Monday, March 12th, 2012

Rant & Rave


Your Mission: Tell us what you love, hate, or are otherwise indifferent to about eyeshadow palettes. What drives you bananas? What makes them necessary?

Discussion and debate are highly encouraged, and we expect community members to participate respectfully. When asking a question, please check the FAQ section (above) for information about purchasing, price, dupes, and the like. If you have general feedback or need technical support, please contact us.

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68 thoughts on “Rant & Rave: Eyeshadow Palettes

  1. ms

    i tend to buy the neutral ones only, get more use out of them. too many colors don’t get used much. UD naked, naked 2 yes is a bit underwhelming. i didn’t like the 15 year palette as much as a lot of people bcos i think i won’t get a lot of use out of it. waiting for my nude tude palette.

  2. Nina

    Loved the colour-selection in the original Naked-palette from UD but absolutely hate the glitter that falls all over when I use some of the colours ;S

  3. Vanessa

    I only buy eyeshadow palettes. Single shadows seem too pricy, and too apt to get lost.

    • Vanilla

      Same. If you do the math, for most larger palettes (namely UD ones) even if you only use about 30-40% of the colours, you already got your money’s worth. I think that is the only reason I keep buying every new Box of Shadows every time it comes out, even though half of them are repeats.

      • Dinitchka

        Vanilla, I agree with you. I like singles on specific colours but for the most part I like a palette because it keeps a variety of colours all in one place. I am a fanatic depotter of shadows to make my own palette with my singles.

    • Jenny

      Same here! I’ve never bought a single eyeshadow by itself…. Well, Maybe a Mac eyeshadow refill for a palette??

  4. MonicaP

    I love eye shadow palettes, but I can never seem to find one that has great browns AND purples for green eyes.

    • Tori

      If you are looking for good purples bare minerals the dream sequence quad is gorgeous. Comes with a variety of purples with different finishes so you can use them all for one look.

    • CeeBee

      Dior do a quint called Stylish Move – it has two purple shades, a really lovely mid tone brown and a couple of lighter shades as well.

    • Vanilla

      I’m not sure about green eyes, but I have the Kat Von D True Love palette that consists of browns and purples that work very well for my dark brown eyes. That specific palette is no longer on sale on, but they have a new palette called Poetica that is very similar (with better packaging and no crappy dried up cream shadow to boot!) that I think is worth checking out. I own 5 different KVD palettes and have found the shadows to be quite good in quality.

      • amy

        I agree. Believe it, or not, Kat Von D pallettes are *amazing*. Great pigmentation, great variety of colors, and they are set up as 2 quads, but the quads can even be integrated together. I have all of them with the exception of Angeles and Mi Vida Loca; not because of quality, but these particular pallettes didn’t contain enough colors I’d wear or were ones I’d wear, but weren’t unique enough. As for those pesky cream shadows in the older pallettes, I just take a plain Vitamin E stick, run a flat brush over it a few times, and run it over the shadow a few times. Voila! Instant rejuvinization.

  5. Ana

    I typically love palettes because you get a lot for your money, but the main thing I HATE about palettes is that the quality of the product diminishes (I’m looking at you MAC!).

  6. Elysia

    Love them! I love having everything right there, and they take up so much less space.

  7. Chynna

    I love palettes, but there are always colors I use more often than others and at least one color I may never use at all. I hate it when the colors I use most often are used up. I wish more palettes were refillable and that you could buy individual colors to refill with. I think what it comes down to for me is that palettes are awesome, but LE colors that you can only get in a palette aren’t at all awesome.

  8. Yasmin

    I love the mac 15 palettes because i love how each shadow is seperated, but i wish you could see inside it like the z palettes. Plus the mac ones are flimsy and if you constantly use it, it doesnt shut properly anymore I wish mac would make a palette similar to the 4 pan ones but for more shadows.

    • Laura

      Ive got 3 MAC 15 pan palettes and 2 of them the clasp has broken so I have to stick an elastic band around them to keep them closed. They’reso flimsy for the price. The 4 pan palettes are much stronger and you can see through which is betterwhen you’ve got a lot of them

  9. I love palettes since they’re so convenient to bring along for travel, but not many palettes have consistently good quality for all eyeshadows/blushes.
    Applicators that come with eyeshadow palettes are usually BLEAH.

  10. Audrey

    I tend to stay away from eyeshadow palettes. If you like all of the shades in a palette, it can be cheaper than purchasing each shade separately – but more often than not, there’s at least one or two shades that I never use. I’d rather buy individual shades that I’ll consistently use.

