Talking Palettes

Smashbox Photo Op Mega Palette

I am long overdue for an edit and declutter of my eyeshadow palettes.  I’m a huge fan of palettes because you almost always get more for your money considering a single eyeshadow can average $6.00 at the drugstore, MAC eyeshadows are $17.00 each, and more for single luxury eyeshadows.  Armani single eyeshadows are a whopping $32.00 a piece.  

Having said that, I’ve vowed not to buy any new palettes until I’ve hit pan on the ones I want to use the most and declutter the ones that I don’t care for or that are too old and need to go.

I laid them all out recently and here’s a rundown of some of my favorites and recommendations for various categories. 

Inglot Freedom System

Favorite Brands for Palettes

My favorite brands for palettes are Inglot and Ben Nye.  Both take a little more effort to get ahold of but the quality, color payoff, and selection are superb.  

I use the Color Lumiere Grande Colour Palette by Ben Nye the least of all my palettes and mostly as a liner but it’s gorgeous and the only bright eyeshadows I ever need. 

This eyeshadow and blush palette is amazing and great to have on hand when I need to do my makeup in five minutes. 

Ben Nye is a theater makeup brand and I buy from Camera Ready Cosmetics

Inglot is a Polish brand and a longtime favorite.  Inglot is becoming more accessible with new stores popping up.  You can order online but the thrill of Inglot is going into the store and building your own customized palette using their Freedom System.  Check them out here

Ben Nye


Urban Decay

Best Palette for Beginners

I love Urban Decay palettes.  I have several yet pass on most of their releases because I have to reign it in somewhere.  The original Naked Palette started the whole palette craze and I still think it’s their best one.  It’s also my recommendation for beginners that want to experiment with getting a ton of different looks as well as simple enough for one-shadow looks.  Available everywhere

Mehron, Sephora Brand & Kat Von D

Most Challenging Palette

Kat Von D Saint and Sinner Palette by far is the most challenging to use.  The layout is confusing and requires a serious think before I start dipping my brush.  I love her entire range and philosophy around makeup.  Her line is made in the USA, vegan and cruelty-free.  I love this palette and always have a pretty good makeup day once I decide which direction to take.  It’s sold out now but can be found on eBay.

Too Faced

Too Faced is another brand that cranks out numerous releases each year.  I want many but pass on most because I already have too much makeup.  These were limited edition but I still reach for them.

Illamasqua & ByTerry

Palettes I Regret Buying

Soley for the cost, I regret buying this Liquid Metals palette by Illamasqua and the By Terry Eye Designer palette.  The quality and payoff are great and I enjoy using them but there are so many equal to yet affordable palettes on the market.  I like both of these brands a lot.  Illamasqua cream pigments and blushes are awesome and By Terry’s foundations and concealers are wonderful.  I prefer to spend my money on skincare and base than eyeshadow from now on. 

Milani & Rimmel

Best Drugstore Palettes

My Top 2 picks would be any palette from Milani or Rimmel.  These Everyday Eyeshadow palettes from Milani are excellent as are these little quads from Rimmel or their larger palettes.  


On Trend Palette

The red/orange/sunset trend isn’t going away anytime soon.  This Rimmel Spice palette is a dupe for the Naked Heat palette and the quality is excellent.  These MAGNIF’EYES eyeshadow palettes come in a variety of shades and themes.  You can get numerous looks from any of these at a fraction of the cost of higher-end palettes without compromising color payoff.  Available at drugstores

Shu Uemura & Lorac

Another favorite is the Lorac Pro 2.  The top row is all matte shadows and the bottom row is shimmer.  This is a go-to for either a neutral look or something more dramatic.  The color pigment is intense and I have to remember to use a light hand.  Available at Ulta

Huda Beauty, KIKO, Rimmel & Charlotte Tilbury

Best Travel Palettes

In a word, quad.  I tend to overpack makeup if I’m honest but there have been plenty of times when I’ve found myself with only a quad or compact palette.  These are some of my favorites.  I love Huda Beauty’s 9 shadow Obsessions palettes and quads by KIKO MILANO.  Both offer a rich color payoff and a wide variety of shades and collections.  Huda Beauty is at Sephora.  I have the Obsessions Palette in Mauve.  

If you don’t have a KIKO store near you to peruse, you can buy online

Charlotte Tilbury’s eyeshadows are buttery and divine.  I have the Dolce Vita Color-Coded Eyeshadow Palette here.  They’re pricey which is why I only have one.  Available at Nordstrom.

Too Faced & Urban Decay

Best Neutral Palette 

The original Naked palette or either of the small, all matte, Naked Basics palettes.  I have the Naked2 Basics which is the cooler-toned mattes.  Available at Ulta

Too Faced Natural Eyes Palette is another good neutral choice.  This is the old version and is cooler-toned.  It’s since been revised and the new version is warmer-toned.  Available here.  

Urban Decay

Most Disappointing Palette

I loved the entire Jean-Michel Basquiat collection that came out a couple of years ago from Urban Decay.  It sold out quickly so I bought my palette on eBay and I got a dud.  It was great for several months and then all of a sudden a few colors completely lost their luster and performed terribly.  I read and listen to a lot of reviews before I buy most makeup so I guess I’m lucky that this has been my only major disappointment. 

Anastasia Beverly Hills

Most Loved Palettes

It would have to be these two by Anastasia Beverly Hills.  It may not look like it but I’ve used both of these consistently for over a year.  I absolutely love them.  Another brand that floods the market with releases so I’m selective.  I love using the Modern Renaissance Eyeshadow Palette as much today as I did when I first bought it.  Available at Ulta.  World Traveler was limited edition and one of the more unique palettes I own. 

MAC, Eve Pearl & Clinique

Most Versatile Palette

Actually, I have several versatile palettes but this one from Clinique is a winner.  These shadows are smooth and blendable.  I love anything in the Black Honey collection from Clinique.  This is the Black Honey Wardrobe palette released limited-edition a couple of years ago. Clinique just released a newer Black Honey palette that is warm-toned.  Available at Sephora

I still love a MAC eyeshadow, however, I only have single shadows and this one purple palette.  With so many new brands in the last ten to fifteen years, I’ve fallen off with MAC.  You can’t deny the quality or reliability though.  They’re still making great single shadows and palettes.

After this exercise, I decluttered 4 palettes.  It’s not a lot but it’s a start and with my No-Buy policy for the forseable future, I’m looking forward to shopping my stash. 

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