Want a good-looking handbag-sized kit to keep your look fresh for party season? Try these pretty, sparkly compacts for on-the-go looks.

Make-up palettes not only present good value for money, enabling you to buy multiple products all in one go; they’re also a great space-saving idea to slip into an evening clutch, ready for on-the-go touch-ups for the party season. Many feature limited-edition shades you can’t buy solo too. Here are our favourites for a bit of festive sparkle and tips on how to get the best out of them.

Charlotte Tilbury Palette of Pops, £42

This limited-edition eye shadow quad from celebrity make-up artist, Charlotte Tilbury, is the perfect, wearable quartet of pinky nudes. With added pearl extract for a rich metallic shimmer, they’re a beautiful combination of shades, worn separately or layered up for a dramatic look.

Huda Beauty, The New Nudes, £56

Possibly the most comprehensive eye shadow palette you will ever need. Eighteen shades, the ‘New Nudes’ range from 10 buttery mattes in subtle creamy tones, ramping up to four metallic chrome shades, two full-on party glitter colours, one pearlescent pan and one base shade that helps any colour applied on top to stay put. Each shade is blended with skin-nourishing botanicals, such as aloe vera, coconut oil and jojoba for a high-quality formula that wears beautifully.

Hourglass, Ambient Lighting Blush Quad, £45

Often imitated, never bettered; Hourglass’ blush quad is the perfect thing to revive grey winter skin and imbue it with just enough colour to look glowy and flushed with health. The handmade, marble-effect shades are stunning to look at, blending iridescent shimmer with richly pigmented nude blushes. Wash over the apples of your cheeks and up to temples for a perfect candlelight glow.

Smashbox, Step by Step Contour kit, £29.50

The perfect gift for a make-up newbie, or for those looking to improve their application skills. This fool-proof kit from Smashbox includes a tutorial on how to contour every face shape for sclpted definition. There’s an angled brush included and the colours build naturally to avoid the stripe-effect. A handy, easy-to-use palette to add to your make-up kit.

Bobbi Brown brow kit, £35

This cleverly devised brow palette has two complimentary brow shades to fill and sculpt. The precision-angled brush included is perfect for touch-ups and the range of shades ensures you’ll find the most natural match for you.

Nars, Narsissist Wanted Palette, £56

A limited-edition, sizzling collection of bold eye shadows in this season’s hottest high-pigment terracottas, reds, coppers and shimmering metallics. They certainly pack a punch but if you’re after beautifully milled, intense colour, this is the palette for you this festive season.

Urban Decay, Naked Palettes, £42

Urban Decay’s Naked Palettes are those hard-to-find make-up compacts that don’t come with at least one dud shade. The range of colours in the Naked collection takes you from warm paprikas and coppers in the Heat colour spectrum, to golden bronzes and golds in the Honey edition. The long-slim compacts are perfect handbag size and cover all looks, from everyday neutrals to bold, intense hues.

YSL, High on Stars, £44

YSL’s limited-edition twinkly, High on Stars Palette is as Christmasy as it gets; a metallic rose-gold case, decked out in glittering stars holds four sparkly eye shadows to create a ‘midnight sky’ smoky eye; two glowing highlighters to bring skin to life and one creamy blusher for a hint of pink.

Chanel, Travel Make Up Palette, £90

Expensive yes, but if you’re looking for a ‘capsule make-up wardrobe’ this is it. The ‘Haromie de Camélias’ has pans for eyes, face and lips, with all the applicators you need plus a mini mascara, too. There’s a great range of colours, from everyday neutrals to bold evening sparkles – all in a chic, Chanel compact that you’d be proud to whip out of your clutch at any gathering.

Clarins Everlasting Cushion Foundation, £32

A great on-the-go, compact foundation, the long-wear formula offers high coverage, with a glowy, radiant finish that still lets skin breathe. The clever cushion technology means it applies like a liquid foundation in the ease of a compact. There’s SPF50 and an anti-pollution formula too.



Buy the best brushes you can afford (Real Techniques are excellent). The basics you should aim to own include a foundation brush to buff product into skin for soft-focus, flawless base application; a precision concealer brush to cover imperfections and blemishes; a large powder brush for blusher/bronzer and translucent face powder; a small-angled brush for precision eye shadow application along the lash line; and finally an eye shadow blending brush and a comb to tame brows.


Wash brushes regularly with a dedicated make-up brush cleaner (try Clinique or Bobbi Brown) to remove product build-up and bacteria that can cause skin break-outs.


If you can, visit a beauty hall counter to find the best palette for you and your colouring. Do take the advice of the make-up artist and, if possible, ask them to trial a few shades on you. Palettes can be a bigger investment that solo shadows or blushes so make sure you will use all the colours included.


For bonus points, look for a palette with an integrated mirror for on-the-go touch ups.


Many brands offer re-fill options on their palettes (see Clarins), or will recycle finished palettes in store (L’Occitane and The Body Shop).


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