Long days and warm temperatures strike us with a special kind of makeup inspiration. After all, it’s hard not to take notice of (and try to emulate) vivid ombre sunsets, the cool sky and water, and the warm shimmery sand. That’s why each summer we’re out with the old drab palettes that remind us of wind and snow, and we’re in in with those that hold warm reds, oranges, and pinks. Suddenly we’re collecting the boldest and brightest blues and greens. Our vanities become covered in shimmery beige and bronze neutrals. What can we say? It’s a natural seasonal cycle for a beauty editor, and one that we look forward to every year.
This year, though, we’re especially excited about our summer makeup options. It seems like multiple brands, both drugstore and high-end, have somehow managed to distill a summer vacation into a single palette. They’re bright, cheerful, and unequivocally summery. So, without further ado, go forth and check out 15 makeup palettes we’re hoarding for summer.
We have two words for this palette: So. Pretty. It contains 12 highly-pigmented shadows in a number of different finishes. The warm-toned oranges, pinks, reds, and browns are crease-free and sweat-resistant, making them the perfect option for wear on hot summer days. There’s only one caveat. This palette is limited-edition, so make sure you snag it soon. Otherwise you could miss it (and take it from us, you don’t want to miss it).
Next, we’re loving this brand new 8 color eyeshadow palette from Urban Decay, which was quite literally made for summertime wear. Each shade is never-before-seen and features catchy names like blaze, plunge, double dip, and heat wave. Those warm reds and pinks paired with cool blues makes for the perfect seasonal color combination.
If you’re traveling this summer and you only have room for one palette in your carry-on, make it this one. It’s dual-sided with one being home to 4 coordinating blushes and highlighters and the other holding 8 warm-toned eyeshadows. It’s easy to match and layer and convenient, too. There’s even a removable mirror for on-the-go application.
Maybelline’s Lemonade Craze Palette is well-loved by the Byrdie team. Take it from our senior editor Hallie Gould who named this palette as one of the best drugstore products from last month. “While the weather in New York only recently warmed up, I’ve been using Maybelline’s newest palette to warm up my skin for weeks. The shades are casual and super wearable, with a few bold pops of color for the days when I feel like seeing the world through rose-colored lids. The most exciting part, however, is the formula for each shadow is infused with a citrus scent to brighten up even the cloudiest of days.”
This is the newest palette from Marc Jacob, released with the rest of the “Coconut Fantasy” collection. To us, this collection of colors basically screams summertime, especially since they come in 4 different finishes to layer according to your beachy, carefree mood. There’s matte velvet, shimmering satin, sparkling silk, and metallic lamé.
Huda Beauty’s Obsessions palettes are smaller, more compact versions of her striking and highly-pigmented palettes we know and love. Each one has 9 different colors in a variety of finishes. While there are 6 different versions of this palette in total, we have to give the MVP award to this coral one, since it creates the best sunset eye looks.
Natasha Denona’s Tropic Palette is one of our all-time favorite products for summer. It’s the palette we bring on every beach vacation and the one we can stare at for hours in admiration. From the metallic emerald green shade, called Exotic, to the vivid ocean blue, called Laguna, there are literally hundreds of ways to wear and pair these shadows.
Maybelline’s The City Palettes are one of our favorite drugstore eyeshadow picks. Each palette was inspired by a different urban aspect, like a sunrise, a brunch spot, or a rooftop. This one is called “Urban Jungle,” and it’s a collection of 6 pressed powder shadows ranging from brilliant gold to khaki green and sparkling onyx. They’re also only $5 a piece, so we recommend buying one of each 7 color combinations (they’re all incredible).
If you’re into lilac and plum shades, our recommendation is this 5 color compact from Sephora’s in-house brand. You can layer them to make either subtle or smokey eye looks, though we love wearing one at a time, for a chic monochromatic lid. Pro tip: these purple shades look especially amazing on green eyes.
For anyone who is unfamiliar, Pacifica is a vegan and cruelty-free drugstore brand (yes, those really exist). It’s the maker of this 10 pan eyeshadow palette featuring a curation of pastels and neutrals. Each shade is infused with coconut, which give it a subtle scent and a silky texture. We think the name of the palette says it all; it’s very “Beachy Punk.”
By now it’s a well-known fact that Dior’s eyeshadow compacts are top-notch. Each of them is pillowy-soft and highly-pigmented. We’re privy to the bright blue shades in Color 357, otherwise known as Electrify. The shades are bold and blend-able and we feel a little bit like Bella Hadid, Dior’s beauty ambassador, when we wear them. So there’s that.
We like this NYX product because it combines 3 different finishes—matte, metallic, and shimmer. The square palette houses 16 different shades that range from beige to ochre to dark brown. They’re easily blend-able and perfect for anyone who prefers neutral tones over loud pops of color.
Aside from Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Modern Renaissance Palette ($42), which has one of the best selections of warm pink and red shades ever, we consider this Soft Glam palette to be our favorite from the brand. It includes 14 different shades that can be worn in a subtle way or built up for more color pay-off (it’s currently one of my go-to palettes and I don’t see that changing anytime soon).
Here’s another summertime option for people who don’t prefer to wear bold and bright eyeshadow shades. Tom Ford’s palette has 4 soft and neutral shades that are equal parts subtle, shimmery, and chic (it is, after all, aptly called Nude Dip). Even though it’s expensive, we think it’s worth it, because it can be worn on the daily.
We give this Tarte product the top score for being on-theme. The mermaid-inspired palette (which comes in the world’s cutest shell-shaped enclosure) has 14 matte and metallic shades. We’re partial to the metallic aqua, lilac, and sea foam green shades.
Now that you have our favorite summer makeup palettes on file, get some more tips and tricks on how to transition the rest of your beauty routine from spring to summer.