F is for Five: 5 Ways to Pick a Palette

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Tsumori_Chisato_for_Shu_Uemura_$85

Few of us girls can resist the lure of a little box full of pretty squares of colourful cosmetics, especially because they're priced so well. But when faced with the dazzling array of multi-hued makeup kits in stores today, how do you choose?

1) Buy for love: If among the glittering sea of choices one calls to you loudly, you have your palette answer. Whether it's because the kit is too darned cute like Tsumori Chisato for Shu Uemura's Planet Cat Palette ($85 CAN, above), killer in its colour range like CARGO's Hands of Hope ($29 CAN), or made by your go-to brand, snap up your favourite and don't look back.

mark. superflip colorkit $22

2) Think about what you need: If you have a mascara you swear by, or already have great makeup brushes, you don't need a kit that includes them. If you're all about eyes or lips, targeted palettes such as Pupa's Diamond Palette ($29 CAN) or YSL's glam Your Lovely Palette Duo Lip Colour ($82 CAN) are all about you. If you're a traveller, look for a compact choice that has everything you need for a fresh face, such as Benefit's Celebutante ($45 CAN) makeup kit, or mark.'s Super Flip Color Kit ($22 CAN, above) of shadows, lipstick and gloss.

Mary Kay Compact Pro

3) Colour yourself happy: Are you a neutrals girl or mad about colour? Do you want to keep things simple by focussing on eye colour, or choose your own makeup playground? Choices abound from Almay, Physicians Formula, L'Oréal Paris and CoverGirl when it comes to amping up your eye hue, and Mary Kay Cosmetics offers the chance to create a personal choice with a Compact Pro Palette (above).

Sephora Collection Blockbuster To Go_$20

4) Try something new: One of the best things about makeup kits this time of year is the chance to try a new brand at a fraction of what it would cost to buy all those shadow/blush/gloss shades separately. Look to beauty meccas such as Sephora and Murale for tons of options from a range of companies, large and small. (Sephora Collection Blockbuster To Go, $20 CAN, above.)

E.L.F. Lips Beauty Encyclopedia_$10.99

5) Surprise your budget: Palette size doesn't always equal budget size! Look to Shoppers Drug Mart's Quo Cosmetics for covetable kits to suit a range of wallets, Zellers now carries E.L.F., a super-affordable line that includes "Beauty Encyclopedia" kits of eye shadow  or lip colour ($10.99 CAN, above), and Rimmel London's in on the sweet-deal action with the Sweet Seduction Colour Palette ($12.99 CAN, below). You can make your budget feel good with a gives-back purchase, too -- anything from the Smashbox WISH collection sends $1 to the Children's Miracle Network, and the M.A.C. Viva Glam Lip Kit donates every bit of the retail price to the M.A.C AIDS Fund.

RimmelPalette

Of course these tips apply when it comes to giving palettes as gifts. They work as hints, too, if you're hoping to receive one...

A version of this story appeared in the Metro News. Images courtesy of Shu Uemura, mark., Mary Kay, Sephora, E.L.F. and Rimmel. Shu Uemura is available at Holt Renfrew; mark. at Avon.ca, Mary Kay at MaryKay.ca, Sephora at Sephora stores and sephora.com, E.L.F at Zellers, and Rimmel at drugstores.