  11. Amanda

    I hate when palettes have dud colors, or ones that just make you go “meh” when you use them. They get no use, while the others get used up. But I love palettes because you get more bang for your buck, and also they’re tons easier to travel with and make doing make up easier in general, since the colors are all together in one compact space!

  12. I only don’t like them if I REALLY like the colors/textures and want to use them regularly but the packaging is huge and annoying to lug around. Otherwise they don’t bug me at all… I like a good theme :)

  13. Erica

    It drives me crazy that none of the cruelty free brands sell the really big palettes.

    It’s a shame that Urban Decay has so many glittery eyeshadows in their palettes. Same goes for Too Faced sometimes.

    I do love it when a palette includes a brush, it saves me some money! 😉 So more of those please, Urban Decay. Wish Too Faced would take after UD there!

    And what’s with the duds? In almost every palette there is at least one color that is quite… bad. Is the quality control bad or is it politics?

    • amy

      Too Faced did put brushes in their pallettes, but alot of people complained about both the brushes *and* the bulk of the pallette to accomodate two brushes. I personally liked the brushes, and the new “sleeker” pallettes aren’t any smaller in diameter.

  14. Kellie

    I love the convenience of having my favorite color combinations in one place. I adore my Naked and Inglot palettes. I absolutely hate that there is always a new “must have” palette on the market that people feel compelled to buy. I only have two eyes. One person can’t possibly need 5-50 different eyeshadow palettes, unless they’re a makeup artist. & I do realize that this is more of a personal problem. :p

  15. Goddess of War

    I love palettes because they make me think of colours and combinations I would otherwise never have dreamed of. I HATE that the formulation is never consistent; you always get 6 colours that are amazing in every way, and the rest are hardly worth your time. Kind of like cd’s.

  16. Noelle

    There was a time when I bought many eyeshadow palettes but these days I rather buy singles. I hate that almost every palette contains black which I don’t use very often. I think a matte light beige would be more useful. I also don’t like if a palette contains too many shimmery colors.

    • Julia

      I am in the same boat as you. I used to ONLY buy palettes but then I realized that I am only using two or three of the colors. I am also VERY fair, so most “neutral” palettes are so not neutral on me. Plus I find that I only want a palette for one color out of ten! ( and of course you cannot buy that one as a single) I downsized recently and gave away most of my palettes to family and friends. Many I had only used once! I think palettes are good for those who travel and those who are just starting their makeup collection. Otherwise, I would rather make my own palette of colors I will actually use.

  17. I love eyeshadow palettes because they’re usually a good bargain. Considering how I almost never hit pan on eyeshadows (woodwinked is the only one I ever have hit pan on), getting a smaller size in a palette is just as good as a full one and less expensive than buying 5 or 10 separate eyeshadows.
    The one thing I can’t stand is when the same colors are used in different palettes. The only place I’ve been this is with Urban Decay and their strange obsession with putting Half Baked in every other palette. kind of a waste, in my opinion.

  18. GUSnail

    I’m not a fan. The chances of a premade pallette that has the right combo of colors and finishes for me is near impossible (or I’m too much of a control freak?) Instead, I buy the pans from MAC. I keep them in the 15 pan pallette, but I have two 4-pan pallettes I can put colors into for when I’m going to need e/s on the go.

  19. Maud

    love the value but i almost always reach for individual shades over palettes because its easier for me

  20. Joanna

    i love palettes, but i don’t love that usually there is at least one color that is a complete dud (COLOR ADDED BY MAC!!!!)

    and i want to burn every single one of those sponge tip applicators on the planet. every. single. one.

  21. I love having colors coordinated for me. I’m TERRIBLE at color coordination!

  22. Liz

    Love them because you get a wide variety of shades for a good price! Some downsides to them is that sometimes the packaging is too bulky to throw in your purse (like the Too Face Palettes before they redesigned them without the drawer). Also some shades end up being completely untouched (for me this is anything with chunky glitter). Also in some palettes the quality of the formula is lacking (I have found this with Smashbox palettes).

  23. Em

    I tend to own smaller palettes (trios and quads) than I do of big palettes. Large Palettes that own are: UD Naked 1, UD Delux Shadow Box, Costal Sense 88, and a MAC 15 palette. I like smaller palettes more though.

    I find most of the bright colors I own come in palettes. I think it’s the fact that I don’t want to spend money on a single bright color because I don’t wear them as often, but if I get a palette with bright colors, I’m saving money.

