What are your minimum requirements for an eyeshadow palette?

For me, a solid eyeshadow palette has at least five shades, but my preference has been toward 10 or so lately. I don’t need a brow bone shade or black eyeshadow (I’d rather get more variety and supplement with one of the many existing shades I have for those two needs). I need slim, functional packaging, and high quality eyeshadow, of course!

— Christine
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A creamy shade to set my primer, at least one neutral crease shade, preferably matte, and a darker shade to deepen things up. Everything else is gravy.

I would want it to have at least 5 shades, a nice mix of lights and darks, at least one good transition shade, one browbone and one dark (doesn’t necesarily need to be black), and also a good mix of finishes. Some mattes, some satins, and some frosts, no glittery shadows, those usually have poor color payoff. Of course all colors would need to have good payoff.

Packaging needs to be as sleek as possible and lightweight. No wasted space, as thin as possible too. No mirror is needed. Packaging would also have to be sturdy for travelling.

Interesting question! Short answer — Good quality powder shadows that won’t crease over primer; shades that won’t go muddy on my fair skin (usually an issue with palettes heavy on medium and dark cool browns), and functional and reasonably sturdy packaging. I don’t require a black shadow. A palette must NOT have too many gray shades, unless they are purple- or blue-leaning (such as UD Naked Smoky or KVD True Romance in Sinner).

Long answer because I’m an eye palette junkie who is delusional and thinks others are interested — A lot depends on how much I’m paying for the palette, and what I want to use it for. For example:

*If I’m wanting a vacation or longer trip travel eyeshadow palette: NEVER a Limited Edition or discontinued item. I must be able to replace it easily if it’s high-end in case of damage, loss, or theft. Good quality powder shadows that won’t crease over primer. Very sturdy packaging and a mirror are musts. I want at least 10 shades that are a good mix of neutrals. Palettes must have brow bone highlight shade, and a good mix of finishes. My favorites are Too Faced Chocolate Bar, Semi-sweet, and Bon Bons; UD Naked 3; and Tarte Tartelette in Bloom. I don’t require a black, and while having some pops of color is a bonus, I don’t mind taking a few singles along to augment.

*Overnight/weekend palette: Good quality powder shadows that won’t crease over primer. Sturdy packaging. I prefer 5-12 shadows in all or mostly neutrals, including a brow bone highlight shade. My very favorite is UD Naked Basics. I also really like the Tarte Tartelette, Tartelette in Bloom, and Tartelette Tease; Too Faced 9-pan palettes; e.l.f. 10-pan palettes.

*Brights — Powder shadows that won’t crease over primer, and are pigmented, opaque, and non-patchy. I have no time or patience for trying to make crappy brights work. Sturdy, functional packaging, and a good variety of shades.

I’ll stop there. 🙂

What you said about a travel palette never being a LE or DC’d one really resonated with me, Rachel. I made that mistake almost 14 years ago when my kids and I went on a vacay back to NJ. I accidentally left one of the BEST purple mini palettes I have ever owned in the rental car when I turned it in. Didn’t notice until it was too late, we were in the limo on the way to Newark Intn’l Airport. It was by Revlon (back when they could still make excellent eyeshadows) and it was LE. Those 4 shades of purple were quite unique, too. 😥

Same here re LE palettes and travelling (with the exception of Naked on the Run because it’s so handy and most of what’s in it is dupe-able). If I’m travelling by car it’s not such a big deal but if I’m flying and my ABH Mario palette or one of the UD Vice palettes went missing, I’d flip.

Oh, no, a rare purple palette, to boot! 🙁

I took a LE MAC Extra Dimension shadow, Fairy something? — it was sparkly and purple and glorious — on a weekend visit to my MIL’s, only two hours away, and somehow lost my makeup bag. I used that shadow once. I’m still not over it.

You’re my palette soul-sister! I love Too Faced Bon Bons, UD Naked 3, and Tartelette Tease. I took Tease and UD Shadow Box on a 17-day road trip and while it was hard to be restricted to two palettes (ha), they really did fulfill all my eyeshadow needs. 😉

Tease is such a neat little palette. I took it to NYC twice for 6 day long trips and while I did take the original Naked palette as well, I could have managed with the Tease palette.

I feel like my minimum requirements for a palette are highlighted by Viseart theory palettes or the Dose of Colors 5 pans. A shade to set primer, a transition, something to deepen. And then a couple shades I could put all over my lid. And obviously a great formula!

