There are more shared experiences in life than most people would like to admit. One of the biggest—at least where beauty lovers like myself are concerned—might be the sharp and frequent pang of buyer's remorse or FOMO when we come into contact with the products we're constantly seeing on social media. For me and the majority of beauty editors I've had the pleasure of participating in rant sessions with, eye shadow palettes seem to be the number one offender.
I'm taking this opportunity to share a number of products that I've been gushing over in addition to the ones two celebrity makeup artists use when working with their star-powered clientele lists. If that sounds interesting to you, read on to see which ones made the list!
Finding Your Perfect Palette Match
If you're not feeling entirely confident in your decision-making methods when it pertains to eye shadow palettes, you may find some expert advice to your benefit. We reached out to celebrity makeup artist Rachel Goodwin, who has been the creative mind behind makeup looks for everyone from Emma Stone and Lana Condor to Rose Byrne and Selma Blair.
For Goodwin, choosing which eye shadow palettes to work with isn't a complicated process, as it's all based on the overall look she would like to achieve. "I choose based on the look I am trying to create. If I am doing editorial, I break out the color palettes. Day looks or press days with clients, I typically stick with neutrals and soft browns," she continues. Eye shadow palettes come in all shapes and sizes, each one possessing a unique formula that can either make or break your makeup look. The key is to hone in on your specific needs and desired finished look.
"I normally separate my eye shadow palettes by color. Neutrals in one and bright colors in another," explains Goodwin. "I prefer to have mixed textures in each palette, meaning a blend of shimmers, mattes, and satins, organized by hue." It could also be incredibly helpful to pay attention to the longevity of the eye shadow shades, potential product fallout (what happens when shadow migrates from the lid to the under-eye area), and the ability to build and blend pigments. Skin types also come into play, especially if you happen to have oily skin that can limit the wear time of certain formulas.
There are thousands of eye shadow palettes on the market, and Goodwin has worked with many more than an average makeup lover would. Her top pick right now is Mineral Fusion's Refillable Eye Shadow Palette. "It has a rich dark matte brown shade for defining the lashes or adding intensity for bolder looks and three warm bronze shimmers that look great on everyone and can be used in multitudes of ways," she says. They're also available in eight versatile shade palettes in a range of finishes, making the product a must-have for beginners as well as makeup-industry titans like Goodwin.
When creating eye makeup looks featuring bold colors, Goodwin's choice of palette is entirely curated to her personal preferences. She uses Make Up For Ever's Artist Color Refillable Makeup Palette, where a number of Artist Color Shadows and Face Colors can be added to the empty magnetic case. "The metal compacts are durable. The powder [is] richly pigmented and [stays] true to color on camera, which, as an artist, is very important to me. I organize them into cool and warm shades and mix multiple textures for variety," says Goodwin. In its essence, the refillable makeup product is the answer to most people's eye-shadow-palette woes thanks to its customizable quality.
Luckily, your palette journey doesn't end here. I also reached out to another one of our makeup artists on speed dial, Courtney Hart. Hart, who has created jaw-dropping looks for celebrity clients such as Kaley Cuoco, Madelaine Petsch, and Emma Chamberlain, shared a few of the eye shadow palettes she can't help but reach for while on the job. Keep scrolling to discover Hart's recommendations and the 17 additional makeup palettes that, if given the opportunity and an infinite budget, I would add to my makeup collection in a flash. Fair warning: You'll want to get your hands on these finds before your fellow makeup lovers catch on.
"My favorite and most used eyeshadow palette at the moment is the Diorshow 5 Couleurs palette in the color Soft Cashmere. It has the most incredible warm/neutral brown tones as well as one of the most beautiful soft ivory sparkles I've come across. I often times pat the shimmer on top of a finished eye look to add a hint of sheen when the light hits it." — Courtney Hart
"I was recently sent the Anastasia Beverly Hills Cosmos Palette, and I'm so in love with it. It's really helpful that it has some great matte, neutral shades but also adds some gorgeous shimmers in bold colors to play with. If you feel intimidated by color, I recommend starting with a palette like this and using just a small amount of a shimmer color. Try in the inner corner or press gently in the center of your lid with your finger." — Hart
"One of the most underrated lines when it comes to eye shadow palettes is, hands down, Lorac Cosmetics. Their Pro palette line has remarkable shade ranges, and the texture is truly like butter. Never have fallout issues, and the shades are rich and pigmented." — Hart
Must-Have Eye Shadow Palettes
Best Overall: Dior Backstage Eyeshadow Palette
Dior's all-in-one primer and eye shadow palette has everything you need for gorgeous eye looks that can be worn on or off the runway. As it features four universal shade ranges, blending and building have never been easier.
