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The best eyeshadow palettes, with recommendations from a celebrity make-up artist

We spoke to celebrity make-up artist Jaz Crush who gave us her tips on what to look for (and avoid) when shopping for an eyeshadow palette as well as some recommendations of her tried and tested favourites.

best eyeshadow palettes

Whether you’re creating a subtle nude look or adding a pop of colour, a good eyeshadow palette can make or break your make-up look.

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When shopping for an eyeshadow palette there is more to consider than you might think, from pigment and colour pay off, to fall-out and wearability. With a huge variety of products on the market, from travel-friendly all-rounders to statement glitter palettes, it can be hard to know what to look for.

An eyeshadow palette is an investment that will most likely sit in your cosmetics collection for some time, so you want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth, and luckily for you, The Recommended is here to help find the best eyeshadow palette for you.

To help us, we spoke to Jaz Crush, a celebrity make-up artist who knows a thing or two about eyeshadow palettes. Jaz gave us her advice on what to look for (and avoid) when shopping for an eyeshadow palette, as well as recommending a couple of her favourite products that have earned their place in her professional kit.

Jump to the best eyeshadow palettes

Our make-up expert

Celebrity make-up artist Jaz Crush and some of her signature eyeshadow looks
Celebrity make-up artist Jaz Crush and some of her signature eyeshadow looks (credit: Jaz Crush / instagram.com/jazcrush.artistry)

Jaz Crush is one of London’s most sought-after make-up artists and is affiliated with the iconic Bobbi Brown Studios. Jaz’s work has graced the runways of London Fashion Week as well as star-studded red carpets from the BAFTA’s to the NTAs, as well as countless private client events. She has a wealth of knowledge she has shared with us on a whole range of make-up-related topics, including the best foundations and the best concealers for every skin type.

What should you look for when buying an eyeshadow palette?

When asked what to look for when shopping for an eyeshadow palette, Jaz told us she “always recommend[s] looking for a good balance of matte and shimmer shades”.

“Ideally, you want one matte shade that could go all over the lid acting as a ‘base’ then a mid-toned matte shade that could be used all over the lid and blended into the eye socket, then a deep matte shade that can be used to intensify the eyes or used as a powder liner.”

“Then a few shimmer shades that you can use to highlight the eyes add a sheen all over the lid”.

What should you avoid when looking for an eyeshadow palette?

Jaz advised us not to buy a palette that we won’t realistically get a lot of use from, telling us to “try and find a pallet that has shades you feel you can get the use from.”

“I always recommend speaking to the beauty advisor on the counter when buying a pallet and asking them to show you the best way to use the shades. Often, they will end up showing you ways to use your new palette that you would never have considered!”.

Which is the best palette?

When asked for any specific product recommendations, Jaz told us, “I always start any eyeshadow look with a cream shadow in a neutral tone! I love the Bobbi Brown Longwear Cream Shadow Sticks, and my go-to shade to prime my lid is Shell!

“I’m terms of powder eyeshadow palettes, I really love the Anastasia Beverly Hills palettes as they have great pigmentation and are blended with ease! They also have a great ratio of mattes and shimmers!”.

The best eyeshadow palettes

Best colourful palette: NYX Professional Makeup Ultimate Eye Shadow Palette

Make a statement 

best colourful eyeshadow palette

This palette offers a rainbow of pigmented tones that are sure to add a pop of colour to any make-up look.

This palette features 16 vivid colours in a range of matte and shimmer shades allowing for versatile use. These vibrant colours promise serious staying power and colour pay-off for your brightest look yet.

Best shimmer palette: Rimmel Magnif’eyes Nude Edition Eyeshadow Palette

A twinkle in your eye

best shimmer eyeshadow palette

This affordable eyeshadow palette offers 12 shimmery shades that are sure to light up any eye look.

These eyeshadows are made with a super smooth formula and offer long-lasting rich colour. This versatile palette features a variety of colours, from neutral base tones to smokey shades, seamlessly taking your look from day to night.

Best neutral palette: Maybelline The Nudes Palette

Day-to-night glam 

best neutral eyeshadow palette

This neutral eyeshadow features 12 ultra-wearable shades that can take you from a subtle day look to a dramatic smokey eye with ease.

This eyeshadow palette really speaks to Jaz’s advice of choosing a palette you’ll get a lot of use out of. Coming in at an affordable price, this palette offers serious value for money and the range of nude tones are sure to suit any skin tone. This versatile palette offers both matte and shimmer shades and promises excellent colour payoff and budge-proof formula.

