No beauty gift says Christmas like a huge eyeshadow palette. Especially this year, when a satisfyingly overstuffed paintbox, brimming with colourful possibilities, also feels like a symbolically optimistic present. It promises the near opportunity to once again attend weddings, birthday parties, clubs, gigs and dinners, maybe even getting close enough for a stranger to admire your blending skills.
If cheap and cheerful is what’s needed, no one makes bigger, better bargain palettes than Morphe. Its latest 35-pan Natural Flirt is delicious – all warm camels, pinks and violets – but if, like me, you are purple-averse (Prince notwithstanding), then direct your cursor towards Truth Or Bare (£18), an 18-pan nudist colony of brown, terracotta, taupe, gold, pink and beige that flatters anyone, regardless of skin tone. The high pigment content and guaranteed spoil of Morphe-specific tutorials online make it an ideal practice palette for budding makeup artists.
Speaking of the pros, makeup artist and YouTube icon Jamie Genevieve recently released my palette of the year and, despite it selling out on day one, she’s adamant that it will be back in time for Christmas. The Essential Eyeshadow Palette (£43), by her new signature brand Vieve, is sublime – a doubledecker palette of 10 warm, wearable but vivid neutrals in dense sparkles and almost creamy, unusually blendable mattes. (You know those pigment-drenched shadows that seem to embed where they land, refusing to be made soft, smoky and blurry with a brush? Well, these have all the punch, none of the pigheadedness.) The former are a sort of gel-powder, making them glide on smoothly – no unmovable clumps or postapocalyptic particle fallout (I’ve tried applying the glittery shadows several ways and finger works best). The fill (industry term for portion size) is also huge for a multishadow, at a whopping 3.1g a pan.
Reigning palette queen Natasha Denona (another makeup artist; they do tend to curate the best lineups) specialises in shadow collections. Her five-strong Camel Palette (£41) is what I pack whenever I have to travel for work events, but to treat your beloved beauty fan to a veritable orgy of cool, smoky, satin, matte and shimmery colour, look no further than her new Glam Palette (£60). This, like the others, is neutral based, but deliberately lacks their warmth. Minky taupes, chilled coffee browns and that beautiful pink of freshly plastered walls – all land on the lid looking as glorious as they do in the pan.