Has the influx of pre-made palettes changed how you approach your routine?

For me, they actually have. On a regular basis, I’m pretty much testing eyeshadow palettes exclusively; like there are a few times a year when a brand might drop some eyeshadow singles (NARS reformulation) or I try a new range (Sydney Grace) but the majority of eyeshadow products I test are from palettes. This results in less experimentation and less time spent figuring out what to put together–sometimes that’s a good thing!

Sometimes there is a challenge in trying to produce two more dissimilar looks out of the same palette to show its versatility, though. I used to be all about singles and loved to reorganize them in my freestyle palettes… but these days, I don’t have the patience/time/effort bandwidth to do much there. I find I reach for a great palette over trying to mix and match singles on that rare off-day (which is often just me putting something a little more neutral on for photos, so I still need something quick and easy!).

— Christine


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Beth Avatar

I love pre made palettes. I find them less confusing as I am still trying to master color theory. I do have singles I love, in particular Sydney Grace singles. But those are open and easily visible (in a z palette). The singles I really struggle with are ones like the Burberry singles. I love them and think they are great quality. But, I can’t see the labels easily and can’t see the colors inside without opening the compact. So, it makes it hard to keep them organized and to choose which ones I want for a particular look.

Kitty Avatar

For your Burberry singles, use a Brother label maker to label the top with each color. That’s what I did with mine. Love that label maker. Also organize by bin based on what the shadow is good for (I’ve described on this page what I’ve done–see my post below (after Christine approves it)–maybe that would work for you? Or not… I can totally relate though. ?

Kira Avatar

I tend to just get mini palettes, so it results in my collection being less color/finish organized, but it’s easier to pack for travel (important for me because of my long-distance relationship). With mini palettes I usually don’t feel the need to de-pot, like I have done with almost all of my palettes.

I am less inclined to buy big pre-made palettes than I used to be because they populated my color spectrum pretty quickly and these days I usually have several dupes in them. I see why people complain about there being no brow bone color in palettes — those who want to buy palettes that work for their whole look, but since I’ve de-potted, I have a collection of 10 or so “brow bone” colors that are too light (and 8 or so pure blacks), so these colors deter me.

Valerie Avatar

Yes. My entire routine has expanded in one year. I started with a few more palettes than whatever HG palette I would use up and hit pan on – a couple of PMG and ND I read about here – and all of a sudden I’m now buying every product under the sun. I think once you start putting colors on the lids, the rest of the face needs color and staying power. I hid behind taupey neutrals and a pinky nude lip for 20 years and now feel like a clown some days as I walk out with coral bubbles on my cheeks or pearlescent inner corners and blue lids or red lips but it makes me so ineffably happy. Now if only I could walk around glowing from head to toe!!

Jessica Avatar

I love pre-made palettes that are fool proof (e.g. Viseart), or that I find particularly inspiring (too many to list, but I’ve been loving Sydney Grace Autumn’s Reign and Coloured Raine palettes lately).

That said, as my collection has grown, I’ve realized how many dupes, or near dupes, I have across palettes. Now I try to purchase palettes where the pans come pre- magnetized and are easy to remove. That way I can rearrange them in empty palettes to mimic new releases or other combos I find inspiring, but also put them back in their original packaging for travel, or if I feel nostalgic for the original arrangement. That may sound complicated, but it’s helping me to purchase less.

Sarah Avatar

I don’t think it has…I’ve never owned more than two palettes at once, and they are not a part of my daily routine. Eyeshadow is more of a weekend thing for me, since I have more time when I am getting ready then.

Also, so many pre-made palettes give you the same looks that I don’t know how I would get decent use out of them if I owned more of them. But I guess that makes sense…palettes, in theory, are supposed to be versatile and cover a lot of ground, so there’s only so much a new palette addition can offer to my existing collection.

Nancy T Avatar

That would depend on the palette! Some, like UD Naked Honey, ABH Mod Ren and Jackie Aina, plus PMG Mothership V are perfect for getting my entire eye look out of, minus browbone for PMG. These make my work very easy to coordinate and quick to put together. Others, though, I’ll jump between palettes and incorporate single e/s’s into.

Cil Avatar

For a time because I kept trying to find a palette I could use. That was before I learned of my allergies. I can’t wear any eyeshadow from the mainstream brands. So, I just look most of them nowadays. Eventually I buy some for collection purpose.

They are hand, but nothing a self made palette can’t substitute.

Maggie Avatar

I’ve depotted premade palettes to reorganize and it’s such a tedious and anxiety-inducing process (bc I can easily wreck the shadow) that I now consider VERY carefully before purchasing. That’s why Colour pop and Viseart are a little dangerous to my wallet: shadows from their palettes are removable.

Kitty Avatar

Yes, the pre-made palettes have changed how I do my eye makeup, but only because there’s so much choice and some palettes are what I consider standalone and others aren’t. For the pre-made palettes, I’ve probably got maybe 6 to 8 different ones, not including several quads and one 6-pan one. Because of this cornucopia of palettes (for me, at least), what I ended up doing was figuring out which were standalone and which weren’t and then using my Brother label maker to indicate with a label which were which.

