This post contains affiliate links (denoted with an asterisk), which means I earn a small commission if/when you click through to purchase. Regardless, these are my honest opinions. I do not recommend products I do not love or use myself.
Time for another edition of ‘Snatch or Skip’! I spoke about some of the best and the not-so-great mascaras from L’Oreal a few posts ago, which you can read here. This time I’m delving into drugstore eyeshadow palettes.
Drugstore shadows have come such a long way in terms of quality. When my mom was discovering makeup in the 70’s the quality of lower-cost brands, like say Wet n’ Wild, were absolute crap. Affordable makeup was almost laughable for a long time. Even when I was in high school I feel it was nowhere near as good as it is now. Can we say drugstore makeup is at its peak now? I don’t know, but it does seem like most of the palettes coming out of CVS, Walgreens, Target, Rite Aid and other low-cost retailers around the world are pretty darn awesome. And the bar just keeps getting higher and higher. So here are my most favorite palettes in terms of quality and price, and a few that I think are either overpriced or just poor quality.
(One note I’d like to make here first in an effort not to sound like a broken record. All palettes mentioned here with exception of the e.l.f. Mad for Mattes are very powdery. Make sure to tap the excess pigment off your brush very well before applying to your eye.)
WHAT TO SNATCH!
$10.79 @ CVS.com;
$11.00 @ milanicosmetics.com
This one is so lovely. The pigmentation, blendability, longevity, everything is nearly perfect. These Milani palettes come in 8 different colorways but I only have Bare Necessities. This one definitely leans warmer but they do have more neutral, cooler and even more colorful versions in the line; I’ve heard they’re all awesome.
In this palette you have 2 mattes, 1 shimmer, 2 metallics and 1 light-shimmer (for lack of a better description). All of the shadows are top-notch in my opinion with the exception of the light-shimmer, which is the cream shade pictured on the right-hand side of the first photo & the bottom swatch of the second photo. This shade seems to be a totally different texture to the other shimmers & metallics, and can be a bit chunky and flakey. Other than that, this palette is a must-have!
e.l.f. Cosmetics Mad for Matte Palettes in Nude Mood & Summer Breeze
It used to be difficult to find good quality matte shadows at a drugstore price level. Everything was shimmer, shimmer, shimmer. So when e.l.f. came out with the Mad for Matte line I knew those days were behind us. They immediately got rave reviews online and in social media, but for some reason I held off on trying them until earlier this year. I can’t imagine not having them in my collection now. Across the board from texture, application, and color payoff, these palettes get high marks. The application of these shadows is really the most impressive element. We all know how stubborn some matte shadows can be. But these don’t skip or become patchy or have too much fallout. And you get 10 quality shades for only $10.00. Bravo e.l.f.!
I first picked up Nude Mood, which is wonderful for everyday natural looks using either warmer or cooler tones. Although I wish they could have offered a few more contrasting shades towards the deeper end of the palette (some of those browns are very, very similar), I do think it’s a palette that anyone can use quite easily. I then got Summer Breeze because I was attracted to all those beautiful plums & rose tones. This is probably my favorite out of the two since I find each color to be quite unique.
I just did a whole in-depth review on this palette which I’ll link to here, so I won’t stay on this too long. (If you’d like to see swatches from the palette please go to my earlier post.) But as the most affordable palette from this whole list, the quality really blows me away on both the mattes and the shimmers. Soft, smooth textures that apply easily with little hassle. Bright, bold colors that last on the eyes for hours and hours. When Wet n’ Wild delivers such solid product on such little coin, it makes it difficult to reconcile spending more money on more pricey drugstore palettes. My mom recently bought Rose in the Air, which gives everyone in the beauty community Anastasia Modern Renaissance vibes. She loves it, which means I’ll have to try it soon too 😉.
Sonia Kashuk Eye on Neutrals #2 Matte Palette
$14.39 as a bundle with the #3 Shimmer Palette on overstock.com
RIP Sonia Kashuk makeup, I really loved you. It looks like only her brushes, makeup bags and other accessories are now available at Target. However I did a little snooping online and it appears Overstock has some inventory on this palette. I included the link above so if you’re interested, hop on it! Or if you’re looking for a “shop my stash” moment, crack this one out. I used to own several Sonia Kashuk eye palettes actually: the quads, the Eye On Neutrals #3 Shimmer Palette, and of course the Eye On Neutrals #2 Matte Palette. I loved each and every one of them dearly. The quality is totally there. The shades are smooth as all hell, apply perfectly and stay on the eye all day. And this goes for both the shimmers and mattes.
I really don’t remember how much I originally paid for this palette, but I do remember that Sonia Kashuk was on the higher-end of drugstore in terms of price. I still pull the #2 Matte Palette out quite frequently since I love it so much. Actually I used this palette on the day of my graduation from business school in May. If you cannot get your hands on this guy, go with the e.l.f. Mad for Matte in Nude Mood; the colors are quite similar.
WHAT TO SKIP!
L’Oreal La Palette Nude 1
So this one is difficult. I actually love the colors and the tones. The mattes are quite lovely too, pigmented and easy to apply. But the shimmers are extremely lackluster and fade rather quickly. Keep in mind the shimmers to mattes ratio is 7:3. And the palette is $20.00 (!). Really L’Oreal? It’s completely overpriced for the quality you’re getting. The swatches don’t look half bad but you never know the full story until you apply to the eye. While I can get very pretty looks using this palette, I just can’t fully get behind it. No thanks.
Maybelline The Nudes Eye Shadow Palette & The Blushed Nudes Eye Shadow Palette
To be honest, I have yet to find any Maybelline eye palettes that I can get behind. (However, I haven’t tried any of their newer releases yet like those City Mini Palettes. Are those good? Feel free to send any recommendations my way cause I’m always looking to be enabled!) I don’t have these Nudes Palettes anymore in my collection since they were so inconsistent and generally poor quality. Out of 12 shades I found maybe 5 or 6 of them would actually be usable.
What are your favorite and least favorite drugstore eye palettes? I’d love to know!