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The 11 Best Eyeshadow Palettes for Day, Night and Everything In Between

Best Eyeshadow Palettes
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updated: July 8, 2024
edited by Amber Katz

Containing everything from basic neutrals to glittery rainbow hues, eyeshadow palettes are perhaps the most inspiring part of your makeup routine. You get to play with color and palettes make it easy to carry one piece with your base, crease, and highlight in one. These days, though, it seems that every brand offers many palettes (with endless assortments of colors). Unlike shopping for beauty tools or eye creams, a good eyeshadow depends on the person wearing it—if you’re looking for something toned-down for work, you won’t want the palette that’s filled with neon shades, or if you’re fair, you won’t want one filled with pastels. To help sort through the choices, we researched dozens of eyeshadow palettes to help you pick the one that’s likely to suit your style.

Best eyeshadow palette for beginners: Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Instant Eyeshadow Palette

Best for beginners
Instant Eye Palette Pillow Talk

Instant Eye Palette Pillow Talk

This 12-shade eyeshadow palette is great for beginners because it organizes colors into four looks—day, desk, date, and dream. One reviewer said, “One of the most beautiful eye palettes I have ever purchased! Colors are perfect for any occasion. It’s very easy to mix/match.”

Specifications:

  • Number of Shades: 12
  • Finishes: Matte, pearlized and metallic
  • Size: 12 shades with 0.02 ounces each
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes, Leaping Bunny Certified
  • Price on publish: $75

What we like:

  • We love the built-in roadmap and how easily the shades go on and blend well.

What we don't like:

  • Of course, the $75 price tag is more than you expect at entry level.

Best all-in-one eyeshadow palette: Dior Backstage Eyeshadow Palette in Rosewood Neutrals

Best all-in-one
Dior BACKSTAGE Eyeshadow Palette 002 Smoky Essentials 0.4 oz / 12 mL

Dior BACKSTAGE Eyeshadow Palette 002 Smoky Essentials 0.4 oz / 12 mL

This gorgeous little compact is an influencer favorite for good reason. It has all you need to build a beautiful eye look. Dior’s beauty line is known for its luxury foundations, men’s colognes and women’s fragrances, but this all-in-one eyeshadow palette is a true winner. With one creamy eye primer and eight blendable shades in matte and shimmer finishes, you won’t need much more than this for a multitude of eye looks.

Specifications:

  • Number of Shades: 8 + a primer
  • Finishes: Matte and shimmers
  • Size: 2.86 ounces
  • Cruelty-Free: No
  • Price on publish: $52

What we like:

  • The rose and brown shades in this palette are versatile and beautifully pigmented.
  • Includes a primer.

What we don't like:

  • It will set you back $52.

Best eyeshadow palette for everyday use: Anastasia Beverly Hills Soft Glam Eyeshadow Palette

Best for everyday use
Anastasia Beverly Hills Soft Glam Eyeshadow Palette

Anastasia Beverly Hills Soft Glam Eyeshadow Palette

This limited-edition set includes all of Anastasia’s fan favorites that have highly-pigmented formulas. The easily buildable and blendable palette includes nine ultra-matte and five metallic eyeshadows for both day and night.

Specifications:

  • Number of Shades: 14
  • Finishes: Matte and Shimmers
  • Size: 14 shades with 0.02 ounces each
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes
  • Price on publish: $41

What we like:

  • High-quality pigments mean that the colors are true to what you see in the palette and wear beautifully.

What we don't like:

  • High price point.

Best affordable eyeshadow palette: NYX Professional Ultimate Shadow Palette in Warm Neutrals

Best affordable
NYX Professional Makeup Ultimate Color Shadow Palette Warm Neutrals

NYX Professional Makeup Ultimate Color Shadow Palette Warm Neutrals

At just $20, this line of eyeshadow palettes certainly packs a punch. Each seasonal palette comes with 16 shades, which means you’re paying just over $1 per color. We love the useful palette for everyone but if you’re looking to have some fun, give the Paradise Shock eyeshadow palette a whirl.

Specifications:

  • Number of Shades: 16
  • Finishes: Matte, Metallics and shimmers
  • Size: 16 shades with 0.02 ounces each
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes, PETA-approved
  • Price on publish: $20

What we like:

  • The shadows are highly pigmented and feel much more rich than their price point would suggest.

What we don't like:

  • The packaging gives us drugstore vibes.

