When it comes to makeup, eyeshadow palettes is where the fun is at. Multichromes, foiled metallics, pastel mattes, glitters – the variety is endless. Where else, apart from my eyes, would I be able to wear radioactive green? I have a bit of everything in my top favourites, and I didn’t even do it on purpose.
This was another difficult post for me to do. Turns out, eyeshadow palettes are also something that are frequently limited edition or getting discontinued. And I wanted to keep these posts with products that everybody would still be able to get, at least for now – because I suspect this time next year, half of these won’t be around.
Still, I haven’t compromised here. Every single one is a favourite, not just an “available favourite”.
Pat McGrath Labs Mothership VIII Divine Rose II
If I had to select just one eyeshadow formula as the best I’ve ever tried, I’d probably go with Pat McGrath. It’s not just that the eyeshadows are good, it’s that her palettes are consistently great. People may not like the finishes or the colours, but I never saw any complaints about the formula. I’ve tried a few of her palettes and they’re all amazing across the board. That’s a feat.
The Divine Rose 2 palette is a favourite of mine that’s part of the permanent line (or at least, is still available for sale). The colours are impactful but wearable, and there’s that multichrome in there to keep things interesting. The four eyeshadows at the utmost right of the palette are baked, and they are very shine heavy. There are just two mattes but I think they complement the palette and each other really well: Naked Blush (a muted coral) and Xtreme Burgundy (a burgundy brown). Also, they blend themselves. No work needed. And the remaining shimmers are creamy and super intense.
The packaging is hefty – you could cause damage with that thing – and the outside box is so beautiful almost no one throws it away, me included. Yes, it’s pricey for just 10 shades, but Pat McGrath is the perfect marriage of luxury with makeup artistry.
Kaleidos Futurism III Astro-Pink
Another brand I’m in love with: Kaleidos. I found out about them during the first quarantine, and ordered three of their Futurism palettes (by the way, their customer service is top notch). The only one you can still get happens to be my favourite, Astro-Pink. All the colours are insanely pigmented. Kaleidos has the most pigmented formula I’ve ever come across, so if sheer washes of colour are your thing, stay away.
I love this palette so much, to use and to look at. Teal and burgundy are my favourite colours, and the ones in this palette are both fantastic (the burgundy in particular has enough pigment to last a century). The two transitions shades on the palette’s far right may look redundant but one is cooler toned and darker than the other, and I like them both. The middle shimmery mauve is incredibly metallic and feels like a cream. And the shimmery black doesn’t loose it’s micro glitters as soon as you start to blend it. To top it off, the packaging is incredibly luxurious. Get it while you can.
Colourpop Going Coconuts
This is another palette that I I’ve never really seen someone not liking it. It’s a true workhorse. It’s great to have to pair with any other palette, specially ones with colourful or difficult colour stories, because you’ll always be able to create a cohesive look by adding these neutral tones. Not that the palette isn’t great by itself, because it is. You don’t need to add anything else to make glam, natural or smoky eye looks.
There is a mix of cool and warm toned shades, a nice selection of mattes from light to dark neutrals, and all in a compact 9 pan palette with a huge mirror that’s easy to travel with. And it’s affordable.
Glamlite Ice Cream Dream
This is an epic palette. I think it’s the palette I own with the largest amount of shades: 30 different eyeshadows and not a single bad or boring one. There are 16 mattes, and the shimmer shades vary from frost to metallic to almost foiled finishes. The lighter mattes show up well, which isn’t always the case with pastel palettes, and are overall easy to blend and never get patchy. Most shimmers have that creamy formula that works well with a wet brush but honestly, a dry application can provide the same opaqueness and shine, that’s how intense they are.
For a palette with this amount of shades, it’s reasonably compact. It’s still big, but I feel like there is no wasted space. And the colour story works. I never feel overwhelmed when using it and I can easily make colourful or neutral looks. By the way, each eyeshadow is full sized – 1,4 grams each. This was my first venture with Glamlite cosmetics, and it won’t be the last.
Maybelline Nudes of New York
I have been wanting to get this palette for over a year. Finally it arrived to this side of the globe, and I couldn’t snatch it faster. Everybody and their mother kept raving about it and I was anxious to step on the hype train. Well, choo-choo, I love it too.
For less than 15€ you get ten matte and six shimmery shades, all in neutral basic tones. This palette is not without its duds, but most shades are creamy, blendable and pigmented. If the Going Coconuts palette from Colourpop is harder for you to get, then get this one. It leans more warm toned and there’s less variety with the finishes, but it’s still a great companion palette to have and to pair with other palettes. Plus, the shimmers on the bottom row, Fighter and Inspirer, are stunning just by themselves.
Charlotte Tilbury Darling Easy Eye Palette
I didn’t even purposefully chose this palette, I got it in a Cult Beauty kit for Woman’s Day, but turns out I’m a big fan of Charlotte Tilbury’s eyeshadows. Looking at the palette I thought the shades would all blend into each other and I would end up with the same eye look every time, but no. They are all different tones and stay that way on the eyes, making this a pretty basic but versatile palette. The mattes are quite something, the texture feels like velvet – but actual velvet, this is not a hyperbole – and they blend like you would expect velvet to blend. If you expected that at all. Why would velvet blend? I don’t know what I’m saying.
Regardless, the texture of these shadows is amazing, and it’s another product from Charlotte Tilbury that has inconspicuously popped up in my favourites. Charlotte is on fire.
Urban Decay Born To Run
It’s not news that I love this palette, and if you’re going to get something eyeshadow wise from Urban Decay, stick with this (or the Honey palette), because everything else doesn’t compare. The colour story is varied, versatile and easy to mix and match. It’s the ideal colourful palette for someone who mostly wears neutrals, or a lover of jewel tones (me!). The mattes are very pigmented and the shimmers pack a punch.
There’s nothing bad to say about it. This is one of those palettes that I suspect won’t be around for much longer, because Urban Decay seems to be getting rid of their MVPs, so grab it while you can.
Natasha Denona Sunset Palette
I know this palette isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It has gotten mixed reviews since it came out, so much so that it was reformulated. I have the most recent version and I love it. I find the mattes are creamy and pigmented (yes, even the yellow) and the shimmers are dense and very metallic. It’s a good overall palette and I have loved every look I came up with using it. I also feel like the eyeshadows are incredibly easy to work with, it takes me so little time to create a relatively complex look and the colours seem to always go well together, so much so that I know I can blindly select any number of shades by any order that my look is going to turn out great.
So there you have it. I feel very good about this post, there is a bit of everything here: drugstore to luxury, neutral and colourful, indie brands, small and big palettes… I think there’s something here for every type of makeup lover. And apparently I’m all of them. Yep, very polygamous when it comes to makeup.