Underrated Eyeshadow Palettes (with swatches)

Being underrated is obviously very subjective.  Amanda from Makeup.Just.For.Fun on YouTube got me thinking about this topic when she posted a recent video on her underrated neutral palettes under $30.  For me, an underrated product is one that no one ever talks about, or they used to talk about it but now you don’t see it mentioned.  So let’s get into my opinions about some underrated palettes.

e.l.f Nude Rose Gold Eyeshadow Palette, $10

e.l.f Nude Rose Gold Eyeshadow Palette SwatchesThis one is underrated to me because you used to hear a lot about these 10-pan palette options from e.l.f., but now people are really focused on either their bite-sized Eyeshadow quads or the 18-pan eyeshadow palettes.

I was trying to branch out and get a different color story than I normally pick out, so I went with this version of e.l.f.’s 10 pan palettes instead of the warmer Rose Gold Sunset Palette.  As I certainly could have predicted, I mostly only like the warmer shades (6 and 8).  I found that I could only get use out of shades 5 – 10 based on 1 and 4 being too light and shade 2 and 3 being too light and sheer in the application.  Shade 5 was a bit sheer and took more building and I wasn’t crazy about the shade on the eyes.

e.l.f Nude Rose Gold Eyeshadow Palette medium dark skin swatches

I think you can probably tell from the swatches that the second half of the palette is just more flattering on my skin in terms of color choice.  I do like the colors and functionality of the bottom row of swatches.  There is nothing super metallic in this palette, but shade 6 has the most pigment and shine to it.  Shade 7 is what I used to transition and blend out the edges of other shades.  Shade 8 does work as a lid shade, but it doesn’t draw as much light to the center of the eye for my skin tone, but it performs nicely.  When I wanted depth I used shade 9 rather than 10.  That is just a personal preference, deep purples make my slightly hooded eyes look very hooded.  Shade 10 does have specks of larger mica particles in it, but since I didn’t use it much I can’t say how annoying that might be.

I think they are easy to use and buildable eyeshadows and I enjoyed the looks I’ve done.  I do wish I could use more of the palette and this is why I shy away from buying palettes in general.  I prefer a single shade (even if it costs more per shade) than to have to look at a palette full of shades I don’t like or can’t use.  I find that now that I’ve tested the shades, I really only want to use shade 6 on the lid and shade 7 to blend the edges.  And using shade 7 is purely for the want to use more of the palette, I’d much prefer to use a different shade for that or nothing at all from a color choice perspective.

Despite some of the issues I’ve had, I still think this is underrated because I think the issues I experienced have more to do with my skin tone and my preferences than the overall formula.  I think that if you like cooler toned eyeshadows, have tan to lighter skin tone and you like the e.l.f. formula then you’d likely enjoy this.  I would worry that those lighter shades are also going to cancel a lot of the palette out for darker skin unless you typically use a light eyeshadow base.  I did find shades 2, 3, and 5 to perform worse than the others, so that is something to keep in mind.  They are workable, they just take more effort than the other shades.  But I can recognize that at this price point, most people are willing to work with a formula.  I really think that even the shades that I found to be sheer would have an entirely different appearance on a lighter skin tone.  Some people don’t mind a sheer formula and someone who is paler than me could more easily work with them since the color would be more forgiving on them.

This palette retails for $10.00 and I purchased mine from Target in-store, but it is also available online.

Juvia’s Place The Warrior Eyeshadow Palette, $20

This palette was not underrated when it was first released.  However, I think it is underrated in today’s beauty landscape of countless palettes on the market that contain shades that are too light for darker skin tones.  Sometimes these shades take up half of the palette.  Just compare the difference to the e.l.f. Rose Gold Nude Palette I referenced above.  Based on that, I would expect this palette to get more attention as a go-to neutral palette for dark skin.

While $20 is the regular retail value of this palette, you can definitely get Juvia’s place on sale on their website and at Ulta (if you are more comfortable shopping there).  It was on sale for $12 when I purchased mine last year.

Juvias Place The Warrior Palette Swatches

I continue to be impressed by this eye palette and the brand’s eyeshadows overall.  Even at the $20 price point, it is well worth the money.  The metallic shades work better for me with a finger, but if you prefer brushes you will be fine but you do have to build more depending on the color intensity you like.  I have no issues blending the mattes,  they are buildable and easy to blend.  I was most surprised by how smooth these look on the eyelids despite the metallic shine.  These remind me of how smooth my bareMinerals Gen Nude Latte Palette looks when applied.

MAC Flame-Boyant Eyeshadow Palette, $48.00

This palette is from a newer line of palettes that Mac released in Spring of 2019 called the Art Library Collection.  I purchased the warm version called Flame-Boyant but they also have a colorful version called It’s Designer and a neutral version called nude model.  I think this palette is underrated because Mac as an entire brand seems underrated these days.  It seems that people don’t gravitate to the brand unless it is a big launch and even then, it seems that people always feel that Mac has missed the mark.

MAC Art Library Flame-Boyant Palette

It seems to me that these shadows have a softer press than the single shadows that I have from Mac.  The shade flame-boyant (3rd row, 2nd shade) has fallout when used regardless of whether I apply it with a brush or a finger. I do not ever wet my brush, so I can’t speak on whether that would improve the fallout during application. La vita mocha (1st row, 4th shade) also has a small amount of fallout during application, but it makes a nice smokier tone without being too heavy.  I have slightly hooded eyes and find that if I go too dark on the lid it makes my hood appear heavier, which I didn’t experience with this shade.  Dali wood (2nd row, 3rd shade) is very pigmented, so I’d be careful not to pick up too much product initially, but it does blend easily.  The shade embark (2nd row, 4th shade) definitely has a softer press in this palette than the single refill pan that I already had.

MAC Art Library Flame-Boyant Palette swatches on medium dark skin

While the press is softer, I still think these aren’t too far off from what people might be expecting from Mac eyeshadows.  If you tend to prefer the softer loose press of Anastasia Beverly Hills or even Lorac, these may be a slight adjustment for you.

This palette retails for $48.00 on the MAC website.

Have you had any experience with any of these palettes? Please consider sharing your thoughts in the comments section below.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sticking around and checking out more of my content.

  • Window Shopping Wednesday: My thoughts on what’s new in beauty (or sometimes just new to me).
  • MAC Cosmetics:  I likely have some swatches you’ve been searching for if you love Mac as much as I do.
  • Shop My Stash:  Join me as I share swatches of my products and occasionally search for alternatives to new releases.

**Disclaimer:  I purchased all products featured with my own money.  For my full disclosure policy, click here.

 

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