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MASSIVE Holiday Makeup Palettes Smackdown: 2013

Hi Makeup Geeks! As you all know, every year around the holidays I go on my search for the best makeup palettes released by the big cosmetics companies, then I review each of them individually for you and at the end pick my favorite one of the year. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it…:-)

In this video I am going to briefly show you all the palettes  I purchased this year and some quick pros and cons of each one, then at the end of the video I will let you know which one of these I chose as the best holiday palette for 2013.

Urban Decay “Vice 2″

The packaging on this is top quality. It is very sturdy and has a top that opens once you press the black button on the front. The lid of the palette has a large mirror and unlike other palettes, the top stays open so it’s great for sitting on your desk and applying your makeup. The palette contains 20 eye shadows with a mixture shimmers finishes along with a few matte. As always, the quality of the Urban Decay eye shadows is amazing. The only downside is that there is a lot of brighter shades in here so it makes it hard to do a complete look without adding extra shades. I also feel the brighter shades are best suited for a much younger crowd. I also wish there were some more matte shades in here that you could use for blending and as transition colors. It also comes with a dual ended brush that I feel is to soft for actually blending or adding shades. (Check out my full review of this palette here)

Price: $59.00

Where to Buy: Sephora, Ulta, eBay

Urban Decay Vice 2 01 Urban Decay Vice 2 04

Too Faced “A Few of My Favorite Things” Palette

I love that this palette comes in a reusable cosmetic bag! The is a 28 piece set that contains 20 eye shadows, 2 blushes, 2 bronzers, lip color and a mascara. The great thing about the shades in this is that there is a great combination of both color and textures. This has such great variety that is good on it’s own and can be used to create a multitude of different looks. You also get a peach and a pink blush along with a matte and a shimmer bronzer. The palette itself is very sleek and thin which makes it great for travel. Inside the bag are the mini sizes of the “Better Than Sex” mascara and Lip Injection Color Bomb. The price is great for all you get and for the quality of the makeup inside. (Check out my full review of this palette here)

Price: $56.00

Where to Buy: Sephora, Amazon, eBay

Too Faced 'A Few of My Fav Things' Palette 05 Too Faced 'A Few of My Fav Things' Palette 06

Smashbox “Master Class” Palette

Let’s start by saying this. The quality of makeup in this palette is great. However, the packaging on this is horrific! I purchased this brand new and got it home to find the binding cracked and the black plastic base of the palette cracked as well. Needless to say the packaging on this definitely gets a big “F” from me! That said the quality of what’s inside is great. The palette contains 28 eye shadows, 4 cream eyeliners, 3 blushes, 3 bronzers, and 2 soft lights. The did a great job of choosing matte, shimmer and stain finishes along with a great combination of both neutrals and colors. I am also not a fan of the plastic covers that they have over both sides. I understand that it’s to show the names of the products as well as keep the powders from settling into the cream eyeliners, but they get in the way and take away from the palette. (Check out my full review of this palette here)

Price: $59.00

Where to Buy: Sephora, Amazon, eBay

Smashbox 'Master Class' Palette 02 Smashbox 'Master Class' Palette 01

Kat Von D “Spellbinding Eyeshadow Book” Palette

The packaging on this scream Kat Von D! It comes in a sleek palette with some of Kat’s amazing artwork on the front. It opens up to 24 shades that are designed to work together in pairs. Twelve of the colors are brand new to her lineup. There is a great variety of colors in here but it does lack some matte neutrals. The quality of the eye shadows are phenomenal. The are rich, smooth, creamy and blend like a dream. It does have the dreaded plastic overlay but that can be cut away if you like. It’s very sleek and would be easy to travel with. Again, with so many vivid shades, it may be best for a younger audience of anyone who wants to add some color to their line-up. (Check out my full review of this palette here)

Price: $59.00

Where to Buy: Amazon, eBay

 

Kat von D 01_Spelling Binding Kat von D 02_Spelling Binding

Cargo “Let’s Meet in Paris” Palette

The packaging that accompanies this palette is by far my favorite. The damask design gives an elegant and sophisticated look that I love. It has a magnetic closure so it’s great for travel. It contains 12 shades of eyes shadows with all of them being a shimmer except for two matte shades. The only downside to this is I do wish they had a couple more of these colors matte finish to use for blending and as transition shades. This also comes with a dual-ended brush to use as well. The quality of these is great, I just wish it was a all in one palette. (Check out my full review of this palette here)

Price: $39.00

Where to Buy: Ulta

Cargo Palette 01 Cargo Palette 02

Stila “Artist Essentials” Palette

Reminiscent of a artist box of paint, this palette is very bulky and not good for travel at all. Inside the box are 4 eye shadow quads, a convertible cheek and lip color, lipstick, eyeliner and a brush. The quads are broke up into 4 sets, neutrals, earth tones, purples and greens. Packaging on these is a cheap plastic that will not travel well for fear of breaking the quad. The quality of the shadows is not as impressive as some of the other palettes and I really dislike how each quad is a gradation of colors. For example, the purple quad has 4 shades of purple from light to dark. This makes it very unwearable as there is no combination of colors and finishes. It has a soft dome brush and a creamy eyeliner that I really like along with their best selling convertible cream blush. (Check out my full review of this palette here)

