The 13 Best Eyeshadow Palettes of 2022, Tested and Reviewed

Our Winner Is the Anastasia Beverly Hills Soft Glam Eyeshadow Palette

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Eyeshadow Palette Test

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

If finding your go-to foundation is like finally nailing the perfect pair of jeans, then finding your treasured eyeshadow palette is like discovering the perfect little black dress. You might not wear it every day, but it’s reliable and it’s there to provide a confidence boost when you need it. But just like most makeup categories today, the market for eyeshadow palettes is incredibly saturated—meaning that weeding through it to find the best can be challenging, not to mention costly. 

Byrdie Tested & Approved

Thanks to the stunning color story and high-quality formula, the Anastasia Beverly Hills Soft Glam Eyeshadow Palette is our top choice. But if you’re looking for something with a fun flare to it that’s bound to get your creative juices flowing, we say go for the Pat McGrath Labs Mothership IX: Huetopian Dream Eyeshadow Palette.

So, we scoured the internet to find the most popular and highly rated eyeshadow palettes—and we put dozens to the test so you don’t have to. From splurge-worthy picks to budget-friendly options and more, we’re sharing our top picks in every category. 

Keep reading to see the best eyeshadow palettes tested by Byrdie.

Best Overall: Anastasia Beverly Hills Soft Glam Eyeshadow Palette

5
Anastasia Beverly Hills - Eyeshadow Palette

Amazon

What We Like
  • Expansive neutral shade range

  • Rich pigmentation

  • Great blendability

What We Don’t Like
  • Some reviewers find the formula to be overly powdery

If you keep up with popular makeup launches, chances are you’re familiar with this iconic palette. The name sums it up beautifully: It’s true perfection for soft glam looks—and so much more. It contains a variety of neutral, cool, and warm nude shades, as well as some subtle pops of color that you can get creative with. We also appreciate that it has a wide shade range in depth, making it a great option regardless of skin tone. 

Unsurprisingly, our tester loved this palette. She raved about the color story, saying she was surprised by how much range a neutral palette could provide. She also appreciated that the shades were richly pigmented and easy to blend, allowing her to create a gorgeous look in a short amount of time. 

One thing to note is that some online reviewers find the eyeshadow formula from Anastasia Beverly Hills to be overly powdery in general. So it’s wise to do your eyeshadow before your complexion makeup when working with their shadows to avoid fallout ruining your foundation or concealer. 

Price at time of publish: $45

Number of Shades: 14 | Finishes: Matte, Shimmer | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Anastasia Beverly Hills Soft Glam Eyeshadow Palette

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

Best Drugstore: Maybelline The Nudes Eyeshadow Palette

4.5
Maybelline The Nudes Eyeshadow Palette

Amazon

What We Like
  • Good variety of neutral tones

  • Easy to blend

  • Even pigmentation

What We Don’t Like
  • Satin shades don’t provide much texture or light reflection

The drugstore boasts some excellent makeup goodies, but we’d be lying if we said they have endless options of high-quality eyeshadow palettes. This one, however, is a great palette that you can snag at an affordable price. It contains twelve neutral shades that range from light to dark, which allows you to go subtle or build up the intensity of your look.

Our tester shared that he was able to diffuse the colors with minimal effort, and he was impressed with the variety of neutrals in the palette. While he would have appreciated the inclusion of a mirror, given the price tag, it’s not a deal-breaker. 

If we could change anything about this one, it would be the intensity of the shimmery, satin shades. They perform well, but they don’t offer much shine or light reflection like some of our favorite shimmers do. 

Price at time of publish: $13

Number of Shades: 12 | Finishes: Matte, Satin | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

What Our Testers Say

“The primer was very easy to blend in and felt weightless on my eyelid.” —Katherine Moran, Product Tester

Best for Everyday: Charlotte Tilbury Instant Eye Palette Pillow Talk

4.5
Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Instant Eyeshadow Palette

Bloomingdales

What We Like
  • Rich pigmentation

  • Great blendability

  • Palette comes with guide for beginners

What We Don’t Like
  • Shimmers need to be layered up for high impact

There are no rules when it comes to makeup, but sometimes a little bit of guidance is appreciated. This palette comes with a plastic overlay that provides suggestions on where to place each shade for a flattering look, making it a great option if you’re new to eyeshadow. 

