Top Holiday Palettes 2012


It’s that time of year again when all the major makeup companies come out with their holiday palettes for 2012. Being able to review these palettes for you every year is absolutely one of the funnest things I get to do simply because I get to play with all the different products and give you my honest opinion of them for you and hopefully help you in deciding which ones are worth picking up.  I have six of them to review for you this holiday season. With so many available in the stores, I picked the top six I felt were the best to show you all and at the end of the video I will show you the one I think is best for quality, content and price.

Urban Decay Vice Palette

$59.00 USD at Sephora, eBayUltaAmazon
See Full Video Review

This is the Urban Decay “Vice Palette”. (See the full review here) I like the sleek packaging more this year then previous ones done by Urban Decay. This palette is made of plastic as opposed to the previous ones which, although whimsical to look at, were made of cardboard and didn’t function well. One downside is that because it is made of plastic they have to charge a little more. However, with 20 eyeshadows included in this kit it’s not a bad price. This palette does have a good mixture of shades however, I wish it did have more matte shadows included in the kit. The quality of the eyeshadows are great as they are all creamy and highly pigmented. What I don’t like is the price of the palette. I feel it’s a little to expensive for what you get.

Tarte Carried Away Palette

$54.00 USD at Sephora, EBay, Amazon
See Full Video Review

This is the Tarte “Carried Away” Collection.(see the full review here) Instead of your typical palette, Tarte decided to do something a little different and use a sort of travel case for their collection this year. I find this is much more practical as it can be used over again for traveling or storing makeup. Inside the case you will find 8 liglosses, a brush, a blush, which as everyone knows I love Tarte’s blushes, a mini version of the mascara as well as their face powder. Then, just when you think that’s all, hidden behind the mirror is an eyeshadow palette containing 24 full size colors to choose from 4 of which are matte shades. For what you get and the price I think this is an amazing kit to pick up for the holidays.

Inside the Tarte Palette, great packaging with 8 lipglosses in one compartment, the mirror (with 24 eyeshadows conveniently stored behind) a brush and in the other compartment a blush, mini-mascara and face powder.

Tarte gives us 24 great quality eyeshadows that are stored behind the mirror. There are 20 shimmery shades and 4 matte. These are broken up into quads that work great together or the colors can be mixed and matched.


Sephora Cinderella Palette

$55.00 USD at  Amazon, Sephora

This collection is put out by Sephora and is the “Cinderella” palette. I absolutely love the packaging on this with the gold foil on the cover. There are other items that come with this collection such as lipsticks, perfumes and nail polishes but for $55.00 you get just this palette which I think is high for what you get. In this you will receive 20 eyeshadows that can be removed to leave a box that can be used as a jewelry box. I love the whimsical look and use of the palette itself. The eyeshadows themselves aren’t bad but they aren’t amazing either. There is a good variety of both matte and shimmer colors in the kit but I feel that they are slightly chalky and the matte ones are rather sheer. I think this palette would have been better if they had included a blush. I like this, it just doesn’t amaze me.


A good combination of mattes and shimmers with some very fun names to go with them.

This is the “Cinderella Moonlit Kiss” Lipstick Set that can also be purchased to go with the palette. These retail for $25.00 USD at Sephora, EBay, and Amazon. The entire set including the palette, lipstick set, nail polish set, perfume and Cinderella DVD can also be purchased for $125.00 USD at Sephora.

Smashbox Masterclass Palette

$69.00 USD at  eBayAmazon, and Sephora

This is called the “Masterclass” palette from Smashbox. To be honest I almost didn’t pick this one up because it looks rather boring with a matte black cardboard packaging. There is nothing there that would draw my attention to the palette itself. I think the price on this one is absolutely ridiculous at $69.00 when it is made from plain cardboard. I like Smashbox and the quality of their eyeshadows but for some reason they just don’t do well when putting out a palette. This kit has 24 eyeshadows, 4 brow powders, 8 cream liners, 2 blushes, 3 soft lights, and 4 lipglosses. I am not a fan of packaging like this simply because fall out from the blushes and eyeshadows will settle in the lipglosses creating a mess. The eyeshadows are creamy and very pigmented and this actually has a good combination of matte and shimmer shades. However, the bright pink blush may be to harsh for normal to medium skin tones.

Great quality eyeshadows that are creamy, smooth and very pigmented in a variety of matte and shimmer along with the blushes, soft lights and lipglosses.


Too Faced Sweet Indulgence

Price: $52.00 USD at Sephora, eBay, Amazon

See Full Video Review

This palette by Too Faced is named “Sweet Indulgence”. (See the full review here) I knew I had to have this when I saw the packaging, anything pink I have to buy. :-) This comes in a convenient tin that can be reused for storage. The price on this is $52.00 which I think is very fair for what you get. This has two parts to it, the bottom part contains 2 bronzers, 2 blushes, highlighter, instruction cards on various looks and a full sized Eyeshadow Insurance and a brush as well. I am not a fan of the blushes unfortunately as they are somewhat sheer. The top part contains 16 eyeshadows. There is a good variety of colors but not of finishes as there are only 2 matte finishes in the group. The colors are gorgeous I wish they had incorporated more matte finishes into the palette.


Top part of the palette containing 16 eyeshadows.

Bottom part of the palette containing 2 bronzers, 2 blushes, brush, instruction cards and shadow insurance.

