Best Eyeshadow Palettes | 2017

Best of 2017

Best Eyeshadow Palettes

As 2017 comes to a close, it’s time to reflect back on the products I’ve reviewed during the past year and share with you my personal favorites.  I feel comfortable saying that 2017 saw more palettes and sets and kits than I ever recall seeing before.  To that end, you’d think it would have been a real challenge to narrow down a list of favorite eyeshadow palettes, but it wasn’t.  Sure, there were plenty of decent to good palettes released, but there weren’t that many top notch palettes (in my opinion, of course) when all was rated and reviewed!

I’m so glad ColourPop Eyeshadow Palettes are now part of their regular releases–great value, good to great quality–while Natasha Denona, Viseart, and Kat Von D continued to release some strong palettes that made my list for the year.  A pleasant surprise were Huda Beauty’s new 9-pan palettes–two of the four are on this list–and Urban Decay’s Heavy Metals Palette.  You can check out my full list of favorites below 🙂

What were your must-have eyeshadow palettes from 2017? I’d love to hear about your favorites in the comments.

Colour Pop Semi Precious

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Colour Pop Semi Precious 8-Pan Shadow Palette ($26.00 for 0.56 oz.) contains eight, metallic eyeshadows housed in a cardboard palette. They're larger... Read full review.

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Huda Beauty Warm Browns

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Huda Beauty Warm Browns Obsessions Eyeshadow Palette ($27.00 for 0.35 oz.) is--shockingly--a warm-toned neutral palette with eight matte shades and... Read full review.

Urban Decay Heavy Metals

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Urban Decay Heavy Metals Metallic Eyeshadow Palette ($55.00 for 0.60 oz.) is a new, limited edition holiday offering that includes 20 eyeshadows. The... Read full review.

Viseart Golden Hour

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Viseart Golden Hour 9-Pan Eyeshadow Palette ($49.00 for 0.49 oz.) is a new, Sephora-exclusive palette that features nine shades of eyeshadow in... Read full review.

Huda Beauty Electric

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Huda Beauty Electric Obsessions Eyeshadow Palette ($27.00 for 0.35 oz.) is a bright mix of colors in a compact, perfect-for-traveling nine-pan palette... Read full review.

Kat Von D Saint + Sinner

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Kat Von D Saint + Sinner Holiday 2017 Eyeshadow Palette ($62.00 for 0.96 oz.) is a new, limited edition palette for the holidays. It's a large... Read full review.

Colour Pop What Went Down

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Colour Pop What Went Down Super Shock Shadow Quad ($18.00 for 0.28 oz.) is a set of shades that was released in late fall. As always, the shades can... Read full review.

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Colour Pop Yes, Please!

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ColourPop Yes, Please! Pressed Powder Shadow Palette ($16.00 for 0.36 oz.) is a new, limited edition palette filled with twelve shades of warm... Read full review.

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Colour Pop Element of Surprise

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Colour Pop Element of Surprise 12-Pan Pressed Shadow Palette ($16.00 for 0.36 oz.) is a mix of warm neutrals, reds, and berries with both mattes and... Read full review.

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Pat McGrath Sublime

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Pat McGrath Sublime Mothership Eyeshadow Palette ($125.00 for 0.47 oz.) is a new, permanent palette that features 10 eyeshadows in a variety of... Read full review.

Natasha Denona Lila

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Natasha Denona Lila 15-Pan Eyeshadow Palette ($129.00 for 1.20 oz.) is a new, permanent palette with 15 eyeshadows that span matte to metallic... Read full review.

Natasha Denona Sunset

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Natasha Denona Sunset Eyeshadow Palette ($129.00 for 1.20 oz.) includes 15 eyeshadows in various warm-toned hues--a lot of red/orange-toned coppers,... Read full review.

Persona Identity

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Pérsona Identity Eyeshadow Palette Review ($32.00 for 0.48 oz.) includes 12 eyeshadows (each is 0.04 oz.) housed in a slim, cardboard palette. The... Read full review.

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Zoeva Matte

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Zoeva Matte Eyeshadow Palette ($26.50 for 0.50 oz.) includes ten warm-toned, matte eyeshadows housed in a slim, cardboard palette. The eyeshadow... Read full review.

Viseart Warm Mattes (10)

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Viseart Warm Mattes (10) Eyeshadow Palette ($80.00 for 0.84 oz.) is an unabashedly warm-toned palette filled with a mix of beige, brown, orange, and... Read full review.