The shades fall in the rosy and brown families, and when combined, they make for a romantic look that’s wearable for every day. We love that the rose and pink shades make this palette just a bit different from the typical everyday neutral palette, all while allowing you to maintain a toned-down look. 

Our tester found the formula to have even pigmentation and great blendability, although she did note that she had to build up the shimmers to give her the impact she prefers. If you like a more metallic finish, wet your brush and then apply the shimmery shades to give them more shine. 

Price at time of publish: $75

Number of Shades: 12 | Finishes: Matte, Shimmer | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Charlotte Tilbury Instant Eye Palette Pillow Talk

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

What Our Testers Say

“It's perfect for eyeshadow lovers with the shade range and pigmentation, but also for eyeshadow beginners because there is a clear plastic overlay when you open the shadow that gives you little tips on where to apply the colors for the best wear and look.”  —Alessandra Amodio, Product Tester

Best for Soft Glam: Urban Decay Naked Reloaded Eyeshadow Palette

4.8
Urban Decay Naked Reloaded Eyeshadow Palette

Sephora

What We Like
  • Nice range of neutrals

  • Rich pigmentation

What We Don’t Like
  • Some reviewers say the quality of this palette is inconsistent with previous palettes

As this is the re-release of the nude eyeshadow palette that arguably started the palette craze, it’s no surprise that we enjoyed this one. It comes with 12 shades in a variety of cool and neutral-leaning tones that vary in depth to provide a bit of everything. 

Our tester shared that the shades were not lacking in the pigmentation department—so much so that she had to be careful as she explained that a little bit went a long way. If you struggle to find neutrals that deliver on color payoff, this is a great option for you. 

If you’re loyal to the Naked range from Urban Decay, beware that some people find the eyeshadows in this palette to be more powdery than those in previous palettes. However, it doesn’t seem to negatively affect the blendability or color payoff of the palette, so it’s not a major concern for us. 

Price at time of publish: $22

Number of Shades: 12 | Finishes: Matte, Metallic | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Urban Decay Naked Reloaded Eyeshadow Palette

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

Best for Special Occasions: Pat McGrath Labs Mothership IX Eyeshadow Palette: Huetopian Dream

4.5
Pat McGrath Labs Mothership IX: Huetopian Dream Eyeshadow Palette

Sephora

What We Like
  • Excellent blendability

  • Unique shades

  • Textured, glittery shades don’t produce much fallout 

  • Colors and textures make for impactful looks

What We Don’t Like
  • Glitters need to be built up for high-intensity

Makeup is a luxury and we’d argue that Pat McGrath eyeshadow palettes are some of the most luxurious items on the market. Yes, they’re incredibly expensive—but the quality, artistry, and uniqueness of each palette make them a special treat. 

This one is the ninth iteration in the Mothership lineup, and it’s the glitter eyeshadows and nuanced rose and violet tones that make it stand out. Aside from noting the undeniable quality, our tester shared that the shades blended seamlessly across her eyelids as well as with each other to make a cohesive look. She also appreciated its versatility—you can achieve a somewhat subtle look or something bold for a special occasion.

The glittery eyeshadows in the palette—which Pat McGrath refers to as Blitz Astral shades—are incredibly vibrant and impactful. However, our tester noted that they can take some building up to get them to appear fully opaque. 

Price at time of publish: $128

Number of Shades: 10 | Finishes: Matte, Shimmer, Glitter | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Pat McGrath Labs Mothership IX Eyeshadow Palette: Huetopian Dream

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

What Our Testers Say

“If I wanted a great, highly pigmented, and vibrant palette and had this much money to spend on one, I would definitely pick this.” —Mariah Freire, Product Tester

Best for Bold Looks: Juvia's Place Warrior III Palette

5
What We Like
  • Great blendability

  • Shades are buildable

  • Colors remain vibrant as you wear them

What We Don’t Like
  • Shadows produce some fallout

If you’ve played with a variety of eyeshadows, then you might know how difficult it is to find a high-quality, colorful palette. Many colorful eyeshadow palettes lack pigmentation and blendability—but not this one. This affordable option contains nine vivid eyeshadows that deliver the perfect combination of richness and buildability. They’re not overly pigmented and hard to work with, but you won’t need to spend too long packing on the color. 

