Softly Special: All About the Eyes, Tips & Tricks
Comments 21

Shopping for an End-All, Be-All Eye Palette: What to Look For

If you’re on a tight budget and looking for an eye palette to meet most, if not all, of your needs, here are a few tips I can share with you. I’ll be basing it off of my Basic Eye Diagram & Go-To Eyeshadow Technique, and the premise that you are looking for a palette to use for everyday.

I’ll be demonstrating this using the Urban Decay Naked 2 ($50), NARS And God Created the Woman ($65 for a set), Laura Mercier’s Artist Palette for Eyes (LE), and theBalm’s Nude ‘Tude ($36), under the assumption that you want a more or less neutral palette. I chose all of these palettes because they are either still available/permanent, or they’re LE palettes that have shades that are mostly permanent.

The base color is what you would put all over your mobile eye lid (area under the crease). Usually it’s a light to midtone color, but obviously you can go darker for night/smokier/sultrier looks.

I split the swatches into three photos since they wouldn’t fit on the back of my hand!

UD — Half Baked, Bootycall, Chopper, Suspect, Verve, YDK
NARS — Alhambra, Kalahari
Laura Mercier — African Violet, Sable, Guava, Cameo, Sunlit
theBalm — Stubborn, Snobby, Stand-offish, Selfish, Seductive

Palettes - Lid 1

Palettes - Lid 2

Palettes - Lid 3

I prefer my crease color to be matte, but you can use shimmery shades if that’s what floats your boat. This can be midtone to dark, depending on the intensity and depth you are looking for. A lighter crease color can also be used to transition from the dark crease upwards towards the browbone for a seamless look.

Palettes - Crease

UD — Tease, Snakebite
NARS — Belissima
Laura Mercier — Plum Smoke, Café Au Lait, Coffee Ground
theBalm — Sultry, Sophisticated, Sleek

The outer ‘v’ color is usually a darker version of the crease or the lid color that serves the purpose of creating depth and dimension on your eye.

Palettes - Outer v

UD — Snakebite, Pistol, Busted
NARS — Galapagos, Coconut Grove
Laura Mercier — Chocolate, Sable, Coffee Ground, Deep Night
theBalm — Sophisticated, Sexy, Silly, Sleek

Liner colors are usually dark colors. Typically, black is used, but of course it’s up to you if you want to take the road less traveled. Personally, I like using dark greys/charcoal, deep blues, and dark browns, too.

Palettes - Liner

UD — Snakebite, Busted, Blackout
NARS — Galapagos, Coconut Grove, Nightclubbing
Laura Mercier — Chocolate, Coffee Ground, Deep Night, Rich Coffee
theBalm — Sophisticated, Sexy, Silly, Sleek, Serious

An eye highlight can be either matte or shimmery. Most people prefer a matte highlight on their browbone, but a shimmery highlight for the inner corner of the eye. These brighten up your eye area and open it up a bit more.

Palette - Highlights

UD — Foxy, Half Baked, Bootycall, Verve
NARS — Alhambra
Laura Mercier — Guava, Sunlit, Vanilla Nuts
theBalm — Sassy, Snobby, Stubborn, Stand-offish

I hope this helped you, somewhat! If I were on the hunt for a single palette that I’m meant to use everyday, I would look for:
— a light or midtone, shimmery or matte shade as base color and/or highlight
— a matte (if possible) crease color, can also be used for outer ‘v’
— a dark shade for depth, doubles as a liner

My favorite among all of these is the Laura Mercier Palette. However, Laura Mercier is no longer cruelty-free. My next favorite is the NARS Palette, which features shades from their permanent range.

See you tomorrow for another eye post! I hope you’re having a great time on here so far. 🙂


  1. Awesome guide! Most of these are a little too steep but then you do get a lot of shades in one palette. What do you think of UD Naked Basics? It’s the one I can think of that’s below Php1500.

    • I’m not a big fan, but I like some type of shimmer kasi because my eye shape doesn’t really go well with all-matte eye looks. My sister loves it, though.

  2. I’m saving up for a NARS palette (or maybe adding it to my holidays wishlist). I think it’ll be a better investment (naks!) than the duo since you get more products.The ‘Nute Tude is getting a lot of good reviews, parang gusto ko din!

    • You get to try more, but I appreciate the thought behind the duos talaga. 🙂 Nude ‘Tude is an awesome neutral palette!

    • I am a total palette fiend. My weakness and my dilemma, always. I have a hard time saying no to the pretties, but I’ve been doing good!

  3. This is so helpful! As someone who’s only just really getting in to make-up, it’s nice to have a guide like this. 🙂

    • Thanks! Most of them are permanent, and they actually release a lot of really well-designed ones. 😀 this was a holiday release, so maybe they have a new pretty one coming soon!

  4. I love how eloquently you explained the choice of colors! For the kind of eye makeup I do, and my default preferences… it’d probably be Laura Mercier for me. I liked Nude Tude more based on word of mouth, but seeing them all against each other, I think LM has the best color/finish selection for me 😀

  5. Eye palettes can definitely be overwhelming, but this is a great systematic breakdown of how to evaluate one! Some things I also consider to get the best value and to suppress hoarder sensibilities:

    1) making sure that ALL shades are somehow compatible with skin. I’ve passed over many a Bobbi Brown palette because while the base and crease shades were achingly good, the highlight shade seemed better suited for translucent people. There are just so many palettes out there that it’s not worth spending a lot on something not completely there. This has saved me many times at the airport Duty Free.

    2) try before you buy, if possible! (or carefully look at swatch photos The disappointment of a shade that’s not true to pan can be crushing – especially if you were counting on that shade to play nicely with the others, and it doesn’t. While true of most makeup, I feel like you invest more in palettes.

    3) versatility. if i can’t immediately think of at least 3 looks that I can make with the palette (and again this depends on #1 and #2 being good) then I pass it up. EVEN IF IT’S SO PRETTY IT HURTS. Even for 4-shade palettes. Sometimes its as quick as determining whether I can do a Lazy Day Look, Every Day Smokey Eye, and Full Raccoon Boogaloo. If the answer to yes is all 3, it’s mine.

    This of course excludes palettes which summon a visceral reaction of pure lust, even if it’s only one color that seduces you. It can’t be explained. It can’t be helped. In this case, reason is useless. You’re on your own, and may God help your soul.

    • Yay thanks for sharing!! 🙂 I agree with all of your tips. 1) makes me glad I never picked up a Bobbi Brown palette. I always felt like they wouldn’t suit me, and so far, I’ve been right. 2) I feel sad when they swatch great with my finger then translate poorly when worn. 3) Any you’ve said no to because of this?

      Haaaay. So many palettes. So many pretty palettes.

  6. great pics and product choices! I’m still sad I missed that laura mercier palette, haha, but at least I got another one of her sets with a decent number of shades 🙂

  7. since noticing your curls, I’ve been meaning to ask how you do it hehe kinda off-topic but I’m curious 😀

  8. Pingback: September’s Softly Special: All About the Eyes (Master List of Posts) | Softly Sometimes

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