Rant & Rave: Neutral Eyeshadow Palettes

Share: Tell us what you love and hate about Neutral Eyeshadow Palettes!

my answer: I think the obvious one is that there aren’t enough cool-toned options out there. But in general, I really love them as I like my neutrals, and as I am warm-toned, I do have a lot options available to me.


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Larissa Avatar

I love Neutral Palettes for their versatility. I hate Neutral Palettes for the very same reason — basically, that so many brands favor the broad appeal of a neutral palette rather than tossing in some unexpected, punchy color (coughURBANDECAYWHEREHAVEYOURBRIGHTCOLORSGONEcough). I would really love to see a few more options for colored eyeshadow palettes out there. Too Faced’s Pretty Rebel comes to mind as a good example.

xamyx Avatar

They *sell*! Take the average consumer into account; how many people do you know that actually own more than one palette and/or a couple of quads/quints (if that much)? These are the same consumers who will go out and replace products regularly, as they actually go through them!

Veronica Avatar


But in all seriousness, I can understand why they’re main-stay items for brands, particularly higher end, since most of their consumers are likely women in the 20+ bracket who may have limitations on what they can wear in the workplace. However, I do think brands like Urban Decay that built their label on the “Beauty for the Bold” tag should make sure to balance their neutrals with items more fitting to the brand’s original appeal. I’ve actually found myself purchasing less from UD over the years simply because Naked has taken over so much of the line, and most of the Naked series is just plain too warm for me.

Coco Avatar

Oh my god tell me about it. Urban Decay has thrown out like all of their prized little goodies (Deslick in a tubes, cream eyeshadows, bright eyeshadows, THE TATTOO SET OMG NOOOOO ITS GONE, etc.) that made their brand the “Beauty with an Edge”. That “Edge” has smudged over these past couple years…

Linda Avatar

A good Taupe is great to find! I haven’t purchased any of the ‘Nakeds’ yet but think the Naked2 would be the most cool-toned for me to choose.

AngieButterfly Avatar

Thank you! What drew me into UD to begin with was their bolder, yet oddly wearable shades. Now it’s all Naked all of the time. I get it, they sell, but they are no longer edgy. I, too, no longer buy from them as often for that reason. I more want to stick to other brands that are actually interesting.

xamyx Avatar

UD is *still* doing those! Vice & Vice 2 have some pretty intense, unconventional shades, but they also include neutrals for balance. I personally don’t know anyone that does bright, all color eye looks on a regular basis, so even with an all bright palette, most would have to grab/carry a neutral palette, anyway. Isn’t it easier to have them in one place?

WARPAINTandUnicorns Avatar

I’m one of those crazy people that want a pop of gold, peach and pink in very Nude palette. 😉

I personally don’t find myself reach for the palettes that have deep/smokier tones like the Lorac Pro and the Urban Decay Naked palette. If I do I use less then half the shades in them and I feel guilty about it. lol I’m just too fair to pull off smokey without going goth if that makes sense in daily looks.

Chiara Avatar

I can literally not get enough of them and I kinda have this ‘gotta catch-em all’ feel with them 😀
I’ve been especially loving the Naked 3 palette, which is such a fun take on neutral-ish colours.
My rant is that they almost always don’t have enough mattes.

Laurie Avatar

I love wearing neutral colors.
Even though I am Asian, I have neutral skin tone leans a bit towards the warm side, I find that cooler-toned eyeshadows suit me better than warm neutrals. I agree that there aren’t enough cool-toned options! Naked 2 and Chanel prelude are the two that I love the most!

Phoebe Avatar

I totally agree with this! I also have warm yellow undertones, and I find that cooler eyeshadows look better on me. I wish there were more cool neutral palettes.

Ashley H. Avatar

I do like the neutral shades given in these sorts palettes. I have Naked 1 & 3, and Nars And God Created the Woman. Despite these 3 I find myself purchasing more dark matte shades. Nars offers 2 matte shades one is a chocolate color. The Naked palettes offer lighter neutrals. I am trying not to buy anymore of these as they are repetitive. I am considering am MACs premade warm palettes though. I really wish there was a larger selection of colored palettes. However for colors I have turned to MAC custom palettes.

xamyx Avatar

Neutral palettes *sell*, while those with all color end up sitting on shelves for the better part of a year before being exiled to the clearance bin/shelf! I’ve seen this happen with UD, MUFE, and others. Neutral palettes will appeal to a broad range of “average” comsumers, while color is a bit more personal. If I see a palette that is all colors, chances are I won’t wear 1/2 of them, and I’ll need a neutral shade to “anchor” the color. Most people don’t sport an eye look consisting of all color, but you will see people wearing all neutrals. If a “pop” of color is needed, there are plenty of singles to choose from, and they don’t take up much more space (or, they can be depotted into a free-style palette). The “ideal” palette is one that holds neutrals *and* brights, such as UD’s Vice palettes, or Kat von D palettes.

