How to Make Your Own Custom Makeup Palette


If I’ve ever applied your makeup, you will have seen that I keep all of my pressed eyeshadows and blushes for your tone in a magnetic palette, that looks something like this:

My Bright Spring makeup palette

My Bright Spring makeup palette

These palettes allow me to collect products that work for each tone together for easy use, rather than having to open multiple compacts or pick out shadows from a palette which contains colours from multiple tones.

In this post I want to give you the information you need so you can create a custom makeup palette for yourself (though it needn’t be as big as mine, of course – it’s specifically for you).

I’m going to explain why I prefer them, how to choose (and where to buy) your palette and the products to put in it, and how to put it all together to create your perfect palette.


Pre-made palette vs customisable palette

The palettes that you’re likely already familiar with are pre-made. The colours in them have been chosen by the brand, and are almost always in pans that have been glued into the palette, so they can’t be removed or replaced. What you see is what you get.

Pre-made eyeshadow palette (photo by  ignatov )

Pre-made eyeshadow palette (photo by ignatov)

Custom palettes are those you create yourself by putting products in metal pans into a magnetic palette. The colours are up to you, as is the arrangement, and you can remove and replace them at will.

Custom makeup palette containing eyeshadows and blushes in Soft Autumn colours

Custom makeup palette containing eyeshadows and blushes in Soft Autumn colours

Any pressed powder in a pan can be put into your palette. So you might choose to create an eyeshadow palette, or a blush palette, or a combination, and you can also get pans of bronzers, highlighters, powder foundations, setting powders and more. (You can also buy cream products in pans, but mixing powder and cream products in the same palette is a recipe for disaster).

If you have all the powders you use together in one palette, it’s not only a much more efficient use of space, it’ll also be quicker and easier to do your makeup.

The main advantage of pre-made palettes is that they’re cheaper, often a lot cheaper. However that’s only relevant if you’re actually going to use all the products in the palette.

In my experience with eyeshadow palettes, there’ll be one or two colours that I use a lot, and the rest I use much less or hardly at all. Once those one or two get used up, the rest of the palette becomes useless to me, because you can’t replace them. It’s wasteful, and not good value for money.

The other advantage often cited for pre-made palettes is that the choices are made for you. I find this a major disadvantage, since they’re rarely made to harmonise with a specific tone, but I recognise that choosing colours can be overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re doing.

But if you’ve had a personal colour analysis and know your tone, you do know what you’re doing.

You know the colours that will work for you better than any makeup brand.


Where to buy makeup for your custom palette

Products sold in pans (rather than in compacts or in pre-made palettes) are available from many brands. I’ve listed some below, but this is by no means an exhaustive list.

The pans themselves can be round, square or rectangular, and come in a range of sizes. The most common are 26mm and 37mm round pans.


This is the standard eyeshadow pan size. These eyeshadows all come in 26mm pans:

Anastasia Beverly Hills


Coastal Scents

Colour Pop

Coloured Raine

MAC (won’t stick to magnetic palettes)

Makeup Geek


Rouge Bunny Rouge (matte / shimmer)

Sydney Grace



This pan size is most often used for blushes, but also sometimes for eyeshadows and face powders. Pans from different brands can vary a bit from 36–37mm, but all of these products will fit in a 37mm well:

Australis blushes, bronzers, contours and highlighters

Ben Nye matte and shimmer eyeshadows, blushes, and setting powders

Chantecaille eyeshadows

Coastal Scents blushes and bronzers

Graftobian eyeshadows and powder foundations

La Femme blushes and eyeshadows

Sugarpill eyeshadows

Yaby highlighters and bronzers, powder foundations and setting powder

Other sizes

Colour Pop blushes, bronzers and highlighters (44mm round)

Inglot (rectangular, size varies by product)

MAC blushes (44mm round; won’t stick to magnetic palettes)

Makeup Forever eyeshadows and blushes, highlighters and contours (rectangular, size varies by product)

Makeup Geek blushes (44mm round)

Nabla eyeshadows (30mm round)

Yaby eyeshadows (15mm round) and blushes (30mm round)

Most of these products are in tin pans, which will stick to a magnetic palette perfectly.

However, MAC pans are aluminium (much cheaper than tin), which are not attracted to magnets. They get around this by sticking a magnet on the back of each pan, and putting a ferrous metal in the palette instead.

