13 of the best eyeshadow palettes for every look, eye color and occasion

These are the best eyeshadow palettes to help you elevate your makeup look—whether you want simple, sparkle or something to complement your eye color

three of My Imperfect Life's best eyeshadow palettes picks on a pink background with grid detailing
(Image credit: Future)

The best eyeshadow palettes will help you elevate your makeup look by complementing your eye color and natural features, adding a touch of sparkle or simply adding a polished finish to your face.

So if you've nailed the basis of how to apply your makeup and are looking to add to your look, a trusty eyeshadow palette is the perfect tool. We'd recommend looking for a palette with enough versatility to give you a few different looks out of it—but there are other factors to think about too, such as what kind of look you're going for, how many shades come in the palette, what the texture and pigment of the formula is like and how long the eyeshadow lasts for once applied.

On our search, we found and tested several great eyeshadow palettes on the market, including picks for all budgets, be it luxury or affordable. We found Charlotte Tilbury's Instant Eye Palette in Pillow Talk to be the perfect all-rounder that suits any eye color and ticks all the boxes with its diverse range of dreamy pink shades—while Sleek MakeUP I-Divine Palette defies all expectations for a budget palette.

How we tested the best eyeshadow palettes

When testing the best eyeshadow palettes, I used each palette a few times to try out all of the different color combinations that each one offered and test how versatile each one really was. I also made sure to test each palette with a similar face of makeup on—including a contoured base, a touch of blush and highlighter, a light tightline, a small slick of liquid eyeliner and mascara—to make sure that my perspective of my finished look wasn't skewed at all.

As I have quite oily skin, I wore each eyeshadow over a thin layer of primer to help each look last as long as possible and try and minimise the risk of creasing.

I also took the following criteria into consideration:

  • Shade range—both number of shades and the versatility of the color palette
  • Texture of product
  • Pigment
  • How loose the shadow was
  • Staying power
  • Packaging—should be sturdy enough to protect the eyeshadows but light enough to carry around

When deciding which eyeshadow palettes to test, I went for a range of popular and bestselling products as well as palettes from brands that I like or that are renowned to be good. I also tested palettes that I had been recommended by friends and other beauty experts in the industry—including makeup artists and well-known beauty journalists.

Meet the tester
aleesha badkar
Aleesha Badkar

While eyeshadow is something that I've often just stuck to the same one or two combinations with or eschewed for a sweep of highlighter at the end of my makeup application routine, I also like to create color-coordinated looks and make sure that they last the day whenever I do wear it.

So when testing these one of the most important factors for me was staying power, especially as I'm prone to oily skin so I often find that eyeshadows can gather in the crease of my eyelid after just a couple of hours. Being of South Asian origin, I'm also very aware of pigment—as no matter how bright a shade might look in the palette, if the pigment is weak it often doesn't show up well on my skin.

The best eyeshadow palettes as reviewed by our in-house beauty expert

The Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Instant eyeshadow palette open to show the shadow colors

(Image credit: Charlotte Tilbury)

1. Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Instant Eye Palette

The best eyeshadow palette for subtle looks that suit most people

Specifications

No of shades: 12
Mirror inside?: Yes
Brush included?: No

Reasons to buy

+
Pretty shades that suit all eye colors
+
Gorgeous packaging
+
Good pigment

Reasons to avoid

-
Can gather in the eyelid crease a little 
-
Smoky shades not very impactful on darker skin tones

Charlotte Tilbury is known for its beautifully packaged make-up products and high-quality formulations—and this palette doesn't disappoint. It's just what you need for a soft, romantic, and dreamy look.

The colors in the palette—a range of pink and nude shades—suit pretty much every eye color (I think), and it has the right balance of mattes and shimmers to take you seamlessly from day to night and everything in between. And while the four different trios make it a great option for beginners or for those who prefer a more simple make-up routine, the selection of shades can also be mixed and matched for more exciting looks that still blend beautifully together.

When testing, I loved the texture of the powder, which allowed for the perfect amount of product to be collected on the brush for an impactful hit of pigment without going overboard. My only niggle with pigment was that the smoky options didn’t quite pack the punch that I was looking for when it came to using on my slightly darker skin tone. I did also find that the product collected slightly in the eyelid crease after a long day of wear—even with a primer underneath. That being said, it did last for most of the day without fading, so a spritz of setting spray over the top might be the fix you need if you find the same occurring.

