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The best eyeshadow palettes in 2021

Let your beauty blossom with the perfect pick.


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Every makeup lover needs a go-to eyeshadow palette. Whether you’re searching for a budget-friendly pick that’s packed with pigment or a more luxurious splurge with bold, daring colors and fancy packaging, find the one you’ll reach for again and again.

Revolution Beauty Reloaded in Velvet Rose

Pick up the Reloaded eyeshadow palette for under $10. We think the quality and color saturation are to die for! A great option for beginners, the shadows are pigmented but still very easy to blend out. My personal favorite color series is Velvet Rose, but this palette also comes in 10 others.

Velvet Rose features an array of beige, brown, gold, orange and burgundy colors, plus a pigmented black with a copper glitter twist. All of these shades can be combined to create a multitude of eye looks, making this a great pick if you’re on a budget or just beginning to experiment with eyeshadow.

  • Price: $8
  • Where to buy: Ulta
  • Cruelty-free: Yes
  • Vegan: No

Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance

Modern Renaissance kick-started the trend of warm browns and burgundies. Inspired by the resins and paints of Renaissance art, this palette offers 14 essential and totally wearable shades. We love that the color variety can easily take you from day to night.

Shadows are buttery and creamy for an intense color payoff. You can experience some fallout with these shadows, but nothing that’s super noteworthy or different from similar palettes on the market.

  • Price: $42
  • Where to buy: Sephora
  • Cruelty-free: Yes
  • Vegan: No

Colourpop Give It To Me Straight

Known for constant and colorful collections, this beauty brand needs to be on your radar. The Give It To Me Straight palette is full of warm coppers, pretty neutrals and rich mauves to complement a range of skin tones. Take your pick from seven matte and five intense metallic shades. The pigmented, buttery shadows apply and blend out like a dream, making this palette a great pick for beginners. The shimmer shades are highly pigmented, too, and can be used either wet or dry.

  • Price: $18
  • Where to buy: Colourpop
  • Cruelty-free: Yes
  • Vegan: No

Jeffree Star Cosmetics Blood Sugar

Jeffree Star rose to fame on MySpace and now YouTube, where he promotes his successful makeup line. Jeffree Star’s brand first took the world by storm with an amazing liquid lipstick formula. Now, his iconic eyeshadow palettes have become his stand-out product.

The Blood Sugar palette offers 18 shades that are packed with pigment. Choose from three metallics, one foil and a range of mattes. The rich tones in this palette are sure to excite, and the packaging of the Blood Sugar palette is one-of-a-kind — it was inspired by a doctor’s medical box. And the luxurious red faux leather finish will look absolutely fabulous on your makeup counter.

  • Price: $76
  • Where to buy: Amazon
  • Cruelty-free: Yes
  • Vegan: Yes

KVD Vegan Beauty Shade + Light Eye Contour palette

Specifically designed for contouring the eyes, this baby’s arranged into three different color sections: neutral, cool and warm tones for base, definition, contouring and highlighting.

We love that this contains cool tones ideal for contouring. And the quality is great – pigments are so creamy, smooth and long-lasting to boot.

  • Price: $48
  • Where to buy: Sephora
  • Cruelty-free: Yes
  • Vegan: Yes

Urban Decay Naked Heat

The Naked Heat palette has the perfect collection of warm browns, burnt oranges and rich siennas to help you get an on-trend berry look. The matte and shimmer shadows from Urban Decay are pigmented but still very easy to blend out. You can get a bit of fallout with these shadows, but since the powder is so fine, it’s easy to buff away without disturbing the rest of your makeup.

Urban Decay is known for creating killer eyeshadow palettes, and this is one of the best in the Naked series.

  • Price: $54
  • Where to buy: Sephora
  • Cruelty-free: Yes
  • Vegan: No

The James Charles Palette by Morphe

At first glance, you might be a bit shocked at the sheer abundance of color. But fear not this palette is extremely versatile and can work well for anyone.

James Charles encourages everyone to “unleash their inner artist” and experiment with eyeshadow. Each of the 39 shades is packed with pigment, and they feel smooth and creamy. You get four rows of fabulous color combinations in matte, metallic and shimmer formulas.

Our favorite thing about this palette is the row of basic colors super-sized.

  • Price: $54
  • Where to buy: Ulta
  • Cruelty-free: Yes
  • Vegan: No

Maybelline The Nudes

For the girl on the go — it’s a basic, budget-friendly buy that gives you all the basics. This palette offers a mix of both cool-toned and warm-toned shades that anyone can use.

