Empty Magnetic Palette Comparisons

I have a post in this blog about creating DIY custom palettes, but today’s topic is for those trying to find good quality pre-made options at the best prices.

When discussing how many eyeshadows will fit, I am referring to the standard eyeshadow pan size of 26mm. Tax and shipping are not considered in the price listings.


Holds: 96 pans

Materials: Cardboard, Mirror

Price: $45 (bought for $22 during the Christmas sale)

This CR palette is the largest I own and also the thickest of the cardboard palettes. However, I can’t give them bonus points for durability because that extra sturdiness is necessary to bear the weight of all these eyeshadows. The bigger the palette, the stronger it needs to be. At the sale price I paid, this is almost the best deal out of all the palettes I have. The full price is decent but not better than the Juvia’s Place palette. CR added to the production cost by including a mirror, but it’s a useless feature because it isn’t practical to lift a palette of this weight and size up to my face to apply eyeshadow. The top lid can fold back into a tent position very well without sliding. The magnets inside are strong and I could hold this upside down without worrying about pans falling out. Overall, I’m impressed with the quality and recommend it to anyone seeking a huge palette.


Holds: 48-55 pans (depending on the arrangement)

Materials: Cardboard, Mirror

Typical price range: $19-$23

I learned of this brand from BailyB on youtube. At the time, Adept’s marble palettes that she linked from Amazon were flat and not double-sided. When I saw the same thing with “minor flaws” on ebay for at least $5 cheaper, I purchased it from there. The one I received had a bent corner, which I didn’t mind. The problem is that the magnetic sheet looks flat to the eye, but it is raised in certain areas. Because the depth of the palette is extremely shallow, the top cover doesn’t close properly. For this palette to be useable, I have to arrange them around the bubbled portions, but the top layer of the shadows still leave an imprint on the inner lid and mirror. As I mentioned in the CR portion, a mirror in a palette of this size is useless. It’s made of the thinnest cardboard and is the only flimsy palette I own.

As for the legitimate Adept palettes, the cardboard ones come in the traditional and foldable shapes. The ones made of plastic are double-sided. The pricing for the plastic trademarked Adept palette seems reasonable at $34 to house 95 standard shadows inside, but I can’t verify the quality without seeing it in person. I decided to include them on the list because someone like BailyB endorsed them, but I can’t personally recommend them.



Holds: 40 pans

Material: Cardboard

Price: $15*

The retail price was listed at $20 when I originally purchased this, though I did get mine on sale for $10 a year ago. Funny enough, palettes of this size and smaller could benefit from having a mirror but this one does not. It’s made out of sturdy cardboard (much stronger than the Adept knockoff despite being smaller). If you can’t get the CR palette on sale, this is the one I recommend most. If you don’t want to use the link, just know that you have to type in the search bar “magnetic palette” for it to pop up on the site. For some reason, they don’t have a designated tab for it.

*As of January 31st, 2019, Juvia’s Place is having a 40% off sitewide sale! The current sale price of this palette is $7. It gets further reduced to $4.20 if you use the promo code: Valentine. I’ve been unable to find out how long this sale will last. There are no guarantees it will run through Valentine’s day. At a price like this, my guess is that these palettes won’t be restocked once they sell out. Four palettes, plus shipping, came to $23 which is nearly the same as a single Z-palette!

**EDIT: The sale lasted for one week (02/07/19). Juvia’s Place has sales regularly, so I suggest signing up for their emails to be notified when the next one occurs. Also, there is now a “Limited Quantities” sign on the page. One per customer.

For reference, it’s about the same size as the Morphe Jaclyn Hill 35 pan palette. I highly recommend this one!

Z-palette XL

Holds: 35 pans

Material: Cardboard, Acrylic

Price: $28-$32

Z palettes are generally not the most affordable options, but I included it in my list because it is arguably the most popular brand of custom palettes. Every Z palette, regardless of size, has a handy clear acrylic panel. This feature’s usefulness depends on the way it is stored. While the XL holds more shadows, the large standard sized palette is the more cost-effective option.

Large Z palette

Holds: 28 pans

Material: Cardboard, Acrylic

Price: $20

Sephora and Ulta have their branded versions of the Z palette but Ulta has the better deal when buying in bulk. I purchased mine when they had the “Buy 2 get 2 free” deal, which brought the cost down to $8 each when combined with a 20% coupon. The fact remains that one has to spend $32 to get the deal; while a single larger palette might be all the average consumer needs.

