I'm not a huge collector of palettes, when I see a new release I find it reasonably easy to talk myself out of wanting it, largely because I have a comfort zone with eyeshadows that consists exclusively of neutral shades. The most daring I'll go is a muted purple-taupe or a golden olive-green (think MAC's Sumptuous Olive), so you're not going to find any Urban Decay Vice palettes in my collection. But if you're a neutral-only girl (or boy) like me, then you're in the right place.
I'll preface this by saying that because I got into the beauty blogging/YT world not long before the UD Naked 3 palette was released, I kind of missed the majority of the hype on the Naked 1 & 2 palettes. That's not to say I escaped it entirely (I bought both in the end) but I don't have the same emotional attachment to them as everyone else seems to. They're both beautiful palettes, but if I have one criticism it's that they need a few more matte shades each so they can stand alone. As they are, I feel like I need to bring in some mattes to get a complete look (for my tastes). I didn't include either of them in my top 5 because although I really enjoy using them, I think I bought them more because I felt like I had to, rather than seeing them them and independently feeling the urge to own them like I did with all of these.
Makeup Forever Artist Palette 1
I realise what I just said about the Naked Palettes applies to this as well because it only has one matte shade, which is black and which I never use, so I definitely need to supplement this with other shadows, but there is something about the texture of these that is incredible. They're so creamy they have an almost gel-like quality to them, which sounds really bizarre since they're definitely powder shadows, but swatch this palette if you can and you'll see what I mean.
Too Faced Chocolate Bar
I feel like Too Faced release so many palettes it's not funny, but I love the formula of their shadows (it's possibly my favourite) and although I have to ignore the 1-2 random bright shades they always feel the need to include, you really can't go past the original Chocolate Bar palette. With a great range of mattes and shimmers, I feel like this palette can stand completely alone and I don't need to use anything else with it. Also, obligatory mention that it smells like chocolate and that rules.
Tartelette In Bloom
I was so into the original Tartelette palette that I wasn't sure which one I should pick as my favourite between the two of these, but since getting the In Bloom version I've loved it even more than the original. The first Tartelette palette is all matte, while In Bloom has 3 shimmers, which is an excellent ratio for me. Considering I'm likely to use 1-2 shimmer shadows but 2-4 matte shadows when I'm doing my makeup (depending how much effort I can be bothered putting in), it makes sense to have lots of matte shades to pick from. Also the packaging is the most beautiful of all, as well as being slim & travel friendly. Basically what I'm saying is this palette is flawless.
Sonia Kashuk Eye On Neutral 02
I'm not sure how long Viseart have been around, but I do know that the hype for their palettes started after this Sonia Kashuk palette was in my life, but the shade range between this and their Neutral Matte Palette is almost identical. I'd image with a $60USD price difference that there's probably a difference in quality as well, but I've never used Viseart shadows and all I know is I love the range in my Sonia Kashuk palette and it's the perfect thing to supplement single shadows or smaller palettes, or the MUFE Artist palette, because it's got everything I need except a shimmery lid colour. So I guess if you're looking for a dupe and have access to Sonia Kashuk, here it is.
My MAC Palette
While I feel like I missed the MAC bandwagon for the most part, the same as I did with the Naked palettes, I've still managed to build up my own MAC palette that I love. Almost all of these have either been bought in the US or at a discount from the Estee Lauder outlet. And especially now that they've dropped the price from $10USD to $6USD (without changing the $26 price tag in Australia, of course) I personally wouldn't bother going into a MAC store and buying a pan full price. But there's something special about choosing your own colours and creating a palette yourself. A lot of other brands offer the same thing these days but I think for me and for a lot of people, MAC is still the one. I've got my row of neutral shimmers, then a row of mattes and then my row of slightly more bold colours (Sumptuous Olive, Club). I might do a full rundown of everything that's in my MAC palette one day so let me know if that's something you're interested in seeing.