What’s even cooler is that it’s designed so that the colors can be used as duos, trios and quads. You have your transition shades, your darker shades, and your highlighting shades — all with pigments that are sure to make a statement on the lid. The formula is easy to blend, and the softer pigment allows you to build up the intensity to take you through the day till night.

  • Price: $10
  • Where to buy: Target
  • Cruelty-free: No
  • Vegan: No

Tarte Toasted

Featuring 12 warm, rich tones made for endless mixing and matching, Toasted comes with seven wearable mattes and five fabulous shimmers. We love that the colors have been arranged in rows so that you can easily create three different looks. But if that’s not your thing, feel free to combine whichever colors you like to create a totally customized look.

The shadows are infused with Amazonian clay, which makes for a smooth application and blending process without any chalkiness. The result is an intense color payoff, so there’s no need to keep picking up more product.

Natasha Denona Coral

Natasha Denona is a global makeup artist who has created her own beauty line of the same name. The Coral palette features five velvety hues of stunning coral-themed shades. The coral pink and rich red mattes are perfect for your crease. We also love the iridescent and duo-chrome shimmers, available in a variety of colors.

Some of the other palettes from this brand are pricier because they contain more color choices, so this one allows you to try out an iconic Natasha Denona palette for a fraction of the price.

  • Price: $48
  • Where to buy: Sephora
  • Cruelty-free: Yes
  • Vegan: No

Baked Eyeshadow Palette by e.l.f.

Looking for silky smooth colors with vegan ingredients that don’t cost a fortune? Don’t miss the Baked palette by e.l.f.

Like the name suggests, this palette features colors that have been oven-baked for a smooth finish. Baked offers 10 warm shades, each with a shimmering effect. These pigments are saturated enough that you can use one color on its own or mix and blend with others to create a bolder look.

How did we choose these products?

We chose our top picks based on eyeshadow palettes that we have personally tried and tested, as well as top-rated palettes from beauty stores like Sephora and Ulta. We judged them on price, range of shades, packaging, convenience and the quality of the formula. We’ve included a variety of finishes, color stories and levels of pigmentation to create a well-rounded selection.

Real life favorites

Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance

Picture not described

Too Faced Sweet Peach


Morphe 350 Nature Glow Artistry


My ultimate go-to eyeshadow palette is the ABH Modern Renaissance palette. All of the brand’s palettes are amazing, but this is my favorite because the colors are gorgeous. The shadows are extremely pigmented and so blendable, and the shadows just have great color payoff. I always use it on my clients. – Demi

The Sweet Peach palette from Too Faced is my favorite of all time. The shadows are really creamy, blendable and just so easy to work with. I actually work at MECCA, and it’s one of our best selling palettes! – Sandra

Morphe shadows are so great – they are super pigmented and blendable. I love the 350 palette in particular because of all the warm tones. They complement all eye colors really well. It’s also a great palette because of all the transition shades, plus you get a few shimmer colors, too! – Tina

How do you apply eyeshadow?

So you’ve chosen the perfect eyeshadow palette, now it’s time to start using it. The good news is, there’s no right or wrong way to apply your eyeshadow – it’s all about letting your creative juices flow! But there is a recommended technique that can help beginners especially:

  1. Apply a lighter, neutral shade all over the lid. This is going to act as your base and will help to brighten the whole look.
  2. Blend a darker shade into your crease. The crease of your eye is the part of your eyelid that naturally folds when your eye is open. To blend, we recommend using short, slow and soft brush strokes.
  3. Apply the darkest shade in the outer edge of your crease, usually called the “outer V” of your eye. This will give your eyes some added definition.
  4. To finish the look off, apply a bright shade to your inner corner. This will help to brighten your eyes, making you look wide awake and refreshed.

What brushes are needed to apply eyeshadow?

Understanding makeup brushes can be tricky. There are so many different types to choose from, and they all have different uses. Start by sifting through your options in our guide to familiarize yourself with what’s available.

For starters, you’re going to need a crease brush and a shader brush. You can buy these items in a kit or purchase them separately. It’s usually more budget-friendly to find a kit that you like, unless you already have some brushes at home.

If you’re on a budget, we recommend picking up the Real Techniques Eye Shade + Blend brush pack from Ulta.

If you feel like splurging, we’re obsessed with the Sigma Beauty Basic Eyes brush kit available from Nordstrom.

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