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Thanks to Jennifer for today's question!

What’s a better value to you: palettes or singles? Why?

I think palettes tend to be a better value for me, because I’ll often reach for and use whatever is in a palette than I will dig out five different singles across brands. That being said, one REALLY great, go-to single product may be something I use more often than any palette, but this is usually more common with basics like an everyday blush, brow bone shade, etc.

— Christine

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51 Comments

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Profile photo of Nancy T

For me, I would say that a palette, especially a well edited one, gives me more bang for my buck. Although, in a larger palette, there are bound to be at least a few that rarely or never get used. Only 2 exceptions; UD Spectrum and Lorac Unzipped.
That said, when I do buy a single, it means I put a lot of thought into it, how I’d use it, what it goes with, and most important of all; that I really love it ! Be it a $5 CP or a $29 Nars DI e/s, I picked it because I just had to have it.

A palette is often better value for me. I tend to buy eyeshadow palettes or have singles within a palette. If they are stand alone, I rarely give thought to them. I am less likely to buy a palette of blushes or highlighters unless the product range suits my skin tone and preferences. I’m more cognizant of single packaging for blush, bronzers, highlighters, finishing powders, etc. That said, I do appreciate when I can find products containing more than one item and in a shade range that I can wear: bronzer + highlighter, 2 blushes + highlighter, 3 finishing powders or 3 blush.

Profile photo of Julie

For me, usually singles. I think it’s because I’m cool toned. I only have 1 or 2 palettes that I can make a complete look with. And for me, I hate having to dig out singles to use with a palette…it seems to kind of defeat the purpose, I guess? So I end up using singles about 90% of the time. I think that if I were warmer toned, I might have better luck, since there seems to be more, and better quality, options!

Julie, this is my problem too on finding a cool neutral palette, I feel like “my kind of” palette isn’t born yet.

Palettes for eyeshadow and singles for everything else. Palettes are a better value and even if there are a couple shades I never reach for they’re still cheaper than buying singles in the other shades. It’s also easy to blend colours and create custom shades that could incorporate those less than flattering colours.
I’m particular about lipstick and blush shades and its definitely more sensible to choose individual shades for these. I wouldn’t buy a blush palette for only a couple of colours and I wouldn’t force myself to wear a colour that looks terrible on me just to get my money’s worth. Ditto for lipsticks.

Profile photo of Pearl

Palettes for me! I love eye shadow and having them de-potted and in ready-to-go palettes helps me rotate my stash and make use of what I have. My favorite eye shadows are MAC extra dimension but I don’t use them as much because it’s easier to grab a palette (can’t de-pot an extra dimension product, at least not that I know of, so they all sit in their original pots in a tub in another area). My favorite palettes are the MAC x 15 or MAC x 9 palettes because they have all the finishes and colors for coordinated looks, great price (now) and are easy to store.

At this point, singles are the better value because I own so much that I’m bound to get overlap when I buy a palette. It has to feature truly unique shades or be extremely versatile to be worthwhile in that regard.

Profile photo of Rachel R.

It depends on the item. For eyeshadows, it’s almost always palettes. I’m a eye palette fanatic. I like having everything in one place to do an eye look. I’ve depotted all of my singles that I can into Zpalettes, or else I find them too hard to keep track of.

Blush, face, and highlighter palettes are usually not the best value for me. A lot of them will have shades that are too dark for me. If I can wear most or all of the shades, a palette is a better deal. If I can’t, I’m usually better off buying just a single or two that I’ll actually use. Again, I depot most of my singles into Zpalettes, so I can manage them better.

Profile photo of Fran

The best value for me are make-your-own palette systems where there’s so kind of discount for buying more than one shade at a time — that way I use all the shades that I get, without paying the full higher price of singles.

I think palettes are often a great value for people who look great in warm neutrals and peach, golden, and pink/reddish-purple/burgundy tones, since the vast majority of palettes focus on/contain them. Since I can wear at least some of those shades, they can work for me… but, many contain too many shadows that I’d rarely use, and then singles start to look a lot more attractive, value-wise, since that way I get only shades I love and are especially flattering on me (more ashy beiges and browns, silvers, grays, greens, blues and blue-violets).