And I can't talk about a Charlotte Tilbury product without mentioning the aesthetics—the signature rose gold case gives you a hint of how special this palette is and would look fabulous on any dressing table. J'adore!

See our full Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Instant Eye Palette review to learn more about how it works with different eye colors

The Suqqu Yuushakuyaku Designing Color Eyes eyeshadow palette open to show the shadow colors

(Image credit: Suqqu)

2. Suqqu Designing color eyes palette

The best premium eyeshadow palette for taking on the go

Specifications

No of shades: 4
Mirror inside?: Yes
Brush included?: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Pretty shades
+
Strong pigment
+
Comfortable and buildable texture
+
Striking and high-quality packaging

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited shades
-
On the more pricey side

Sometimes a splurge is necessary, and if you’re all about self-care days and want to perk up your spirits a bit, then this is the one to snap up now. It may feel like a bit of a steep investment for less than a handful of shades, but it’s worth it for the brilliant payback you get.

I love the delicate and flattering shades in this luxury offering, which hails from the results-driven Japanese brand Suqqu. I found that the soft texture was really easy to work with and impactful but powdery enough to build for a more bold color. And while this palette offers my favorite color combination from the line, there are also a number of different shades to choose from that all offer the same high quality. Plus the compact size and included mirror and brush made it a super convenient option for popping in my handbag to apply later on in the day for after-work events.

The Sleek MakeUP i-divine all night long eyeshadow palette open to show the shadow colors

(Image credit: Sleek Makeup)

3. Sleek MakeUP I-Divine Palette All Night Long

The best drugstore eyeshadow palette for neutrals

Specifications

No of shades: 12
Mirror inside?: Yes
Brush included?: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Harmonious shades
+
Well pigmented

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn’t last all day
-
Hollow plastic packaging

Here to prove that an eyeshadow palette doesn’t have to cost you more than your actual evening out, the Sleek All Night Long was love at first sight for me. The striking neutral shades made me truly excited to dip in and start mixing and matching to find the best look for me, with a balance of mattes and shimmers that make it a lot more versatile than it might seem at first glance.

I love the pop of red that you can match with a sparkly chocolate, pretty muted mauve or glamorous gold, and I found that the pigment was surprisingly high-quality, meaning that each shade really did stand out even on my darker skin tone—making it one of the best eyeshadows for dark skin on my list. One gripe I did have was that the formula only properly stayed put for a few hours, so a spritz of a good setting spray could be worthwhile with this one.

The Urban Decay Stoned Vibes eyeshadow palette open to show the shadow colors

(Image credit: Urban Decay)

4. Urban Decay Stoned Vibes eyeshadow palette

The best glitter eyeshadow palette

Specifications

No of shades: 12
Mirror inside?: Yes
Brush included?: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Super pigmented
+
Gorgeous, glittery shades
+
Matte and shimmer options to layer
+
Diverse colors
+
Luxe but playful packaging

Reasons to avoid

-
Not one for those who don’t like glitter!

WOW! Is the only way to describe this palette. Urban Decay has built up a cult following with their iconic range of Naked palettes, but this diversion from the Naked line might actually be my favorite to date (and I'm usually not a glitter person). On first impressions, I loved the luxe packaging—it made me feel kind of like I'd just discovered a trove of glimmering treasure, with its cracked stone background and jewel-encrusted lid.

And then comes the product itself—a little definitely goes a long way. The display of sparkle-laden shades is nothing other than gorgeous, with an array of greens, blues, purples, and a couple of warmer options packed full of glittery pigment. The palette also comes with four diverse matte and shimmer shades, which you can use as a base to create more a impactful look. I did like these shades, as I thought they were all flattering and they did create a soft, comfortable base for the glitter, but I actually preferred using the glitter shades on top of shadows from other palettes as they really accentuated my color-coordinated eyeshadow looks.

Usability tip: Tap the powder more softly than you would your iPhone screen—otherwise you’re left with enough glitter for a Coachella Pinterest board, which might not be the look you're going for.

