What are your deal-breakers when it comes to eyeshadow palettes?

Too many shades overwhelms me, and the size often begins to be a pain to store or travel with. If I see too many very light shades, it probably won’t translate well on my skin tone,
so I wouldn’t reach for something like that either. I don’t care about mirrors, since I never find myself using them!

— Christine

43 Comments

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AB Avatar

Since by now I have more eyeshadows than I’ll ever use up, my dealbreakers include any palette that doesn’t have something new/filling a gap and any that have more than 6-8 shades. Others: especially fragile packaging; several cool shades (as I’m decidedly warm toned); all shimmers (my daily wear are mattes and satins with only a touch of shimmer); and of course too many shades I wouldn’t wear.

Lisa Avatar

I’m not a makeup artist, so there needs to be a theme, or a collection of shades that are cohesive so it helps me to easier pair an eye look. I really don’t like large or bulky packaging or anything that’s too themed.

I so agree with you Christine about the mirror! A lot of beauty you tubers out there like a mirror cuz it’s “ good for traveling”, but no matter how big the mirror is I much rather do my makeup in front of a vanity mirror. I guess I like my hands free for balance haha.

Also a heavy shimmer palette doesn’t work for me as I find they tend to make my lids look heavier and textured.

Dev Avatar

Glad to know that I am not the only one who cannot do their makeup in a tiny mirror. I have to have something that I can easily see my whole face in.

Keisha Avatar

For me, I stay away from palettes that are all pastel shades and ones that have mostly or all bright, neon colors. Pastel shades wash me out and bright neon eye shadows just don’t appeal to me in the least. Also, I stay away from palettes that don’t have any pigment, are hard to blend, and are chalky. I could care less about the packaging, as long as the eye shadows themselves are quality eye shadows and work with my skin tone.

Kuávsui Avatar

I’m assuming that this is about pre-made palettes rather than ones you put together yourself. For me it’s less about dealbreakers than finding one I can justify buying. Not that I’m looking extra vigorously, but there’s so much that is superfluous in a lot of the recent releases. Either they are repeats or derivations of other palettes or they are simply too large; the ones with cohesive colour schemes are boring and basically the same shade in different lightnesses with a couple different finishes, or the ones with variety are lots of different things jumbled together. Something curated, with a definite scheme but also variety like MAC’s Chromat palette is right up my alley, but these rarely become available in my country. Both established and indie brands are guilty of these sins and in a nutshell it’s just all too much for me. That’s why I’m happy about Temptalia where I can find dupes for nice shades without piling up tons of palettes 🙂 Sorry about the rant! Xoxo

Aj Avatar

Too little variation between some shades, if it’s too large and has little variation between shades, and/or too many lights shades. I especially will pass on an eyeshadow palette if it has too many light shades as it would be too light and ashy for me.

ame Avatar

GLITTER. Even a whiff of glitter in any form and it’s DEAD TO ME! DEAD!

I also hate duochromes, and I am not really big on foil. If I have to apply it with a finger to get it to “work right” it’s not working right already. It needs to apply correctly with a brush at full payoff.

I also want my palettes to be in a color family that I care about. So a bunch of purples and bronzes that are cohesive, and light to dark, and must all include a matte, highly pigmented black, and dark brown, and dark purple. Always. I need to be able to get a full look start to finish from one palette without needing any other shades. Not asking too much there, am i!

Celesta Avatar

If someone puts out an eyeshadow palette, it needs to have everything; something to set the entire lid with after primer, a couple of decent transition shades, and a matte black or very dark matte color for lining or darkening the outer corner. I’m not a fan of the all shimmery palettes where I have to pull another palette in to complete a look.

Alice20c Avatar

My big dealbreaker: No colors for cool or neutral tones. Or the worst performing colors are the cool ones. To be frank, I’ve collected enough great palates to keep me for the rest of my life. Neutrals, brights, darks—all covered. At this point, a collection would need to be really unusual or creme-based to sell me.

