There were some pretty great 2018 beauty launches last year, but new eyeshadow palettes completely dominated the category — and likely your Sephora or Ulta shopping cart. The gorgeous shades of metallic golds, smooth nudes for all skin tones, and creamy, bright colors caught the eyes of pros who've likely seen it all — and even they are impressed.
TZR caught up with celebrity makeup artist Michael Ashton, who includes Adele, Elle McPherson, and Keira Knightley, as clients; Mary Phillips, also a celebrity makeup artist who works with Jennifer Lopez, and Chrissy Teigen; and New York City-based celebrity makeup artist Romy Soleimani, who counts Alicia Vikander, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Cara Delevingne as clients about the palettes they couldn't stop using, and application tips.
While the shades are important, never forget the importance of proper application. "I always like to prep the lid with an eye paint or eyeshadow stick first," Ashton says. "This gives you an even base to start applying eyeshadow on top of, and by product cocktailing the two together, it ensures an ultra-rich color payoff and longer wear."
On the opposite hand, Soleimani tells TZR that she skips basing altogether. "I don't use concealer or primer on the lid because I like it when the shadow takes on skin-like quality," she notes. "But if you really want the shadow to pop, you can use it." For glittery shades that tend to fall out, she uses the pad of her finger and presses the pigment into her lid. "Even when applying shadows with a brush I like to finish with my finger to make it look more like skin," she says.
And since metallics are always trending with artists, Phillips always uses this pro tip: "They can be used wet or dry, with brushes or fingers," she notes. "Matte flat shadows are ideal for mature skin, and creams work best when they are warmed on skin first. Don’t be afraid to play, and experiment with different textures to create dimension."
Ready to get creative? See their picks ahead.
Eye-Conic Frost Multi-Finish Eyeshadow Palette
Marc Jacobs Beauty
"Seven shades in both modern metallic frost and creamy matte finishes — this palette is my go-to when I want to create an expensive polished look to the eye that I know will photograph beautifully on the red carpet," Ashton says.
New Nude Eyeshadow Palette
"This palette is the perfect mix of soft and flattering neutrals that compliment any skin tone," Ashton notes. "And has a variety of textures that give added dimension."
Naked Cherry Eyeshadow Palette
"With a beautiful range of rich tones from soft pastel, to deep, burnished burgundy, this palette is fantastic for creating a multitude of virginal — or vampy! — eye looks," Ashton explains.
Jetsetter Palette By Mary Phillips
"The Nudestix Jetsetter Palette is very near and dear to me since it's a collaboration I curated with Nudestix," Phillips explains. "It’s is not your typical eyeshadow palette since this set contains seven creamy stick products that can be used for face, eyes, lips, and cheeks. The intention of this palette was to be able to create a polished but natural look on the go using warm bronzy shades in nude to deep tones."
Eye Color Quad in 23 African Violet
"The newest palette I’ve just recently added to my kit is the Tom Ford Eye Color Quad in African Violet," Phillips reveals. "This color quad offers an option of gold, bronze, purple, and orange. The super rich pigment adheres to the skin seamlessly, which makes it great for a monochromatic smoky or a bold pop of color."
Glittering Rose Gold
Wanted Eyeshadow Palette
"Wanted is super flattering. I love that you can go natural and build up," Soleimani says. "The glittery shades are so fine that they look amazing alone or on top of any shadow. There is a rose gold fine glittery shade that I am crazy about!"
Cranberry Eyeshadow Palette
"The Natasha Denova Cranberry palette is my current obsession. The colors are super duper pigmented and almost creamy in texture," Soleimani observes. "The formula is blendable. The colors might look vivid and crazy in the palette, but they wear beautifully on all skin tones and really go from a warm glow to a dramatic statement depending on the way you apply them."
Shimmer And Smoke
Starlight Crystal Eyeshadow Palette
"This is the perfect elevated no makeup-makeup palette. It's a perfect mix of soft neutrals from mattes to shimmers to metallics. I love this palette for soft definition or a subtle smoke. The shadows are super blendable, and I love the coppers and golds," Soleimani says.