I saw this tag going around YouTube this past month, and since people like to ask for palettes for the holiday season or treat themselves to something nice, it seemed like the perfect time to share some of my favorite palettes!
Before I start, I have a few things to clarify: I’ll be focusing just on gift-sized (or priced) eyeshadow palettes, and as many different palettes as I can fit in this post while still answering honestly. Some of these palettes contain blushes or other products in them, but the primary focus is on the eyeshadows. But if you’re looking for a great blush palette, check out my review of Tarte’s Holiday Blush Palette.
Now for the palettes!
1) Best Packaging: Urban Decay Ammo Palette
People seem to go two ways with this answer: functionality or creativity. I think this palette covers both. It’s very small and thin, about the length and width of my hand (which is tiny), with a strong magnetic closure and a substantial mirror inside. I took out the sponge-tip applicators it came with, leaving room for a travel-sized eyeshadow brush or eye liner when I’m traveling.
As for creativity, I love the mix of felt and foil in the pattern, and the foiled pattern borders the mirror as well. I also really like the design, and the eyeshadows are a good size. The color selection is really varied with this one, too, unless you don’t like glitter shades. I tend to skip the glitter shades myself, but I can still use most of the palette, so that doesn’t feel like a huge loss to me.
2) Best Color Payoff: Urban Decay Naked Palette
No surprise here – I love this palette, everyone loves this palette. And one of the reasons why it’s so popular is that these eyeshadows are amazingly pigmented and blendable.
3) Most Versatile: theBalm Shady Lady Vol. 3, NYX Butt “Naked” Eyes Palette
The Shady Lady palette was one of the very first eyeshadow palettes I ever bought. I was looking for something with a lot of different color options but nothing over-the-top, and this palette is it. You get nine good-sized eyeshadows, all shimmer or satin finish (except the black, which contains noticeable glitter).
I bought this NYX palette a few months ago when they were on Hautelook, and while I haven’t used it enough to write a full review yet, I would say it’s definitely versatile. You get a good range of nudes and a couple colors, as well as two highlights, a bronzer, and four blushes. Some of the shadows don’t have great color payoff, and a few of the mid-tone shades look really similar, but overall it’s a great amount of products for the price.
4) Best for Travel: Stila Stunning Starlet No. 3
I think this was a limited-edition palette, but Stila comes out with palettes like this all the time, so it should still be relevant. This palette is once again about the size of my hand and very thin. The mirror is an OK size, but it’s smaller to make room for a little tutorial, which I don’t mind.
You get 6 eyeshadows, a shimmer powder, and a lip/cheek color in this palette. The eyeshadows are separated into “looks,” but they are all in the same color family, so you can mix and match depending on your preference. The shimmer would be a good highlight, but can also be used as an eyeshadow, which gives even more versatility to the palette. The lip and cheek color is a great color, but I’ve only used it a couple times, and just on my lips.
5) Biggest Regret: I regret nothing!
6) Best Color Names: theBalm Nude ‘tude Palette
This would have won for best packaging if it weren’t so large, because it’s so adorable. There’s a “nice” version with the same shadows that doesn’t contain the pinup girls on the inside, if that’s not your style. The names of the eyeshadows are all adjectives starting with S, which I think is cute. I really dislike when companies use puns or bad jokes in their names, but these are simple while still keeping up with the whimsy of the packaging.
7) Least Used: Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette
This is a great concept for a palette, but I was hoping it would be more than just a supplement to other palettes. I’ve tried using it on its own, but the shadows fade so quickly that I don’t reach for it on its own very often. I do, however, love W.O.S. as a brow highlight, Naked 2 as a transition shade, and a blend of Naked 2 and Faint for my brows, so it has turned out to be pretty useful in the end.
You can see in the photo that the black shadow broke! Despite the sturdy case, it broke during traveling somehow. Luckily I use the black shadow the lease, but unluckily, it makes a mess every time I try and use it.
8) Most Used/Loved: Urban Decay Naked Palette
If I could only have one palette, it would be this one. I honestly thought it was over-hyped when I got it, but it quickly became a must-have for me. This would be an awesome gift for someone who’s just getting started with makeup or who loves makeup and somehow missed getting this one.
I’m not going to tag specific people this time, so go ahead and do this post if you want to! Make sure to comment below with a link or link to this in your post so I can see it.
1. Best Packaging
2. Best Color Payoff
3. Most Versatile
4. Best for Travel
5. Biggest Regret
6. Best Color Names
7. Least Used
8. Most Used, Most Loved, Desert Island
Thanks for reading! What are your favorite palettes? Any gift recommendations?