A versatile eyeshadow palette can be the single hardest-working product in your makeup arsenal, and there are certainly plenty of them to choose from these days. Whether you’re just starting out learning how to apply eyeshadow or are already a seasoned pro, the process of choosing the best eyeshadow palettes online can be a little confusing. These tips for finding the perfect palette combined with this comprehensive shopping guide should make navigating the online makeup shopping process a breeze!
Why Buy Eyeshadow Palettes?
Why should you shop for palettes rather than single-pan eyeshadows? The straight answer is that palettes are going to give you more bang for your buck every time. To create a smooth and blended eyeshadow look, you’d need to purchase at least three or four separate eyeshadow pans if you were to buy them individually. This in not only costly, but it limits you to one look and one color family. Instead, palettes of five, ten or as many as thirty shades give you an eyeshadow “wardrobe”, with far more colors to experiment with and combine.
Buying eyeshadow in palettes will also allow you to experiment with a complete range of shadows from a single beauty brand. Different shades of eyeshadow can have vastly different textures, different blending qualities and different levels of fallout, even if they’re all made by the same brand. If you bought one single pan and didn’t love it, you might be missing out on the fact that other shades from the same line might actually be perfect for you.
What to Look for in an Eyeshadow Palette
Before you start hunting for that perfect palette, ask yourself what you’ll be primarily using it for. Do you want to learn how to execute a perfectly dramatic smoky eye, or are you looking for those perfect day-time neutrals? Do you want to play around with colors you’ve never used, or stick to what you know and love?
Eyeshadow palettes generally have a theme and a well-defined use. Whether it’s a glittery, metallic palette for holiday looks or a palette with every neutral shade you could hope for, shop for palettes that fill your specific need. If you’re just starting a makeup collection, a large palette with a wide spectrum of shades might be a great option. If you already own a good stock of basics, treat yourself to a smaller palette with colors you’ve been dying to play around with.
Do you already have a color that you either use constantly or are just totally in love with? Try looking for palettes in the same color family! This is a great way to experience a little variety within a look that you’re already comfortable with. Are you ready to step out of your comfort zone? Take a chance on a palette featuring colors you’ve never used before. There are so many easily accessible tutorials for a rainbow of eyeshadow looks, and if you take a chance on something new and unfamiliar you might end up with your new go-to eyeshadow routine.
The Best Eyeshadow Palettes – Reviewed
This palette from Miskos features a whopping 30 pans of glittery, rainbow bliss. The colors are an excellent variety of both warm and cool shades, and a good mix of basics and wild-card colors. The shadows are easy to apply by finger blending as well as with a brush, although no brush is included. These shadows are fully waterproof, making this palette a great option for dancers, actresses or anyone else who might be sweating under bright lighting.
Despite the high pigmentation in this shadow collection, the glitter payoff is less than one might expect. This means that if you’re new to working with glitter or want a slightly less dramatic look, this might be just the palette for you. The texture of the glitter has been described as surprisingly smooth and lightweight, although beauty glue is recommended by the manufacturer for achieving minimal fallout.
The palette itself is slim and sleek and perfect for fitting into makeup caddies, purses and backpacks. It features a generously sized mirror to make application as easy as possible.
This palette from Vodisa is a fantastic beginner’s palette for creating a huge variety of day or night looks. Packed with every neutral eyeshadow you could want, it features eighteen matte shades and seven gorgeous shimmers. Since it includes such a comprehensive color story, this palette is also an excellent choice for anyone looking to restock a depleted supply of everyday shadows.
The shadows are all highly-pigmented, so a sheer layer of product goes a long way. For even bigger color payoff, these powdered shadows can be mixed with just a drop of water to create a cream shadow with amazing depth of color. All shadows are waterproof for ultimate staying power. Use the basic brown or blush tones for gorgeous daytime looks, then use the darker plums and browns to create high-drama evening looks.
As a bonus, the palette includes six versatile makeup brushes, including a blending brush, an eyeliner brush, crease brushes, and an angled brush. These brushes are soft and durable and make this palette an excellent overall value.
The Miskos 35-Color Professional Palette focuses on bright shades in unusual colors. People who love costume play or experimenting with makeup looks on the wilder side are going to be huge fans of this highly-pigmented rainbow palette.
While there are some basic neutrals included with this palette, the inclusion of bright greens, electric purples and neon yellows make this palette stand out from the bunch. If you’ve already got a great collection of neutrals and are looking for some rarer shadows, this palette is a good bet. All colors are waterproof, although some shades have more fallout than others. This palette is recommended for more experienced makeup artists, and might be a bit much for those just learning how to work with eyeshadow.
The case for this palette is very thin and the lock area is very secure, so you can throw this palette into any bag without worrying about spillage. As always, this palette is shipped with secure packaging to minimize the possibility of broken pans.
Too Faced is one of the best in the eyeshadow business, and their “Sugar Pop” palette is going to please both their die-hard fans and new buyers alike. The palette includes nine shadows: three base shadows and three transition shades and three contour shades. The collection is a great mix of mattes and shimmers.
