If you were to open up my makeup bag(s) and pull out every single eye shadow palette that I own, you’d probably be able to fill a banquet table. In all honesty, the level of my obsession is quite disgusting. The minute a new eye palette comes out, I feel like I’ve got to have it. And the worst part is, that I very rarely actually wear eye shadow. Most days I leave my lids bare and occasionally I’ll dab on my go-to MAC Paint Point in Groundwork, but it is very, very rare that I actually find the time to dust off a palette and make some kind of eye masterpiece.
And, on that note, it’s probably also worth mentioning that I’m no Picasso when it comes to using powder shadows. In fact, I find the whole ordeal a bit (read: a lot) overwhelming. When I’m presented with 12 pans of pigment, I don’t really know where to start, meaning that, more often than not, I only end up using two or three shades in each palette anyway.
However, none of this is to say that I don’t love every single palette in my collection as though I birthed each one myself. I'm ashamed to admit that, once every month, I sit down and clean each one so that they look good as new, even though they haven’t been touched since the last time. It’s a problem, and I need help. Recently though, as I have become increasingly more aware of just how severely my beauty obsession is negatively impacting the planet, I made a resolution to re-home all of the products that I just don’t use. Naturally, my palettes took the brunt of the cull.
The good news that came from this is that I really took the opportunity to sit back and reflect on what makes a palette really great. As I divvied up the ones that were staying and the ones that were going, I took note of a few common denominators amongst the keepers. For me, it’s not enough for a palette to simply offer a pretty shade selection, it also needs to house buttery, easy-to-blend pigments that don’t require an expert hand. Plus, above all else, the shades have to be truly wearable. And I mean every single one. In fact, throughout my clear out, if I picked out a compact with even one untouched shade, it went in the ‘donate’ pile.
So, without further ado, I’ve compiled a list of the very best eye shadow palettes of all time, so that you don’t have to endure any messy palette breakups like I did. Keep scrolling for the 16 palettes I just can’t do without.
This palette couldn't be more appropriately named. For evenings when I need a confidence boost, a smokey eye created with these beautiful shades is my absolute go-to.
Often, it can be difficult to find shimmer shadows that pack a punch. These golden tones, however, are so creamy that they almost melt onto the eye, and with seriously impressive colour payoff.
When I first set sights on this palette, I was a little bit put off by some of the bold, louder shades. However, this is the first palette that encouraged me to experiment with different colours, and I'm so grateful for that. Plus, the Huda shadow formula is the crème de la crème.
The thing I love the most about this palette (besides just how beautifully blendable the pigments are) is how fabulously each individual shade works alongside the next.
Not only are these four shades the most wearable everyday nudes, but the compact itself is impossibly stylish.
For £24, you really can't beat the quality of the individual shadows in this mega palette. Sure, they're all quite similar, but can there really be too much of a good thing?
If you ask me, Urban Decay's Naked palettes are unbeatable when it comes to wearability. This one in particular works just as well for day as it does for night.
It's small, but mighty. Not only is it absolutely perfect for travelling thanks to its dinky nature, but the warm browns and coppers inside have every occasion covered.
I know, £68 is a LOT of money for a simple eye shadow quad. However, this isn't just any eye shadow quad. It's Tom Ford. Pigmented beyond belief and impossibly complementary, expect a next-level eye look.
Granted, this palette is a lot bulkier than it needs to be which makes it almost impossible to travel with. However, I'm more than happy to keep it out on my dressing table day in, day out. With a mix of creamy mattes and buttery shimmers, this palette makes eye shadow application a total breeze.
Housing four universally flattering shades, this compact palette is perfect for just about everyone.
This is probably my most well-loved eye shadow palette ever. I've had mine for years and it's seen me through thick and thin. The price tag says £21 but, if you ask me, it's worth ten times that.
This is the newest addition to my collection and it's fast becoming one of my favourites. Instead of my usual golds and coppers, this palette champions pretty pinks and blush-toned nudes. It's one of the most luxurious-feeling items of makeup I own.
This handy palette is capable of creating countless gorgeous looks for any occasion. But, beyond that, it smells like peaches and what more can you ask for, really?
The pure joy that I get from using these powdery mattes is unrivalled. From daytime peaches to smokey browns perfect for a night out, there's no situation it doesn't cater for.
It might not look like much considering its price tag, but I'd say this is my most-used palette of the moment. Easy to slip into your handbag and apply on the go, it takes the stress out of eye shadow application.