The Too Faced born this way natural nudes eyeshadow palette open to show the shadow colors

(Image credit: Too Faced)

5. Too Faced Born This Way The Natural Nudes

The best neutral eyeshadow palette

Specifications

No of shades: 16
Mirror inside?: Yes
Brush included?: No

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful shades to suit every eye color
+
Strong pigment, even on darker skin tones
+
Color groupings for different looks

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn’t last all day, especially on oily eyelids

Too Faced’s Born This Way range of foundations and concealers is designed to suit the natural hues of all skin tones and this eyeshadow palette definitely fits in with the gang. With four different groupings of gorgeous neutral shades, ranging from champagne through to a rosy nude combination, a caramel gold option, and a silky chocolate look, you can create a range of neutral looks to suit whatever your skin tone.

When using, I found that both the matte and shimmer shades blended with a satin-like feel and the addition of coconut water and hyaluronic acid in the formula left my lids feeling on the softer side—even after a day of heavy make-up, which was really nice to experience.

The Illamasqua Beyond artistry eyeshadow palette open to show the shadow colors


(Image credit: Illamasqua)

6. Illamasqua Beyond Artistry Palette

The best cool-toned eyeshadow palette

Specifications

No of shades: 12
Mirror inside?: Yes
Brush included?: No

Reasons to buy

+
Strong pigmented metallic colors
+
Diverse tones for different looks
+
No matte shades
+
Vegan

Reasons to avoid

-
Not all shades go together
-
Beginners may struggle to match colors

A make-up artist favorite, this diverse selection mixes both cool-toned hues and slightly warmer shades to create almost a winter Pick & Mix of eyeshadow. I'm slightly obsessed with the icy finish of the two blue shades that blend cleverly with the warmer but lighter peachy colors.

And while this could be a gripe for some, I also secretly love how there are no mattes in this one, as it just makes it a fabulous option to add a bit of glam to any occasion. If you're a true make-up novice though, this may not be the option for you, as it can be a bit more difficult to know how to match the colors. 

The MAC semi sweet times nine eyeshadow palette open to show the shadow colors

(Image credit: MAC)

7. MAC Semi Sweet Times Nine

The best matte eyeshadow palette

Specifications

No of shades: 9
Mirror inside?: No
Brush included?: No

Reasons to buy

+
Soft and powdery feel
+
Pigmented but subtle
+
Easily blendable

Reasons to avoid

-
No metallics

From all metallics to all mattes—if you’re as opposed to sparkle as a certain Whoville resident then this one is for you. ‘Dreamy’ is the only word that comes to mind when surveying the shades in this all-matte palette, with rich smokey hues to shape the eye and add a muted hit of impact, and peachy mattes to highlight the brow bone. 

But my favorite section has to be the row of rosy mattes that sweep on a layer of romance for a soft but sultry finish. Being a matte palette, it doesn't have strongest pigment, but I found that it had just enough to make a flattering look. A great pick if you prefer a more subtle make-up look.

The Kevyn Aucoin eyeshadow palette open to show the shadow colors

(Image credit: Kevyn Aucoin)

8. Kevyn Aucoin Something Nude

The best eyeshadow palette for blue eyes

Specifications

No of shades: 12
Mirror inside?: Yes
Brush included?: No

Reasons to buy

+
Good for subtle looks
+
Lasts well
+
Blends easily

Reasons to avoid

-
Need a lot of product to make an impact

When it comes to making blue eyes pop, nothing does it more so than a touch of gold blended with some pink sparkle. And this palette will give you that and more. This selection of shades on offer here will work with blue eyes in two ways—to create an impactful glow, or to create an understated elegance.

As the powders are quite fine, I would say that these shadows are best used together rather than alone, as I found that the matte options work well to add a base of color to the eyelid before adding on the shimmer. One note is that you need to put on a fair amount of product to make an impact, as the eyeshadows themselves come out fairly subtle on first application.