Jouer Skinny Dip

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Jouer Skinny Dip Ultra Foil Shimmer Shadows Palette ($40.00 for 0.26 oz.) includes six, "intense, shimmering metallic" eyeshadows that can be used... Read full review.

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78 Comments

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My fave was Lorac’s Pirates of the Caribbean palette. I know it didn’t work well for you and got a B- grade, but when I tried the tester in the store I fell in love. The grays and silvers are perfect, and every shade is so buttery for me.

I’ve not purchased many eyeshadow palettes at all this past year but the one that does stand out for me is the Smashbox Smoky Covershot palette. I really like it because it’s got a lot of the type of colours I just naturally gravitate towards, and it is so versatile.

Because it was available at Shopper’s Drug Mart (a major chain here in Canada), I was able to get it for 20% off (every Thursday is “Seniors’ Day” and anyone over the age of about 50 gets the discount on all regular priced purchases and since high end makeup/skin care never goes on sale here, that’s when I make cosmetic purchases) and then paid most of the balance with the Optimum points they award with every purchase. So, in addition to being a great palette, I was able to get it almost for “free”, which is always nice.

I love it when you get the palette you want on sale, it makes it that more special. We have an online shopping retailer Buyinvite and one of the section I buy from the most is, of course, Beauty. I got my Clarins 03 Brown quad there for a third of the price off.
You must be so thrilled with it.

Genevieve, I also have that Clarins Brown quad and – guess what – I got it at Shopper’s also, and again it was 20% off (Seniors’ Day) and I paid the balance with points. Did you ever get the Clarins Forest quad? It’s a real beauty. I’m not sure if they’ve brought it back or not – it was gone for a while but so were most of their quads, which they’ve now sort of redesigned and re-released. I so wish a Shoppers near me carried Dior and some of the other brands I like (some of them do but none near me). I did buy the Dior Rosy Glow blush at the Shopper’s in Ottawa and although it wasn’t on a Thursday, I did still pay for the bulk of it with points and considering the price of that blush, it was nice to shave 30 or 40 dollars off the price.

I didn’t buy any palettes this year except the Chanel Jardin Eclatants and that was a good one. I really want the Jouer Skinny Dip, I don’t have anything like it.

I think it’s because there were so many releases! If I have too many choices I become overwhelmed. I don’t know how anyone would pick a warm toned palette from the market these days!

Boy you are a disciplined on the palettes! I purchased a number of them this year (on and off the list) and was disappointed with a few, though I work those puppies anyway since I paid for them.

And I would recommend Skinny Dip if you want a high impact or even subtle shimmer look. They are very well pigmented, don’t have fallout (at least I don’t recall any) and are really smooth.

I try to be honest with myself about whether I would truly use/love/need a palette. Most of the time it’s a no. I tend to prefer palettes with 4-6 shades, where I can see a purpose for every color. That way I feel like the palette “loves me back.” So I do like all the colors in Skinny Dip and think I would use it–and everyone seems to be happy with it! Thanks for your rec 🙂

I am very happy to hear that colourpop eyeshadows made the list more than once. I just ordered there Golden State of Mind and there you had me at hello eyeshadow palettes. I’ve never tried their eyeshadows before but I’m very happy with their Crystal setting sprays.

My favorite of 2017 was Naked Heat. I bought it because I thought I should since I have every other Naked pallet but didn’t expect to use it that much, but it’s become my go to. All the shadows in mine are smooth and pigmented even the darker shades. I quickly began to love it the more I used it, and am so glad I purchased it.

Christine, I can’t agree more! I think it was *almost* to the quality of the original Naked palette, but because the other Naked palettes haven’t been amazing people kinda overlooked Heat! I remember buying it and using it before reading your review (which is rare), but that your review pretty much matched my thoughts on it in terms of overall ratings! IMO Scorched is probably one of the best glitter/shimmer colors UD has done in awhile (not counting Heavy Metals because I haven’t bought that palette yet) and I get so many compliments on it. I think the over production of warm toned eyeshadow palettes was why so many people skipped Naked Heat, but I’m too glad I took a chance. (It should be noted that a lot of people compared it to MR and its so different, I bought both around the same time and while they share some similarities, they are very different palettes)

I’m so tempted on getting naked heat this weekend as a birthday gift for myself then I saw this review & I loved the warm palettes! They seem not to be as many shimmering eyeshadows as naked heat tho. 🤔

Do any of these palettes compare to naked heat?

