Product watch: The best eye shadow palettes for winter

Huda Beauty founder, Huda Kattan, models shades from her new eyeshadow palette.

Filled with sunset pinks, golds and rich purples, winter’s warm colour eye palettes are guaranteed to ward off the blues. Rachel Marie Walsh picks the season’s finest.

The Complete Look

Giorgio Armani Beauty ‘I Heart Armani’ Holiday Palette, €140

How many items does your evening clutch hold? I aim for four (keys, phone, lipstick, card), thinking I can check makeup in my camera but always miss something (liner, powder, keyring mace) en route to the door. Giorgio Armani’s winter palette manages to offer both less and more for your toting. The glossy red case houses tiers for eye-shadow and complexion products, as well as two sponge applicators worth keeping. There are five shimmer powders and five mattes. The brand describes its colours as day-to-evening but they are so richly pigmented, the shimmers so distinctive, you may feel overdone in daylight. They are, however, very easy to blend quickly and won’t shed on your mascara, if you like to apply that first. The mattes are a buttery cream-to-powder formula that sets well.

The complexion tier has a shade of the brand’s Luminous Silk formula called “universal”. This description overlooks customers of colour as the makeup is clearly fair-to-medium, no matter how much you sheer it out. Two tonal shades of Maestro Fusion cream foundation build coverage where you need it.

The One Everyone’s Talking About

Huda Beauty Desert Dusk Eyeshadow Palette, €65

Huda Beauty, the endlessly re-grammed Emirati makeup brand, is now available at Brown Thomas. Huda Kattan, an Iraqi-American artist with an infectious affection for makeup, is best known for false lashes and online tutorials. An exceptional following (hers is the most popular Instagram account in beauty) and celebrity clientele led Sephora Dubai to take a chance on her eponymous line in 2013. Like a boat on the tide Kardashian, it has successfully ridden the false lash, strobing and liquid lipstick trends to international sales.

Huda’s presence gives her an edge over artists with decades more experience. Her Southern-charming accent (she grew up in Tennessee) and often emotional presentation surely make followers feel as invested in her journey as they do in any reality star’s. She continues to share with them via YouTube, gleaning product feedback while delivering accessible advice.

Followers with benefits, they provide the kind of customer barometer for which major brands (not based in tax havens) pay, and the brand has grown at symbiotic speed. Desert Dusk, Huda’s new shadow palette, builds on the success of her first eye shadow launch by including its most popular shade, ‘Angelic,’ as well as eight shades in a matte formula updated (based on user comments) to feel smoother and include more colour pigment.

There are also six pearlescent shades, three highlighters and a pan of pure glitter. Huda Beauty products are manufactured in Italy, very basically packaged (the image on the palette’s lid is a manipulated selfie) and luxury-priced. She describes herself as risk-averse and teases new products in tutorials months before release. Her makeup is interesting but the business development is fascinating. I see a Forbes cover and hedge fund money in this woman’s future.

The Bargain

e.l.f Cosmetics Nude Rose Gold Eyeshadow Palette, €12.50

Huda Kattan’s Rose Gold palette has been discontinued and if you miss it — or just thought the price unreasonable — this little e.l.f compact also seeks to make powder of the magic hour. Like a sunset, nudes and golden pinks tend to flatter every complexion and eye colour so what you hope for in a palette of this kind is decent texture and hold.

There is an orange-y brown you may wish to ignore here but the colour selection is otherwise good.

The powders are smooth and quite sheer, allowing for plenty of mistakes en route to a perfect contour.The shimmer shades are not too obviously glittery and do not shed.

The Instant Classic

Charlotte Tilbury Instant Eye Palette, €75

Charlotte Tilbury, mother of another fast-growing, artist-driven brand, did a tutorial with Huda in June using her own best-selling The Dolce Vita Eye Palette, €50. It is a cute video but Tilbury’s shadows scarcely need online assistance. One of her standing goals is to have every product be “easy to choose, use and gift,” and the new Instant palette achieves this handily. The gold compact is inspired by her own smokey eyes but comes with instructions four looks — Day, Date, Desk and Disco — each of which is foolproof and super-flattering. The ‘Desk’ look, built from chocolate, pink champagne and caramels, is especially pretty. ‘Disco’ is dramatic, with lots of black shadow and feline liner flicks, but the shed-proof “control-pressed” powder is easy to keep neat as you layer.

All Tilbury shadows are slightly emollient and contain soothing Vitamin E. Glow is her thing (she created J-Lo’s signature makeup look), even the matte shades are slightly radiant, but pigments are so finely milled they should not enhance lines.

The Collector’s Edition

NARS Man Ray ‘The Veil’ Cheek Palette, €45

Nars has collaborated with photographers these last few winters, memorably dressing a sell-out 2016 collection in French snapper Sarah Moon’s hazy dreamscapes.

This year the brand mined the Man Ray trust for inspiration.

Francois has long collected the Dada artist’s images of women, observing how the eyes were defined, where the rouge appeared on the cheek, etc. Ray’s ‘The Veil’ (1930) is the perfect choice for a makeup line, as the lace’s honeycomb mesh echoes how modern silicone-based formulas cover our faces with sheer colour and luminous pigment. This palette’s case is for admiring but the contents are very wearable.

The watermelon blush looks intimidating in the pan but blends to a warm apricot. The bronze is ‘Laguna,’ a NARS bestseller that was reimagined as a diffused-colour powder this summer. It now creates a very subtle, radiant glow on first application.

The limited-edition highlighter is my favourite shade. A bronze rose, it gives the brush a pretty, healthy lift and doubles as eye shadow.


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