Friday, August 26, 2011

Inventory #27: Multi-Purpose Palettes

I was going to stop with the inventories because I thought all the topics were covered, but I realized recently that a few categories were still missing. Today we analyze my particular weakness: the multi-purpose makeup palette. I mean, shoot me through the heart. Palettes save money, space and time. That is, until you rack up a whole bunch of different palettes that don't get full-time attention and play. But I can't resist something that's supposed to be great value as well as literally a bundle of fun. Read on, fellow junkies.


I still have my first palette ever. It's the Living Beauty Palette by Bobbi Brown, launched back in 2007. It has three Pot Rouge for Lips and Cheeks and six neutral matte eye shadows. I have never come across a better palette for the classic, everyday, neutral-loving person. From left to right, both the Pot Rouge and Eye Shadow shades move from light and bright to dark and sultry, all the while remaining perfectly understated and easy to wear.

I remember feeling so professional carrying this with me everywhere, touching up during the day at the office and feeling very adult. What the briefcase does for some people, this palette did for me. It was my secret weapon in a very old-school corporate setting.

However, it has been a while and it's probably time for me to toss it. I'm nowhere near finishing it, so it's difficult to toss a nearly intact palette into the garbage. I still dip into the medium brown shadow to touch up brows and consider the darkest shade called "Espresso" to be one of the most perfect eye shadow colours ever. It does something mysterious and sexy to my eyes without looking like makeup. Too bad I'm so lazy and rushed in the morning to spend more time with it. I'm definitely getting Espresso solo when I do part with this at last.


My second palette came years later. Before I started blogging, I watched a lot of YouTubers and got the scoop on how great theBalm's Shady Lady Vol. 2 Palette was. This palette turned me into a die-hard theBalm fan. I'm no eye shadow expert but the quality of these shadows are truly amazing.

Whenever I took the time to carefully apply shadows using this palette, I always received compliments. There's just the right amount of shimmer in these babies to kick things up a notch from my ordinary non-descript makeup application. This palette is still kicking around at Sephora and is totally worth the price of admission.


While I love Bobbi Brown, I rarely shop from them for some reason. But I clearly have a weakness for their palettes. This time it was the Modern Classic Lip & Eye Palette which debuted in November 2010. I wrote a confessional post about it at the time.

The shadows are beautiful. They're rather on the pale and subtle side, as a lot of the BB colours tend to be, which I prefer. I'm not a fan of lip glosses in palettes but I prefer having them to just shadows. It's better value if the palette offers at least two different types of makeup. Then you can just take one on a trip without packing tons of tiny little bits and pieces of makeup you might or might not wear. I haven't worn this much since I tend to avoid eye makeup in the summer, but you can bet I'll be digging into this again as soon as the weather gets another degree cooler.


My fourth palette was a bargain from Stila: Make an Impression in Moscow Travel Palette. I thought these Travel series were so cute. Plus they were only USD$10/CAD$13! I thought I was being so bold too because the shadows are not the kind of shades I would ordinarily pick.

I was back in university full-time and felt experimental. I can't say the orange shadow got much play but the others were quite nice - even the blue! Now that I'm looking at it, I should have worn the blue this summer. Rats.


To fill the void that the Urban Decay Naked Palette left me while I was pining for it, I was swayed by Smashbox's In Bloom shadow palette in late winter/early spring. I had fallen out of love with Smashbox and barely paid them any attention, but the understated neutral shades got me yet again. What can I say - I'm a sucker for boring shadows.

I quite like this but the shades are rather tricky to work with because being so pale, they turn out quite differently on the skin than what they seem in the pan. I still need to experiment with these and figure out how to maximize usage.


Then, just because I love theBalm so much, I picked up the Balmbini palette. It's still brand new and pristine. I can't bring myself to dip into it yet.

Still, I love this palette for many reasons. One, it's theBalm. Two, it has three different types of makeup in it: shadows, glosses and blush. Three, the cover is comprised of all the fun covers of all of the existing theBalm makeups. Four, this palette is super thin and will be fabulous for travel. I thought that this was permanent but I'm not sure anymore. They were still kicking around up until last month, but lately I have not seen them.


I don't know if I can promise to stop buying palettes. One that I had my eye on lately was the Tarina Tarantino Sparklicity Bronze Palette. I think that I can resist picking it up, but every time I see it a part of me melts. It's probably due to that one seafoamy greenish teal shade that perk up the bronze. Without it, it'd be totally boring.

