A neutral eye palette is an essential component of any makeup bag, but sometimes you just want something a little more jazzy- step in sparkly neutrals! These shades are subtle enough for everyday wear but also have an added shimmer which can really brighten up any outfit. They are perfect if you want a makeup look that will take you from the office to the bar on a friday night (you can simply add a touch more contour or shimmer if you want to vamp it up even more) and they are also the ideal mix of subtle and glam for bridal makeup. Best of all, they suit any skin tone, eye colour and outfit. In brief, you can’t go wrong with neutrals, in fact the only difficulty is knowing which palette to choose, with so many on the market. To help, I’ve compiled a collection of my favourite sparkly neutral palettes, ranging from super-affordable to high-end, and given you the lowdown on each palette. You might use my guide to choose just one, but of course you could even buy all three and mix and match the shades for a unique neutral look! So here are my favourites…
The Affordable Palette.
Collection 2000 Eyeshadow Palette Smokey Eyes in No. 3, Smokey: £4.19, Superdrug.
This palette is fantastic because it contains no less than nine versatile colours, all but two of which are big on shimmery impact (the remaining two matte shades can be used to tone down your look for daywear). The palette also contains one creme eyeshadow which is great for brightening eyes and adding a highlight. All the colours work perfectly together, so the number of different looks you can create with this one affordable palette is huge. It’s also slim and lightweight, and will even fit in the tiniest of clutches! The tips on the back are useful, especially if you’re a bit of a newby to the smokey eye look, as they guide you to which shades fit best in certain areas of the eyelid. I’d say that for the price, the quality of the shadows is good, and you can increase their staying power by using a good eyeshadow primer (I usually opt for Urban Decay’s Primer Potion.) Overall, this palette is a brilliant bargain: nine wearable colours at less than 47p each- who can argue with that?
The Mid-Range Palette
The Body Shop Shimmer Cube Palette in No. 6, Warm: £16, The Body Shop.
I knew as soon as I saw this palette that it was destined to join the ranks of my makeup stash. To be honest, the funky geometric packaging alone sold it for me, but when I set eyes upon those warm, shimmery copper tones with their equally irresistible names (you try saying no to Honeycomb, Dark Chocolate, Marshmallow and Choc Chip!) I knew that there was no going back. I suppose £16 isn’t cheap for an eyeshadow palette, but you do get a lot for you money, as each tray is much deeper than conventional eyeshadows. As I am pretty fair-skinned, I was a little worried that the colours would be too strong for me, but it turned out they go on very subtly, and can be built up to a more striking effect either by simply brushing more on or, if you’re feeling really bold, applying them with a wet sponge applicator. The best thing about this product is that each colour is supplied in its own individual box which can be removed from the palette, which is great if you only need one or two and are short on packing space. There are also different palettes in the collection, so you could mix and match your favourite colours for the perfect getaway look! In sum, a fabulous little cube of glittery goodness that is both glam and practical!
The High-End Palette
Benefit World Famous Neutrals Sexiest Nudes Ever Eyeshadow Kit- £23.50, Boots.
The third and final (and most expensive) palette that I have to show you is this show-stopper from Benefit. I do love a bit of Benefit; the packaging is fab, the products are (in my experience, without exception) fantastic and you can always rely on the brand to be at the cutting-edge of makeup innovation. My only beef with the brand its prices. Take this palette, for example- the colours are luscious and both the creams and powders smooth on like a dream, but I can’t help but glance back at my Body Shop palette and think that it gave me a lot more for my money (to be honest, a lot of the time I wonder whether most of my money spent on Benefit goes on packaging which, as lovely as it is, I could easily do without if it drastically reduced the price of the product!) Another problem that I have with this and a lot of Benefit’s packaging is that it is quite bulky and definitely not the type you want to be carrying around all day. That said, I do love the shadows in this palette; you can create a number of day and evening looks with them (guided by the handy leaflet inside the lid), and the powders can be blended seamlessly with the creams, which I found quite surprising, as they are of vastly different consistencies! Overall, a great product if you want to splurge but not the most practical of the three.
I hope this brief guide has helped you navigate the murky waters of eyeshadow shopping, I’d love to hear your comments on my selection, or of any alternative palettes which you think can trump the ones I’ve shown you here. Have fun creating a myriad of shimmery neutral shades!