BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details
Expert Shopper
Beyond reviews, our team aims to provide you with useful, compelling, and fun how-to guides, gift ideas, and deep dives into trendy products consumers like you love. Here are our latest articles.

Best eyeshadow palettes to gift someone new to makeup

With Christmas around the corner, it's time to cross off the last items on your shopping list. For those dipping their toe in the makeup world, consider a ready-to-go eyeshadow palette. Eyeshadow completely transforms any look, while palettes take out all the guesswork. Fortunately, BestReviews beauty expert Oscar Molinar has experience with eye makeup in all shapes and sizes and is here to help. If you're searching for a suitable beauty present, here are the best eyeshadow palettes to gift someone new to makeup. 

In this article: Nudestix Mini Nude Metallics For Eyes, Kaja Eye Bento Bouncy Eyeshadow Trio and Urban Decay Naked3 Mini Eyeshadow Palette.

Benefits of eyeshadow palettes for beginners

Eyeshadow palettes are a nice option for beginners, and they make a great gift. Not only has Molinar gifted makeup through the years, he's also been asked by clients to pick up gifts for Christmas, anniversaries or birthdays. Molinar says, "The last thing you want is them returning or regifting the item to someone else. To play it safe, I recommend sticking to proven palettes that anyone would be excited to unwrap on Christmas morning. Cosmetic companies and retailers design these sets to be very universal, so there's no need to worry since they will look great on everyone."

Creating the perfect eyeshadow look is a work of art. It requires several shades and finishes that all fit together seamlessly. Eyeshadow palettes generally include light, medium and dark shades in both matte and shimmery finishes that complement each other, making them excellent for beginners.

How to apply eyeshadow like a pro

Here are Molinar's steps for creating a perfect eyeshadow look.

  1. Prep the eye area with an eye cream or eyeshadow primer.
  2. Start with two colors on the lids. First, go in with a base shade that's matte and a little lighter than your natural skin color. Brush it all over your lid from the lash line to the brow bone.
  3. Next, layer a medium shade of shimmer from the lash line to the crease, lightly blending it out.
  4. Finish the look with a gel liner. Start on the outer eye and move to the inner eye on the base of the top lash line. Always use small strokes and draw the line thinner as you get to the inner eye.
  5. Take a brush with your darkest color and double-line your eye.
  6. Lightly coat your lashes with mascara.

Best eyeshadow palettes for beginners

Nudestix Mini Nude Metallics For Eyes

From a nude smoky eye to a quick splash of color, this trio of mini eyeshadow pencils creates just about any look. The shades are long-wearing, waterproof, budge-proof and crease-proof,  making them suitable for oily eyelids. With a creamy formula that glides on effortlessly, these pencils work well for beginners or professionals.

Sold by Amazon and Sephora

Kaja Eye Bento Bouncy Eyeshadow Trio

For those who don't have a lot of space for extra makeup products, consider this stacking eyeshadow trio. The three complementing shades are more than enough to create a stunning eye without the extra weight to carry. The brand is entirely cruelty-free, and these products are formulated without parabens, phthalates and sulfates.

Sold by Amazon and Sephora

Urban Decay Naked3 Mini Eyeshadow Palette

The fan-favorite Naked Eyeshadow Palette is now available in a mini size that's perfect for beginners or anyone looking for on-the-go makeup. It features six universally flattering shades in light, medium and dark colors with matte and shimmer finishes. The shadows are vegan, blend smoothly and last for up to 12 hours.

Sold by Amazon, Sephora and Ulta Beauty

NYX Professional Makeup Ultimate Queen Shadow Palette

Eyeshadow doesn't need to be expensive. This affordable palette comes with 16 neutral colors, including matte and metallic shades in cool and warm tones. With a variety of cruelty-free shades, anyone can create a no-makeup look or go full glam.

Sold by Ulta Beauty and Amazon

Anastasia Beverly Hills Soft Glam Eyeshadow Palette

With 14 shades in ultra-matte, duochrome and metallic finishes, effortlessly go from day to night with a single on-the-go palette. From rose pink to mulberry to black, all shades are highly pigmented and considered full-coverage. The palette also comes with a large mirror and a double-ended brush.

Sold by Sephora and Ulta Beauty

Ilia For Your Eyes Only 4-Piece Set

For a complete eye look, consider this four-piece set that includes mascara, liquid eyeliner and two liquid powder eyeshadow tints. The tints are simple to swipe on and come in matte and chromatic finishes. Plus, the brand is clean, and all products are cruelty-free and fragrance-free.

Sold by Sephora and Amazon

Tom Ford Soleil Neige Eye Color Quad

This luxury eyeshadow palette includes four multidimensional shades with shimmer and matte finishes to create a range of radiant looks. The limited edition eye quad is designed to mimic an alpine getaway with reflections of sunlight casting a shimmery glow on the skin. Plus, all shadows are free of mineral oil, sulfates, parabens and phthalates.

Sold by Sephora

Maybelline Nudes of New York Eyeshadow Palette

Designed to flatter all skin tones and complexions, this eyeshadow palette features 16 universal shades. Hues include beige, pink, gold, shimmer, red, orange, brown and gold to create any look. Don't worry about the shadows looking chalky or dull with the creamy, pigmented formula.

Sold by Ulta Beauty

Morphe 35XO Natural Flirt Artistry Palette

This palette is ideal for anyone who loves to show off their playful pink side. Any look is possible with 35 shadows in shimmer, nude, berry and matte shades. The formula is creamy, blendable and highly pigmented for a huge color payoff. Those new to makeup will enjoy experimenting with the variety of hues.

Sold by Ulta Beauty

Tarte Tartelette In Bloom Clay Eyeshadow Palette

All the essential everyday shades are included in this fan-favorite palette, including rosy, bronze, dark brown, champagne and more. To make it simple for beginners or professionals to create a seamless look, the shadows are arranged in coordinating rows for three easy looks. Plus, they're infused with Amazonian clay to prevent smudging.

Sold by Ulta Beauty and Amazon


Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Bre Richey writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.