What are your deal-breakers when it comes to considering a new eyeshadow palette?

For review purposes… anything over 30 shades I have to really think about whether I’ll be able to test and review (and pull dupes) fast enough to make it worth the effort. For personal use, I don’t like really large format palettes as they take up a lot of space. It doesn’t matter to me if there are brow bone or transition shades in a palette, and I never use the included mirror/applicators so I can take or leave those!

— Christine


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Mariella Avatar

Lately, it’s the colour selection. With so many palettes featuring tangerine, orange, hot pink and red shadows, I am often left looking at 50% or more of colours I can’t use and also just do not like (to me, having red-ringed eyes looks like an allergic reaction and I can get that by using an otherwise GREAT eye serum that gives me that reaction, unfortunately). So, more than half the shades have to ones I’d use on a fairly regular basis. Smaller and more manageable is also good – palettes like the regular sized Naked ones or the LORAC Pro 2 are perfect but anything bigger – well, I’ve got a lot of those and I am glad I do but using them in my tiny bathroom space isn’t the easiest. It’s one reason I love the quads and trios from Smashbox, Clarins, Chanel…small and easy to use and easy to decide on an eye look. Those (Naked and smaller) are also great for travel.

A Avatar

Poor packaging (unless it’s something on the cheaper side that can be depotted easily) which includes bulky packaging.
When more than about 20% of the colours are ones I wouldn’t really use.

saffytaffy Avatar

I need the crease and lid colors in a palette to be light enough for my fair skin and small eyes. Depth of color keeps me away from a lot of Urban Decay palettes, for example. And I don’t need a brush included, for the same reason you mentioned!

AB Avatar

Palettes of mostly darker shades (I’m rather fair), a lot of or only shimmers, or larger (not sure what threshold but like max 8-10 shades). Also, anything available online only, as I want to test in person.

I have so many palettes, now it’s more a matter of what will move me to purchase rather than keep me from purchasing. Smaller, specifically tailored and cohesive palettes interest me more now, and lately I’m particularly looking for more pink-corals and such summery shades.

Jujubes Avatar

Glitter and multiple similar shades in the same palette, and since 2 years ago I stopped looking at browns and warm neutrals! 😛

Kuávsui Avatar

Anything over nine shades is way too much for me; also shades I already own or can easily dupe, a derivative colour scheme are dealbreakers. I try to buy smart, and no matter how cute the Colour Pop Mar palette looks, I can just get dupes for the blues and teals and between the palettes I already own, I’ll be set.

Amanda Avatar

I do not like it when companies repeat shades in different palettes like ABH Soft Glam. I already own Modern Renaissance, so I don’t need multiple repeat shades. Also, as a fair-skinned blonde, I do not need too many black or almost black colors especially when the pan is huge. I like the palettes where the really dark colors have a smaller pan and the lighter, brow-bone colors have a larger pan.

Deborah S. Avatar

Poor performance and too many shades that I would not use. Some are inevitable but when there are more than a couple based on size of palette then it is a no go for me. Poor packaging is probably one of the biggest issues as I do like to travel and even just do short trips and if the packaging can’t stand up to the travel then it gets left in a drawer to stagnate. Probably not an obvious answer but the brand matters and there are a couple I try to steer clear of and then a couple that I just won’t purchase from regardless of the product. I am just not interested in supporting certain people. Other than those I think I can work with almost anything.

Deborah S. Avatar

Great minds with a single thought, Nancy. Your list looks like my list, LOL!! I have a few products by KVD but won’t repurchase. Never purchased from LC or J* and never will. There are just so many brands with better ethics, morals and products these days that we don’t need them. Like you, I don’t fault others purchasing. It is their life, their money and their choice. I am sure they probably have a couple of brands they don’t support that I do so it all comes out in the wash.

