How to get the most out of an eyeshadow palette

Nikki ParkinsonBeauty 16 Comments

There is something about an eyeshadow palette that seduces me in with promises of fabulous colour contouring combinations.

Only … I’m guilty of sticking to the same one or two colours in a palette, leaving the others lonely and untouched.

Why stick to a palette then?

Good question. I’m glad you asked.

I have two reasons:

1. Typically eyeshadow palettes offer better value for money than buying singular eyeshadow colours.

2. If you’re travelling – overnight or for a longer stay – packing an eyeshadow palette is a no-brainer of a space saver.

How to get the most out of an eyeshadow palette?

Firstly you need to start with a mix of colours that contain one or two of the colours you usually wear.

For me, that’s a nude/taupe/brown neutral mix. This is a combination that brings out the blue in my eyes.

It’s also a combination that can be worn toned down during the day and ramped up with darker tones and more definition around the eye for night.

I also look for eye colour with strong pigmentation and staying power. This is not always price dependent and it can be a bit trial and error to find a palette and brand that works.

On the higher end of the scale, you can try these out at makeup counters, even booking in for a makeup application.

On the lower end, you’ll need to take a chance on your purchase but you won’t be paying out a huge sum to start with, which will ease the pain.

If you read on, you’ll see two I’m currently using – one on the higher end of the scale; the other a budget-friendly beauty purchase. Both are fabulous.

Eyeshadow terms to understand

To better get the most out of an eyeshadow palette you have to get your head around some terminology.

A bit like in this post about how to contour face makeup, once you’ve nailed the terminology, you’ll get your head/face around the placement of colour in each of the places.

How to master as eyeshadow palette

You can get more complicated than just concentrating on these four areas of the eye but if you play around with different colours in these areas you’ll be well on the way to using all the colours in an eyeshadow palette.

This is also not the only way to shade and colour the eye area. It’s just a simple way to mix things up in a colour palette.

If you do suffer from eyeshadow slippage (and yes, my hand is fully in the air), apply an eyeshadow primer before starting your colour. Like a regular primer, it smoothes the surface, acts like velcro to keep eye colour in place and prevents creasing.

Highlighter: the lightest colour in the palette is applied at the top of the brow bone. I also apply a little in the inner corner of the eye. The effect is to widen or brighten.

Lid: apply a shade darker than the highlighter colour (but not your darkest colour) across the entire lid.

Crease: the crease is where the top of the lid meets the bottom of the brow bone. Brush and blend a shade darker across this area. Blending with your fingertips is more than fine.

Outer corner: when adding colour in this area, do so in a sideways V-shape from the lash line to the crease line. This is reserved for your darkest eyeshadow shade.

Two eyeshadow palettes – luxe to less

HOURGLASS Modernist Eyeshadow Palette | How to get the most out of an eyeshadow palette

Hourglass Modernist Eyeshadow Palette in Monochrome $92:  I fell in love with Hourglass’ Ambient Lighting Powder for its illusionist powers (you can read about them herethis summer so it was only a matter of time until I succumbed to an eyeshadow palette from this brand. This one caught my eye because it has my favourite taupes and browns but it also has a soft pink thrown in the mix for an alternative lid colour. The shadow is soft going on, is richly pigmented and has staying powder. I also love its wave-like 3D looks.

Face of Australia Nude Colour Max Eyeshadow Palette | How to make the most of an eyeshadow palette

Face of Australia Nude Colour Max Eyeshadow Palette $14.95: The good people at Face of Australia have actually marked each colour in this palette with a suggestion on where it should go. Just to confuse you, I’ve used it differently, placing the colour as marked in the image above. That’s the thing about this makeup thing, it’s all about playing and finding what you love best. Even though this palette is on the uber-budget friendly side, it measures up in the pigmentation stakes. And I do love that it offers a little shimmer action. That’s always ok in my makeup books.

So tell me, do you have a favourite eyeshadow palette? Why do you like it? Do you use all the colours? Or do you prefer to buy your eye colour separately?

Comments 16

  1. I was a palette gal until 10 years ago when I was given a huge palette and half the colours broke or got thrown away. So I became a single eyeshadow gal; until recently when someone recommended the Physicians Formula All-in-1 Custom Nude Palette for face and eyes in Natural Nude.
    It is super easy, just sweep the brush across the colours you like and sweep onto your face and your’e done! It certainly makes my ‘vintage’ face quicker and easier to make up in the mornings 🙂

  2. Such practical and clear tips, thank you 🙂 I love palettes, but I’m guilty of using the same old same old colours, and prefer taupes and browns. My green eyes are not all that vivid and I’d really like to try and highlight the colour a bit more. Any tips for pale green eyes?

  3. I’ve recently got into palettes again – 2 of the maybelline nudes palettes (the nudes, and the blushed nudes – great neutrals). This has got me into using brushes more, and boy I wish I had earlier the right brushes make a difference. I got the real techniques eye brush kit on special and it makes it so easy.

  4. Perfect timing! I have a make- up application lesson booked for this Saturday at Mecca Maxima, as it’s a reward for being a member of their loyalty program (let’s not focus on what that equates to in $ spent).
    I do have the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit highlighter powders and that eye palette appeals, however I get far more use from matt shadows.
    I think my Urban Decay Naked is probably my favourite. Have you seen the Gwen Stefani colab?

    1. Let’s not focus on the fact that I’ve got a makeup lesson available to me too on account of the $$ HAH. I haven’t seen that colab but my daughter has “acquired” my Urban Decay Naked palette!

  5. I love anything Hourglass but unfortunately the shadows in my Modernist palette all crumbled (insert very sad face – a present from Beckie). She replaced it with her favourite nude palette from Stila which I adore! x

  6. Thank you once again Nikki.. You must have read my mind I am sure. I have been on the hunt for another Brown/Nude/Matte Palette as I have used up my favourite two shades in the two I use ( Bobbi Brown Ultra Nude Palette and Youngblood Timeless Palette).. If I follow your tips above I may be able to use up some more colours in them now and maybe just get away with replacing the lighter shades I tend to favour all the time..Thanks again!

    1. I used to run the lighter colour across the whole lid and up to the brow – that’s what used mine up. Now I’m just using it as the highlighter on the brow line and in the corner. Still not perfect use but getting better!

      1. Hmmm, that’s what I do too. No wonder they run out quicker… derrr. I am in need of a whole eyeshadow chuck out and rebuy due to age. I love colours, so need more than the nudes I’m afraid. 🙂

  7. Thank you for the tips Nikki,I have a favourite Estée Lauder one but use my Smashbox one on nights out for a darker eye!
    I usually just highlight my lower lash line with the darker colour then the crease with the pinky nude colour and use the lightest cream colour under my brow socket it helps make my eyes look bigger.I must admit I have a few but I really need to invest in a makeup lesson Xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.