Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes

1 of 12
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes

Yesterday, I shared my methods for breaking down an eyeshadow palette into more digestible pieces to see color combinations more readily. I also shared some more advanced methods that built off of those basics. All of those techniques work across all palettes, even more chaotic ones, but let’s try it out and then take it to the next level with a “chaotic” eyeshadow palette. It’s still really about breaking a lot of colors into smaller sections and working from there!

Start with Visualizing Shapes

I find approaching even the more unusual palette layouts by my methodological approach to still be a good starting point, especially for anyone who doesn’t readily see color combinations jump out of them.

One of the more chaotic palettes that have come into existence more recently have been the Anastasia Norvina Pro Pigment Palettes, so I’ve selected Norvina Vol. 3 to walk readers through applying the basic methodology to breaking it down into smaller bits while also applying some additional techniques to take it to the next level.

With Norvina Vol. 3, I started by segmenting out vertical quints (columns of five shades), and what you’ll notice with this particular color scheme is that the greens really jump out, whereas a lot of the other tones are more complementary. Generally speaking, palettes like Norvina Vol. 3 are chaotic partially because they’ve been arranged with a lot less regard for complementary tones, finishes, and depths AND there are a lot of vivid shades, which can make it harder for the eye to focus on a particular section.

You can rearrange any palette that I’ve swatched and photographed through our Color Story tool, but most palettes aren’t designed to be rearranged in real life, so it can be hard to enjoy the rearranged palette in person. Physically rearranging the palette from light to dark, matte to shimmer, or grouping by cooler and warmer tones can go a long way to understanding a palette’s color scheme when it seems chaotic otherwise. I actually shared my own arrangements for the Norvina Vol. 1 (rearranged to create better quads, quints, rows/columns), Vol 2. (rearranged by color), and Vol. 3 palettes (rearranged by color) in the past.

These techniques and tips will, hopefully, help you visualize and get more out of your palette when you actually open it and try to use it!

How to Solve for Chaos

By visualizing the shapes, we’ve broken down the palette into smaller, more readily seen sections, but in this palette, there are a lot more contrasting and complex color combinations, which can make it harder to visualize them together in an actual look.

To “solve for chaos,” I took out one shade from each vertical quints I created, and I opted to remove the “odd one out,” which would be the color that you’d look at and go, “What am I supposed to do with that???” (The easy answer is as a pop of color on the lash line!) It’s like that random pop of blue in dozens of neutral palettes. It can be distracting, though, and you can see a lot more of the orange and pink tones coalesce around each other once you start ignoring the starker shades. I repeated this with horizontal quints along with primary and secondary sextets (groups of six).

Depending on the color scheme of the palette and the issue(s) you’re having, you may find taking one or two shades out of a section practical by one of these as well:

  • taking out the lightest or darkest tone,
  • taking out a shimmer or a matte,
  • or removing a duplicate.

Start with Less Shades

1 of 18
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020
Survey Says... May 6th, 2020

Often, palettes that aren’t arranged in an intuitive way can be better understood and worked with using smaller groupings, like trios. This can create a foundation of colors to start with, and then you can add in what you need. You can also do this with duos.

For example, in the first slide, A3, A4, and A5 is harder to blend together because of the pop of chartreuse (and all three being matte), and an easy way to make two contrasting colors meet seamlessly is to stick a lighter, brighter shimmer in-between them (say D5), so you can start with the trio and then look in the palette for that perfect fourth color knowing that you are looking for something more specific. Then you might do A4 on the inner lid, D5 on the center, A5 on the outer corner/crease, and A3 as a crease/transition shade.

You want to look at the grouping you’re interested in trying and thinking about what else you might need. It is often something of a different finish (a matte to work with three shimmers or a shimmer to work with three mattes), something lighter or deeper (three lighter shades will want something to provide contrast, so go darker), or something to help blend or bring tones together (maybe a blue to bridge the gap between green and plum).

Build a Combination with Complementary Shades

1 of 3
How satisfied are you with your skincare routine?
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
How satisfied are you with your skincare routine?
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
How satisfied are you with your skincare routine?
Making Sense of Chaotic Eyeshadow Palettes
How satisfied are you with your skincare routine?
How satisfied are you with your skincare routine?
How satisfied are you with your skincare routine?

