best eyeshadow palettes
Photography by Peter Stigter

The Best Eyeshadow Palettes for People Who Hate Eyeshadow

Eyeshadow palettes are the fine china of your makeup drawer. We spend a significant amount on stunning sets and put them away for a special occasion–which never really comes. But how can we resist them? They’re packaged in such elegant little compact cases and come in the prettiest colours and textures. And yet, whenever a formal occasion comes up, we don’t reach for them. Why? Because we tend to lean towards donning a more effortless makeup look, and feel that eyeshadow can look a little try-hard. But it doesn’t have to be like that.

When you choose the right shades, shadow has the ability to play up your eye colour and make you look polished, not overdone. You just need to know which hues to choose.

To help you make your peepers pop and still maintain your effortless edge, we’ve rounded up five eyeshadow palettes that are perfect for all of us who don’t really wear eyeshadow. From mossy green shades ideal for those with brown eyes, to warm cranberries for hazel eyes, flip through the slideshow for the prettiest picks that will complement your eye colour and lend a fun hand to your look.

best eyeshadow palettes ysl

Mossy greens
Have brown eyes? Opt for a shadow in pale seaweed, evergreen or olive shades, which can lighten eyes. Those with pale skin should stick to a more subtle shade, but those with darker skin can get away with a brighter hue. Mossy green eye shadow is understated enough to not draw too much attention to the fact that you’re wearing makeup, but offers just enough colour to make your eyes stand out.
YSL’s 5 Color Couture Palette in Avant Garde comes with a pinky shadow which makes the perfect base. It also has four different shades of green, so you can choose the ones that work best for the effect you’re after.

Yves Saint Laurent 5 Color Couture Palette in “08 Avant Garde” ($84,

best eyeshadow palettes lancome

Coppers and golds
Golds and coppers make blue eyes stand out even more. Opt for colours with great textures–like a shimmers and sheens–which can illuminate the flecks of colour in blue eyes. Lancome’s Color Design Palette has a stunning bright gold colour which can be used to line the eyes or cover the entire lid. If gold eyes seem too much, use the shade as an accent to a smoky eye look created with the warm browns in this palette.

Lancôme Color Design Palette in “101 Bronze Amour” ($61,

best eyeshadow palettes charlotte tilbury

Colours in the red-to-brown family including rust, brick, bordeaux, and cranberry are ideal for both green and hazel eyes. These warm red hues offer eyes a subtle touch of colour. Choose shades that boast sparkling textures (as seen in Charlotte Tilbury’s Luxury Palette The Vintage Vamp) for a more glam approach.

Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Palette in “The Vintage Vamp” ($64,

best eyeshadow palettes dior

Another winning pick for both green and hazel eyes is plums, grapes and aubergines. They’re shades that make the eyes pop without standing out too much. Team them with a nude lip and just a bit of highlighter on the cheeks for the coolest look.

Dior 5-Colour Eyeshadow in “156 Femme-Fleur” ($69,

best eyeshadow palettes laura mercier

The safe bet: Neutrals
When in doubt, go for the neutrals. Create a smoky eye in shades of brown for a look that’s in between French girl casual and red carpet glam. Laura Mercier’s Nude Smoky Eye Palette features four neutral shades to prime eyes, enhance colour, and highlight certain areas. Dust just a touch of colour on lids for a subtle look, or build up the intensity with a few extra coats of shadow.

Laura Mercier Nude Smoky Eye Palette ($116,