Best Eyeshadow Palettes | 2018

Should 2018 go down as the year of the eyeshadow palette?  I felt like I was reviewing palette after palette from the beginning of the year until the end of December!  Many years ago, palettes seemed primarily reserved for the holiday season, particularly anything larger than five shades.  I remember when I first started buying makeup and MAC routinely released six-pan palettes in the summer and the holiday seasons, and then you had brands like Chanel and Dior that regularly released quads and quints.

Best of 2018

Best Eyeshadow Palettes

There was no shortage of palettes this year at an assortment of price points, but more impressively, there was more diversity in color combinations that I expected.  I wish I was more capable of exercising restraint, but Pat McGrath’s eyeshadows speak to me in a way that not a lot of makeup does; every time I use my Pat McGrath eyeshadows in a look, I love the end result–I peek at myself in the mirror to appreciate how a look has turned out. But whew! six MTHRSHPs and two Mothership palettes came out in 2018 alone.

I would love to see MAC release a few of their 15-pan palettes featuring existing shades; I just think the Terry Barber palette highlighted some gems in the core range that often get overlooked these days.  I was in total shock that Too Faced’s Gingerbread Spice palette actually turned out to really well put together.  I love shimmer eyeshadows, and Tarte’s been getting better and better with their shimmery eyeshadows, so their newest Tarteist PRO Remix was right up my alley.

ColourPop launched a slew of palettes this year, but the three that I enjoyed the most were Good Sport, Salvaje, and Chasing Rainbows (the latter being my #1 pick for ColourPop palettes this year).  In the same vein, Urban Decay’s Born to Run palette felt like a “return to form” in a way–a trendsetting palette that is a real workhorse but is more than their Naked range.  I feel like Melt’s Gemini palette proved that green eyeshadow CAN sell, and NARS showed that they can make great eyeshadow, we just had to give them some time to do it.

What eyeshadow palettes did you reach for this year?

P.S. — If you enjoy reading/viewing my favorites, make sure you check out my all-time favorites here, products I’m thankful for (2018 series), and all of my editor’s recommended products here.


Top Eyeshadow Palettes of 2018

01.

01. Decadence Pat McGrath

Pat McGrath

LELimited Edition. $125.00/0.7 oz.

A

Pat McGrath Decadence Mothership Eyeshadow Palette ($125.00 for 0.70 oz.) is a new, limited edition palette for spring that features 10...

Pat McGrath Decadence Mothership Eyeshadow Palette ($125.00 for 0.70 oz.) is a new, limited edition palette for spring that features 10...

02.

02. Subliminal Platinum Bronze Pat McGrath

Pat McGrath

LELimited Edition. $55.00/0.42 oz.

A
03.

03. Subversive Metalmorphosis Pat McGrath

Pat McGrath

LELimited Edition. $55.00/0.42 oz.

A

Pat McGrath Subversive Metalmorphosis MTHRSHP Eyeshadow Palette ($55.00 for 0.42 oz.) is a new, limited edition six-pan palette that includes four new...

Pat McGrath Subversive Metalmorphosis MTHRSHP Eyeshadow Palette ($55.00 for 0.42 oz.) is a new, limited edition six-pan palette that includes four new...

04.

04. Sublime Bronze Ambition Pat McGrath

Pat McGrath

PPermanent. $55.00/0.42 oz.

A

Pat McGrath Bronze Ambition MTHRSHP Eyeshadow Palette ($55.00 for 0.42 oz.) is a new, limited edition selection of warm-toned neutrals with mostly...

Pat McGrath Bronze Ambition MTHRSHP Eyeshadow Palette ($55.00 for 0.42 oz.) is a new, limited edition selection of warm-toned neutrals with mostly...

05.

05. Sunset (2018) Natasha Denona

Natasha Denona

PPermanent. $129.00/1.2 oz.

A

Natasha Denona Sunset (2018) 15-Pan Eyeshadow Palette ($129.00 for 1.20 oz.) returned recently with some hullabaloo because the formula has been...

Natasha Denona Sunset (2018) 15-Pan Eyeshadow Palette ($129.00 for 1.20 oz.) returned recently with some hullabaloo because the formula has been...

06.

