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What’s the best eyeshadow palette?

With thousands of palettes, lipsticks and blush, makeup is a fun and creative way to express your personality. Purchasing an eyeshadow palette can be frustrating, especially when it comes to determining the right colors for you. Additionally, you want to purchase a palette that you’ll use quite often, so you don’t waste your money. 

Neutral palettes may be more suitable to those who are looking for every day, or simple look. For a bold approach, try neon colors. Deep purples, blues and charcoals create a sexy look. You can never go wrong with sparkles as they’re extremely versatile and can be applied separately, or on top of other colors. Sparkles are also perfect for a night on the town or special occasions, dressing up any outfit. Whichever eyeshadow palette you choose, it should be long-lasting, especially if you’re looking to wear it daily. 

Typically, the more shades in an eyeshadow palette, the more expensive it is. Keep in mind that purchasing a palette with multiple shades may save you money in the long run. If you’re looking for a cheap, yet high-quality eyeshadow palette, the Tarte Tartelette in Bloom Clay Eyeshadow Palette is the top choice.

What to know before you buy an eyeshadow palette

When purchasing an eyeshadow palette, you want to choose one that complements your eyes, skin and hair color. Additionally, you want to consider the palette in its entirety. If you’re looking for one that can be used for different occasions, purchasing a larger palette with 12-15 colors is a good idea. 

Eye color

When shopping for an eyeshadow palette, you want shades that will make your eyes pop. Green eyes are naturally bright, so colors like muted purples and shimmery browns will attract attention. Light and neutral tones, such as champagne and coral, complement blue eyes. It’s best to steer away from harsh shades that create a smokey look. However, smokey, sooty shades do enhance grey eyes. Those with dark brown eyes should choose colors like silver, chocolate and violet. Most colors work well with light-brown eyes, however neutral shades such as bronzy gold and salmon will highlight them. Hazel eyes look gorgeous with purples, metallics and pastels. 

Skin and hair color

In addition to eye color, skin and hair color are other elements to consider when purchasing an eye shadow palette. This allows you to create more color combinations that best complement your eyes and entire look. Palettes with stone, subtle bronze and plum shades work well for blond hair. These colors can easily be layered to create a more intense look. Shimmery colors such as pinks, taupes or browns complement brunettes in addition to plum and burgundy. For those with pale skin or red hair, peach, rich brown and coppers are a gorgeous option. Dark hair and skin look best with jewel tones, golds and other rich colors as well as pinks and bright greens.

Palette itself

It’s always a good idea to focus on the palette itself before purchase. A benefit of eyeshadow palettes, in general, is the ability to enhance and complement colors. Finding palettes that have a balance of neutral, light and dark shades is always a good way to go because it increases versatility and can save money in the long haul. Even better is a palette that has neutral, light, dark and shimmer shades. An alternate approach is to find one palette that mainly consists of neutral colors that can be used daily, and one palette with vibrant, dark and bold colors for nighttime. Whichever eyeshadow palette you choose, look for one that best suits your eye color.

What to look for in a quality eyeshadow palette

While some makeup is sold at a cost-effective price, quality typically doesn’t always match the price tag. Shade pigmentation and versatility are important to consider when purchasing an eyeshadow palette. Additionally, how often you use eyeshadow, and makeup in general, can determine which size palette is best. 

Shades are highly pigmented

Eyeshadow should be long-lasting no matter how often or how little you wear it. Before use, most eyeshadows look bright, but that doesn’t mean they will stay that way when applied. Higher-quality eyeshadow shades should be highly pigmented. To test this, swipe a finger on a color and then on your wrist or the back of your hand. If the shade is much lighter than the color in the palette, it definitely won’t be vibrant on eyelids. 

Palette’s versatility

You should always consider purchasing an eyeshadow palette where you can create several looks from. A well-made palette will have shades that are used for the three parts of your eye area: lid, crease and brow bone. Finding a palette that has colors in the same family is even better because it expands what looks you can create. Additionally, colors in the same spectrum can help magnify the appearance of an overall look. 

