If you are a friend on Instagram, then you might remember that moooonths ago I posted a "tease" picture, mentioning that I was customizing my own eyeshadow palette. I was inspired by Jaclyn Hill's video about her Z-palette and since I was staying in New York at the time - I figured why not make a few online orders and create my own dream palette? I am using [and loving] my palette for more than six months now, so hopefully I can give you guys all the needed tips and tricks on how you can make your own too!
So, why you need your own palette?
I know, there are a ton of palettes on the market these days: you have the good, the bad and also those palettes, which are kind of mweh. Being a creative soul I really enjoy the idea of designing, making something I could call "my own". Plus one day I decided to grab my favourite Naked 2 and Smashbox Master Class 3 palettes to count how many shades I used and how many I didn't. The outcome was rather upsetting: I have realized that I barely used half of them, while the rest I might have swatched once or twice and that's about it. Not very cost efficient, eh? To really get my ROI - I have decided to create that one palette, where I could use every single shade and eventually hit the pan on all of them #makeupgoals
Choosing the right inserts
Now I should go ahead and say that I personally am not a big fan of Z-palettes. First of all I find them overpriced and secondly I am not a professional make-up artist, so I don't really need to constantly switch eyeshadow/blush/powder pans back and forth for different clients. At the end of the day the only person using this palette would be me, so I decided that I can get away with something like MAC Pro Palette Large/Single Compact. I was actually shocked when I saw its price: 8 USD only, which is so freaking affordable. Plus it has this beautiful clear acrylic case and magnetic closure, which makes it look very sophisticated and sleek.
You do need to get a separate insert for this compact; MAC has a lot of different ones on their website. You can actually get one insert for powder/blush and smaller one for eyeshadows (in case you don't need 15 eyeshadows), so be your own boss. The one I got for my palette is called Pro Palette Eyeshadow/Concealer x 15 Insert and it costs 3 USD only, quite a bargain don't you think?
Fixing your eyeshadow pans
Good thing is - almost all individual eyeshadow pans (from different brands) are of a similar/exact same size, so they are pretty standard and should fit into your MAC palette perfectly. So if you were looking to get your individual shadows from MAC, ABH, MUG or even Tarte or Smashbox - they will work just fine. However even if they match in size, some pans will have a tendency to fall out of the palette, which is the last thing you want to experience. In my case, all of the MUG matte eyeshadows would "move" and make a clacking noise every time I put my palette upside down. MAC's own pans never move and sit perfectly.
There is a nice trick, which helped me solve my "moving" pans problem: adhesive dots. I got mine at Michaels and they were reasonably priced. These dots have a very strong hold and they are clear, so you can still (if needed) remove the insert and read every single eyeshadow's name. I would use about one or two dots to really lock in place any of my naughty pans and I did the same thing for my mom's palette and none of us have experienced cracking, moving or anything else like that ever since.
Of course the only con here is that it will be a tiny bit challenging for you to remove a pan once it's glued. You can still do that if really needed - just gently remove your insert and push X pan with your finger from underneath (MAC inserts have a little hollow where you can place the tip of your finger). I did this same technique with my other customized eyeshadow quad and it didn't cause any troubles.
Colour selection & arrangement
This must be the most difficult/fun part about creating your own eyeshadow palette - you have so many options! It is quite easy to get overwhelmed and panic a little. My tip here would be to take a piece of paper and write down names of colours that you would want to have in your "all in one" palette. Are you a warm/cool-toned girl? What "pow!" shades would you add to create unique looks? I also did a thorough research online (hunting for swatches through blogs and YouTube) before buying any of these.
Since you can fit 15 shades in this MAC palette, I visually split them into 5 columns (you can also split yours into 3 rows instead if that would make more sense to you). I then wrote down exactly what colours I used the most on a day-to-day basis and only then added another 3-4 fun shades to amp up my evening looks. Basic colours everyone needs are: highlighting shade, crease/transition shade, medium shade, deep shade, bright shade.
Column #1: I saved this one for my shimmery/neutral shades; one to highlight inner corners/brow bone and another two to spice up any of my boring everyday looks.
Column #2: matte neutrals; one off-white shade to apply all over the lid and two crease shades (one transition shade; and darker cut-crease shade).
Column #3: mauve and dark browns.
Column #4: pink and berries.
Column #5: blue and greens.
Shades will vary depending on your personal needs; I just happen to use and love this neutral/cool-toned range. Another interesting way you can arrange your individual eyeshadows is by "imaginary" quads. If you take a closer look at my palette you will see that most neighbouring colours can be used x4 for a single look and they do work well together.
Shadows here appear lighter than in real life, but hopefully you get the idea of "imaginary" quads. This way you always feel inspired and eager to create multiple combinations and various looks with only one palette. So even if (God forbid) you lose all of your other palettes, you can survive with this guy alone.
Don't forget to add some fun/bold shades too; as you can see in my palette I have one duochrome (pink/blue/lavender), one emerald green and one peacock shade. All of these look amazing on brown eyes, so I added them for those occasions when I want to wear more of a colourful/dramatic eye make-up.
My eyeshadow picks & swatches
I know that some of you might be interested in colours from my palette, which is why I have decided to include all names, brands and swatches as well. I must say that all of these eyeshadows are incredibly pigmented, smooth, blendable and long-lasting. There is only one difficult colour here - Deep Damson by MAC. Compared to MUG mattes, this one is not as buttery smooth and pigmented. I can build it up, but it is slightly time-consuming. Deep Damson is a PRO colour, so I am surprised that MAC didn't try to make it perfect. I couldn't find a shade similar to it though (and knowing that it is very hard to create a pigmented purple/burgundy) I just put some muscle into it.
Overall I have: 11 shades from MUG, 3 from MAC and 1 from ABH. I have mattes, frosts, "foiled" eyeshadows from MUG (which are bomb) and one titanium finish colour from ABH.
Please click on each image to see swatches up close. As always - to give you the best idea - I did not alter brightness/saturation of these swatches below. All images were made using a natural daylight.
Look & Thoughts
So here is one of the looks created with my "dream" palette. It took me about 5 minutes to complete my eye make-up. When quality is already there, all you have to do - is choose your colours and blend. I couldn't be happier about my eyeshadow picks, especially MUG. This brand is new to me, but I can say their eyeshadows are worth every penny and are much better than those of many other more expensive/high-end brands.
Hope you guys enjoyed this article! I had a lot of fun writing it, mainly because I am very passionate about customized palettes and working with new favourites, which then become my "signature" colours. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments. For more fun beauty inspiration on the go, make sure to follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and Bloglovin. Have a lovely day!