Found: The Perfect Creamy (and Clean) Eyeshadow Palette

Updated 08/15/19

 Dacy Knight

I've been on the hunt for a new eyeshadow palette for some time. I'll forever be a fan of Urban Decay's iconic Naked palettes (and admit I own every existing iteration), but after five-plus years of being a devotee, it's time to graduate to something new.

When initiating my search for the next ride-or-die palette, my requirements were few but specific. I wanted rich pigments with staying-power (I'm not one to step out with my palette in tow) and survive weather of both extremes (hello seasons in the northeast). I travel often, and after years of accommodating an eight-inch long palette in my weekender, I wanted something compact. In terms of texture, I think I speak for everyone when I say creamy, buildable formulas (which unfortunately are hard to come by) reign supreme.

Last but not least, I wanted a range of nude and nude-adjacent tones that would be flattering on my olive skin, whether tanned by summer or pasty from winter hibernation. That means a palette filled with a range of shades I loved in its entirety, rather than ending up with a pan of two empty shades and then four I'd never use.

Ilia cool nude palette
 Dacy Knight

Last month, clean beauty brand Ilia launched its fall collection, starring two new eyeshadow palettes in cool and warm-toned nudes. Ilia is my all-time favorite brand for anything lip related, but I had never tried their eyeshadow (they previously offered the Essential Shadow Palette in Luna and Prima, two four-pan palettes in rich metallic and stone-tone shades respectively). The brand's lip line—especially its Tinted Lip Conditioner and Satin Cream Lip Crayon—has been a godsend for my perpetually chapped lips, keeping them moisturized while still delivering an impressive dose of color.

I wondered if Ilia's new eyeshadow palettes might perform in a similar way, serving up a clean formula that works just as well as (if not better than) the rest.

wearing Ilia eyeshadow
 Dacy Knight

The new palette, aptly named The Necessary Eyeshadow Palette, comes in two flattering colorways: Warm Nude and Cool Nude (the latter of which is already sold out on the brand's site). Each features six talc-free and cleanly formulated powders in a breadth of matte and metallic hues.

The shades in each palette perfectly complement one another so they're easy to mix and play with, especially when layering for evening looks. The formulations are buttery in texture and easy to build and blend, making the options endless. I'm especially pleased with how creamy and smooth they are. "The talc-free textures in these shadows are buttery soft and deliver amazing pigment that can blend out easily—I find this especially challenging when working without talc," explains Ilia's founder, Sasha Plavsic. "The colorways are neutral in tone with a few pops of color that bring the palettes past the point of basic into something fun to use for day or night." With the six shades of cool and six shades of warm, she intended them to serve as a daily staple.

Ilia eyeshadow palette in Warm Nude
Ilia The Necessary Eyeshadow Palette in Warm Nude $38
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The Warm Nude boasts earthy tones like "1979," a matte terracotta shadow that's Fall's answer to the pink eyeshadow trend and "Lineup," a rich warm brown matte shadow that's perfect for amping up the drama for a smoky nighttime look or contouring the corners of the eyes.

The Cool Nude features a sophisticated collection of purple-tone hues such as "Teardrop," a soft gray lavender matte eyeshadow and "Unravel," a sparkling dark violet. For daytime, I've been favoring "Undo," the palette's barely-there nude blush tone with a matte finish that provides a subtle hint of color and "Just," a slate brown matte that's ideal for daily wear and reminds me of my very first eyeshadow.

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