Rant & Rave: Holiday Eyeshadow Palettes

Tell us what you love and hate about...

Holiday Eyeshadow Palettes

In general, as long as products released are of quality, I don’t really mind if there are lots of them… but sometimes, holiday offerings can be inconsistent with permanent or previous offerings, and this can make it more challenging to weed through the misses! A lot of the holiday palettes released look the same after a few years, so in many ways, I think a lot of the holiday releases are for new-to-beauty people and to give as gifts but less so for the more seasoned folks!

— Christine

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I generally love the value (Hourglass excepted!) and the variety of colours included. If I have a rant, it would be less than good quality shadows in these palettes but I’ve been pretty lucky and most have certainly been well worth it. I’m chomping at the bit (in case I haven’t made that obvious) for the ABH Sultry palette to hit the Sephora near me.

I hate that they make me want to buy them when I really don’t need them. I did a good job of not buying them last year. I’m hoping to do the same again this year.

I can’t say I’m interested in holiday palettes specifically. What I look forward to about the holiday offerings is the mini sets. I won’t be partaking this year, because I’m almost at my budget limit but last year I got mini Bite multisticks. Was happy to try them as minis without splurging on a full size, since it turns out I’m not the biggest fan.

Rave: I’m a sucker for special edition packaging and holiday-themed marketing. LOL. I enjoy when brands manage to sneak in a bonus item or two, like a lipstick or mascara, given that the quality is good and the price worth it.

Rant: Once they’re gone, they’re gone, so it makes it impossible to repurchase and/or recommend it to a friend if there’s a product you truly love that’s already sold out. It also makes me wonder why all holiday-themed palettes are winter/Christmas themed. It would be awesome to have some Halloween themed releases (that avoid Dia de los Muertos appropriation!) like what a lot of nail polish brands do.

Rave: I love the packaging and concepts that arrive around the holidays. Some of them are straight up Christmas themed which is super fun eye candy for me (even though I nearly never buy them) and others provide brands an opportunity to go outside the box and go crazy with concepts and color stories, which is always fun to see! Plus, following all the releases means that life sure isn’t boring around the end of the year. Reading and watching reviews is a fun way to pass the time while I’m working.

Rant: If I fall in love with something, there’s usually no real way to repurchase :\ Plus, if I want to share with my friends how I did a look I always feel bad having to tell them a product was limited edition and can’t be found anymore! The sheer volume can be exhausting, and in the rush to be first, Christmas creep can be really frustrating. Let Halloween breathe! Finally, sometimes the quality just isn’t where it’s supposed to be as brands mobilize to push out products as fast as they can. I don’t know how long they can keep going like this, most of us have collections full of everything we need!

RANTS: So many brands play it safe: Neutrals with a pop of gold or silver; that sort of thing. I think you’re right, that they are aimed at people with smaller collections, or are new to makeup, or new to a particular brand. We rarely see something creative aimed at beauty junkies or people who like more color. It’s boring when brands put out virtually the same color story every single year, and they’re the same color story that every other brand is putting out.

That said, a really gorgeous and high-quality neutral palette can make even me giddily happy. Sometimes, it’s all in the execution. (I am surprisingly quite taken with the looks of the ABH Sultry palette.)

Also, I hate that often the shadows are made by a different manufacturer, and of poorer quality than permanent collections. If brands are trying to attract new customers, I’d think they’d want to put out their very best, so they’ll get repeat buyers. But that doesn’t seem to be the case, and it baffles me. I guess they’re just going for fast holiday dollars.

RAVES: I always enjoy seeing the holiday packaging, whether its whimsical, glittery, or ultra-sophisticated. I love that every once in a while, there is a high-quality gem that makes the season for me. Last year, I was thrilled with the KVD Saint + Sinner Palette (though I am longer buying her products, so I am not pining for this year’s Fetish Palette). This year, the Too Faced Gingerbread Spice Palette has made me quite happy with the adorable packaging and great shadows, even if the color story isn’t the most innovative these days. I also love the little Sugar Cookie Palette they’ve put out this year: It’s neutral, but beautiful and great quality, and the tin is the perfect compact size to put in my handbag.

The other great thing is that more and more indie companies are putting out their own high-quality palettes, so there’s hope of finding more innovative holiday eyeshadow releases as time goes on.

