Found: The Perfect Creamy (and Clean) Eyeshadow Palette

Ilia warm nude palette

 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's Fall 2019 collection debuted 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. The palette, aptly named The Necessary Eyeshadow Palette, comes in two flattering colorways: Warm Nude and Cool Nude. Each features six talc-free and cleanly formulated powders in a breadth of matte and metallic hues.

Pros + Cons


  • Creamy, buildable formula
  • Clean
  • Talc-free
  • Slim size


  • Can experience some fall out
  • Some users report blending problems with shimmer shades

The Bottom Line

The Ilia Necessary Eyeshadow Palette is a great starter palette for those looking to explore clean beauty options. It's affordably priced and is versatile enough for everyday use.

The Necessary Eyeshadow Palette

Best for: Neutral eye looks

Star Rating: 4.7/5

Active ingredients: Jojoba oil, Vitamin E

Clean?: Yes

Potential allergens: None

Price: $38

What's Included: Product only 

About the brand: Ilia focuses on creating clean, skincare-focused makeup products, all in chic, sustainable packaging.

Ilia eyeshadow palette in Warm Nude
Ilia The Necessary Eyeshadow Palette - Warm Nude $38.00
Ilia Cool Nude
Ilia The Necessary Eyeshadow Palette - Cool Nude $38.00

How To Apply

The eyeshadow in the palette boasts a talc-free formula, which is the ingredient that normally gives shadows their smooth texture and blend-ability. Instead, this formula utilizes jojoba seed oil to create a creamy texture that can be applied with or without makeup brushes. If you want to go ultra-glam, you can use a brushes to create a cut crease look. Or use your fingers to swipe on your lid for an everyday wash of color.

The Results

wearing Ilia eyeshadow
 Dacy Knight

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.

"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."

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.

The Value

The Ilia Necessary Eyeshadow palette rings in at $38, which is about middle of the road pricing for an eyeshadow palette. I consider this an everyday palette—you know, one you'll bust out when you need a quick neutral eye look. With its clean formulation and wear-with-anything shades, I think the price is totally justified. Would I purchase again? One hundred percent.

Similar Products: You have options

Artist Couture Supreme Nudes and Pressed Pigment Eyeshadow Palette: If you're looking for a vegan, cruelty-free, slightly larger palette at roughly the same price ($40), then this is a great one to have on deck. There's a great mix of shimmers and mattes, with one ultra glittery shade that's perfect for a night out.

Huda Beauty Nude Obsessions Palette in Nude Medium: This is another great, toss-in-your-bag and go nude palette. At $29, it's slightly cheaper and has nine shades instead of six. The Nude Medium palette has a range of shades for all skin tones, including warm terracottas and spicy browns.

Our Verdict

Overall, the Ilia Necessary Eyeshadow palette is the perfect complement to everyday makeup looks. Not only that, but the creamy formula makes it a breeze to apply, and the talc-free formulation (and sustainable packaging) make it a great choice for people looking to incorporate clean beauty into their routines.

Related Stories