Customer review: "There's a reason the palettes sell out. The colors are great and last throughout the workday. The shades included are a nice mix of mattes and shimmers to easily go from day to night too."
Pro: Features four universal shade ranges to create customizable eye makeup looks
Best for Green Eyes: MAC Connect in Color 12-Pan Eyeshadow Palette in Unfiltered Nudes
Give green eyes the attention they deserve by using any of the shades included in this 12-pan eye shadow palette by MAC. Every eye shadow applies smoothly and easily, making it ideal for adding concentrated color wherever you want.
Customer review: "I love MAC eyeshadows and this palette did not disappoint. Not only is it a good blend of neutral colors but every shade is extremely pigmented. This has become my daily wear go-to palette."
Pro: Matte- and shimmer-finish shades are extremely pigmented
Con: Slight fallout throughout daily wear
Best for Blue Eyes: Makeup by Mario Master Metals Eyeshadow Palette
If you have blue eyes, try highlighting them with various metal tones for a bold yet wearable eye makeup look. Makeup by Mario's Master Metals Eyeshadow Palette features five eye shadow shades that happen to be the stuff of dreams.
Customer review: "Probably one of the best palettes I've had—it is so useful and can transform any look! Super easy to use and beginner-friendly, the pigment is incredible on every shade. Definitely a staple in my collection!"
Pro: Can be transformed into liquid foil with Makeup by Mario's Master Metal Manipulator
Con: The silver shade leans more blue than a metal hue
Best for Hazel Eyes: Natasha Denona Yucca Eyeshadow Palette
I was introduced to this one through the martini-eye makeup trend that took over TikTok. The Yucca Eyeshadow Palette features every color that makes hazel eyes pop the most, including a vibrant sunshine yellow and the perfect dusty desert orange.
Customer review: "I am in love with this palette! The colors are beautiful and vibrant! The duration is excellent, I used one of the colors for a whole day and I didn't feel that the color changed at all."
Pro: Includes three formulas of sparkling foiled, matte, and metallic shades
Con: Some of the ultra-pigmented shades can be challenging to work with
Best for Brown Eyes: Tom Ford Eye Color Quad Crème Eyeshadow Palette in Dark Opulence
Brown eyes and blue shadow are a match made in heaven. If you're looking for an easy way to make your brown eyes shine, use the rich colors in Tom Ford's Dark Opulence Eye Color Quad to highlight them.
Customer review: "Gorgeous packaging, to start. Feels luxurious. The shadow colors are stunning. Buttery smooth, highly pigmented, and oh so blendable. The rich colors look amazing and can achieve a lovely daytime or night-out look. Pricey but high-quality!"
Pro: There's no patchiness here—the eye shadow applies easily and smoothly
Con: Luxury price point
Best for a Cut Crease: Patrick Ta Major Dimension III Matte Eyeshadow Palette
I've been a sucker for a bold cut crease after being exposed to the popular makeup looks of the swinging '60s. Patrick Ta's Matte Eyeshadow Palette is exactly what I would use to create multidimensional looks.
Customer review: "This is the best eyeshadow palette I've ever owned. It completely lived up to the hype. All the colors are wearable, blendable and pigmented. I will definitely be using this for a long time."
Pro: The shades can be worn alone, layered, or blended
Con: Colors crease and fade with wear
Best for a Smoky Eye: Makeup by Mario Master Mattes Eyeshadow Palette
Smoky eyes will always be in, and I've got this palette to prove it. The Master Mattes Eyeshadow Palette can go from natural everyday looks to high drama while providing medium buildable coverage.
Customer review: "Great versatile palette. I use it for natural or evening looks. The deepest colors are great as eyeliner. The pigments are so rich I don't even feel a need for an eye shadow base. Great for travel!"
Pro: Lasts all day without creasing or product fallout
Con: Not ideal for sensitive, reactive skin
Best Cool Neutrals: Morphe 18CT Matte Essentials Artistry Palette
We're not done with matte eye shadow palettes yet! This one by Morphe features 18 of the most pigmented cool neutrals for even cooler makeup looks. Whether you're in the mood for something natural or bold, you can count on this one to deliver.
Customer review: "This is one of my favorite palettes—the one I always go to good for any occasion because of the neutral colors. [It's] easy to apply, and since I'm older, this palette suits my needs perfectly."
Pro: Heavily pigmented shades with minimal fallout
Best Shimmers: Natasha Denona Glam Eyeshadow Palette
For glam eye makeup looks with endless sparkle and shine, Natasha Denona's Glam Eyeshadow Palette is a must-have. All the colors blend effortlessly and have major staying powder.