As always with any new releases, you need to read up and choose carefully. They can be very nice gifts. On the other hand, we overstashed usually have > 1/2 of the colors, if the colors are perm. LE holiday can be an issue to repurchase. Some cos have such high demand, that mfg needs to go overseas, which can mean iffy. Holiday offerings begin to look awfully similar, both to one another and to the same brand from the previous year. Making products specifically Christmas, with trees, stockings, etc. leaves out those who do not celebrate that specific holiday, and we all have diverse friends. Some folks have hot, not snowy holidays, yet palms, pineapples and flamingos have not been generally well received. Clearly, you cannot please everyone. Most of all, it’s the madness of it all!

Rant: I despise the FOMO aspect of it; buy now or forever wish that you did! Another issue I have is the cute, kitschy packaging that many times have less than stellar actual product contained within. And, yes, I also agree with what you said regarding the redundancy and repetition of themes, colors, even packaging. It gets a little boring!

Rave: Every now and then, something comes out for the holiday season that is utterly amazing and different enough to justify buying it! Last winter’s MAC collection and Fenty’s Galaxy collection hooked me and reeled me in! (I must have been in a very glittery frame of mind at the time!)

I haven’t been into the holiday palettes until last year. The Boss Lady Agenda by Too Faced and some other Nars palette were my first. So this year is really my first year following almost every holiday eyeshadow palette that has come out, and thanks to you and your site, I haven’t bought one yet. πŸ˜‰

Some have great value, some not. I’m often excited when I first get a glimpse of the holiday ES palettes but then I ask myself: 1) Do I already have dupes? 2) Is the quality the same as their permanent ES? 3) How many colors I will actually use?

Christine, re: ABH Sultry palette, some noted in their reviews on YT that the glitter particles from the packaging fall as the glitter is not baked in, have ou noticed something like that?

In general, I purchase holiday sets for my daughter and in the past that has meant purchasing products that I personally thought were either poor quality, poor value or just too cutesy. In the past two years she has grown up and now has so much makeup that she isn’t interested in buying or receiving any unless it is truly unique. I tend to buy more LE HE makeup for the holidays. Beautiful compacts, prestige makeup up, things I wouldn’t normally buy during the year. I do purchase some sets for family who don’t wear a lot of makeup and just need simple, all around sets, like Estee Lauder does as promotional offerings. A couple of years ago Lancome had the round hat box type packaging and you could individualize the contents as far as color families and it had some skin care products. My Mom loved it because she got a few lipsticks, an eye shadow palette, blush, eye cream and a couple other products I don’t remember. Those are the things I generally buy at the holidays. I haven’t seen any of this years offerings so excited to see what is out there. I did see an IG post from Chantecaille with their LE 20th Anniversary finishing powder in a collectible compact. I have already ordered it from their website. I added a lipstick shade, a lip liner and I also decided to try their foundation while I was at it.

Otherwise, I pretty much agree with everything others have commented.

I always look forward to seeing the holiday palettes every year but the ones I’ve purchased have not been up to standards on quality. I may get the Hourglass Vol 4 this year as I’ve never splurged on an HG palette.

I love all of the Holiday releases, but I’m finding this year that I haven’t used up some of the holiday hauls I bought last year. So I am trying to be more aware of what I’m purchasing. I usually give alot of makeup gifts to the girls in the family so I am purchasing some for this reason. I also usually buy the Hourglass palettes, I’m collecting them because I love their powders and finishes, and they are easy to use while traveling. But there are many items that are underwhelming this year to me. I rely on reviews such as yours Christine to help me weed through the releases, so thank you for your hard work in doing this for us!

Last I bought Saint and Sinner, Christmas palette from KVD and I think it was wonderful and it had lots of colours I didn’t have.
This year I didn’t find anything.
The Sultry is very good, but I’ve ALL those colours in other palettes. Like you say, maybe they’re a good present for new-to-beauty people

Rave: Lots of palettes to choose from if the brands provide diverse offerings, ie different shades. Often there are extras thrown in and you can get a good deal.

Rants: Sometimes poorer quality and the extras are items that just don’t work for me.
These deals are not generally available outside the States. We certainly don’t see them here in Aus.

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