What would make single eyeshadows more compelling to you?

I like when brands curate their single ranges into “pre-made” color combinations, which I think helps give people a better idea of how to arrange products. I’d like to see more brands organize or showcase shades for certain skin tones or undertones. I also think that brands often create a core line but don’t go back and update or add to those lines, so they can get stale. I liked when MAC would create seasonal 15-pan palettes that showcased permanent shades but presented them in a new way.

I also think that the pricing makes it hard for someone who typically buys palettes to shift over to singles, because a $5 single sounds affordable until you’re buying 10 and paying $50 for that (plus a palette) — and there are so many pre-made palettes at $50 or less that contain at least 10 shades. ColourPop has this problem where their pre-made 9-pans are $12 and a custom palette with 12 shadows costs $24; even though they are larger, the size in the pre-made 9-pan palettes is plenty of product and will take a long time to pan. (More is not always better, IMO!)

— Christine
We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!
Explore Temptalia

We're here to help you make better beauty purchases that you'll enjoy and love! We recommend signing up to take advantage of personalized features like tracking products you own, viewing dupes that you already have, and more!

Here are some useful resources for you:

Compare Any Two

Curious how two shades compare to each other? Type in the shades below to get instant side-by-side swatches!


Comments that do not adhere to our comment policy may be removed. Discussion and debate are highly encouraged but we expect community members to participate respectfully. Please keep discussion on-topic, and if you have general feedback, a product review request, an off-topic question, or need technical support, please contact us!

Please help us streamline the comments' section and be more efficient: double-check the post above for more basic information like pricing, availability, and so on to make sure your question wasn't answered already. Comments alerting us to typos or small errors in the post are appreciated (!) but will typically be removed after errors are fixed (unless a response is needed).

We appreciate enthusiasm for new releases but ask readers to please hold questions regarding if/when a review will be posted as we can't commit to or guarantee product reviews. We don't want to set expectations and then disappoint readers as even products that are swatched don't always end up being reviewed due to time constraints and changes in priorities! Thank you for understanding!

Comments on this post are closed.
We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

Being able to see and swatch in person would be the biggest way to sway me to buy more. I know that isn’t viable for indie brands, but I have a hard time ordering online and hoping a color is what I think it will be. I also think it is nice if brands have TRUE descriptions (sorry CP looking at you and your way off descriptions of colors) and some ideas of what other singles would be great pairings – some color story offerings for “daytime” “smoky” “vibrant” “glam” “bold” etc. That way I don’t have to make screen shots and arrange colors on microsoft word (no joke, I do this if there isn’t an interactive palette on the brands site I can play with).

Speaking of indies, even just having better swatch photos on their sites would be helpful. There are so many indie brands out there that have poorly lit swatch photos, blurry photos or no swatches at all.

I agree conpletely on the price front. I have created ‘dream’ single shadow palettes with brands like ABH so many times but with the palette included, I just can’t justify the price. Especially when I compare it to pre made palettes, and for me, buying a couple of single eyeshadows at a time online just doesn’t seem worth it.
It also frustrates the bajeezers out of me that they don’t include half the shades from pre made palettes, and I refuse to buy a whole palette just for one or two shades.

Having eyeshadows for undertones is a great idea. I like when brands have recommended eyeshadows based on your eye colour. I think this is a brilliant idea for newbies who aren’t quite sure yet what makes, say, their green eyes ‘pop’.

Agreed. When I first got into makeup, I’d buy what was intended for blue or green eyes… I have warm blue or aqua eyes (blue with green/yellow center) so nobody ever had anything for that specifically. But it was a start. Also, I really wish they would allow you to select your skin undertone and deepness (warm light blue vs cool dark blue, warm dark green vs cool light green, etc ), and also colors in there that don’t particularly complement the eyes but works with the skintone. It’s hard trying to guess what a shade pulls online by their funky eyeshadow names.

Actually, Christine’s comment on different skin tones was exactly my first thought & on why sometimes I’m hesitant to buy singles. While being a bigger brand doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll show quality swatches (thinking of the swatches for the upcoming Millenial Pinx palette by Melt) I prefer seeing singles of multiple skin tones to get a sense of the depth and color of shades. The example that immediately comes to mind is the Sydney Grace Enduring Love palette, but this also applies to their singles. Many of their deeper greens can run grayish depending on your undertone and depth of skin tone and I do think have swatches of different skin tones helps to get a more rounded view of the color for singles (and would just elevate the brand in my opinion).

For many brands that sell singles, I wish they would have different options for sorting and organization. Some sort by collection, like Clionadh, or even better, by the color and finish, like Sydney Grace, or some just dump them in one place like Lethal. I’d argue SG does it best out of most indie brands I’ve seen.

I think the last thing that would make single shadows more engaging/appealing is if more brands had palette designers like Colourpop and Lethal. I do like pre-curated bundles, but I think having the capability to design your own bundle/palette helps to prevent the common issue of realizing that you’ve bought a bunch of singles that are basically variations on the same shade.

I also definitely agree that seeing shades swatched on different skintones and undertones is so necessary, whether they’re indie brands or big name ones. I’ve noticed lately that most swatches I see even of big brands look like they’ve been photoshopped on, which doesn’t tell us anything about the actual shadows, so palette or not it’s difficult to tell what it actually would look like on different skintones.

I also like the idea of repromoting permanent shades in different configurations, or even putting out blog posts by the brands to give inspiration in that way. (or IG photos/stories, for that matter.) I don’t feel many brands do that, and when they do (i.e. Colourpop), they don’t actually tell you they’re repromoted shades, so unless you know the brand well, you have no idea.

