Beautiful You: My Favorite Eye Shadow Palettes, pt 1

Must Have Shadow Palettes

part one


Is it possible to have too much makeup?

Before the advent of beauty vlogging, I would have definitely said “Yes!”, but now I watch videos of women doing tours of their makeup/skin care/bath and body products, and I feel…inadequate.

I’m just kidding, mostly, but there are some YouTubers who have cabinet after chest after set of drawers full of makeup. And I don’t care if you changed your full face of makeup three times a day, unless you’re a makeup artist, you’re not going to use every color of Mineralize Blush that M∙A∙C makes. Since I’m never going to be a makeup artist, I have absolutely no need for that kind of inventory, and even saying that, I have more than I could ever use. But these days, makeup is more than just a way to put your best face forward, it’s a way to completely transform, and to do that requires more than your single shade of Maybelline Petal Pink cheek color.

When I was first starting to dabble in cosmetics, women wore some form of makeup every day. My grandmother and great aunt got up every single morning, dressed, and ‘put on their face’. Now, the last part may have been nothing more than slapping on some moisturizer and lipstick, but at least that.

These days many women may not wear makeup on a regular basis (myself, included), or even at all. But I do still enjoy fussing up and getting a full face on, when I have the time to do it, and for that, you have to have options. I’ve already talked about my over enthusiastic love of mascara. If you’re interested, you can read about My 7 Favorite Mascaras. (Please note: L’Oréal no longer makes Miss Manga, so I’m testing out a couple of drugstore/low end mascaras as a replacement.)

Today, we’re going to bring a little color into the game and talk about eye shadow palettes. And let me just say, cosmetic companies really get their game faces on (pun intended) when designing their collections. There are so many beautiful color combinations, and it seems new options are coming out all the time. Honestly, it’s a little difficult not to become enamored every time a new palette hits the shelves, visually they’re beautiful, but I have 16 palettes ranging from four colors to 16 colors, and I think that’s sufficient – at least until the next irresistible offering comes along. I also have three palettes that I’ve put together, myself, but those are left for another time.


Since it would be a little overwhelming to talk about all 16 palettes in one post, I’m going to only talk about a few at a time, starting with the three I use the most.

Tarte Tartelette Amazonian Clay Matte Palette


Like many things in my life, I agonized before buying this one. I knew I wanted a Tarte palette, but I couldn’t decide between this one and the Tartelette 2 In Bloom. I watched video after video, read review after review, went into a store more than one time to swatch in person, and ultimately came out with this one. I’ve been very happy with my choice.

In this palette you get 12 great shades that are all matte colors, as the name would suggest. They range from a soft, creamy off-white and a baby pink, to a rich, chocolatey brown and a highly pigmented black. My most used are the ivory (free spirit), a nice medium brown (dreamer), the dark chocolate brown (multi-tasker), a deep plum (bombshell), and the black (fashionista), that is perfect for setting your liner, or lining with it, alone. Force of Nature, a buff nude color, is a great transitional shade for your crease.

These colors are well pigmented without a lot, if any, fallout. They’re a lovely texture, blend fabulously, and when worn with primer, a shadow base, and setting spray, will last me all day with no creasing. You get a generous amount of each color and the entire palette is moderately priced coming out to not quite $4.00 per shadow. It’s ombre purple heavy plastic with gold lettering and accents, measures 4” x 4.75” and is only 1/2″ thick, so it’s a great size for traveling, plus it has a nice large mirror and closes securely.palettes18Regardless of where you buy it, this palette retails for $46. You can get it at Ulta and Sephora, and they both have decent rewards programs and coupons. At Ulta they offer a 20% coupon that also covers better brands (including Tarte) a couple of times a year. Plus, if you are signed up for their rewards program, every dollar you spend earns you points that are then converted to money to spend in the store that can be used for prestige brands, as well as the drugstore brands. You can read more about their program here. If you’re signed up for Sephora’s Beauty Insider program, they offer coupons twice a year and a $20 card to spend right before the holiday season hits. Here’s more about that program.

An additional option, at the moment, is a limited time special directly from Tarte. On their website, you can find this palette here, but the good part is, the brand is running a special and if you sign up for their mailing list or use the code TARTEBFF you get 25% off. That would make this palette $34.50, plus if you picked up one more thing, you get free shipping and samples if you spend at least $40.00. Some of my other Tarte favorites are:  Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder, Amazonian Clay Waterproof Bronzer in Park Ave Princess, and although I’ve not tried them, I’ve heard fantastic things about Shape Tape Foundation and Shape Tape Concealer. Really, it’s your preference and what’s convenient for you. I keep an eye on all shopping places so I can get what I want at the best possible price.

