Urban Decay Distortion Eyeshadow Palette Review & Swatches

Urban Decay Distortion Eyeshadow Palette Review & Swatches

I know I'm a bit late to the party with this palette, but I couldn't decide whether to get it or not and then I got a Sephora gift card, so I went for it. So, this is what I think of the Urban Decay Distortion palette.

Urban Decay Distortion9.jpg

I'm going to start with the packaging because that in itself is pretty, well, pretty! It comes in a beautiful box that has an almost holographic colour-shifting quality. The reverse has the usual ingredients list and a photo of the palette with the names listed and also a bit of blurb about how to use the shadows - because they have a secret - some are duotones!

Inside the box is, of course, the palette. This is one of the prettiest palettes around and to be honest my photos do not do the colour shifting justice. Depending on the light and the angle the colours change and reflect the light beautifully. The best I can describe it is like shattered glass.

The palette itself feels well made with a good clasp that will not open accidentally anytime soon. The lid has a full-size mirror and there is a good hinge, so you can set the lid and it won't fall down. A big plus! But enough, I hear you cry, what about the eyeshadows.

Well the Distortion palette has 15 eyeshadow pans in total, but the top row is all duotones that can be used on their own, or on top of other shadows to create a completely different colour-shifing shade. 

The palette is set out in such a way that you are encouraged to use them in columns (follow the lines). If for example, you use the two pinky shades on the far right column, you can use the duotone on the top above them to enhance those shades. Likewise, you will see there are some diagonal lines, suggesting you can use these combos too. But, of course, you can use any of the shades with any of the duotones. In fact, you can use any of the duotones with any eyeshadow you have in your collection.

Here is a closer look at the shades.

I apologize in advance for the number of swatch photos, but due to the combinations, I wanted to be able to show you every conceivable option available, so you can make an informed decision about buying the palette. So here goes.

First off are all the shades on their own. In my usual fashion, I have used a primer (NYX Proof it!) on the upper half of the swatches and bare skin on the lower. All are applied using a brush. I have also tried to capture them in different lights so you can see the difference it makes. 

Urban Decay Distortion Palette - Top Row

These are the duotone shades and as I mentioned, they can be used on their own, or on top of others. 

Bleach: A yellow pastel shimmer with a golden shimmer that was smooth to use and blended well.
Shifty: This a green shimmer with a gold shift that wasn't quite as pigmented as Bleach, but blended well. It was also a little powdery.
Space: This is the blue shimmer with a silvery, lavender shift. Quite well pigmented, but needed more work than the others to work, also very powdery with a lot of fallout.
Mind Game: This is a lilac shimmer with a purple shimmer. Probably the least workable of the duotones as it was very powdery with less pigment.
Blur: A light pink shimmer with a lilac shift. Not too pigmented but blended well.

Urban Decay Distortion Palette - Middle Row

First Offence: A burnt orange shimmer with a lot of pigmentation. It was smooth and easy to apply and blended really well. 
Hot Box: A deep green that is very pigmented, but works better over primer. Quite a bit of fallout with this one. 
5.0. A deep blue shimmer which looked much richer in the palette that when applied. Very disappointing shade that even worse without primer. 
Rogue: A nice purple shimmer that had good pigmentation and applied smoothly. 
Trash Talk: Another shade that appears much better in the pan. Disappointing when applied, but was blendable, but had fallout.

Urban Decay Distortion Palette - Bottom Row

Territorial: A rich deep brown with golden tones that was very pigmented and blended really well.
Blackout: A really deep black that was well pigmented but did have quite a lot of fallout. Much better when used over a primer.
Old Smoke: A taupe shade that worked much better over primer. Not a great pigment and needed work to blend. 
Shag: A light grey with lavender tones which was less pigmented than others.
Velvet: A plum shade with a sheen that was well pigmented and easy to use.

The duotone effect

Now comes the fun part. I have taken each of the 10 main shades and applied each of the duotone shades on them. So, each photo shows the one shade, swatched six times. The duotones are applied in left to right order on each swatch and the final swatch is the colour on its own. All are applied over the primer and swatched with a brush.

Urban Decay Distortion Palette - First Offence

Urban Decay Distortion Palette - Hot Box

Urban Decay Distortion Palette - 5.0.

Urban Decay Distortion Palette - Rogue

Urban Decay Distortion Palette - Trash Talk

Urban Decay Distortion Palette - Territorial

Urban Decay Distortion Palette - Blackout

Urban Decay Distortion Palette - Old Smoke

Urban Decay Distortion Palette - Shag

Urban Decay Distortion Palette - Velvet

The stand-out sides that transformed most when the duotones were applied are: Hot Bot, Territorial, Blackout, Velvet and Old Smoke. The ones with the least effect are: 5:0., Trash Talk and Shag. 


This is a nice palette to experiment with. You get a good range of shades and of course, these can be changed by using the various duotones. I did find that many of the shades gave a lot of fallout, so you need to be aware of that. I would not recommend applying these shadows after foundation as you will end up with a big cleanup job! I made this mistake and ended up with eyeshadow all over my nose and cheeks. Also, nearly all the shades created a good amount of kick-back in the palette. After my swatches, the palette was a mess with lots of shadow particles everywhere, particularly the duotones. 

I found that after even this minimal use, I had significant dips in the duotones pans, so I am not sure how long they will last as they are quite soft and powdery.

The colour shifts are fun and essentially you have a palette of 65 shades - work it out yourself if you don't believe me. So, if you look at it that way it is quite the bargain, even taking into account some of the poorer shades. 

This palette retails for $65 CND and can be purchased at Shoppers Drug Mart, Beauty Boutique and Sephora.

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