What makes an eyeshadow palette cohesive to you?

I like a good theme–neutrals, or colors, or earthy tones–that has several different combinations that can be used or one just really outstanding one (but then it has to be a trio/quad set-up). I’m not picky about needing a brow bone shade or a black eyeshadow myself, so I don’t need those in my palette. I like a few finishes but prefer satin to frost!

— Christine
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I like a strong color theme, and I also prefer when shades are arranged to suggest color combinations – in trios or quads.

A selection of colors that allow for three or four different looks that look different enough to keep me entertained, but still wearable to most occasions.

So much depends on the size of the palette! If it is a quint or smaller, I want it to mesh very well together and give me a beautifully coordinated look using it. But if it is a larger palette, like 10 shades or more, I want to see lots of looks jumping out at me, great color combos, and at least one useful transition shade and maybe a good browbone shade within. Mostly, I want to feel inspired by it and have my creative juices fired up! I love to have a variety of finishes, too. Especially some high quality matte or matte-like shades for the browbone, transition and crease because my eyes are very hooded, but I adore my shimmers and metallics on my lids!

Hi Nancy!! Can you give me some examples of palettes that meet your expectations? I would love to get me some of those! Thank you ?

A good range of usable shades that work well together. I like to be able to visualize looks at a glance. A good combination of light, medium, dark and pops of color. I, too, do not need any black shadows, since I have enough already. I do like a brow shadow or two so that I do not have to hunt for one. Some good mattes, a few satins and some workable frosts that are not glittery messes are nice to have.

A transition shade for my skintone (this is a deal breaker), something dark enough to deepen the crease, blend-ability, and an overall theme.

It has to have a good balance of light to dark shades. Matte v shimmer. A nice brown one shade, a few transition shades, and deeper shades. Have a theme like neutrals, warm tones etc. I have to be able to create one complete look but multiple possibilities is nice too. ABH Modern Renaissance is example of a well balanced and cohesive palette!

I’m going to echo a lot of the ladies here, but I need a good selection of complimentary colors to create a few interesting looks if I’m going to consider a palette to be cohesive. If a palette is varied enough to offer me a day look and a night look then that’s all the better, but frankly I apply my eye makeup like I’m going out even though I’m going to work (because my job is really cool and they let me do bolder eyes). I’m a lot like you, I don’t need a black because I find that they’re either TOO black or I opt for a darker brown or a similar shade for my outer v. So having a black isn’t necessary for me.

I’ve found that too many off-white type shades creates a lack of functionality, even though it may LOOK cohesive before you get it home. Naked Basics is my prime example of this-I think it was a big mistake to have WOS, Foxy, and Venus in a six shadow palette. They make up half the palette! More than half, if you don’t reach for black in your neutral looks. I get that they are not all three the same color, but at the very least including both WOS and Foxy Is overkill in terms of the color scheme. Two light flesh tone mattes in a palette that only also has a shimmery cream, light taupe, medium-dark brown, and black? Not well rounded, absolutely should have included a dark taupe or a different shade of brown instead to create a more comprehensive palette that would be at least a little more useful for deeper skin tones. Even as someone who does get use out of cream shades, I found the jump between the taupe and brown to be really severe and would have loved a shade in between.

Size, variety, and arrangement:
– I love when palettes are 5-10 colors. It means I am less likely to reach for other products to make a complete look.
– I like different finishes for versatility
– It’s preferable when colors are arranged from lightest to darkest. It makes selecting between similar shades much easier.

I agree with all the comments before me in that it needs to have some thought put into the composition rather than just throwing a bunch of pretty colors together and calling it good. I think a mix of finishes is important although, like Christine, I don’t want a bunch of chunky glitter shadows. I do like a nice brow bone and transition color but I don’t need a black. I do need a darker shade to deepen the outer V and crease but rarely use black for that. I like my palettes to be stand alone so that I can travel with them if I really like the palette and without having to take a lot of extra shadows with me to make it work.

The palette needs a good l balance between light, medium and drop tones. That is the most important to me. I like palettes with a theme because I noticed I utilise them more when they are.

Depending on its size I expect to be able to create a few looks ranging from subtle to full glam!

Colors that go well together and can make several looks. A good assortment of light, medium, and dark shades, though I don’t require black. Preferably, it should include at least one good, matte transition/crease shade and a light shade in satin or shimmer finish for brow bone and inner corner highlight. A mix of mattes and/or satins and shimmers.

At the risk of sounding repetitive, there needs to be a distinct theme/color scheme. If it’s neutrals I want the tones to coordinate (or to cover a range of shades in different tones like some Tarte palettes), if they’re brights I want a lot of brights. To me, shimmers aren’t overly important so unless it’s marketed as a shimmer palette, I want at least 75% mattes (or satins that can function as mattes). A black is not important, I’d prefer deep colors that are similar in color/hue (like a dark brown, deep teal, a deep burgundy, etc.), but a light color to set my primer/highlight the browbone and inner corner is important to me. If the palette has 8 or more colors, I want to be able to get at least 5 looks out of it (the number rises in proportion to the number of shades).

A strong color theme with multiple combinations that will yield a harmonious result. A mix of finishes is good too.

1. Colours/shades that appeal to me: olives, grey/taupe, navy blue, some cool toned neutrals
2. Finishes: satin, a few light shimmers and a couple of mattes.
3. Preferably a 10 -12 pan.
4. I don’t like blacks, whites, pinks, oranges, reds or purples.

Good question! For a trio or quad, I would want one shimmer (at least), and a darker or intense color that could be used as a liner or to intensify outer corner v. I expect a quad to on its own yield a very cohesive look. I think that the whole point of a quad, they appeal to a minimalist who might own one or two quad palettes and that’s the totality of their stash.

By contrast, for a palette with 7 or more colors, I don’t expect to make even one look with solely that palette. I’m of the mind that these palettes appeal to makeup addicts like me, so I’m okay with no transition shade, no browbone, no black. What I do expect is that there is a theme that ties the colors together. Neutrals, metallics, maybe pastels or neons. It could also be conceptual: a famous city, a season or even fairies. It could even be as fanciful as “What would Cleopatra want in her palette?” I expect all the colors to work within that theme for the palette to be considered cohesive, and for there to be no glaring omission. I would be disappointed if the theme was New York and there was no gray/silver (because I think of all those skyscrapers)! I love my KVD Serpentina palette because they are exactly ancient Egyptian queen colors; I forgive the omission of jet black because Cleopatra would already own Trooper! I’m going to buy one of the UD Basquiat palettes because I’m really intrigued how the company will translate Basquiat’s rebellious art, street sensibility and energy into a series of shadows.

I’m going to say a pallet is 15-30 shades.

I need to see a good matte brow bone highlight shade, a nice matte transitional shade, and a shimmery light inner corner highlight.

I like to see several midtone shades, that can either stand alone, or mix with other shades, but be different.

I’m not a fan of pallets that have several dark shades that all end up looking the same once applied. Sometimes navy’s are so dark that look black, and plums end up looking brown.

I don’t like a lot of light colors, colors I have or colors I won’t use like bright orange. I prefer satin or anything with sparkles.

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