I'm a Beauty Editor, and These Are the Best Eye Shadow Palettes I've Ever Used

If you were to open up my makeup bag(s) and pull out every single eye shadow palette that I own, you’d probably be able to fill a banquet table. In all honesty, the level of my obsession is quite disgusting. The minute a new eye palette comes out, I feel like I’ve got to have it. And the worst part is, that I very rarely actually wear eye shadow. Most days I leave my lids bare and occasionally I’ll dab on my go-to MAC Paint Point in Groundwork, but it is very, very rare that I actually find the time to dust off a palette and make some kind of eye masterpiece.

And, on that note, it’s probably also worth mentioning that I’m no Picasso when it comes to using powder shadows. In fact, I find the whole ordeal a bit (read: a lot) overwhelming. When I’m presented with 12 pans of pigment, I don’t really know where to start, meaning that, more often than not, I only end up using two or three shades in each palette anyway.


(Image credit: @SHANNONLAWLOR)

However, none of this is to say that I don’t love every single palette in my collection as though I birthed each one myself. I'm ashamed to admit that, once every month, I sit down and clean each one so that they look good as new, even though they haven’t been touched since the last time. It’s a problem, and I need help. Recently though, as I have become increasingly more aware of just how severely my beauty obsession is negatively impacting the planet, I made a resolution to re-home all of the products that I just don’t use. Naturally, my palettes took the brunt of the cull.

The good news that came from this is that I really took the opportunity to sit back and reflect on what makes a palette really great. As I divvied up the ones that were staying and the ones that were going, I took note of a few common denominators amongst the keepers. For me, it’s not enough for a palette to simply offer a pretty shade selection, it also needs to house buttery, easy-to-blend pigments that don’t require an expert hand. Plus, above all else, the shades have to be truly wearable. And I mean every single one. In fact, throughout my clear out, if I picked out a compact with even one untouched shade, it went in the ‘donate’ pile.

So, without further ado, I’ve compiled a list of the very best eye shadow palettes of all time, so that you don’t have to endure any messy palette breakups like I did. Keep scrolling for the 16 palettes I just can’t do without.

Next up, these hardworking hand creams are guaranteed to nourish dry, cracked hands.

Freelance Beauty Editor

Shannon Lawlor is a renowned beauty journalist and has contributed to Who What Wear’s beauty content since 2020. As a leading beauty editor, expert and brand consultant, she has over eight years of experience working for some of the industry’s most esteemed titles, including Who What Wear (of course), Glamour UK, Stylist, Refinery29 and Fabulous. Having also worked behind the scenes with some of the industry’s biggest brands and retailers, Shannon has a unique insight into what people really want from their beauty routines. Understanding that beauty lovers seek honest, open and responsible advice, she has it made her mission to demystify the intimidating world of beauty, taking a no-frills approach to the most relatable topics. While Shannon is the first to admit she doesn’t hold the answer to every beauty question out there, she is dedicated to sharing her expert insights in a bid to help. As a self-proclaimed lazy girl, Shannon has an affinity for easy-to-use, foolproof beauty products and has made it her mission to scope out the best of the best. When she’s not working, Shannon is likely soaking in the bath or giving no-holds-barred beauty reviews on Instagram from her bathroom floor.