• Nylon March  2011 15 Year Anniversary 24/7 Pencil Set

pencil it in


IF URBAN DECAY hadn't been cooked up in a California beach house 15 years ago, today's makeup landscape might look a little more beige.  Nail lacquer in every shade from jade green to puddle gray may now be de rigueur, but the polish prototypes founder Wende Zomnir was mixing by hand-in shades of glittery gunmetal, iridescent blue, and tar black-were revolutionary when she started out.  "I feel like we've really pushed even the bigger companies to be more fashion forward, to be edgier," says Zomnir, who has since expanded the line to include everything from mineral foundation to lip stains.  In the beginning, Zomnir would pay unemployed surfer girls to paint false nails displaying her wares.  "One of my first big supporters was Shirley Manson from Garbage.  I saw her in a magazine and I was like, 'That's the Urban Decay girl right there,'" she says.  "I sent her half-full hand-poured bottles, hand-lableled with the crazy names.  She called me and she was so awesome and wore the polish on tour.  Gwen Stefani was another big early supporter."  Zomnir grew up in Texas, where she says "they infuse makeup in the IV when you're born--it's in your blood!"  and these days she still rigorously self-tests each new product.  Right now she's putting a new lipstick through its paces at the tym, and before that she was catching waves in waterproof mascara.  To celebrate 15 years in the business, Urban Decay is releasing a set of 15 eye pencils featuring six new shades including Perversion-a blacker black. "The Zero pencil, which is the other black pencil in the set, is the number one selling pencil at Sephora," Zomnir says.  "I was like, 'This is awesome, but how could it be better?  It's pretty darn black, but maybe it coule get blacker?'  So we worked with the manufacturer and we really pushed them to get it blacker. And we did it."NATALIE SHUKUR


pencil set, $92, urbandecay.com

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