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LORAC Spring 2012 Unzipped Collection Gives Serious Nude ‘Tude

I generally think of nude eye shadow palettes as being as bland and unexciting as white button-down blouses, V-neck cardigans, and ecru paint jobs. Fortunately, a few recent releases have exposed me to the wonders of minimalism, warming me up to the notion that, at times, subtlety and restraint can prove most titillating. The main two reasons behind my changing mindset: Urban Decay’s Naked 2 palette and  LORAC’s Unzipped Palette ($40 at Sephora.com).  What makes these eye shadow palettes such a revelation is the way in which they fuse together wispy cream colors, earthy khaki and brown tones, desert-worthy sepia and russet hues, and glistening bronze and copper metallics.

After Urban Decay releases its Naked and Naked 2 palettes, I assumed no other neutral eye shadow kit would ever again succeed in enticing me. And then, unexpectedly and surreptitiously, LORAC Cosmetics developed a smoldering temptress of its own for the Spring 2012 season: the LORAC Unzipped Palette ($40 at Sephora.com), a 10-color eye shadow kit packaged in an envelope-shaped box with a golden zipper adorning its top flap,  the pull tab positioned as if being rolled downward as a part of the undressing ritual. The palette’s name, then, proves more than apropos since the packaging, the eye shadow names, and the colors themselves create the illusion of nudity, performing a virtual striptease that somehow still feels refined, never overly explicit or tawdry.

The LORAC Unzipped Palette lies at the heart of the Spring 2012 collection, anchored by a new TANtalizer Highlighter & Bronzer Duo ($32 at Sephora.com), a more compact Unzipped eye shadow quad, and a full range of lip glosses with brand new formulations dubbed Lips With Benefits ($18 at Sephora.com and LORACcosmetics.com). The new Lips with Benefits glosses are available in four universally flattering shades ranging from a warm nude to a deep plum berry. The “benefit” alluded to in their moniker? A combination of softening, moisturizing, and fortifying antioxidants like acai extract and pomegranate extract.

After the jump, you’ll find swatches of all the eye shadows in the Unzipped palette, along with a sample look created using the tones therein, and swatches of three of the four Lips with Benefits glosses. Time to bear it all!

Pictured below, you’ll find swatches of the five eye shadow hues positioned along the top row of the Unzipped palette. These shadows are: Unbridled, a near-matte, muddy brown hue reminiscent of wet soil and leather horse reins; Unconditional, a mauve-tinged sauteed mushroom color with a wispy finish and nearly velvety soft texture, Unattainable, a medium bronze tone saturated with micro pearls that lend it the appearance of raw ore; Unbelievable, a copper hue with finer pearl particles that lend it an even sheen; and Undercover, a chalky, powdery eggshell-y ecru shade.

Next, you’ll find swatches of the five eye shadows positioned along the bottom row of the palette: Untamed, a deep mahogany brown with scattered yellow gold glimmer; Unspoken, a suede-like fawn shade with a matte texture; Uncensored, a deep russet hue with tarnished copper tones blended in and tons of gold and copper glimmer; Unreal, a rose gold hue with a pearlescent finish; and Undiscovered, a dirty-looking yellow gold that looks like it was unearthed from a treasure chest buried in a sunken pirate’s ship

Below, I included some photos of a sample look I created using the Unzipped palette. First, I applied the Unconditional shade all over the eye, from the lash line to the brow bone. Next,  I layered a coat of the Undercover hue atop it to soften the base tone of the look. To add some punch, I brushed the Unattainable shade along the lids, working it all the way to the crease, and outlined the eyes by applying the darker Untamed color to the outer corners of the eyes and the outer half of the crease. Last, I blended this darker color in using circular motions, adding one last coat of the Unconditional shadow and blending it in along the crease and brow bone.

To accentuate the brows, I applied the matte pink nude cream color on the dual-sided It Cosmetics Brow Power Lift and filled in any gaps along my brows with the It Cosmetics Brow Power Universal Eyebrow Pencil.

I finished off the eye look with two coats of Maybelline’s Illegal Lengths mascara.

Though I was quickly seduced by the Unzipped palette, I shouldn’t forget to mention how phenomenal the new Lips with Benefits glosses are. Sure, the initial color selection is limited, but the gloss itself feels soothing and comfortable on the lips (none of the uncomfortable stickiness yielded by other glosses, none of the tacky sensation, and none of the lip drying side effects).

Below, you’ll find swatches of three of the Lips with Benefits shades: Mark, a sunny peach color with just a hint of glimmer; Chris, a glitter-packed, iridescent hot pink hue worthy of an ’80s girl group or a Cirque du Soleil-influenced light spectacle; and Nick, a light, semi-sheer, blue-toned pink reminiscent of peony or pink lotus petals and sprinkled with enough glimmer to yield a dew-like effect.

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