Best pastel eyeshadow palettes: Juvia’s Place Garden Of Juvia's Eyeshadow Palette

Best pastel
Juvia's Place Garden of Juvia's Palette

Juvia's Place Garden of Juvia's Palette

This richly pigmented palette is a favorite among makeup artists, YouTubers, and casual cosmetics enthusiasts alike. ​​”Juvia’s Place is my go-to brand for highly pigmented and affordable makeup,” said beauty content producer, Jenn Aye. “The rich formula of the shadows and the versatility of looks that can be created from the Garden of Juvia palette is any makeup enthusiasts must-have, especially for the price point of under $25.”

Specifications:

  • Number of Shades: 16
  • Finishes: Matte and Shimmers
  • Size: 7.05 ounces
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes
  • Price on publish: $23

What we like:

  • The palette of lilacs, lavenders, mauves, soft pinks, mint green and pastel yellows has a pastel shade for every complexion.

What we don't like:

  • The fun colors are a joy to experiment with, but we wish they had less fallout upon application.

Best nude-toned eyeshadow palette: Dose of Colors Baked Browns Eyeshadow Palette

Best nude-toned
Baked Browns Eyeshadow Palette

Baked Browns Eyeshadow Palette

This warm-toned, nude eyeshadow palette features five ultra-pigmented matte shades in a variety of saturations, from beige to caramel to reddish brown. The shadows have a smooth, buttery feel and build really easily, whether you’re going for an everyday, natural look or a smokey eye.

Specifications:

  • Number of Shades: 5
  • Finishes: Matte
  • Size: 5 shades with 0.06 ounces each
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes
  • Price on publish: $32

What we like:

  • We love that these shades are formulated without talc and parabens.

What we don't like:

  • The colors are so good we wish there were more than just five in this palette.

Best glitter eyeshadow palette: ColourPop Truly Madly Deeply Eyeshadow Palette

Best glitter
Truly Madly Deeply Pressed Powder Eyeshadow Palette

Truly Madly Deeply Pressed Powder Eyeshadow Palette

The assortment of peachy pinks and mauves seems to be universally beloved and the price point makes it an affordable option for most. The metallic, pearlized, and glitter finishes offer variety, have good pigmentation, and wear nicely without fallout.

Specifications:

  • Number of Shades: 20
  • Finishes: Glitter, Pearlized, metallic and matte
  • Size: 6.7 ounces
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes
  • Price on publish: $24

What we like:

  • If you’re looking for some power in the glitter category, this one's for you.

What we don't like:

  • The con, of course, is the same: It might be too glittery for those looking for something subtle.

Best natural eyeshadow palette: Too Faced Born This Way The Natural Nudes Eyeshadow Palette

Best natural
Too Faced Born This Way The Natural Nudes Eye Shadow Palette

Too Faced Born This Way The Natural Nudes Eye Shadow Palette

This modern nude eyeshadow palette has 16 beautiful shades to work with all skin tones. Inspired by the Born This Way Foundation's stunning color collection, the creamy, nude shades included can be used to create a natural glow. Cosmetics content creator Gillian Grace said, “I absolutely love the Too Faced Born This Way Palette because of how versatile it is. There’s a balanced combination of shimmer and matte eyeshadows, making it easy to transition from day to night looks; a perfect palette if you had to pick just one.”

Specifications:

  • Number of Shades: 15
  • Finishes: Matte and Shimmer
  • Size: .48 ounces
  • Cruelty-Free: No
  • Price on publish: $52

What we like:

  • The ingredients list includes coconut water, alpine rose, and hyaluronic acid, which all have moisturizing benefits.
  • There’s a neutral color for every skin tone in this palette.

What we don't like:

  • The large packaging might take up a lot of space in your cosmetics case.
  • The price point is on the expensive side.

Best matte eyeshadow palettes: Urban Decay Naked2 Basics Eyeshadow Palett

Many credit Urban Decay Naked Palettes as the creator of the palette trend. Of course, they weren’t the first to make an eyeshadow palette, but they were the first to make YouTube tutorials with their products a regular thing. This miniature version has all the mattes you need—from base to crease to highlight—and can still fit in your makeup bag or purse.

Specifications:

  • Number of Shades: 6
  • Finishes: Matte
  • Size: 6 shades with 0.05 ounces each
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes
  • Price on publish: $33

What we like:

  • We love the range of almost-universally flattering shades.
  • Compact size easily fits into a purse or makeup bag.

