What's your process in figuring out if an eyeshadow palette is working well for you?

At this point, I feel confident after using a formula once or twice whether it’s going to be one I’d reach for so when I think about whether it’s an eyeshadow palette that I’d keep reaching for, I really look at the types of shades and finishes. The formula has to be easy to use (pigmented, long-wearing, and blendable are usually what I’m after), and most of the time, I prefer to use most shades within a palette and only supplement with a brow bone or transition shade, so it should be cohesive.

— Christine
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All those red, orange and pink shades popularized by the Modern Renaissance palette (and then copied/replicated in pretty much EVERY palette since) simply do not work for me, nor do they appeal to me so if a palette has 2 or 3 of those in it (as most do nowadays), then I know it’s not for me and will be a waste of money. Ideally, I like a palette to contain a light browbone shade, ideally with a bit of shimmer or sheen and that’s my biggest complaint about the ABH Mario palette, which I really love otherwise. Of course, a variety of finishes, colours that work for me and good quality shadows (minimal fall out is the biggest quality issue with me) also go into making something a good palette for me.

I feel the same way about palettes that have too many purples. Or too dark shades. Like have a black is fine to use as liner or to deepen a shade but I don’t also need a dark matte brown and grey as well.

Oddly I’m drawn to the ABH Norvina palette; I’m typically a fan of all ABH. But I think bc the purples aren’t the same purples every brand does (ahem ahem Too Faced!) always do and there are plenty of shimmery shades so you can create a variety of unique looks, I’m not as turned off. I dunno maybe I’ll hate it lol

I always use primer under my eyeshadow, so I need shadows that will blend easily on top of primer and last all day. The best palettes for me are not too big and have a layout that makes it easy to find a cohesive combination without having to go outside the palette for other shades. The palettes that work best for me have lots of light to medium-light mattes and a few light shimmers. Dark and medium-dark shades are wasted on me because I never use them. Sometimes I get too excited by pretty palettes like KVD Saint & Sinner and Smashbox Vlada Petal Metal just to take them home and discover that most of the shades are too bright and/or dark to work well on me.

First of all, the product quality needs to be there. Smoothly applying, pigmented shades that I can wear full force on my mobile lid or outer v/ lower lashline, but can sheer out without going patchy when I use shades to transition or for blending out harsh edges.
Next up, it needs to fire up my creative gears, especially it it is a larger palette! It needs to have an ease of pairing its various hues and shades into some well coordinated looks. It should never be a situation where I’m staring at it wondering how in the heck can I use this cohesively.
Also, is it within my budget or not so much? If it is over a certain *comfortable * amount, I will wait for a really good sale, like VIB Rouge or Ulta 20%, or if the brand itself is having a great sale, as Pat McGrath does every once in awhile.

Eyeshadow palettes, my weakness! I think my process initially is “?OOOOH PRETTY” and when the fomo kicks in, here’s what helps me:

1. Reviews on Temptalia

2. Buying from preferred brands that I have a pretty good sense of the quality, textures, etc. I have to be really strict about this; my collection would go from burgeoning to burden if I didn’t diligently stick to only buying from tried and trusted brands.

3. From those preferred brands, I onIy buy palettes that have a majority of colors/textures/finishes I’d wear – no more getting a palette for the sake of getting all the pieces from a launch or rounding out/filling a gap from an ‘underrepresented’ color in my collection. I can always get a single of a color for that. I almost bought the Pat McGrath MOTHERSHIP Subliminal and Decadence palettes for those reasons. After the fomo died down, I realized I’m never going to wear that navy or the majority of those (BEAUTIFUL!!) colors and textures from those palettes. I did compromise though and got the MTHRSHIP Subliminial Platinum Bronze companion palette because those are colors and textures I actually would wear.

4. Packaging – I really like luxe and sleek packaging and it’s a deciding factor. Right now, Tom Ford, Chanel, MAC (exception is the Girl palettes but they store well and the whole preferred brand thing) and Pat McGrath check this box for me. Sometimes this is all that is keeping me from a new addition.

The process for me would be if I reached for it constantly in the first month or so, whether I could create a variety of eye looks with it and be happy with the result.
I would have to be a palette that had a range of shades and finishes (in excellent quality as determined by this blog) that would complement my skintone, hair shade and clothes – be it winter or summer.
Palettes that have stood the test of time for me include the Nakeds 1 & 2, Lorac Pro Metal palette, Dior 3 Couleurs in Khaki, Guerlain’s Les Gris and the Sephora It palette.
Honourable mention goes to Dior Jardin, Vice 2 and bareMinerals Soft and Smokey.

I try it out in different color combinations for several days. Day one: If it lasts at least 8 hours over primer without fading, creasing, or oxidizing, I will keep using it. If not, I will try a different primer. The colors have to be pigmented or buildable, and easy to blend, though I will forgive a fussy shade or two in a larger palette.

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