If by some quirk of fate I were ever selected to be on Mastermind, I’d feel like I ought to choose something historical or intellectual as my specialist subject, such as ‘Bridges of Victorian Britain’. However, I’m pretty sure I’d end up sitting in the chair answering questions on ‘Palettes of the late 20th and early 21st centuries’, nodding sagely as John Humphries asks how many matte shades there were in 2015’s Smashbox releases. In the same way that people buy themselves and their kids new PJs for Christmas, it’s now apparently become my one woman tradition to buy myself a palette to add to the collection. Here’s what was in the mix this year.
Bobbi Brown are the masters of the Christmas palette – every year they release a selection of eye and lip palettes in special Christmas packaging and they’re always a good selection of shades and textures (going full sparkle is lovely for Christmas, but when you’re getting ready to go to the bus stop in February you’re probably going to want at least one matte to work with). If I were picking a really great general purpose palette from the Christmas selection then I’d choose the Cool Dusk Eye Palette, £37.50, with a light matte base shade, two darker matte shades for crease and lining, and two shimmer / sparkle shades. Absolutely no filler here – I think you’d use them all. I didn’t get this one this year, because in a new one woman tradition, I designated November 6th ‘International Palette Day’ and bought myself the Paris edition, £45, from the limited edition City palette collection. There’s three palettes in the collection – London, Paris and New York, all containing four eye shadows and a blush and all with cover art designed by Richard Haines. For my money they’re even lovelier than the Christmas palettes, and I’m sorely tempted to ask for the others for Christmas to complete the set.
This, then, is the one I did pick this year. Is that a sequin pattern on the pressed shadows? Why, yes, yes it is. Let’s all take a moment to gaze at it together, shall we? It’s the unbelievably sumptuous and snappily titled Dior 5 Couleurs Splendor Couture Colours & Effects Eyeshadow Palette in Smoky Sequins, £39.15 (there’s a second colour way too, of richer chocolate tones called Precious Embroidery). You know you’re onto a winner when a) it’s Dior, who make great shadows, and b) you send a picture of it to a friend who responds with a message made up entirely of heart emojis. No, I haven’t started it yet, but nor am I saving for best – it will get opened on Christmas Day and used thereafter.
If I were buying for Sali, I’d buy this palette from Kevyn Aucoin, £78 which has sculpting, blush, bronzing and highlighting powders, and six shadows. There’s a lot packed in here from an absolutely top notch brand, and I think you’d get a lot of mileage out of this palette.
Finally, I’ve been so impressed with the Rosie for Autograph range from M&S – the lipsticks and lip glossy sticks are are very nice, but the eyeshadow palettes are very good value at £18 for four shades, and lovely quality. Well worth a look if you’re near one of the larger stores with a big beauty selection.