06. Bronze Seduction Pat McGrath

Pat McGrath

PPermanent. $125.00/0.47 oz.

A

Pat McGrath Bronze Seduction Mothership Eyeshadow Palette ($125.00 for 0.47 oz.) is a new, permanent palette that contains an assortment of...

Pat McGrath Bronze Seduction Mothership Eyeshadow Palette ($125.00 for 0.47 oz.) is a new, permanent palette that contains an assortment of...

07.

07. Sublime Bronze Temptation Pat McGrath

Pat McGrath

LELimited Edition. $55.00/0.42 oz.

A

Pat McGrath Sublime Bronze Temptation MTHRSHP Eyeshadow Palette ($55.00 for 0.42 oz.) is a new, limited edition six-pan palette that features a mix of...

Pat McGrath Sublime Bronze Temptation MTHRSHP Eyeshadow Palette ($55.00 for 0.42 oz.) is a new, limited edition six-pan palette that features a mix of...

08.

08. Subliminal Dark Star Pat McGrath

Pat McGrath

LELimited Edition. $55.00/0.42 oz.

A

Pat McGrath Subliminal Dark Star MTHRSHP Eyeshadow Palette ($55.00 for 0.42 oz.) is a new, limited edition set of six shades with two more matte...

Pat McGrath Subliminal Dark Star MTHRSHP Eyeshadow Palette ($55.00 for 0.42 oz.) is a new, limited edition set of six shades with two more matte...

09.

09. Subversive La Vie En Rose Pat McGrath

Pat McGrath

LELimited Edition. $55.00/0.42 oz.

A

Pat McGrath Subversive La Vie En Rose MTHRSHP Eyeshadow Palette ($55.00 for 0.42 oz.) is a new, limited edition six-pan palette that features five...

Pat McGrath Subversive La Vie En Rose MTHRSHP Eyeshadow Palette ($55.00 for 0.42 oz.) is a new, limited edition six-pan palette that features five...

12.
A

Linda Hallberg Cosmetics Metallic Mysteries II Eyeshadow Quad ($59.00 for 0.35 oz.) is a new, limited edition palette that includes a sparkling gold,...

Linda Hallberg Cosmetics Metallic Mysteries II Eyeshadow Quad ($59.00 for 0.35 oz.) is a new, limited edition palette that includes a sparkling gold,...

13.

13. Autumn's Reign Sydney Grace

Sydney Grace

PPermanent. $52.00/0.95 oz.

A

Sydney Grace Autumn's Reign Eyeshadow Palette ($52.00 for 0.95 oz.) is a new, permanent palette featuring a mix of mattes and shimmers across neutrals...

Sydney Grace Autumn's Reign Eyeshadow Palette ($52.00 for 0.95 oz.) is a new, permanent palette featuring a mix of mattes and shimmers across neutrals...

16.

16. Gold Natasha Denona

Natasha Denona

PPermanent. $129.00/1.2 oz.

A-

Natasha Denona Gold 15-Pan Eyeshadow Palette ($129.00 for 1.20 oz.) is a new, permanent palette that features an assortment of gold-inspired shades. ...

Natasha Denona Gold 15-Pan Eyeshadow Palette ($129.00 for 1.20 oz.) is a new, permanent palette that features an assortment of gold-inspired shades. ...

17.

17. Chasing Rainbows Colour Pop

Colour Pop

LELimited Edition. $26.00/0.53 oz.

A-

Colour Pop Chasing Rainbows 15-Pan Shadow Palette ($20.00 for 0.60 oz.) is another winning eyeshadow palette from ColourPop. This is a nice mix of...

Colour Pop Chasing Rainbows 15-Pan Shadow Palette ($20.00 for 0.60 oz.) is another winning eyeshadow palette from ColourPop. This is a nice mix of...

19.

19. Good Sport Colour Pop

Colour Pop

LELimited Edition. $16.00/0.48 oz.

A-

Colour Pop Good Sport 12-Pan Pressed Powder Shadow Palette ($16.00 for 0.36 oz.) is a new, limited edition palette for fall that features a mix of...

Colour Pop Good Sport 12-Pan Pressed Powder Shadow Palette ($16.00 for 0.36 oz.) is a new, limited edition palette for fall that features a mix of...

22.

