While I do have a soft spot for smaller palettes in terms of everyday use, I generally only reach for a few shades within a palette and spend a lot of time thinking of what shades work work better. Naturally, it makes sense that I would buy a couple singles to create the perfect palette but looking back at my favourites, I pretty much have all the mattes down but still rely on my palettes for shimmer. Not a big deal, given that I gravitate towards matte looks most of the time anyway unless it’s the MAC Frost formula. If you are a fellow reddish brown eyeshadow lover, let me run you through some of my favourites.
MAC Malt – it looks a pinky beige in the pan, swatches slightly darker but on my lid, it actually pulls like a soft warm pink which I can use as light transition colour or base for all over the lid that can be intensified with some of the darker shades in the socket and outer corner while still keeping the look fairly bright on the lid.
MAC Naked Lunch – this one is very subtle take on the Frost finish and while you could definitely use it as soft wash of colour, I actually love to layer this on top of darker shades like Sable or Twinks to brighten up the look softly. I also like it more than All That Glitters because it pulls less peachy on my skin.
ABH Birkin – the perfect transition shade, Birkin is a warm brown with slight coolness to it, there, that’s the tone complexity I’m looking for in an eyeshadow. Blendable too which is sort of necessary for a crease shade.
MUG Wild West – this is one possibly my favourite colour (a more pinky version of the pinky brown in Nars St Paul de Vence) and my least favourite formula wise (probably why it was discontinued). It is a very dusty rosy brown with detectable purple under tones that I find to be particularly flattering. Of course, this shade is no longer available and I really would love an identical dupe because while I don’t love a soft powdery formula, this is is that bit too stiff and not the most blendable.
ABH Red Earth – come the big comparison, Red Earth is just a smidgen darker and more red than Wild West with a far superior formula. As far as the red tones go, this goes on surprisingly cool on me but less purple than Wild West. I actually find it to be dark enough for me as a shadow liner or outer corner colour but I suppose it would be a crease shade for most. Unlike the ABH eyeshadow in the palettes, this formula is definitely not powdery which I enjoy to but it’s one you’d have to build up it packing all over the lid.
MAC Swiss Chocolate – formula wise, it’s the perfect medium between intense pigment and no fallout, exactly what an eyeshadow should be. Now I do prefer the tones of Red Earth but Swiss Chocolate seems to be more richly pigmented and so works exceptionally for deepening the look. Colour wise, it’s darker and ever so slightly warmer which is why Red Earth is slightly above it in my mind.
MUG Frappe – I’m including this one and I’m not sure if it might still be available but it’s currently sold out. In any case, I was always under an impression it was a dupe for one of the MAC warm browns. The formula on this is a lot more buttery than Wild West and while it has some orange under tones to it, I actually find it to be a nice tone on me and it’s one of those mid tone shades that works great as a wash of colour.
MAC Twinks – this is Sable’s darker and more cool toned sister which I do like but it’s just that little less light reflective hence why I will often pair it with Naked Lunch. Along with Wild West, it leans the most cool in the whole palette but never looks ashy thanks to a more copper reflect.
MAC Embark – a dark brown is actually quite a challenge for me to find because most will look really muddy especially once blended out but Embark has perfect mix of red and purple under tones and unlike other browns doesn’t blend out it a murky mess.
Well, there goes that singles palette which I should definitely pull out a lot more often but admittedly, having picked out those shades and seeing that I barely made a dent in any of them, definitely limits my eyeshadow consumption. In this colour family anyway. With slight variations and excluding Wild West, these all also have a very similar formula which unlike many of the popular palettes nowadays, doesn’t kick up powder in the pan or on your face. I can also see how this selection would benefit from a pinky copper metallic but shimmer singles are one overwhelming area for me. Let me know if you have a suggestion for a lighter and warmer version of Twinks.
Do you use single eyeshadows? What are your favourites?