Eyeshadow Palettes | 2020 Editor's Favorites

Despite 2020 being a year where releases slowed down, whether deliberately or as a consequence of what’s been going on this year, I still managed to review around 200 eyeshadow palettes (which does include duos, trios, and sets) across 30 brands, which isn’t far from the 216 I reviewed in 2019.

ColourPop still topped the list of palette reviews with 37 (vs. 44 last year) eye palette reviews, while Dior (17) and Charlotte Tilbury (16) came in second and third, respectively. Last year, Natasha Denona had 17 eyeshadow palette reviews but only 11 this year.

I’ve continued to reach for and enjoy my Pat McGrath, Natasha Denona, and Sydney Grace eyeshadows/palettes the most in 2020.  I re-reviewed Natasha Denona’s Star palette, which was reformulated, and it’s significantly improved; it has paired well with her other palettes. I’ve found the same to be true with Pat McGrath’s Celestial Divinity holiday palette, which totally works as a standalone palette for me but also goes beautifully with past palette releases.

Melt Cosmetics She’s in Parties was a stunning and more unique offering where the brand actually got the formula right.  ColourPop’s Baroque is deliciously smoky and gray, while The Child palette is a fun green-hued color story.

If you’re unfamiliar with how I like to do my year-end favorites, here’s the low down: I pull from the products I reviewed in 2020, regardless of whether they were new, limited edition, or an established range I’ve only just gotten around to reviewing. These are personal favorites, so they may or may not be the highest rated products reviewed during the year (though they will tend to be better rated, naturally!). (You can check out best of 2019 if you missed last year’s.)

Temptalia’s Favorite Eyeshadow Palettes | 2020

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Your Year in Review: Eyeshadow Palette Edition

I thought it would be interesting to read through how readers used products throughout the year, what favorites emerged, what products fell by the wayside… so, if you want to join in, copy and paste the questions below and add your answers via a comment!

  • What were your most used eyeshadow palettes this past year?
  • Did you use pre-made palettes or singles/custom palettes more this past year?
  • Do you anticipate your palette purchasing behavior to change in 2021? How?
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13 Comments

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I like this list. I do still kind of want the palettes by Rare Beauty and Makeup by Mario but I really devoted my money to indie brands this year for shadow palettes!
What were your most used eyeshadow palettes this past year? I rotated through my palettes and didn’t even use them all so I don’t think any one more than others!! XP
Did you use pre-made palettes or singles/custom palettes more this past year? Custom palettes more for sure! Thank you Sydney Grace!
Do you anticipate your palette purchasing behavior to change in 2021? How? Well, considering I have no room, I hope my spending will slow down!!!

What were your most used eyeshadow palettes this past year?Good question – it’s probably a toss up among the original Naked palette, Smashbox Minimalist and Natasha Denona’s mini Glam (the 5 pan one)
Did you use pre-made palettes or singles/custom palettes more this past year? Probably pre-made palettes (they just seem easier and they are easier to reach for because of how I have my palettes arranged).
Do you anticipate your palette purchasing behavior to change in 2021? How? I’ll probably purchase far fewer. My husband got me the larger Natasha Denona Glam palette for Xmas (heavy hints from me) and while it’s a very nice palette, indeed, I just didn’t feel the surge of excitement and delight that I did with palettes in the past and I think a large part of this comes from just having way more eyeshadow (singles, duos, palettes) than I can realistically use.

What were your most used eyeshadow palettes this past year? PML Decadence and Midnight Sun Mothership palettes plus Dark Galaxy MTHRSHP, Huda New Nude and Rich Nudes, MAC Natural Vice, ColourPop Lilac You A Lot and It’s My Pleasure, Viseart Coy, Natasha Denona Glam, Sunrise and Lila plus Mini Gold and Mini Nudes, CCosmetics Feverish, a dupe for ABH Sultry palette. Lately, CT Bejeweled and CP At Forest Glance, too.

Did you use pre-made palettes or singles/custom palettes more this past year? Hard to say. I do still use many of my MAC quads and CP singles I made a palette out of. But still probably premade palettes.