Best affordable palette: Makeup Revolution Flawless Ultra Eyeshadows Palette

Value for money 

best affordable eyeshadow palette

This affordable eyeshadow palette features 32 warm and neutral tones in both matte and shimmer finishes for versatile use.

This eyeshadow palette offers a huge variety of shades for an affordable price in a sleek lightweight design. This palette comes equipped with a large inbuilt mirror for added convenience both at home and on the move.

Best for travel: Urban Decay Naked Basics Eyeshadow Palette

Compact and versatile

best travel eyeshadow palette

This lightweight slim palette will slide easily into any make-up bag and features six essential shades and velvety soft formulas.

This iconic palette is the perfect travel companion, the cool-toned neutral shades offer a matte finish and can be used as eyeliner or to fill in the brows as needed. This palette is formulated to offer superior pigmentation with minimal fall-out and the spectrum of tones can create both subtle and dramatic looks with ease.

Best cruelty-free palette: Anastasia Beverly Hills Soft Glam Eyeshadow Palette

Trusted quality

best cruelty-free eyeshadow palette

Our make-up expert Jaz recommended Anastasia Beverly Hills palettes for their ‘great pigmentation’ and superior blendability.

This cruelty-free eyeshadow palette features 14 shades in warm tones and a variety of matte and shimmer finishes. This palette is also made with travel-friendly compact packaging that features a good-sized mirror and a double-ended brush for added convenience.

Best matte palette: e.l.f. Mad For Matte Eyeshadow Palette

Subtle style

best matte eyeshadow palette

This affordable eyeshadow palette features 10 matte shades that offer the versatility to create both subtle daytime looks and show-stopping smokey eyes.

This eyeshadow palette comes in a lightweight, sleek design and features pigmented, cruelty-free formulas. This warm-toned palette offers ten shades that work to complement a range of skin tones and the super-soft formulas promise long-lasting quality.

Best vegan palette: Lime Crime Venus XL Eyeshadow Palette

Conscious quality

best vegan eyeshadow palette

This eyeshadow palette features 18 vegan, cruelty-free shades in a compact travel-friendly design.

This vegan eyeshadow palette combines neutral, warm tones with pops of colour in both matte and shimmer finishes for a truly versatile product. This palette comes equipped with a good-sized mirror and features buttery soft formulas that offer optimal colour payoff with minimal fallout.

Best refillable palette: Mac Pro Customisable Eyeshadow palette

For bespoke style

best refillable eyeshadow palette

This eyeshadow palette allows you to fill it with your favourite shades for a product you will get real use out of and reduce waste.

This Mac Pro palette comes empty with space for four shades allowing you to create your perfect essentials palette. Individual shades can be purchased separately with minimal packaging, helping you to reduce waste and save money on colours you know you’ll never use.

Best shadow stick: Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick

A versatile base

best eyeshadow stick

Our expert Jaz recommends you prime your eyes with this cream shadow stick to get the most out of your palette and preserve your look for longer.

Okay so this product is clearly not an eyeshadow palette, but our expert Jaz couldn’t resist mentioning this product as the first step in any eye look she creates. This cream shadow stick is super blendable, lightweight and buildable, offering the perfect canvas to create your eye look.

How to clean an eye shadow palette

Due to their long-lasting nature, eyeshadow palettes are investment products that tend to sit in our make-up collections for a long time. So, how do you keep a palette clean and hygienic with continued use?

Remove excess powder

When powder eyeshadows get a lot of use or have a particularly soft formula, product fallout can collect around your palette. Using a dry tissue or cotton swab brush away this excess powder to keep your palette clean. To clean more stubborn stains, try using a cotton pad and some micellar water, take care not to use too much liquid as it may affect powder formulas.

Use an alcohol-based cleaning mist

Using 70% isopropyl alcohol is the best way to clean powder make-up products. Simply fill a spray bottle with 70% isopropyl alcohol, which can be purchased online or in drugstores, and lightly mist your eyeshadow palette. Allow your palette to dry before using it again.

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Want to read more expert-recommended beauty product round-ups? Check out our Cosmetics page for a full list of recommendations, including our list of the best mascaras, best concealers, the best foundations and the best fake tans – and check out our guide to the best value beauty advent calendars of 2022