Eyes / High End / Mid End

Urban Decay BoS IV: Flail (as in spasms of delight) or Fail?

Now that I’ve spent a good two weeks (unintentionally, I might add) building up the suspense for this review, I’m finally going to get down to it and unveil the Urban Decay Book of Shadows, Volume IV.  Get ready…

Egads, is that a stock image?  Why, yes it is.  Sorry, but I couldn’t get a decent shot of the whole thing.

First off, this box is ginormous.  There’s no other word for it.  While I’m usually not a huge fan of bulky packaging, I would hardly expect a palette named ‘Book of Shadows’ to be slim, so this one gets a free pass.  The design is really gorgeous, and the palette comes inside a cardboard box printed with the same colorful drawing.

Open the top lid, and you get a spray of plastic butterflies, a mirror, iPhone/iPod sleeve, and QR codes.  (And now, I’m going to subject you to gratuitous butterfly pictures because I took about 10 billion of them)

The bottom drawer slides out to reveal the eyeshadows, plus some extras (a speaker, cords, mascara, liquid liner, and mini UDPP in a squeeze tube).

I’ll go over the electronic additions later, but first, a little about the 3 makeup extras.  The liquid liner is great, and I believe I referred to the formula as “liquid fairydust magic” in a previous review.  The color is a versatile, glossy black which pairs well with the shadows.  The mascara also impressed me (people, do you see the awesome chrome tube?).  It defined my lashes while holding a decent curl, and didn’t smudge or flake.  I also like that this year’s mini UDPP comes in a squeeze tube, which will make it much easier to get the leftover product out.

The eyeshadows:

I’ve swatched them in the same order as they appear above.  I also labelled them for an extra dose of helpfulness:

The standout shades for me were Baked, Bender, Lost, Hijack, Sin, and the entire bottom row, which looks a lot better in real life.  All of the above were smooth like butter, with excellent color payoff.  A few shades were less pigmented than the others, as I’m sure you can tell from my swatches.  Midnight Cowgirl and Midnight Rodeo were the only glitters, and I experienced moderate fallout when working with them, but nothing terrible.

Now, I want to add that the only other palette I own from Urban Decay is their Deluxe Shadow Box, which I purchased a couple of years ago.  This set might not be as useful to you if you already own their Naked Palette, which contains all the neutrals you are ever going to need.  For me, this was a nice addition to my stash, as it contains a balance of neutrals and pops of color (not quite as bright as their 15th Anniversary Palette, so I’d steer you in that direction if you want more color).

Ok, lastly, all that high-tech stuff.  While I was able to find a use for everything, the gadget additions aren’t really necessary.  Example?  While the purple keychain speaker has good sound quality, and is oodles of awesome, it doesn’t add to the palette itself, especially when you can access those tutorials online without going through the whole QR code thing.  I don’t know whether the tech additions were a one-time thing or not, but for their next palette, I’d like to see them scrap those, and knock $10 off the price.

Thumbs up for

Very pretty packaging, well-chosen makeup extras, wearable color range, overall good quality eyeshadows.

Thumbs down for

Higher price point and the not-entirely-necessary tech gadgets.  I was also disappointed by 2 or 3 of the eyeshadows, which weren’t as buttery and pigmented as the others.

Final decision

Urban Decay’s Book of Shadows Volume IV should be good for the office, or just for people who want to slowly incorporate color into their makeup routine.  Hopefully, I’ve given you a pretty balanced picture, because I know that this palette has had a lot of mixed reviews.  As I said before, I do think that this is a nice set, but a few specific improvements could have taken it to the next level.  It’s also not going to be for everyone, especially since a lot of people seem to expect very bright, unique colors from Urban Decay, and these colors are on the safer side.

This is available online now for $64, but if you’re still undecided, just pop into Sephora to see it in person when it lands in-store around the end of November/December.

So what do you guys think?  Flail or fail?

~Makeup Morsels

Full Disclosure: The product in this post was submitted for review, either by a PR firm or directly from the manufacturer.  For more information, please see my disclaimer.

Stock image courtesy of Urban Decay.


16 thoughts on “Urban Decay BoS IV: Flail (as in spasms of delight) or Fail?

  1. LOVE your photos, hon! They look awesome 🙂

    (Ugh, sorry, I know I should be posting a more involved comment but right now I’m just REALLY TIRED. All the same – your product shots look really, really great. You should be proud! ^^)

    • Aw, thanks! And no worries, photography compliments make me feel very warm and fuzzy inside. Plus, you’re the one who turned me onto that whole DIY lightbox thing in the first place, so a big thank you for that 🙂

      Rest up, hun! And Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

  2. “I don’t know whether the tech additions were a one-time thing or not, but for their next palette, I’d like to see them scrap those, and knock $10 off the price.” <— Thank you for your honesty! 😉
    B/c I am all kinds of behind :P, I plan to get the Naked palette when the Sephora F&F rolls around this month.

    • You’re welcome! I just think that an honest review is going to be more helpful to people, so I’m glad to hear that you appreciate it.

      LOL I am all kinds of behind too. I keep going back and forth on whether to get the Naked palette or not. You know when you hear so much hype about a product that you think it’s too good to be true? Haven’t heard a single bad thing about the Naked palette, so it’s making me think that my dreams will be CRUSHED if I actually get it. I’m so weird.
      Anyways, debating on whether to treat myself to the Naked palette or YSL Tender Peach for my birthday. It’s a tough choice!

  3. Pass for me! I just can’t use any more palettes, ugh. Maybe a good neutral one, since the Naked palette (which I once owned) wasn’t paraben-free (my mom loves it. At least it went to a good home).

    • Palettes are always so appealing to me. Even if I already have dupes for all the colors, I think “Wow, they’re all in one place! Cool!”
      My favorite neutral palette is from Shu Uemura. It only has 4 eyeshadows, but it’s perfect. Too bad they pulled out of the US.

  4. That’s a gorgeous palette and I love those cute butterflies but I wish it included more colorful eyeshadows. These ones are pretty and wearable but I don’t use them enough to justify the price tag. *sighs* Thanks for your honest review.

  5. I thought for a second you were joking about the electronic additions!!! It seems ridiculous to be putting them inside an eyeshadow palette though!

    For a second when I read ‘iphone/ipod sleeve’ i thought there was a DOCK inside the top! XD If that were true, it would indeed explain why the packaging is so bulky!! LOL

    You’re right about the naked palette. I am quite happy with mine. I don’t think I need to buy another eyeshadow palette for a while LOL. Since I bought it I have really neglected all other shadows and palettes!

    • Nope, no joke. I see where they were going, and it’s an interesting idea, I just don’t think it really works in reality.

      The Naked palette has so many good reviews, it’s insane. I can’t think of any other cosmetic item that’s gotten so much positive feedback.

  6. I like the mascara too! (got a sample of it)
    and I did not realize how huge the BoS was this year until I saw it in store. that thing is not a joke, and I thought the previous ones were big.. ._.;
    I’ve been putting off buying this palette, but the row with Gravity and Hijack look so pretty! might have to pick it up during Sephora’s F&F sale, that price is just too much for me 😦

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