    My one gripe with palettes is when most or all of the colors are shimmery. Sometimes I want to through a matte in there and if I’m trying to a look using one palette but all of the colors are shimmery, it’s annoying. I’m glad the Naked 1 has matte shades, but only 2! Could they have given us 4 maybe?

  24. Jessica

    i am so in love with the palettes from Too Faced. as someone else noted, it would be nice if more offered refillable colors, though. for me, i mix and match the colors and like being able to play. i wouldn’t be as likely to try different combinations if i was left to my own single-shadow-selecting-skills (or lack thereof). lastly, i think most are a good bargain.

  25. Raye

    I love palettes for the prices (you get more for your money), however I also hate them because, in many palettes, the best colors are limited edition (or they are exclusive to the palette)! If I really like a color, I want the option of buying said color on its own in the future.

    I usually only buy palettes when I’m buying from a brand for the first time, however (to sample the products).

  26. Dana

    I love eyeshadow palettes, especially the ones you can customize. I only own 5 single eyeshadows and six palettes.

  27. Nobody’s mentioned Dior 5-couleurs? They’re excellent! Especially the Designer line!

  28. I have a habit of purchasing palettes but find that I actually use very few of them. I recently got myself some of the Z palettes and started moving things over to them. I moved single shadows as well as some smaller palettes. I’m hoping that I’ll find myself using the shades more that way.

  29. Rainy

    I love palettes to death and they are a huge staple of my makeup collection. Personally, I think my UD Alice palette (though quite bulky) is my go to eyeshadows, with my Kat Von D palettes coming in a very close second.

    One issue I must say I hate in palettes is the repetition of certain shades. I love being able to have a wide selection, but it seems like I’m always finding more dupes than the price warrants. Be a little more creative.

  30. Sally

    I hate when brands put the same eyeshadows in different palettes. MAC, how many Showstoppers do I need? And Urban Decay, Half Baked does not need to be in every palette along with Sin and Midnight Cowboy!

  31. Miss J

    I really haven’t been too into eyeshadow palettes. I used to buy MAC quads when they came out in collections, but I kind of got disinterested with their collections, so stopped buying the quads. My first premade palettes aside from MAC quads was UD Naked. Palettes are nice to just grab and go. A good palette has to include a variety, though. I need to be able to create a complete look. The only thing I hate is when you use up a shade in the palette and start needing to grab for other things because then it kind of negates the convenience factor of grabbing one thing and creating an entire look from that.

  32. Jennifer

    Overall, I love them. But, I don’t like when there’s always a color or two that are unusable/unflattering and I’m stuck with them. Ugh. Solution: be super picky when it comes to purchasing a palette.

    Also, unlike everyone else, I love glittery neutrals (Midnight Cowboy), but I don’t like brights (Flipside).

    Finally, I love the value a palette provides.

  33. CeeBee

    OK, so mostly I love them – I really like having a range of colours right there and easily accessible without the need to put things down and fumble about with iddy biddy separate compacts, especially since I don’t wear my glasses while I’m doing my eye makeup and I don’t have an awful lot of bench space on my vanity… So one palette with a nice selection of options is great. TheBalm Shady Lady 2 is a favourite and I have a heap of Dior, Estee Lauder and Guerlain quads/quints that I can do a complete eye without having to swap stuff out.

    What I dislike immensely are palettes that have inconsistent textures and/or shades – colours that aren’t complementary or just don’t work together or worse, one or two that are complete duds, dry, chalky, unpigmented, whatever. I hate that more than it just being a colour I won’t use!

    A note to manufacturers – please don’t bung in a crappy brush or two just for the sake of it, especially if they are sub-standard, scratchy or otherwise rubbish. I just throw them away and it’s a waste. Most anyone who invests enough to buy a decent palette has brushes already or can buy cheap sponge tip applicators or whatever floats their boat.
    I have about 50 of those double ended Dior sponge tip applicators and I NEVER use them (Guerlian ones, especially those pointed tip ones for doing eyeliner or smudging are surprisingly great for traveling!)

  34. ellen

    I have a love/hate relationship with palettes. Even the best of the best palettes (UD’s NAKED) have that one eyeshadow that either is a chunky mess with glitter fallout all over the place (yes i’m looking at you sidecar) or one that takes about 20 layers for decent pigmentation. But on the other hand they are usually great value and great for travelling. Still waiting on the perfect palette though!!

    • Ana

      Agree with you! Sidecar is the only shade in the naked palette that I barely usee…. I HATE the fall out… Since I wear contact lenses is a pain to clean it haha!