Elf Neuatral Palette

Price: $15.00 USD at EBayAmazon, Target
See Full Video Review

The last one I have for you is the ELF palette that you can purchase at Target (see full review here) They have several different ones however I got the neutral one since these are the colors I use most often. There are 144 colors in this palette which for the price of $15.00 is amazing. This is where it gets a little tricky. The shimmer shades in this palette are very good but the mattes are somewhat chalky so you will have to use a primer under them.

This palette would be great as a gift for someone who is just starting out in makeup or wants to add a lot of colors to their collection. This would also be ideal for younger girls as the colors are complementary for everyone.

My Top Holiday Palette Selection

So, which one did I choose as the BEST PALLETE OF 2012? This year I have to give it to…..TARTE!  For the price point and everything you get in the kit it’s amazing. I would also be very happy to give the ELF one as well, but if I wanted to get someone a kit that has everything in it and stood out amoung the rest I would have to go with Tarte. They did an outstanding job at giving us so much product especially for the price of $54.00. I love the packaging as it can be reused store and travel with all your makeup goodies. The lipglosses are amazing and have a slight minty smell to them and are quiet pigmented. There is room in the pockets for you to add anything extra you may want to pack to take along with you as well.

So there it is, another year and another round of holiday palettes. In a sea of kits in stores these days, I hope this helps narrow down some them for you and helps you decide which palette is best for you and your budget. As always, stay happy and healthy and have fun shopping!


Comments are now closed on this article.

I must agree with you I wish there were more matte colors in palettes so that we can have transition colors to work with.That’s why I love LORAC pro palette. But I must disagree on the top one: I thought Tarte did a great job in price and things but most of the shadows are neutrals!! I love me some color! The only palettes I picked up Chrsitmas collection wise was UD Vice and Cinderella kit. Otherwise I was more interested in the fall collection, having picked three palettes, the Lorac Pro, the UD Smoked, and the Too Faced Return of Sexy.

i’m REALLY surprised that the sephora cinderella and ELF palettes made it to your list. i swatched several of the elf ones and thought they were awful. i saw a smaller one that had a few shades that could make it worthwhile. even the UD one is a little weird to me but i do seem to be the only person who thinks its much lower than their normal quality…
everyone should check out the bare minerals palettes! they are SO creamy, pigmented (as good as typical UD quality, lorac, etc) and gorgeous. many of their shades for the holidays are unique. i would never have tried them because their loose powder formula, one that they’ve had for years, is not anything i’d ever buy, so i was shocked when i swatched their newer palettes in store.

Hi Marlena,

Great review. :) I couldn’t resist the cinderella palette i’m a sucker for disney lol. I was wondering what lip products are you wearing in this video I love the colour.

Hope your doing well looking forward to your next video

Jess :)

I recently attended the Toronto IMATS and purchased the Eve Pearl Salmon concealer. My dark circles are really bad – like really bad! I bought the medium/tan one, and tried it on but it did not cover my circles at all! i currently use the MAC ProLongwear Concealer and thats been working but I really want to try out the Eve Pearl one again. How are you supposed to use it? Is there a special technique to applying it? HELP!
Great review – LOVE the Tarte on! Its $70 in Canada!!! BOOOO

i have the smashbox master class palette and have a different opinion from marlena — i LOVE it. it’s probably my favorite palette i’ve ever bought. the packaging isn’t the best i’ve ever seen, ’tis true, but the products are amazingly high quality.

and it’s a really great combo of matte/sparkly and neutral/bright shades. i am a pale brunette and everything looks great on my skin, including the bright pink blush if i apply it with a light hand. (the peach blush is beautiful, very close to nars orgasm in my opinion). i like the plastic shields that come over each side of the palette too (marlena removed them for her review) as they keep the colors from falling into each other and they also tell you the names of the shades.

this palette is $59 at sephora. i got mine a few weeks ago during the VIB sale for 20% off so that helped, too.

Hi Marlena,
I know you are busy but if you see my post can you please tell me what eye shadow you have on in this video? I have been watching you for years but I just finally made a a profile because I love love love this makeup look.
Thank You!

Hi Marlena. I have to tell you that I have been watching your videos and following all your updates for 3 years now and I have enjoyed every minute and learned soo much from you. Can you please post a tutorial of your makeup you’re wearing in this video.I would love to try it for the holidays! Keep up your awesomeness and Hugs from New Jersey!!!

I just got the Tarte palette for my birthday and I’m in love with it! Add a few brushes and other products to the case and its all you need for a short trip away from home! I do wish there were more matte shadows, but other than that I’m really happy with it!

I will definitely be purchasing the Tarte Pallet. I’m glad you reviewed the e.l.f. pallet too. I purchased a holiday pallet for smokey eyes. I’ve used a few of their other products, but was really dissatisfied with the shadows. They were gorgeous colors, but not pigmented at all. They went on okay, but blended away. I’ve tried to find out if their big pallets are of the same quality, because I won’t purchase if they are, but you are right that they would be ideal for someone just starting out or young girls. Great reviews. :-) xx

Please review the hello Kitty wild things palette at sephora! I’m thinking about buying the giraffe one but there are 0 reviews on youtube for it!

Asked for the Tarte palette for Christmas based upon your recommendation. I am happy to report it was under the tree! I am looking forward to using it when I travel, especially this October for my honeymoon. Thanks for the recommendation.