I just got into makeup this year, so when I saw Colourpop was pigmented and affordable I kind of went crazy on their eyeshadow palettes lol. My favorite one out of all of them has to be Golden State of Mind hands down. Soooooo sparkly and easy to use! I’ve already bought a backup 😂

Nope! I just use a cheap (but effective!) Wet n’ Wild primer, and NYX’s Dewy Setting Spray. I find the shadows really come alive used wet. Also Happy early New Year to you! 🎉

Thank you for your hard work, Christine. I am a long time reader but I’ve never commented. Your reviews always help me and I know these best of lists take a lot of work. It’s much appreciated. Happy New Year!

Great list! I love the Lila palette and Saint & Sinner! Another one I think is great is the Besame Snow White Eyeshadow palette. I think it’s a great matte palette, and they really mastered some tough shades, like pastels and navy! 🙂

I know it isn’t a popular choice because so many people think the colors and finishes are unworkable as they’re laid out in the palette, but I love the Saint+Sinner palette — it has amazing colors and good formulas. I’ve also seen the complaint that it’s not complete, that it needs more neutrals to make it a standalone palette, but that’s a viewpoint I don’t understand. Granted, we all have different requirements, but IMO, the only palettes that need to be standalone are the ones you might intend for travel palettes (one small collection of colors and finishes on-the-go). No one in their right mind would take Saint+Sinner on a trip.

I already have a range of neutrals in singles and other palettes, it seems a waste to just pile on more neutrals in new palettes. As a matter of fact, when I was mulling over the idea of a low- or no-buy for 2018, I decided that I would allow myself to buy palettes that are primarily unusual colors/finishes or entirely colors/finishes I don’t have, and use them with established neutrals.

To that end, I got the KVD Shade+Light Eye palette, as it provides neutral, cool, and warm base combinations that let me do pretty much anything with any other colors. When I have time, I’m going to destash all my older single neutrals (and more recent ones that I just don’t use) to start my new, streamlined approach to eyes. I love looking at things in a new light — it’s very motivating! So excited!

Sorry, didn’t mean t write a book, just thought maybe someone might read and and be inspired to try something new in their own way.

I felt the same way about Saint + Sinner — really good quality overall, and the layout actually made me be more creative, I think. I ended up with more cohesive looks than I would have thought at a glance.

I love Natasha Denona’s Lila palette! So pretty and it was nice to see something that wasn’t orangey / red.

I also love the Viseart Grande Pro. $175 is a lot, but it’s got everything matte you need for both warm and cool looks.

Marc Jacobs had nice new Eyeconic palettes. Nars also released a Narssisist palette this spring that was lovely. Kat Von D released the Shade & Light Glimmer, and I love that one too.

I can’t wait to try the new Makeup Forever pans to mix and match my own palette. I have many of the original formulas (round pans), and I’m excited to see the square pans (more product and now fits in my Inglot Freedom compacts).

I really like the Grande Pro a lot, too, Marie! I don’t think it’s as pigmented as described, but I personally enjoy that they are all buildable (and given how I use mattes most often in the crease or as a transition shade, buildable works for me).

My favorite palettes from what I bought this year are Kat von D Saint & Sinner, Kat von D Pastel Goth, UD x Basquiat Gold Griot, UD x Basquiat Tenant, UD Heavy Metals, Jouer Skinny Dip, SauceBox Mermaid LIfe, Juvia’s Place Mini Masquerade, ColouredRaine Queen of Hearts, ColourPop She, and Too Faced Chocolate Gold.

Concur with Rachel, I’ve never made a purchase and highly considered doing so this year, but after your review and others I’ve seen on You Tube, I decided, “Naw!” They’d have to make a REALLY wham bam palette with raveling reviews and improved customer service for me to try them now.

Have 4 of the “Best” winners, and love them! Natasha Denona Lila and CP’s Yes, Please are my most used of the 4. With UD Heavy Metal Palette getting much more play now that I am using a different primer, Milani Eyeshadow Primer. Jouer Skinny Dip is utterly gorgeous, but I have to be in a certain mindset to dip into it!

Some of my other favorites: CP All I See Is Magic and Take Me Home, Fenty Galaxy Palette (although, like Jouer Skinny Dip, I have to be in a *certain* mood), and while not new to 2017, it’s new to me personally; Viseart Amethyst and Minx Theory palettes!