Z-palettes are among the least affordable options, even on sale. For example, Sephora sells Double-Sided Z palettes which hold 56 pans and have been listed “on sale” at $22.50 for at least three years. Again, I can’t account for the quality without handling it myself, but one of the biggest complaints in the product review section is that it has “weak magnets.” That is the last thing you’d want to hear about a palette where half the eyeshadows will be stored upside down. I recommend only getting a Z-palette if it’s heavily marked down.

MAC Pro Palette Large Duo

Holds: 30-36

Material: Plastic

Price: $8 (without inserts) $14 (with two 15 well inserts)

All empty MAC compacts cost $8 and all inserts are $3 each. I chose this particular palette because it holds the most and I like that it is fully encased in hard plastic, unlike the other MAC versions with the clear lid. This also has an acrylic divider in the middle which protects cream products if they are used on one side with powders on the other. It’s also good for preventing powder fallout from getting into other colored pans. Although I love mine, I don’t recommend this palette because of its limitations:

  1. MAC compacts have a metal sheet inside, not magnets. This means that magnetized pans and pans with magnetic stickers will not adhere to the palette because it’s like putting metal on metal. MAC compacts have the reputation of being “solely compatible with MAC products” because they are one of the only brands that attach actual magnets to the base of their pans. In theory, any pan with a magnet should work. MAC’s pro refill products are strong enough to stick to the MAC compacts without inserts, but slide a little in my regular magnetic palettes.
  2. Since I have very few MAC products, it was easier for me to turn my compact into a magnetic palette, rather than attaching magnets to every eyeshadow pan I own. I bought magnetic strips from my local craft store and hot glued them to both sides of the lids. This cost as much money as two inserts would, but this allows me to store 6 additional shadows from any brand (as long as they are magnetized). I did this over a year ago and have had no problems so far.
  3. MAC’s inserts are not limited to just eyeshadows. They also have spaces for standard size blushes, powder foundations, and lipstick wells.


Holds: 24

Material: Cardboard

Price: $10

Colourpop offers this palette free if you select one of their build-your-own bundle deals. It’s a great option if you’re already intending to buy any of their pressed powder products. They also have a pink palette that holds half the eyeshadows for $7, so the larger palette is the better price.

For reference, it’s slightly smaller than the Large Z-palette (as pictured underneath).

The cardboard isn’t as sturdy as the others palettes (though still better than the “adept” one). I made the mistake of folding back the lid too far and now the palette’s natural tendency is to stay slightly open. The two metal pieces on the inside don’t stick as well to the bottom magnetic rim. This issue has no impact on being able to securely hold the pans, which it does well, just that I have to be extra careful to ensure that it snaps shut when I try to close it.


TARTE Tartiest Pro Custom palette – Holds: 30, Material: Cardboard, Price: $17 (on sale for $12 as of 1/31/19). This video here has more information.

MAKE UP FOR EVER XL palette – Holds: 45, Material: Metal, Price: $25.

You’ll find many outdated videos on youtube stating that the price of the MUFE palettes are $14, but this is no longer the case. The true XL palette is only available on the official MUFE website. It is very important to note that the Extra Large palette listed by Sephora for $2 holds six round shadows or three of MUFE’s new rectangular shadow pans and is not the same thing (though it’s nice to keep in a purse or for traveling).

Final thoughts

Juvia’s Place and Coloured Raines’s magnetic palettes are the best deals I’ve found (especially when on sale). I’ve seen other palettes from random unknown brands discussed by Youtubers but often times their links to Etsy, Amazon, and other places don’t work several months later.

So, I recommend sticking to reputable brands from authorized retailers!

❤ Lili

Full Disclosure: This is not a paid review or sponsored post and these are not affiliate links. Any ads shown are from WordPress. I generate no revenue from this blog post.