Soooo, what's your take on multi-purpose palettes or just palettes in general? Love 'em like I do or leave 'em for solo offerings better suited for particular needs? And... I don't really need this TT palette now, do I? Or... I do? Argh!


  1. lol i just re-read your naked palette story again and it still entertains me hehe i still love my naked palette. i've gained a few palettes since then, including too faced natural eye palette but i still like naked best. i still cant believe it didnt work out for you lol

    and i kno there's an expiration date for makeup but i personally believe (or possibly wish) that it's hard for powder products to go bad, unless they were used wet.

    and i definitely agree abt the usefulness of palettes. iunno what you own but have you done a makeup brush inventory? i don't remember one but then i haven't really gone through all 27 >_<

  2. Brushes are coming up, though the collection isn't all that impressive. I'm fairly low maitenance with brushes and hate spending money on them now.

    Regarding expiry, I'm not a germaphobe and don't think there's anything wrong with the BB palette (no discernible change in smell, look or texture), but when I had to think back to the year 2007, it seems like an awful long time ago. I think I'll hang on to it for a bit longer, but it's gotta go at some point. :(

  3. I'm swamped in eyeshadow palettes and none are multi-purpose but at least some are travel friendly. Even if they go bad, I'll hold onto them because it's the packaging that sucked me into a purchase :'(
    I don't own any TheBalm palettes yet buuuut because of you, I'm yearning for one twice as a hard now. Specifically the upcoming LE Muppet palette :3

  4. You know how I love me a good palette! I have theBalm's #2 palette as well and lurve it lots. The Tarina Tarantino one is lovely though!

  5. Liz, Liz, if you only knew. I um...I share your palette love. So much so that I have bought tons of palettes (UNII being one of my favorites) to palletize my individual shades. And so in addition to regular palettes (let's not go into numbers, sigh) I have made monster palettes. I think I have some sort of the point of where I posted about it a few month ago. *Sigh again*

    Um...I would like to suggest using a cream eye shadow as a base for your Smashbox palette. Softer shades can be intensified with a darker shade as the base. Black is a great base to bring out shimmer and glitter, plus your look will last longer. Also I would pack it on with a 239 type brush, anything with a stiffer denser brush head will apply color more intensely. But then you may like it light and just use them to create subtle shadow and depth. Blending here and there. I bet you look beautiful either way. :D

  6. @Ashley - You can get in line behind me, missy! Hahaha! I want that new palette so badly. But I don't care for The Muppets at all. I'm willing to wait for "theBalm and the Beautiful" theme - love soaps and it's much more fitting to theBalm's overall theme!

    @Tracy - Ha, so cute: "lurve it lots"! I'm going to have to steal that line!

    @D - Ohhh, UNII palettes! So glad I didn't get into those! Depotting shadows is WAY too much work for my lazy ass. When I buy something, I want the organizing already done for me. But I can imagine that it's fun, and once you start, you probably can't stop. And thanks for those tips! I have a lot to learn when it comes to eye makeup application. Didn't think of layering them that way but now I'm eager to try!

  7. Lovely collection! I'm a big fan of palettes, but I'm not overly keen on multi-purpose ones. I always seem to get palettes which contain lip and eye products in a bit of a mess, or the lip/cream products go off before I've had chance to use everything up. I really do like the look of the Living Beauty Palette, though. The shadow shades look great!

  8. I love this post! It's so nice to see your History of Palettes. :) I really like the look of that Living Beauty palette.

    I like palettes, but I tend to prefer those I can customize myself, since there is almost always a color I'd never wear in every palette. I have the BB Pastel Palette (fantastic lip colors!) her Denim & Rose, and the Lip and Eye Basics, which I have never even touched. I used to have NARS Paris palette, but gave that away. And at least three Chantecaille palettes, including Palette d'Olivia (some of which I use daily), Tiger in the Wild, and Les Daphins.

    I've become a bit of a palette wuss, and I swore to myself I'd not buy any more since I already can't use up the eyeshadow or lip singles in this lifetime.

  9. I like eye palettes, but I am the opposite of you - I hate palettes that include glosses or lip products or other random things. It gets all mixed up and I rarely use those things anyway, so...yep. I want that Balm palette! But I have so many shadows ._. I have a Smashbox wish palette that I rarely use, but I and do use my Stila palettes often; I have the artist one and the pearl palette.

