Saturday 10 December 2016

A refined palette

A good eyeshadow palette can be a great friend, says our beauty expert, and will steer you through the season to come

Sarah Caden

Published 07/11/2016 | 02:30

Pictured, from left, Giorgio Armani Light and Shadow Eyes and Face Palette in Night Light; Lancome Auda[city] in London; Max Factor Masterpiece Nude Palette in Rose Nudes; Fuschia Smoulder Palette; Clarins The Essentials 2016
Pictured, from left, Giorgio Armani Light and Shadow Eyes and Face Palette in Night Light; Lancome Auda[city] in London; Max Factor Masterpiece Nude Palette in Rose Nudes; Fuschia Smoulder Palette; Clarins The Essentials 2016

The C-word. I won't say it. But it's coming, and the goose is looking a bit snug in its skin. The parties are kicking off, and people who usually play it cool with the cosmetics suddenly go all disco-glitter and glowtastic and "where's my Christmas red lipstick?" Oh, sorry, said it.

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A palette can be a great make-up-bag bonus at this time of year. And a handbag bonus, because we tend to do more work-to-evening upscaling of our make-up. It's a pain carrying around hauls of bits and bobs and brushes, so a good palette, with colours that complement each other, or even a complete face of cosmetics in one case, is a godsend. We all know the bad palettes, however. Those in which there are two colours out of 20 that you actually use, and 18 going to waste. They are to be avoided, and can be avoided. Steer clear of colours that you'll never wear - just because it's you-know-what doesn't mean they will magically start to suit you. Also, don't go for palettes that are all glitter, as you'll want the calm of matte again once the season has passed. The palettes on the page today are bona fide beauties and, as a bonus, four out of five have knacky applicators included, for extra ease of use.

Best Overall

Giorgio Armani Light and Shadow Eyes and Face Palette in Night Light, €140, Brown Thomas Dublin and Cork

Inside and out, this is just gorgeous. On the top level are ten eyeshadows; one row of brownish mattes, one row of shimmery gold, bronze and taupe, and, in the middle, there's black and gold. So, that's the day-to-night angle covered. Then, on the lower deck, are a powder foundation and two shades of concealers, as well as two neatly contained applicators. "The big mirror and included eye and face applicators are decent, but the rest is just fabulous," a panellist said. "Think of it as an early you-know-what present to yourself."

Best Colour Wheel

Lancome Auda [city] in London, €55, Lancome counters nationwide

There are no less than 16 eyeshadows in this palette, running the gamut of every shade of brown, green and grey you can imagine. This is the London version - you know, fog, grey-stone buildings, green lawns. The Paris version has a range of pinks, purples and peaches. The shadows come in four different textures, to boot, from matte to full glitter. "If you like playing with eyeshadow effects, you will swoon over this," a panellist said. "And the huge mirror and brilliant double-ended brush are great bonuses."

Best Pretty in Pink

Max Factor Masterpiece Nude Palette in Rose Nudes, €16.99, available nationwide

This is like a scaled-down take on the Urban Decay Naked3 palette, and also less of a price commitment, given that pink can be a strictly party-season colour. There are eight shadows, ranging from a pale highlighter to a deep burgundy shimmer that would make a dramatic liner. "There are only two matte shadows in the mix," said a panellist, "so I'd consider it an evening or party option. You get an impressive number of pink permutations for not too much money, though."

Best nicely neutral

Fuschia Smoulder Palette, €27.50, selected pharmacies nationwide, or see fuschia.ie

The Irish mineral-make up company has several eyeshadow palettes on the go, but this one is a nicely neutral option. There are seven colours in total, with a range of taupe-ish shades, and, for day-to-night, you have a classic black eyeliner option and a glittery black one. The mirror is a bit small, though, and there is no brush included in this one. "I love these wearable colours and adore their cushiony feel," said a panellist. "They are smooth and easy to apply and blend. I use every single shade."

Best ace annual

Clarins The Essentials 2016, €43, Clarins counters nationwide

This Clarins palette has become an annual thing for anyone who likes eyeshadow. This year's shades range from utterly nude through pinks, browns and rosewoods, plus two very dark eyeliner colours - one matte and one shimmer. Our only quibble is a small mirror, but the double-ended brush is good quality and a decent size. "You can't go wrong with this palette," one panellist said. "The colours would suit most pale Irish complexions, and the included instructions are great for suggesting good colour combinations."

Email thepanel@independent.ie

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