In case of travelling:

A palette with at least 6 colors. It has to include a matte to set my primer, a transition matte, 2 matte to give some definition to my eyes and 2 shimmers to put on my lid. I don’t need a black eyeshadow, don’t use that color. Also no need for satin finish, just mattes and heavy pigmented shimmers.
Colorwise I’d like a champagne/golden shimmer and a rosegold shimmer. Mattes I’d like a light-medium warm brown, a mauve/old rose, a babypoop brown (don’t know how else to describe the color :p ) and dark brown reddish color

So it’d be a rather basic everyday kind off palette.

Shape of palette would be rectangular with 2 rows of 3 eyeshadows and doesn’t need a mirror as it has to survive travelling. Therefore, it has to be sturdy, but not too thick or bulky. Sleek and firm is the answer.

In other cases:

At least 10 shades, most of them being mattes and a couple of shimmers. Colorwise it’d be a little bit the same as above but adding some more color into the palette so there are days to be a bit neutral and there can be days to be more daring.

When it comes to palettes that I am going to use on a daily basis at home I don’t really mind or need to have certain elements. I don’t mind pulling in other palettes or singles to make a palette work. However, for travel I prefer smaller palettes, say 6-10. I like them to be “complete” meaning a light neutral shade to set my primer, a matte brow bone shade and a deeper shade for variety and deepening the outer V. I also like them to have a cohesive color story or a good neutral base and pops of color. I don’t mind cardboard packaging as long as it is sturdy. I have the original Too Faced Natural Eye palette in cardboard and that has travelled with me for years and doesn’t look any the worse for wear. I like cardboard because it is lite. It goes without saying it needs to be good quality shadows.

Since you are asking for “minumum”…..
Simple sleek packaging
No need for a mirror
No need for a black or very dark colors
One brow bone highlight, prefer a satin, will also use this in innner corner
1-2 super great transition colors
1-3 Mattes
Crease color needs to be a matte
1-3 satins
Maybe one shimmer
And of course, all should be superb quality!

At least 6 shades minimum. All good quality shades. One needs to be a light matte preferably ivory/cream. A matte transition, matte crease. A few sparkly lid shades and a darker shade as well but no black!

As far as packaging. I need something that isnt bulky but has a mirror and no cardboard.

Ideally, it would be ‘a complete look’ with a brow highlight, transition, crease, lid and a dark color for deeping because it’s just one-and-done and streamlines everything (for me, pre-scripted looks=streamline=less anxiety), but certain palettes are worth getting anyway (Viseart 15-pans, Tom Ford Nude Dip, Pat McGrath).

Now that I’ve become spoiled by Natasha Denona, Viseart, and even the less expensive, but usually very good MAC and CP singles, I have come to a point where anything less is a waste of time, energy and money.

It has to rate at least a B- overall. UD Vice 3 did, but since I bought it for all the gem tones and rich shades, the not-so-hot neutrals on the right hand side didn’t matter to me. I will admit that the more expensive and lux a brand purports to be, the more I expect. Like at least a B+ or an A-?

I do love smaller palettes and quads at the moment as I have far too many larger palettes (15 shades or more) taking up much valuable, limited space.

Equally important as the points I made above, is that when I look at the palette two things must happen; looks need to jump out at me and inspire me, and when I look at it, swatch it in-store if possible, I need to get the sense of feeling like I would enjoy using it!

High quality eyeshadow of course, and a broad but focused range of colours. I find really colourful palettes (bh cosmetics take me to brazil, even huda desert dusk) to be overwhelming because I don’t know where to start. It’s not that I don’t know how to pair shades, there’s just so many options that I have a hard time deciding what to do. I really like palettes that offer variety but still have a central theme (i.e. tartelette in bloom), and I definitely am leaning more towards neutrals these days. Although I sometimes find myself drawn to colourful palettes and wanting to buy them, realistically in my collection I always reach towards the neutrals.

I like 12 or so shades because I feel like that offers good variety without being overwhelming. I love slim but sturdy packaging and a large mirror. I also really need multiple transition colours and a matte cream shade for setting my lid, because these are the colours I use the most and will definitely get worn out the fastest in my palette.

My current favourite palettes are tartelette in bloom, pur x boxycharm, and tarte clay play volume 1. I also like the too faced sweet peach and anastasia modern renaissance, but I wouldn’t immediately run out and by them if they suddenly broke/disappeared.

Decent pigmentation and texture, shades that work well together (I agree about not needing a browbone or a black because I take WnW Brulee EVERYWHERE with me and I don’t use black ever anyway), something easy to store and keep clean and doesn’t look feckin’ ugly 😉
I don’t mind how many shades, but I find 10 – 12 provide enough variety to do a multitude of different looks. It should be able to be held comfortably in one hand with a lid that either flips all the way around behind the palette or is hinged strongly enough that is doesn’t flap around everywhere.