The upshot of this is that MAC pans stick to MAC palettes, everyone else’s stick to magnetic palettes. You can still use MAC pans in a magnetic palette, you just need to take the magnet off the bottom of the pan and replace it with a metal sticker, which you can buy from eBay or Amazon.

Conversely, to put anything other than MAC pans into a MAC palette, you will have to stick magnets on the bottom of the pans, which you can also buy from eBay or Amazon.

Magnetic palettes themselves are available from many brands, in many sizes, and in freestyle and welled versions.


Freestyle magnetic palettes

A freestyle palette has no wells, and is simply an open space to put your pans (like my Bright Spring palette at the top of this post).

As a result, you can fit pans of any size or shape into a freestyle palette, and more of them than into a welled palette of similar dimensions.

However, they tend to get a little messier than a welled palette, and if you’re putting pans right next to each other, you can get some cross-contamination of colours.

Here are some of the many available:


Australis palettes

Hold 15 shadows, available in Black, Pink or Rose Leopard. AU$10


Coastal Scents palettes

Freedom Travel Palette holds 15 shadows. US$14.25

Freedom Palette holds 40 shadows. US$17.25


Colour Pop palettes

Small palette holds 12 shadows. US$7

Large palette holds 24 shadows. US$10


Makeup Geek palettes

Travel Vault holds 9 shadows. US$13

Mega Vault holds 28 shadows. US$28


Salt New York palettes

Hold 20 shadows, available in Black or French Grey. US$35


Z palettes

Mini palette holds 3 shadows. US$6

Small palette holds 9 shadows. US$12

Medium palette holds 15 shadows. US$17

Large palette holds 28 shadows (also available in other colours). US$22

Extra-large palette holds 35 shadows. US$28

Double-sided palette holds 56 shadows. US$36

I’ve noted the number of standard eyeshadows (26mm round pans) that will fit in each palette for easy comparison, but of course you can put pans in them of any size and shape.

Freestyle palettes are also available in a range of sizes and styles from eBay and Amazon.


Welled magnetic palettes

Welled palettes have slots (wells) in them where you place your makeup pans (like the Soft Autumn palette pictured earlier).

They have the advantage of keeping your makeup neatly organised, and also keeping the pans separated so cross-contamination of colours is less likely.

However, they do limit you on the size and shape of pans you can keep in them.

The palettes listed below have wells for 26mm or 37mm round pans, and some have a combination of both.

In my own kit, almost every pressed powder I have is in a 26mm or 37mm pan, and those are the products I’ll be recommending in my upcoming makeup kit posts for each tone, so they’ll fit perfectly in these palettes.

26mm well palettes


2 wells


3 wells


4 wells


5 wells

Colour Swatch AU$12.50


9 wells

Nyx US$10

Makeup Geek US$5


12 wells

Coastal Scents (with Mirror or Clear Lid) US$9.25

Unbranded AU$13.66


37mm well palettes


3 wells


4 wells


6 wells

Coastal Scents US$9.25

Unbranded AU$11.17


8 wells

Ben Nye US$7


12 wells


15 wells


26 & 37mm well palettes

For simplicity, I refer below to these two sizes of pans as “small” and “large”, though of course smaller and larger pans exist.


4 small & 3 large wells


5 small & 3 large wells

Unbranded AU$7.99


6 small & 2 large wells


9 small & 2 large wells

Unbranded AU$13.44


12 small & 9 large wells


16 small & 6 large wells


Putting your palette together

You can, of course, buy any colours you like and put them together however your heart desires!

But for those of you who prefer a little guidance, here are a few suggestions:

  • a palette with a mirror can be helpful if you do makeup on the go

  • a palette with a clear lid is useful if you have multiple palettes, so you can see what’s in each

  • choose a range of eyeshadow depths from light to dark (within the value range of your tone) if you want to create dimension or drama

  • similarly, choose some matte eyeshadows, since it’s very difficult to create dimension with shimmer shadows alone

  • don’t put light colours right next to dark ones in your palette, if possible, as they can get contaminated and muddy

  • an eyeshadow in a taupe (grey-brown) from your tone is my favourite multitasker, great for shading the socket of the eye, filling in the brows, and even contouring the face

  • an eyeshadow in a dark colour from your tone can double as a liner

I hope this information helps you in creating a makeup palette that is truly customised and perfect just for you.

In the coming weeks I’ll be posting articles about my makeup kit for each tone, along with suggested palettes and eyeshadow looks, to make it even easier.


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How to Make Your Own Custom Makeup Palette: With only the colours you will actually use!

MakeupSarah Tearleall