Do you get more use out of eyeshadow palettes or eyeshadow singles?

Eyeshadow palettes for me at this point, as it’s easier for me to return to and pull out a palette than use single shades (since I’m usually behind enough in organization that a range is either perfectly organized or perfectly disorganized). I suspect that in a post-blogging world, I’d get good use out of both, depending on my mood, but I love using singles as I can get exactly the shade I want!

— Christine


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Seraphine Avatar

I probably use MAC singles a little more often than palettes for regular daytime makeup. I tend to use palettes for evening looks. When I travel, I take a palette or two, no singles. So between palettes and singles, I’d say usage comes out even in the end.

Mariella Avatar

Palettes, for sure, though I think if I had more space for my makeup and my singles were easier to get to without them falling all over the place, I would find it a pretty “equal” situation. But it’s so easy to grab a palette that has everything you might need. I am a sucker for e/s palettes and palettes in general (except those with “pan” lipsticks – I dislike lippies that are in pans like eyeshadows)

Agona Avatar

Palettes. I get overwhelmed picking out singles and then I feel like I end up with random colors that I can’t make work together. If the brand only offers a small selection like tarte Metallics, I’m able to buy the colors that attract me but even then I find pulling out 3-4 colors for an eye look time consuming.

accordingtoame Avatar

Singles. I haven’t met a palette yet that hits all my marks in one palette, but I depot what I like, rehome the others, and have my MUFE and MUG magnetic ones filled with the winners.

Rebecca Avatar

Singles or small palettes of five or fewer shades (that’s not cheating, right? ;-). They’re more compact, easier to transport or travel with, and I can pick the exact shade I want rather than settle for what is available in a given palette.

I really don’t care for the big palette trend, I feel as though the quality tends to be lower overall to keep the price reasonable, even if a few shades in each palette can be great and even from brands whose singles are excellent quality. Plus storage can be an issue unless one has plenty of space for the mega palettes being released these days.

I know it’s unlikely for most brands to go back to the single or smaller palette (duo, trio, quad, or quint) so I am grateful for the brands that still make them.

jonirae Avatar

I actually get more use out of singles! I love my palettes and quads, etc, but it’s a lot easier for me to get overwhelmed when going through a bunch of shades in front of me at once, where as a couple singles come together quicker and easier for me!

Lucie Avatar

I always thought the answer would be palettes and in my younger days I thought singles were pointless (maybe it’s a value thing – why spend $5-20+ on a single color when I can spend $30-$80 and get 10 colors!). But honestly, I’m finding so many colors I just wouldn’t use OR palettes that just aren’t well curated to create a cohesive look or with variable quality that I am learning to appreciate the having a small collection of good quality singles. So now I have a few more expensive singles (Burberry Nude 002 and Pale Barley, a few of the Tarte Metallics and MAC Extra Dimension) and I just curated a z-palette of some basics to supplement them. With so many smaller companies making really affordable quality singles to pop into your own z-palette, I just don’t find myself attracted to most prefabricated palettes these days.

Genevieve Avatar

That is so true Lucie – some of my larger palettes have so many untouched shades and there are quite a few brands out there doing excellent singles – Dose of Colours, City Colour, Sydney Grace and Colour Pop, that for a fraction of the price you can easily purchased the shades you would actually use.

Ziwei Avatar

Singles for sure. I’ve actually kind of locked down to a comfort zone using my Z palette: a three colored look that is quick and no fuss. I also have a blush, a highlighter, a contour and a bronzer in there so I have not been using much of my other palettes ever since TBH. My custom palette is all I need and it really has eliminated by impulse want for palettes.

Anne Avatar

Singles — I gave up on palettes a long time ago. But, I love my DoC Marvelous Mauves palette, and really use it, but I consider it a freak palette — I love every single shade. That just never, ever happens. So, I stick with singles.

Nancy T Avatar

Definitely use my palettes more, even quads or 6-pans. However, I do incorporate my single e/s’s into many a look, too. Ever since receiving MAC Vibrant Grape, I’ve been getting good usage out of it as my new favorite purple transition shade, because the nearly matte satin finish blends out in a much more flattering way on my hooded lids than some purple mattes do. And now, come Friday I will also have the teal-green of my dreams!

Kitty Avatar

Both! Even if I use a palette, I always have to pull up the palette I made up of UD singles for at least my under-brow shade and/or transitional shade.

And if I use a non-transitional color single, I use palettes like PM Decadence or another to add on here and there.

Emilie Avatar

Palettes for sure! Unless the single is some kind of special formula that I wouldn’t be able to find in a palette, like the ColourPop Super Shock Shadows. I find those easy to reach for because I usually will go into the look knowing I want that certain effect. My UD and MAC shadows (that aren’t in magnetic palettes), forget it.

Ciara Avatar

I go through cycles. Right now, I’m using palettes (whether self-curated from singles or brand-curated), because I love the cohesion. It’s easier for me to create unique or new looks with my palettes without the result being a muddy mess. But a few months ago, I loved combining my singles, which are mostly Colourpop Supershock Shadows. Now that this question has been posed, I’m going to be more intentional about reaching for my singles, since I have some great, underutilized ones!

AB Avatar

Singles. Most days, between my general style and the limited time I can dedicate to creating eye looks, I really only use two shades, sometimes three. It just ends up easier to pick out my preferred singles than try to sort through palettes.

