New intelligent pigments, velvety formulas and innovative colour combinations mean we are witnessing the rebirth of the eyeshadow palette.
Move over lipstick, budge up mascara, right now it’s all about the eyeshadow palette. Compact and commuter-friendly, the popularity of palettes means the market is now worth £38.5million, thanks to the likes of Urban Decay and Huda Beauty, who have cleverly curated perfect palettes that combine wearability with excellent engineering and diversity. We’re talking about shades that complement – and don’t get lost on – all skintones; textures that can be worn in both boardrooms and bars; and pigments that boast more technology than PC World. The result? Brilliant colour pay-off, hours of wear and thoughtfully edited choices.
Increasingly, when a brand lifts the lid on a palette, the contents consist of new and exclusive shades that you can’t buy individually. Furthermore, the shades are designed to work in harmony with one another, allowing you to effortlessly combine them in hundreds of classic and unique looks. Better still, competition for sales is so intense that the latest compacts contain no ‘filler’ shades (swamp green, anyone?), so you won’t leave a single colour untouched. But with so much choice, how will you know which palette will work best for you? Stylist has the answer. Scroll down to find your new go-to palette.
The ultimate box sets
From colour-changing metallics to subtle neutrals, there’s an eyeshadow palette for everyone…
Urban Decay Beached Eyeshadow Palette
Best for: colour-phobes
Bursting with swatches none of us has seen before, this has sent make-up obsessives into meltdown long before its launch on 7 June. Universally flattering shades range from fail-safe bronze to wildcard turquoise, and include Urban Decay’s Pigment Infusion System. That means each matte and metallic formula offers huge colour impact, blends like a dream and has real staying power.
It Cosmetics Superhero Eye Transforming Super Palette
Best for: novices
Not only delivering rich, silky pigments that last, this also offers an added surge of antioxidants, peptides, silk and hydrolysed collagen to plump and protect fragile skin. Think that’s clever? All 12 neutral shades suit skintones across the board. Additional nifty Eye Foundations provide an easy base layer that neutralises discolouration and makes each colour pop vividly on the skin.
Natasha Denona Eyeshadow Palette 28 Purple Blue
Best for: pros (with deep pockets)
Make-up artist Natasha Denona has created 28 earthy, jewel and precious metal tones that suit all skin colours, feel like velvet and blend like butter. We’ve never seen such rich, full-coverage pigment. Choose from duo-chrome shades, which shift colour when they catch the light, and sparkling swatches that twinkle as you blink. Not to mention silky mattes and Denona’s famous metallics, which lend lids a captivating foil effect.
Huda Beauty Rose Gold Remastered Eyeshadow Palette
Best for: trendsetters
Huda Beauty’s original rose gold palette, which sold out on Cult Beauty moments after its launch in 2016, has undergone a serious upgrade. All 18 shades have been reformulated, which means application is satisfyingly smooth and the mesmerising metallics are now compatible with brushes, not just fingers. Die-hard fans will notice brand-new swatches, while much-loved matte shades like Maneater, a dusky red, and Sandalwood, a buttery caramel, are packed with even more pigment.
Morphe 350 Nature Glow Matte Eyeshadow Palette
Best for: neutral lovers
The all-matte sequel to Morphe’s sell-out 350 palette has 35 colours, including punchy burnt orange, brick red and an abundance of nude shades suitable for all skintones. Whether you use a brush or delve in with fingers, a single dusting blankets lids in full-bodied pigment that suits all eye colours and stays put.
Kat Von D Metalmatte Mini Eyeshadow Palette
Best for: the compassionate
Cruelty-free and 100% vegan, the 10 coordinating colours in juxtaposing matte and metallic textures mix and match for serious dimension. One sweep yields a lucid wash of colour that promises to stand out without collecting in the creases.
Main image: Karina Twiss