Do you feel the ND is worth the upcharge, Nancy? Happy to hear it’s one of your most used of the four you have on my list!

Is the Milani primer working a lot better with Heavy Metals or just… better than what you had before?

Well, Christine, to be completely honest, I don’t believe any brand’s eyeshadows are worth such a steep price! If not for Sephora’s generous Rouge coupon, I would have probably talked myself out of getting Lila. $129 is obscene! $103 is still cringe-worthy, but well worth it for quality.

The Milani Eyeshadow Primer is a game-changer! The Heavy Metal shadows look as I saw them in yours and others reviews when used with it. And it has worked beautifully at improving how shimmers and metallics look applied!

Concur on the quality, so I figure I’m investing in her continuing to make top-notched shadows. Though I also agree that everyone except company’s like Colour Pop charge a lot. But my real comparison is when I see the gorgeous Dior Precious Rocks palettes with only five colors at over 60$ (due to euro pricing), and they don’t quite have in same pigment intensity when I swatched them. Then I see ND’s pricing in better light.

My palettes of the were Juvias Place Saharan 2 and Masquerade , Coloured Raine Queen of Hearts palette, Urban Decay Naked Heat. But the ones I get the most compliments on my eyeshadow are with the Juvias Place palettes .

There were so many really beautiful palettes this year. I personally love the Identity palette and am hoping that she will release another palette with cooler toned shadows. I also love my ColourPop palette in All I See is Magic. Although I purchased it late in the year, I really love the Chanel Ruby palette, holiday 2017. I didn’t think I would like it as much as I do.

My favorite palette is the MUFE holiday lustrous shadows. I don’t have a lot of extra time in the morning and these blend and apply so well. The blush colors are nice too–I’ve been using those as well. It’s almost a one and done palette for me. I just wish the blush colors were off to one side instead of mixed in with the eye shadows.

Thanks, Christine! I don’t have much to compare it to as I’ve been a MAC girl most of my adult life. I honestly wouldn’t have tried it if I hadn’t read your MUFE make up reviews. Your website is amazing and I really appreciate the time and care you take in writing your reviews. I feel like I can always rely on you for unbiased reviews! Thanks so much and happy new year!

I’m so happy to see that the Zoeva Matte palette made the list! I got it just recently and it was honestly my best beauty purchase in 2017! The colours are so beautiful and easy to work with!

Great selections!

I also adored Colourpop All I See Is Magic and Colored Raine Queen of Hearts – they’d have to be among my top picks.

Also really liked CP She, Violet Voss x Laura Lee & Chichi Aphrodite Goddess. Looking forward to potentially getting my hands on Nabla Dreamy, VV Hashtag and Zoeva Cafe, if it ever gets a wider release.

Violet Voss really works for me – I have very few issues with it. There are some glittery shades that tend to have fall out and some mattes are a bit dusty but that’s par for the course with a lot of brands, I think. I find them well pigmented, easy to blend and they last well (I use primer, so YMMV).

I know a lot of people think they’re overpriced and not as good quality because they’re manufactured in China but I don’t know how much of that is influenced by certain YT reviews putting folks off and how much is actual personal experience. I like them a lot – they’re not super revolutionary as far as formula goes, but they’re generally well curated palettes with smooth, good quality eyeshadows. I have 4 of them so far and none of them have disappointed me yet 🙂

It was a very warm toned year and I think the above choices are excellent.
My eyeshadow palette purchases this year, and current favourites, are the Huda Smokey Obsessions and the Clarins 03 Browns, which is fairly cool toned and I don’t have any dupes for.

Thank you so much Christine for wading through this mammoth amount of eyeshadow palettes and rating them for us.

I liked the UD Heat palette as someone mentioned but for travel purposes, the Smashbox Cover Shot palettes (in particular Ablaze, Smoky & Golden Hour) were winners with me in terms of pigmentation and durability.

I also purchased DOSE of Colors Marvelous Mauves to coordinate with many of the port or wine colored clothing I have for this fall & winter. Again this palette is pigmented, minimal fallout on the darker shades & lasts pretty much 8 hours on my lids. The fact it came with a double sided brush, made it a 10 for me. I wish Smashbox had a similar brush added to their Cover Shot palettes.