  35. Ana

    I looove palettes, I think they are better than single eyeshadiws (have to be really unique shades to buy them separately) I own lots of palettes from coastal scents to MAC or Estee Lauder hehe… But my HG is the UD Naked :) and the WnW vanity

  36. Skipper

    I am a big fan of eyeshadow palettes! That is pretty much all I buy unless I run across a single shade of eyeshadow that is just too beautiful to pass up! I also go for trios and duos just because I like to have an all inclusive look with whatever the palette/trio/duo may have to offer. I guess I have convinced myself it’s cheaper and easier to move and store! Lol!

  37. Val

    I just hate it when an eyeshadow is all shimmery colors, not a single matte one. it feels like your pigmented matte shadows are going out of fashion.. BUT I LOVE THEM 😛
    I really really want to buy every single color of the rainbow in terms of single eyeshadow pans, but i think Ulta doesn’t stock every NYX color there is.. 😛 fingers crossed

    • amy

      To a point, I agree. However, a really easy solution to this is to buy a duo or a quad to throw in your makeup bag; they don’t take up much space, and they can be used alone or to supplement a pallette. I keep on hand both Naked pallettes, a quad by L’Oreal (not too pigmented, but good for blending & inexpensive) called The Neutrals, and NARS Duo in Madrague for a quick look. I know, at the pricepoint of a lot of pallettes a “supplemental” shadow should be unnecessary, but cosmetic companies are marketing to the masses, not to individual tastes. UD, for example, is not known for their matte shades; in fact, they have discontinued them. Many people like their glitters & shimmers, and the fact that so many are buying the Naked pallettes is telling them that this is what the masses want. If you don’t like a pallette, don’t buy it because it’s the latest craze; the cosmetic industry listens to $$$. The same with MAC- the quads are awful, but people continue to buy them. If we stop buying inferior products, then the industry will be foced to listen to our complaints.

  38. Amanda

    I love palettes! Single eyeshadows are usually too expensive, especially with how many colors and finishes I want from all the different brands. I have about 7 UD palettes :O But I love them all. I didn’t really like the 15th Anniversary palette for a while there, but I’m starting to use it more again. I also really like the Fun palette from UD. And the Inglot Freedom System palettes are the best :)

  39. Really wish palettes would come with good quality brushes instead of repeat eyeliners or brushes u end up just throwing away bc other ones get the job done better.

  40. The only thing I really dislike about palettes is when they have cream AND powder products in the same area…I never buy combo palettes for that reason, they just get too gross. I almost bought the Dior palette the other day but realized that the little pots of lipstick would never be used. I also really dislike the palettes that are built super cheap (Toki Doki comes to mind for this one)

    • Alison

      I forgot about that… I agree, its a pain getting powder in your gel product. Its gross, actually. I don’t see why companies think that would be appealing to us consumers – Whenever I’ve seen a mix lip and eye palette here on Temptalia, people’s main concern has been eyeshadow falling into their lippies!

    • Cat

      Ohhh yes!! I’ve never bought a combo palette but once I was given one with creams and powder together. I really disliked the quality of the cream products (I don’t get the appeal of lip or cream blushes in a palette) and it was just a mess after couple uses.

  41. Love: that you can throw it into your overnight bag for a no-brainer look, or those mornings where you don’t have the energy or time to coordinate colors yourself.
    Hate: that they often have one or more colors that are similar to ones I already have (I need another highlighter or Half Baked like I need a hole in my head) so I feel like I’m wasting money.

  42. Alison

    I wish that more of the shades were available individually, or that you could interchange them more between palettes in one brand. Plus, too often I see a quad with a SINGLE SHADE I don’t want or wouldn’t use, which is annoying. Its not good value when you don’t use half of it.

    I’ve been recently lusting over Clarins’ Graphites Quad, for example, which contains a smooth matte black, a charcoal and a nude highlighter with a pink duochrome, all of which I like and would use – the only thing bothering me about it is the silver. I can understand why many quads would contain a nude/brown/taupe/charcoal neutral base colour, but SILVER? How many basic metallic silver eyeshadows can one have or need?

    My Mother has a Shimmer Cube quad from the Body Shop she likes, which has four shades in it – it has four little cubes in metal pans dropped into a plastic box, of which she only uses two. With this design, how hard would it be to remove a couple of the colours and pop in a couple of cubes in a different shade? It would make the product worth more and more desirable thanks to the ability to customise your shades, and would also reduce waste.

