Sunday, April 1, 2012

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Volume IV: Swatches & Review

In addition to nail polish, I also hoard collect eyeshadow...and lip colors...and shoes...and dresses... Basically I like stuff--lots of stuff. But one of my favorite things to collect are Urban Decay palettes! They're really a phenomenal value and Urban's shadows are usually top notch. The Book of Shadows Volume IV came out a while ago but since Urban Decay currently has it on sale on their website for a ridiculously affordable $29, I figured this palette could do with some revisiting! You can click to enlarge any of these photos, so please feel free to do so!

Now, are you ready, boots? Start walkin'!

The Book of Shadows are known for their over-the-top packaging and this volume is no exception. The palette itself is quite large, in part due to all of the technological doo-dads Urban Decay included this time around. The theory is that they're giving you all the equipment you need to watch tutorial videos on your smartphone (more on that later), so the palette takes up some extra space in order to house all these extra gadgets. Although the palette is on the bulky side, the accompanying artwork and packaging is very beautiful.

 The box:

The palette:

The top part of the palette opens up to reveal a mirror, a holder slot for your phone (presumably to put there while you watch the tutorials) and a card with the QR codes for the videos, which looks like this:

The actual make-up is housed in a pull-out drawer underneath. Once you have everything all opened up, it looks like this:

The Goods
This palette comes with 16 eyeshadows.

They are:
  • Blue Bus - A blue-based purple with a frosted finish. Although this color looks vibrant in the pan, it applied very chalky and with uneven pigmentation.
  • Gunmetal - A dark grey with silver shimmer. This shadow has nice, even pigmentation and frequently makes appearances in Urban Decay's palettes.
  • Cobra - A dark brown with green-gold shimmer. Goes on a little dry and the shimmer looks more gold than green on the skin.
  • Baked - A bright metallic copper. This is a very richly pigmented shade with a wonderful velvet-y texture to it. Baked is probably the most pigmented color in this entire set.
  • Bender - A forest green with a slight gold sheen. It has a smooth texture with good color pay-off.
  • Gravity - A frosted purple. Decent color pay-off but feels a little dry.
  • Lost - A dark brown with some reddish undertones. This applies like butter and is one of the most pigmented shades in the palette.
  • Hijack - A teal with a touch of silver. Good pigmentation and smooth application.
  • Midnight Cowgirl - A warm-toned gold base with gold glitter. The pigmentation on this shade is very nice and it applies smoothly but like a lot of the Midnight shades, this one is prone to glitter fall-out--not as bad as, say, Midnight Cowboy or Midnight Cowboy Rides Again though.
  • Sin - A pink-leaning champagne with a metallic sheen. This shade is especially nice for highlighting and blending.
  • Midnight Rodeo - A shiny taupe with silver glitter. Nice color pay-off with surprisingly minimal fallout, especially considering that it's part of the notorious Midnight family of shades.
  • Crystal - A blue-y grey with silver shimmer. This is the sheerest shade in the palette, although I think it's intended for highlighting or accenting rather than full coverage. It's a shame since it's such a pretty color in the pan, but you'd really have to pack on shadow if you wanted to achieve that same color on the lid. I usually just use it for small touches, like on the inner corner of my eye, since the texture is dry and tough to blend.
  • Bust - A soft grey. Velvet-y texture with nice color pay-off.
  • Missionary - A soft beige. Felt a little chalky but pigmentation is decent.
  • Skimp - A peachy nude. This one makes a nice base, highlighter or blender. It's pretty close to my actual skintone so I like to use it up by my browbone.
  • Zephyr - A shimmery white. This felt a little dry and isn't super opaque, although like Crystal I believe it's meant for blending or accenting.

Now let's swatch these babies! I'm new to the whole cosmetic swatching business so go easy on me here. All swatches are done on bare skin (no primer) and taken with flash.

L to R: Gunmetal, Midnight Cowgirl, Blue Bus, Midnight Rodeo, Baked

L to R: Hijack, Lost, Gravity, Bender, Crystal, Cobra, Sin

L to R: Zephyr, Skimp, Missionary, Bust

And here they are all together.

L to R: Zephyr, Skimp, Missionary, Bust, Hijack, Lost, Gravity, Bender, Crystal, Cobra, Sin, Gunmetal, Midnight Cowgirl, Blue Bus, Midnight Rodeo, Baked

Aside from the shadows, you also get a full-size 24/7 liquid eyeliner in Perversion (black), a travel-size Supercurl Curling Mascara, a travel-size Primer Potion and a mini-speaker for your phone.

The 24/7 liquid liners are my absolute favorite liquid liners so I'm really thrilled they included one in this set--and a full-size one, no less! The 24/7 liners all glide on smoothly and have a thin applicator that's very easy to work with. Plus they're waterproof--so much so that I can even shower and they'll stay on! I love these liners and Perversion is my go-to black liquid liner.

The Supercurl Curling Mascara is actually quite good. I like its curved brush a lot and I do feel it gives my lashes a visible curl. It's not the most amazing mascara I've ever used but it is a nice one. I may buy a full-size tube once I'm done with the travel-size one in the palette.

Of course, most of us all know and love the Primer Potion by now so I'm happy to have more of that (I never wear eyeshadow without it). I haven't tried the speakers yet. The whole smartphone implementation just doesn't appeal to me. However, I have watched the tutorial videos on my computer and used them to do some looks with this palette. The videos are easy to follow and showcase some really pretty looks but overall I feel like the inclusion of all these smartphone extras is more gimmicky than practical. I wish Urban Decay had just posted the videos up on their site (because they are helpful) and left it at that rather than including these other gadgets that most people will likely get little use out of. Then they could've used the extra space taken up by the tech stuff to put in some more make-up goodies instead!

The Verdict
Overall, I'm extremely happy with this palette! Although a few of the shades (Crystal, Blue Bus, Missionary) are on the chalky side and can be difficult to work with, the collective texture and pigmentation of Book of Shadows Volume IV is extremely nice. The technology aspects of this palette were an interesting idea but ultimately not very useful or practical. I wish Urban would have just included more make-up instead of this gimmickry. However, the shadows and other cosmetics are still positively stellar! If you've used any of Urban Decay's eye make-up in the past, then you know they put out some excellent products and this palette is no exception.

This palette originally retailed for $64 and the retail value of everything included here would be nearly $200 if you were to buy each element separately (which you can't, anyways--some of the shadows are exclusive to this set). As I mentioned above though, Urban Decay currently has this on sale on their website for $29. That's an insane value! I think this volume is well worth a purchase so if you're looking to add some quality eyeshadows to your make-up kit or grow your Urban Decay hoard, pick this up--and on the cheap, too!--while you still can!


  1. I was actually thinking about buying this palette! Thanks for the review!

    1. You're welcome! I think the palette is totally worth it--especially for the sale price!

    2. Yeah, I'm super excited about the new lower price. definitely going to be one of the first things I treat myself to when I start my summer job!

  2. What a lovely palette and review! :D Thank you for sharing! ^-^

  3. Love this palette and I had stopped myself from buying it because of the price but not anymore!! Thanks for sharing!!

    1. You're very welcome! Don't you just love when all your waiting is rewarded with a sale price? :)

  4. They're all so pretty! I think my favorite is Lost, though, I love reddish browns! Great review & swatches!

    1. Thank you! Lost is an amazing shade. It feels so rich and velvety. I love it too!

  5. Glad I found your review before I purchased. So glad it's on sale! :D

  6. Do you know how long it will be on sale for? WOndering if I should buy it...

    1. I *think* it's a permanent price drop/the set is on clearance but I'm not positive.


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