The 14 Best Eyeshadow Palettes Money Can Buy

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The 14 Best Eyeshadow Palettes of 2022

Byrdie / Chloe Jeong

No matter whether your vibe is simple and clean or bold and dramatic, a good eyeshadow palette is an invaluable addition to any makeup bag. Housing multiple shades—and often even finishes—in one convenient compact, a palette offers complete versatility and the opportunity to create endless makeup looks. “When you look at a palette with an open mind, the possibilities can be endless. You can use the darker colors as a liner, you can use the lighter colors as a brow bone highlighter, all of the colors in a palette really can be used in so many different ways,” says celebrity MUA Neil Scibelli. 

Not to mention that it takes up so much less space than owning countless single shadows (ideal when you’re on a kick to KonMari your beauty stash). Plus, there’s a palette out there for every makeup preference, not to mention every budget.

Meet the Expert

  • Neil Scibelli is a New York City-based celebrity makeup artist and beauty expert. He focuses largely on fashion, celebrity, and television, as well as sharing his beauty education via contributions to various makeup outlets. 
  • Ariana Rose is a StyleSeat cosmetologist and makeup artist based in San Francisco.

To help you narrow it down, check out this list of best eyeshadow palettes for every occasion, budget, and look.

Best Overall: NARS Voyageur Eyeshadow Palette

NARS Voyageur Eyeshadow Palette

Ulta

What We Like
  • Easy to mix and match

  • Long-lasting

  • Travel-friendly

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers note colors don't match online pictures

There may only be six shades in this palette, but make no mistake about it—the six are next-level versatile. They look great on an array of eye colors and skin tones and get the job done to create plenty of different looks, even though they all are fairly neutral. We reach for it time and time again, for both every day and special occasion wear, and have even hit pan (aka used up all the shadow) a few times, a makeup rarity.

Size: 0.9 ounces | Number of Shades: 6 | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Budget: Essence Like Wild Nature Earth Eyeshadow Palette

Essence Like Wild Nature Earth Eyeshadow Palette

 Courtesy of Ulta

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Four variants of the palette are available

What We Don't Like
  • Packaging feels a little flimsy

This palette is easy on the wallet but doesn’t skimp on shade options or shadow quality. We like the nine neutral, earth-tones in this one, though there are three other versions, each inspired by a different element—air, fire, and water—with a set of shades that corresponds with each. For this price, we say pick up all four.

Size: 0.3 ounces | Number of Shades: 9 | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Drugstore: NYX Professional Makeup Ultimate Utopia Shadow Palette

NYX Ultimate Utopia Shadow Palette

 Courtesy of Ulta

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Amazing variety

What We Don't Like
  • Shimmer colors may need primer for color payoff

Not only is this one of our favorite drugstore options, but it’s also one of our favorites for offering plenty of versatility, drugstore brand or not. We’re talking about an impressive array of 40 shades in all kinds of colors and finishes. No matter what kind of eye makeup look you’re going for, we guarantee you’ll be able to create it with this palette.

Size: 1.2 ounces | Number of Shades: 40 | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Warm-Toned: Urban Decay Naked Heat Eyeshadow Palette

4.8
Urban Decay Naked Heat

 Courtesy of Ulta

What We Like
  • Easy to mix and match

  • Comes with a brush

  • Long-lasting

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

There’s arguably no palette out there with more of a fan following than the OG Urban Decay Naked, which has spawned countless new variations on the theme since its launch over a decade ago. For fans of any and every warm shade, this iteration delivers. It houses a dozen colors, ranging from pale peach to deep terracotta, with a mix of matte, shimmer, and metallic finishes that can be mixed and matched in any number of ways. Each shadow is buttery and blendable and touts a unique pigment infusion system to ensure the color is vibrant and long-lasting. Don’t think you’ll use all 12? Check out the mini version, which streamlines the options down to six.

