Makeup palettes are a makeup artist’s best friend. Because palettes are sold with a pre-set range of product-types and colors, you can save a lot of money by buying your makeup in this format. But, no matter how versatile the palette is, you’ll always find yourself hitting pan on just a few colors while the rest of them stay untouched.
If you’re doing makeup for a client or need a portable palette for on-the-go personal makeup application, bringing a palette along with any additional colors you’ll need can add a lot of bulk!
Situation sound familiar? If so, you’ll probably benefit from building your own makeup palettes!
Not only are they great for travelling, but they can be handy for swapping in and out colors between client appointments. Not sold on the idea yet? Hang tight as we give you a crash course on building your own custom palette!
What types of makeup palettes are there?
Before we start telling you how to build your own palette, you should study up on the types of palettes that are out there.
When people think makeup palettes, they’re probably picturing eye shadow palettes—these are the most popular kind on the market! But if even if you’re even just slightly obsessed with makeup, you’ve probably ogled at some lip palettes or blush palettes at Sephora.
Here are some of the most popular types of makeup palettes!
Cream makeup palettes:
When you think of cream makeup palettes that aren’t foundation / concealer based, you’re probably imagining those ghoulish color wheels that go on sale every Halloween. But this formulation shouldn’t be sidelined for use just once a year!
Check out the success of Make Up For Ever’s Flash Color palette! This best-selling multi-use palette can be used as a base for both sassy night looks and bold special-effects work.
Eye shadow and brow palettes:
From crazy bright electric shades to warm neutral tones, shadow palettes are probably one of the easiest types to come by. Since colored brows hit their peak this year, you can find many uses for your colorful shadows than just on your lids. Especially with the holiday season just around the corner, expect some of your favorite brands at Sephora to come out with their own holiday palettes.
Contour and highlight palettes:
Contouring didn’t make it big in the mainstream until Kim K and her makeup artist, Mario Dedivanovic, came along. Her perfectly sculpted cheekbones are the envy of every makeup junkie. Thanks to contouring’s soaring popularity, you can now buy highlight and contour palettes! Our pick? Kat Von D’s Shade + Light Contour Palette—you won’t regret it!
As a professional makeup artist, you know that lip palettes can be a godsend. A single lipstick can look different on each girl because of their hair/skin/natural lip color. This often translates to you finishing up with your client’s eye look and then finding that lipstick color you had intended on using no longer fits the bill.
With a lip palette, you can mix together the perfect, custom shade of red in a pinch! Who ever said those 14 red-hued lipsticks were identical?
As clients get more daring with their makeup looks, you have to cater to the people! Nowadays you won’t just see the basic pink and coral shades. Some brands even sell pigments that you would assume, at first glance, to be eye shadows but that are actually blushes (we’re looking at you, Colour Pop Super Shock Blush in “Rain”). You may not always find yourself reaching for this unique, purple blush, but it’s certainly in demand. And if that’s not a good reason to buy a blush palette, we don’t know what is.
Foundation & Concealer palettes:
Especially since green/purple/yellow/salmon concealer wheels became a must in our everyday face routine, it’s hard to justify bringing just one type of concealer with you when you’re off to meet a client. Having a variety of concealer and foundation shades to suit the palest or darkest skin tones can be handy since everybody’s skin color falls into a spectrum. Often, mixing together a custom shade could be your only option.
Where to get empty makeup palettes:
You can actually buy empty compacts especially designed to hold singles of your favorite products. What happens is that some retailers, like MAC and Inglot, will sell the empty, magnetic compacts and eye shadows in magnetically-backed singles so that they can be popped in and out of the empty cases.
We recommend tried and true brands like MAC, Inglot, and Yaby.
Another option would be to buy a plastic palette with empty wells like this Ben Nye Empty Lip Palette. Depot all those lipstick tubes and fill the wells with all the colors you need!
DIY custom makeup palette
This month’s makeup budget running low? If you don’t want to drop $20 on just an empty, magnetic case, why not make your own? You can buy any secure, empty compact from the craft store to start—make sure it’s big enough to fit in all the products you need! Then buy magnetic pads (it’s easier if they have an adhesive backing) and trim them to fit into the entire inside bottom of the compact. Then, make sure that you attach magnets to all of your shadows so that they are anchored into your palette!
Pro tip: buy a clear compact so that you can see the products without opening the palette!
Dealing with endless variety:
If you’ve never thought it was possible to ever be the boss of your palette, it can be quite overwhelming when presented with all these new options. But it can be easier than you think!
Consult a retail expert
They’ll know the products that are in the store better than you. Besides being makeup lovers and professionals, they will be able to help you track down shades you’re looking for. Best of all, these experts are also likely to be professional makeup artists who have their own experiences using the products that’ll help you narrow down what makes it into your shopping cart.
Create your own be-all end-all makeup palette!
Need an even more travel-friendly option? Some companies will sell compacts that are just giant magnetized cases. You can then load in a combination of shadows, foundations, lip colors, concealers, etc., in a variety of sizes all in one palette!
What’s missing in your makeup artist kit?
Do you have a mountain of shimmery eye shadows but are sorely lacking in the matte department? Check out this post for a checklist of the kinds of products you’ll need to build your own professional makeup kit.
De-potting old powders
Want to add your most used/favorite blush color of all time into your custom palette but it’s only sold by itself in a bulky case? Don’t worry! Just pop out the metal pot holding the shadow out, add a magnet to the back, and pop it into the palette!
And if you’re unlucky enough to shatter your favorite blush, you can also take this time to add it to your custom palette. You can buy empty shadow pots, glue a magnet onto the back, and use rubbing alcohol to press the broken shadow into the new pot! Then, simply add it into your palette!