Do you anticipate your palette purchasing behavior to change in 2021? Just less of them, which is how I did in 2020.
How? Less purchasing.

What were your most used eyeshadow palettes this past year?
I made a genuine attempt to use all of my eyeshadow palettes this year, doing my Palette of the Day and listing them all. I continue to favour my neutral palettes more often – Nakeds 1 & 2, Huda’s Smokey Obsession and olive/gold shades. Out of my more colourful palettes, I used my Dior Bonne Etoile, bareMinerals Soft and Smokey, PMG’s Sublime Mini, Stila in the Garden and for summer Guerlain’s Les Gris and Les Aquas.

Did you use pre-made palettes or singles/custom palettes more this past year?
I don’t create custom palettes out of my singles at all, I do have a few of them but they are not what you would call a custom palette. All that I really use is pre-made palettes.

Do you anticipate your palette purchasing behavior to change in 2021? How? I don’t anticipate purchasing more palettes next year as compared to this year. This year I only purchased 3 eye palettes: ND’s Glam, PMG’s Sublime Mini and CT’s The Rebel 2020. I am quite fussy about the shade colours and finishes in eye palettes and the many that are released do not fulfil my criteria.

I have liked the Dior releases this year: New Look and Jungle, as well as Viseart’s Praline quad. CT’s Fire Rose and ND’s Bronze were quite tempting too.

Bare Minerals’ The Soft and the Smoky was never available here but it’s one I’d have loved to have got my hands on. I was sent a Huda palette from Sephora as a “thank you” but it was a “gemstone” one – lots of pinks, purples and shimmery glittery sparkle galore. At the time, I recall wishing they’d sent me the Huda Smokey Obsessions one instead!

I admire you cycling through your palettes. I always mean to do that but rarely actually remember to do it! I need to do what you’ve done – make some notes in a little booklet or something.

What were your most used eyeshadow palettes this past year? I used UD Born to Run more than any other of my palettes this year and I used all of the shades at one time or another. Second would be a combo of ABH Jackie Aina and MR as the mattes in Jackie Aina were a little dark for me as crease or transition shades.

Did you use pre-made palettes or singles/custom palettes more this past year? I used more premade palettes except in summer when I used my collection of bright green singles quite often.

Do you anticipate your palette purchasing behavior to change in 2021? How? I did not buy any palettes in 2020 but I am likely to buy something from the Sidney Grace x Temptalia collab when it comes out.

What were your most used eyeshadow palettes this past year? Oh man, it is so hard to say. 2020 was the year of eyeshadow for me, and I got many, many new eyeshadow palettes this year. I definitely used my all-time fave PMG Bronze Seduction a lot, as it is such an easy go to for me; I also used Juvia’s Nomad quite a few times for colorful looks, and Juvia’s The Sweet Pinks has had frequent use due to how easy it is to get bold, fun color out of it. ABH Sutry is another easy go-to for me, and I used her a lot as well. I am on a mission to use all of my palettes a little more though, so my goal for 2021 is to rotate through more regularly.

Did you use pre-made palettes or singles/custom palettes more this past year? Mostly premade. I have some single shadows that I really like, but premade palettes are just so much quicker for me.

Do you anticipate your palette purchasing behavior to change in 2021? How? 2020 saw me buy tons f shadows, and I am going on a low-buy for 2021. I have a few rules/guidelines, but it’s mostly gonna be one-in-one-out (with a few exceptions.) I feel like I did level up my skills a little bit during 2020, so instead of buying more shadows, I will invest in things like nicer brushes as well as spreading money around for things that didn’t really get to be enjoyed in 2020, like tattoos and new clothes.

What were your most used eyeshadow palettes this past year? I try to rotate, and wore makeup very little the last half of the year. Though not released this year, PML x Star Wars Dark Galaxy, Huda Beauty The New Nude, ABH x Jackie Aina, and UD On the Run all got a lot of use. From palettes released this year: SugarPill C2 Capsule Collection, Huda Nude Obsessions Light, and UD Naked Honey.

Did you use pre-made palettes or singles/custom palettes more this past year? Premade palettes, as usual.

