The 12 Best Face Palettes to Help Streamline Your Makeup Routine

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Unlocked Face Palette is a gorgeous pick for all skin types and tones.

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Best Face Palettes of 2022

Sephora

Whether you have minimal vanity storage, are preparing for an upcoming trip, or simply prefer to have multiple makeup options without bulking up on packaging, palettes can come in handy. While eyeshadow palettes are undoubtedly more popular, face palettes exist, too. 

When shopping for a high-quality face palette you’ll want to keep a few things in mind — namely, how many shades it’s sold in, how big it is, what it’s best for (ie: bronzing, highlighting, sculpting, and so on), and the formula of the product itself. With these key factors at the forefront, you’ll be able to find a stellar makeup product that pairs beautifully with your skin type and tone, and helps you achieve your desired face makeup look. 

Of course, with so many face palettes on the market, you might be unsure of where to start. That’s where we come in: We scoured the web for the top-rated face palettes and chatted with a few makeup artists about what matters most when it comes to these game-changing products. In doing so, we found that the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Unlocked Face Palette (which is a larger version of Kate Moss’ go-to) is the most universally flattering palette on the market. But that’s just one of 12.

Whether you want multiple blush options or just a good, all-in-one palette, keep reading for the 12 best face palettes of 2022. 

Best Overall: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Unlocked Face Palette

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Unlocked Face Palette in Butterfly

Sephora

What We Love: The packaging and formulas are absolutely gorgeous. 

What We Don’t Love: If you’re after a bold blush or dazzling highlight, this palette may not be for you because it offers a more subtle, glowy finish. 

If you’ve never opened a makeup palette and audibly gasped or said ‘wow,’ that’s about to change when you lay your eyes on the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Unlocked Face Palette. Sold in three colorways (Butterfly, Elephant, and Tiger), each palette features six powders, primarily with a combination of blush, bronzer, highlighter, and finishing powder — all of which glide on smoothly for a baked (never caked), glowing end look. It’s not just the eye-catching finishes that are applaudable, though — the formulas are, too: Each powder is completely vegan, and gluten-, cruelty-, and paraben-free. With packaging designed by world-renowned illustrator Katie Scott, the luxe exterior is also something to marvel at (and display front and center on your vanity).

Number of Shades: 6 | Colorways: 3 | Best for: Blush and highlighting

Price at time of publish: $85

Best All-in-One Palette: Smashbox Cali Contour Face Palette

Smashbox Cali Contour Face Palette

Sephora

What We Love: It’s packed with both shimmer and matte shades. 

What We Don’t Love: It only comes with one blush color. 

Smashbox Cali Contour Face Palette comes with six pans of powder — a contour, matte bronzer, shimmer bronzer, matte highlighter, shimmer highlighter, and matte blush — to expertly sculpt the face. But beyond highlighting and contouring, the pretty hues can be used as eyeshadow, too, truly making it an all-in-one palette. It’s sold in two variations: Light/Medium and Medium/Dark, both of which have earned high praise across the web. At Sephora alone, the face palette has amassed over 72,000 likes and over 400 five-star reviews. Needless to say, if your goal is to look like you just spent the afternoon in Malibu, this contour palette will quickly become your BFF.

Number of Shades: 6 | Colorways: 2 | Best for: Sculpting

Price at time of publish: $43

Best Powder Palette: Sephora Collection Microsmooth Multi-Tasking Baked Face Palette

Sephora Collection Microsmooth Multi-Tasking Baked Face Palette

Sephora

What We Love: It’s a 4-in-1 palette that caters to many skin tones. 

What We Don’t Love: It’s so popular that it sells out regularly, which makes it hard to snag. 

If you thrive with fewer color options, the Sephora Collection Microsmooth Multi-Tasking Baked Face Palette is a great choice. Housed inside are four essential products, including a matte bronzer, matte blush, shimmer blush, and shimmer highlighter. Each of the baked powders are designed to deliver a natural-looking glow (as opposed to one filled with endless glitter). What’s more, each powder is infused with green tea extract, so the palette actually works to improve your skin’s moisture content and helps ward off inflammation with each use.

