At this point, a breathtaking nude eye shadow palette may as well join the iconic ranks of that perfect true-red lipstick, ballet slipper–pink nail lacquer, and kohl-black liquid liner as one of the quintessential must-haves in any beauty lover's makeup collection. And more likely than not, you have a favorite—an irreplaceable eye shadow palette that's accompanied you through holiday cocktail parties, country concerts, and boozy, mimosa-laden brunches alike. After all, they're versatile, pretty, and ready for anything.
Don't get us wrong—we're still all for the signature moody shades of the new debut palettes for fall, but we plan to apply those inky hues of navy or renaissance-esque burgundy in conjunction with our favorite neutral tones. And to be frank, we feel like our favorite nude eye shadow palettes sometimes fly stealthily under the radar. So to give them a much-deserved round of applause, we selected 10 of our favorites we use on a weekly (if not daily) basis.
Keep reading for the palettes that never fail to gift us our lids with a soft candlelit glow.
Byrdie Editorial Director Faith Xue and I agree—this is one of the best nude eye shadow palettes of all time. True, there are some pops of color (like the eye-catching "Candied Violet" and "Cherry Cordial"), but the palette's universally flattering neutral shades are hands-down some of the most decadent we've seen—plus they're infused (thus scented) with a yummy hint of antioxidant-rich cocoa.
Ready for a bold yet blatantly honest statement? This just may be our favorite Target purchase of all time. And at an affordable $20, we've gotten more than our money's worth. Eleven pretty matte shades are great for adding a touch of dimension to tired lids. To elevate the intensity, we'll sweep a touch of the bottom-corner black along our upper and lower lash lines.
When it comes to nude eye shadow palettes, it's easy to automatically think "matte." However, metallic neutral tones are pretty and just as flattering. Plus, they're perfect for seasonal festivities and holiday parties. This all-inclusive palette from drugstore favorite brand E.l.f is vegan, cruelty-free, and a sparkling addition to our weekly shadow rotation.
We've yet to meet an eye shadow palette from Tarte that we haven't fallen head over heels for. After all, the skin-friendly brand has a knack for nailing formulation, pigment, and overall eye-candy appeal. However, we're super partial to this matte palette which is infused with standout ingredients like vitamin E and Amazonian clay.
Indecisive about the finish of your eye shadow? Don't fret, Smashbox's beloved palette is split down the middle with seven gorgeous natural tones in two different finishes: matte or metallic. Suffice to say, you can ease into the day with matte hues of champagne and chocolate, and upgrade later on with layers of shimmer and sparkle.
In Tilbury speak, get it while it's hot, darlings. This smoldering palette from celebrity makeup guru Charlotte Tilbury is limited edition and going fast. Not only are there 12 luxe shades (a mesmerizing mix of matte and metallic), the palette is also broken into four different looks: "Day," "Desk," "Date," and "Disco." However, we fully support breaking the rules and mixing and matching however you please.
Ultra-pigmented, this limited-edition nude eye shadow palette from Nars is a dream come true for those who seek richly saturated color and ultimate versatility. Some shades are cooler and some are warmer, so they're sure to flatter every skin tone and makeup look.
If you love neutral tones with a hint of rose, Maybelline's gorgeous blush-toned eye shadow palette will be your new favorite. The formula is incredibly buildable, and each shade is enriched with luxe rose-gold pigments that yield a warm wash of color across the eyelid. We're addicted, and use it day and night.
We hope we never have to choose our favorite Naked palette (it's basically like choosing a favorite child), but when we're in the mood for the ultimate nude eye shadow look, we always reach for Urban Decay's iconic second edition. Our go-to shades: "Chopper" and "Tease."
One of our absolute favorites, we've been devoted to this tried-and-true palette from Lorac for years (ahem, since college, to be exact.) Not only do the shades look flattering on every skin tone, each shadow features amazing color payofff and can be effortlessly layered for every type of neutral eye look.
If you love eye shadow, check out the must-try tips for perfect application, according to four celebrity makeup artists.