I love a good neutral eyeshadow palette, and I probably have too many of them (okay, I know I have too many of them). One of the best things about palettes is the lack of thought the consumer has to do in order to put a look together. All the shades you need are typically right in front of you, ready to use and play with. A good example of this is the infamous original Naked palette from Urban Decay.
This palette, which is sadly now discontinued, started it all. Since its launch in 2010, brands have been constantly putting out neutral palettes of all kinds: true neutral, warm neutral, cool neutral, rosy neutral, and everything in between. The market has been flooded with neutral palettes, so why would anyone need to curate their own, custom palette? Because us makeup lovers can’t get enough. We love our palettes, but they are never complete. There is always that one shade (or two, or three) missing to complete what we think is the perfect palette. For me, Naked is missing a deep, rich, matte shade. The shades “Hustle” and “Darkhorse” are fairly deep, but they’re shimmery- not the best shadows for deepening the outer corner or adding subtle definition.
Besides the lack of “outer corner shades” in the Naked, it is only a 12-shade palette. That may seem like a lot, but when you get down to it, you find that it’s not enough. There may be shades you never use, or you may want to change it up and do something a little different. This is where creating your own custom palette becomes essential. You can have whatever shades you want, and nothing you don’t. If you want 12 shimmery lid shades and no mattes, you can have 12 shimmery lid shades and no mattes. If you just want varying shades of beige with hardly any colors (guilty), you can do that too.
The downside to collecting single shadows is the price. Each of the shadows I own cost anywhere from $6 to $12 a piece. At full price, the Naked palette offered 12 shadows at a cost of $54. That’s $4.50 a piece- almost a third of the price of a lot of my singles. A 12-pan palette of $12-a-pop shadows would cost a whopping $144!
But, sometimes addicts can’t be helped.
Here is my collection of the neutral single shadows that I keep in my magnetic palette. It’s a work in progress, as I’m constantly on the hunt for the perfect shades, but what I have now completes almost any look I want to go for. I have Anastasia Beverly Hills (ABH), Makeup Geek (MUG), MAC, and Ubran Decay (UD) shadows:
- ABH Blanc ultra matte snowy ivory
- ABH Buon Fresco ultra matte antique lavender
- ABH Dusty Rose ultra matte dusty lilac
- MUG Barcelona Beach satin cool toned brown
- MAC Concrete matte muted taupe brown
- MAC Nylon shimmery pale gold
- MAC Shroom soft shimmery beige
- MAC Phloof! frosted off white
- ABH Vermeer metallic pearl
- UD Scratch shimmery light pink
- ABH Pink Champagne titanium pinky beige shimmer
- ABH Sateen metallic soft gold
- MAC Honey Lust metallic bronze-dipped peach
- MAC All That Glitters beige with gold pearl
- ABH Rose metallic pink
- MUG Bake Sale matte nougat brown
- MUG Cocoa Bear matte reddish brown
- MAC Soft Brown matte soft golden peachy brown
- ABH Red Earth ultra matte reddish brown
- ABH Aubergine ultra matte deep inky purple
- MUG Cupcake matte medium pink
- MAC Swiss Chocolate matte muted reddish brown
- MAC Brown Down matte teddy bear brown
- MUG Cherry Cola matte deep red-brown
- MUG Aphrodite matte deep plum-brown
I love and use each of these shadows, but I do have a few favorites. Buon Fresco and Soft Brown are my favorites to use in the crease. I obsess over how beautiful Honey Lust and Rose are as lid shades, and Nylon, Phloof!, and Vermeer are amazing as highlight shades.
Anastasia shadows are by far the best quality. Even though they’re much more expensive, they are 100% worth it, particularly if you can buy them during a sale. However, MAC and Makeup Geek have can’t-beat prices on their shades, as well as a massive selection to choose from.
Overall, it is worth it to search the web or your nearest Ulta and Sephora for single shadows that you absolutely love. Not only can you guarantee you’ll get use out of them, you can slowly build your collection until you have the perfect neutral palette. You can find empty magnetic palettes anywhere, such as mine from Tarte.
So get shopping! It’s so rewarding and fun to explore the world of single eyeshadows. Your initial investment may seem a little steep, but over time you will end up with the perfect, customized, made-just-for-you eyeshadow palette that you can carry with you through the years, fads, and trends.