Even with the palettes I do use, most often I just use the one or two shades I like and the rest go unused. Viseart Tryst and Nuance palettes are my exceptions — I use both without pulling in any singles.

CeeBee Avatar

Palettes, all the way.
I just don’t have the time and inclination to fossick around and select 4 – 6 separate singles and then muck about with flip top vs. screw cap, extra clutter on my vanity, it’s harder to tell which ones are which without my specs on, etc, etc, etc!

The only single I keep in close proximity is the Ardency Inn Rose Gold shade. I also have a bunch of Colourpop eyeshadow pan singles but they are all in magnetic palettes and I also depotted all my Natasha Denona (because she makes it very easy to do so!) so they’re all in one place.

Genevieve Avatar

I definitely get more use out of palettes or quad, as I tend to do an eye look using the shades contained within the palette.
The issue with palettes, especially the larger ones, is that they often contain shades that you don’t use, so quite a bit of it becomes redundant.
However, since I hit pan with my beloved Lorac Amber (from Pro Metals), and I purchased the City Colour singles in Cleo, Sandstorm and All Eyes on Me, I have been using them a lot too. But that is a very recent thing.

MacKenzie G. Avatar

This might be cheating, but both? I have a LOT of singles, but most of the palettes I’ve kept I’ve depotted so they technically are in “single” form and I mix and match them a lot. I love the creativity involved in putting combinations together, and I feel like you can find way more unique colors in singles’ ranges.

Sarah Avatar

Palettes, though that’s partially because my singles are mostly colors that I bought a while ago to experiment with when I was first learning about eyeshadow.

After I use up some eyeshadows I currently have, I’d like to ideally build a palette of my favorite singles

Mary Avatar

I like small well harmonized eyeshadow pallets , small for me (is 4-6 ) colors
I like everything right there all together , rather than looking for singles
If the pallet is too big usually there are colors I just don’t use , plus it’s overwhelming.,

Karen Avatar

In the past couple of years I’ve gotten more time to do my makeup and have also expanded my singles collection. The super trend toward warm eyeshadow shades in palettes urged me along this path. These three factors have led me to use singles more. I will also open a palette or two just to use one of the shades it contains in conjunction with different singles. I have found that by doing this i use the eyeshadows that look best on me and not just the ones put into a palette for mass consumption.

Deborah S. Avatar

Overall, I would say palettes. I tend to pull a palette and use that for my whole eye look unless I have my mind set on trying a specific look and that requires colours from other sources besides the palette in front of me. I do have to pull brow bone shades quite often so I keep several in singles so that I can find them easily.

Josie Avatar

Technically both. I use singles to make my own palettes. I bought into the hype of buying palettes mostly because of the value of them. But I ended up only using one or two colors from the palette so the rest went to waste. It’s frustrating because so many great palettes were coming out and I wanted them all. But if there was even one color I wouldn’t use, then I was able to resist.

So, in 2018, I went back to MAC. I bought the pan refills in shades I know I’ll use and popped them into my MUFE magnetic palettes. I separated them into their own color stories, neutral matte, neutral shimmer and a green/purple palette. I feel so much better about using my eye shadows now.

janine Avatar

Palettes. I like using multiple shades in the crease and then pull in a single for some lid sparkle. I used to buy only singles because I didn’t use a lot of the lighter shades in palettes and it seemed wasteful.

Palettes require less brainpower and planning. And aside from colourpop that’s the most of what I own.

Bonnie Avatar

More use? Definitely palettes. They are just more fun, and makeup is for fun, for me anyway. My singles are in z-palettes, which helps, but I love the experience of a palette – the packaging, the creating a look from what’s there etc. But I’m also not someone who sticks to just a certain group of colors and finds others unwearable. I’ll try any shade and combo.

DVa Avatar

Palettes for sure.
I used to be a singles gal, but I rarely wore shadow, so that makes sense.
I like the idea of building a perfect palette, in theory, but I bought a large Z palette and filled it. But in my work travel, it was getting me pulled aside and searched in security when it went through the x-ray machines; because of the magnet.
That was it for me and the Z.

Joanna Avatar

“… perfectly organized or perfectly disorganized.” I can relate to that! In many areas, not just my makeup.

I have trouble choosing singles. Palettes have better in-store distribution, while singles are more often online only. I tend to enjoy about the same number from a palette of a dozen shades chosen by someone else and a dozen singles chosen myself, but it feels more disappointing not to enjoy every single. Also, when a shade is part of a palette, I can better judge it’s suitability to my coloring and the looks I go for based on the other shades it’s with.

Carol Avatar

I get equal use out of both. I went nuts when MUFE made the tragic error of changing the artist shadow formula. I have three large MUFE metal palettes of those plus some of their previously released palettes that I depotted. Then I also use two newly acquired Viseart palettes. (Cashmere and Minx) You guys were so right about Viseart. I have ABH Modern Renaissance, Urban Decay Naked Ultimate Basics, and Urban Decay Afterdark. Afterdark was purchased due to Christine’s recommendation. It is so beautiful and has amazing pigmentation!!

Linda Avatar

I’m definitely going back to singles (more like build my own palette of pans) once my eyeshadow palettes all expire. There’s just too much packaging for a few shades that I end up using. I also have a very tight comfort zone of shades and don’t go for dark tones or crazy colors, and to be honest, a lot of what I need I can get from my bronzers, highlighters and blushes.

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