Number of Shades: 4 | Colorways: 2 | Best for: Natural-looking, sun-kissed skin

Price at time of publish: $20

Best Cream Palette: Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation Palette

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation Palette

Make Up For Ever

What We Love: It comes with 12 creamy colors ranging from light to dark (including a white shade) for simple customization. 

What We Don’t Love: It doesn’t come with any kind of application tool. 

If you have dry skin or find it incredibly hard to find the perfect face makeup shade match, the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation Palette is a must. It’s jam-packed with 12 pans of the brand’s best-selling Ultra HD Stick Foundation shades so that you can create custom colors at home. Whether your goal is to achieve a full coverage look, highlight, conceal, or contour, this palette does it all. We do wish a brush was included, though, to make mixing and applying all the more easier. 

Number of Shades: 12 | Colorways: 1 | Best for: Full-coverage looks and sculpting

Price at time of publish: $110

Best Bronzer Palette: Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Sun Stalk'R Face + Eye Bronzer & Highlighter Palette

Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Sun Stalk'R Face + Eye Bronzer & Highlighter Palette

Sephora

What We Love: It features seven shades. 

What We Don’t Love: The highlighter shades are quite small, so they likely won’t last as long as the bronzers. 

If your idea of the perfect bronzer is one that’s matte, you’ll fall head over heels for the Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Sun Stalk’R Face + Eye Bronzer & Highlighter Palette. It includes five bronzers and two shimmer highlighters, all of which are meant to cater to skin tones ranging from light to dark, as they can be used to create multidimensional lid looks in addition to glowing, sculpted faces.

Number of Shades: 7 | Colorways: 1 | Best for: Sculpting

Price at time of publish: $48

Best Contour Palette: MAC Cosmetics Studio Fix Sculpt and Shape Contour Palette

MAC Cosmetics Studio Fix Sculpt and Shape Contour Palette

Amazon

What We Love: Each palette is filled with three contouring powders and three highlighting powders. 

What We Don’t Love: The highlighters are so subtle that they deliver more of a lightening/brightening effect — don’t expect loads of light-reflecting shimmer. 

Makeup artist and MAC Senior National Artist Keri Blair says that her absolute ride-or-die palette for contouring is the MAC Cosmetics Studio Fix Sculpt and Shape Contour Palette. “I use it on 90 percent of the makeup applications I execute, as well as on myself personally (I call it my slimming tool),” she reveals. “This palette comes in two shade ranges (Light/Medium and Medium Dark/Dark), and it contains easy to apply and blend cool- and warm-toned shades for highlighting and contouring. Honestly, I don’t remember how I lived before this. It has all the essential tones for adding dimension to the face and eyes.”

Number of Shades: 6 | Colorways: 2 | Best for: Sculpting

Price at time of publish: $41

Best Blush Palette: One/Size Cheek Clapper 3D Blush Trio

One/Size Cheek Clapper 3D Blush Trio

Sephora

What We Love: Each palette includes a cream, matte, and shimmer formula in the same shade family. 

 What We Don’t Love: Some shoppers report that the powder shades arrive pulverized.

When it comes to blush palettes, no one does it better than One/Size by Patrick Starrr. The Cheek Clapper 3D Blush Trio Palettes includes a cream, matte, and shimmering shade. The result? The most buildable blush application, perhaps ever. The trios are sold in six shade variations, all of which have very fun, playful names like Phat Ass, Freaky Peach, and Rich Betch. Each of the shades within the palettes can be worn on their own or layered with the other formulas for a high-impact end look. What’s more, each hue is infused with dragon fruit extract, which is said to help extend wear, so these blushes are built to last. It’s easy to understand how it’s amassed over 40,000 likes on Sephora.

Number of Shades: 3 | Colorways: 6 | Best for: Blush

Price at time of publish: $36

Best Highlighter Palette: Dior Backstage Glow Face Palette

Dior Backstage Glow Face Palette

Sephora

What We Love: The highlighter quads help achieve natural-looking radiance — not an ultra-glittery shimmer. 

What We Don’t Love: This palette is so popular that it often sells out, making it hard to find. 