NARS Singapore Quad eyeshadow palette open to show the shadow colors

(Image credit: NARS)

9. NARS Singapore Quad Eyeshadow

The best eyeshadow palette for grey eyes

Specifications

No of shades: 4
Mirror inside?: Yes
Brush included?: No

Reasons to buy

+
Small color groupings for individual looks
+
Perfect for taking on-the-go
+
Well-pigmented
+
Easy to use for beginners

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive for just four colors
-
Not one for if you want a choice of shades

There are so many beautiful things you can do with this rare eye color, which means there are a couple of different routes that you can take when it comes to eyeshadow combinations. I love the NARS Quad eyeshadow palettes for their brilliantly matched shades that come together to create one impactful look—and the compact size makes them easy to pop in your bag for a top-up whenever you need.

If you want to go for subtle, Silver Screen features a pearly white, two silver variations, and a powdery smokey black—so was basically made to live in unity with grey eyes. But if you want to opt for something more striking, the warm golds with a touch of red in the Singapore will make grey eyes pop for a dramatic look. It's pricey, but I reckon it's worth the splurge—especially considering the powerful pigment and robust staying power that comes with this high-quality shadow.

The Bobbi Brown modern symphony eyeshadow palette open to show the shadow colors

(Image credit: Bobbi Brown)

10. Bobbi Brown Modern Symphony

The best eyeshadow palette for green eyes

Specifications

No of shades: 8
Mirror inside?: Yes
Brush included?: No

Reasons to buy

+
Pretty shades that go well together
+
Lasts all day
+
Gorgeous packaging
+
Comes with instructions to create different looks

Reasons to avoid

-
Smokey shades may be too harsh for lighter eyes and skin tones
-
Darker skin tones may need to layer extra product

Bobbi Brown is known for its professional-grade formulas and this palette definitely lives up to the hype. These silky mauve and plum shades will look fabulous on any eye color, but they do something extra special when met with green eyes.

The deep mattes do a wonderful job of providing a subtle base for any eye look, while the metallics blend softly to add a pop of sparkly charm. I found that this went on really nice—the amount of shadow that comes off with each brush is perfect for lighter skin tones but I found it to be buildable enough to work with my skin tone. Plus the combination of shades is really flattering.

The Laura Mercier Parisian Nudes eyeshadow palette open to show the shadow colors

(Image credit: Laura Mercier)

11. Laura Mercier Parisian Nudes

The best eyeshadow palette for hazel eyes

Specifications

No of shades: 12
Mirror inside?: Yes
Brush included?: No

Reasons to buy

+
Harmonious colors
+
Blends well
+
Elegant packaging

Reasons to avoid

-
Subtle pigment that needs to be layered for impact
-
Doesn’t last the whole day

This palette oozes elegance from the moment you set eyes on it with its sleek copper packaging and tidy but inviting colors. I found that both the mattes and shimmers were quite subtly pigmented, so I needed to use more product than I expected, but each shadow builds and blends smoothly for a polished finish.

Hazel eyes will benefit from the dusky pink shades that blend harmoniously with the golds and coppers and the touch of green sparkle that layers beautifully with its fellow metallics. I did find that the formula doesn’t quite last the whole day, especially due to my oilier eyelids, but once again, I think a setting spray could help to tackle this issue, which is worth addressing for this lovely palette.

The HUDA Beauty Naughty Nude eyeshadow palette open to show the shadow colors

(Image credit: Huda Beauty)

12. HUDA Beauty Naughty Nude

The best eyeshadow palette for brown eyes

Specifications

No of shades: 18
Mirror inside?: Yes
Brush included?: No

Reasons to buy

+
Fun but neutral shades
+
Well pigmented
+
Super sparkly metallics
+
Unique hues
+
Glamourous packaging

Reasons to avoid

-
Slightly overwhelming to color-match if you’re a beginner

It’s fair to say HUDA Beauty knows what they’re doing when it comes to eyeshadow palettes. The brand has built up a stellar reputation in the beauty industry for delivering some of the highest quality eye make-up products around—many of which come with striking individual qualities. And this delicious drop is no different.

Now I’ve said this is best for brown eyes simply because of its velvety brown shades, but with pinks, purples and golds also thrown in there for good measure, it could really suit any eye color. The seamless selection of eye-catching shades each pair perfectly with each other, with unique reflective marble creams alongside the usual mattes and metallics that I found really allowed me to create texture in my look. And there’s even a never-before-seen gloss shade that contains bronze and berry pearls inside to create an exclusive holographic color that made for a stunning modern eyeshadow hue.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Norvina eyeshadow palette open to show the shadow colors

(Image credit: Anastasia Beverly Hills)

13. Anastasia Beverley Hills Norvina

The best eyeshadow palette for black eyes

Specifications

No of shades: 14
Mirror inside?: Yes
Brush included?: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Very pigmented
+
Gorgeous and complementary color choices
+
Equal matte and metallic shades
+
Light-reflective shimmer on metallics
+
Luxe velvet packaging

Reasons to avoid

-
None!