22. Tarteist PRO Remix Tarte

Tarte

-Unknown. $53.00/0.7 oz.

A-

Tarte Tarteist PRO Remix PRO Palette ($53.00 for 0.70 oz.) is for those who love metallics--it's full of shimmer and color with three matte shades and...

Tarte Tarteist PRO Remix PRO Palette ($53.00 for 0.70 oz.) is for those who love metallics--it's full of shimmer and color with three matte shades and...

23.

23. Salvaje Colour Pop

Colour Pop

LELimited Edition. $18.00/0.48 oz.

A-

Colour Pop Salvaje 12-Pan Pressed Powder Shadow Palette ($18.00 for 0.48 oz.) is a new, limited edition mix of warmer neutrals and pops of blue/teal. ...

Colour Pop Salvaje 12-Pan Pressed Powder Shadow Palette ($18.00 for 0.48 oz.) is a new, limited edition mix of warmer neutrals and pops of blue/teal. ...

24.

24. Gemini Melt Cosmetics

Melt Cosmetics

LELimited Edition. $58.00/0.66 oz.

B+

Melt Cosmetics Gemini 10-Pan Eyeshadow Palette ($58.00 for 0.66 oz.) is a new, limited edition palette featuring shades of brown and green with eight...

Melt Cosmetics Gemini 10-Pan Eyeshadow Palette ($58.00 for 0.66 oz.) is a new, limited edition palette featuring shades of brown and green with eight...

Glossover Breakdown

93%

Average Score
A
23
B
1
C
0
D
0
F
0
Glossover Averages
product
9.5
pigmentation
9.5
texture
9.5
longevity
9
application
4.5
Total
93%
product
9.5
pigmentation
9.5
texture
9.5
longevity
9
application
4.5
Total
93%
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48 Comments

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Whew! The sheer number of palettes released makes me even more appreciative of what you do, Christine! I know what you mean about the Pat McGrath shadows, every time I use my bronze temptation, I love how the looks turn out (despite my lack of skill lol).

You are absolutely right – it was the Year of the Palettes – and lots of colourful ones too.
Sephora Australia has just got in a selected range of PMG – Dark Star and one or two others, plus the lipsticks, so I am going to go in there and have a look at them.

My favourites were: Sultry, Beached and Gold.

Best new this year palettes for me would be ABH Sultry, UD Born to Run and Pat McGrath Mthrshp Sublime Bronze Ambition (I think that’s the name of the one I have – honestly, I find those names so unwieldy and so similar to one another as to be both hard to remember and hard to distinguish one from the others…)

Oh gee – how could I forget the Tarteist PRO Remix palette? I waited so long to see if that was even going to be available in-store in Canada. And I love it – totally worth the wait!

Agreed. It’s pretty egregious nomenclature. They almost all sound like variants of one another, the names are the only aspect of the palettes, other than the repeat shades, lacking in creativity.

You called it right. This really was the year of the palette! They were neverending and it got to be overwhelming. I wound up with 6 of the above listed, plus a few others to boot. For my Monday night last ditch haul, I will either get Sydney Grace Autumn’s Reign or Nars Provacateur.

I ended up with 3. Dark star, pro remix and chasing rainbows. I’m not sure how I missed not ever seeing beached before now. I’m sure I would’ve snagged this had I known about it. I’m sure I probably have enough to live without it though.

I bought so many palettes this year, even though I only wear neutral looks for weekdays if I bother to put on eyeshadow at all (and stay home more often than not on weekends lol). But well, Colourpop is doing a site-wide sale and you get the Chasing Rainbow for free with $50 order, and I might just cave (again)…

Man, there are so many palettes on this list that I want (one I have) and wish I’d not missed the opportunity to pick up (like the Decadence and Gemini palettes!). But the others that I’m not interested in, I’m reaaaaalllly not interested in. It’s weird how polarizing this list feels. Ha!

I love your lists!

Am new to this blog and to the world of ColourPop cosmetics, but that didn’t stop me from diving in head first. I recently purchased 8 pressed shadow palettes and several Super Shock shadows and blushes. I am in the process of replacing a large collection of loose shadows and blushes that just don’t want to stay on without creasing anymore (am blaming the products and not my aging skin 🙂 Now, I just need to figure out how to apply all of these new lovelies….

