Best Minimalist Eyeshadow Palettes Spring/Summer 2018

Whatever your budget or belief system there are some great options. Here are the best minimalist eyeshadow palettes for this spring and summer… going into fall.

I’ve found two great stand alone options: one prestige, one drugstore. I’ve also found an affordable vegan option although it is actually a combination of two pallets. (I’ll explain why in a minute.)

So, what makes a perfect minimalist palette?

Simply put, it’s a portable palette you can make a wide variety of looks with very little effort. Because makeup trends change season to season, the requirements for a minimalist palette can vary from year to year.

Here are the requirements for a potable multitasking spring/summer 2018 eyeshadow palette.

  1.  A strategic mix of matte and magpie finishes

The right ratio of metals to mattes is vital to a palette’s versatility. This year daytime shine is a major, major trend. I say bring it on, which is why I recommend around 50/50 with a mix of both metallic neutrals and metallic colors.


  1.  Nudes

The “no makeup” makeup look is as timeless as it is easy to wear. For this look you need a minimum of two shades: matte brown and matte beige.

With a little blending and mixing these two shades create a third shade that is applied to the lid. Apply the light beige shade to your brow bone. Smudge the coca color into the crease and blend.

  1.  The color of the year

Violet eyeshadow is a recurring trend. It comes and goes but when it’s here it tends to last several seasons or even years. Whether it’s smoky, bright, or shiny, All that matters is that this eyeshadow makes a statement!


Apply to just the lash lines, and top with a coordinating purple, green or blue eyeliner. Or add to just the bottom lash line of a neutral eye. Or just replace the brown shade in the “no makeup” look with it to create an easy “bold(ish) makeup” look.

  1.  A colorful vamp

Or, like, whatever…Any dark matte nonneutral will do, even a second purple!

This shade is all about the night time. Smoked out with a coordinating shade, smudged in the crease of either a neutral or colorful eye, or smoldering all on its own. This shade is the color equivalent of an exclamation mark.

So, why not black or charcoal?

Simply put, dark colors are easier to wear than gray or black. You’re just not as likely to get mistaken for metalhead or a raccoon in plum or navy eyeshadow.


  1.  Green

It’s not an “on trend” color. It’s not a timeless shade exactly. This may seem a bit random but it’s just a nice color to have for this spring and summer.

Olive green is easy to wear and works with the timeless boho and safari trends as well as soft feminine floral prints. Emerald green works with novelty prints, lucite accessories, and even updates vintage costume jewelry. Not to mention they both work with the retro 80s vibe of the moment.

Green is great for the beach, pool parties, and music festivals. Green is just a versatile eyeshadow color that not everyone is wearing right now.

If you have green eyes feel free to skip this requirement. I recommend working a warm or rosy shade of blush (the stuff for your cheeks) into your eye makeup routine.

Actually I recommend this for everyone. It makes pulling off the monochromatic look so much easier. I’m talking crazy easy. But I digress…

Wear green the same way as purple. There is no need to come up with completely new looks. Just swap out a shade or two. Let the palette do the heavy lifting.

  1.  Gold

I’m talking shiny, shiny, yellow gold!

Glitter is good. Something that can double as a liner is even better.

Even if you’re more of a silver girl (or rose gold, or copper, or gunmetal), there is a reason gilded lids are having a moment. Yellow gold plays well with all the other current eye trends

Dual chrome? Yellow gold, rose gold or silver go well with them.

Pastels? Again yellow gold, rose gold or silver work well.

Nudes? Yellow gold, rose gold and copper are options.

Fiery orange shadows? Yellow gold and copper.

Ethereal pastels? Yellow gold and rose gold.

Candy brights? Yellow gold and silver.

Purple? Yellow gold compliments violet. Literally.

As you can see yellow gold plays well with all the current players.


  1.  A low plastic to makeup ratio

Don’t get me wrong, I like cute packaging, but it doesn’t have to feed the ever growing trash continent floating in the Pacific Ocean or waste oil quite so spectacularly.

The weird thing is even companies like MAC (who has an awesome recycling/reward program by the way) are adding crazy amounts of plastic to their pallets for the sake of “cute.”

Aside from being bad for the environment this extra plastic makes what would normally be a very portable amount of makeup just plain bulky.

There is also the little issue of cost. Honestly, I would rather just get that extra tiny bit of eyeshadow than pay for unnecessary packaging.

  1.  Minimalist

Minimalism means not having more than you truly need. It also means not having less than you need. If you go below the minimum needed to make your life both easier and fulfilled than that obviously isn’t minimalism. It’s sub minimalism.

The number of shadows that one needs will vary from one person to the next but for the purpose of finding a palette that travels as beautifully as it looks, look for between 8 to 18 different shades.

So what have I come up with?


For the mini minimalist I’ve found the Ciate London Fun Palette.

Each shade plays well with all the other shades. And almost all the colors in this palette can be worn by themselves. You can create an all matte nude look, an all metallic nude look, or of course combine the two.


The winking packaging is both cute and innovative without being wasteful. Yes it can be done!


If nine eyeshadow shades is too skimpy for you I recommend the Smokey & Highlight Ultimate Shadow Palette by NYX.

With twice the shades you have a lot of options in a tiny little package.

I like that some of the colors are duplicates but in different finishes. This allows for some fun textural play when pulling off single shade looks.

For the vegans out there I couldn’t find a stand alone palette that met all the requirements, but Christian Siriano’s collaboration with E.L.F. Cosmetics comes pretty damn close. And it too just happens to have pretty packaging, too.


Just add an E.L.F. Sculpting Silk Eyeshadow trio (don’t worry they’re made with nylon, not actual silk) in either Rose’ All Day or Brown Beauties to meet the nudes requirements.

Use the two shades of pink the same way you would create the “no makeup” look for a fun take on the candy colored makeup trend.

Or mix the highly saturated shades with the champagne color to soften them to create more ethereal looks.

Did you find this helpful? What eyeshadow palette do you find yourself reaching for on the regular? Tweet me a pick or let me know in the comments.

As always have fun. And remember the lines only exist so you can color outside them.


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