1. Best Packaging
Hands down, Clarins Eye Quartet Mineral Palette in Odyssey (09). I mean, just look at it. I think I like it better than the more masculine, architectural packaging of Tom Ford, which would've been second in the running. This is just one incredibly good-looking palette. The intricate pattern at the front, the gold case and interior, the classic neutral eyeshadows housed within, that to-die-for gold leaf shade. So much eye candy.
2. Best Colour Payoff
I'm giving this one to the LORAC Pro Palette. The metallic shades are uniformly vibrant and pigmented, but what sets the Pro Palette apart from other comparable palettes is the inclusion of the matte shades. The darker mattes in particular (Sable, Espresso) are some of the most impressively pigmented eyeshadows I have in my whole collection.
3. Most Versatile
Laura Mercier Lingerie Eye & Cheek Palette. We have light shades, dark shades, satin finish, mattes, a glitter/near duochrome and two blushes. If that's not versatile, I don't know what is. You can come up with anything from a barely there, daytime appropriate look (any combination of Buff Pearl, Tawny Apricot or Pale Pink), something with a bit more pizzazz (African Violet) or a smokey eye (Rich Cocoa or Black Plum). The two darker colours could easily double up as eyeliner. Buff Pearl is your standard inner corner/browbone highlighting shade. Pale Pink could be a transition/blending shade depending on your skin tone. The light and medium shades could be used on the lid alone, or the darker colours incorporated for added depth. And that's just the eyeshadows — wear the blushes separately or mixed together. The list goes on.
4. Best for Travel
When travelling, I have only one requirement. Small. What I bring needs to take up as little space as possible. At the back of my mind, it also has to be something I'm willing to lose (you never know with misplaced luggage, forgetful packing and any number of potential mishaps while on the go). In my last Shop My Stash, I unearthed this Lancome Color Design Sensational Effects Eyeshadow quad which I decided to bring along with me during my Europe trip. Along with Essence Eye Soufflé in Pas des Copper, it served me well.
5. Biggest Regret
Too Faced Naked Eye. The shades swatched so beautifully but the majority are complete fails on my lids. The three larger pans and Pillow Talk barely show up. Lap Dance and Unmentionables are too dark and cool for my colouring to sport all over the lid for the daytime. Satin Sheets is pretty, but what would I do with it? The matte black Stiletto is unremarkable. That leaves only Like A Virgin, which I do enjoy, but only with a shimmery purplish base like the one from Revlon Illuminance Crème Shadow in Wild Orchids. For the same amount of money, I could've taken home Stila In the Light which I'm sure I'd be infinitely happier with.
6. Best Colour Names
This one was tricky for me to answer since I'm ridiculously hard to please when it comes to names. I find the majority of shade names to be dull and unimaginative, or cringe-inducing (e.g. the whole of theBalm ShadyLady Vol. 2 — I mean, Just This Once Jamie, really?). I prefer shade names that don't try to incorporate the literal colour in the name, but rather, evoke certain images or moods that tie in with the colour and paint an overall picture of the palette. I picked the Urban Decay Naked palettes for that reason. The names suggest to me a kind of dangerous, on-the-edge, racy, femme fatale, outlaw vibe which I suppose is meant to emphasize how seductive and daring a suite of neutrals can be.
7. Least Used
This one was easy. Sleek i-Divine eyeshadow palette in Bad Girl. I never use this thing. I regret buying it as it just sits in my makeup drawer untouched. The colours are just way too dark, green and blue to be used on a regular basis. And by regular basis, I mean ever.
8. Most Used, Most Loved, Desert Island
NARS And God Created the Woman. I am so glad the makeup fanatic in me latched onto the idea of procuring this palette and didn't let go. No other palette has captured my affections the way this one has, with the possible exception of Urban Decay Naked2 (though the original Naked still holds a place in my heart as well). I was contemplating forking out an insane amount of money for the limited edition Chanel Ombres Matelassées palette in Charming, but talked myself out of it by focusing on how much superior And God Created the Woman is in every single way. Most palettes contain a bit of filler in the form of certain shades that you rarely touch or that simply don't appeal to you. I can say with confidence I love and use every single colour in And God Created the Woman. It also has the left shade in the Kalahari duo, one of the most stunning eyeshadows I've come across. I easily see myself using this palette for the rest of my makeup-loving life.