Palettes are better value for me because I’ve got a wide range of shades to use and fall in love with. If you buy one without having it in a palette first you might find you’re not that into it! They’re probably good value if, say, you buy the palette and run out of a couple shades because you’re using them so much.

Elese | elesedowden.com

Profile photo of Mariella

So much depends on what’s in the palette. As someone who loves neutrals and less “outrageous” brights, there are some palettes out there that are chock full of shadows I’d never wear so they’re not a great value but something like Lorac’s Pro or UD’s Naked palettes are an awesome “bargain”. Best of all is something like Buxom’s customizable palettes or even MUFE’s shadows where the price drops considerably if you buy 3 shadows at a time (and they throw in the “empty” palette to hold them for free).. That’s what really gives me the best value for money. I wish MAC would do the same – if you buy 4 Pro Pan shadows, for example, you save a bit on each of them and get the empty thrown in for good measure. But at least in Canada, MAC never offers “deals” like that.

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I used to be dedicated to singles or only palettes I had created from my own choices of shadows, but over the last year, I find myself using pre-made palettes more and more. Value wise, it is a bit of a wash for me because rarely do I use more than 50% all of the shadows in one pre-made, whereas, for my custom palettes, I tend to use all of the shadows.

In terms of cost per wear, definitely singles for me. I have to admit that I’m not very adventurous when it comes to eyeshadow.

Defninitely singles. I have tried palettes and I always end up using one or two shades and the rest just goes to waste. My last palette purchase was the UD Nakes Smokey and I only use 2 shades out of it. I’ve tried every shade in the palette and they just don’t work for me. I usually return items like this but I kept it and I’ve sworn off palettes for good. I’ve only been shopping for singles lately.

Profile photo of Diane

Single eyeshadow (except the kat von d contour eye palette) simply because there are always a few color that i dislike or it cannot suits me ( i’m nw50) so it’s not rare !

Profile photo of Alecto

Well, I’d have to say singles, since that’s 99% of what I have. However, I’m working on depotting my singles and pressing some (most) of my loose shadows to put as much as possible into Book of Shadows palettes, since it’s easier for me to come up with an eye look if I can take in the whole array of colors in one glance.

I would say singles are a better value bc I will use them and I can get more unique shades.Plus I am more interested in adding to what I already have. Palettes have little value to me bc I don’t wear more than one or two shades!

Singles for me. I have my go to’s for eyes, lips and cheeks, and I don’t like feeling of wasting (not using up) a product, which always happens for me. Also, I’ve had the experience of falling in love with a color in a palette, to find it’s unavailable as a single or is limited edition — a bummer. Going to look into ‘make your own’ palettes, though, now that I know about them.

Objectively speaking, palettes give you more for your money. Personally, I tend to use my singles more often (self made z palettes), especially when I’m not sure what look I want. But a pre made palette where every shade suits your skin tone is a real bargain. My favorites are TF Budoir and UD Gwen.

Profile photo of Erin

It comes down to useability for me. Many palettes only have a few shades that I can make work for me. That’s why I go for single products other than shadows most of the time. If a quad will work all 4 colors it’s more valuable to me regardless of price for traveling or space saving.
Erin Recently Posted: Juliette Has A Gun Not A Perfume

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Christine stole my answer this round 😛 😉 I’ll just add that financially generally palettes are higher value often alongside the general ease of accessing multiple colors without having to pull multiple items. But it is absolutely true that one single can mean more/add max value when it’s one you love and use all the time. Like my MUFE 30 palettes are obviously huge values, massive time-savers (no looking for a color that works, I know there are multiples for every look I could want basically), and have amazing access of choice. But some of my most coveted shades are in single form and those get some of the most bang-for-your-buck repeat use. A short list of examples that barely cover this would be UD Dive Bar, Fyrinnae Mephisto (which is a look on its own since it’s multichrome is so strong), Geek Chic Snow Queen, Sugarpill Countess, etc.

