How do you use your eyeshadow palettes?

I like to use them as a more cohesive palette, so I’ll use most of the eyeshadows for a look from the palette, but I don’t mind supplementing with a go-to brow bone highlighter, inner corn lash line, etc. I don’t tend to reach for a single shade from a particular palette to complement a look, though.

— Christine


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Mariella Avatar

I much prefer it when I can use a palette entirely on its own without having to reach for other colours. As much as I love my ABH Mario and Pat McGrath palettes, when I use them I can’t help thinking every single time “If Chanel can put everything I need into a little quad, why can’t these larger palettes incorporate just one highlight/inner lid shade that works for me?” However, when I do love a palette, I’ll bite the bullet and reach for a single or other duo, quad, etc. to get the light ivory type shade I’m looking for.

Brenda C Avatar

I agree, but then I think maybe they didn’t want to waste a pan on a lighter shade? Then I suck it up and grab my highlighter lol!

Alecto Avatar

Also, the highlighter/browbone shade that works for one rarely works for all. Good and/or clever mid-to-dark range color combos will work for a much larger group of people than highlight or “lid color” shades will.

Agona Avatar

My palettes have to be cohesive as well. If I have to pull in another color, it’s a fail palette for me. I like mostly shimmers (as well as metallic/glitters) and prefer satin over mattes. I also prefer an even ratio of light, light-medium, medium-dark, dark toned colors as its easier to create a gradient rather than relying on lots of blending. Speaking of blending, I like my palettes to be bendable and buildable (it’s okay if it’s not heavily pigmented as long is it builds!) and not get muddy.

I don’t need a mirror and I wish they wouldn’t include brushes because I prefer slim non-bulky packaging. I hate cardboard with a passion; I’m very gentle with my palettes and keep them very clean and I feel that isn’t quite possible with cardboard.

Seraphine Avatar

Most palettes are a collection of carefully chosen shades that are meant to work together, and I like to use them that way. The only time I’ll jump to a different one is when I’m using an all matte palette and I need a touch of shimmer for inner corners.

MacKenzie G. Avatar

When I actually use a pre-made palette, I want to be able to get whole, cohesive look from it (unless it’s not designed that way, like the UD Moondust palette). I need at least two crease/transition shades, one deepening shade, and some sort of lid shade. I don’t normally highlight the brow bone/inner corner, so if I want to do that I’ll just use my highlighter.

Pearl Avatar

I prefer them to work as a one-and-done. I mostly buy pre-made anymore, so if the majority of colors will work, I will buy it but if they won’t, then I will pass. I don’t like to have 2 or 3 palettes out for a look (unless I’m just playing and time is not a factor). I have a self-made palette of go-to transition and brow highlight shades that I usually have out at all times to accompany any palette.

Ginny Avatar

I’m kind of the opposite. My palettes are just a collection of shadows. I usually start my look with eyeliner and then go to a palette for one or two shades. I might even go to one palette for a lid shade and another palette for a crease shade to blend it out.

An exception is quads… I will sometimes do a look solely from a quad because that’s what they’re built for.

AJ Avatar

I’m all over the place. Sometimes I want to just use a palette where I can get an entire look out of it without bringing in anything else. But other times I’m happy to take a bright lid color out of one palette and use another palette for all the rest. Or I’ll reach for a different palette for that perfect brow bone or inner color highlight.

And then there are times when I want to do something really specific — like an all-green look, and I don’t mind breaking out 4 or 5 palettes to get the color variations I want.

Maggie Avatar

As it happens, I am depotting my bulkier UD palettes and it has already paid off: stopped myself in time from unknowingly buying an exact dupe of a UD shadow. I am always drawn to certain colors and it helps to have all your golds, greens or teals in one spot.

AB Avatar

I don’t have a systematic approach; I’ll try to use just one palette but sometimes it’s one from here and another from there. I rarely do particularly sophisticated/3+ shade looks though, so it’s not an issue.

Z. Avatar

I tend to like to use them as cohesive palettes, but if I need to pull a shade from another palette then I never like to use more than 2 palettes total. I find when I do need to pull a shade, it’s usually a cream shade for setting primer or a cool toned transition shade if that’s what the palette is lacking.

alice20c Avatar

Depends on the palette and the look. My go-to natural-half-smokey work thing dips from a couple. If I’m doing a non-office fun look, then I’m more likely to do one.

Nancy T Avatar

Like yourself, I would prefer to be able to get 90% of my entire eye look from whichever palette I happen to be using, minus browbone and sometimes transition shades. There are also times when I work between several palettes at one time, just because I can see certain shades jibing so perfectly together. Those are the super fun, creative days!

Ruby Avatar

I do enjoy having a palette that can make at least 2 or 3 different, cohesive looks on its own. That said, I’ve come to find it wasteful to have every palette contain a similar basic light highlighter for the inner eye and brow bone. Since you typically only use a dash of that shade, it’s always the last color to hit pan (in an otherwise beloved palette) and I feel like by now, I have a whole slew of similar colors that never get used up! So I’m increasingly good with palettes that don’t include a highlighting shade.