While I love neutrals, I don’t feel a need to buy them all. Yes, some are “boring”, so I’ll pass on it, and perhaps buy something more colorful. I don’t feel the industry is “pushing” neutrals on me, rather providing me with a platform to build on, while offering colors in other forms. Besides, if a brand *only* did palettes, the price would have to balloon up in order to meet profit margins, as noone would pay full-price for singles (I wouldn’t!). The same goes for finishes. If a palette provides 1-2 matte shades, that’s at least a starting point, and can be built upon.

My only “rant” is that there will inevitably be a gold/copper/bronze shade in an otherwise taupe-based palette. While I don’t necessarily shun those shades, and will on occasion wear them, I just like there to be cohesion within a palette, if it’s *marketed* that way. Using UD as an example, Naked palettes are marketed to be complete palettes, while Vice palettes seem more like “samplers” to me.

fancie Avatar

I adore neutral palettes because I’m usually too lazy to put on eyeshadow on a regular basis but when I do it just makes things easier. I don’t have to be uber precise like I would with bolder shades.

On another note I feel like we’re being overrun with neutral palettes. They’re everywhere! It’s nothing wrong with variety but how many more neutral palettes do we need? It’s getting repetitive.

Laura Avatar

Rave: Can’t get enough of them!! I look for warm toned colors (gold, bronze, plum, etc). If it’s a large palette I look for a matte blending color and a matte crease color (and if I’m very lucky a matte color to darken the outer v). I’m a sucker for neutral palettes because I think “I can wear that every day for work”.

Rant: The quality of limited edition palettes can often suffer (I’m looking at you Bobbi Brown…where did your pigment go?). I think this is where Urban Decay excels.

Kiss & Make-up Avatar

What I love about them is that you can never go wrong with them. A neutral look is always a good look. But there are so many naked slash neutral palettes out there right now that it’s hard to pick one. Because in the end you really do need just one.

A. Mar Avatar

I don’t use a lot of eyeshadow so I find neutral palettes to be perfect for me. It’s what I tend to wear. No fuss, great for beginners, easy to find shades that work on many skin tones. However, there are now so many neutral palettes that it’s become quite dull. Color palettes at least make it rare to have overlapping shades between brands. Neutral palettes all seem to be the same. I also find an unfortunate lack of matte shades in many.

Melissa Avatar

Rant: I’m NC 50 (yellow undertone). I have a hard time finding a palette of colors that go with my cool skin tone as it seems that a lot of them are leaning towards warm. I gave my Naked Palette to a co-worker because the shades looked too ashy on me.

Rave: I find Nars And God Created the Woman looks good on me.

Mariella Avatar

I’m a huge fan of neutral eye shadows generally, so neutral palettes seize my heart from the outset, which explains why I have so many of them. Even though my skin is cool toned, I don’t find Naked 1, which I think is the warmest of the UD Naked palettes to be too warm for me at all because while there are golds, there are no wretched orange or terracotta type shades (one reason I’ve not purchased Stila’s In the Know palette – that ORANGE shadow!). I guess my only complaint might be (with some of them) that there is isn’t a good highlight shade (matte or pearly) in the mix but even this is a rare complaint.

Veronica Avatar

Love ’em. I’d probably own at least ten of them if I was warm-toned, but unfortunately, I am very cool-toned for half the year and neutral-cool for the other, so the only pre-made palette I have is by Too Faced. I had Naked 1 for awhile, but I wound up giving it away because it was just too dark and warm for me. I have three free form neutral palettes that I put together myself – one Z-palette, one Urban Decay, and one handmade one that contains a few colorful shades as well. I’m always on the hunt for a good cool-toned palette, though, so if ones pops up, I’m all over it. Right now, I’m just sticking to singles and making my own. 🙂

Frizzylocks Avatar

I don’t like them. Typically at least 3 shades are far too dark and as I have teeny tiny Asian eyes I don’t have alot of room for the colour to blend without looking like I have a black eye. I much prefer colour pallets.