Pure financial value is almost always going to go to the palette (with the exception of some inexpensive brands like ColourPop of course where the cost is so low on singles that there isn’t usually a bundle benefit), but bang-for-your-buck/”use this all the time” singles have immense value of their own. Your singles are what you truly pick out, what you personally choose to curate, the gap-fillers. And you can always make them into your own portable palette of personalized shades if they’re transferable/de-pottable.

Profile photo of Alice

Singles. Most of my eye shadow is pretty bold & colorful, so for me it’s not worth it to buy palettes when they’re half brown/beige/pink/cream/taupe shades that I’ll never wear. Lipstick is the same, I like dark and weird stuff so most sets don’t suit my preferences. As for blush, I just don’t wear it often enough to justify owning more than a handful of singles let alone palettes of it 🙂
Alice Recently Posted: Wet snowfallChicagoland, ILFebruary 2016

If I like the majority of the shades, a palette is usually better quality, especially when compared with buying the shades individually from the same brand. However, if I only like a couple of shades in a palette, I take them as inspiration instead and have started creating my own custom palettes, either with pre-pressed singles from brands like Makeup Geek, or pressing my own indie pigments from brands like Shiro. That way I can be sure of creating a palette I’ll love and reach for! Also creating a theme for a palette and choosing the shades is SO much fun!

I used to be a “singles only” buyer. I always felt like there were at least 2 shadows in a palette that I never used, so it was a better idea to only purchase what I knew I used. However, recently I purchased 2 of the NYX ‘Love in Paris’ 9 eyeshadow palettes. I’ve never used NYX eyeshadows and were they ever a surprise! Great pigment, nice saturation of color, applied nicely, no fallout and with an eye primer, the colors lasted forever and remained true. I have found that at one time or another, I’ve used every color in the palettes! I don’t know if I will continue to purchase palettes although I have so many colors now, I won’t be wanting for a while. A nice surprise.

I forgot to add, the ONLY single I will always purchase as a single is MAC Shroom. There is no other eyeshadow like it…nothing close!

Profile photo of Debbie

I like to buy palettes because they look so impressive, but as far as actual use I get more wear out of my singles and a couple of duos that I own. So for that reason I would have to say my singles.

I’m just a sucker for palettes. Love using the combinations that they are set in. I wear at least 3 colours on my eye at a time so a palette is more useful and handier to me than a bunch of single eyeshadows.

Good question….since the nude palettes I’d say palettes, but in the past I’ve had plenty that were only partly used, so these days I choose wisely.

I’d say 99% of the time palettes. Im picky with mine and most colors if not all have to work for me. That being said I always have that one or two special single eyeshadow in my bag just bc its so unique. For example, the Burberry wet/dry silk eyeshadow in Pale Barley is just an amazing blending or contouring shade!

Definitely singles. I like only cool colors that are matte. And, I’m very selective about their formula. I do have some satins, metallics, etc., but I only wear them on the lid. Palettes have way too many warm colors, shimmers and poor formulas for my taste. They’re a waste of money and space for me.

Profile photo of Cory

It depends on the brand & the shades curated. I love love love my singles, but when it comes to ABH, Lorac, Viseart, ND (newer to the palette scene), & Makeup Geek, palettes are a good thing bc you know they’re quality & you’re getting a full spectrum of shades for complete looks.
But with some other brands… they look great, they’re obviously well thought out, but the quality is all over the board, & I’ll wind up only using about half the shades (if that) in the palette…

Profile photo of Genevieve

I much prefer small palettes and quads for eye shadows because they are co-ordinated colours that I can use for one whole look. Really large palettes are a waste of money for me because I only use certain shades.
I do own a few singles that I use: Benefit’s Mint shadow, YSL Solo in Slate Green and L’Oreal’s Golden Emerald.
For blush, I prefer a mosaic of colours in one single to provide depth and colour. I don’t buy blush palettes at all.

For me, a palette is better value. I do choose carefully so as to reduce the possibility of wasting shades that I don’t want. I am also more likely to use shades in a palette because I can see them all at once at a glance than if they’re forgotten singles rattling about in my makeup bag! I find that I’m also more adventurous and mix up shades if they’re in a palette. If I have to rootle for a specific single, that’s a bit of a pain. I’ve not made my own palettes yet, I’m quite a newcomer to the makeup addict scene, haha!