Tarte is a cruelty-free brand and their products are not only free of chemicals and preservatives you don’t want in your makeup, but most are completely vegan. And, as an added bonus, they are environmentally conscious of the communities where their products and ingredients are sourced, mindful of both sustainability and health.

Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar Eye Shadow Collection


This is another one I researched, swatched, and debated about. I couldn’t decide which of the Two Faced palettes I would use the most, the original Chocolate Bar or the Semi-Sweet. I finally decided on this one, and absolutely love it.

Out of the 16 colors three are very sparkly, six are satin finish, and seven are matte. My favorites are matte black Licorice (perfect for lining or setting liner), Coconut Crème, a matte almost white (great for brow bones), Truffled, ultra-matte chocolate brown, Puddin’, a very deep, cool brown, Peanut Butter, a light cinnamon brown, velvety champagne colored Butter Pecan, and shimmery Rum Raisin, a lovely deep plum with a gold overlay.


The shadows are very pigmented and creamy, even the sparkly colors. They blend beautifully and you can easily do everything from a simple daytime natural look, to a very dramatic evening look with lots of shine. The palette is 7-3/8” x 4-1/8” and 5/8” thick, made out of medium brown metal with pink and gold writing on the lid. The mirror isn’t very useful, as much of it is covered by packaging, but you get a decent amount of each shadow, with more than a double amount of the two light colors, Coconut Crème and Butter Pecan. It’s got a magnetic closure so if you’re going to travel with it, make sure you put a rubber band, or I use a ponytail tie, around it to keep it securely closed.


Although I got mine at either Ulta or Sephora and they both still carry the brand, neither of them have that particular palette, now. You can still grab one at the Too Faced website, however, and if you’ve not shopped there before, you can get 20% off of your first order by signing up to get emails from them. If you also pick up some Better Than Sex mascara, your order ships for free. I reviewed it in My 7 Favorite Mascaras if you’re interested in reading about it. Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar Eye Shadow Collection, $49.

Also cruelty-free, Too Faced has a complete line of cosmetics including several holy grail products that many people swear by. Besides their eye shadow palettes, my other favorites are Better than Sex mascara and Lip Injection lip plumping gloss.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Eye Shadow Palette


Anastasia Beverly Hills is known in the cosmetic world for having the gold standard in brow products. I, personally, love their Brow Wiz, a creamy eye pencil with a super fine tip that makes filling in sparse eyebrow areas a cinch. In 2014, they started adding other items to their brand that now offers a full range products.

When I first came across the Modern Renaissance shadow collection, it was love at first sight. I plotted and planned and when Ulta put out their 20% off coupon that included their higher end brands, I snapped one up.

This gorgeous palette has 14 highly pigmented shades, nine matte and five with some degree of shimmer. The neutral and berry shades, include everything from Tempera, a light pink with a whisper of sparkle, to Love Letter, a lovely deep raspberry. My favorites are Love Letter, Cyprus Umber, a dark chocolatey brown, the soft rosy purple of Buon Fresco, and Venetian Red, a subtly satin dead red with a bluish undertone.


There are so many beautiful looks you can create with this, from sweet and romantic, to dramatic and sultry. In spite of being super intense, there isn’t much fallout with these colors, which is fabulous. The compact is 7-1/4” x 4-1/8” and is almost 3/4” thick. It is super sturdy glossed dark brown cardboard covered in lilac flocking on the outside with white and rose gold lettering on the top. You also get a double ended brush, one side a longer tapered shader brush and the other a short, densely bristled precision crease brush, and a decent mirror with an unobstructed view. Even though it has a magnetic closure like the Too Faced palette, it feels very securely closed and I would have no reservations about traveling with it, as is.

You can find one for yourself at all the usual places: Ulta, Sephora, at the Anastasia Beverly Hills website, and several department stores for $42, which comes out to a very decently priced $3 per shadow.


That probably gives you enough to start out. Each of the brands I’ve mentioned have several fantastic palettes to choose from, in the event these aren’t your colors. I love to play around with eye shadows now and create different looks. Have fun doing a little experimenting yourself!

Stay tuned for the next round of eye shadow palettes you need to know about in part two.

Do you have any of these palettes? If so, what are your impressions? Let me know in the comments.

8 thoughts on “Beautiful You: My Favorite Eye Shadow Palettes, pt 1

  1. Again, thanks for your experience and insight. I’ve always been afraid of experimenting with eye shadow but you have given me courage to try some new stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

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