Nichole Avatar

My issue is neutral palettes tend to have too many pale shades and not enough mid-toned to dark colors (shimmery or matte) for my NC45 skin. I don’t have any of the Naked palettes because of this. I adore Laura Mercier’s Artist palette that came out before the Holiday season. I just picked up Too Faced Chocolate Bar as well. Those palettes are good for a wide range of skin tones.

Molly Avatar

I love neutral palettes! They are must have staples in my collection (specifically the Urban Decay Naked Palette and LORAC Pro Palette). I like how the majority of them are great editions to anyones makeup collection, whether they be a beginner or world famous makeup artist. The only thing I dislike about them is it is easy to make them boring or all look the same. Also, it makes it easier for your friends to judge you for how many you have 😉

Christina Avatar

Rave – I can go out and pick up a “nude” palette and be happy even if it’s only palette I’ve ever had (I’m neutral, because I find that many shades fit me the cool and warmer ones too). I’ve had one neutral shade palette by Benefit and went through it completely (the Big Beautiful Eyes one). It’ll last and are relatively easiest to apply for me (brights are harder and darks are the hardest for me). Still I don’t own a single neutral palette anymore, my small collection consists of brights and darks. My most neutral shades are singles and one palette by Catrice (Hollywood Bouleward) that has shimmery brown, lightest pink and taupe shade.
Rant – Too many out there! And true about UD, previously mentioned, I want to buy a palette from them, but the Nakeds are everywhere xD

Quinctia Avatar

It’s something that I think every eyeshadow user should have at least one of in their arsenal. As a side rant, I do get peeved when a palette with a lot of colorful options has multiple neutral pans, just because neutral palettes are everywhere and ones with really colorful shadows are less common. But there’s demand for multitasking palettes out there, so I get it, even if I don’t always LIKE it.

Shell Avatar

I agree completely. I really dislike when a palette with lots of colors inevitability has 3-5 neutral colors. (I’m looking at you UD Vice 1 & 2!) While I love neutral palettes…I want to see a nothing but bold, bright color palette put out there. While probably not the best palette to reel in new to makeup customers a color only palette would be fantastic for those of us who already have a built up collection.

xamyx Avatar

How many people actually do an all color eye look on a regular basis? If a company puts out a palette of all brights, then you’ll get complaints that another palette is needed to “complete” the look. Also, not everyone who does wear color likes the same ones. Where one may love purples & greens, they may hate blues & reds. What then? MUFE, Sugarpill, and others do colorful palettes, so it’s not as if the market has a gap. I have yet to buy a Sugarpill palette, as there hasn’t been one where I actually like all the shades. This is where you wander into the “custom” palette territory, which many prefer for the previously stated reasons.

Besides, by putting out more “universal” neutral palettes (there are enough brands doing them for anyone to find one that works), brands can sell those at a fair price, and get those of us who want to “build” on our collections the opportunity to do so by purchasing singles.

Kalli Avatar

I like them, as they are easy to use and good for every day and you can smoke it up for evening. I’ve been using my UD Naked palettes nearly every day for the last month, only because it’s mountain cedar pollen season here in south Texas and I’ve been keeping my eye makeup fairly light so it’s less obvious when it wears off from my watery allergy eyes. Also, I like to travel with a neutral palette and then just throw in a bright eye shadow single or a couple of bright eyeliners to mix it up.

StrangeOne Avatar

Neutral palettes have started to look the same for me. According to any colour wheel neutrals are not just brown but companies don’t or won’t branch out. I actually liked what naked 3 did because pinks are just as neutral but no one goes in that territory. There are greens, purples that are yet to be explored

Coco Avatar

There not really for me– I do however can appreciate a nice buttery, smooth matte neutrals…their really nice sometimes eps. for contouring.

Zainab Avatar

Raves: I think everyone who wears makeup needs at least one, and I like that there’s a plethora of choice now across all price points. Often they’re good value and it’s pretty easy to have a coherent theme.