Do you anticipate your palette purchasing behavior to change in 2021? How? Yes. I plan to buy even more palettes from indie brands, but less palettes overall.

I’m glad to see that the Child palette was on the list! It was one of the few makeup items I bought this year. I’m definitely a SW collector, so fingers crossed that they keep doing more collabs!

My most used palette this year (just like last year!) was definitely Makeup Revolution 24K Gold Chocolate. It’s just the perfect palette for me! I’m able to use every shade in the palette, the formulas are excellent, and it is well suited to my skintone.

Overall, though, I think I used more singles than palettes. Most days I just felt like swiping on something like NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Iced Mocha or Baked Shadow in Belle.

I can’t imagine buying any more palettes in 2021 unless it’s a ColourPop x Star Wars one. I have everything I could ever need in my makeup collection right now.

I love your list! Of the ones I didn’t get, I see a few that I’m still thinking about for next year.

What were your most used eyeshadow palettes this past year? Pat McGrath – Mothership I, VII, VIII, Celestial Divinity, MTHRSHP – Subliminal, Blitz Astral Quad (Ritualistic Rose); Urban Decay Naked 2; Charlotte Tilbury – Instant Look in a Palette (Gorgeous, Glowing Beauty). I also rotate through everything that I own regularly, so every palette got some appreciation 🙂

Did you use pre-made palettes or singles/custom palettes more this past year? Pre-made.

Do you anticipate your palette purchasing behavior to change in 2021? How? I will keep buying the new Pat McGrath palettes that call to me. This year her sales made the brand really accessible to me. Some of my older Tarte and Urban Decay palettes have dried out, so in 2021, I might buy Natasha Denona mini palettes or Charlotte Tilbury if there are good sales (debating whether I’ll go with singles). I really look forward to buying the Temptalia x Sydney Grace palettes!

So surprised to see Mario top the list, I was so sure it was going to be the PM holiday palette!!!

What were your most used eyeshadow palettes this past year?
I still use my ABH Jackie Aina’s palette the most this year. But if it comes to only palettes that were released this past year, it would have been Colourpop’s Blush Crush

Did you use pre-made palettes or singles/custom palettes more this past year?
Pre-made. I really enjoy the 9-pans in different tones series from CP. It really make it so easy to decide what look to do.

Do you anticipate your palette purchasing behavior to change in 2021? How?
I got absolutely no excitement and joy from my last 3 palettes. They are just not adding anything to my collection. I think I am done buying makeup for a while unless I run out of something.

What were your most used eyeshadow palettes this past year? ND Metropolis and Triochrome, BH Cosmetics Blueberry Muffin, PMGL Celestial Divinity, Oden’s Eye Solmåne, DC Rustic, Sugarpill Fun Size.

Did you use pre-made palettes or singles/custom palettes more this past year? I used a good mix of both, and definitely more singles than I ever have now that I have some really special shades.

Do you anticipate your palette purchasing behavior to change in 2021? How? Good lord, yes. Less makeup purchases in my future for sure. I saw someone put it in terms that really put my makeup purchases in perspective for me: you are paying for the chance to try the product. Because, unless you have a tiny collection of things you use everyday and you are running thru those things, there’s no way you will ever use up a product if you have a significant collection.

What were your most used eyeshadow palettes this past year? It’s a tie between the ABH Jackie Aina palette and Urban Decay Born to Run. When lockdown started I started keeping track of my makeup use, so if I’d kept track in the beginning of this year Born to Run would’ve probably been the winner because I brought it with me on my study abroad during the January break

Did you use pre-made palettes or singles/custom palettes more this past year? If you count my Colourpop Super Shock Shadows, I actually use my singles more. But other than that I definitely use my pre-made palettes more

Do you anticipate your palette purchasing behavior to change in 2021? How? Eyeshadow palettes is probably the one area I really have to cut down on for the time being. I’m currently storing my makeup in a repurposed organizer drawer that was originally for my school papers, and the drawer dedicated to eyeshadow palettes is full to bursting, and no way am I allowed to expand my storage as long as I’m living at home. So the only palettes I’m currently planning on buying are the Temptalia x Sydney Grace palette(s?)

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