Size: 0.6 ounces | Number of Shades: 12 | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

What Our Testers Say

"With excellent color payoff and an easy-to-blend formula, it’s worth incorporating into your beauty routine." — Ashley Rebecca, Product Tester

Best Warm-Toned, Runner-Up: Natasha Denona Bronze Eyeshadow Palette

Natasha Denona Bronze Eyeshadow Palette

Courtesy of Sephora

What We Like
  • Easy to mix and match

  • Very pigmented

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

Creamy mattes, chromes, metallics, and shimmers make up this palette, which boasts 15 warm shades. You have your standard copper and champagne tones, as well as a few more unexpected options; think of a metallic purple and deep eggplant (though they all have warm undertones). Still, all of the hues work beautifully on a wide range of complexions, points out Ariana Rose, a StyleSeat cosmetologist and makeup artist who is a fan. Scibelli also likes this option, noting that all of the colors are beautiful and can be used in a multitude of ways.

Size: 0.6 ounces | Number of Shades: 15 | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Cool-Toned: Smashbox Cover Shot Eye Palette

Smashbox Cover Shot Eye Shadow Palette in Punked

 Courtesy of Sephora

What We Like
  • Easy to blend

  • Easy to mix and match

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

Prefer your colors on the cool side? This palette offers eight takes on the theme, ranging from pale pink to deep plum. Pigmented and blend-able, they also mix and layer together nicely, always a good thing when it comes to getting maximum versatility from any palette.

Size: 0.3 ounces | Number of Shades: 8 | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Brights: Ace Beaute Slice of Paradise Palette

Ace Beaute Slice of Paradise Palette

 Courtesy of Beauty Bay

What We Like
  • Easy to blend

  • Amazing variety

What We Don't Like
  • No neutrals in the mix

For those who love to experiment with vibrant shadows, this set of 12 brights the ideal match. The rainbow-inspired colors are bold, fun, and saturated and include all kinds of options not usually found in many palettes, think a Kelly green and tangerine orange. Finely-milled and pressed, they also all pack intense color pay-off.

Size: 0.7 ounces | Number of Shades: 12 | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Unknown

Best Brights, Runner-Up: Juvia’s Place The Magic Mini Eyeshadow Palette

Juvia’s Place the Magic Mini Eyeshadow Palette

Amazon

What We Like
  • Good value

  • Very saturated

What We Don’t Like
  • Would like a wider array of finishes

“The formula of these eyeshadows is some of the best out there, extremely pigmented and easy to work with,” says Rose, adding that she likes that their palettes feature a mix of both bright and neutral tones. That’s the case here, with lots of fun poppy colors combined with a few more wearable neutrals.

Size: 2 ounces | Number of Shades: 16 | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Textures: UOMA Beauty Black Magic Carnival Color Palette

Uoma Beauty Black Magic Carnival Color Palette

 Courtesy of Ulta

What We Like
  • Amazing variety

  • Water-resistant

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

The 10 shades in this palette offer plenty of variety when it comes to both texture and color. There are some wearable neutrals, choice for every day, alongside bold shades ideal for experimenting with trendier looks. And the textures can’t be beaten, with velvety mattes, shimmers, and full-on metallics that further up the versatility factor. Not to mention that they’re all long-lasting and water-resistant.

Size: 0.4 ounces | Number of Shades: 10 | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Nudes: Persona Identity Eyeshadow Palette

Persona Identity Eyeshadow Palette

Persona

What We Like
  • Amazing variety

  • Easy to blend

  • Layers well

What We Don’t Like
  • Pricey

Whoever said nude shadows were boring never met this palette. Rose says it’s one of her go-tos, which she uses both on herself and her clients. “It’s got everything you need for both day and night looks and features warm and cool tones,” she says. She also lauds the formula for being smooth and easily blendable with minimal fall-out.

Size: 0.5 ounces | Number of Shades: 12 | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Neutrals: Morphe x Jaclyn Hill Divine Neutrals

Morphe x Jaclyn Hill Divine Neutrals

Ulta

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Very saturated

What We Don’t Like
  • Pan size is a bit small

For those who like to keep their shadow simple and subdued, this pick is choice. Rose is a fan of all of their palettes, calling them a solid and affordable option. This one in particular features a dozen neutral, wearable shades in a mix of matte, satin, and shimmer finishes that still ensure there’s plenty of versatility.

