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I am an eyeshadow collector and these are the palettes I obsess over

Shrewd collectors invest in eternal objects like art dolls, antique furniture and Pokémon cards. ‘Forever’ treasures that will likely increase in value as they hang on walls, gather dust on shelves or exist hidden from the world behind a lock and key until the next time they go under an auctioneer’s hammer. Not me. I am among the rarest of collectors, hoarding what are, in essence, perishable goods - eyeshadow palettes. With a lifespan that can be numbered in just a few short years, this isn’t a collection left idle to languish in dark drawers. 

My palettes, currently in excess of 150, are in a constant state of use. If I’m not swiping a brush across a pan or swatching pigments, I’m absorbed in the task of surveying the beauty of it all. At the back of my mind, I’m focussed on time; the limited period that my collectables will serve a useful purpose before the pressed powders are either gone or decayed to fine fragments. Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

Top eyeshadow palettes chosen by a collector

Because there is not an hour to lose, these ‘valuables’ are worn on a daily basis, mixed and matched to reflect my mood and to complement what I’m wearing. Through my devoted attention to every formula and shade, I have found my favourites: the easiest to blend; the deepest pigments; the sparkliest of shimmers. Then there are the duochromes, smooth mattes and glittering foils… I know the differences that separate the keepers from the duds.

Top eyeshadow palette picks

These are the eyeshadow palettes I obsess over. I recommend them to makeup lovers, based on performance, shade range and affordability.

Smoky by Beauty Bay

Smoky by Beauty Bay

Perfect for creating the classic smokey eye, the standout quality of the shimmers in this collection makes it an absolute must-have for anyone who wears eyeshadow. With one of the best pigment formulas around, Beauty Bay excels in delivering enduring looks at a budget price.

While Smoky is available in three palette sizes, I recommend the sixteen pan version, which currently retails at £14. It includes the best of the shimmers as well as hard-to-find cool grey mattes. This palette delivers all you need to create everything from dramatic blowout wings to sultry wet lid looks.

If The Crown Fits by PLouise

If The Crown Fits by PLouise

Looking for the ultimate warm neutral palette? You get two in this double-decker masterpiece. Brimming with luxurious golds and coppers amid a sea of ultra-blendable mattes, this palette takes the form of a treasure box. It has some outstanding quirky design features, but its real draw lies in the formula.

What you get with this shadow collection are shades that blend like a dream, shimmers to die for and a look that lasts and lasts. With 42 pans, you get plenty to play around with. If The Crown Fits retails at £47, a price that reflects the quality of the pigments and keepsake packaging. If you are looking for shadows that are effortless to apply and with minimal fallout, you can’t go wrong with this offering from the brand responsible for the PLouise Makeup Academy.

Carnival IV The Antidote by BPerfect x Stacey Marie

Carnival The Antidote IV by BPerfect x Stacey Marie

For versatility, this extra large palette ticks all the right boxes. It houses everything from fiery reds and toasty neutrals to grunge greens. That’s not all, because sprinkled among those are tropical yellows and gorgeous, sparkling shimmers. The shade range transcends seasons to offer something for any time of the year and any occasion.

With 45 pans, the pigments in the palette deliver a decent colour pay off while giving you plenty of style options. You don’t have to be creative to get a lot out of it, with many of the shades being suitable for every-day wear. This collection has a retail price tag of £39.95.

A World Full of Wonder by PLouise

A World Full of Wonder by PLouise

Packed with purples of every hue, this two-tier collection is an essential buy for anyone who loves the colour purple. From the most delicate to the deepest, it cross-crosses the spectrum of lilac to maroon with 42 pans of brilliance. Boasting PLouise’s incredible, high-quality formula, the palette includes both warm and cool tones as well as truly stunning shimmers.

Because this is a PLouise collection, it comes in stand-out packaging that includes (wait for it) a light-up lid and huge, functional mirror. What I Iove about the shades in this collection is that they let me indulge in my passion for purple without leaving me looking like I’ve got a black eye. A World Full of Wonder will set you back £47, and it is worth every penny.

Metamorphic by Beauty Bay

Metamorphic by Beauty Bay

Futuristic, on trend and the pinnacle of duochrome wizardry, this 16-pan palette is blinging fab. From its design to concept colours, it delivers shade shifting pigments that go beyond the norm. Think of oil slick teal and muted lilac rubbing shoulders with luxurious metallic shimmers.

Currently unavailable to purchase from new, it was launched at a price of £18. Beauty Bay may have designed it as a limited edition but the collection will be in demand if the brand ever decides to re-stock. If you can’t wait on a ‘maybe’, your best option is to trawl the web for an ‘opened but not used’ palette.

Lost in Paradise x Saskia by LaRoc PRO

Lost In Paradise by LaRoc PRO x Saskia

Create looks inspired by distant shores with a palette specifically designed to encapsulate shades of the tropics. Boasting 30 eyeshadows, five of which are foils, and three cheek shades, this collection offers something for everything - from muted mattes to almost neon pigments. This palette features two fold out mirrors and generous pan sizes.

It’s a steal at just £12.99. If you are looking for a substantial palette that reflects the colours of warmer climes, this budget buy is definitely worth considering. 

How to choose the right eyeshadow palette for you

As a collector, my buying choices are influenced as much by design and packaging as they are for shade ranges. If you invest in eyeshadow purely as a makeup lover, your priorities will differ from mine. To avoid amassing palettes you will hardly ever use, I recommend you take a few minutes to consider what you want out of a shadow collection.

One of the biggest and most expensive pitfalls of buying makeup is ending up with a huge palette when you only really like a few of the shades. Before you splash the cash, it’s worth finding out if a palette is available in a smaller size or if the pigments you are especially drawn to are available for sale individually. Being able to size-down your purchase will help you save money and ensure that what you end up with is used.

I am a fan of large eyeshadow palettes, but they are not for everyone. Storage is often an issue. If you are looking for a travel-friendly collection or simply don’t have the space for anything bigger than a chocolate bar, keep that at the forefront of your mind when you are shopping.

If you are a makeup beginner, purchase eyeshadow that is revered for its blendability with shades that will suit your eye colour and skin tone. Need new products for a special event? Make sure what you purchase is by a brand known for long-lasting formulas. And, remember, to really make those shades pop, invest in a good eye base or primer.

Eyeshadow is my beauty must-have because it encourages creativity, makes a statement and accentuates the most important feature of the face. Now you know the palettes this collector obsesses over, you can find the ones that will infatuate your inner MUA.

Graphic for wedding eyeshadow collection


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