Our tester shared that the shades showed up beautifully on her dark skin tone and they blended effortlessly. But just like many colorful palettes, the shadows do produce a bit of fallout, so it’s wise to do your complexion makeup after using this palette. 

Price at time of publish: $13

Number of Shades: 9 | Finishes: Matte, Shimmer | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Juvia's Place Warrior III Palette

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

Best Glittery: ColourPop Truly Madly Deeply Pressed Powder Eyeshadow Palette

4.7
ColourPop Truly Madly Deeply Pressed Powder Eyeshadow Palette

Ulta

What We Like
  • Great variety of textures and finishes

  • Nice pigmentation

  • Great blendability

What We Don’t Like
  • Glitters don’t apply great with a brush

Glitter can be such a fun medium to use when you’re getting creative with your makeup look, but the mess it poses to make can be a major deterrent. With this eyeshadow palette, you get glitter eyeshadows in a mess-free, pressed formula that’s incredibly easy to use. The combination of glittery, matte, and metallic shades makes it a great palette to reach for whether you’re creating an everyday makeup look or something more vibrant. 

As is true with most ColourPop palettes, this one delivers on pigmentation and blendability. Our tester shared that while the glittery shades didn’t apply well with a brush when she used her fingers to apply them, they went on smoothly and didn’t make a mess. 

Price at time of publish: $24

Number of Shades: 16 | Finishes: Matte, Metallic, Pressed Glitter | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

ColourPop Truly Madly Deeply Pressed Powder Eyeshadow Palette

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

Best Pigment: Alamar Cosmetics Spanglish Pressed Pigment Palette

4.5
What We Like
  • Excellent color payoff

  • Nice balance between mattes and metallics

  • Great blendability

What We Don’t Like
  • Shadows produce a bit of fallout

Taking your time to create a beautiful eyeshadow look can be a form of self-care. But an elongated process due to shadows that lack pigmentation and blendability is anything but relaxing. This flirty palette delivers on pigment and blendability, so you won’t struggle to get your desired look. 

Our tester enjoyed the even split between matte and metallic shades, and noted that both formulas applied smoothly and vividly on her lids. She also loved how iridescent the metallic shades were without having to add several layers. 

One thing to note is that this palette does create a bit of fallout, so beware of that before reaching for it. 

Price at time of publish: $28

Number of Shades: 8 | Finishes: Matte, Metallic | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Alamar Cosmetics Spanglish Pressed Pigment Palette

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

Best Nude Tones: Too Faced Born This Way The Natural Nudes Eye Shadow Palette

4.5
What We Like
  • Versatile range of nude shades

  • Nice balance between matte and metallic shades

  • Minimal fallout

What We Don’t Like
  • Pigmentation didn’t blow us away

A go-to neutral palette is a makeup collection staple, and this one is an excellent choice. It contains a versatile range of nude tones that vary in depth to allow you to create natural and smoky eyeshadow looks. It also has a nice balance between finishes which makes it even more versatile. 

Our tester shared that they were able to create a subtle look and take it from day to night by adding some of the deeper shades to give it more dimension. The deeper shades didn’t produce fallout which was seriously impressive.

While the blendability of the formulas in the palette was great, the pigmentation didn’t wow us. However, the shades can be built up to a nice intensity with a bit of effort, so the lack of bold pigment right off the bat isn't a deal-breaker for us.

Price at time of publish: $26

Number of Shades: 16 | Finishes: Matte, Shimmer, Metallic | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Too Faced Born This Way The Natural Nudes Eye Shadow Palette

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

Best Mattes: Dose of Colors Baked Browns Palette

4.5
What We Like
  • Excellent range of depth

  • Great blendability

  • Shades look true to color on the eyes

What We Don’t Like
  • Shadows produce a bit of fallout

A matte, neutral palette is practical for everyday use, but it can also be great for taking looks from day to night if it has shades with depth. Although this one only comes with just five different shades of neutral browns, they range from light to dark so that you can add dimension to your eyes. 

