The best makeup palettes, selected by our beauty team

Our pick of the best makeup palettes—from everyday eyeshadow to contouring kits

three makeup palettes including a lip palette, and two eyeshadow palettes, a selection of our pick of the best makeup palettes
(Image credit: Future)

There's no right or wrong time to shop for the best makeup palettes. It's always a thrill to see what new offerings the world of makeup has put out there. There's something about seeing fabulous color curations in equally pretty packaging that sparks our inner makeup artist. 

Whether you're looking to create easy makeup looks or want to try out intricate multi-tonal eyeshadow looks, picking up a palette is a great way to change up your routine and try out the latest makeup trends. The best thing about a makeup palette is that the shades have already been curated, and are guaranteed to work together. The other draw is that you have all of the shades you could possibly need for eyes, cheeks, and lips—all in one convenient place, taking up less space in your kit. 

The marketplace is saturated with makeup palette offerings created by everyone from celebrities to makeup artists and cult brands, which means it can be overwhelming and hard to know where to begin. That's where our expertly curated list of brilliant palettes for every eventuality can help. 

The best makeup palettes, chosen by our senior beauty editor

charlotte tilbury luxury palette in pillow talk, a mix of four nude shades - pickes as one of the best makeup palettes by our experts

(Image credit: Charlotte Tilbury)

1. Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Palette Pillow Talk

Best neutral eyeshadow palette

Specifications

RRP: $53/£40
Palette Type: Eyeshadow
Texture: Powder
Shades: 4
Brush included?: No
Mirror: Yes
Outer casing: Maroon

Reasons to buy

+
Wearable shades
+
Travel-friendly
+
Velvet texture
+
Easy to blend

Reasons to avoid

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Expensive for only four shades
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Not very versatile

Bigger isn't always better. It's so easy to get overwhelmed by massive makeup palettes. Where do you even begin? Do you really need 30 shades? 

We say no. Sometimes simplicity really is key, which is why we've picked this as one of the best makeup palettes for creating a soft glam makeup look. Based on Charlotte Tilbury's iconic Pillow Talk lipstick, these four shades are wearable, versatile, and just so easy. They’re velvety soft and easy to blend, working just as well as standalone shades as they do together. Ok, so it’s expensive for just four colors—but the daily use you’ll get out of this will really balance out the cost-per-wear.

It'll suit all, but offers an especially good shade selection of eyeshadow for green eyes. For the evening, pair with a flick of liquid eyeliner and the best mascara you own. You can wear it with nude lipstick for a chic, monotone look, or go all out with a bold lip shade. 

Makeup By Mario Pro Lip Palette including 16 shades, a brush and a mixing tab, one of our pick of the best makeup palettes

(Image credit: Makeup By Mario)

2. Makeup By Mario Master Mattes Pro Lip Palette

Best lip makeup palette

Specifications

RRP: $60/£51
Palette type: Lip color
Texture: Cream
Shades: 16
Brush included: Yes
Mirror: Yes
Outer casing: White

Reasons to buy

+
Professional-level palette
+
16 versatile shades
+
Blending plate for custom color
+
Made to suit all skin tones

Reasons to avoid

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Not great for top-ups on the go
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Expensive

Kim Kardashian's Makeup Artist Mario Dedivanovic—also known as the man who taught the world how to contour makeup now has a best-selling beauty range. We were skeptical at first, but it’s brilliant and includes one of the best makeup palettes we’ve tried in a long time. At first glance, this lip palette may seem a bit overcomplicated, especially if you're not sure how to apply lipstick. If you’re more of a ‘swipe on and go’ person, this may not be for you. But, if you're a lipstick fanatic like we are, you’ll love this professional-level palette. 

It includes 16 shades and comes with a fold-out mixing plate. This means you can mix and match and blend the best lipstick to suit you. Specially formulated with inclusivity in mind, these colors are made to suit everyone on a base level—but you can really tailor them to your exact coloring too. Whether you want to match your ideal nude lipstick  for your skin tone or create a perfect pink, this palette gives you true MUA-level control and artistry. Truly, it’s hours of fun. The formulas are soft without being smudgy, are offer long lasting lipstick color. In a word—fantastic. 

