Looking back I really don’t know what drew me towards these palettes. Maybe it was the neutral color scheme which I figured would be perfect for everyday wear. Maybe it was the funny shadow names like ‘sassy’, ‘stubborn’ and ‘snobby’. Maybe it was the fact that THERE ARE NAKED PEOPLE ON THE PACKAGING. Well played The Balm, well played. Sex really does sell, after all.
Jokes aside, ‘Nute Tude’ and ‘Nude Dude’ would have a hard time standing out of the pile of neutral palettes on the market, has it not been for The Balm’s ingenious packaging. I give it to them – they never fail in that department. Since I have both palettes in my stash I figured a comparison review would be useful for anyone planning to invest in one or the two.
Some general info: Both palettes contain 12 shadows. Nude ‘Tude contains 11.08 grams of shadow, Nude ‘Dude – 9.6 grams. They retail for 36$ on the brand website, coming down roughly to 3.25 and 3.97 dollars per gram of eyeshadow respectively. If you’re buying them in Bulgaria, the prices can vary from 70 to 100 leva depending on where you shop. The Balm cosmetics are sold in Douglas drogeries and in a few online shops. Do beware of fakes! The two online shops I can confirm sell authentic products are enzo.bg and makeupbuthow.com. Both palettes are permanent and have a shelf life of 12 months. Although they’re not certified by PETA or the Leaping Bunny, TheBalm does not test on animals and they’re a cruelty-free company (information).
Nude ‘Tude is the first palette released in the “Nude” series (I know a third palette came out a few months ago). Although I haven’t heard of any controversy caused by the ‘interesting’ packaging I’ve seen a different version of the palette without the naked babes on the inside. Apparently my version is the ‘naughty’ palette, or at least that’s how it is usually listed online. Honestly, I find the artwork fun and I’ve always been a fan of The Balm’s signature pin-up inspired packaging. All shadow names are adjectives starting with ‘s’ and describing various qualities attributed to women. The palette contains 4 matte and 8 shimmer/satin shades ranging for highlights to transition and deeper shadows. The overall tone is pretty warm. Here’s the shade breakdown and swatches:
*All swatches are made over Too Faced Shadows Insurance Eye Primer with Zoeva 234 Smoky Shader. Finger swatches are on the left side. My brush was slightly wet.
Sassy – A pearly white shimmer. Decent pigmentation and minimal fallout. Applies well with a brush. Not a duochrome.
Stubborn – A light pink satin. It does not show well on my skin tone. Not very pigmented, but can work with a wet brush.
Selfish – A taupe shimmer. Gorgeously pigmented and applies like a dream. It’s gray and brown, but still leans on the warmer side.
Snobby – A light gold shimmery yellow. Not pigmented at all. It’s kind of dry and produces a lot of fallout.
Stand-offish – A light pinkish brown shimmer. Beautifully pigmented.
Sultry – A warm matte medium brown. Well pigmented, but very soft – you may experience a bit of fallout.
Sophisticated – A warm dark brown with bronze shimmer. Very smooth and pigmented.
Sexy – A matte dark reddish brown/ burgundy. Pigmented and not too soft.
Serious – A matte black. Not the darkest I’ve seen, but surprisingly pigmented. Sadly – I do find it patchy when blending.
Seductive – A warm shimmery bronze. Great pigmentation and texture. (This shade was called ‘Schitzo’ in earlier releases, but has since been renamed.)
Silly – Reddish brown matte with gold shimmer. A lot of fallout when used with a dry brush.
Sleek – Dark matte brown. Leaning on the cooler side. It’s easy to blend and not too powdery.
Bottom line – I’m not a huge fan of the palette. Out of the 12 shades, 3 are complete duds and while working with the rest I do find myself limited in the range of looks I’m creating. ‘Sultry’ is pretty much the only possible transition shade as ‘Stubborn’ is way too light and not pigmented enough. As for the darkest shadows – I think the palette could do with just ‘Sleek’ and leave out ‘Serious’. I must say I adore ‘Selfish’ and ‘Sophisticated’. ‘Stand-offish’ is a useful soft all over the lid shade as well.
The second installment in the ‘Nude’ series is Nude Dude. While it might not be noticeable from the pan sizes, this one comes with 1.48 less grams of eyeshadow. I haven’t seen a censored version of the packaging, but while the ladies in volume one were completely naked, the gentleman here have towels to cover their bottom parts (not that anything would have been visible). I guess naked women are fine, but naked men are a No-No, huh… Again, there are 12 shadows in the palette – 5 mattes and 7 shimmers/satins, going from light to transition and dark shades. This time all eyeshadow names start with ‘f’. I’d say the overall tone of the palette is neutral, slightly leaning on the cooler side.
Fearless – A light matte beige. Would have been great for highlight if it wasn’t so sheer.
Flawless – A light cool matte brown (it’s darker in real-life). Good transition shade with a little fallout, but it’s not pigmented enough and I find myself going over it a couple of times, which is a hassle.
Firm – A light shimmery bronze. Sadly it’s not the most pigmented. The shade is really interesting and almost looks copper in a certain light and angle.
Fabulous – A very light pearly yellow with golden shimmer. Good pigmentation.
Faithful – A light shimmery gold. Very pigmented and smooth.
Fit – A light shimmery copper. Again – very pigmented and smooth.
Flirty – A soft shimmery lilac with golden glitter. It’s really badly pigmented, unfortunately. Wet brush works, but it applies patchy.
Friendly – A dark purple/brown matte. Very dry and patchy.
Fierce – Shimmery black with golden glitter. Badly pigmented and has a ton of fallout.
Feisty – A light matte peachy brown. Soft and pigmented.
Funny – A dark satin reddish brown. Decent pigmentation and pretty smooth.
Fine – A dark brown satin. Not very pigmented, but buildable.
What can I say. I dislike Nude Dude more than the first palette. There are way more duds in it and I was really disappointed with some of the shades (‘Flirty’ to be exact). I’m glad there are more mattes and two potential transition shades (‘Feisty’ and ‘Flawless’) as well as a matte highlight (‘Fearless’). Overall, I like the color scheme a lot more, but the quality of the shadows is just… worse?
Below are a few side by side pictures of the palettes and their ingredients. I forgot to mention that both palettes come with a poor excuse for a brush which should simply not be there. It’s useless.
There are quite a few similar shades in the palettes: ‘Flawless’ and ‘Sultry’, ‘Sophisticated’ and ‘Fine’, ‘Snobby’ and ‘Faithful’, ‘Firm’ and ‘Seductive’ have slight differences in tone and pigmentation, but are very similar. You definitely do not need both palettes. I prefer the shade selection in Nude Dude way more, but if I have to recommend one, it would be Nude ‘Tude simply because of better quality.
Overall, I’m not a huge fan of these palettes. They are usable, but for the price I’d expect a lot more. There are cheaper and better alternatives on the market (Sleek, Zoeva, Nyx) and looking back, was it not for the packaging and my undying love for neutral eyeshadows, these would have been a pass for me.
This post is also available in: Bulgarian