Erica Avatar

Mostly I will use the entire palette but with a few I have, I will pull in something else like the right browbone shade or a metallic /shimmer shade. For instance, I love the TF Just Peachy Mattes Eyeshadow Palette but I cannot do an all matte look. I need to add a shimmer shade so I usually grab my MAC pressed pigment in Day Gleam 🙂

HeavyMetalJess Avatar

I completely depot them and put them in large custom made palettes sorted by color. There are only two exceptions to this – the Urban Decay XX palette because it is well assorted and a good size/shape for travel and the Kat Von D Saint/Sinner palette which has packaging to beautiful to throw away. So, often in one look I have colors from at least three different palettes.

Deborah S. Avatar

In general, applying makeup at home, I don’t mind pulling in another shade or working with two palettes. When I wear makeup at home I usually have the time to play and enjoy digging out palettes and just having fun with it. I do travel a fair amount and that is when I like a palette that is inclusive. I frequently find this difficult as I am super pale and many times what is an inclusive palette for others, does not have a light enough transition shade for me or there is too much contrast between a shade fair enough for me to use and the darkest shade in the palette. I need a super pale shade and then a couple of transition shades that have a distinction in shade but are not white and black!! I read a comment from someone who mentioned they didn’t like having a light shade in every palette as they don’t get used up enough. I am just the opposite because I will frequently use that very light white, beige, pink, peach to set my entire lid before applying shadows and consequently, those shades are the ones I pan first. It is always interesting to see our differences and it gives me pause to recognize how difficult it is for a brand to meet all out needs!

Gilad Avatar

My eye looks are pretty simple, and am drawn to palettes based on the formula quality and how pretty I think the colors will look on my lid. I often use my highlighter/concealer for browbone, and highlighter for inner corners, too. My contour mostly works fine to deepen the crease. Palettes are for the unclaimed territory.
I also like to use a damp eyeliner brush to turn shadow into a liner. So If a palette has two colors I’ll use on the same day, it’s a win.

Genevieve Avatar

I prefer to get one whole look out of a palette, although sometimes it is a bit tricky as a shade I want/need may live in another one. Which shows how sometimes the larger palettes are not as diverse as you would want (I am thinking of you Vice 2, with 3-4 black shades and 3-4 pink shades and not a good ivory shade).

Sylvia Avatar

It’s not uncommon for me to spread out four or five palettes and then decide what kind of eye look I’m going for that day. Sometimes I pick palettes because I know one or two have a shade I want to wear, other times I’ll start reaching for palettes just because I’ve not used them in a while and want to play with t hem. I don’t need a palette to be cohesive, just pretty and something that performs well enough I can use it and enjoy it. I actually just grab both my Fawn and Plum KVD Shade & Light Contour Quads if I’m traveling to save room and have two basic “ready made” eye looks I can practically do in my sleep. I often describe my nail polishes to others as ‘pretty little jewels I can slather on my nails for the sheer joy of it’ and eye shadow of all kinds is basically the same for me – except the shadows are the pretty little jewels I get to smear on my face. Artistically, of course. 😀

Rachel R. Avatar

It depends on the palette. Most I use by themselves, but I don’t mind occasionally bringing in another palette or singles if I’m getting ready at home. I especially do this with neutral palettes: I’ll get a pop of color from somewhere else. I use my UD Electric palette more often with other palettes than I do by itself, though, as it’s great for accents and pops of color when used with more tame palettes.

When I travel, I prefer to have a palette I can use entirely on its own.

I use my UD Moondust and Jouer Skinny Dip palettes to pat sparkle all-over over my lid color or to accent the center of my lid.

I frequently use larger neutral palettes as full face palettes, if they have all the right types of shades. It’s easier some days than reaching for a bunch of different products.

Holly Avatar

I enjoy mixing my palettes for a look. I do really love when I can get a complete look from a palette, but oftentimes I will pull shades from multiple palettes. I have fun finding new ways to pair shades and when I see a new palette release I usually can think of other colors in my collection that will go well with it, particularly shades from other palletes in that brand. I only own a few single shadows these days. I only buy them if the color is very unique or I’m super crazy about the formula. I love that palettes inspire me to try shades in new ways and I don’t pulling in basic colors from other palettes. I’m not one that needs say a matte cream shade or a black in every palette.

Alecto Avatar

Well, I deliberately don’t buy palettes that work for whole looks, because I already have so many base shades; going for palettes that included those would create unnecessary duplication. I tend to pick one or two (sometimes three) colors from a palette and use those with neutral singles (or my recently acquired Shade + Light). I rarely mix, though; i.e. I wouldn’t take a color from my Spectrum palette and use it with a color from my Saint & Sinners palette; nothing wrong with doing that, just don’t want that much stuff taking up space on my desk at one time.

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