Every time I step into a Sephora, I am tempted by the array of palettes. Sure, single eyeshadows and lipsticks are wonderful, but there’s just something about the fancy packaging and pre-selected colors of an eyeshadow palette that makes them feel special. But they tend to be pricey and big, so you don’t want to buy too many or you’ll run out of money and drawer space. If you’re in the market for a new palette, here are some tips for how to pick the best eyeshadow palette for your face.
1. If you have blue eyes
If you have blue eyes, look for something with a nice coppery shade to make them pop. You also have the benefit of being one of those people who can wear pastels very well, so check out something a bit breezy and unusual like Bobbi Brown’s Surf Palette. Remember to look at the whole palette as a unit, too. You won’t be expected to wear all the colors at once, of course, but don’t buy an expensive palette just because there’s one color you really like in it.
2. If you have brown eyes
The world goes gaga for blue and green eyes, but one benefit to brown eyes is that there are not many colors that don’t look good with them. Try dark rich colors like plum and wine, and play with some purples, like the ones in Kat Von D’s Get The Look set.
3. If you have green eyes
If your eyes are green, you are very lucky and should consider a palette with some nice coppery shades, like Kat Von D’s Monarch Palette.
4. If you want a smoky eye
If you are looking for a perfect smoky eye, there are many palettes tailored to just that sort of look. There are so many, you can find a good one that gives you different variations on the smoky eye look, like a “daytime” smoky eye or a smoky eye with bright colors instead of just the standard basic black smoky eye. Too Faced’s Smoky Eye Palette is one of my personal favorites, and it comes with instructions.
5. If you want one giant palette
If you want one great big palette that will cover so many looks you basically never have to go shopping for makeup again? Try something like Sephora’s Chroma Eye Palette. With 54 shadows and 12 liners, you will never need to buy eyeshadow again.
6. If you like purple
Purple eye shadow can make blue eyes pop, and it really livens up green or hazel eyes and warms up browns. It is a nearly universally flattering color, so consider picking a palette with a good purple in it, like the Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con set in #7, The Tease, or ELF’s Beauty Journal in Smoky Look.
7. If you travel a lot
If you are planning on traveling frequently, having several smaller palettes can be easier than one great big one. Also consider a Z Palette, which lets you pop the shadows out of other containers and palettes and into this one for a custom palette you can take anywhere.
8. If you want something wild and crazy
If you are not into neutrals and are brave enough to wear the weird stuff no one else can figure out how to apply, try Urban Decay’s Electric Palette. In this case, it looks like clown makeup, but you can make it look awesome. Also, check out Sephora’s IT palette and LA Colors’ Palette in Haute.
9. If you need something for work
If you work in a conservative office environment and need something grown-up and professional, look for matte shadows in neutral colors that are easily blended. Something like Urban Decay’s Naked Basics should fit the bill or L.A. Colors’ 16-shade palette in Sweet.
10. If you want to spend the week on YouTube
If you are looking to refine your makeup technique by following along with some YouTube beauty tutorials, Urban Decay’s Naked Palette is a good one to buy. YouTube is littered with tutorials that show you how to use this palette to its best advantage. You could probably try a different look every day for a year and still not finish all the tutorials or run out of eyeshadow.
How To Use Eyeshadow Palettes Correctly
Hands up if you’ve ever bought an eyeshadow palette and only used one or two colors? Or have you bought a coordinating trio or quad and only ever worn the shades individually? That’s what I thought. The likelihood of most of us using more than two shades at once is about as likely as us contouring our faces before work every morning. Even with the palettes that smartly label where to put each color, the idea of going for a gradient eye still fills many of us with trepidation (how much of that is brow bone, and am I suppose to highlight it all?) Applying the wrong color in the wrong spot will make you look like a clown or a 10-year-old who stole her sister’s makeup box and colored it on her face.
Here are some great hacks on how to wear eyeshadow palettes correctly:
1. Eye Diagram
Let’s start with the basics, shall we? If you have no idea where the waterline is, how are you going to apply the shadow correctly?
2. Figure Out Your Eye Shape
If you’ve ever put on eye shadow that made you look like you had a black eye, you probably didn’t apply it according to your eye shape.
3. The Correct Order To Apply Shadow
Figuring out the correct way to layer your shadows is half the battle. Follow the chart above, then blend to perfection.
4. What Shade Goes Where
Confused about whether the light brown or medium shade goes on the crease? This shows you what shadow to put where, kind of like instructions for assembling an Ikea desk but better.
5. Eye Shadow Ideas For Your Eye Shape
Now that you know whether you have hooded or almond eyes and you know the correct order to apply your eyeshadow, you can go try out a few different versions of your most flattering look.
6. Increase Your Colors
This handy-dandy diagram shows you how to gradually increase your colors. Perfect if the thought of adding a second shade of green fills you with terror. Baby steps.
7. How to Highlight
A well-placed dot of white eyeshadow will make you look like you’ve had 8 hours of sleep, even if you really had 3 and 4 cups of coffee. If that isn’t magic, I don’t know what is.
8. How To Wear Monochrome Color
It’s time to graduate to the big color league. When you know where to put the emerald green, it really isn’t that much of a scary color after all. Promise.
9. How To Add a Pop Of Color
Do you have a palette with one color that doesn’t seem to quite go with the rest? They didn’t make a mistake at the factory; it’s supposed to be there. This tutorial is proof.
10. How To Wear A Trio Of Different Colored Brights
Gold, peach, and turquoise? Yes, please. You think it wouldn’t work, but it does. Why would they put the colors in a palette then?
11. How to Wear A Neutral Quad
Layering neutral shades can be just as pretty as layering different hues of sparkly purple.
12. How To Get A Crisp Line
Your smoky eye got a bit too smoky? This ingenious tip shows you how to get a crisp line, no matter how wobbly your hand.
13. How To Go Multicolored
Master this look, and you’ll be able to take on any makeup palette. No matter how proud you are, save this look for after work. Your girls will get it, but your co-workers probably won’t.