For my single eyeshadow shades, if they have magnetic bottoms like SG, I organized them into various size MUFE empty palettes ($2 each palette at Sephora–what a bargain) based on their function: inner lid and topper; inner lid and middle lid; middle lid only; and outer V. I then applied the label to the outside of the MUFE case accordingly.

For those single eyeshadow shades in their own compact, I put them in the same bin as others based on their function.

So, if you can envision this, I’ve got a bin for what I call inner shades (these include a brow shade that can always be used, inner shades and toppers); another bin for middle-lid shades; another for outer V shades; another for standalone palettes; and another for palettes that need to be combined with something else (usually).

Organizing this way was a recent change, after buying the SG shadows and figuring out to organize based on their functionality. Putting in bins the same functionality ones followed from that. I find it immensely easier now to quickly do an eye look and to figure out what to pack for trips.

Deborah S. Avatar

In thinking about this question, I went to my makeup storage and looked at how many of my single shadows have been used in the past year and not surprisingly, few have been. Those few are reused a fair amount to supplement my palettes so I use Omega, Trench, Brule, etc. but in recent times I rarely do a whole look with single shadows. The bulk of my makeup looks come from palettes. Then in looking at my palettes, I find such duplication or near duplication of shades and quite a few shades that I knew going in I would never use. How many black or near black shades do I need? There are always quite a few shades in a palette that don’t get any love from me. So, I guess my answer is that having palettes has changed how I decide what I will use for a particular look.

Rachel R. Avatar

A little bit. I was always more into palettes than singles, and I have a lot of them. I used to have to go outside of palettes any time I wanted a bright shade, but with the influx of neon and bright rainbow palettes, I don’t need to do that as often. I still have to use singles or loose shadows for duochromes and unique combinations (say, pink with green and blue sparkles).

Susan Nevling Avatar

I think I started w make up in small quad palettes as a teen and still love them. I do have some self made z type palettes but tend to forget that I have them.

Genevieve Avatar

I have always preferred quads, quints and palettes to singles – sometimes I find the singles tricky to open. But singles do have their place if it’s one particular shade you are after or you have hit pan on your favourite shade in a palette, like I have for Lorac’s Amber.
The abundance of excellent quality singles has made it easier to purchase them.
The larger palettes are simply a turn off for me as they are too big to store and most of them contain shades I simply would not use.
8,10, 12 pan palettes are my favourites.

Michelle Avatar

I love utilizing the suggested color story of a pre-made palette on days that I am pressed for time or to fulfill a certain aesthetic “mood”. However, I am a painter and I need the creative outlet that single eyeshadows provide. I will say though, that my single eyeshadow collection has been narrowed down to higher-quality and more unique shades that are missing in my palette collection. I purchase new singles carefully (as I do my pre-made palettes) and organize them by finish and color family to make them easier to navigate.

Jane Avatar

I have comme into makeup late, about five or seven years ago, so palettes (larger ones) have been a part of my routine from the beginning. They were smaller (and thus limited in colors) and now are much larger, and so the fact that you have a variety of colors to choose from and thus they allow me to be a little more varied and individual in my style is the only change. Even though I also have quite a number of self-made palettes (thus singles), I still find myself sticking to palettes, due to several factors: laziness, lack of space (to better organize and have access to them) and perhaps subconsciously more confidence in the color scheme or quality of the palettes. The last reason I only have come to realise as I write this because when I think about my tastes and skills color wise, I trust my judgement. However, your question has awakened the fact that advertising and constant bombardment with palettes (like jewels before my eyes dazzling me) and certain brands that I really like their quality of palettes (ND & Pat McGrath) have perhaps convinced me otherwise and I need to take a sabbatical from palettes (hard since I’m still eyeing ND’s latest for Christmas) and take out my Makeup Geek, MUFE, Sydney Grace and Coloured Raine singles that I’ve combined in palettes and play around with just MY own selections for a while.

So thanks for this question!

Lucie Avatar

Premade palettes? Not really. Particularly larger ones (say 8 shadows or more). I have purchased a lot of premade palettes (more than I should have) because something about the theme or collection spoke to me. And I find I rarely reach for them (and therefore really should stop buying them) for a few reasons.
1. I hate the layout or pan size (turns out I hate the really skinny bars in the UD naked palettes).
2. The more choices I’m given in a color scheme chosen for me by the producers of the palette, the harder time I actually have deciding how to put a cohesive look together, especially when you have the rainbow palette trend and if I’m using a large palette I want to get my entire look out of it.
3. There wasn’t enough thought put into getting an entire look out of it (range of finishes and tones).

The thing that actually changed my eye make-up game is z-palettes and the influx of affordable singles. Curating and laying out colors in a format that makes sense to me makes me far more likely to reach for it. I also appreciate a good trio or quad where they did the thinking for me and I can travel with it.

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