How do you figure out what colors to pair together in a pre-made eyeshadow palette?

I usually look across rows/columns, start to look at trios and quads and go from there. Sometimes I just have a certain combo in mind, e.g. sunset-colored eye, and will pull shades as they appear.

— Christine
We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!
Explore Temptalia

We're here to help you make better beauty purchases that you'll enjoy and love! We recommend signing up to take advantage of personalized features like tracking products you own, viewing dupes that you already have, and more!

Here are some useful resources for you:

Compare Any Two

Curious how two shades compare to each other? Type in the shades below to get instant side-by-side swatches!


Comments that do not adhere to our comment policy may be removed. Discussion and debate are highly encouraged but we expect community members to participate respectfully. Please keep discussion on-topic, and if you have general feedback, a product review request, an off-topic question, or need technical support, please contact us!

Please help us streamline the comments' section and be more efficient: double-check the post above for more basic information like pricing, availability, and so on to make sure your question wasn't answered already. Comments alerting us to typos or small errors in the post are appreciated (!) but will typically be removed after errors are fixed (unless a response is needed).

We appreciate enthusiasm for new releases but ask readers to please hold questions regarding if/when a review will be posted as we can't commit to or guarantee product reviews. We don't want to set expectations and then disappoint readers as even products that are swatched don't always end up being reviewed due to time constraints and changes in priorities! Thank you for understanding!

Leave a Reply

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

I usually look at the different colors in a palette and think “oh, those would look really cool together” and go from there. Only when I completely draw a blank will I look at row/columns/quads for inspiration. I pair palettes together a lot as well.

I am not good at visualization so it’s all trial and error for me. I will randomly pick out a lid shade and try it on my eye. From there I will take a guess at a crease shade that might work and I will try that. And so on. Eventually I find combinations that work for me. I envy people with good color sense.

I’ve been wearing eyeshadow for more than 30 years now, so I don’t have to think about it much. Knowing color theory helps a lot, plus there has been a lot of trial and error over the years. Experiment– it all washes off.

90% of my thought process is rooted in years of both art school/classes and just having an uncanny knack for color/shade coordination. The rest is based on whether the palette in question has all the shades needed for a particular look I have in mind: what to pull in from other palettes to make a complete eye look. I almost always need to pull in my MAC Orb into every palette I use, and I really don’t mind doing so.

In a larger palette, of which I only own a couple, I tend to go for the shades that I know will work best on me – the lighter shade first, a colourful one that will co-ordinate with what I am wearing next and then a deeper shade for the lash line.
I don’t usually have any trouble working out the shades to use.

Usually I just kind of eyeball things, but I also keep a small color wheel in my makeup drawer when I’m really at a loss for ideas.

I remember reading those posts. They were phenomenal, going through ALL the color groups. I highly recommend anyone who hasn’t read those to do so. At the very least, you’ll enjoy it, but most likely, you’ll learn and/or get inspo.

Most palettes are quite easy to work with, I have a few that makes me frustrated, I can’t recall the names, but I think at least one’s from UD, but it’s an old one. If I really can’t get even a good trio looking at the colours, I swatch, taking the one colour I’m sure I want to use and swatch around it. Sometimes this works, other times I swear a bit and grab a fool proof quad instead. πŸ™‚
I like looking at colour stories here for a bit of educational fun and inspiration, I often find pairings I wouldn’t have thought of.

I was going to say that…that after looking over the palette myself, i go to posts, blogs, videos to see what other people have done with the palette. Also, if I’ve created a few looks but still want more new things, I do this.

Depends on the brand and my mood. With Natasha Denona’s palettes I’m like you, just about any pattern works in her palettes! But most times, it’s just what my eyes are drawn to that particular day. First, I think, “Hmmmm, what palette haven’t I used in awhile or what color mood am I in?” Then I start with the first color that draws my attention and base the rest of my choices on what I think would coordinate with it (as well as which one should go where.). And whatever I end up with, voilΓ  that’s the look for the day! πŸ˜‰

We try to approve comments within 24 hours (and reply to them within 72 hours) but can sometimes get behind and appreciate your patience! πŸ™‚ If you have general feedback, product review requests, off-topic questions, or need technical support, please contact us directly. Thank you for your patience!