Customer review: "Love this palette! Beautiful cool-toned neutral color scheme with a few warm tones added in as well. It super versatile from everyday to full glam. Natasha Denona has my all time favorite eyeshadow formula."
Pro: Comes with an easy-to-follow guide to eye makeup looks for inspiration
Con: High price point
Best Metallics: Makeup by Mario Master Metallics Eyeshadow Palette
Are you in the mood for more metallics? You don't need to wait for the holidays to roll around to break out this eye shadow palette. It features 12 creamy, luxurious shades that melt onto the lids for long-lasting high-impact shine.
Customer review: "These apply best with a finger. They give good shine and the finish stayed metallic for about 10 hours before fading. No fallout, no grittiness."
Pro: All shades have high-impact shine
Con: A number of the included shades are noticeably not as pigmented as others
Best Multipurpose Palette: Danessa Myricks Groundwork: Defining Neutrals Palette
Danessa Myricks's newly released neutrals palette is all I'll be reaching for to contour and sculpt anywhere I need a little more dimension, as it was created with melanated skin tones in mind.
Customer review: "Amazing formulas and all blend beautifully—love its versatile use and how natural look is created with ease. Not cakey, just sculpted. Highly recommended!"
Pro: Features curated neutral shades for all skin tones
Con: If pomade is not warmed up and well-blended on the skin, the product appears slightly patchy
Best Glitters: Isamaya Industrial Colour Pigments 2.0 Palette
The high price point is 100% worth it from what you get from this product. Described by the brand as a "softer, subtler take on heavy metal," Isamaya's Industrial Colour Pigments 2.0 Eyeshadow Palette features 14 richly pigmented shades inspired by precious metals.
Customer review: "Absolutely gorgeous palette! The colors are stunning and the formulas are a dream to work with. This is easily my favorite palette I've ever used!"
Pro: Can be applied with the fingers and blended with a brush for a wet-like shine
Best Warm Neutrals: Nyx Professional Makeup Warm Neutrals Ultimate Color Palette
Keep this palette in your kit for makeup looks you'd like to add more warmth to. The high-quality eye shadows in this palette glide onto the lids with ease and will last all day with the help of a little primer.
Customer review: "I love how much product a small brush can pick up especially when working with neutrals. It's good for a quick makeup look and also for full glam. Would recommend for daily make up too."
Pro: Features a creamy formula for smooth application
Con: Appears slightly chalky on deep skin tones
Best Colorful Palette: Pat McGrath Labs Mothership I Eyeshadow Palette in Subliminal
Here's one that's completely out of this world. Pat McGrath Labs' best-selling Mothership palette line has hit the jackpot with Subliminal's futuristic iridescent shades of gold, shimmer, and white.
Customer review: "Highly recommend! It's quite frankly one of my absolute favorite Mothership Palettes hands down. The blue plus the other special shades are seriously to die for! I truly do not have anything else like this in my collection."
Pro: Extremely pigmented, buildable shades
Con: Highest price point
Best Travel Option: Ilia The Necessary Eyeshadow Palette
If you're constantly on the go like I am, a travel-sized eye shadow palette can be extremely helpful. The Necessary Eyeshadow Palette is compact enough to fit in even the smallest of my bags. (Trust me—some of them are minuscule.)
Customer review: "Love this palette! My makeup routine is very simple and this gives me lots of options for color combos without being overwhelming. Goes on really nicely and blends well."
Pro: Palette is the ideal size for your on-the-go moments
Con: Eye shadow is not transfer-proof
Best Drugstore Option: E.l.f. Cosmetics 18 Hit Wonders Eyeshadow Palette
High-quality eye shadows don't have to cost you your last paycheck. This E.l.f. Cosmetics palette brings on the pigmented hues with an assortment of 18 eye shadows in different finishes for all your eye makeup needs.
Customer review: [I] was looking for a new eyeshadow palette and wanted to try out some new colors. So glad I picked this one out! The colors are beautiful and it's worth the price."
Pro: Shades can easily be blended together
Con: Takes some effort to build up pigment
Best For Beginners: CoverGirl Eye Enhancers 4-Kit Eye Shadow
If you're new to using eye makeup, adding a simple eyeshadow kit is always a safe bet. This one comes with four versatile shades and an easy-to-use dual foam applicator.
Customer review: "This is a nice way to really make your eyes pop by enhancing the color and making those eyes sparkle. Great product! Will use frequently."
Pro: Can be easily applied with provided dual foam applicator
Con: Re-application needed throughout wear