What we don't like:

  • These mattes run a bit more sheer than we usually see in a palette, but they’re also buildable.

Best drugstore eyeshadow palette: Maybelline The Nudes Eyeshadow Palette

Best drugstore
Maybelline Eyeshadow Palette The Nudes 12 Shade Palette

Maybelline Eyeshadow Palette The Nudes 12 Shade Palette

The velvety, highly-pigmented eye shadows in this affordable palette is available at any drugstore—and it’s also been reviewed as one of the best palettes Maybelline ever created. “This is a pleasure to touch and use and it gives a true-to-palette-color pay off at the first stroke,” said one reviewer.

Specifications:

  • Number of Shades: 12
  • Finishes: Mattes and Metallics
  • Size: .34 ounces
  • Cruelty-free: Maybelline does not test its products or ingredients on animals
  • Price on publish: $13

What we like:

  • Of course, we love the price point.
  • Widely-available.
  • The new formulation gives the eyeshadows a creamy texture.

What we don't like:

  • Many reviewers complained of its lack of saturation, noting you have to add many applications to see the pigmentation.

Best splurge eyeshadow palette: Pat McGrath Mothership IX Eyeshadow Palette in Huetopian Dream Multicolored

Best splurge
PAT McGRATH LABS Mothership IX Eyeshadow Palette: Huetopian Dream

PAT McGRATH LABS Mothership IX Eyeshadow Palette: Huetopian Dream

Pat McGrath has been the queen of color for years now—the renowned makeup artist has put a premium on exceptional pigmentation, high-tech formulas, and innovative finishes. Beauty influencers and makeup industry insiders swear by her eyeshadow palettes. The Mothership IX palette beautifully showcases why the line is so beloved, with its 10 blendable high-performance eyeshadows in five futuristic finishes.

Specifications:

  • Number of Shades: 10
  • Finishes: Matte, Shimmer, metallic, satin and high-shine
  • Size: 10 shades with 0.047 ounces each
  • Cruelty-Free: No
  • Price on publish: $128

What we like:

  • The unique, highly-pigmented colors are surprisingly wearable.
  • The holographic finishes are particularly stunning.

What we don't like:

  • The price point is definitely “luxury.”

How we selected the best eyeshadow palettes

We researched the most popular eye shadow palettes reviewed by makeup artists and beauty influencers in the field. We selected the best for each category based on eye safety, use with other eye creams and cosmetics, application, ingredients and price point.

How to choose the best eyeshadow palette for you

Choosing an eyeshadow palette depends on your eye color, your skin tones and undertones, and what you’re looking to achieve. Whether you’re choosing neutral shades for an every-day work look or bold pastels and jewel-tone colors for artistic drama, ensure that there are colors that will work for your eyelid base, deeper crease color and highlight for the inner corners and arches.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How do you pick an eyeshadow palette?

Choosing an eyeshadow palette that’s best for you can be based on budget, availability, ingredients, or colorway. Use your eye color as inspiration (purples look great on green eyes, warm tones work well for blue eyes and gold and beige colors accentuate brown eyes), then select a palette based on the range of colors and textures you want to work with.

How long do eyeshadow palettes last?

Most eyeshadow palettes are powder-based formulations, which means they’ll last a pretty long time in your makeup case. As opposed to the best eye creams, foundations or other cream-based or oil-based beauty products, you can use powder-based eye shadows for up to 12 months after they’ve been opened. You can also stock up, as they’re usable for up to 36 months if unopened. Remember to clean each shadow with alcohol occasionally, especially if you’re using a palette on people other than yourself. Makeup artists sanitize after every application.

How should I pack eyeshadow palettes for travel?

Eyeshadows can be delicate and break easily while traveling, so we always suggest storing them in your carry-on. Avoid carrying large or expensive eyeshadow palettes while traveling, but if you must, you can add cotton pads or a thinned out cotton ball to absorb any impact.

How do you clean an eyeshadow palette?

The best method for cleaning (or disinfecting) an eyeshadow palette is with rubbing alcohol. Simply pour rubbing alcohol (at least 70% isopropyl alcohol) into a small spray bottle, then spray down your palette and let dry.

How do you apply eyeshadow from an eyeshadow palette?

While you can use your fingertips to quickly swipe on eyeshadow, the oils from your skin can introduce bacteria into your palette and can also absorb into the shadows themselves (changing the way they wear and reducing their lifespans). Instead, use an eyeshadow brush.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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