For Holiday Glam
The holidays are practically synonymous with soft glam, and no look is complete without a shimmery palette. (Not to mention they make great gifts.) London-based makeup artist Ammy Drammeh, whose work has been seen on faces like Michaela Coel, Harry Styles, and Adut Akech, favors the Dior Backstage Eye palette. “It’s become a staple in my kit. They are high pigment, have matte and shimmery finish and their shades are neutral. Perfect for a laidback or glamorous look.”
Other palettes worth adding to your rotation? Milani’s Gilded Nude Palette and the Curated 5-Pan Palette from Hourglass in shade Desert Earth.
For Supercharged Color
Michael Anthony (who’s worked with stars like Ariana Grande and Paris Hilton), says he loves the NikkiTutorials x Beauty Bay palette because “the colors are super charged with pigment and the unique duo chrome shades have a lot going for them: they twinkle like a refined glitter and go on like a silky cream to powder formula!” Anthony notes the multifunctional appeal of this palette as well: “I’ve used these to highlight the cheekbones and brow bones and I love that they are semi-transparent which makes them really fun for layering,” he says. “I love that they are not exclusively for the eye.”
If you believe in going bold or staying home, then it wouldn’t hurt to add ABH’s Norvina Pro Pigment Palette and Juvia’s Place The Zulu Eyeshadow Palette to your collection as well.
For the Minimalist at Heart
Remi Odunsi, who has done makeup for Raveena and Ziwe, is a self-described minimalist. Accordingly, she explains, “my criteria for a good palette is anything with both matte and shimmery shades that also bring some pops of color.” The Amrezzy palette is her favorite thanks to its warm-toned variety, wet or dry. “Best to put this one on before makeup or to use a kleenex on your face to avoid fallout,” she advises.
Ultra minimal and sleek, Glossier’s new Monochromes Trio will cover your matte and shimmer needs in a case that’s perfect for on-the-go touchups, while the Mineralist Sunlit Palette from BareMinerals comes with the only shadows you’ll need to create natural-looking depth to your eye.
For Earth Tones That Pop
Sheriff appreciates the Juvia’s Place palette’s range of vibrant and rich earth tones. Plus, she notes, “it won’t break the bank, as they’re each under $20 bucks!” Other palettes worth considering in this category are Ilia’s The Necessary Palette and Chanel’s Les 4 Ombres Quadra Eyeshadow in Blurry Green.
For a Touch of Luxury
“What I love is how easily the shadows glide on with a makeup brush. This can be seen in the pigmentation of the eyeshadow which allows for the eye to pop! This is also true when combining colors, whether a smoky eye or building on three or more vivid colors,” says Erika La Pearl, who can’t get enough of Mthrshp Mega: Celestial Divinity Palette. “Pat McGrath has a variety of palettes with amazing shades which complement and enhance. Also, the packaging and quality is what draws and catches your attention. You feel like doing your very best and also making the client look ‘glamorous.’”
Makeup artist Yolonda Frederick, who works with Ciara, seconds these sentiments. “I’m a huge fan of reflective shadows. And Pat McGrath Labs’ Mthrship Mega: Celestial Divinity palette is a stunning collection of shimmery shadows with two or three contrasting matte colors. These luminescent shadows are richly pigmented with a buttery texture for a silky smooth application. This is hands down one of my favorite, most versatile palettes.”
For the All-In-One
Bob Scott, who works with designer Aurora James and Padma Lakshmi, among others, loves the Viseart palettes because “they come in all sorts of color combinations, from neutral to bright to pastel colors, with 16 shades in each compact. The color payoff is great and the formula is easy to blend.”
The Nars Climax Extreme Palette is another recent favorite for Scott due to its versatility. “Its selection of shades can work on anyone for daytime, nighttime, natural or deep and smoky.” Other palettes that will cover every eye look you can imagine: Beauty Bay’s Bright 42 Colour Palette and Morphe’s 35M Boss Mood Artistry Palette.
For the Perfect Smoky Eye
Anthony says the Lorac Pro Palette Noir, along with the brand’s Pro Palette Soleil, are two of his favorites. “They are mesmerizing palettes that encompass a full spectrum of cool and warm neutral tones as well as matte and glittery foiled finishes, so they have been a sure bet for my kit. I really admire the amount of shades they have worked into such a compact and chic palette,” he says. “These are an excellent choice when you want some range—whether you’re daytime business Zooming with a neutral wash of color or making an appearance at a your favorite Zoom Party session in a clubbed out smoky eye, you have everything you need in the palm of your hand!” Also consider Fenty Beauty’s Snap Shadows Palette in Smoky and Chanel’s Les 4 Ombres Eyeshadow in Modern Glamour.
For Precious Jewel Tones
“I’m in love with [Huda Beauty’s] Naughty Palette which came out for the holiday,” Sheriff says. “It is filled with a wonderful range of mattes, shimmers and glittery shadows in wonderful jewel and earth tones.” Too Faced’s That’s My Jam Palette and Milani’s Gilded Jewel Palette can also add a wonderfully decadent effect to any makeup look.
For the Avant-Garde
Makeup artist Marcelo Gutierrez, the go-to makeup artist for Christopher John Rogers’ shows, says the Pat McGrath Labs Mothership III is his most-used palette. “I love all of the Pat McGrath eye shadow palettes. They really are worth the investment! The colors are so unique, rich in pigment, easy to use and she has some of the most unique finishes that have now become so signature to the brand.”
For another palette that features a unique selection of vibrant hues, check out Byredo’s 5 Colours Palette in Syren.
For Day-to-Night Wear
Delina Medhin, who has worked with Issa Rae, says she loves the Stupid Love Eyeshadow by Haus Laboratories because “it has colors in there for both everyday and fun so you can have fun with it but also do everyday glam.” Other options for a bit of everyday sparkle are the Voyageur Eyeshadow Palette from Nars and Urban Decay’s Naked2 Basics.
For Those Who Favor a Cult Fave
Odunsi calls the Lorac Pro Palette an “oldie but goodie,” adding that the brand’s selection is “great because they go on smooth, have great pigment and don’t leave a lot of fall out. The Original Pro Palette (#1) is a nice cool-toned eye palette, especially if your vibe is chill and you like more muted colors. This one has shimmer, matte and muted color variety. Solid for a nice chill slay!” A couple of additional cult-faves you’ve likely seen in tutorials: the iconic Urban Decay Naked Palette (now Reloaded) and Charlotte Tilbury’s Starry Eyes To Hypnotise Palette.