Too Faced Natural Face Palette, picked as one of the best makeup palettes

(Image credit: Too Faced)

3. Too Faced Natural Face Palette

Best face makeup palette

Specifications

RRP: $44/£36
Palette type: Whole face
Formulation: Powder
Shades: 6
Mirror: Yes
Brush included: No
Outer casing: Gold with lace design

Reasons to buy

+
Great for travel
+
Multipurpose
+
Highly pigmented
+
Easy to blend

Reasons to avoid

-
Individual shades a little small

If you like to keep your makeup kit minimal, this is the best makeup palette for your stash. It includes two shades of three products—bronzer, blusher, and highlighter. When you’re really stuck for space, you can use them as eyeshadow shades, and even use the pink tones on your lips. Think of this as the Swiss army knife of the palette world. We love a multitasker.

Even if your kit is more on the maximalist side, think how handy this will be on long weekends away with those tiny hand-luggage allowances. No more overspill or broken zips on your makeup bags. The colors themselves are really wearable, beautifully shimmery without being glittery (a pet peeve of ours). You can wear them alone or combine all shades for a fresh, dewy makeup look. 

This doesn’t come with a brush included, but to be honest when was the last time you used the tiny brush that came with a face palette? Our only slight gripe is that the size of the individual shades is quite small, so they are not ideal for the big fluffy brush you normally need to master how to apply bronzer and how to apply blush. But you can make it work with a bit of dabbing. 

e.l.f blush palette with four bright blusher shades, picked by us as one of the best makeup palettes

(Image credit: e.l.f Cosmetics)

4. e.l.f Powder Blush Palette

Best blush palette

Specifications

RRP: $8/£9
Palette type: Blush
Formulation: Powder
Shades: 4
Brush included?: No
Mirror: Yes
Outer casing: Black matte

Reasons to buy

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Great price
+
Beautiful shades
+
A color to suit everyone
+
Easy to blend

Reasons to avoid

-
None, we love this

You may think it’s pretty 'extra' to require more than one blush shade. Ok, maybe it is a tiny bit OTT—but the finish you'll achieve is genuinely beautiful. Mixing blush up for a multi-tonal look creates a lovely rosy-cheeked finish and helps cheat that youthful flush. It makes for especially flattering makeup for older women.

This look is all about blending. Take a fluffy brush and swirl it into the shades you’d like—feel free to mix and match. Then sweep onto the apples of your cheeks and blend. You can also use the shades on your eyes and lips. To make the color brighter and more pigmented, apply with a wet makeup brush. We really love e.l.f’s makeup—they have some of the best makeup palettes for smaller budgets. They’re brilliantly priced and work without any faff. Even better, their entire line is vegan and cruelty-free. 

MAC cosmetics concealer palette with a mix of 6 shades, one of the best makeup palettes chosen by our beauty editors

(Image credit: MAC Cosmetics)

5. MAC Studio Fix Conceal and Correct Palette

Best concealer makeup palette

Specifications

RRP: $37/£30
Palette Type: Concealer
Formulation: Cream
Shades: 6
Brush included?: No
Mirror: No
Outer casing: Black with window at front

Reasons to buy

+
The only concealer you'll need
+
Multipurpose
+
Easy to blend and hide imperfections
+
MUAs love it

Reasons to avoid

-
Takes up more space than just one do-all concealer

Not all concealers are created equal. If you know how to apply concealer correctly you’ll know that you’ll need a different one for different needs. Concealer for dark circles should be a shade lighter than your complexion, to brighten up the area. To hide blemishes and other imperfections like scarring, you’ll need one the exact shade as your foundation or skin tone, to help it vanish. 

That's why this is the best makeup palette for perfecting your complexion. Each palette comes with four concealer shades and two color correctors, to achieve flawless skin in just a few dabs. The textures are light and creamy, and easy to blend. You can apply with a concealer brush, or dab in with your fingers to help warm the product up.

It’s available in six tones, ranging from the palest to match the deepest shades from the MAC range—so you’re sure to find your perfect match. Makeup artists swear by this palette to help imperfections vanish on photoshoots—we always see it peeking out of their makeup kits.

hourglass ambient highlighter palette with three shades, chosen as one of the best makeup palettes

(Image credit: Hourglass)

6. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

Best highlight palette

Specifications

RRP: $68/61
Palette Type: Highlighter
Formulation: Powder
Shades: 3
Brush included: No
Mirror: Yes
Outer casing: A rich glossy chocolate

Reasons to buy

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Luxurious
+
Beautiful shimmer
+
Super soft, fine-milled powder
+
Velvet finish

Reasons to avoid

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Expensive

There's a reason that Hourglass products are often rated as some of the best makeup palettes ever. Just one swipe gives a flattering, glowing glimmer. No matter how dull your skin is, you can cheat a bit of radiance with just a few sweeps. They’ve also produced some of the best highlighters we’ve ever tried. Seriously—they need to be seen to be believed.

