns heal and it’s linked to increased collagen generation Also used as a temporary cosmetic filler. Check out: Hyaluronic acid – the fountain of youth?
- Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride – A skin conditioner and replenisher. Can enhance the delivery of vitamins, pigments and other ingredients. Can act as a cleanser too and provide a lightweight non-greasy barrier of lubrication.
- Alumina – Anti-caking agent that can also absorb oils.
- Polyethylene – Although most polyethylene molecules might be too big to enter the skin, they will easily enter our body when ingested (so don’t eat your cosmetics!). This molecule is a potential carcinogen at moderate doses but more studies are needed to confirm or dispute these claims.
- Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate – Potentially persistent and bioaccumulative in wildlife.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Check out: What is sensitive skin? What are the causes and what can we do?
The following compounds present in this palette have been either proven or claimed by some to be sensitizers, irritants, allergens etc: Polyethylene, Phenoxyethanol, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Sorbic Acid.
Full list of ingredients:
Cream Ingredients: Isononyl Isononanoate, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Dimethicone, HDI/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Silica [Nano] / Silica, Polyethylene, Tribehenin, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Silica Dimethyl Silylate [Nano] / Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Phenoxyethanol, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Hexyl Laurate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Silica, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate. [+/- All Shades May Contain : Mica, CI 77891 / Titanium Dioxide, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 / Iron Oxides, CI 75470 / Carmine].
Powder Ingredients: Talc, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Polyethylene, Silica, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Phenoxyethanol, Sorbic Acid, Tin Oxide, Alumina. [+/- All Shades May Contain: Mica, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 / Iron Oxides, CI 77891 / Titanium Dioxide, CI 77742 / Manganese Violet, CI 75470 / Carmine, CI 77007 / Ultramarines, CI 19140 / Yellow 5 Lake].
Although this palette works well I wouldn’t recommend buying it if you are a light skin tone, simply because you will not use all the colours in the palette and the ones you will use won’t be a good fit either. Therefore you will not get your money’s worth. This palette might be a great addon though for medium skin tones and I’d imagine that the medium/dark version will be great for the darker ones.
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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4 responses to Urban Decay Naked Skin Shapeshifter Palette – In-depth Review and Ingredient Analysis
For that kind of money UD should have made this palette a little more versatile it sounds like.
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That’s definitely how I felt but I have light skin. Perhaps it might be more useful to medium and dark skin tones.
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loved how you mentioned info about the ingredients inside- super helpful
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Glad you found it helpful, thank you for reading x