Stephanie Avatar

In general, if it’s larger than the UD Vice palettes/more than 20 shadows, it’s not going to get much use and I’ll probably not buy it. I won’t buy all pastel either, because most pastels are too white based to look right on me (with the exception of KVD Pastel Goth, which I’d still have if I hadn’t done a massive destash sale because I needed money a couple of months ago). If the shades are almost all too light or otherwise too similar, that’s a big problem. And as with all makeup, poor quality and not being cruelty free are dealbreakers for me.

Nyxx Avatar

If it is all matte = deal breaker
More than 4 mattes = deal breaker
More than 4 light shades = deal breaker
I like palettes that have 10 – 12 shades, more or less usually equals a pass for me.
Glitter sheade = deal breaker
I love shimmer but I can not deal with glitter.
I also pass on cool toned palettes. I love warm colors and vibrant gemstone colours.

Blue Avatar

So many deal breakers! lol. I’m honestly not a palette person because I tend to want exactly the colors I want and NOTHING ELSE WILL DO. I haven’t actually kept a pre-made palette since 2012. I tried Modern Ren in I think 2015, but I thought the colors applied kind of muted, so I gave it to my sister. Then I picked up the Melt Gunmetal Stack last year and got really upset at the hit and miss quality and gave it to a coworker.

For a palette to catch my eye:

1) it should have two or fewer light beige eyeshadows. I have enough light flesh tones, don’t want to add to the pile. I honestly consider more than one light beige eyeshadow a waste.

2) I must be genuinely excited about enough colors for the palette to be of very good value. For example, if I could only see myself using four of the twelve colors in a palette that costs $65, that’s questionable value, and I might be better off handpicking singles in similar shades (especially now that brands like Anastasia and MAC do reasonably priced singles!). If the palette is high quality and only costs $35, those four shadows are a good deal and I would seriously consider buying the palette in spite of knowing I might not use most of it.

3) the quality must be comparable to very good single eyeshadows.

4) I must love at least two of the colors, and really like at least one or two more. See point 2 on value.

Nancy T Avatar

Anything with an awkward shape (KVD Saint or Sinner) or that’s oversized is a definite turnoff for me! Because I have to be able to store it somewhere?!?
Also, if when I look at it, I don’t see multiple looks jumping out at me. Don’t feel my creative juices flowing. Or the shades are too monochromatic (UD Naked Heat is a good example of this! But I do love the colors?).
The worst offender, though, is a palette whose quality is either noticably poor, or, the reviews are all skewing towards it having serious issues, ie; ABH Subculture.

D Avatar

Bright colours, or skin-tone shades. I don’t want to put a colour on that isn’t noticeable, nor do I want to terrify all my friends with bright pink eyelids on a daily basis – I’m a neutral gal, but not too neutral either

Megan Avatar

I agree that too many shades is overwhelming. So giant mega palettes = automatic no. After that, well, I’m extremely fair and have somewhat hooded eyes, so I start thinking from that point. I need the palette to contain a good amount of matte shades (my preference would be about half) because I never do an all shimmer look. I also don’t want too many darker shades because they will all look the same on me (turn black) and I won’t use it as I can’t go that dark in my day to day life. Occasionally I will buy a small palette of just bright colors I don’t have (like ND Joya) and use it as a companion palette to Viseart matte palettes I own already, but I think really hard now before buying palettes at all because I have so many where the majority of shades didn’t work for me. And lastly, I want to look at the palette and immediately imagine all the looks I can do with it. If I look at it and feel confused, then that’s a surefire sign I will struggle to use it. Dealbreaker.

erica Avatar

Anything over $65, i just wont do it lol, too many light colors, too many shades that are too similar, and faux, or imitation/copycats. I get being inspired by another brands work, but dont just rip it off. I know it makes things more affordable, and the quality is often quite nice, but having had my own work stolen/copied, I just cant justify it XD

Dani Avatar

Pretty much anything Too Faced, the last few TF palettes have been very hit or miss and the direction in which they have steered (pink! pastel! neutral! peach!) doesn’t suit me at all.

Giant palettes, they are usually overwhelming and not so good quality wise. I prefer 4 EXCELLENT shades than 28 so-so ones.

