Eyeshadow Palettes You’ll Actually Use

No shade left behind.

two models wearing eyeshadow from one of the best eyeshadow palettes
(Image credit: Hanna Lassen/Getty)

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 eyeshadow palettes from Patrick Ta, these are our tried-and-tested favorite eyeshadow palettes. 

What to Look For

Skill Level

"When deciding to add an eyeshadow palette to your makeup collection you'll want to consider the type of makeup looks you want to achieve and also your skill level," says makeup artist and content creator Jonet Williamson. "If you're a beginner, pick up a palette that you can use from day to night."

Variety

While strictly matte or glitter palettes have a place, a great eyeshadow palette will typically contain a combination. "Look for one that has some really good matte textures (black, brown, and a nude) that suit your complexion as well as two to three shimmers: one more neutral for day time, a pressed glitter for more glam looks, and a warmer tone or fun pop of color," says Williamson.

Payoff

"When choosing an eyeshadow palette, I tend to gravitate towards a product or brand that has a beautiful color pay-off," says celebrity makeup artist Dominique Lerma. "Look for something that is finely milled, which means a little goes a long way during the application process."

The Best Eyeshadow Palettes

Meet the Expert

Jonet Williamson
Jonet Williamson

Makeup Artist, Jonet Williamson discovered her love for art at a very early age. While growing up in New Orleans, one of the world's most eclectic and inspiring cities, Jonet was admitted into the gifted art program of her magnet high school. Here is where she began to master color theory, symmetry, texture, and innovation. From paint brushes to makeup brushes, she has used those same skills to solidify her style as a pro within the beauty industry.

In 2005, Jonet began her journey in beauty working as a makeup artist for M.A.C. Cosmetics. Here the feeling of connecting with other women and helping them see the beauty within themselves became her greatest passion.

With a willingness to learn and an eye for perfection Jonet moved to New York City in 2014 determined to further her artistry and career. Since then, her work has been featured in commercial campaigns (Dolce & Gabanna, Levis, Shea Moisture), editorials (Essence, L'Officiel), and tv & film productions (CBS, MTV, TNT).

Dominique Lerma
Dominique Lerma

Dominique Lerma a Hollywood bred Internationally published Makeup Artist and Beauty Educator, known for her ability to create flawless complexions and innovative beauty looks. She grew her love for makeup artistry at a very ripe age and began beautifying faces for her fellow classmates at her all girl parochial high school. Her self taught passion flourished while she was given the opportunity of working with the world reknowned Mac Cosmetics and soon became a Viva Glam Ambassador. Her 9 years in the beauty industry has landed her on the pages of Instyle, Nylon, Runway, and Photo Vogue Italia.

 Dominique’s vast resume includes Beauty, editorial, celebrity, advertising, rebranding and bridal. She serves as a Beauty Educator for Frankie Rose Cosmetics and is a bilingual traveling sales representative for both Enzo Milano Professional Hair Styling Tools and Royal Langnickel Brush. Her creative expertise consists of Makeup artistry, hairstyling and men’s grooming.