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I love shimmery, glittery, over-the-top eyeshadow as much as the next person, but sometimes you just want a more neutral look.
You can use matte shadows as your go-to for everyday looks or use them to ground more adventurous ones. Whenever I'm using a palette that leans more heavily on bold metallic, glitter, or satin shadows, I reach for an all-matte set to round things out as transition or accent colors in a range of browns, blacks, and creams.
Matte shadows are sometimes harder to work with, so I'm always on the lookout for buttery formulas that blend easily. I'd recommend pairing any eyeshadow formula with a primer to help with pigmentation and longevity.
The palettes on this list vary in color ranges, but they have one thing in common — they feature only matte shadows and will fit seamlessly into your collection.
Prices and links are current as of 2/6/2020. We also removed our previous pick for the best smoky palette due to the product being out of stock. We added our pick for the best travel-friendly palette.
I can't discuss matte eyeshadow palettes without featuring the Tarte Tartelette Amazonian Clay Matte Eyeshadow Palette. It's a blockbuster collection of 12 completely shimmer-free shadows with a mix of warm and cool undertones.
You have every neutral you need — soft creams, a range of browns, and even black — all infused with Tarte's raved-about Amazonian clay formula for a buttery, smooth, and creamy finish. You can use the lighter shades as transition colors or the deeper ones as liner or even brow powder. But no matter which way you use them, the formula won't skip or tug on lids.
The shadows are very thoughtfully grouped in coordinating shades that go well together, so you can literally go across the rows for slight variations on the smokey eye. "This palette is one of the best for brow highlighting, base, crease, and transition color," says Stylecraze.
Pros: 12 shades ranging from light to dark, foolproof organization, mix of cool and warm undertones
Cons: Some shades might look similar once applied$39.00 from Sephora
Morphe is known for jumbo-sized palettes, and the 35O Nature Glow Matte Eyeshadow Palette is no exception. As the name suggests, it contains a whopping 35 shadows in a color story reminiscent of a beautiful sunset.
This palette is not for the cool-toned lovers as the selection leans heavily on an array of warm browns and oranges. But if you gravitate toward a rich, warm eyeshadow look, this palette has endless options.
Pros: 35 shades in a large palette, affordable, buildable colors
Cons: Some fallout is common$25.00 from Morphe $25.00 from Ulta
One of my personal favorite palettes is the Urban Decay Naked Petite Heat. Inspired by the brand's full-size Naked Heat palette, it contains six ultra-warm, spicy shadows. Five are matte and one (the shade Inhale) has very subtle shimmer for a demi-matte finish.
This mini palette is surprisingly versatile. Sometimes neutral palettes have several matte shades that are virtually identical on the lids, but each one of these is distinctive and serves a purpose. The downside is that this is a very orangey palette, but I promise you can get creative with it and create subtle or more dramatic looks.
Pros: Compact, includes a mirror, pigmented and blendable
Cons: Redundant if you already have the full-size Naked Heat palette$29.00 from Sephora
Looking for something compact and easy to take on the go? You can't go wrong with the Smashbox Cover Shot Matte Eye Palette. It's a completely shimmer-free rendition of the brand's popular mini palettes, with all the essentials included.
The Cover Shot palettes include eight shades — six normal-sized eyeshadows and two larger pans with light shades that can be used as base colors that make the rest of your look pop, or to subtly highlight the inner corner and brow bone. In the matte palette, you'll find everything from light beige to cool pink, plum, and black.
Use the range to create a simple eye contour for work, smokey eye for a date night, or to flesh out some of the wilder colors in your collection. This is a perfect pick for travel due to its versatility. It has outstanding pigmentation, blendability, and lack of powder fallout, which can often be a problem with matte shadows.
Glamour also praises the Smashbox Cover Shot for a subtle look, saying, "The shadows go on pretty soft (even though the colors look bold in the set) and layer nicely."
Pros: Includes eight shades, good for day-to-night looks, small enough for travel
Cons: Not a ton of variation in colors$29.00 from Sephora $29.00 from Ulta Beauty
Drugstore eyeshadows really run the gamut in terms of quality from chalky mess to pigmented dream that rivals formulas three times as expensive. The e.l.f. Mad for Matte Eyeshadow Palette is part of the latter category.
The satin matte formula is completely shimmer-free but somehow not chalky or dull. You have three color stories to choose from – "Nude Mood" is your basic neutral, "Summer Breeze" is warmer with a few pops of color, and "Jewel Pop" is loaded with jewel-toned mattes. Each palette contains 10 shadows in long vertical pans.
Experts and shoppers both love the affordability and versatility of these palettes. Refinery29 and Bustle have also recommended the palette, and Best Products loves the range of colors, saying, "The warm neutrals will get you through a daytime shift, while the smoky end mixes things up for cocktail hour."
Pros: Affordable, comes in three varieties including jewel tones
Cons: Shadows may fade quickly without primer$10.00 from Target
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