All neutral palettes, or very warm palettes. I have a taste for unusual, grunge, and my skin is neutral-cool olive. Also, anything neon or very white based, it looks horrid on me.

Aaaaand, anything with a hype. It’s not a real deal breaker, but will most likely make me VERY SKEPTICAL about the palette. This happened with ABH Subculture (strange quality issues), Modern Rennaisance (boring af!) and all of the Naked palettes. The exception is KVD anything: I have Shade and Light for the eyes, MetalMatte, Alchemist… the list goes on.

Genevieve Avatar

Deal breakers for me are:
1. Shades I wouldn’t wear: oranges. pinks, reds, caramel browns etc.
2. All matte, glittery or metallic finishes – I like a mixture of finishes, preferably some shimmer, some matte and some satin.
3. 4-12 pans – no megas
4. Rated by Christine B+
5. Easily accessible and reasonably priced.
I am thinking of you Huda Smokey Obessions!

Judy H. Avatar

Deal-breakers? I’ve never been much of a palette fan, simply because I don’t want to pay for eyeshadows I know I won’t use. But, there are a few, I have enjoyed.
I don’t want a palette with 24 colors. I travel frequently and they are too big to pack, large palettes get messy so quickly and for me anyway, eyeshadows in palettes are more susceptible to breaking.
I do not like matte eyeshadows, if a palette has mattes and satins, it’s wasted money.
If there is more than one shadow I know I won’t use in a palette…deal-breaker.
Finally, if a palette has more dark shades than medium or any glittery shadows at all…I leave it.

Sparkle Avatar

I have enough eyeshadows for the lifetime of me and at least five other people. With that said, one deal breaker would be an all cool tones (i.e. grays/silvers, blues or green) palette. Also if the cost is in contention with the quality. Since I have inexpensive palettes that perform remarkably; expensive or high-end, yet mediocre palettes don’t make sense for me to purchase.

I look at a palette and usually focus on 1-3 shades to create an eye look regardless whether the palette has 5 shades or 50 shades. I prefer streamline packaging but bulky packaging often times is creative and unique which adds to the appeal besides I’ve been known to depot shadows on the reg.

Erica Avatar

Not enough browbone/base shade. And too many purple shades ahem ahem Too Faced. I hate purple so of course if it’s a purple themed palette, I steer clear but if it’s a bit of everything palette, I will pass if there’s too many purple shades for my liking. Then obviously I want decent packaging and pigmentation blah blah

tigerflower Avatar

Dealbreakers for me on selecting a eyeshadow palette could be the $$$$$ price point whether too low or too high…insanely overpriced. Natasha Denona’s palettes are carefully thought out with transition shades and chrome/glitter/shimmer shades, so her Lila Palette & Sunset palette are worth the investment to me. I have purchased most of her palettes. Great investment.

The Pat McGrath Subversive Palette was a no brainer for me, (despite it’s price) when I first heard of her makeup launch.
However I’ve been on the fence about returning it because it’s almost entirely a glitter palette. Which is a bit irritating because its flaky, floaty glimmery stuff that sticks to everything. Making this palette work was important to me. Yes, I know that sounds crazy, but I love the pink/black fold-over box sleeve w/the string-circle tab closure, the shiny, sturdy, black palette with gold embellishments, the enclosed bevel mirror & YEH I did think some of these shadows were duds wrapped up in a mink coat. BUT with the help of KVD’s alchemist holographic palette of transformer shades & Mac prep & Prime, I MADE it work…To Justify the outrageous price I paid for it. Plus I do collect palettes!
I love makeup, specifically Eyeshadow palettes & beautifully made eyeshadow brushes. What is a Major deal breaker is an overpriced palette that fails to deliver…I think of the designer, TF., marketing a makeup line that is so overpriced, I am turned off from purchasing anything from him. …anymore..I did purchase the quad palette which is okay, JUST ok…
Final thought, I am a self admitted makeup lover of all things on the horizon…my desk is full of makeup, vanity overflowing, special storage boxes, kits, extra storage proves it….It makes me happy…

Debbie Avatar

The same old thing is a deal breaker. I do not need another toasted or heated or microwaved palette. And I do not need another palette that is naked. I want color and texture that excites me. I want something else.
And of course, poor pigmentation and too much glitter. A bit of shimmer never hurt any one, but I do not need my eyeballs to land planes in the middle of Time Square on a regular basis.

