NYX Ultra Brights Palette: Review, Swatches, and UD Full Spectrum Comparison…

Heeeeeeeeey fam-a-lam!

Yep. I really just said that. And there’s no taking it back; it’s on the internet now.

ANYWHO… I’m back again to tell you guys about a recent purchase that featured in my November Drugstore Faves video. Y’know, the one full of amazing bargains and dupes and stuff? Yeah? You can watch that here, if you haven’t already.

One of the affordable finds that I ramble on about in that vid is the NYX Ultimate Shadow Palette in Brights.

Actually, my Mum got for me after she spotted it on her way through Boots. She’s lovely like that.

Now, my chatty videos always end up being miles long–so I decided to save a full review of the palette for this blog, rather than forcing it.

You may remember me mentioning in the video that this palette is a possible alternative to the Urban Decay Full Spectrum palette. I’ll be exploring that too. So, y’know, if you’re into swatches and comparisons and dupes and whatnot, feel free to read on.

The NYX Ultimate Brights palette (that’s what I’ve decided to nickname it, btw), is a compact, square palette of sixteen bright shadows that range multiple shades across the colour spectrum. It costs £16 at Boots–a pound a shadow! 

I love the palette itself. It’s a hardy, smooth and sleek combination of black and clear plastic, which snaps securely shut.

The lid of the palette is not flimsy, but rather stands up on its own–although, as the palette doesn’t have a mirror, you may not care about this particular virtue.

I very much like the small hand-size and the fact that it’s square really appeals to me, for reasons I don’t fully understand. But I don’t think I need to explain to you guys how handy it is to have a palette that fits into most handbags and even clutches!

There is a downside to its convenient size, however: some of the shadows do produce fall-out, which can easily skip into their neighbour’s personal space due to their proximity.

However, this is easily fixed by tipping the palette upside-down once you’re done with it. What can I say; I’m a simple girl.

There are little fences dividing each shadow, but… you know how it goes down when you’re in the zone and the fall-out flies

So what about the shadows itself? Well, as I’ve mentioned, some of the shades do create fall-out.

But the pigmentation of the shadows is seriously intense; plus, the fall-out is confined to the palette rather than making a dusty mess on your face, too. Overall, it’s not really a problem to me. 

The shadows are soft and amazingly smooth when blending. As someone who adores bright eye looks, the range of shades and the way they travel through the colour spectrum is ideal.

A lot of bright palettes have a collection of primary and secondary colours without a thought to how they go together.

But the NYX Ultimate Brights palette contains a variation of shades for each key colour, which is perfect for building up blends and creating seamless transitions from one colour to the next.

Swatches of the first row in the palette, a mix of red, pink & orange tones

While there are technically no neutrals in this palette, brown skin tones will get on just fine with shadows like medium peach and cool purple as more subtle transition shades. If you’re fine with a truly bold look, then you’re covered regardless of your skin tone.

Personally, this is definitely the type of palette I can use on its own. I can take it wherever and know that I don’t need to pack any other shadows; the NYX Ultimate Brights palette stands alone.

The shadows are nameless, which is sad. Am I the only one who loves named shadows? Possibly.

A lot of affordable palettes don’t have names for their shadows–with Sleek being a happy exception, so check them out if that’s your thing. It’s not really an issue, but it makes me sad, okay? I just might name them myself. I love words. Leave me alone.

Anyway, I’d say that the only real downside to this palette are the finishes. The NYX Ultimate Brights palette allegedly has a few satin or shimmer shades in amongst the mattes.

I say allegedly because, despite evidence of sparkle in the pan, those bad boys have VERY LITTLE TO SAY FOR THEMSELVES on the skin. 

Exhibit A, Your Honour

See those first two shades in the purple-pink row? Yeah? They’re supposed to be satin. My assumption that they were intended as satins is a kindness, because if they were supposed to be outright shimmer or metallic shades, then NYX reeeeallly messed up. Sorry, guys. If it needs to be said, I’m sayin’ it.

Only one of the satin shades comes off as anything other than matte on the skin: a deep jade shade in the third row. And even that is more of a struggle sheen that barely shows up in photographs! Soz guys.

So if you were hoping for a range of finishes as well as shades, this palette is gonna be a disappointment to you.

Despite my moaning, I’m actually not too fussed; I have more use for bright mattes than bright shimmers, so I really don’t care. But I’m moaning for those of you who do care. I’m here for you. Come and shelter beneath my nitpicking wing.

Do you see what I’m saying about the jade? No? Ah, whatever

The shades themselves are truly lovely, though. Especially if you tell yourself that they’re all mattes and leave it at that.

Stand-outs for me are the true red and warm peach in the first row, the entirety of the third row with its jewel blue tones, and the lime-green and buttercup yellow in the fourth and final row. 

In a market saturated with neutral palettes, these bold and bright colours can be especially hard to find in a single, compact palette. On that score, the NYX Ultimate Brights is a serious win.

By the way–all of these swatches are two swipes of my finger, as is my usual method.

Seriously. LOOK at that yellow.

Okay, so now that the review itself is out of the way…

Is the NYX Ultimate Brights Palette a dupe for the Urban Decay Full Spectrum Palette? (Show your working, 20 marks.)

The UD Full Spectrum was a hit when it was released in October this year, and its popularity is here to stay.

It costs £43 and features 21 shadows in a variety of finishes–so yeah, it’s a hell of a lot more expensive than the NYX Ultimate Brights.

Howwwever, it comes with a double-ended brush (if you’re into that sort of thing), and the palette pops itself open with a fancy mechanism, AND it has a large mirror built in.

Now, for me, a small, simple palette beats the much larger and fancier Full Spectrum set-up, but I am aware that many people feel completely the opposite. Plus, it’s ridiculously gorgeous.

Image courtesy of urban decay.co.uk

Like the NYX Ultra Brights palette, Full Spectrum features a range of bright shades from red, through to orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.

Unlike the Ultra Brights palette, however, Full Spectrum also features darker, plain shades like gunmetal grey, along with a pure white. In addition, it is made up of mostly shimmery, metallic and satin shades, unlike the NYX palette’s matte and struggle-satin finish.

You can find fabulous swatches of the Full Spectrum palette here.

So, is the NYX Ultra Brights palette a dupe? As I said in my monthly faves video, no.

While it shares multiple colours with the Full Spectrum palette (up to twelve of its 16 shades match, at my count) the palettes have completely different finishes.

However, if you were hankering after an affordable palette based on a similar premise to the Full Spectrum, the NYX Ultra Brights is definitely for you.

Similarly, if, like me, you wanted a version of Full Spectrum that was simply matte, you’ll love the NYX Ultra Brights palette.

I hope this post was able to answer any lingering questions from my drugstore monthly faves video–but if there’s anything else you want to know, feel free to comment below!

Oh, and if you haven’t seen my Instagram lately, here’s the NYX Ultra Brights in action:


So, there’s that!

Anyway! See you next time,

Tiss x


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3 thoughts on “NYX Ultra Brights Palette: Review, Swatches, and UD Full Spectrum Comparison…

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