As a beauty rule of thumb the theory goes that one must always choose between a strong eye and bold lips: never combine both. And while we feel this dictum can most certainly be broken – cough, cough Isamaya Ffrench – it’s nevertheless a good rule of thumb for the cosmetically challenged to follow. Especially during the perennial “party season” when a cocktail of nerves and excitement can often lead to a “more is more” approach. This is the time when the elusive smokey eye can feel both most suitable and most unachievable as the champagne-induced shakes make wobbly work of eyeliner and a cat flick becomes more of a elephantine smudge.

Which is where eye shadow palettes step in with their perfectly matched colour edits. Take two trusted eyeshadow brushes  – one to apply, one to blend – in hand and do nothing else but stick to the colours in one palette alone. These are colours that work together, no matter how much you apply, no matter how much you can contour into the crease, no matter how (un)steady the hand. We’ve selected an edit of every palette you could possibly need to compliment every possible outfit imaginable, from a LBD to a fuschia trousersuit. And there’s glitter too, because glitter can make even the most botched of jobs look totally and completely dazzling.

Charlotte Tilbury Eye Quad in The Legendary Muse, £38

She’s the queen of the sexy eye so we naturally turned to Charlotte Tilbury when looking for a chocolatey palette to create the ultimate warm smokey eye. Tilbury’s quads are like a how-to in eyeshadow, with each shade divided into “prime”, “enhance”, “smoke” and “pop” and these shimmering shades are like a warm sunset, perfect for warming up a look and for the colour averse. And there’s a good dash of glitter in there too which can be added right to the centre of the lid as a finishing midas touch.

Hourglass Modernist Eyeshadow Palette in Exposure, £56

We shouldn’t be influenced by such things but we’re admitting right here that this is one of the most beautiful looking palettes on the market. These five plum shades are organised in a rippling wave from base through crease to the liner and there’s a mixture of matte and shimmer. It’s palette that can take you from office, when using the champagne and bronze shades, to evening when the aubergine and black violet can create a more dramatic dancefloor look.

Givenchy Prisme Quatuor in Inattendue, £37.50

These are truly four party shades that aren’t for the feint hearted. The coverage with these shadows is intense and highly pigmented. The brown and the plum blend beautifully into each other for serious drama with added fuschia or silver-blue pop: although, the possibilities with this palette are endless. We like layering them on thick for that Amy Adams in
Nocturnal Animals look.

Tom Ford Eye Colour Quad in Titanium Smoke, £64

This is the Platonic form of an eyeshadow quad, the godly template to which all other palettes must aspire. It’s like an LBD, a classic that looks good on everyone. These cooler shades can be blended as follows: start with the silvery pale blue all over the lid working into the inner corner, next take the matte dark grey and blend from the outer corner to the centre of the lip and out around to the bottom lashline, using a narrow brush now go over this grey with the shimmering blue shade, and finish on the centre of the lid with the sparkling champagne pop.

Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con No.7 in The Night Owl, £45

Admittedly this isn’t one that will fit in your clutch bag any time soon but this is a palette with enough colours to truly experiment with. From a champagne sheen with silver glitter to the popping metallic bronze, the mermaid-esque green to the rich purple plum, these are shades that will suit every skin type. For the beginners we recommend sticking to the warmest coco and champagne shades, and for the adventurous the copper and green can be blended to create and intense iridescent look. This is one for the wide-eyed night owls indeed.

 

 

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