Seraphine Avatar

I don’t like a palette with too many dark shades or mostly shimmers. Colors always look darker on me than they look in the palette. And my hooded eyes need mattes to add depth. I don’t like too many shades in a palette. I’m easily overwhelmed and confused.

A huge dealbreaker for me is the odd layout, such as Tarte’s Buried Treasure and Dose of Colors’ Hidden Treasure palettes. (Is it a “treasure” thing? Lol) I like my shadows laid out neatly, like UD Nakeds, KVD Shade & Light, and Tarte Amazonian Clay Mattes.

Mirrors don’t matter because I need a magnifying mirror to do my eyes.

Dua Avatar

Deal Breakers:
Big Pans
Palettes with more than 16 shades
Too many dark / light colors
Carnaval colors (blue/ yellow/ red / fushia) or Pastel colors
Repeated shades
Heavy weighted pallettes
All Matte or all Shimmer pallettes
Odd shapped pallettes
Most important : Bad Quality

Now that I own a large collection, if I see a pallette I’m interested in I compare colors that I’d use vs. those I won’t. If there’s more than 4 colors I won’t use then it’s a pass. & i have to check my collection before any purchase.

Betty Avatar

Of course quality is the first consideration – smoothness, pigment, blendability.
I also never want a mirror in my palettes, never use them, and I prefer a sturdy but lightweight travel friendly package. Not too many colors – 6-9 max. I want colors to work well with each other, some kind of color scheme, and prefer more mid tones than dark or light (don’t need another inner color highlight or black). A range of shimmer, satin and matte – no glitter. No brush.

Silvia Avatar

Worst of all No pigment! Almay and Pixie are both guilty as charged. ? I look for bright colors nudes don’t do a thing for me being pale.
Rough of patchy just no even drugstore price. Big chunky glitter also goodbye.
Huge sized palettes don’t appeal to me either way too many, way too much and storage space. Although they tempt me but No.
I don’t care for mirror either since I apply at home and whatever happens later forget about it. Lol!

Silvia Avatar

Must say i have learn so much reading all likes/dislikes here. I’m well saturated with all things beauty right now am trying to talk to my Dorothy kind of brain not to purchase a thing next year I know it’ll be extremely hard I think I’ll need a straight jacket. Lol! Ordered a few eyeshadows on Black Friday after studying them well and will get a few, few things before this year is over then go on a big makeup diet next year only focusing on better skin care. Thanks for sharing awesome views.
To each beauty on this wonderful page wishing you a magical Christmas time and happy coloring, happy shopping! ??‍♀️?‍♂️?‍♀️????? Peace & much health to all! ?

MM Avatar

I know some people like a random assortment but I tend to like a cohesive color layout when it comes to palettes I don’t like it when a palette’s organization seems random. I also don’t like too many light shades b/c they’ll all look the same on my skin tone.I don’t always need mirrors but if a palette is too expensive (and not geared towards MUAs) I tend to expect it to have a mirror. If it’s an affordable palette that’s fine. I actually started doing makeup with large palettes, so I feel like I have enough of them and prefer smaller palettes now. Large palettes are good for beginners bc they have a lot of colors to try out until you figure out what works for you so I don’t mind them but don’t think I would buy one now.

Emilie Avatar

I love eyeshadow, so not much. There need to be some decent mattes in there, otherwise I won’t reach for it (RIP original Naked palettes– I still love you even though I don’t use you)! I hate the recent trend of almost creamy, super silicon-saturated eyeshadows because I find I have to use my finger (basically, anything that doesn’t pick up well on a brush is hugely annoying for me). Patchy or super dry mattes are a pass. My ideal palette has none of those issues (Modern Renaissance is a great example! Too Faced’s original Chocolate Bar is another).

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