How many shades do you prefer in an eye palette? Why?

I find I reach for 10-15 shade palettes the most. There’s usually enough variety in finish, color, and depth that I can use it as a standalone palette. Alternatively, I like quads as an accent or way to extend a larger palette.

— Christine


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Mariella Avatar

I’d say 8 to 12 is about perfect. The Smashbox 8 pan palettes (like Minimalist and Smokey) are a great size and great for travel (travel? what is THAT???) and if a small palette is well curated for your own needs, that can be a perfect size. The original Naked palette (and a few of its offspring) was 12 shades, I think, and it too was perfect – not to large as to be unwieldy and with streamlined packaging. Of course, some of the Chanel and Dior 4 and 5 pan palettes are so well co-ordinated that they too are just perfect.

janine Avatar

For me it’s not the amount but the kind of shades. I need a light color preferably close to my skin color for blending and initial lay down. A medium shade for the crease, dark shade for depth and A shade for the lid. I prefer to have a really sparkly light color too for the inner eye ,brow bone highlight but I can use a face highlight for that.

I love to have a couple of crease shades so my ideal palette would be 6 I guess but I’m adept at mixing colors also.

Lune Avatar

12-15 pans (Norvina, Extreme Effects, CP Flutter By, Triochrome) or 4-5 (Fleur Fantasia and Iconic Illumination, Tom Ford Badass, Retro and Star minis). There’s definitely a pattern to my favorites and favorites-to-admire-from-afar.

BrandiD Avatar

For me, it’s more about having a cohesive color story. I used to get overwhelmed with more than 2-4 colors, but as I’ve gained experience, I like larger palettes with a variety of options (still rarely use more than 4 colors in a particular look). I’ve been surprised by how much I like Colourpop’s Stone Cold Fox, and how easy it is to put looks together that way. On the other hand, I was recently thinking of decluttering my Natasha Denona Mini Retro because it’s not a one and done palette for me. I need a lighter cream shade to put down for a base color, and a slightly darker color to line and define. I’m not a fan of having to combine multiple palettes. For the ease of travel and storage, I do prefer somewhere around 8-12 colors.

kjh Avatar

I have waffled on Fox since its issue. So many times the dupes for the only shades I like in a reviewed palette are in Fox. I need it like a biblical plague, but know I will cave. The Retro mini is the only ND I have and have nearly hit pan on the greenies. Gray/green will get me every time. Totally shocked at how that could happen, when I barely wear m/u any more and it violated my ‘no new brands!’

Agona Avatar

I think my favorite is a well-curated 12-pan or maybe 15-pan. But similar to Erica, I don’t own anything over 20–I find it too overwhelming, usually bulky, and I end up not reaching for it. I also have been enjoying singles and trios/quads/quints (for an already coordinated for me eye look) lately as well!

Zia Avatar

A premade palette? I would say around 12. Traveling isn’t really part of my life right now, but I’d say that’s the right amount to create some cool looks if the color story is versatile.
Honestly though, it’s rare I creaete a look these days using one premade palette. I rely on my custom palettes a lot.

Genevieve Avatar

The number of shades I prefer in an eyeshadow palette ranges from 4 – 15 – as long as there are waaay more shimmers than mattes. Generally I do prefer around 8 -12 to provide choices. Having said that, some of CT’s, Dior’s and Chanel’s quads and quints are just perfect – The Rebel 2020, Tisse D’ Automne and Bonne Etoile.

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