  43. Steph

    I don’t tend to buy pre-made palettes, I find that I usually don’t want or need (since a lot of palettes tend to have reptitive shades that I already own at least a couple of- frosty whites, matte charcoal/blacks, etc) all of the shades included so they’re often not that great a bargain if you only want half or less of the included shades. I’d usually rather just buy specifically the colours I want and have less bulk and space taken up by things I rarely use. I do, however, quite like customizable palettes. I have a few Inglot palettes, and I like being able to swap shades around if I just want a quick duo or quad to toss in a travel bag.

  44. I hate it, because I always end up using up one or two shades more than the rest! >.< I'd rather get individual shadows and deal with them eating storage space, really. :/

  45. Mariella

    Tough question as palettes can vary so much. They can be assembled like the Naked palettes (1 and 2) where virtually EVERY colour is something I am likely to get lots of wear out of or they can be like BOSIII, with lots of colours I’ll hardly ever wear but they contain a few shadows – always ones I love and “must have” – that aren’t available individually (Loaded, Suspect). For the most part, I love that they offer really good value for money and the 2 things I hate are the sometimes ridiculous packaging (to make it “collectible”) and the fact that most contain at least one crummy or impractical colour that I will never use.

  46. Laura

    I tend to buy empty palettes and then either buy single pan e/s or normal potted single e/s and depot them into my palette. That way I’ve only got colours that I want coz when you buy a pre-made palette theres always a few colours that you hardly ever or never use, or there’s ones that are similar to colours you’ve already got. UD naked palette for example. Love the colours but I refuse to use certain shades coz the fallout is terrible!

  47. Vanilla

    I admit that I have an addiction to palettes. I rarely buy single ESs unless it’s a limited edition one from MAC and the swatch is too hard to pass up on. Fortunately for my wallet, there hasn’t been too many of that lately.

    Why am I so drawn to palettes? Let’s see… first of all, my Chinese blood tells me that I’m getting a good deal. Why pay almost $20 for a single shadow when $60 gets you 16? Even if I only love 4 of the shadows, I already got my money’s worth. Secondly, it’s great for testing out a new brand or colours/combinations/finishes I wouldn’t have otherwise. Sometimes they throw in an eyeliner, lipgloss or mascara, which gives me a chance to try out other products from that company without the full sized commitment. Thirdly, convenience (though this is arguable with BOS packaging). Many colours ready for travel. If you take off for 2-4 weeks at a time like me, 1 or 2 colours just don’t cut it for me. I need at least 8.

    I currently own all of UD’s BOS, Naked palette, 15th anniversary collection, 5 different Kat Von D palettes, 2 Smashbox ones, 2 Tarte palettes, and some random other ones here and there from other brands. For most people, that’s way too much eyeshadows. But for me, other than those annoying dupes UD always throws at us and the occasional duds, I will use almost anything they put in the box. I’m an artist/designer and I like to play around and create looks, plus my job is less conservative than most people’s. (If I show up with purple hair and red eye shadow, they just accept it as part of my occupation… haha!) I won’t say I love every colour or finish, but I will try to use them in one way or another at least a few times.

    My only real rant is one many people have already talked about. Repeats in UD palettes, and the bulky, excessive, and otherwise gimicky BOS packaging. It’s heavy, the drawer is hard to pull out, and I don’t like having the “extras” being part of the box as those get used up faster than everything else and I’m left with a giant box with empty sockets (BOS 4). There’re ways to make packaging both functional (lightweight, easy to use) and aesthetically pleasing (so pretty you have to pick it up at the store). KVD palettes are a good example. The 15th Anniversary box is one I love a lot and the NAKED palettes are not bad either.

  48. Adele

    I love the savings I get from palettes — I’d much rather get less product per color in more colors, since it takes years to finish up an eyeshadow!

    Hate that so many are half neutrals! I can certainly see the appeal of all-neutral palettes, as well as palettes that allow a variety of looks without having to bring in other shadows, but I feel like I have to pick very carefully if I don’t want a dozen medium browns and peach highlights.

    It can also be annoying when some colors suck and you end up using half the palette — and don’t want to buy another when you run out of the good ones!

  49. They’re a good deal but there are always going to eyeshadows you won’t like, which is the catch. I don’t know if they’re made of cheaper quality than the usual single eyeshadows but I find them a little less sturdy than single eyeshadows, in my experience.

  50. Anita

    i love that you can save money but i depot all my eyeshadows so it makes me depressed to ruin the packaging! 😛