The last decade has seen a huge explosion of new releases for eyeshadow palettes. It all started pretty much with the original Urban Decay Naked Palette and then just snowballed from there. Before that, I had a huge collection of MAC eyeshadow singles and an eyeshadow quad compact was considered a lot.
I have to admit that I absolutely love palettes now, to the point where I have just over two dozen of them. The best ones make it so easy to put a great look together, and as someone who travels a lot they can also be convenient in that aspect as well. Instead of a bunch of single shadows rattling around in my makeup bag, I can just pack one or two slim and compact palettes and I’m all set.
This list is by no means exhaustive, and I’m likely to add to it at some point as there are a few other releases that I’ve had my eye on but just haven’t bought yet. This is in part because I want to make more progress and pan more of the palettes that I already do have, and in the case of the last one on this list, I’ve already swatched it and fallen in love with it, but I’m waiting for the next Sephora sale. Can you guess what it might be?
The last few years have seen just about every beauty influencer coming out with their own makeup line, and while it’s been hit or miss, Dominique Cosmetics has been producing palettes that consistently deliver. With a color story that’s both creative and practical, and a highly pigmented formula that blends easily, this is an excellent palette for when you want the best of both worlds. The neutrals are easy to wear day to day and the brights are fun to play with for nights out or on days when you’re really feeling yourself and want everyone to know it. Honorable mention: the Dominique Cosmetics Latte Palette for wearable shades all around. (via Sephora, $44)
Greyscale palettes are having a huge moment, and I fully believe my now-discontinued and panned (RIP) Urban Decay Smoky palette was ahead of its time. Lime Crime has more than stepped up to fill that void with the Immortalis palette, the latest installment of their wildly popular Venus pressed powder palettes. As with all Lime Crime palettes, the color story is spot on and the shadows themselves are super pigmented and easy to use even for a beginner. If you own only one palette for smoky eyes, this should be it. Honorable mention: Lime Crime Venus III Palette which for me has been surprisingly wearable even though it’s basically all pinks and purples. One of my favorites for a night out. (via Ulta, $38)
LORAC makes several palettes I love, but this is the one I find myself reaching for the most out of all of them. The cooler-toned neutrals work really well for creating subtle everyday looks, soft glam or a more impactful evening look. When we talk about buttery shadows, let me tell you, these are like buttah! The slightly creamy texture of LORAC shadows make them incredibly easy to blend, even though it’s all powder. The color stories are cohesive and make simple work out of visualizing and creating a huge variety of looks. Honorable mention: LORAC PRO Matte Eyeshadow Palette, the perfect travel companion palette. I’ve used the shades in there to line my eyes and fill in brows as well. (via Kohl’s, ON SALE $29.75)
Whether or not you partake in cannabis culture, this palette is undeniably gorgeous. This is probably the only time I’ve ever thought a frosted blue shadow (Blue Dream) didn’t look like some terrible 70’s throwback and the greens are a vibrant dream come true. The signature intense pigmentation and blendability of Melt shadows makes this essential if you want to branch out to more colorful looks. Honorable mention: Melt Cosmetics Radioactive Pressed Pigment Palette, for when you really want to explore the most colorful looks. (via Sephora, $48)
With a massive 275k loves on the Sephora website alone, I’m really just one of many who can’t get enough of this super-versatile palette. ABH is legendary for their palettes and while some have been better received than others (count me among those that really wanted to love Subculture but just couldn’t), this one is a consistent favorite of mine. I used this palette to create a look for my husband’s work Christmas party last year and got several compliments on my eyes, so that’s another reason I’ll keep it always! Honorable mention: Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance, because it’s surprisingly wearable even with the bright reds and let’s face it, by now it’s deservedly a classic. (via Sephora, $42 or Cult Beauty UK, £46)
Colourpop is known for making quality palettes with fun color stories at an affordable price. While, the number of releases they come out with can make your head spin, I’ve settled on this one as probably my favorite out of all of their palettes that I’ve tried. Especially good on cool-toned, neutral and fair-skinned folks for more colorful looks that don’t look garish. Honorable mention: Colourpop California Love, which also looks amazing on darker skin tones. (via Ulta, $23)
It’s taken a lot of willpower to not drop some serious coin on this palette, because it swatches like an absolute dream. I had an eye look done with it at Sephora in Manhattan earlier this year and when the day was over I didn’t want to wash it off. These eyeshadows are truly extraordinary and if you have the extra money to spend and wait until they’re on sale, you’ll love them too. Honorable mention: literally every other Pat McGrath eyeshadow palette. (via Sephora, $125)
Any favorites of yours that I’ve left out? Which one of these is your favorite? Let me know below in the comments!