2015 Holiday Palettes: The Best Sets for Every Budget

No, not 2,015 palettes.
Publish date:
December 11, 2015
maybelline, sephora, gifts, holidays, palettes, Kevyn Aucoin, sets, By Terry, e.l.f., laura geller

My favorite season has arrived! Holiday Makeup Palette Season!

As a makeup hoarder, there’s nothing better than saving enough cash to get that delicious palette you’ve had your eye on for months. But during the holiday season? All bets are off. There are simply too many to choose from.

Every brand you’ve ever liked comes out with some version of a palette. Do you buy them for your friends and family, or just keep them for yourself? (Trust me, nobody here will judge you if you’re buying them for yourself).

Whether you’re shopping for yourself or for someone else, or a lot of someone elses, holiday season is the time to do it. Nine times out of 10, a company’s holiday palette will be a better value than something you’ll get throughout the year. Like, hey, here’s 15 colors for the price you’d normally pay for five. Or if it’s a brand that you’ve been wanting to try, but you hadn’t yet pulled the trigger, a lot of brands pull together smaller sizes of their best sellers into a single palette. It’s the perfect opportunity to try all the good stuff without having to buy full sizes of everything.

Any way you slice it, it’s a great time to buy one. Theoretically, I don’t need to buy any eyeshadow for the rest of the year/my life after purchasing some of these holiday palettes.

That doesn’t mean that I won’t do it. It just means that I don’t have to.

Maybelline Gilded In Gold, $14.99

Maybelline is my BAE for drugstore makeup. I don’t feel like their products are cheaply made just because they’re cheaply priced. I was excited to see them do a palette that was eye and face makeup, because I’ve never known them to do that before.

This kit has four eyeshadows, a black eyeliner pencil, a blush, a highlighter and a red lip gloss—basically everything you could need to pull a look together quickly, except for mascara.

If these neutral and gold shades aren’t your thing, there’s also an Up In Smoke version that has smoky-eye tools and a nude lipgloss. This is a great stocking stuffer, or something good to keep in your desk at work to touch-up for afterwork events.

This is also something I’d buy for a certain brother’s girlfriend who hasn’t the faintest idea of how to do makeup. It’s like, "Here you go—you can’t screw this up."

E.L.F. Spotlight Ready 50 Piece Artist Palette, $15

E.L.F. has some of the best value in the game, all year round, so it should come as no surprise that during the holidays they have palettes that are a ridiculously great value. They have a bunch of great gift sets, from stocking-stuffer lippies, to brushes, to mega-palettes like this one.

This set is surprisingly streamlined and lightweight for its contents. It comes in a thin case with the eyeshadows (40 shades) stacked on top of the blushes and bronzers (10 shades), and a wonderfully large mirror.

My favorite part, though, is that the blushes and bronzers are not overly sparkly. Sometimes inexpensive brands tend to make their blushes super-glittery (to appeal to the younger crowd, maybe?) but these are just lightweight, matte, wearable shades.

Laura Geller The Wearables Cool Nights Eyeshadow Palette, $40

The whole process of baking eyeshadows that Laura Geller uses fascinates me. They actually bake the pigments on terracotta tiles, which results in not only the shape of the shadows, but the silky feeling when they’re applied. They can be used wet or dry, giving you really great color payoff.

This particular set of her baked shadows contains 12 mostly jewel-toned shades. This is something I’d give to my sister-in-law, who is just a way cooler human than I will ever be.

Sephora Color Wonderland Eyeshadow Palette, $59

This is for the real makeup junkie in your life. It has 78 eyeshadows. SEVENTY-EIGHT. It comes with two eyeliners—one black and one smoky silver shade—and a double-sided shadow brush. (Not one of the janky shadow brushes you often get with these kits, but an actual nice brush that you will use.)

I really like Sephora’s brushes, especially as an animal lover, because you can find good, quality synthetic brushes there, like the one included in this kit. You’d never know it’s not a natural-hair brush, unless, like me, you actually cared to find out.

By Terry Eye Designer Palette, $96

This palette is not a holiday exclusive, but I’m using the holidays as an excuse to finally buy it for someone. $96 is definitely on the higher side of things, but I’ll pay it for a brand I really trust.

There are three versions of this palette. Palette 1 is “Smokey Nude” and is one of the prettiest nude palettes out there. Every shade is wearable, and it just feels different from all the other copycat nudes out there. (You all know what I’m talking about here.)

Palette 2 (pictured) is “Colour Design” for the person that is a little more daring, and not afraid of color. The newest one, palette 3, Magnet Eyes, just launched in time for the holidays and is an answer for anyone looking for a luxe combination of smoky, nude and jewel tones. Regardless of which you choose, you can expect intense color pay-off and silky textures.

Kevyn Aucoin Legacy Palette, $165

This is total luxury for a makeup palette. I’ve never met a Kevyn Aucoin product that I haven’t loved.

This comes with 12 eyeshadow colors from Kevyn Aucoin Essential Eyeshadow Palettes 1, 2, and 3. The Sculpting Powder is in there for all the countour-nistas, as well as a Celestial highlighting powder. Basically, it’s all the best-selling products combined into one kit, which, if you bought them all separately, would cost $262, and wouldn’t come in this cute little clutch.

This is a really nice gift—something you’d want to give to a mother or mother-in-law. Or, you know, keep it for yourself since it’s such a nice splurge.

  • What's your all-time favorite holiday palette?
  • How long do your palettes typically last you?
  • Which makeup lover in your life would you spend big bucks on?