If your dresser’s anything like mine, the top drawer is heaving with half-used palettes. Saved from the bin by their prettiest shades, they do look wasteful but it is so rare to find all the attributes of a perfect palette in one product that it seems inevitable that the compromises would stack up.
The perfect palette needs to be both on trend and timeless, as new powder-shadows emerge seasonally but remain usable for well over a year. It is full of flattering finishes, preferably a mix of shimmers, satins and mattes. It has shades that always suit you, as well as some for experimenting. These shades go with most of your wardrobe and never cake, shed or smear. If your perfect palette still eludes you, one of these may be your match.
Best for Green Eyes
Urban Decay’s newest Naked palette is dedicated to the rainbow’s most regal shade. The velvety eyeshadows come in a line-up of peachy neutrals, lavender, violet, and deep purple colours. The iridescent micro-shimmers and light-reflecting shades grey attention, while new shade ‘Lucid’ gives a holographic, pearlescent green finish that makes you look like a model for Thierry Mugler's Alien.
Purple was one of the biggest makeup trends of 2018 (back when ultra violet was Pantone's 'Colour of the Year’), so you may already know if it’s to your taste. Purple best complements green or brown eyes as both are much closer to purple's opposite on the colour wheel (yellow) than blue. Blend all of this palettes purples for a hazy take on the smoky eye or wear them as block colours. Jewel tones flatter all complexions, pale shades suit fair skin and lavender sets off a tan.
Best for Brown Eyes
This palette has beautiful oceanic shades that really brighten brown eyes, as well as some gold, taupe and coffee to serve as base and contour colours.
Bronze Goddess’s disc of nine silky shadows includes five shimmer finishes and four mattes, one of which doubles as bronzer for a fair complexion. Estée Lauder’s annual Bronze Goddess collection is designed to complement a tan but such a colour range works for brown-eyed girls throughout the year.
Best for Blue Eyes
This is my favourite palette of the season, chiefly because you can use the whole colour-quintet at once without looking overdone so the shadows diminish rather evenly. Two peachy hues, biscuit beige, rich chocolate and shimmery gold harmonise to make blue eyes sparkle.
The Vegan Option
Remember when you could visit a Body Shop and sample the products at whim? No? It may be some time before you can test anything at a beauty counter, so let me tell you that the brand most famous for cocoa body-butter is no slouch in the makeup department.
Own Your Naturals holds a dozen highly-pigmented nudes with matte and shimmer finishes. The mix of light and dark shades makes it easy to build your ‘naked’ eye look into something more dramatic for the evening. The shadows are smudge-proof and enriched with Namibian marula oil, which both hydrates skin and aids blending.
Kind to Sensitive Eyes
Justin Bieber used one of Bareminerals Gen Nude palettes to do wife Hailey Baldwin’s eye makeup for a lockdown tutorial and the results were pretty good. Perhaps he’s picked up some tricks from watching professionals but the foolproof nature of Gen Nudes formulas surely helped.
Each powder features jet-milled mineral pigments for buildable, flexible colour. Antioxidant plant-extracts nourish skin, while cucumber and caffeine help to smooth its appearance and cold-pressed borage oil keeps it hydrated. The eye shadows are crease and flake-resistant. This summer’s Gen Nude Beauty of Nature Palette includes six island-inspired shades, ranging from shimmering sand to hibiscus, verdant green and rich coral.