Do You Prefer Eyeshadows in Palettes or as Single Pans?

Published in: Just For Fun

I lean toward palettes — ideally, palettes where all of the colors are related in some way that make sense to me, like, all of the colors are warm-toned neutrals, or classic MAC shades that I wear all the time. Something thematic like that.


And I’m not a big fan of those Godzilla-sized palettes with quadrillions of eyeshadows, because as much as I like the idea of big blockbuster palettes, anything beyond 20 shades is stimulus overload for me.

How about you? Do you prefer eyeshadows in palettes or as single pans?

Inquiring minds want to know. 🙂

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


P.S. I can’t even tell you how happy I am to see the sun this morning! Yesterday my condo was like a 17-century schooner struck by a squall off the coast of New England. Rumbling thunder that you can feel in the floorboards, hail and rain that reaches out to strike the windows — I wasn’t sure we were gonna make it!

Right now we’re either in the eye of the storm, because it’s sunny but eerily still and quiet out there…or the storm has passed.

Either way, I’m taking it as a sign to get out of the house today. I’m thinking Sephora and Ulta runs are in order.


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  1. Miki says:

    I love me some eyeshadow palettes! But as much as I love my bigger UD, MAC, Lorac, etc. palettes, I think my favorite size is the NARS 6-pan…just enough colors and such a convenient size!
    Miki recently posted … Urban Decay’s Electric Nail Polish Trio Review+Swatches

  2. kim says:

    i used to be obsessed with big palettes. But i travel a lot, and they can take up so much space. i have been getting more into singles and quads. i do love the sonia kashuk 12 pan matte palette. it is so compact. i just bring my favorite single shadows, and the matte palette with me, and you have everything you need!

  3. Rachel says:

    I generally only buy palettes because they’re cheaper than buying each single eyeshadow. Its also easier to put together looks when all the shadows are together but on the other hand I like the customability of my collection that I can get with single eyeshadows. Not gonna lie, I’ve purchased whole palettes because I wanted one or two of the shadows but didn’t want to pay full price for them. Obviously I use the whole palette and its worth it in the end, but its definitely a silly thing to do!

  4. Bella says:

    In an ideal world, Nars would make the kind of self fillable palettes that Mac makes. I would die of pleasure if I could have all my favourite Nars singles and duos in one palette. I have Nars Narsissist, but no-one who is honest can deny that the quality is just not the same.
    Tom Ford quads are very nicely put together.

  5. Natasha says:

    I prefer palettes/quads but not huge ones – they’re too hard to hold, too big & bulky and just get in the way!
    Natasha recently posted … March Madness Haul/Purchases

  6. Katherine M says:

    I like both singles and a good palette. I like the big palettes when they are well-organized, meaning the colors grouped together are ones I would use together. For days I just want a quick blended, smokey eye, I love singles such as NARS Galapagos, or MAC Club. I also like using the neutral singles to mix with fun colors. Palettes like the ones Benefit makes are nice because they come with blush, lip gloss, highlighter and occasionally a nice shadow (if not a total shadow palette).

  7. gio says:

    Definitely palettes. I feel like I get more bang for my bucks that way. And it’s easier to pair shades and come up with nice looks.
    gio recently posted … Is MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator The Best Scrub Ever?

  8. Marilyn says:

    I’m definitely into palettes now. I have a bunch of bare minerals eyeshadows that I love, but they sit in a box in my bathroom. Usually I’m doing my makeup on the bus so a palette is grab & go! If it’s one that has eyeshadow & blush, even better.
    Marilyn recently posted … Datelivery – Monthly Subscription Box Review

  9. Samantha M says:

    I like being able to customize my own palettes 🙂

  10. I like both, but palettes can be easier to lug around and just use since all of the colours are just RIGHT there. Plus, they’re more affordable. Usually.
    Rikki Poynter recently posted … Rainbow Carnival Makeup – Carnival|Music Festival Collab w/ PrettyAndPrimped | closed captioned

  11. Alison M says:

    I’m a palette girl through and through. I’ll settle for an awesome duo at the minimum. An eyeshadow single needs to be something pretty special for me to purchase it on its own.
    Alison M recently posted … NARS Summer 2014 Adult Swim Color Collection

  12. Eileen says:

    I have a lot of eyelid and browbone space and so I use several shades at a time. Consequently, I love palettes because, in the case of the well done ones, someone of artistic merit has put a lot of thought into how the shades will work together. I do use colors from different palettes when I want to customize, but I’d say 75% of the time I use the colors from a single palette. As for those humongous palettes with a gazillion colors, no thank you. The last one I bough was from Le Métier de Beauté. Although I had a lot of fun with it, some colors were used down to the pan and others were hardly touched. That seems like such a waste to me.

  13. Kylie says:

    I definitely like palettes– top three are Naked 3, Urban Decay Ammo, and Too Faced Natural (the old one). But I do like singles of basics– Stila Kitten, Urban Decay Sin. I agree though– I hate the mega palettes. The quality is usually cheap, you don’t get enough of a color you love, and inevitably end up with a ton of colors you don’t want!

  14. Allison C says:

    Definitely palettes, and I am on a palette craze, lol. However, I still like the Maybelline Color Tattoos and I even found an Almay Softee that I like and they’re singles. Go figure
    Allison C recently posted … Studio Gear Hydrating CC Cream “Linen”

  15. sanikki says:

    I prefer palettes because most of them already have complementary colors and since I am not a makeup artist it makes it easier for me to get a great makeup look. Single shadows means I set the entire look from the colors I choose. I guess that will make me get better at choosing a unique look!

