A great eye shadow palette should, at a minimum, have an assortment of shades you can use daily to define your eyes. The best eye shadow palettes do that and give you options for when you want to flex your creative muscles and be easy, nay, downright enjoyable to use. So how do you choose the right palette for your needs when there are so many options available? We're here to walk you through ten of our standbys that get the job done every single time. Budget, color payoff and packaging all considered.
The 10 Best Eye Shadow Palettes to Buy (from Everyday Neutrals to Bold Statement Colors)
1. Snap Shadows Mix & Match Eyeshadow Palette By Fenty Beauty
If you’re new to makeup or more of a minimalist when it comes to your routine, we’d recommend this portable palette from Rihanna's own brand in True Neutrals. It’s just slightly bigger than the palm of your hand and it holds six easy-to-wear neutrals including a creamy ivory, a shimmery rose and an espresso brown that’s perfect for defining your lash line. The shadows are satisfyingly rich in pigment and are as buildable as they are blendable. Also of note: The portable palette has a handy mirror inside for touchups and can be snapped together with any of the eight other options (including a set of shimmering pastels or deep earth tones) to create your own custom palette. Rih really knows best.
2. Kaja Beauty Bento Bouncy Shimmer Eyeshadow Trio
For the makeup minimalist, look no further than this trio of stacked shadows in complementing shades. The formula is satiny to the touch and can easily be blended with your fingertips for a smooth, not patchy finish. Lately, we've been enjoying "Glowing Guava," which includes three mauve-y pink tones that are a touch softer than the browns we typically wear. (Psst. Their eyeliner stamp is pretty genius, too.)
3. Ilia The Necessary Eyeshadow Palette In Warm Nude
Another option for the everyday minimalist, this palette from Ilia is made sans parabens, phthalates or synthetic fragrances, making it one of the cleanest on this list. Whether you’re into clean beauty or not, you will love the slim compact and velvety texture of these shadows. There are six shades in total in a variety of matte, satin and shimmer finishes. And if you’re into warmer tones like terra-cotta and rose like we are, this is a must-buy for you. (If you prefer cooler tones, the brand has a palette to suit your needs as well.)
4. Anastasia Beverly Hills Jackie Aina Eyeshadow Palette
You can’t talk about eye shadow palettes and not mention Anastasia Beverly Hills (or ABH as the beauty diehards call her). Simply put, ABH’s palettes are expertly curated and exceptionally pigmented. That said, it was hard to choose a favorite, but in the end, we went with this limited-edition collaboration with YouTube star Jackie Aina.
The 14 shades in this palette are impossibly buttery and sweep onto your lids with little to no effort, and the colors themselves play off each other so you can create any look you want. For example, a day at the office calls for a simple sweep of “Soleil,” which is a soft golden peach shimmer, while a night out with the girls might call for some “Big Wig” (a rich plum) with a pop of “Shookington” (a metallic violet) on top. Bonus: Every ABH palette comes with a compact double-ended brush that has a flat end to deposit color, highlight or pack shadow onto the lid and a fluffy end to diffuse and blend it all out.
5. Uoma Black Magic Carnival Color Palette
Laissez les bons temps rouler! This high impact palette comes with ten vibrant shades in sparkly, metallic and matte finishes that borrow inspiration from festive destinations that celebrate the history of Carnival. The colorful shadows are silky and water resistant, which is a good thing since we plan on wearing them through hot summer days and long summer nights.
6. Aether Beauty Amethyst Crystal Gemstone Palette
For the ingredient conscious and sustainably minded, this palette checks all the boxes and then some. Formulated with organic coconut oil and shea butter, the colorful array of shadows has a smooth, velvety texture for easy blending and the packaging itself is fully recyclable. Add to that the gorgeous selection of taupes, browns and purples and you’ve got yourself a solid 12 shades to choose from (though we're partial to “Mystic,” an iridescent ivory that brightens everything it touches).
Buy it ($58)
7. E.l.f Cosmetics Bite-size Eyeshadow
Meet the palm-sized palette that went viral on TikTok earlier this year. With four buttery shades per set and eight different colorways to choose from, each one will cost you just three dollars a pop. (So even if you wanted to get all eight palettes, it would only set you back 24 dollars.) Our first pick? "Cream and sugar," shown above, which has four neutral shades that you can wear every single day. The payoff is real, y'all.
8. Morphe The James Charles Palette
If you love to play with color, this painterly palette is for you. With 39 intense shades from a tangerine orange to a fuchsia pink (and a lime green!), you can experiment with a different hue every day of the month and still not run out of options. Fear not—there are plenty of muted tones that are suitable for subtler looks as well. And for just under 40 dollars, it’s a pretty solid bargain (which is probably why it’s a fan favorite with more than 3,000 reviews and 4.5 stars on Ulta alone).
Buy it ($39)
9. Dominique Cosmetics Latte Eyeshadow Palette
Sephora fanatics will want to get their hands on this stunning palette curated by Christen Dominique, the popular beauty influencer and makeup guru. With ten shades in total, the palette offers just enough variety to give you lots of options without making you feel overwhelmed. Including a matte taupe, a shimmery rose gold, a striking plum and a mocha brown, this palette contains shadows that go on beautifully and can be used all over the lid or in strategic spots—like the inner corners of your eyes or just along the lashes—for an added pop. We've also been impressed with the longevity of these shadows: The initial fallout is minimal to nonexistent, and the colors don’t fade throughout the day like some others we’ve tried.
10. Pat Mcgrath Labs Mothership I Eyeshadow Palette In Subliminal
It feels right to end with Pat McGrath, as everything she touches is a literal work of art. From the custom illustrations on the outer packaging to the luxe lacquered case and, of course, the shadows themselves, this couture palette elevates the daily experience of applying your makeup. That said, it comes at a price...to the tune of 125 dollars. (Cue low whistle.)
What we will say is this: If you can afford it, her shadows are truly unique. Take, for instance, “Blitz Blue,” which is described as a “vivid sapphire”—and honey, vivid is an understatement. The blue glitters and shines in a way that makes people stop you in the street to ask what you’re wearing. (Tip: Keep an eye out for some of the bigger sales at Sephora throughout the year; the palette has been offered at a discount in the past.)
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