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

I like anywhere from 4 to 12! I like quads because they can be paired with existing palettes, and they can offer a certain style of look without having to be “cohesive.”

— Christine


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Andrea Avatar

Duos and trios are great for when I don’t have the time or just can’t be bothered much but still want to feel like I’m “put together”.
I like smaller palletes (4-6) for funkier colours which are not very me but caught my eye -I’m not adventurous at all and these give me the chance to experiment and explore without committing too much.
For everything else I think the French refer to it as “coup de coeur”, I don’t have a preference because it’s not about the size but how much my heart flutters when I see it, so anything goes.

Ana Maria Avatar

Quad for travel, 15 pan for home.
That’s actually my eyeshadow setup right now; I have a custom made palette with 15 eyeshadows (enough variety in color and basics for me), and an empty 4 pan I transfer my basic staple shadows to when I travel (not that has happened recently 😅).

Agona Avatar

I want to say 12, but 9-pans dominate my collection. But that’s probably more about what the industry is making more of …I do enjoy a trio/quad but I don’t consider those palettes since it’s 1 eye look (though I feel like quints you can get two looks sometimes).

Deborah S. Avatar

I don’t really care how many shades there are as long as they appeal to me, work well and offer a few different looks. I do have issues with how the palettes are housed. I hate the PMGL small palettes because you cannot open them flat and because they tri-fold, holding them in one hand and using the other for application, just doesn’t work. I have a couple of palettes that are just impossible to use efficiently.

Andrea Avatar

I’m with you on not being fond of palletes that aren’t very ergonomic. I don’t like it when I can’t grab them properly and either my thumb ends up all over the eyeshadows or it ends up in pieces on the floor. I had one years ago that was shaped oddly and it was like holding on to a ball with one hand.

Rachel R. Avatar

I like between 9 – 25, which I know is broad. But that’s typically the range in which I feel I have enough variety without the color story being all over the place, duping itself, or being physically too large and unwieldy. Less than 5 shades typically feels incomplete and restrictive to me.

It depends on the palette and what I want to do with it, though. Palettes with 2-6 shades can be great for quick and easy looks, or companion palettes if they’re all special finishes. Five- and six- pan palettes are great for travel as they’re compact but can still provide a variety of looks.

BrandiD Avatar

I find myself gravitating to 4-9 shadow palettes. More seems to be excessive (and I don’t use the majority of the colors) and less isn’t enough to give me variety. I do sometimes like the 2-3 shadow palettes, but they are literally one-and-done for me, as far as what looks I can make from them. Bigger palettes are overwhelming and don’t travel well, and I rarely choose them unless they have a color story that compels me.

Nikki Avatar

I have a few quads and quints and will buy them if their color story really speaks to me, but otherwise I prefer palettes with somewhere between 9 and 24 (25 in the case of any BH Zodiac palettes, because they have 24 shadows and a highlighter) pans/shades-enough for each palette to have a lot of variety without being too big/confusing/unwieldy.

Helene Avatar

I prefer 15-18 or less in a palette, I do have quite a few ones with up toward 30, BH Foil Eyes and some others. But even though I don’t mind larger palettes, I find it’s a lot easier to use the 15 or less ones. But much depend on the colour story and if I love a majority of the shades and can see various looks without having to think too much.

Z Avatar

It’s less about the shades for me and more about the ultimate size and weight of the palette. I need minimally four shades, but if you can cram 30 in a compact package I’m down. Those new Lorac pro palettes are honestly just so perfect for me. Small pans, tons of variety, interchangeable, mirror, and sleek for travel.

Jane Avatar

Minimum 4, prefer my small palette to have up to 8
Maximum 15ish, because I don’t care for very large palettes (and even if I don’t need large pans, I don’t like tiny circular or rectangular pans (like in my TheBalm small palettes). So, 15 tends to allow me to have a decent pan size without being too large to handle.

I may have missed this question over the years, but if you also want to know what pan shape I prefer, rectangle. I don’t think it impacts the shadow, but somehow I find that shadow in circular pans break a tad more easily (but it’s likely just in my head.)

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