  16. Anita says:

    I like both, but I prefer palettes because it is more cost effective. I am a MAC girl, and I had no idea, until a MAC consultant told me, that the single shadows are the same size as the palette shadows. I could have screamed! I could have saved so much money (Well, my hubby since he is the one who bought most of them ;). You get more variety and I like to make mine thematic as well.

  17. Veronica says:

    I use to only purchase single pans and create my own looks but now I have become addicted to Too Face’s palettes. I can still create my own looks with them but I also enjoyed being able to go across the palette and have all the work already done for me.

  18. Meghan l says:

    Palettes 100%….too faced and urban decay. It is easier to pack a palette for vacation too 🙂

  19. Anna says:

    I go for palettes for the same reasons you indicated, Karen. Of course I have single pans o jars of the cream eyeshadows, Mac paint pots or Chanel Illusion d’Ombres being my favs, but when it comes down to create a look inspiration flows more easily if I have a good number of colors in a group which holds “sense” to me.

    And my dream is to walk into the new Mac Pro Store in San Francisco WITH YOU to help me choose the ultimate eyeshadow palette with your signature on it!

    Have a nice day.

  20. Ashley H says:

    Hi all. I am a palette lover as well. I adore MAC palettes because they are customizable. I have been able to reorganize them as my collection grows. For me, singles are troublesome when I am in a rush because they get lost in my makeup bag and I waste time looking for a specific color. Palettes are easy to work with, I agree that it’s easier to get inspired with a well organized collection. For travel when I don’t want to carry my large MAC palette I pop a few colors into a duo or quad.

  21. Let says:

    I prefer palettes, though I still buy the occasional singles (if the colors are unique), cream shadows, and indie loose shadows. Also, I end up using singles more when I travel.

  22. Chris25 says:

    For a wider range of colors, I buy and prefer palettes. If it’s a staple color like warm beige for all over the lid or dark brown (which is multi-purpose), I buy singles.
    Chris25 recently posted … Eco Emi- March 2014

  23. Natalie says:

    Palettes! But I agree with you on the size, too big and they just stop being useful.
    Natalie recently posted … Wedding Week – Eyes

  24. Sylirael says:

    I like small/medium palettes – maybe 5-8 shades. For specific colours that I would use a lot, then single pans are great! I do love Naked 2 though, which i suppose is my exception proving the rule!
    Sylirael recently posted … The Bees! OMG, The Bees! – Burt’s Bees Lip Gloss in #233 Rosy Dawn and Tinted Lip Balm in Hibiscus

  25. bin says:

    I prefer singles, theres always a couple shades I don’t end up using in a palette whereas with a single it’s almost guaranteed to be a colour that I love

  26. Madeleine says:

    I much prefer palettes to singles. Nothing too large or too small, maybe 6 – 12 shadows, enough to create a variety of looks but not too many to be overwhelmed. And yes I agree, palettes where the shades are related are best (: x

  27. Its Palettes for me too.. it helps me achieve multiple look with the shades in palettes and is convenient to carry along! 🙂

    Happy Sunny Day.. 🙂
    Poo@beautyandmakeupmatters recently posted … Eye Makeup Tutorial: Kareena Kapoor in Lakme Illusion Collection Inspired

  28. Xero says:

    It feels like I’m the odd one out since I actually prefer singles. I used to never do anything fancy with my eyeshadow (just swipe on one shade and go) but lately I’ve been incorporating multiple colors into my looks…even then I feel that my preferences haven’t changed. I simply don’t really reach for palettes all that much, probably because each shade stands out less in my memory. It feels like it should be convenient to have pre-coordinated shades all in one place, but I usually don’t like the combinations in the palettes anyway.

  29. Adriana RP says:

    Well…like you I like size friendly palletes, but sometimes I like single pans for especial shades. Moreover, I have too many palettes and I do not allow me to buy more if it has only two shades of interest.

  30. Charlene says:

    I prefer the NARS duos or singles. Although I like how the palettes look, I find that most times it’s a little overwhelming, often with colors I am not likely to use. And then the size issue – often too big for travel and I travel a lot. I can just pick a couple of duos and go. I don’t need to have every color with me.

    I do wish that the duos were actually smaller in size, as I have quite a few of them and it is hard to justify new purchases when I have so many of them already, and so much product remaining. Some of them get more use than others. A lot more. I’d hate having this enormous palette and then the one or two colors that you use most are empty! You’d then end up having to buy the singles/duos anyway.

  31. Erin says:

    I tend to prefer palettes/quads.
    Erin recently posted … House Wine 2010 Mountain Merlot Review

  32. Janet says:

    I prefer singles. I love to blend together random colors as long as they’re subtle.

  33. Kim says:

    I definitely prefer palettes. I really need someone to do the matchy-matchy work for me! 🙂

  34. Iris says:

    I like a few of the smaller palettes like the Hello Kitty Graffiti one and the Cargo tea-inspired one I plan to get. I generally do prefer single pans; they’re more easily used up and transportable.

  35. Allyson says:

    I’ve been really loving Nyx’s Love in Paris palettes… they’ve crammed 9 colors into something that’s still not bulky and annoying to store. I’ll never go back to UD palettes again I don’t think.
    Allyson recently posted … upgrading my old and/or cheap shit, vol. 1: necklace + basic sweater = fancy sweater

  36. Icequeen81 says:

    single pans, cause the palletes have so many shades I don’t use I think it is a waste, and prefer to carry my eyeshadow, Ideal could be If can find a pallete where I can choose my shades 3 is more than enough for me 3 pans in a palette.

  37. Sarah says:

    Hi Karen and Tabs!

    Ever since my mother sent me an Este Lauder Palette, I have been addicted! I love the variety of colors you can mix.

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