Being a big UD fan I have purchased a small stash of their palettes, but the idea of buying singles lately like Anastasia of Beverly Hills has me wanting to customize the colors I tend to favor then a palette of some shades I’ll never use.

Generally palettes, except for a couple of single eyeshadows that I know I’m going to get a lot of use out of

Palettes, but I had to learn that the hard way. Im a a big cheapo. I had bought mac magic of the night shadow for I think $22.00 and I thought to my self thats the cost of half of a entire palette what am I doing! So I returned it bought myself Urban Decay Vice 4 palette for $39.99….. now doesn’t that make more sense? I will never ever ever buy a single eyeshadow unless it cost under $5.00 For now on I will only purchase palettes.

Palettes are a better value for me. I don’t own a lot of makeup and I don’t have very much space in my small living quarters. Plus palettes take the guess work out of what colors to pick and especially the smaller sized one are easier to travel with than singles. I do like singles for my favorite colors and replacements and what not, but I prefer a compact palette when possible. Plus, at least this has been my experience with eye shadow, but palettes tend to give me more bang for my buck, and I can try multiple products from the same brand at once.

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When it comes to eyeshadows, palettes are the best as long as I can use around 80% of the shadows. Also, I never would have tried certain colors if they hadn’t been included in a palette.

When it comes to blush, I haven’t come across a blush palette I feel I’d be happy with, so most of the blush would be wasted. Therefore, I have quite a few single blushes. One of the priorities of redoing the vanity was to make certain products, especially my blush collection, more accessible. I haven’t used many of my blushes as much as I’d like simply because I haven’t always had time to pull out the blushes in the front in order to reach the ones in the back. (Now, I can easily reach all of them!)

When it comes to palettes that contain a combination of products (eyes, cheeks, lips), there’s going to have to be some magic in it! 😉 I only have one combo palette that I can use every product contained within. And having lip products in with powdered products is… icky! That’s why my Smashbox Master Class palette went to one of my daughters. (She loves it!)

Palettes are not only better value but better for me creatively. Left to my own devices of buying singles I have numerous shades of gold, green, silver, navy and charcoal. My Mac Pro-palettes have nothing but these shades. Through buying pre-made palettes I’ve discovered my love of neutrals, browns and plum. I now frequently wear dusky pink too which I never thought I would. The only singles I’ve bought semi-recently is Mac Extra Dimension as they are amazing. Other than that my Tarte and UD palettes are what I use often. I love the challenge to try and make everything work for me. Game on!

Difficult question. I like my palettes, but they’re custom made: Inglot. The few other I have I don’t utilize as much as they should be. I do reach for my singles as often as my palettes. So I think what I’m saying is, I’m not drawn to pre-made palettes, because I have enough shadows and that would mean a lot of duplication and I wouldn’t even use all the shades.

Singles…for me. I have purchased palettes where there are multiple colors in it that I will never use. Now that I’m more experienced in the “Makeup Game”, I only select pre-made palettes where I’m going to use all of the colors except for maybe one. This is why I prefer to purchase individual shadows and create my own.

I have 55 palettes between eyeshadows and face palettes. I only got 2 eyeshadows in single, I don´t like to think too much about what I´m going to use to put a look together and when I look to a palette I can easily visualize some looks….Thats why I prefer and I love palettes.

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I personally prefer palettes, as I like having a number of shadows right in view when creating a look. I’m more likely to buy single shadows if they’re part of a DIY palette system like MAC or other brands that are the same size as I’d put the single shadows in a palette anyways. The exceptions are ColourPop shadows and of course cream eyeshadows or paint pots as they need to be individually sealed (and I tend to use cream eyeshadows when I just want to use one shadow and be done with it anyways).

I like refillable palettes in which I can select and insert the colors myself. Mary Kay, Bobbi Brown, and Laura Mercier offer this option, which is a better value for me. I always run out of the white or cream color I use for highlighting my eyes. I find in set palettes often contain colors I rarely or never use.

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