Rants: some don’t have a great range of finishes. It sort of seems like most skew either mostly matte or mostly shimmer (and usually you get a shimmery highlight and a matte black), and god help you if you want a satin finish neutral palette. It can be a bit hard to get exited about them- every brand has one and the colours are less exiting (to me at least). If a brand doesn’t bring their A-game I’m not interested- I mean if you can’t make a good shimmery brown shadow what can you do? I’m not keen on how few mid tone shades a lot of them have- if I’m buying a palette of work appropriate neutrals I probably don’t need 2/3 of the palette to be smokey colours. I’m glad Urban Decay has decided to broaden neutral to mean pinky toned shades as well, but I wonder if that’s ever going to debase to currency (and we get to a logical extreme where we end up with palettes of totally unnatural ‘neutral’ colours). And finally, I LIKE BRIGHT COLOURS!

Leticia Avatar

I really like neutral ES palettes – I belong to the “you can never have too many neutrals” club :)! I like to use them on their own or combine them with colorful shades from other palettes or singles. I don´t buy every neutral palette I run into – I don´t like the ones that have very similar colors included, especially light ones that look the same on me once applied or that have very glittery shades.

Joy Avatar

Been waiting for a good matte neutral palette that isn’t completely chalky and difficult to blend. The new collaboration from Paula’s Choice and GossMUA sounds promising!!!

Amanda Koker Avatar

I don’t own a neutral palette but half my Mac palette is filled with the most raved about neutrals. I tend to wear brighter colours more in winter. The cranberries and the varies shades of purples. The blues (even though I have blue eyes) don’t judge me.

I am however strongly drawn to naked 3 and the warm neutrals palette by Mac and I will probably get both just because I know I’ll wear them to death and need to replace them in 6 months. To me it’s all about how useful they are.

Tamaya Avatar

Rave: I love neutral palettes because I’m not really that bold with my makeup and it gives me just enough pop to enhance my brown eyes.
Rant: Being African-American buying palettes catered towards lighter skin tone, it’s annoying to fall in love with something and it barely shows up. Most palettes do show up, however the darker crease shades are hard to come by.

Quinctia Avatar

If you haven’t tried it already, I bet you’d love the Downtown Browns 8pan palette by Black Radiance. They’re under the same parent company as Wet n Wild, and the BR 8pans are just as good quality as the original WnW pans.

The only downside is a couple of the shades in the palette lean a little towards plummy, but that’s also usually a good shade for brown eyes. Also, the only store in my area that stocks BR is Meijer.

xamyx Avatar

In my area, Rite Aid & Walgreen’s carry the brand, as well as some CVS stores! There’s also a purple palette which is nice, as well as a green-based neutral palette.

Renu Avatar

My problem is that there isn’t enough versatility – a range of medium lid shades, deeper crease shades and mattes – in many neutral palettes. theBalm’s Nude Tude is an exception though. Oh, and what’s with the names, why are they all called Naked, Nude, Revealed, Undressed, Exposure and so on? Why not name them Earth, Desert, Mudbath and other handles evoking brown/beige shades instead of following the naked pattern? JMO, I know I sound anal-retentive!

Mikki G Avatar

Rant: Every single brand has one now. Now even MAC has neutral palettes that aren’t even that great per reviews for the price. Other than UD, I get by just fine with my cheap BH and Shany Cosmetics neutral palettes. They are well-pigmented and work great with a primer, which I always use anyway.
Rave: There certainly isn’t a problem with selection. If a person really favors a particular brand, chances are the brand makes one or several. I personally love UD’s Naked line and have all except Naked 2. I love the rose colors in 3, the mattes in Basic, and the shimmer in 1. If I want more earth tones, I supplement with the aforementioned Shany or BH. Neutrals are great for professionals of all ages that enjoy makeup but can’t get away with a bright Sugarpill look on a daily basis in their particular line of work.

Hannah Avatar

I think every girl should have one she relies on for all sorts of looks that always work, don’t budge and make us like we don’t have to worry about our eye make up all day / night / event long.
This means, I think we should invest our TIME looking for THE neutral palette for us, and not MONEY to have a thousand neutral palettes that we will hardly use. Finding the perfect neutral is so easy now, there’s so many around!! All that’s needed is some patience! 🙂

Kat Avatar

Rave: I love them because they’re so easy to wear, especially when I’m lazy or don’t have time for a more colorful look.

Rant: I hate how they’re always called “universal” even though most aren’t. Naked1 isn’t right for me because it’s too warm, a complaint I’ve heard millions of times from other cool-toned women. I’ve heard millions of complaints from darker skinned women that the colors aren’t dark enough either. Universal? No.