Reusing Birchboxes (DIY Z-Palette Alternative)

birchtowerIt’s been almost a year since my last post and during that time away from this blog I’ve been searching for ways to utilize and organize the mass of beauty products I’ve accumulated. I began to delve into the world of “upcycling” and although I no longer subscribe to Birchbox, I still have a gigantic collection of their pretty boxes that I don’t want to just throw away (in the recycling bin of course). I’ve always used them as gift boxes but most of the presents I give are too large to fit. I also use them as drawer dividers/organizers but I still have a tower of them left. So below are a few additional ways I’ve put my boxes to use:

Wall Art

birchwallThis one is straightforward. All you need are push-pins and a ruler to evenly space out your boxes along the wall. Although my design is different, credit for the idea goes to Tiffany Johnson on Youtube. I would not have thought of it otherwise.

Another great thing about it is that they can be interchanged as often as I like! I could have a day when I want to hang all the blue birchboxes or all the purple ones or only the geometics, only the flowered ones, etc.

Empty Magnetic Palettes

diybirchZ-palettes are a huge deal in the beauty industry and before their recent (now deleted) Instagram rampage on customers…

worstzpalette…I was already planning a way to create my own. When you really think about it, Z-palettes are just slim cardboard boxes with colored paper around it, magnetic sheets, and a thin acrylic lid. They can be easily duplicated and many cosmetic companies already have their own custom palettes. You can get them in metal or hard plastic instead of cardboard. Some versions have a mirror on the inside instead of a clear lid. You can also find some very inexpensive ones on ebay and amazon. That being said, none have the cute prints that are on Birchboxes and I still wanted to make my own. The only thing I had to actually buy was the magnetic sheet from Michael’s which cost me $2.99 without a coupon.needbirchdiyITEMS USED:

  • 1 Birchbox or any sturdy box
  • 1 cutting tool (scissors and/or x-acto knife or even a regular knife)
  • Tape (preferably clear and durable) or glue
  • 1 pencil
  • 1 magnetic sheet (strong enough to hold the weight of the eyeshadows)


  • 1 ruler (I didn’t end up using it but it helps to create an even square on the lid)
  • glue (any strong bond type of glue will work)
  • 1 foam sheet (to add an additional layer of padding to the palette)
  • 1 piece of cardboard (for the additional layer of padding)
  • 1 sheet of plastic (doesn’t have to be acrylic but it should be thick, unwrinkled, and easy to clean/not stain)

*The foam I’ve had from multiple subscription boxes and mailed packages. The sheet of plastic I used came from hosiery packaging but additional household sources can be the plastic around products like my hot glue gun, markers, insoles, the plastic cover on bakery boxes, etc. It took me only a few minutes to find supplies around the house.

plasticsPart 1 (skip this step if you don’t want the added protective layer)birchbotsMake sure the piece of foam fits the dimensions of the box. Then use it to trace around the cardboard and magnetic sheet and cut those so they all are the same size. Then glue the foam to the bottom of the birchbox, making sure to spread an even layer (paying extra attention to the four corners).

zgluePeel off the backing of the magnet and attach the magnet sticky-side down to the cardboard. Use a little glue if necessary for extra adhesion power. Then apply glue to the other side of the brown cardboard in order to attach it to the foam layer already inside the birchbox. Now your custom palette has extra protection!

zstandPart 2

If you skipped part 1, cut the magnetic sheet to fit the dimensions of the bottom of the birchbox. Remove the paper backing and attach it to the bottom, adding extra glue if needed.

Now we’re moving onto the lid. In my example, I followed the pattern of the print but you can use a ruler and pencil to trace a rectangle underneath the lid and then cut it out to form a hole in the cover.

birchtopsCut the sheet of plastic to fit on the underside of the Birchbox lid. It should be large enough to cover the hole with a little extra room. When you tape or glue the edges of the plastic to the box, you don’t want tape lines to be visible once the lid is flipped over.

birchxAnd that’s it! I like how sturdy this feels (it can even be stored upward but give the glue a day to dry before use). If you find this to be too bulky you can always cut the edges of the lid and base by half and then line it all with colorful tape to hide any jagged edges. In fact, next time I will line the edges around the lid hole with solid colored washi tape before I tape the clear plastic underneath. birchzfinzstandsideThis has room for a minimum of 24 MAC sized eyeshadow pans.

24shadI have SO many Birchboxes left that I should start gifting these to my eyeshadow loving friends. And with all the different Birchbox tops just imagine the number of unique magnetic palettes you could create too!otherbirch

But really this could be done with any cardboard box, magnetic sheets, plus cutting and pasting tools. An ordinary box can be easily spruced up with printed paper or washi tape. 🙂