I agree that this year has given us some beautiful eyeshadow palettes. I bought five Pat McGrath palettes and I don’t know why it took me so long to try them….well, actually I do, because they are definitely outside my budget, but soooo worth it. I also chose to try Viseart eyeshadows this year and bought two palettes and have found them to be worth the price too. I did get all of the palettes when they were on sale though (PM when she offered bundle discounts and Viseart during the Spring and Fall sales).

I love this list and in complete agreement. When I first read the top 10 I thought, how did that MAC palette best out a PMG until I realized you’d ranked all the 2018 PMG palettes ahead, except for the ND sunset. That is almost the exact order I would have the first 12 except that I LOVED the looks I get with Dark Star and rank it above everything except Subliminal Platinum. I hold off on judging Decadence because I overpaid for it on eBay long after it was discontinued and I can’t bear to try it now because there are no mattes and I’m afraid it won’t live up to my expectations. I’ll break it out on new year’s day. Let’s see what happens. Thanks for compiling a terrific list of the worthiest palettes and thank you for all the hard work this year – you’ve helped me make so many purchasing decisions – thank you!!

They are just listed highest rated to lowest rated as that’s how the code sorts them!

You have to use it, Valerie! Does no good to you just sitting there 🙂 Hope you try it for the New Year!

Wow, this list makes me want to finally commit to a PMG palette – but after leaving makeup I have such a hard time justifying something more artistic.

On the other hand, my two most used palettes are Dominique Cosmetics Lemonade (the Nude Tea shade has become my go to setting shade) and DoC Friendcation. I’ve finally adapted to their matte formula, and their shimmers are a great ‘in a rush but want to look nice’ look.

This was the year for palettes for sure. I have and love Subversive Metalmorphosis MTHRSHP, Anastasia Sultry, and Too Faced Gingerbread Spice, as well as many others I’ve added this year that I love. I also placed a Colourpop the other day that included Good Sport, and Chasing Rainbows was included as a free gift. Eyeshadow is my major weakness. I only have two eyes. I can’t possibly use all the beautiful palettes I have, and yet I still want more!

I love the Nars Provocateur! Such a great little palette. And I really like that this roundup has so many unique, high-quality options at different price points.

I’m kind of surprised I haven’t found the Pat McGrath palette I want to invest in yet, but maybe 2019 will be my year…

Thanks for all of your unbiased reviews!

Palette Overload!

Thankfully there are more small selections coming out, quads and six-packs. I can’t imagine buying more than two in a year unless you’re starting a collection from scratch.

Ditto on the lists! And on the fact that there are some I want and others, blah. But it’s a good feeling to finally be where I can decide for myself because of having studied so much and compared (and have the vanity), and that with the assistance of Christine’s articles, reviews and others comments on this site.

The list I look forward to the most! I’m such the palette person! They are like opening a treasure chest full of jewels for me.

I only own one on the list, ND’s Sunset palette, but again, thank you Christine for the vanity feature! I just compared them all (a few for the second or third time because I try so hard to justify wanting to get them, like ND’s Gold or Tartiest Pro) and I can’t justify it. Only four of them I can’t really dupe, two of which don’t interest me color scheme wise:

LH’s Metallic Mysteries II (Don’t have anything from this brand so may be a possibility and I have only weak dupes for three of them.)

NARS Provacateur (Only two dupes, but the colors don’t really interest me, so it’s an easy NO GO.)

CT’s Stars In Your Eyes (Another surprise, can’t dupe much here, but then these colors are just not me, so it’s an easy PASS.)

Colour Pop Chasing Rainbows (Surprise here! I can barely dupe this, but then that may be because I tend to prefer darker shades. This one reminds me of the Too Faced rainbow shaped palette, of which I’ve keep looking at a number of times during the year, especially when it was on sale, so I’ll have to compare them and maybe one will come home to mama, LOL!)