I did’nt buy a lot this year, but I did get the Besame Snow White collection eyeshadow palette and the two eye palettes from Urban Decay Basquiat collection and the Bare Minerals BareSensuals palette. I really do enjoy all of them. I have almost hit pan on a color in the Snow White palette. Not a palette, but I bought Bare Minerals loose shadow in Celestine and it’s amazing!
Some palettes I’m eyeing are the Huda Desert Dusk, and the Kat Von D Sinner and Saint, but I know I won’t buy the KVD because I don’t want to support her.

To be honest, I think that UD’s Naked Heat should have made the list. I think it was the best Naked palette they’ve released to date, but I feel like it didn’t get a lot of attention because of all of the other warm red/brown/orange palettes floating around this year. I think that a lot of people (unfairly in my opinion) compared it to ABH Modern Renaissance. I own both and while they are both great warm toned palettes, they are completely different in terms of shades, consistency, and buildable looks. They are both incredibly pigmented and white MR has more variety in shades, Naked Heat has very smooth, bendable powders (plus the shimmer/glitter shades were SO WELL DONE). I think Naked Heat outperformed Naked2, Naked3, and Naked Smoky combined, but because those other palettes weren’t always stellar, a lot of people didn’t give heat a chance. I think the overhyped mess that was Subculture was also a huge distraction as both palettes were kinda released around the same time. If anyone has been curious about Naked Heat, buy it! It was the best makeup purchase (in terms of eyeshadows) that I made this year.

For me, personally, it just wasn’t a palette that made my list of favorites 🙂 It’s just not a palette that I’d personally reach for very often, which was what drove this list (personal favorites).

I totally get that, I think it was tough competition with all of the other amazing palettes released this year. There was so much variety and just looking at this list makes me want to splurge on a few more! Thank you for always having the best recommendations! I always check your blog before I purchase (Heat being a rare exception) and I’ve thankfully avoided so many misses thanks to you! I can’t wait to see all of the amazing reviews you’re sure to put out in the new year! 🙂

Lila and Skinny Dip (possibly the UD heavy metals) were the hardest to resist this year for me. I have several shadow palettes lying about I need to make a dent in so I convinced myself until I do, there are no more palettes for me!

In the four palettes I bought in 2017, viseart grand pro and nude dip were my favourite! Actually traveled a lot with them.

I am still resisting the lila palette… 😂

Eyeshadow is one of my weaknesses, but I only have one of the above palettes (CP Yes, Please)! I think that I really moved towards more indie brand eyeshadows, which can often be really unique and interesting. I’ve acquired such a nice collection of neutral eyeshadow palettes that I don’t feel I can justify a new purchase unless it really is different. 🙂 That said, the colorful Huda palette and the ND Lila palette are both gorgeous!

My favorite palette released this year was the Clionadh Cosmetics Paleo Palette. I loved the theme, the colors, the quality and the mix of finishes. Plus I’m just really impressed with this small, Canadian indie brand, overall. I also enjoyed the ABH Prism and the Zoeva Matte Spectrum palettes (which might have been released in 2016?). It’s not top-quality, but I’ve done some pretty fun looks with the NYX Air Palette as well.

I’m loving the Morphe Jaclyn Hill palette. I wasn’t going to buy it. I ended up caving because I thought the colors looked so pretty. I was pleasantly surprised when I used it. I don’t watch Jaclyn Hill or follow her or anything. I hesitated to buy it in the first place because these types of collabs don’t always turn out too well lol.

My “must-have” palette that I didn’t “have” was either the Subliminal or Subversive palettes from Pat McGrath. I REALLY wanted one, but due to shipping via FedEx issues, I refused to buy it. Am still waiting, patiently because I need it as much as I need change in pennies.

Natasha Denona’s Sunset was on the list this year and I purchased it, and though I’m pleased with it, somehow I don’t use it much, so I decided against Lila after awhile. I’m feeling like I just have too many browns.

Last, I’d really like Kat Von D’s palette, but I’m still boycotting her and I’m just so tired of the “sinner/saint” goth look packaging and theme. That said, the pigmentation and quality are good.

One that’s not on the list, and I do agree that it’s not quite there with those listed, but that somehow I’m enjoying quite a bit due to all the looks I can get for the bang is Boss Lady by Too Faced. I’d have never thought I’d purchase a Too Faced palette again nor this year, but it JUST made in during 2017 to be used for New Year Eve. So it was also the palette I used to usher in 2018!

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