It’s down to the super-soft, fine-milled powder. It feels velvety to the touch and applies like a dream. A little bit goes a long way—to be honest it would have to for the price. We admit it’s expensive, but consider it the ultimate ‘treat yourself’ buy.

Three shades make this bestseller quite versatile too. You can layer them on top of your blusher and bronzer to add a beautiful iridescent shimmer and warmth. It's shimmer, not glitter you’re after with a highlighter. Apply to the tops of your cheekbones for that fresh back from vacation glow.

natasha denona zendo palette, a mix of bright shades, picked as one of the best makeup palettes for W&H

(Image credit: Natasha Denona)

7. Natasha Denona Zendo Palette

Best bright makeup palette

Specifications

RRP: $72/£60
Palette Type: Eyeshadow
Formulation: Powder
Shades: 15
Brush included: No
Mirror: Yes
Outer Casing: Vibrant orange

Reasons to buy

+
Gorgeous shades
+
Easy to apply
+
Encourages creativity
+
Mix of mattes and shimmer
+
High pigment

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Brights not for everyone

Sometimes we don’t want the everyday, easy makeup look. Sometimes we want to go bold in an all-out party makeup look—even if we’re not going anywhere particularly exciting! Blame the pandemic or blame influencer Katie Jane Hughes (the queen of bold eyeshadow looks) but we’ve loved experimenting with bolder eyes colors lately. It helps spark some joy on grey mornings and gives a bright, fun feel. 

We’re obsessed with Natasha Denona’s palettes—they’re the best makeup palettes for creating bold and beautiful looks. With such bright shades, they can appear quite intimidating but once you start playing and swatching, the real magic kicks in. They’re so highly pigmented that the tiniest amount creates the most vibrant color. We particularly love the Zendo palette as it’s surprisingly wearable. The browns on the left-hand side create the perfect neutral tones, and they also pair beautifully with the more vibrant pinks and blues. 

If you’re intimidated by bright makeup—start small. Use a liner brush dipped into a bright color and swap your eyeliner flicks. It’s a fuss-free, graphic look that’s highly effective. 

Benefit cosmetics Brow Zings palette with a mix of shades and balms, picked as one of the best palettes by our team

(Image credit: Benefit Cosmetics)

8. Benefit Brow Zings Pro Palette

Best brow makeup palette

Specifications

RRP: $39/£33.50
Palette type: Eyebrow
Formulation: Powders & waxes
Shades: 7
Brush included: Yes, 2
Mirror: Yes
Outer casing: Silver

Reasons to buy

+
Everything you need for eyebrows in one kit
+
Great for travel
+
Big mirror for optimal shaping
+
Two double end tools

Reasons to avoid

-
Potentially too many steps for some

Learning how to shape eyebrows depends on a few things. Firstly, the eyebrow shape you naturally have and how thick they are. The 90s skinny brow trend has a lot to answer for! The best shaping technique also depends on the look you’re after. Do you want brushed-up brows, or a slimmer, more defined look?

No matter what look you’re after, this palette will do it all. Four powders and three waxes offer far more options than even the best eyebrow pencil. You can customize tone, help add definition and add strong hold. Plus, there are two double-sided tools, so it’s the equivalent of four brow brushes. It’s a one-stop shop for all things brow, by arguably the best brow brand in the makeup world.

If you have a more low-maintenance brow routine—choosing to master how to pluck your eyebrows or eyebrow tinting at home, this may not be for you. But if you like an intensive brow overhaul, look no further. 


Rhiannon Derbyshire
Rhiannon Derbyshire

Rhiannon Derbyshire is the Senior Beauty Editor for Woman & Home and other publications. 


She started interning for magazines while working alongside her Fashion Journalism degree. There, she was lured to the beauty desk, seduced by matte lipsticks, posh shampoos and every skincare product imaginable. A first-language Welsh speaker, she can tell you why the best mascaras are always high street, why SPF is a non-negotiable all year round and how to find the exact right red lipstick in two languages.

With contributions from