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.
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.
“ADEPT” vs AUTHENTIC ADEPT
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.
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!
Material: Cardboard, Acrylic
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
Material: Cardboard, Acrylic
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
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- MAC’s inserts are not limited to just eyeshadows. They also have spaces for standard size blushes, powder foundations, and lipstick wells.
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).
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!