There’s something about makeup kits and palettes that make them seem like the furthest thing from user-friendly. While they come complete with an ample array of shade options to choose from, oftentimes, opting for a single-shade product instead may seem like a smarter (and easier) choice. From bronzers to eye shadows, we’ve rounded up our editors’ top picks to prove these palettes aren’t as scary as they seem.
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Tatiana Bido, Special Projects Editor
There are a lot of contour kits out there, but this palette is still my all-time favorite. I don’t think I’d be able to see my cheekbones without it! It’s very easy to use and the blendable colors are so pigmented and finely milled that it doesn’t take a lot of product to get the highlighting/contouring effect right. I’m obsessed with the Banana powder, which lightens and brightens without leaving me looking ghostly.
Carolyn Hsu, Digital Managing Editor
While at first glance, the eclectic mix of lime green and sparkly plum looks worlds away from the beige-nude palettes I usually turn to, this palette is surprisingly just as flattering. An all-in-one solution, the kit combines day-appropriate highlighting shades of gold, cream and pink with intense hues of navy and slate for evening smolder. Each shade is buildable (to pop-art levels of color), but when used with a light touch, gives off just the right amount of pigment to look effortless.
Elise Minton, Executive Beauty Editor
Contouring can be tricky—using the wrong tones or formulas can leave you looking like a streaky mess. Blending is key, as is a good palette. I love this one simply because the creamy foundations blend seamlessly into my skin. And, I can mix and match the different shades together to get that perfectly sculpted look.
Liz Ritter, Executive Managing Editor
Jane Iredale Moonglow ($48)
It’s so simple—just four colors that you can blend or wear alone as a bronzer, highlighter, eye shadow or even a lip color. It makes everything look glowy and fresh and you don’t need to be a pro to get it perfect every time.
Danielle Fontana, Editorial Intern
Urban Decay Naked2 ($54)
I can’t remember the last time I left the house without using this palette. There are so many stunning shades that can either be blended together seamlessly or be worn alone. You can always find “Chopper” on my eyelids and “Busted” in the crease for a perfect day-to-night eye.
Brittany Burhop, Senior Editor
Zoeva En Taupe Eyeshadow Palette ($21.50)
Although I’m not a huge eye shadow girl, I’m always looking for palettes that make it easy for me to apply and wear more often. This taupe-themed one from Zoeva, a German brand that recently launched stateside, has 10 uber-feminine shades that I can play with to create a natural-looking, never-overdone look.
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