Beauty: Why it's time for the eyes to pull focus

With face masks throwing the eyes into focus, it’s time to make a statement with your shadow. Alice Ryan spotlights five of this season’s strongest palettes

Stila Road Less Traveled Eyeshadow Palette, £32,

Famed for producing seriously plush powders, Stila has managed to pack a plethora of looks into just eight pans. There’s a pair of warm nude mattes which deliver understated polish perfect for day-to-day Zooms when applied solo; used as a base, they serve to make the six metallics pop. My top shades are the two green shimmers, Beacon and Pathfinder: swish lids with the former and define sockets with the latter and you’ve got a wearable take on the current watercolour-wash trend.

Huda Beauty Mercury Retrograde Eyeshadow Palette, £48,

Be still my beating heart. . . This Mercury Retrograde palette is aptly named: spanning 18 stellar shades in four equally stellar textures (buttery matte, high-shine cream, reflective sheer, all-out glitter), it’s truly out of this world. What’s so clever, I think, is that the colours are as compatible as they are versatile - the whole spectrum of nudes, pinks, golds, purples and greens is genuinely mix-and-match. Plus payoff and blendability are second to none.

KVD Vegan Beauty Edge of Reality Eyeshadow Palette, £38, Debenhams, The Grafton, Cambridge

If you’ve got a beauty queen on your gift list, this vegan and cruelty-free palette is hard to beat. Not only does its embossed gilt-trimmed case look really luxe - remarkably, it’s made from cardboard and is fully recyclable - it contains 14 of the best shadows you’ll find. Shades range from soft and smudgeable earth-tone mattes to attention-grabbing gold, bronze and precious gem shimmers, all of which can be used wet as well as dry for extra pow. Stand-outs are the two holographic ‘flips’, Green Screen and 4-D, which refract gold/green and pink/blue respectively.

Illamasqua Beyond Artistry Eyeshadow Palette, £38,

Proof there’s a shimmer to suit every occasion, this 12-pan palette is matte-free yet still genuinely multipurpose. For a fresh-faced daytime look, buff lids with the peachy skin tones - pink/gold After Glow is particularly pretty and its light reflecting particles give an instant lift. For a more sultry smokey-eye look, smudge a moodier hue like Black Pearl or Sapphire Beam along lash lines. The paler pastels, notably pearly pink Ultra Daze, double as deft highlighters; a swipe along cheek and brow bones works wonders.

NARS Climax Extreme Effects Eyeshadow Palette, £56,

This may be the most pricey palette on the list, but it’s worth every penny. From the elegant-though-empowering shade selection to the intense pigments and genuinely innovative textures - as well as super-mattes and shimmers, there’s a new formula which sets to a fab latex-like finish - Extreme Effects ticks every eyeshadow box. Because they’re milled *very* finely, the powders are soft and creamy to apply yet miraculously stay put on the skin. I love the champagne colours for glow and the shimmery plums for definition.

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