Palette Party | How All The Eyeshadow Palettes Stack Up

by Molly Gardner

Sometimes I get overwhelmed by how much makeup is available.  There, I said it.  A makeup junkie admits being overwhelmed.  But seriously. The last time you went shopping for new foundation, lipstick, or eyeshadow you had some options, right?

This year has been a very lucky year for me, makeup wise.  I was given more amazing makeup that I ever could think possible (thank you friends who know exactly what I want – ALL THE MAKEUP), found new brands that have gotten major respect from me, and tried brands that have been around for awhile but I hadn’t gotten into yet.

A very exciting thing was watching my eyeshadow palette collection grow.  I started with the Tarte and Cargo quads, which sparked a love of all that easy color coordination that I’d been missing out on.  A sample of the Stila “In The Light” palette was my big push to buy the palette and from there…well, it grew.  And grew.  And grew.

So I wanted to break down what I love about each palette to make it easier for you if you are shopping and trying to find that perfect one for you.

Starting with my quads.


The Cargo ($34) and Tarte ($25) quads are both four color coordinated brown, nude, and champagne shades.  They are great for basic everyday eye makeup or a more intense smokey eye.

The Cargo palette says where to put each shade, which is a huge plus for a makeup newbie.  This helped me learn so much about crease shade and color placement.  It’s great for everyday light neutral eye makeup.

The Tarte quad is all natural, so if you are leaning in that direction, Tarte might be a good brand for you to try.  I love the matte chocolate brown.  The shades are nicely pigmented and work well over a primer.

Cargo quad in Warm Neutral.

Cargo quad in Warm Neutral.

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STILA “In The Light” Palette:

Good for:  Natural Looking Makeup

My first palette.  Such an exciting purchase for me!  The thing that sold me on this palette was the shade “Bliss.”  Every time I used the sample (which was designed to look like the palette and each shade had approximately four uses) I would use Bliss in my crease.  My face looked brighter, softer, and polished.  My makeup looked “done” but not over done.  I was completely smitten.

This palette is great if you want a range of shimmer and matte shades.  The colors are true and last all day.  This set also includes the shade “Kitten” which is a best seller for Stila.  This palette comes with a “Smudge Stick” eyeliner in deep brown, which I use almost daily.

You could do a black or brown smokey eye with this palette as well, or use the deeper shades as liners.

Retails for $39 for the palette and an eyeliner.

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LORAC Pro Palette:

Good for: If you only want to own one palette, this is the one.

I went with a friend to Ulta to help her buy makeup and keep this mantra in my head “No new makeup for me today.  No new makeup for me today.”  Because I like to do things, like-I-don’t-know, pay my rent on time.  But then I ran across Lorac’s holiday set which included this palette, a Front of the Line Pro eyeliner, and a travel size Eye Primer.  The entire set was only $39, which is a crazy steal!

Well, this palette became my go-to within a week.  It has a full range of shimmer and matte shades.  This allows you to do any eye look imaginable.

Can we talk about pigment?  Because holy moley, each shadow is packed with color.  I usually only need one swipe for full coverage.  I’ve worn this shadow without primer and it lasted me 8 hours without fading, and with the primer I honestly think it could last 24 hours.  It’s crazy good.

Back to the colors.  Sable is a fav, as well as Taupe.  I use Taupe to fill in my eyebrows, contour my face, line the outside of my lips in spots to make them look bigger.  Mauve is a close second to Stila’s “Bliss” as a favorite crease color.  You ask, this palette can do.  It is an absolute work horse filled with some of the highest quality shadows I’ve ever laid my hands on.

Retails for $42 for the palette and a travel size eye primer.

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Urban Decay Naked 3:

Good for: A Makeup Junkie who wants to add some softer looks into her mix.

The Naked 3 palette is all rose-toned shades.  I did a full review of it HERE.  The colors are so soft, I feel like even the darker shades are very feminine and pretty.  It doesn’t have a lot of basic neutral shades, though, and most have shimmer.  So if you are looking to buy just one palette, this might not be the one for you.  But if you want to do softer makeup, this is your palette.  You won’t find this many rose based shadows that coordinate with each other anywhere else.    I have tried a lot of these shades in different combinations with each other and they all coordinate so well.  Sometimes, trying to match pink based shades can leave you with a hot-mess of a look, because they’ll have different base undertones and will look weird together.  This set solves that problem and gives you soft, lovely rose tinted coordinated looks.

Retails for $52 for the palette, brush, and four samples of eye primer.

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Anastasia Catwalk Palette:

Great for: All skin tones and eye colors, but especially fair skinned ladies.

This is a super fun palette, starting with the packaging!  I love the animal print.  The shades are also very flattering.  This set includes two plumy purple shades, which more sets should include.  Plum is very flattering on most skin tones!  The two middle peachy shades are my absolute favorite when I’m doing a glowy/bronzy look.  For fair skin, they help give the right glow, without making your skin look too dark or “dirty” like some bronzers can.  The shadows are long wearing and don’t crease up.

Retails for $29 for the palette and a brush.

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Thank you for reading!!  I hope this was helpful to see all the palettes together in one spot.  If you have any questions, comment below!

Go Get Glam!





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Renee May 3, 2014 - 12:32 am

I just found your blog and I like it! I don’t have any of these palettes but I have looked at them. I may have to go get one now and see what all the hype is about.

Reply May 3, 2014 - 5:55 am

Glad you found the blog!! Which palette are you thinking about getting?


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