The Cruelty-Free Review

A review of compassionate products, foods, and recipes

The Eyes Have It

on July 15, 2013


Urban Decay is a cruelty-free company with a huge line of cosmetics.  From eye shadows to primers, lip gloss to foundation, UD offers something for everyone. Additionally, many of their products are vegan and are easily identified as such with a purple paw print on their website and store displays. Today I will review their eye shadow. Unfortunately they don’t have an all-vegan eye shadow palate, so I will only be reviewing the four vegan shades from the Ammo palate.


For starters, UD’s eye shadows are perfectly balanced between being light and creamy without being flaky or heavy. They glide on very smooth and blend well, making it easy to customize your look and can be applied wet or dry. Finishes range from matte, to luminous, to shimmery and colors range from muted nudes to bold purples and blues.  Of their 75 available shades, 32 are vegan so there are plenty of options available.

The four vegan shades in the Ammo palate are Smog, Mildew, Maui Wowie, and Shattered.

From left to right: Shattered, Maui Wowie, Mildew, Smog

From left to right: Shattered, Maui Wowie, Mildew, Smog

Smog is a deep coppery shade; Mildew is a mossy green with flashes of gold; Maui Wowie is a metallic golden beige with silver glitter; and Shattered is a turquoise hue with flashes of gold. Of these, Mildew is my favorite. I have green eyes so this shade really compliments them and brings out the gold flecks. It’s a nice shade of green without being too dark. Smog and Maui Wowie are shimmery, neutral shades that look great on their own but also make a good base to layer on other colors. Shattered is bold, gorgeous and perfect for a night out. I always get compliments on how pretty the shadows are, especially when I combine colors. I really like using Smog on the entire lid and adding Shattered as a liner right along the upper lash line. It adds just the right amount of color that’s appropriate for work but still gives a sense of fun.

These shadows have decent staying power, lasting about 5-6 hours before showing signs of creasing. I have yet to find an eye shadow that doesn’t crease so I think that’s pretty good. The colors also stay very strong so reapplying isn’t really necessary, unless like me you forget you’re wearing shadow and keep rubbing your eyes 🙂 I did notice that the shades that contain glitter are looser and I would often end up with some of the shadow falling onto the top of my cheeks during application. With the neutral colors, it actually added a pretty little shimmer to my skin, but with Shattered I had to wash it off since it gave my skin a bluish color. I hold a piece of toilet paper against my skin under the eye while applying to prevent this from happening.

The only other real downside is the price: at $18 a pop, it’s hard to stock up on a lot of colors without running up a crazy bill. That’s part of the reason I sacrificed a bit of my morals when I bought a palate that didn’t have all vegan shades. I got 10 shades for $38; I could only have gotten 2 individual shades for that price. Of course the amounts in the palates are smaller so if there is a color you really love and would use a lot it certainly makes sense to pay for a full-size portion. The good news is that UD is always adding new shades and works on converting non-vegan products to vegan so I imagine we will eventually see a vegan palate. Overall if you are looking for a quality, vegan eye shadow I highly recommend UD.  UD is available online and in specialty beauty stores like Ulta and Sephora.



8 responses to “The Eyes Have It

  1. I ❤ Urban Decay, all my makeup is from them. I love that they're all cruelty free… but why aren't they all vegan??? That bugs me (although I'm not sure what ingredients they have in there that are animal-sourced?)

    • I did some quick research and found that all but two of the non-vegan colors contain carmine–a coloring made from boiled insects. Blegh! It’s what got Starbucks in trouble not long ago because they were using it in some of their drinks though its use in food goes further back than that. The other 2 non-vegan colors-Oil Slick and Secret Service-contain something else but I couldn’t figure out what from the ingredients. Hopefully UD really is trying to convert all their products to vegan because they are great!

  2. Ooooh, gorgeous colours! I could have some fun with Shattered! 🙂

  3. I always play with their products at Sephora! I didn’t realize they were vegan/cruelty free. WOOP!!!!!!!!!!

  4. H says:

    Urban Decay’s parent company is L’Oreal which does animal testing, fyi.

    • That is true, and thank you for bringing it up. I know there are people out there who will not buy any product that is owned by a company that does testing, even if the product makers in question don’t conduct it themselves. I happen to be in the group that will support a product that sticks to their guns and continues to be cruelty-free, even if their parent company is not. There are many products like this-UD, Tom’s of Maine, Burt’s Bees, for example. I, however naively, hope that continued support for these products will prompt the parent companies to change their testing protocols.

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