Michelle Avatar

RAVE! As a frequent traveler I find neutral palettes so easy to take along with me. I have every color I need, mattes & shimmers, to make a perfect nuetral & smokey eye.

Ludmila Assumpção Avatar

Rave: I can’t get enough of neutrals, mainly warm toned colors like browns, gold, bronze, champagne, taupe, etc..

Rant: My complaints always gravitates towards to same issues: too many shimmery shades, they don’t have enough mattes included in them (Lorac Pro Palette is an exception), or the mattes are too pale for some skins.
I hate when big palettes doesn´t have a variety of browns too. I seriously can´t live without a medium warm matte brown for my crease, like Urban Decay Buck.

Kristen Avatar

I have found a few that work for me, but I do agree with many of you who have mentioned a lack of cooler options. As a cooler-toned person, I would love more cooler options. That said, I do love the range of looks that can be achieved with a good neutral palette.

Kristen Avatar

While I have found a couple that work for me, I agree with many of you who have mentioned the lack of cool-toned palettes. As a cooler-toned person, I would love to see more options in that range. That said, I do love the range of looks that can be achieved with a good neutral palette.

Brenda Avatar

I use my Naked2 almost every day, however I find with most neutral palettes I own, including smaller ones, the light/highlight colours are too frosty/shimmery. I wish they would put more matte light shades in them.

Erin Avatar

Rant: Never enough cool toned options or even true neutral options it seems. Everything leans too warm! I also think getting a good balance of finishes in neutral palettes is also tough.

Danielle Avatar

I personally love neutral palettes & I reach for them all the time. I find that most neutral palettes have more diverse shade finishes in order to create a more complete look. My criticism is that I wish there would be palettes called “light neutrals” or “dark neutrals” instead of ones geared toward warm or cool-toned shades. I typically find myself neglecting a lot of darker shades on a regular basis and I would get more use out of a few more lighter shadows in place.

Plurabelle Avatar

Not being an eyeshadow person, I am happy with a few neutral palettes. I have some palettes with brighter, bolder or more noticeable colours and I never reach for them. There’s so much variety you can create with neutral palettes, anyway, so I really won’t buy a palette if it doesn’t at least have a decent selection of wearable colours. For me, gold and bronze are the ultimate – beautiful and natural on my warm skin tone. My favourite palette is MUA’s Heaven and Earth palette. It’s pretty much the only eyeshadow palette I use.

Alice Avatar

I have all 3 Naked Pallets but seem to use Vice and Vice 2 more. I feel like the neutral colors wash me out. I’m drawn to a more colorful look.

Janey Avatar

I’m very fair, with green/aqua eyes and ashy-blonde hair. and none of the neutral palettes I’ve tried suit me. There ARE neutrals other than brown, warm-to- outright yellow lights & beiges, or black!

When I go neutral I look best in grays, charcoals and grayed-violets & -blues, but I’ve never come across a neutral palette with more than a couple of these shades, if any! I’d also like to see light shades in a neutral palette that aren’t yellow- or peach-toned. Let’s have some COOL shades, light, medium and dark – as lots of other people have mentioned here.

I agree that it’d be nice to have some non-neutral colors to accent the neutrals in a palette, but everyone likes different colors, and there is so much variety (ex., I look great with a little blue-toned violet, but look like I’ve been punched in both eyes if there’s even slightly too much red in my violet/purple/lavender, etc., accent).

Maybe this year there’ll be a new UD “Naked” palette for us cool-toned types!?

Charlene Avatar

Neutrals look pretty, but they are EVERYWHERE and quite frankly, they bore me. I would prefer a more balanced palette with some color thrown in, like NARS I <3 Miami, which has Daphne thrown in – a bright matte purple. I will admit that UD Naked 3 is really pretty – going for the rosy gold side. However, I wouldn't pick it up. I'd rather just get the one or two colors I liked that were distinctive than pick up a palette full of stuff that is close enough to something I already have.

Gaby Avatar

I love Neutral Palettes because I can do an eye make-up which is compatible with almost every lip color. I can do every look that I want from a really nude eye make-up to smoky eyes. And I always get inspired when I don’t have an idea for an eye make-up. All I have to do is to open my Palette.
I don’t mind that there are so many Neutral Palettes on the market because is makes it easier to find the perfect Palette. I’m fair-skinned so I need a wide range of light and medium colors. Mostly I prefer my eye make-up to be subtle and natural,but sometimes I’m also in the mood for bold colors or smoky eyes.

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