The Perfect Party Palettes

Five beauty editors pick their choice of the season’s eye party palettes, and share their tips on how to use them for eyes that wow.

For a grown-up take on sparkle

Fiona Embleton, Senior Beauty Editor, Marie Claire

It’s time to lift the ban on sparkly make-up – after all, it is Christmas. A totally grown-up take on shine does exist; it’s just a matter of using finely milled powders like the ones in the NYX Christmas palette and concentrating the application on only one or two areas of your face. A sweep of shimmering eyeshadow over the lids is subtle enough for a work party, but for a night out with friends, amp up the metallic sheen by applying it with a wet brush – and keep the rest of your make-up pared back.

For glowing compliments you need glowing skin. Use a smaller make-up brush to apply the highlighter over the tops of your cheeks and down the bridge of your nose – this instantly wakes up skin.


For warm shades that go from day to night

Annie Vischer, Beauty Editor, Woman

Last year’s massive trend for rose gold has caused the beauty industry to warm up quite literally. The shelves are brimming with fiery shades ready to perk up winter-dulled skin in an instant. Urban Decay’s Naked Heat eyeshadow palette is one such must-have buy and it’s transformed my look this autumn. My favourite way to use it? Brush on a classy barely-there day look, then transform it into a modern smokey eye at my desk for an evening out.

In the morning I use the lightest Ounce shade under the arch of my eyebrows and in the inner corner of my eyes to really perk me up. All I need after that is a wash of the Chaser shade over each lid, followed by a dusting of Lumbre over the top for a glow-boosting sheen and I’m good to go.

Come the end of the working day, I’m reaching for the palette again. I buff the gorgeous Embers colour into the sockets of my eyes and blend inwards from the outer corners taking it across both my top and lower lash lines with a more precise eyeliner brush. I then line my eyes again with the deeper matte Ashes shade – this gives eyes serious definition and the mauve tones make any eye colour pop. A slick of mascara later and I’m ready for my Prosecco!

For bold colours to amp up the drama

Lydia Thompson, Beauty Editor, Look

I’m completely obsessed with the NYX In Your Element palette in Metal! The pigments of the eyeshadows are so strong that you only need a tiny bit to blend over your lids and your eyes are instantly transformed. Plus, the texture is so creamy you don’t even really need a brush, so applying with your fingertips will do the job just as well, if not better.

And yes, like all palettes, you’ll find you have your go-to shades that you can’t stop applying, but the richness of each colour means that you’re really not scared to try out a new hue. Even if it is a green or blue.

For shimmer and radiance

Madeleine Spencer, Beauty Editor, InStyle

I know that choosing where to put eyeshadows can initially seem intimidating, but there are a few simple rules that make it easier. For starters, shimmer acts as a highlighter, and that can be both a good and bad thing, depending on how finely it’s milled, and on where you put it. The finer the shimmer pigments, the more it will reflect light. If you’re concerned about wrinkly eyelids/crow’s feet, it may be a good way to go.

Glittery shadows will really catch light, so put them somewhere to maximise the effect. I like to tap a little on to the centre of my eyelid to shimmer when I blink.

If you’re starting to experiment, try Kat Von D’s Shade + Light Glimmer Eye Shadow Palette – it contains reflective shades in really easy-to-sling-on colours.

For party eye perfection

Fiona McKim, Beauty Editor, Woman & Home

What makes a perfect eye palette? I’d say no more than ten shades in warm and cool variations on neutral (toasty browns make green or hazel eyes sizzle; cool taupe and gold bring out icy blues). A mixture of matte and sheeny finishes, no silly colours and no chunky glitter, ta.

The best palettes make a smoky eye feel do-able regardless of skill, with friendly base shades for all skin tones, sootier ones to draw along the lash line, and a touch of pretty colour to wing out from the socket. I’m talking tons of finely milled pigment for easy-peasy blending and robust staying power. Basically, I’m talking about Too Faced Natural Eyes, which succeeds on every possible level and is the only thing you need for party eye perfection. Enjoy!


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