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Is it just me, or is there something about makeup palettes that feel infinitely more exciting than any stand-alone beauty product? Perhaps it’s the thematically or color-focussed curation of the shades, finishes, and formulas that really makes these multi-tasking sets feel extra special, or maybe it’s the often over-the-top packaging that gets me each and every time. Either way, aside from being curiously alluring, palettes are also pretty practical —especially if you’re a jet setter who constantly travels. For some reason, the thought of having to tote around each and every single complexion product, from bronzer to blushes and a few highlights in your beauty bag feels somehow high-maintenance (…though I’ll admit that I’m certainly never one to feel apologetic about hoarding my entire skincare collection onboard and I don’t think you should feel bad about it either) despite being kind of necessary.
Personally, while I’m not constantly traveling by plane, I do have quite a daily commute to my office, which has led me to master quite an impressive in-car, stuck-in-traffic makeup routine that saves me at least a half an hour in the morning (I promise that I’m super safe with this!) Naturally, palettes make my #CarContour routine easier and prevents disastrous messes from destroying my car’s interior. Of course, even if neither of these situations are applicable to you and your beauty routine, palettes are just a fun, one-and-done product that removes the time wasted musing over which products to pair together for the day’s look. Whether you’re looking for a palette to bronze, sculpt, highlight or blush (or all four) I’ve rounded up a few of my personal (and affordable) complexion palettes to test for yourself.
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1. Covergirl TruBlend Serving Sculpt Contour Palette
This compact multipurpose complexion palette contains a peachy-pink blush, subtly shimmery highlight and sculpting contour shade. These universally flattering shades will complement a wide array of skin tones, and despite being super affordable, the non-dusty and ultra-blendable formula performs like a luxury product.
2. Maybelline New York Facestudio Master Bronze Kit
This versatile bronzing kit allows you to go as subtle or intense as you’d like with your faux glow, featuring a wide range of shades to suit a variety of different skin tones and preferences. You can apply the hues alone or mix and match for a multi-dimensional and customized glow.
3. Essence Pure Nude Highlighter Palette
This spin-off of Essence’s insanely beloved Pure Nude Highlighter now comes in the form of a palette with three additional options to choose from. The natural-looking, buildable formula feels like velvet on the skin and gives you a healthy, lit-from-within glow without emphasizing texture, fine lines or pores.
4. Makeup Revolution Blush & Contour Palette
This comprehensive blush and contour palette is the most expansive option on the list, but it gives you a curated assortment of both warm and cool toned pinks and peaches, along with a range of universally flattering contour shades for a complete look.
5. Black Radiance True Complexion Contour Palette
This contour and highlight palette is formulated to complement dark to deep skin tones and despite being wallet-friendly, the creamy and finely milled powder performs like it cost a fortune.