After the release of Urban Decay Naked 3 and my recent (and rapid) consideration and purchase of all three Urban Decay Naked palettes, I wanted to explain the differences and make a few suggestions.  There are some basic considerations for each palette and everyone has a personal preference for eyeshadows.  But if you are new to makeup or just new to the Naked line, it can be overwhelming to see 36 eyeshadows and narrow the choices to a single palette.

Going in consecutive order, I’ll begin with the original Naked palette.

Urban Decay Naked Palette featured Image

Of the three palettes, Naked is often thought of as the warmest because of the four middle shades.  However, the two deepest shades are rather cool and the six remaining colors are quite neutral.  Urban Decay describes this as a “bronze” palette and I fully agree as this is a rather general term for a variety of depths and hues.  Naked is also the most shimmery of the three palettes and its two darkest shades, Creep and Gunmetal, are the lighter than the deepest shades of Nakeds 2 and 3.

Urban Decay Naked Palette Swatches

Naked offers two matte shades – Naked (a mid-tone beige) and Buck (a very warm fawn).  Both work well as crease shades or to lay down prior to other shadows to assist with blending.  Virgin, the lightest shade of the group makes a fantastic highlight shade.  It is a satin formula that is fairly neutral with just a touch pink to create a subtle brightening effect to the eye area.

Next Urban Decay released Naked 2 with “taupe and greige shades.”

Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette

At first glance Naked 2 is much cooler than Naked.  But a closer look shows that the warm colors have simply been moved from the middle to the beginning of the palette.  And while there are more cool tones on the darker end, the middle remains neutral.

Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette Swatches

Naked 2 boasts three mattes – Foxy (a pale yellow), Tease (a mauve-taupe), and Blackout (an intense black).  Bootycall is a satin that looks more pink in the pan and more neutral on very warm and olive skin.  Interestingly enough, Half Baked (the second shade in Naked 2) is a repeat from the original palette (where it was placed sixth).  While the inclusion of this shimmery gold is debatable, it does go to show how much darker Naked 2 gets.  This was my original purchase and I prefer it for my medium-tan complexion and my love of deeper eyeshadows.

And finally there is the newest and most controversial Naked 3.

Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette Eyeshadows

Clearly offering “rose-hued neutrals,” I find this to be Urban Decay’s attempt at cashing in on the rose-gold trend over the last few years.  And they did a great job at that.  Every single shade of this palette has a rose hue of some variety and I find the entire palette to be neither cool nor warm…even on my olive skin.

Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette Swatches

Again there are three mattes – Strange (a cream with the tiniest touch of pink), Limit (a pale mauve), and Nooner (a soft grey-plum).  The second shade, Dust, is a rather unfortunate formula that crumbles severely.  I can’t imagine wearing it over anything other than a cream eyeshadow and application would need to happen both very carefully and before applying face makeup.  The other 11 eyeshadows are a fabulous creamy texture.  Naked 3 is much like Naked in that they both offer four light, four medium, and four deep shades.  However, Naked 3 doesn’t get quite as deep as Naked 2 unless the last two shades (Darkside and Blackheart) are applied wet.

The most often asked question I’ve seen around the blogosphere is, “Which palette is best for my hair and eye color?”  Honestly?  Any one of them!  People see pink and automatically think of green eyes.  But I have found Naked 3 making my brown eyes pop and pinks work beautifully on blue eyes too.

Next everyone automatically thinks that warm palettes are for warm skin and cool palettes are for cool skin.  Not only have I already shown that Naked and Naked 2 are truly a mix of warm and cool, but any skin tone can wear warm or cool.  It’s actually a matter of what cheek and lip colors are paired with the eyeshadows.

Taking everything into consideration (and looking beyond the tones in each palette), I suggest to first look at the mattes…how much do you use matte eyeshadows?  For what purpose?  These vary the most from each palette and should give you the best idea of which way to go.  Then think depth…Do you prefer more medium and deep shades?  Try Naked 2.  If you like more light shades, check out Naked or Naked 3.  Finally consider highlight shades…Do you like a warm browbone color? Opt for Foxy in Naked 2.  Do you enjoy a satin pink?  Naked is for you.  And if you like a neutral matte, try Naked 3.

What are your own recommendations for choosing a Naked palette?  Do you have a favorite of the three and for what reasons?  Share below!