Though black eyes are actually just VERY dark brown eyes, they do suit slightly different shades to lighter brown eyes. This celestial-looking palette is the perfect one to pair with deep, dark, and enigmatic eyes—which I can attest to more than most, as this is the eye color category I fall under. The depth and intensity of this eye color means that it can handle more shadowy hues without looking like you’ve sustained an injury, so I found that the dramatic purple with a touch of sparkle paired beautifully.

I also love the delicate pink shades that complement the more powerful violet shades, while the golds and coppers lend themselves to a sparkly look that will add a touch of luxury and sophistication to the eyes. The pigment was powerful enough for my skin tone and the staying power was super impressive—there are no downsides to this palette that I could find!

How to choose the best eyeshadow palette for you

Eyeshadow palettes are one of those make-up bag stars that have become a bit of a status symbol in the last couple of years, with big names like Urban Decay and HUDA Beauty usually taking the crown as everyone’s go-to best eyeshadow palettes—but for good reason. The two brands have mastered what it means to be a good eyeshadow palette with their versatile shades and textures. But that’s not all to take into consideration when picking the best eyeshadow palette for you...

“The first thing to consider when choosing an eyeshadow palette is the versatility of the colors and how you would use each of them,” advises Morag Ross, celebrity make-up artist and UK spokesperson for SUQQU. “Always look for something that contains lots of colors that appeal to you, rather than being dazzled by two shades and never touching the rest.”

She continued, “I always recommend looking for neutral shades first, but also something that will enhance your eye make-up and is multi-purpose,” explains Morag. “You want to be able to create an easy day look that is neutral and soft, but also be able to dip into the same palette to pump up the make-up for a party look.”

How to choose an eyeshadow palette for your eye color

“If you’re after a subtle look, look for analogous shades,” says Bobbi Brown senior pro artist Warren Dowdall. “These are shades that are grouped beside each other on the color wheel. These colors are similar to your natural eye color. For example, if you have brown eyes, muted browns will look pretty and soft.

“The other option is to go for contrasting shades,” he adds. “These are shades that are opposite to your natural eye color on the color wheel. These shades will add vibrancy and really pop the eyes.”

  • Blue eyes: Champagnes, bronzes, and coppers, Warren advises. “Warm metallics and sparkle shades really look stunning, and for a more muted look, warm neutrals work beautifully.” See our best eyeshadow palette for blue eyes
  • Green eyes: Soft nudes with a pop of purple. “Use a rich aubergine or amethyst eyeshadow on a slightly damp brush and brush it along the lash line. Soft mauves are another option, and pair these with a caviar black liner”, says Warner. See our best eyeshadow palette for green eyes
  • Dark brown eyes: Cool chocolates, plums, metallic silvers, and greenish hues. Warren says: “Dark brown eyes can take quite a lot of depth so don’t be afraid to go dramatic with smoked-out black eyeliner.” See our best eyeshadow palette for dark brown eyes
  • Hazel eyes: Metallic browns, golds, and greens to enhance the warmer tones of gold and green flecks hazel eyes sometimes have. “Antique and dusty pinks are also a really pretty option, but try and avoid overly heavy smokey eyes as this can make the eye color look dull”, he adds. See our best eyeshadow palette for hazel eyes
Aleesha Badkar
Aleesha Badkar

Aleesha is deputy editor and beauty & fashion lead for My Imperfect Life, where she heads up the beauty, fashion and eCommerce pages. Previously she was shopping writer for woman&home and gained an AOP awards nomination after working on their news team. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 and has since worked with a number of brands including, Women's Health, Stylist and Goodto. When she’s not testing new products, Aleesha spends her time soaking up the newest bestsellers and Netflix releases, learning about different wines, attempting new languages and travelling as much as she can.