If you’ve tried lots of different matte eyeshadow formulas, then you may have noticed that many of them lean dry and powdery, making them tricky to work with. But the formula in this palette is smooth, creamy, and easy to blend out. Our tester found that the shades looked the same when applied to her lids as they do in the pan, and they were easy to work with. Aside from the bit of fallout you might experience, it has everything we could ask for in a mini matte palette—including a mirror and a blending brush. 

Price at time of publish: $32

Number of Shades: 5 | Finishes: Matte | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Dose of Colors Baked Browns Palette

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

Best Travel-Friendly: Dior Backstage Eye Shadow Palette in Rosewood Neutrals

4.8
What We Like
  • Cohesive color story

  • Nice pigmentation

What We Don’t Like
  • The included primer shade isn’t universal for all skin tones

This palette is part of Dior’s Backstage line—a sector of the brand that’s slightly more affordable than their other ranges—but the quality doesn’t decline with the price tag. This warm palette boasts eight gorgeous shadows with matte and shimmery finishes, as well as a creamy shade that’s meant to be used as a primer. The addition of primer adds a unique touch to the palette, but given that it’s a very light shade, it might not be ideal for all skin tones. 

In terms of the quality, our tester shared that it delivered on pigmentation and blendability, and did not produce noticeable fallout or kickback. She was able to create a cohesive look as all of the shades worked together beautifully, but she noted a particular affection for the deep shades as they added a rich pop of color that complimented her blue eyes. 

With this palette, you get a well-rounded color story, great quality shadows, and a bit of luxury all wrapped up into a small, travel-friendly package. 

Price at time of publish: $49

Number of Shades: 9 | Finishes: Matte, Shimmer, Primer | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Dior Backstage Eye Shadow Palette in Rosewood Neutrals

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

What Our Testers Say

“Each shadow-packed pigment, even the lightest 'highlighter" shade. I personally loved the mauve and copper brown shades since they showed up the most.” —Caitlyn Martyn, Product Tester

Best Sustainable: PYT Beauty Upcycle Eyeshadow Palette in Cool Crew Nude

4.5
What We Like
  • Recyclable packaging

  • Buildable formula

  • Cohesive color story

What We Don’t Like
  • Shadows are a bit powdery

It’s no secret that the cosmetics industry is a major contributor to waste, so anytime we can be more sustainable with our beauty routines, the better. This gorgeous palette is made from 15% recycled plastic, and it can be recycled once you’re done with it. 

Aside from the sustainability component which we appreciate, the array of cool and neutral shades are beautiful for daytime and evening looks, and the shadows blend with ease. Our tester appreciated that the formula is buildable, so you can gradually apply color to achieve your look. However, some online reviewers mention that the eyeshadows feel a bit powdery which can create kickback in the pan as well as some fallout. 

Price at time of publish: $24

Number of Shades: 12 | Finishes: Matte, Shimmer | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

PYT Beauty Upcycle Eyeshadow Palette in Cool Crew Nude

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

Best Splurge: Natasha Denona Sunset Eyeshadow Palette

4.8
What We Like
  • Shade range contains lots of depth

  • Creamy, blendable formula

  • Rich pigmentation

What We Don’t Like
  • Some reviewers say you can get the same color story in other more affordable palettes

Many eyeshadow aficionados say that Natasha Denona has some of the best eyeshadow palettes you can buy, and we agree. Both the mattes and metallics are incredibly pigmented, creamy, and blendable, and the brand even includes some gorgeous duo-chrome shades in some of their offerings—including this one. 

Aside from the stellar performance in terms of pigmentation and blendability, our tester loved the color story. The combination of light, medium, dark neutral, and warm shades work together to create a stunning dimension, and she appreciated how easily she was able to achieve a cohesive look. 

While some people feel that the color story is dupable, the excellent quality and depth of shades make this palette stand out. If you’re in the mood to splurge on a staple palette, you won’t be disappointed with this one. 