Size: 1.9 ounces | Number of Shades: 12 | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Over-Sized: Lorac Mega Pro Palette

Lorac Mega Pro Palette

Lorac

What We Like
  • Amazing variety

  • Good value

  • Comes with an oversized mirror

What We Don’t Like
  • Would like a wider array of finishes

All of the Lorac Pro palettes are great, but the larger ones offer a huge variety of shades so that you can create lots of different looks, says Rose of another of her favorite options. There are 32 shades, ranging from white to deep navy, all of which can be used either wet or dry. (Try them wet to up the pigment intensity and/or if you want to use them as a liner.)

Size: 0.6 ounces | Number of Shades: 32 | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Splurge: Pat McGrath Mothership II Eyeshadow Palette-Sublime

Pat McGrath Mothership II Eyeshadow Palette-Sublime

Sephora

What We Like
  • Amazing variety

  • Easy to blend

  • Comes with an oversized mirror

What We Don’t Like
  • Pricey

Yes, this pick is super pricey, but the 10 curated shades do make for a complete shadow wardrobe all on their own. The mix of neutrals, saturated jewel tones, and high-impact trend shades (think an ultra-foiled gold hue) offer tons of versatility, all of which tout cream-to-powder formulas that feel and go on like butter. Not to mention that the luxe lacquered case feels like a work of art in and of itself.

Size: 0.5 ounces | Number of Shades: 10 | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Minimalists: Urban Decay Naked2 Basics Eyeshadow Palette

Urban Decay Naked2 Basics Eyeshadow Palette

Sephora

What We Like
  • Travel-friendly

  • Very saturated

What We Don’t Like
  • Shadows only have a matte finish

Here’s a palette for everyone who likes to keep their makeup routine super simple. Choose from six neutral, totally wearable matte shadows, all housed in a tiny palette that takes up no room at all. It’s ideal for travel, the shades work with all skin tones and eye colors, and even though the pans are small, they somehow manage to pack a ton of pigment in there. 

Size: 0.3 ounces | Number of Shades: 6 | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Final Verdict

Eyeshadow palettes are the way to go for anyone looking for a one-stop-shop for all of their eye makeup needs. Of the many picks out there, the Nars Voyageur Eyeshadow Palette takes the gold with its line-up of six wearable-yet-versatile shades. For those who want tons of options, the NYX Professional Makeup Ultimate Utopia Shadow Palette is a drugstore must-buy that boasts a whopping array of 40 hues. The Essence Like Wild Nature Earth Eyeshadow Palette is an Amazon fan favorite and earns our vote for the best affordable option. And if you love to go bright and bold with your eye makeup, you’ll love the Ace Beaute Slice of Paradise Palette.

What To Look For in an Eyeshadow Palette

Colors You’ll Actually Wear

This may sound simple, but knowing which colors work for you is the most helpful thing to look for, says Scibelli. Sure, there may be one or two colors that you’re not sure about, but seek out a palette where the majority of the hues are ones that you know you’ll use.

A Range of Tones

That being said, ensuring there’s a mix of light, medium, and dark colors is also important, especially if you want to make the most of your palette. Look for ones that have a very light color that can be used as a brow bone highlighter, a medium tone for lids, and a deeper color for the crease or to use as a liner, recommends Scibelli. 

FAQ
  • How long does an eyeshadow palette last?

    Eyeshadow palettes can last up to two years, but for hygienic reasons, Scibelli says it’s best to replace them after one year.

  • How do you clean an eyeshadow palette?

    To clean up any shadow residue around the borders of the palette, Scibelli advises wiping down the edges with a makeup wipe. To clean the actual shadows, lightly scrape the top off with a disposable mascara wand and dust off that layer, or try spritzing a tiny bit of alcohol over the shadows, he says.

  • How do you fix a broken eyeshadow palette?

    “Add some rubbing alcohol to create a paste-like texture, then use a flat butter knife to pat it back down into its pan and let it dry overnight,” advises Scibelli. FYI, if you have sensitive eyes, skip this (the alcohol can potentially be irritating) and replace the shadow or palette entirely.

Why Trust Byrdie

Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. Since she doesn’t wear eye shadow regularly, she loves to keep just one or two versatile palettes on-hand (including many of the ones on this list) to help save prime real estate in her makeup collection and make her life easier anytime she does wear shadow.

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