Minimum 9 shades, compact packaging, good mix of mattes and shimmer/metallics, good mix of light, midtone, dark. Don’t need a mirror, don’t need black, don’t need “transition shade” as in I don’t need the typical midtone brown…any color can be made transition shade. Good variation of hues: anything monochromatic like Dose of Colors 5 pans and Naked Heat are not good palettes for me. And I need to be able to make minimum 3 distinct looks from it.

That’s a great question because most of us here have a lot of experiences with eyeshadow palettes to give a good opinion on.
Firstly – between 4-10 pan, minus blacks or whites – these are shades that I don’t use. However a creamy vanilla shade is a must.
Secondly, I want a range of finishes – a couple of mattes, mostly satins and some shimmers. No glitter please.
I like a range of light to darker shades for contrast and in my colour preferences so that I can use all of them.
I do like a mirror in the palette and it all has to be given a B+ or an A from you Christine.
Some of my near perfect palettes are Nakeds 1 & 2, Lorac’s Pro Metals, bareMinerals The Elements and The Wild Thing and Guerlain’s Les Gris

I can be kinda picky, so here it goes:

Specs: 9-pan, 26-28 mm pans (average single eyeshadow size).

Packaging: easy to depot. I almost never touch my pre-made palettes anymore, as I prefer to buy either singles or palettes that can be depotted into singles to mix and match in magnetic palettes. For this reason, I prefer cardboard packaging, no mirror (I’m going to throw it out anyway), and pans attached to the bottom of the palette via a magnetic bottom (instead of glue).

Shades/Finishes/Formulas/etc.: Needs to follow a color story of some sort and needs to be at least of a B- grade or above. Even if that story is “hey, here’s a palette of beautiful jewel tones!” they need to go together so that I know I can at the very least pair them with one another (other singles notwithstanding). Alternatively, it if markets itself as a “topper” sort of palette (like KVD Alchemist), that is also acceptable. I prefer a ratio of 5/6 mattes to 4/3 shimmers/metallics/sparkles/glitters/pearls/etc. Within the mattes, I like one fairly light neutral shade to use as a transition (although I don’t always do this because it’s really not necessary), 3/4 crease shades that roughly correspond to the lid shades, and 1/2 deep shades that coordinate with the other colors to add depth (NOT black). For the lid shades, I need 1/2 more intense “pops” with either eye-catching shades and/or finishes, like metallics, sparkles, or glitters, and 1 more subdued shade (champagne, pearl, soft pink, beige. etc. depending on the color story) with a shimmer/satin finish.

My palette preferences have gotten at little high-maintenance since I switched to singles. It takes a lot for me to be willing to shell out money one a whole palette when I can just pick and choose the colors I like from singles.

I‘m on the fence with five shades being called a palette – it really depends on the layout. If they‘re linear, they‘re a palette. If they‘re more like the five dots on dice, they‘re not a palette. For a neutral palette, I want a light shimmer or satin browbone shade and a matte slightly darker than my skintone for a transition/crease. I also need shimmery lid shades and a darker brown. For more colorful looks, I don‘t need them as much. Black shades are a waste. I usually only use one for really smoky looks with my Urban Decay Smoked palette (the shade Blackout) when I have the time to really build up the colors. Otherwise, my other shades tend to lose color saturation. I‘d rather have a coordinating dark brown, navy, etc.

Ok I have actually thought about this over the years more than one person should. I am also someone who leans very neutral in their eye looks. I think 12 is the perfect amount of shades to cover all my needs. I think it goes without saying (except I’m saying it now) that all the shadows have to be excellent quality. A reasonable amount of fallout, long lasting, but I do wear a primer so needing that is not a deal breaker. I would like two highlight shades in a neutral tone, one matte and one satin-shimmer. Two transition shades one very neutral and one slight warmer/peachy. One mid tones neutral brown to start to deepen the crease. One perfect shimmery taupe for an all over wash of colour. Two metallic/well done shimmer-glitter lid shades again one neutral and one slightly warmer like a peachy/gold situation. Two jewel toned pops of colour that are amazing quality. I am so tired of the pops of colour being duds, they are normally what draw us to buy a palette. Two darker shades, they don’t have to be black but they do have to be rich and very, very bendable. For packaging it has to be super travel friendly, sleek, light and with a big mirror. Please no velvet or soft touch packaging, it just gets gross. Also the actual shadows need to be travel friendly, but bendable (I’m a girl who wants it all). I wont take my two ABH palettes on trip because I’m afraid they will be destroyed. See i have wasted hours of my life thinking about this, I would also like it to cost no more than $60CAD. This isn’t took much to ask for right?

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