  10. Palettes....ahhhh, even though I absolutely KNOW that I will never use everything that's in them, I still can't resist their siren's call! Truthfully, the first palette that I ever have consistently used, is none other than UD 'Naked' and while I have a couple of the shades individually, I still find it to be so incredibly useful...and travel-worthy. Seeing your beautiful choices here, makes me want to do a palette series of my own, but I'm a little afraid of pulling them all out and seeing the proof of my addiction (yikes!). You also reminded me that I have a palette by The Balm, and I thought it was the same but no, after digging through the pile to get to it, I guess mine must be the first one they produced (hmmmm....maybe I need to go look over Vol 2?!). Darn it, Liz...I love these series of yours! Makes me want to play around with all these colours!

  11. @Nat - Ah, I see you love your neutrals! Bobbi Brown is the queen of them. FYI, the shadows are Bone/Sable, Vanilla/Chocolate and Cement/Espresso.

    @Zuzu - I know! For a low maintenance person, one good palette is probably enough. I've never heard of anyone actually finishing a palette, though. So I conclude we're NOT meant to actually finish these! And yes, there is always a shade or component that goes ignored in the palette. But it also provides me with a way to experiment with a colour that I would never pick otherwise!

    @Larie - I'm super careful with my stuff, so I would be pissed if the stuff inside got all messed up. Hasn't happened yet!! And I refuse to google the ones you mentioned in case I fall in love with the unattainable!

    @Eugenia - I would love to see your palettes and I'm so jealous that you have Shady Lady Vol. 1!!!!! That's the one with the leopard spot cover, right? I've never seen it in person, and especially after seeing the greatness of Vol. 2, wanted one so badly! But at least between us, theBalm collection is nearly complete. :)

  12. Hahaha! I was thinking before that we should get together, throw all our palettes on the floor (very gently, of course!) and play a grown-up version of "Barbies".... can you just image the riot of colour? Wheeeeeeeee! And yes, it is the one with the leopard spots!!

  13. LOL! You crack me up! I would love to play a grown up version of Barbies!!!!!!!! We need to set up a bloggers meeting some day!

  14. Ohhh I love the 'Balmbini' palette!! Right up my alley. As for the Tarina palette, I do have this...and haven't used it once. I could send it to you and save you the struggle of the 'should I/shouldn't I.' Let me know, honestly I'm never going to use it so I would love to give it to someone who will give it a good home :)

    As an aside, I have been considering picking up one of theBalm palettes for a while, but I confess I don't own too many palettes - really, just UD's BoS III - and I always feel like I already own 'that shade' and pass them by. But you're right, they are general a great value!

    Lastly - count me in on Barbie's Day Out!! :D

  15. @Toya - Wow, that's really generous of you! How about we conduct a trade then? I have a bunch of stuff that also can use a better home. I'll email you. And of course you're definitely coming to Barbie's Day Out!!!!! :D

  16. I love a palette too but I tend not to use them enough, I am shocked you have no Two Faced palettes, or did I miss something? Oh and I love Bobbi Brown too, my first eyeshadow palette ever was from her line and I should toss it too but I just can't bear to part with it!

  17. Nope, you didn't miss anything! I think I have only one Too Faced product and it's a bronzer. I'm mildly curious about the brand but not drawn to it for some reason. Perhaps I'll remedy that in the future! ;O

  18. I'm a die-hard palettes fan. Anytime I spend money on makeup, I can easier justify a purchase when buying a palette. In my opinion it brings a lot more value for your money. The tricky part comes when you really want only one specific shade in a palette - value kind of goes away if you won't be using the other colours as well.
    Another thing is that I am quite lazy and unimaginative with my own makeup, especially mornings, I just want something quick and easy. And this is exactly the moment when a nice palette comes super handy.
    Btw I can totally see the light and darker brown shades from the Stila palette on your lid, the blue one on your lower lash line and that gorgeous apricot cream blush on your cheek. The summer is not over yet ;)

  19. I too am lazy and unimaginative - but all the time as opposed to just in the mornings, lol! ;D Thanks for the tips on the Stila palette! And I would normally agree with you that summer isn't over but today I needed a cardigan to go out during day. Boo. ;(

  20. Ex-cellent ;) Get in touch and we'll make this happen!!

  21. I gotta go through my stash first, which is taking a while. I'll def. email you this week!

  22. *raises hand* Sucker for palettes here too! I feel like I'll never go through a palette! :/

  23. I feel like palettes are sort of separate from the other categories and don't *need* to be finished the way other products do. They're a different animal. I mean, I'll totally bow down to someone who can finish a palette, but it rarely happens, ya know? They're useful, but I don't feel as much pressure to finish these as much as skincare.


NO LINKS IN COMMENTS. Comments for posts older than 10 days will not appear on the page until they have been approved.