Price: $59.00

Where to Buy: Sephora, eBay

Stila 'Artist Essentials' Palette 03Stila 'Artist Essentials' Palette 05

Too Faced “Joy to the Girls” Palette

Too Face went all out this year by offering a few palettes each one containing different products and priced for different budgets. It contains a full size of their “Lashgasm” mascara and 18 eye shadows as well. This has a great mixture of mattes and shimmers, colors and neutrals in this palette. They shades in this palette don’t have the great quality of the majority of their other palettes. These are chalkier and nowhere near as pigmented as the “A Few of My Favorite Things” set. The packaging is just ok for me. It comes in a box with a magnetic closure that is good for travel but I feel that it’s slightly bulky and cumbersome to work with. It is a good price but for $10.00 more you can easily get one of the other palettes that has much better quality. I am also not a fan of this mascara! The wand is to small and doesn’t coat the lashes well at all. (Check out my full review of this palette here)

Price: $46.00

Too Faced Palette 02 Too Faced Palette 01

Where to Buy: Sephora, Ulta, Amazon, eBay

Anastasia “Cat Walk” Palette

The packaging on this has a gold foil front with the cat theme carried over to it with velvet animal print along the side. Inside are 10 eye shadows with a dual-ended brush. The colors in this palette all fall into the neutral range. Some of the shades are very similar so I feel there needs to be more diversity in this palette. The eye shadows themselves are just ok to me. They don’t adhere to the skin well at all so you will need to use a primer for these. The pigmentation was pretty much hit or miss. (Check out my full review of this palette here)

Price: $29.00

Where to Buy: Ulta, Amazon, eBay

Catwalk Palette 01 Catwalk Palette 02

Tarte “The Tarte of Giving” Set

For this price you get a ton of product in this set! I love the packaging on this. It comes in a travel case that can be reused over and over. The top part contains the Pure Maracuja Oil, Deluxe Cheek Stain in Flush, Lights, Camera, Lashes™ 4-In-1 Mascara, Amazonian 12-Hour Clay Blush in Memorable and the Maracuja C-Brighter Eye Treatment. The middle section has an eye shadow palette that contains 20 shades. I love that there are plenty of neutral shades along with a few brighter shades to use and there is a great variety of finishes as well. The quality of these is wonderful, they are highly pigmented and glide on smoothly and evenly and are easy to blend. The bottom on the bag has 8 travel-size of the  Maracuja Lipglosses in a selection of pinks and reds. For the price point you get a lot of high quality product. (Check out my full review of this palette here)

Price: $59.00

Where to Buy: Sephora, Amazon, eBay

Tarte of Giving Palette 06Tarte of Giving Palette 01

Tarte “Gorgeous Getaways” Palette

This is an exclusive palette that can only be purchased at Ulta. The idea behind this palette is wonderful. It contains 4 different sets with each set containing 4 eye shadows and a blush. In the bottom of the palette is a small gold compact. Each set can be removed and fits into the compact so you can drop it in your purse or makeup bag to take with you to the office or travel. Each set has a great mixture of both matte and shimmer finishes along with the matte blush. The bottom also reveals 3 full size lipglosses that tend to be slightly sticky. The quality of the blush and shadows are creamy and very pigmented. I love this idea however because of the packaging it would not be good for travel. Although with the design and box it would make a great gift for under the tree. (Check out my full review of this palette here)

Price: $48.00

Where to Buy: Ulta, eBay

Tarte Palette 06 Tarte Palette 04

 

AND THE WINNER IS (Insert drum roll here) :-)

Tarte’s “The Tarte of Giving” won this year hands down. The reason I choose this is because for the price of $59.00 you get a TON of products that are each great quality. I love the sleek quilted design of the packaging and the fact you can reuse it for travel or storage. From the eye shadows to the lipglosses and everything in between you get so much for a really astounding price. I would be thrilled if I found this under my tree on Christmas morning!

So that’s this year’s Smackdown of the best of the holiday palettes. This year flew by and before you know it we will be doing this again. I hope you found this helpful and pick up some great palettes for you Christmas. Remember to stay warm out there and be safe! :-)

XOXO,

Marlena

Profile photo of Marlena

CEO of Makeup Geek and Makeup Educator

4 Comments

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Nice! Tarte always has awesome holiday items! I’d buy it! But ehhhhhhh. What about the Laura Mercier palette? So many people were raving about it, I went to Sephora when it was suppose to be sold out, and there were two left, but I skipped over it to buy the Too Faced a few of my favorite things palette. I wasn’t very impressed by it. =\ I have the Vice2,Be Merry Be Bright, Naked 3, A Few of my Favorite things, Kat Von D this holiday, and I would say Be Merry Be Bright is an awesome purchase. So much hupe over the AFOMFT palette… I was two steps away from buying it for 85 dollars! I bought it, and though it is nice, for some reason my palette doesnt seem as smooth and pigmented as the one in Sephora. =\

Okay, so the flat slab of cardboard I understand for the Tarte of Giving, since the idea is that you can re-use the bag after the shadows are all gone. The fact that Tarte thinks that far ahead makes them one of my favorite cosmetic brands.

But I don’t understand this trend with a lot of the other palettes. Is it just me, or are a lot of these cosmetic companies getting lazy and cheap? They’re charging upwards of $40 or $50 for products that are virtually unprotected. That’s ridiculous.

I remember the holiday palettes from 2-3 years ago being of much better quality in the $30-$40 range.

Come on, makeup companies. You can only get away with this for so long before people will stop buying your products. At $50 a pop, you can afford the extra packaging, for crying out loud. Take an example from Tarte and what they offer for the money!

I’ve been admiring the background of these videos. Could you do a video of the room and show how you are providing the effect of the gorgeous glimmering lights on the walls. I would so like to add this to my bedroom. Additionally, your silver vanity and dresser are GORGEOUS! Can you provide that info too? Is it the Hayworth collection from Pier 1?

Thanks Marlena. I hope you’re having a wonderful beginning to 2014!