Price at time of publish: $64

Number of Shades: 15 | Finishes: Matte, Metallic, Duo-Chrome | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Natasha Denona Sunset Eyeshadow Palette

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

Final Verdict

The iconic Anastasia Beverly Hills Soft Glam Eyeshadow Palette is our winner. It has gorgeous, flattering neutral shades that will complement all skin tones, and the formulas are blendable and ultra-pigmented. If you’re looking for a palette to take you from day to night and make you feel glamorous on special occasions too, this is a fantastic choice. But if you’re looking for a totally unique palette that will bring out your creativity, and will make a statement on the eyes, you can’t go wrong with the Pat McGrath Labs Mothership IX: Huetopian Dream Eyeshadow Palette.  It’s absolutely a splurge, but if you’re comfortable with the price tag, we think you’ll love it.

How We Tested

Byrdie editors carefully researched the most popular and beloved eyeshadow palettes on the market, taking expert recommendations and consumer reviews into account before selecting dozens to test. Each one was then evaluated on the basis of shade range, application, pigmentation, and value, and given a ranking from one to five in each category. All tests were performed in The Lab, our Manhattan product testing facility.

Other Options We Tested

Makeup by Mario Master Mattes Eyeshadow Palette

There’s no denying that this all-matte palette has an incredible neutral shade range. It includes light, medium, and deep shades with varying undertones making it perfect for everyday or evening looks. However, our tester found that the formulation was not consistent across the shades in terms of pigmentation and blendability. 

Makeup by Mario Master Mattes Eyeshadow Palette

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

Beauty Bakerie Do It For The Graham Palette

This twelve-pan palette contains some beautiful neutrals and pops of color, but our tester found that the shimmery shades weren’t very pigmented and didn’t create an impact on the lids. 

Beauty Bakerie Do It For The Graham Palette

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

Gucci Beauté Des Yeux Floral Eyeshadow Palette

The packaging of this luxe eyeshadow palette is stunning, but our tester didn’t find that the quality of the shadows justified the high price tag. She found them to be quite powdery and difficult to build up.

Gucci Beauté Des Yeux Floral Eyeshadow Palette

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

What To Look For in an Eyeshadow Palette

Shade Range 

We’re probably stating the obvious here, but it’s important to look for a palette that has a range of colors that you’ll use. If you tend to stick to neutral shades and rarely branch out, then opting for a neutral palette, like the Too Faced Born This Way The Natural Nudes Eye Shadow Palette, is a wise choice. It’s also important to consider the shade range from a cohesion standpoint. Some palettes have unique, interesting color stories, but if you’re not a pro or you struggle to pair colors together, opt for a palette that takes the guesswork out of it. For example, the Dior Backstage Eye Shadow Palette in Coral has some beautiful, fun shades, but they’re very cohesive together which will make using the palette simple and attainable for most people. 

 Textures and Finishes 

The textures and finishes you use when creating an eyeshadow look are equally as important as the colors you select. Matte finishes will appear more subtle and help with shading, while shimmers and metallics will add light reflection and dimension. Glitter shadows with thicker, more chunky textures will provide a unique, eye-catching component to your look. So, when choosing a palette, think about what type of makeup looks you’ll be creating and choose accordingly. If you’re looking for a palette that provides you with many options in one, we recommend the Pat McGrath Labs Mothership IX: Huetopian Dream Eyeshadow Palette.

Quality

When determining the quality of eyeshadow, consider the level of pigment in order to guarantee that you'll get a rich color payoff. The Alamar palette delivers ultra-pigmented color to help create statement eyelids that pop and also creates a natural contour on every skin tone.

FAQ
  • How do you pick an eyeshadow palette?

    Look for eyeshadow palettes that are versatile, since you'll be using them for both special-occasion and daily looks. Many palettes feature a range of finishes as well as colors, because some days you might want shimmer while others, you might prefer matte.

  • How long does an eyeshadow palette last?

    Eyeshadow palettes can usually last up to two years, but for hygienic reasons, Scibelli says it’s best to replace them after one year. Cosmetics products typically list their shelf life on the packaging, so when in doubt, refer to the packaging of the palette you choose.

  • 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?

    Because eyeshadows are delicate powders, it’s not uncommon for them to crack or shatter—but this is often a fixable issue. “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

Alyssa Kaplan is an experienced writer in the beauty industry and product tester specializing in cosmetics. She has tested dozens of eyeshadow eyeshadow palettes over the years—including several on this list. Alyssa has been a commerce writer at Byrdie since 2022, where she covers all things beauty.

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