When a face palette has over 155,000 likes, as well as more than 600 five-star reviews at Sephora, you know it’s worth your while. So, without further ado, allow us to introduce you to the Dior Backstage Glow Face Palette. The highlighter quad includes four shimmer shades, two of which can be used to bronze and blush the face. Unlike many highlighter palettes, this one is all about megawatt radiance without chunky glitter or shimmer. The powders glide on smoothly for a fresh, natural-looking glow.

Number of Shades: 4 | Colorways: 2 | Best for: Highlighting

Price at time of publish: $45

Best Concealer Palette: MAC Studio Fix Conceal and Correct Palette

MAC Studio Fix Conceal and Correct Palette

Macy's

What We Love: This palette makes concealing dark circles, dark spots, and blemishes a breeze. 

What We Don’t Love: It doesn’t have any green tones, so it’s not the best for covering redness.

Blair can’t recommend the MAC Studio Fix Conceal and Correct Palette enough. “It contains a mix of concealer and color correctors that make doing skin easy peasy,” she says. “Since it comes in six shade ranges [each of which includes six concealers]  it makes perfecting skin so simple. The product can be used as foundation and concealer, too — which makes it perfect for travel.” As for the finish, it’s natural matte, while the coverage is buildable and long-wearing. “It’s really the perfect product for makeup wearers and professional makeup artists alike,” Blair adds. 

Number of Shades: 6 | Colorways: 6 | Best for: Concealing and correcting

Price at time of publish: $37

Best Customizable Palette: Make Up For Ever Artist Color Refillable Makeup Palette

Make Up For Ever Artist Color Refillable Makeup Palette

Make Up For Ever

What We Love: You can create your ideal face palette. 

What We Don’t Love: Since each powder pan is $23, it can quickly add up. 

The Make Up For Ever Artist Color Refillable Makeup Palette is the perfect choice for anyone with very specific shade tastes, who doesn’t want to buy a palette unless they wholeheartedly adore each shade. The beauty of this pick is that you can buy the refillable palette in single, double, and triple capacities, which you can then fill with one, two, or three face makeup pans. The Artist Face Color Refills are sold in 28 colors, including both shimmer and matte blushes, highlighters, and contour options. That said, each pan costs $23, so it can quickly add up.

Number of Shades: Up to 3 | Colorways: 28 options | Best for: TBD based on the shades you choose

Price at time of publish: $4 for the pan, $23 for each refill

Best Palette for Travel: Kaja Play Bento Cream Bronzer, Powder Blush and Highlighter Sculpting Trio

Kaja Play Bento Cream Bronzer, Powder Blush and Highlighter Sculpting Trio

Sephora

What We Love: It’s a tiny stack that does it all, which makes it great for travel and touch-ups on the go. 

What We Don’t Love: Since it’s on the smaller side, it won’t last as long. 

The Kaja Play Bento Cream Bronzer, Powder Blush, and Highlighter Sculpting Trio is fantastic for a few reasons, but mainly because of the shades offered and the bite-sized packaging. Each trio (there are three, ranging from light to dark) comes with three shades — a bronzer, blush, and highlighter — that complement each other to create a stunning end look. That said, since the bronzer is a cream formula, it’s best to apply first before veering into the powder options (this will help to avoid any potential cakiness during application). 

Number of Shades: 3 | Colorways: 3 | Best for: Full looks

Price at time of publish: $28

Best Compact Palette: IT Cosmetics Most Beautiful You Anti-Aging Matte Bronzer, Radiance Luminizer & Brightening Blush Palette

IT Cosmetics Most Beautiful You Anti-Aging Matte Bronzer, Radiance Luminizer & Brightening Blush Palette

IT Cosmetics

What We Love: It’s a flat compact that contains the essentials for creating a well-rounded look. 

What We Don’t Love: It’s only sold in one shade. 

Hoping for an all-in-one face compact you can easily toss in your bag for on-the-go touch-ups? The IT Cosmetics Most Beautiful You Anti-Aging Matte Bronzer, Radiance Luminizer & Brightening Blush Palette is here to answer your prayers. The best-selling compact encompasses the smoothest, easiest-to-apply powders — all of which are infused with hydrolyzed collagen, silk, and peptides to diffuse the appearance of fine lines. Touch-ups on the go have never been simpler. 