In these photos, I’ve tried to show a quad of colors and then how I look and think about colors. Complementary shades are going to be colors that will blend more naturally into each other, which means they’ll be closer to each other on the color wheel (or think of a rainbow–red to orange to yellow gradient is infinitely easier to blend than red to green to purple). These would be shades to the left and right of a color if you think of it on a wheel or a horizontal spectrum.

In the first photo, I took one of the primary quads (C1, C2, D1, D2), which could use some contrast and perhaps be less tone-on-tone (it’s fairly warm and orange on its own, though it could be workable as a standalone quad). Since the quad I started with was warmer-toned with more golden and orange hues, I looked for shades like yellow, pink, red, and orange to pair with it. I’ve highlighted these additional shades, which one can then pick and choose from to complete a look.

In the second photo, I’ve selected a slightly more complex color combo from the quad containing B4, B5, C4, and C5. When I see it, I think I need at least one lighter or more contrasting shimmer to pair with C5 (a shimmery green), so I looked for lighter shimmers like C1 (yellowy gold) and D5 (lighter orange) that would work off the warmer tones but also felt like B1 (shimmery, light blue) could work as the green wasn’t super warm-toned.

I also pulled out coordinating tones to blend between B4, C4, and B5 by looking for warmer-toned shades that were more mid-tone. I felt like the pop of cooler green might work as a blending shade in the crease with C5 if I wanted to go for a more green-dominated look. The third photo shows my ultimate selection: I decided to go for a gradient of C1 into B1 into C5 on the lid with C4 in the deepest part of my crease, B4 in the crease, and B5 to diffuse and blend from crease toward brow with C1 as a brow bone highlight, and then use E5 on the lower lash line to bring everything together.

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

Compare Any Two Swatches

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

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

17 Comments

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.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

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

This kind of palette overwhelms me, I rarely bother with it. I also find the Urban Decay Naked palettes(big ones) visually hard to envision how to use as well. Charlotte Tilbury’s big palettes are great in that way, she already divides the shadows into smaller palettes, which is very user friendly.

It’s not the type of palette I’d recommend to someone who wants something easy or super versatile. This is definitely something with limited appeal – for the right person, it might be perfect, but for most, it’s more work than it’s worth (but that’s also a quality thing).

I feel the same. These mega Norvina palettes are so visually chaotic and overwhelming to me.

My most chaotic palette is KVD Saint & Sinner. I was so excited to get it when it first came out, but I found the random layout to be really difficult to use, and the palette quickly wound up at the bottom of a drawer. It isn’t a brand I use anymore because…well, you know.

Unless I had a very specific look I wanted and knew that I needed X palette to do it, I can’t see myself reaching for anything really jarring (like the Norvinas). A little twist here and there, sure, but it’s nicer when there is some organization!

Thank you so much for putting together this helpful guide. Even though I know I won’t be buying any of these huge Norvina palettes, this is still helpful for any other somewhat chaotic palette I may own down the road…. possibly Norvina 4.

These methods should definitely work for any palette, better or more poorly arranged!! You should just see more combos or have to do less work if they’re done well! 🙂

So informative Christine for those who have larger palettes gathering dust and not knowing why they aren’t using the palettes – too overwhelming to figure out. The above could be applied to all of those larger Morphe, BH Cosmetics, Violet Voss palettes too. Thank you Christine.

Cool! Thanks for showing us how to easily divide up a mega palette into more usable smaller color sections. I just brought this palette and will keep these points in mind when wearing it. Much appreciated!!

I literally winced at that magenta surrounded by bright green, bright coral, plummy red and peach. Truly cursed layout.

On my IG page clidre38 I compared the Viseart Grande Pro 3 to these Norvina palettes rearranged. The Viseart GP3 turned out tu be a condensed version of Norvina Vol2 and Vol3, excluding the shimmer shades. I would go for Viseart, I can’t sand messy palettes. Moreover, there are a lot of dupes inside the same palette…

Thank you so much for breaking it down this way. I am new to the eyeshadow game. I think eyeshadow is so beautiful but I also find it very difficult to put color stories together. I feel like you just took all that scariness away from me with this method. I do have a few big palettes in my collection and I would always have to search for others looks for reference on color stories. Now I know I will be able to come up with my own looks. I was so happy to read/learn this new method. Thank you again. I finally feel like I am going to get FULL use out of ALL my palettes.

I really want to try one of these , I’m not sure exacy which color story I want . I don’t mind the chaos but I would like to take my time on deciding as I do want one of these for more in your face looks . I’m a huge fa of bright colors .

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