Palette size

The number of shades in a single eyeshadow palette varies, which is why it’s always important to keep in mind how often you’ll wear eyeshadow. Overall, eyeshadow has a shelf life of up to two years. Because of this, many palettes are designed with more shades in tinier amounts. Larger palettes are best for those who wear makeup often and love to experiment with different looks. If you’re new to the makeup world or don’t wear makeup on a daily basis, smaller palettes are a great option because you can see how long it lasts. Typically, the larger the eyeshadow palette, the higher the price.

How much you can expect to spend on an eyeshadow palette

The brand, number of shades, pigmentation and overall quality of an eyeshadow palette will determine its cost. Lower quality palettes can range from anywhere as low as $5-10, whereas larger palettes that have a variety of shades and are of better quality can be as high as $65 or more. 

Eyeshadow palette FAQ

How are eyeshadow palettes arranged?

A. Regardless of the number of shades in a given eyeshadow palette, eyeshadow is arranged according to color and finish. For example, neutral shades are often included in metallic or matte finishes. Additionally, many palettes arrange lighter colors to the left and get darker the more you move to the right. 

Does eyeshadow expire? 

A. Compared to other skincare products, eyeshadow has a longer shelf life. Typically, eyeshadow is good for up to two years, depending on the kit. Powdered shadow however usually doesn’t expire for 2-3 years compared to cream eyeshadow. An easy way to tell if eyeshadow isn’t good is that it will be difficult to blend or become hard. 

What are the best eyeshadow palettes to buy?

Top eyeshadow palette

Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Eyeshadow Palette

Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Eyeshadow Palette

What you need to know: This palette is perfect for those who love to blend different colors.

What you’ll love: With over 14 shades that range from ultra-matte to metallic, the full-pigment formula ensures color is long-lasting. Additionally, Raw Sienna makes it easy to blend and play with different looks. 

What you should consider: Formula is powdery which can often mix in different colors or fall out of the palette.

Where to buy: Sold by Ulta Beauty and Amazon

Top eyeshadow palette for the money

Tarte Tartelette in Bloom Clay Eyeshadow Palette

Tarte Tartelette in Bloom Clay Eyeshadow Palette

What you need to know: For those who want a smaller palette that can create looks for night, during the day, this is the most versatile. 

What you’ll love: Featuring 12 warm-toned neutral shades made of Amazonian clay, it’s easy to apply, creamy and smooth. This palette is perfect for all skin tones, and shades are specifically arranged in coordinating rows to create three effortless looks.

What you should consider: Lighter shades are extremely pigmented compared to darker shades.

Where to buy: Sold by Ulta Beauty and Amazon

Worth checking out

Natasha Denona Gold Eyeshadow Palette

Natasha Denona Gold Eyeshadow Palette

What you need to know: For makeup fanatics, this eyeshadow palette will have you creating gorgeous styles due to its impeccable formula.

What you’ll love: Creamy, blendable and highly pigmented, this eyeshadow formula is long-lasting. It includes 15 shades ranging from gold, brown and green with metallic, matte and glitter hues to create chrome finishes. 

What you should consider: This palette is on the luxurious end.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


Urban Decay Born to Run Eyeshadow Palette

Urban Decay Born to Run Eyeshadow Palette

What you need to know: This eyeshadow palette is perfect for those on-the-go and who love to travel.

What you’ll love: Suiting all skin tones, the 21 mixtures of warm and cool shades are incredibly versatile. Due to the variety of colors, this palette can create hundreds of eye looks that include shimmer, metallic or matte finishes.

What you should consider: Some matte shades are difficult to blend.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


Huda Beauty Mercury Retrograde Eyeshadow Palette

Huda Beauty Mercury Retrograde Eyeshadow Palette

What you need to know: Featuring matte, metallic and shimmer finishes, it allows for ultimate creativity.

What you’ll love: Featuring 18 pink, purple and teal hues, they can be mixed to create muted daily looks or vibrant night styles. Additionally, this palette is designed for ultimate versatility and high-pigmentation doesn’t require primer.

What you should consider: Shimmery and glitter shades are on the lighter side.

Where to buy: Sold by Kohl’s and Amazon


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Tessa Schaal writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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