Number of Shades: 3 | Colorways: 1 | Best for: Full looks

Price at time of publish: $39

What to Keep in Mind

 

The Formulation

As with any face makeup products, you’ll want to keep your skin type and the formulas you normally reach for in mind. "If you're deciding on what type of face palette to get, try to go with something that matches the texture you use for foundation,” says Sam Michalska, professional makeup artist and Executive Director of Global Education at ILIA. “For example, if you use a liquid or cream foundation, seek out a cream palette [to achieve] the most seamless blend. If you use a powder foundation, a powder palette would be best. Powders catch on liquid or cream foundation and creams make powders look blotchy.” With that in mind, always match your formulas, if you can. For a good cream pick, try the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation Palette. If you’re after a powder option, try the Sephora Collection Microsmooth Multi-Tasking Baked Face Palette. And if you can’t resist an opposite formulation, just remember to apply creams before powders for the best end result. 

Shades

Generally speaking, the more shades a face palette is sold in, the more likely it is to perfectly complement your skin tone. While some highlighters, blushes, and bronzers can be universal, it always helps to have more choices when sussing out a potential new favorite makeup product. When in doubt, opt for a customizable palette, like the Make Up For Ever Artist Color Refillable Makeup Palette so you end up with exactly what you need.

 

Your End Goal

When shopping for a face palette, you’ll want to consider your end goal. Do you want a natural-looking face beat or are you hoping for a fully sculpted glam? Whatever the case may be, there’s a face palette to help make your dream a reality. 

Your Questions, Answered

How do you fix a broken makeup palette?

Few things are as discouraging as a shattered makeup palette. That said, don’t immediately beeline for the trash can if you notice your powder palette is shattered or your cream palette has become dinged. 

“I'll usually shed a few tears [if a palette breaks] and then, if it's a powder product, I'll add a bit of alcohol to the crumbs, re-shape it, then let it dry — it won't be 100% the same, but it works in a pinch,” Michalska says. “For creams, well, that's not really an issue, which is what makes cream palettes nice to travel with.”

If you have more time to spare, Blair suggests getting a Fixy. “It’s a small complete system that helps you re-press your powder products,” she explains. “I highly recommend these types of tools because it's more cost effective and can also be time/space saving.”

Can you brink makeup palettes on a plane?

There’s no rule that says you can’t bring face makeup palettes on planes. That said, if you choose to, celebrity makeup artist Ashunta Sheriff says to opt for palettes with sleeves. “They are truly travel friendly because the paper sleeve acts as a binder, and firmly holds the product together so it won’t be bouncing free in your bag which is how palettes get cracked.”

If your palette doesn’t come with a sleeve, you can add a protective layer. “In my working makeup kit, I always create a cushion between the powders and the top of the palette using shelf liner,” Blair shares. “This is a great hack because it comes in many thicknesses, can be cut easily to fit into any sized palette, and it really helps to keep things in place. Bubble wrap can be used this way, as well.”

As for cream palettes, you don’t have to worry about cracking, so as long as they stay shut, they should stay fully intact while traveling.

Do makeup palettes expire?

Yes, all makeup products have a shelf life. (It’s usually labeled on the packaging in the form of an open jar with a number inside to represent months.) If your palette doesn’t have such, though, Blair says that a good rule of thumb is to bid your palette farewell roughly three years after opening it. “Water-based products have a shorter shelf life (one to three years) and can really be affected by moisture, humidity, and temperature changes,” she adds. “Powder and wax-based items can [last longer].”

Why Shop With Us

Rebecca Norris has been covering beauty for over eight years. For this piece, she spoke with three makeup artists — Keri Blair, Sam Michalska, and Ashunta Sheriff — about what to look for in a top-notch face palette and how to care for one so that it will last as long as possible. With their expertise in mind, she mulled over the top-rated face palettes the market has to offer to uncover the 12 best face palettes of 2022.

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