Nancy T Avatar

If the quality or cohesiveness aren’t there, it’s not worth my time, effort or money to bother with it! Also, if the shades are not ones I could see myself liking enough to wear or that I know from past experience just wouldn’t work on me or jibe with my aesthetic or coloring, those are ones I pass up usually, too.
UD Naked Smoky being one of the super rare times that I stupidly went against ALL of the above-mentioned deal-breakers. It sits in a drawer unused and unloved. Yeah.

thirteenthirteen Avatar

It can’t be large and it can’t be full of dupes of things I already have! At this point in my collection, very very very few palettes meet this criteria. If there is, say, one or two shades that I really like that I don’t own dupes of, I check Temptalia to see if there are dupes available as singles from MAC or MUG or ColourPop. I haven’t purchased any palettes in about a year and a half, but I have purchased maybe nine or ten singles,

Seraphine Avatar

I don’t like palettes that are mostly shimmers. I rarely use medium to dark shimmers at all. It needs to have several matte shades from dark to light.

I don’t like palettes that have too many dark shades. It should have a good transition shade along the lines of MAC Kid or Malt.

Too many random colors and I get flustered and tend not to use it at all. Case in point: KVD Saint & Sinner. I like a cohesive color palette with around 6-10 shades.

Black eyeshadow in a palette is just a waste of space for me, as is useless eyeshadow primer (Dior Backstage).

I don’t like palettes that are full of reds, oranges, and warm browns. I prefer cool shades.

I don’t like palettes that are ridiculously overpriced, unless I have a good coupon or gift card.

I don’t like cardboard packaging…unless it’s priced like ColourPop because the price is so low. Also, I have to use a magnifying mirror to do my eyes, so I don’t need a mirror in a palette.

I don’t like powdery shadows, like ABH, that make a mess in the palette and on my face.

Weird layout of colors: Tarte Buried Treasure is annoying. Dose of Colors Hidden Treasure makes me queasy. (Weird that they’re both called Treasure!)

MacKenzie G. Avatar

I used to be a palette junkie, but now I’m SUPER picky about palettes, and that pickiness has saved me a LOT of money in the last year.
First, I need to be able to depot them to put in my big magnetic palettes. This also means that the pans need to be a certain size/shape. I prefer round pans the same size as a single eyeshadow (either a “regular” single like MUG/CP/UD/etc. or a “large” single like Melt/Sugarpill/etc.). Because they get depotted and thrown in with my other singles, I don’t need an all-in-one palette, and I try to avoid ones with a black or with super light shades because I have like a million and five of those.
I also like there to be a solid color story, not just a bunch of neutrals with a pop of color (looking at you, Too Faced). Since I have so much eyeshadow, the colors need to be unique. I also prefer smaller palettes (max 12 shades), because even though I depot them, it’s still a lot of work to label shades and I typically don’t have enough room in my palettes to handle a huge influx of eyeshadows at once. They also typically have a better, more defined color story when they’re smaller, since they don’t pad the whole thing with useless, dupeable neutrals.
I definitely don’t need a brush and I couldn’t care less about a mirror because I throw the packaging out anyway after I depot.
Lastly, Deborah S.’s comment reminds me that there are certain brands that I will just not buy from. Point blank. Non-cruelty free brands like Nars and Mac, and brands that have shady ethics or questionable owners, like J*, KVD, and Lime Crime. Like her and Nancy said, I place no judgement on people who do buy from these brands, but I personally can’t support them.

Iron Maiden Avatar

I’ve stopped buying them. There are, invariably, shades that are too dark (usually the case), too glittery, or just plain ugly, so I’ve sold or given almost all mine away and buy singles or refills (or customizable ones like BE and Chantecaille offer) and pop them in a Z Palette.

Genevieve Avatar

There are lots of deal breakers for me when considering a new eyeshadow palette – as I have so many to choose from already.
1. Shades – it really has to be shades that I will wear – no oranges, pinks, reds, purples etc. I prefer a mixture of some neutrals, including a gold, copper, taupe shades as well as some colours involving greens, olives and blue. No black or whites.
2. The finishes of the shades need to be a combination of a couple of mattes, satins and light shimmers – no glitter.
3. It has to score a B+ and above from Temptalia
4. Between 6 – 12 shades is reasonable, mega palettes I am over.
5. It needs to be easily available to me – I really like to see and swatch the shades myself too.
6. Reasonably priced – I just can’t justify spending a heap of money on a palette these days.

