I have a love/hate relationship with makeup palettes. Yes, I like the convenience, cute packaging and value that often accompanies makeup palettes, but it seems like there are always duds or shades that just don’t work with me. Luckily, there are a few palettes that truly deliver, in terms of color, quality and convenience.
1. Urban Decay Naked3 Palette. This is a classic for a reason. I love all of the rosy shades and the quality of Urban Decay eyeshadows is phenomenal. Sometimes, brands reduce the quality of products included in palettes so that the “value” that is supposed to be inherent in palettes is actually totally non-existent (I’m looking at you MAC), but Urban Decay cuts no corners, so this is a great value.
2. and 3. Urban Decay Naked Palette and Hourglass Cosmetics Ambient Lighting Palette. The Urban Decay Naked Palette is the one that started it all. It’s the original and has inspired many duplicates for good reason. The shadows are versatile and super pigmented. While the Naked3 has a definite color scheme that people will either love or hate, the Naked palette has something for everyone. You can accomplish a simple daytime look with just a wash of metallic gold or bronze, or you can go full-on glam with a dark smokey eye. This palette is awesome and great to have whether you’re building your makeup collection, or are a full on beauty addict. Must have.
The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette is awesome, and the more I use it, the more I like it. Swatched on the skin, the shades come out so ashy and unflattering so I skipped that for this post, but when applied lightly to the face, magic happens. I prefer to use dim light (left) all over the face as a setting or finishing powder. Incandescent light (middle) looks really pretty as a highlight under my eyes, along my brow bone and along the bridge of my nose. Radiant light (right) has a subtle bronze color that looks nice along my cheekbones. I was pleasantly surprised by this product and am glad I gave it a shot.
4. NARS Makeup Your Mind: Express Yourself Eyes Palette. This palette has some great colors for fall and its compact size makes it perfect for travel. I am a huge fan of NARS products, but have to admit that the quality is slightly lower than what is found in their eyeshadow singles and duos. Still good quality and very versatile, but it’s disappointing when brands lower the quality on their palettes.
5. Anastasia Beverly Hills Tamanna Palette. I brought this with me to New York a couple of weeks ago, and think this is a very versatile palette. This is my first experience with Anastasia Beverly Hills eyeshadow, and I’m very pleased. This is the most affordable of the palettes mentioned here, and the quality is on par with the more high-end brands (and actually better quality than the NARS palette). The shadows are rich and smooth and blend easily. The shade noir is the most impressive because it actually shows up as a deep, dark opaque black. So frequently, dark, matte shadows are chalky and difficult to blend, but this is a really great shadow. I’m very happy with this palette and am excited to see what comes next from the brand.