The Gloss Report: Smokey eye palette reviews
1 / 9
The best smokey eye palettes, tried and tested
Every makeup maven should own a palette with which to create a flawless smokey eye; it's practically an essential. Whether you want to go for soft greys, doe-eyed browns or sultry, sparkly blacks, there's a palette out there to suit your needs. But which ones are worth the investment? This week, the glossy posse put them through their paces to find out which smokey eyeshadow sets stood out from the rest...
2 / 9
Charlotte Tilbury The Rock Chick Eyeshadow Quad
Feedback: “No one creates makeup quite like Charlotte Tilbury, and her Rock Chick eyeshadow quad is another masterpiece. I'm a bit of a smokey eye novice, never quite blending it in the right way and instead either looking like I have black eyes, or a complete mess. What I love about Charlotte Tilbury is she decodes the application on the back of the palette, colour-coding the order in which to apply, with a step-by-step on her website - I love this. The Rock Chick is a selection of neutral brown-grey hues with a creamy texture that blend effortlessly, with no fall out so you aren't left with powder all under the eye (just be careful with the glittery shade as I got a slight drop here if I went too heavy). The Prime and Enhance shades are perfect for a simple and subtle daytime look, with the Smoke and Pop adding a dramatic smokey texture for the evening. The pigment of the shades is quite intense so you don't need a lot to build up a good level of colour - it also stayed put for most of the day so a winner in that way! Though the Pop shade was a little too glittery for me, with nine colour quads to choose from there is definitely something for everyone.”
3 / 9
Bobbi Brown Greystone Eye Palette
Feedback: “The grey-brown shades in this palette have almost pink and purple undertones, making it a little softer if you’re not quite ready for all-out black smoke. The palette itself is beautiful, with classic black Bobbi Brown casing and an inner mirror (a necessity for all palettes so you can top up and go). What I loved most about this Greystone edition was the combination of shimmer, sparkle and matte shades; of the five shadows, three are matte (a light, medium and dark) while there’s a beautiful shimmering golden colour and a sparkly grey-brown which adds a glittery finish (which is more subtle than it looks) if you’re in party mode. The super soft colours were easy to blend, particularly with the enclosed dual-ended brush, and the shades are versatile so that you can create your own combination for the look you want (though there are handy instructions online on where to apply each shade). The price is a little steep, but it would make a stunning gift and a long-lasting multifunctional addition to your kit; from day to night, it has all you need for defined, dressed up eyes. It's earned a spot in my handbag and would be my go-to for a night out."
4 / 9
No7 80th Anniversary Smokey Eyeshadow Palette
Feedback: “This is a great smokey palette at a cheaper price compared to most of its competitors. With lighter nudes and greys, to darker navy-greys and black there is a shade range to suit a subtle daytime look or a full on smouldering smokey evening finish. If you like warmer shades then this palette is not for you as it is full of cooling tones. Highly pigmented, they blend together effortlessly and can be built up easily to create a dramatic look. The only downfall is it comes with one of those cheaper sponge brushes which doesn't do the palette justice; if it had a good quality double ended blending brush it would be perfect.”
5 / 9
Zoeva Smoky Eyeshadow Palette
Feedback: "Championed as the brand of choice by many a makeup brush boffin, ZOEVA actually boasts an impressive range of eye colour palettes to match. From Mixed Metals and Retro Future to En Taupe and Naturally Yours the collection offers an affordable alternative to the usual colour palette favourites. With winter well and truly on the way and bonfires burning, I opened up the Smoky eye selection to discover rich pigments, sleek metallics and soft matte textures across the board. The palette also offers a refreshing mix of smoke-inspired hues, from a dirty pink - Dust & Memories - to a mushroom grey - Sleep to Dream. The shadows are high quality, highly pigmented and easy to blend. All of this is wrapped up in an enchanted-night style case with magnetic fastening (to limit the travel mess). A slimline mirror tucked inside might be the only thing missing from this otherwise top scoring palette for A/W."
6 / 9
Becca Ombre Nudes Eye Palette
Feedback: “If you’re looking for a bit of daytime smoke, this 5 pan neutral to deep chocolate palette allows you to go strong or subtle, or alter the effect when night falls with minimal faff. The matte shades blend out well without any patchiness, although as the afternoon crept on I did notice a bit of creasing in the socket with the darkest shade. That aside, the finish of the shadows is smooth and colour payoff is rich and intense; you barely need to touch the brush on the various pans to pick up product. The ombre idea works - each colour graduates tonally onto the next, and whether you mix up two and five or one and four, you end up with a flattering veil of colour. After 12 hours, I needed to top up a bit, but that’s just perhaps because it was a Friday night and I wanted to sex up the smoke for the weekend. You could easily not tweak it and the fade would be flattering. While the formula is clearly very high quality, unless you generally work a wardrobe of browns, £34 may seem a teeny bit steep.”
7 / 9
Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette
Feedback: “As far as eyeshadow palettes go, Urban Decay has thus far produced some of the best I’ve tried, so understandably, I had high expectations for the latest addition to the ‘Naked’ family. Thankfully, it didn’t disappoint. It has a fairly hefty price tag, however the variety of shades, their colour payoff, the effective double-ended eyeshadow brush and the handy lookbook that comes with it make it worth the investment in my opinion. From nudes to blacks, matte to sparkle finishes, the versatility that the palette offers is incredibly impressive, helping transform your makeup from day to night, work or play, wedding to reception; plus they blend like a dream with a punchy pigment that stays put too. Suffice to say - I’m a huge fan!”
8 / 9
L’Oréal Paris Color Riche La Palette Smoky
Feedback: “Compact and slimline, my first impression of this palette was how easily it slipped into my handbag. When I opened it up, my delight continued, thanks to its great selection of shades that popped on my darker skin tone. From creating a nude base to easy layering of the deeper shades to add a soft hazy smokiness, they provided noticeable intensity to my eyelids.
“In terms of brushes, I would say that there are probably other palettes out there that perhaps provide sturdier variations and in terms of longevity, I did notice that some of the shadow did fall underneath my eyes as the day wore on. However, that being said, these small niggles wouldn’t prevent me from recommending it due its size, shade range and more affordable price point - three factors that cumulatively make it a great day to night transitioner.”
9 / 9
Makeup Revolution Romantic Smoked
Feedback: "This palette has alerted me to the fact that this budget brand is very, very clever indeed. A great dupe for Urban Decay's Naked Smoky Palette , it holds a mix of pearl, shimmer and matte shades of soft bronzes, khakis, nudes and greys. Testing the shadows, I couldn't believe my eyes when finding that the entire palette is just £4; if I'd blind tested, I'd have been sure it was a more premium brand. The eyeshadows are just as you'd hope for achieving a smokey look; soft, rich in pigment with beautiful colour payoff and a texture that's easily blended. Superior to other budget brands and rivalling even those at higher price points, don't be deceived by the low cost or simple packaging - this palette won't let you down."