Several important things factor in. Uniqueness, high quality, affordability and accessability. I want to find interesting, unique to my stash shades that fill a niche in my stash. Ones that have excellent quality at a non-exorbitant price that I don’t need to jump through hoops to purchas.

I agree with most points already made by you and others. The main thing that would make singles more compelling to me would be, for the indie brands not available in stores, a way to try a small sample of colors. I really hate not knowing how a color would work for me. I hesitate to buy as much because of not being able to return (or in case of SG, paying return shipment after getting permission to return) and find I’m spending a lot of time studying online swatches to decide what to buy or pass up. If only I could try a tiny sample (even enough for one swipe on my lid and swatch on a piece of paper (to compare to what I already own)), I’d know in less than a minute if this were something I wanted to buy. I would have no issue paying a reasonable cost for this sample and accepting a different form of packaging too (such as the powder being inside of a foil), with the understanding that the sample is more to decide if the color/finish is right for me and may not perform the same as the regular sized product.

Singles is were I started off my makeup journey, but somewhere along the way I found them “uninspiring.” Now that I’m trying to be less wasteful, I’m finding my love for them again. I like seasonal collections of singles that tell a story but can all be purchased separately.

My fave single is a dupe of a shade from a palette I deselected for purchase. That happens with ABH fairly often. As in, get a dupe for Cyborg…done. Yay. Usually they are SGs. With CP there are so many self-dupes, that I expect something closer will come along soon. I’m in more of a holes-in stash than a build collection mode. Trying to stay true to low buy rule, no new brands. That leaves out most of the up and coming indies. But it does not mean I will not look and envy.

I’m a sucker for price reductions when you buy more. It has definitely made me buy shades I wouldn’t have otherwise (a lot of ones I was “on the edge” about, some of which have been great). When I know I’ll get a price reduction by buying additional shades, I’ll be more charitable to ones I might not like.

Availability of swatches is definitely big as well. I generally don’t need curation, but additional online content (swatches in different light and on different people, a lot of “looks” using the shade) make me more confident in my desire to purchase.

Consistency within the brands formula. I find a lot of single shadows from different brands are a different formula to what is in their palettes or even within their singles collection their mattes can have wildly different formulas/performance. ABH singles are no where near as nice as the shadows in their palettes imo, similarly MAC’s singles aren’t even consistent within the range of singles.

I personally don’t need more compelling, I’m already hooked on my system of using just single eyeshadows.
I just wish MAC would offer eyesahdows refills for `Back-to-MAC` (I find it wasteful and un-practical to depot from single eyeshadow packaging to use in my custom made palette). 😆

I wish all single pans were the same size and fit evenly into an empty palette. It drives me nuts when they’re out of line and there’s weird gaps in the palette.

What would make singles more appealing to me would be if they came in their own container and as Sydney Grace eyeshadows do, offer a wide range of shade and finishes. Niche colours that can fit into your own stash.
Being able to see and swatch them yourself helps too.

I like it when there are empty magnetic palettes available, and perhaps a bundle discount/deal when you buy enough to fill a magnetic palette. Menagerie Cosmetics lets you do this, and their formula is *amazing*. The premade bundles from Lethal and ColourPop are good examples, like Christine mentioned. I’m not necessarily going to buy those premade bundles, but they’re nice visuals. I prefer the cohesiveness of a fully realized palette over singles here and there, so putting singles into a bundle and making my own palette is nice.

What would make singles more appealing to me if their palettes offered options to swap out shades for singles. The only single I keep buying is UD Space Cowboy…I use it as a lip or eye topper.

At this point, I’d like to see more duo- and multi-chromes out there. Indie companies are starting to put out pressed and loose versions, which is fantastic. If a larger variety of shade combinations were available, and easier to see in person, I’d be very happy.

YES! I second this… The indie brands have really been catching my eye with their unique color combinations. I’m in the same boat… I want to see more options before purchasing. I tend to wear lots of medium tones and lots of the multichromes are more for smokey looks on my complexion.

I much prefer single shadows to palettes. I wouldn’t pick at least half the colors in most palettes, but it seems like most companies are so into palettes now, there are fewer and fewer single colors to choose from. I like to try different things once in a while but won’t buy an entire palette to get a single color or two, whereas companies like the old NYX used to have such a great range at affordable prices, I could buy something just to try it and see how it looked on me.
I realize this is mostly off-topic but I just wish more companies had single colors instead of palettes all the time.

I would buy more singles if I didn’t have to go on temptalia to figure out if #itsaboy or whatever stupid name they use for the eyeshadow pulls warm, cool, etc. LOL… It’s such a hassle. Whey can’t they just make single eyeshadow easy to search like… warm, pastel, blue, shimmer finish, etc. Why does it have to have crazy AF names???

Second, palettes are cheaper. I’m not into large eyeshadow pans and actually love the pan size of palettes. I get them due to price/size and just depot. It’s more work, but hey… I get my singles and everyone is happy. And yes, I don’t care for what names they give them, so I have no need for the actual palettes.

I wish more companies would offer a sizeable discount when purchasing numerous single shades, and ideally throw a magnetic palette in with it. As far as I know, only ABH offer this kind of deal. Having said that, the singles I have were all purchased without any discount (Inglot, Nabla, MAC in the main) on the strength of good swatches alone (and Nabla did throw in a tiny magnetic palette, I guess).

Like MUFE and Coloured Raine did recently, have secure and easy to keep clean books or palettes for them. I prefer MUFE’s tins over all!

We try to approve comments within 24 hours (and reply to them within 72 hours) but can sometimes get behind and appreciate your patience! 🙂 If you have general feedback, product review requests, off-topic questions, or need technical support, please contact us directly. Thank you for your patience!