This palette includes a handy guide for creating three very specific eyeshadow looks. The colors in each look are fresh and unexpected, featuring shades you might not have ever thought to put together. The best part of buying a new eyeshadow palette can be discovering new colors and surprising color combinations, and this palette is perfect for expanding your skills in that way. Although the included guide is great for understanding how this palette’s colors were intended to go together, there are still plenty of color combos in this palette waiting to be uncovered.
The cute case features bright French macarons on the cover matching the palette’s sugary theme, and a mirror is included on the inside cover. Fans of Too Faced love the tin packaging, and this case can be emptied and used for other things long after the shadows are gone.
The Jane Iredale Eye Shadow Kit is a high-end palette of neutrals that are flattering to everyone. Jane Iredale cosmetics are beloved by people with sensitive skin, so if you’ve experienced irritation from other shadows in the past this may be the perfect palette for you. Jane Iredale formulates its cosmetics with minerals and botanical elements for a gentle and all-natural product.
This palette is sold in four color combinations. Each of the four available palettes is a collection of elevated neutrals that are suitable for every skin color and tone. Versatile and luxurious, these basic palettes are the equivalent of an expensive and comfortable set of white sheets. These shadows are long-wearing, and you can expect them to last throughout a long workday or an evening out.
Each palette is comprised of one large pan of base shadow, two transition shades and two contour shades. These shadows are silky and a cinch to blend, making them a great choice for newbies and seasoned professionals alike. The case itself is understated and refined, and each palette comes with a single double-sided eyeshadow wand.
Too Faced eyeshadow palettes never disappoint, and the “Boudoir Eyes” palette is no exception. This palette is specifically made for creating a high-drama smoky eye look, and is best for people who either want to learn to create this look or are already comfortable with doing a smoky eye. This palette isn’t too versatile for more lower-key looks, so anyone looking for a basic palette might want to skip this one.
The palette consists of three large pans of base shadow, and six accompanying transition and contour shades. The palette is a nice mix of mattes, shimmers and glitters, so there’s a little bit of everything included. While the shades are aimed at creating a dramatic eye, the base shadow options would work well as stand-alone shades. The entire palette is cool-toned, with the darker shades being gray and plum shades.
This palette is offered in the signature Too Faced metal tin, which is stylish and durable. Some Too Faced palettes come with a guide, but these colors mesh together so easily that no guide is needed for this particular palette.
This palette from Morphe was much-hyped before and after its release, and it has truly stood up to expectation. While shimmer and glitter shadows are wonderful, it’s also a good idea to own a palette of matte colors. So many people wanted a mattes-only palette, and Morphe answered that call.
The matte shadows in this Morphe palette are all very creamy, which is a product type that beginners often find particularly easy to use. Creamy shadows can easily be blended with fingers and it’s easier to blur or correct small errors, making this is a great palette to practice with. The palette itself, while large, is thin and stylish and would look great on a vanity top or counter area.
One notable thing about this palette is that it includes more pans of sunset colors than the average collection. Sunset colors like reds and burnt oranges are really having a moment, and it’s a trend that shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. Fans of this trend will love this palette for its inclusion of reds, khakis and peaches. This palette also features a full spectrum of brown shades to use either as base shades or as for dramatic contouring. If you purchase this palette, it will likely be the only one you’ll need for quite some time.
The MAC “Amber Times Nine” palette is a nine-pan collection of lush neutrals from a beloved and highly-trusty beauty brand. This palette is so versatile that it’s easily the only one you’d need to create a ton of easy daytime looks and also more sultry looks for evening. The base shadows are all matte, while the transition shades are all shimmers.
The palette is small, but the shadows are so richly-pigmented that a little goes a long way. Because of this, you can expect the palette to last you quite a while. With some warm and some cool shades, this palette will look lovely on every skin color and type.
The warm shades are comprised of peach and gold hues which all look luxe and opulent. The cool shades, rosy quartzes and plums, are universally flattering. These shadows are particularly coveted for their long-wearing qualities and resistance to creasing, so if you have slightly oily lids or experience trouble with creasing, this is the palette for you.
Lorac’s “Unzipped Gold” palette is a mix of on-trend gold shimmers and brown mattes. The palette is targeted towards a specific gold-dipped eyeshadow look, but the shades are versatile and work well with other palettes. This is a ten-shadow palette with surprisingly large pans. Lorac’s reputation in the beauty world is immaculate, and this palette is typical of their high-quality products.
The shadows in this palette are all powders, and you may experience some fallout with a couple of the shimmer shades. All shadows really easy to blend and, it only takes one dab of a brush to pick up enough color for full coverage. These shadows will create a more foiled, high-impact look when combined with water and applied wet.
To the delight of Lorac fans, this palette includes a deluxe-sized sample of the brand’s poplar “Behind the Scenes” eyeshadow primer. This primer works perfectly with the Lorac shadows, and the large sample size should last throughout the life of the palette.