If you’re not head over heels in love with your eyeshadow palette, I promise you: You just haven’t found the right one. Because when you discover the best eyeshadow palette, no shade will go untouched, no look is out of the question, and no loose pigments or pots are necessary. But as is true with most categories in the beauty world, it’s easy to get blinded by pretty packaging and 40,000 options. When you *really* get into the eye makeup of it all, though, you’ll notice that the best eyeshadow palettes should check a handful of non-negotiable boxes. Celebrity makeup artist Ashlee Glazer tells Marie Claire that she asks herself the following questions before investing: “Does it have a variety of colors to be used for more than one function? Is there a medium blending tone and a glitter? Is there a popular, everyday shade I’ll always reach for?”
While there are plenty of 12-plus pan palettes for anyone who likes to switch up their status quo, four shades is really all you need. “A perfect palette has a medium or bright-toned lid color, a rich, deep tone for definition or liner, a blending shade that is a combination of the first two, and something with a sparkly finish or frosty tone to highlight or add a pop,” says Glazer. Of course, there’s no such thing as having too many eyeshadow palettes, so we’re all for purchasing in bulk—or giving your collection a refresh. FYI: Eyeshadow palettes typically expire every year or two.
To help guide you on this very exciting makeup journey, or give you some gift-spo for the holiday season, scroll ahead. With glitter eyeshadows from Charlotte Tilbury and unbeatable neutral eyeshadows from Patrick Ta, these are our tried-and-tested favorite eyeshadow palettes.
The Best Eyeshadow Palettes
Best Eyeshadow Palette for Beginners
Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Eyeshadow Palette Pillow Talk
Don’t get me wrong, 12-pan palettes have their time and place. But if you’re looking for a palette that delivers one, perfectly curated eye look, Charlotte Tilbury has you covered. These compact little quads make a statement-making eye beginner-friendly. Each set has a prime, enhance, smoke, and pop, so you know exactly what to do with each color. My obsession with this baby, however, is rooted in the longwear results and blendable formula. It stays looking fresh from a.m. to p.m. and miraculously never creases. Pillow Talk Dreams is my colorway of choice (I’m big into the pink tones), but there’s a set for every undertone and aesthetic.
Best Luxury Eyeshadow Palette
Chanel Les 4 Ombres Tweed
While I desperately wanted to preserve the iconic Chanel tweed embossing (how amazing, you guys?), I promise you the rich formulas that await you are worth the destruction. The colors across the board are unlike anything I’ve ever seen—they’re true-to-color and strike the perfect balance between intense and inviting. Add the long-lasting mineral pigments and nourishing plant oils to the mix, and you’re guaranteed an eye makeup look that will look fresh around the clock. Each compact comes with two medium colors ideal for the base and crease, along with a deeper and lighter shade to customize your look.
Most Versatile Eyeshadow Palette
Patrick Ta Major Dimension Eyeshadow Palette
This palette is worth the investment—and you can trust me here. I’ve hit pan on each and every square. Versatility is at the forefront, with a mix of cream bases, velvety mattes, metallic shades, and opalescent toppers for an extra lil pop. Mixing and matching is a go, but if you look closely, you’ll notice the palette is ~technically~ broken down into three quads that are uber-compatible. No matter what combo you choose, I pinky promise that everything is super wearable. Nothing will feel too intense or bold off the bat—it’s buildable by design.
Best Do-it-All Eyeshadow Palette
Lawless The One Talc-Free Eyeshadow Palette
If one-and-done is your eye makeup motto, this palette is for you. With 18 shades, including a white creamy primer and a jet black that can be used as a smudged eyeliner, this quite literally has everything you could ever need. There’s a handful of light neutrals great for daytime, bolder hues for times when you want a fun pop, or deeper tones that come in handy when you want a smoky eye or more intense glam. Pro Tip: Apply the shimmer shades with your finger for a more intense sparkle and wet the colors you want to make into a liquid liner.
Best Build-Your-Own Eyeshadow Palette
Hourglass Curator Palette
Hands down, the worst part about investing in an eyeshadow palette is letting a handful of colors go to waste. But good news: Hourglass has a solution. This genius product lets you make the palette of your choice. Take your pick from a wide variety of single shade inserts and pop ‘em on into the gold shell. That way, you’ll be left with a palette you actually intend on using. The best part? Once you hit bottom on the colors, you just refill the palette with a new set.
Best Everyday Eyeshadow Palette
Roen Beauty 75 Warm Eyeshadow Palette
For an intuitive, easy-to-use palette that’s great for everyday wear, scoop up this Roén quad. It’ll become a staple in your routine in no time. The creamy pigments truly flatter undertones across the board and can be worn solo or layered. The main selling point with this palette however is that it’s finger friendly. In fact, I never dirty a brush when I use it. Just press your (clean) fingers into your shade of choice and swipe it directly onto your lid.
Best Nighttime Eyeshadow Palette
Mented Cosmetics Everynight Eyeshadow Palette
Pigment is the name of the game with this bold beauty buy. With everything from deep navy blues to pops of bright pink, there’s ample opportunity to have fun with your makeup look. While a handful of shades are certainly daytime appropriate, the fun shimmers and intense mattes can up the ante on your eye makeup for a night out. As an added bonus, the palette is vegan, non-toxic, and cruelty-free.
Best Buildable Eyeshadow Palette
Pat McGrath Mothership VI: Midnight Sun
I mean…this is a party palette if we’ve ever seen one. While there are shimmer, satin, and glitter finishes to spare, our favorite shade is Blood Moon: A warm copper that glistens upon application. As is typical with all Pat McGrath shadows, these are reflective as can be, buildable to the max, and pigmented as hell. (Editor’s note: While the shades can be used dry, spray them with a setting spray to get a liquid metal effect.)
Best Classic Eyeshadow Palette
Urban Decay Naked Reloaded Eyeshadow Palette
Beauty lovers everywhere mourned when Urban Decay announced the discontinuation of their iconic Naked palette. Fortunately, this gem came along to appease our sorrows. Their “reloaded” palette comes with the same versatile shade selection that we know and adore.