Gilad Avatar

Poor quality, glitter, too dark or cool for my coloring (which is lt-med and warm), too many dupes for what I already have, not enough differentiation between the colors, colors that aren’t well coordinated w/in the palette. Will also pass if there are no colors that really excite me. Taken together, this is a big ask, and seems like it is for most of us who already have a lot of shadows.

Rebecca Avatar

I’m the same way, I’ve looked at several Morphe palettes but I just don’t even know where I would store them let alone where to even start with using them. Not trying to throw shade, I’m sure a lot of people can look at a large palette and be inspired, but I’m way too easily overwhelmed.

Brenda C Avatar

I have so many palettes now I am quite picky as to what I will spend my money on now. I don’t like black in a palette, not too many shimmery shades. A nice amount of mattes and satins. It has to be a cohesive palette and not too large. It also has to have a good rating by Christine or it’s a no go for me.

Rhonda Stroud Avatar

See, this is why there are different palettes for different needs and tastes.
There are some brands I’ll trust with $7 or less of my money, but anything more and I will go for a more trustworthy brand (NYX, elf, etc. I’m looking at you).
I have a great deal of real estate between my crease and brow, so I won’t spend money on a palette that doesn’t have a large quantity of lighter colors. I will not pay for glitter-it always falls out into my eyes and it hurts. As fun as it looks, I know I won’t really use deep blues or fuchsias. If there are more than 3 of those colors in the palette, I stop. Likewise, light blue and emerald greens don’t do much either, nor neon anything.
However, if I ever find a palette with a wet/dry application of light taupe and light brown eyeliner, I’ll buy them out!

Elizabeth Avatar

I have so many palettes, it is really hard to justify any more. I have a few favorites and I have been trying to shop my stash. I have been using UD Heat palette as well as ABH Modern Renaissance. They just work really well for me, and I have the shades I need for just about anything with these two palettes. I know they are pretty warm, but they suit me. I have also been using UD Naked 3 too. By the end of summer, I will be growing bored, but I bought some fall/winter things on sale in the spring that I can use as the seasons change.

Silvia Avatar

Patchy, challenge to apply color.
Up to 12 shades I don’t like huge palettes either.
Can do without mirror or included brush. Mirror can be messy if broken when traveling and I don’t carry eyeshadow palettes around so I’ll apply it once and that’s it. Brush I’ll use but don’t really care rather use my own.
No more glitter I still will wear them occasionally but not interested in one more unless I turn into a mermaid this Summer. ?
I have plenty of colors/shades in both warm tones I do love them over cool ones got a few cool ones and haven’t play with them. I’ll be very picky from now on and think I would be only be interested in singles since I have the rainbow covered.
Nudes and cools don’t do any favors on my skin tone being very pale with some under red tone unless I want to imitate a vampire. Hazel greenish eyes and tons of dark wavy brown hair plenty of volume & im a petite 5’3 so I try to keep things simple to avoid looking like a Christmas tree but do enjoy wearing colorful clothing happy & fun! Not so much into florals one huge hibiscus will wrap me around has to be teeny prints.
I don’t need another yet black or very light shade in a palette or under brow color have too many as it is in each palette.
I’m trying to use what I own and reduce in each category need to be makeup strong. ??‍♀️ On a makeup diet! Need to loose about 8 pounds also but that’s another matter. Hate the word diet I’d rather increase exercise. ?

Sheila Avatar

I live for shimmer, glitter and pops of color. So I completely avoid palettes that are all neutral and/or all matte. Also having a lighter skin tone and partially hooded eyes, I tend to shy away from dark/deep colors. I don’t mind one or two to deepen the outer corners of a bright look but that’s all I need. Even if a palette has too many neutral medium toned shimmer shades I’ll avoid it. Just not enough pop for my eyelids.

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