Comparison’s done, Too Faced’s Life’s a Festival doesn’t have as many blues and is weaker pigmentation wise, so Chasing Rainbows wins for me. I just have to wait to get it because I don’t need 50$ worth of Colour Pop products. 🙁

That’s such a good question. I used to use palettes on their own and still tend to do so with higher end because I rationalize it ought to be a “complete look”. But lately I’ve been mixing up my PMG, using 2 or 3 in a “cluster” (subliminal, subversive, or sublime ugh..) and pairing with one of the lipstick shades designated for that cluster. The looks I get are sublime! or subliminal or whatever 😂

Or subversive! 😉

I don’t know that I’d go too crazy and pick three or four palettes, but I’ve been liking pairing two palettes together to feel less like I’m fitting into a “box” with just one palette. Though some palettes work well all on their own!

Hehe. That’s very true. The opulence palettes stand on their own for the most part expect for metamorphosis. I feel like the older MTHRSHPS need pairing with the larger counterparts for mattes. What makes me love these guys so much is not just the look but the longevity; they last through 14-16 hour days and 1-2 hours of hot yoga (102 degrees and sweating off buckets of water and all sorts of sins and demons!). Somehow, they look untouched and good as new on the eyeballs.
I liked the looks I got with Sultry, it’s a pretty cool-toned palette, but the shimmers/glitters don’t pop like PMG or ND and the colors don’t last. Same with ND though those tend to last a bit longer, like 8-9 hours but not through hot yoga. I love Autumn Reign but same issue – may have to try it foiled and see what happens. The colors just disappear. Assume similar longevity issues with the UD and TFaced palettes but I didn’t purchase those. I haven’t tested out Queen of Hearts on hot yoga yet but have a glimmer of hope since they feel a lot like the PMG and I suspect she’s got a hand in them since the color story is extremely similar to Mothership V.

I try for lack of working space sake to use one palette, so I tend to be a little frustrated when I can’t. That said, if I have to add on to a palette, I again prefer to add one or two singles, or exceptionally another palette. And perhaps that’s what has frustrated me about PM’s Subliminal palette. I just want to force to to work alone, and I’m succeeding, that said, I think once I’m over my space and one-palette mentality that I’ll follow yours and others led and mix palettes up with other shades, like I did recently, more frequently.

I invite you to share your favorites, as these were my personal favorites 🙂 I definitely wouldn’t criticize your list and would enjoy hearing about what palettes you used (new or old) this year!

What an outstanding list! It was a fantastic year for palettes, despite the glut of warm neutrals most brands put. Pat McGrath absolutely nailed it.

My favorites that came out this year: PML Sublime Bronze Temptation, PML Sublime Bronze Temptation, SauceBox Equinox Collection, MAC x Aaliyah MAC Age Ain’t Nothing Eye Shadow x 9, NARS Provocateur, Too Faced Gingerbread Spice, Ace Beaute Paradise Fallen, Juvia’s Place Douce, BH Cosmetics Zodiac, UD x Kristen Leanne Kaleidoscope Dream, UD Born to Run, UD Beached, ABH Norvina, and ABH Sultry.

I haven’t had them long enough to say for sure, but PML Subversive Metalmorphosis, Huda New Nudes, BH Cosmetics Zodiac Love Signs, and CP Chasing Rainbows look very promising for being favorites.

What an amazing large and varied number of palettes came out, and amazing you managed to review even a fraction, let alone all these and more. Wow.

My favorite this year has been Viseart Tryst.

I have 9 of the 24 mentioned, it would have been 10 but I didn’t grab the 6-pan shimmer only Pat palette bc it has two repeats from Decadence. That’s the only Pat palette I don’t own which is crazy to me. Dark Star & the Gold palette may be my favorite offerings this year. 2019 is going to be the year that I scale back because I have much too much of everything and I need to use this beautiful makeup that I already own.

Ditto all that except I do have Metalmorphosis because I got it before Decadence (eBay). Dark star is either my #1 or #2 favorite with the cool-toned mauve platinum 6-pan. The looks are amazing. I too love ND and it’s a close call between Sunset and Gold for me. I literally bought all of these palettes in a span of less than 6 months, as I discovered this site simultaneously with the August VIB sale. My collection quadrupled in size and it would take me like 20 years to use up everything. So I’m on a low buy for palettes but reserve the right to buy anything else Mother creates! This of course also means a high buy for lip products 😄💄💄💄💄

It was a shock for me too that the Gingerbread Spice palette from Too Faced is so good. If only they’d use this formula for all their palettes !

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