Top Five: Refillable Palettes

I am sure you know by now that I love good packaging and de-potting and decanting products can near bring tears to my eyes (less so with the cheaper products). Elysambre’s beautifully engraved copper palettes or Ilia Beauty’s sleek and streamlined tubes; Kjaer Weis compacts are a work of art in themselves and the frosted glass pots of RMS Beauty are simple and timeless. All are exquisite and stylish but all are weighty; especially when you have a number of them in your kit!

Many eco cosmetics companies have developed a refillable system for their products which is highly commendable, but that in itself brings problems; one size does not fit all. Change your brand of eyeshadow and the palette is rendered near useless.

Over the years I have de-potted, decanted and applied magnetic stickers to eyeshadow pans more times than I care to remember. When I started out I used to prise the pan from the compact and apply some double sided tape to the bottom before carefully placing it into an empty CD case (coloured cases to aid identification of the contents). I would then carefully label the palette to avoid loosing track of which product was which. A simple but effective system.

Fast forward nearly two (gulp) decades and things haven’t progressed that much. I still use a knife to carefully remove the pan from its outer casing (although I tend to favour a thin artists knife these days rather than a dinner one from my parents kitchen drawer) and I still (on occasion) apply double sided tape to the underside. The only thing that has changed is the palette. Gone are those tinted empty CD cases and in their place are an array of versatile, refillable purpose-made palettes.

In a bid to keep the weight of my kit down I have various palettes that house everything from cream foundations and bronzers to eyeshadows and lipsticks. If you are thinking about down sizing you make-up kit, are going on holiday or simply need a condensed kit to keep in the drawer at work then a flexible, refillable palette may be the answer. Here are my Top Five…

Unii Cosmetics

One size, Six Colours. A sturdy magnetic based palette with a secure snap-fit fastening, the Unii (as in unique) is a practical sized palette which contains a full sized mirror and a movable thumb grip. It also comes with a non-magnetic, adhesive sheet which can be cut up, written on and applied to the base of magnet averse pans (MAC’s pans are aluminium). The six colour ways (white, pink, yellow, lilac, black and turquoise; I have the latter two) mean that you can easily identify one from another if you own multiples. I own two which I have dropped on numerous occasions – the contents escaped unscathed.

Dimensions – depth/length/height: inner – 2.8 x 5.4 x 0.3 / outer- 3.7 x 6.0 x 0.7

£15.00 from Beauty Crowd     –

Z Palette

Probably the most famous of all freestyle make-up palettes, the Z Palette is made from recyclable, reinforced card. Designed by Make-up Artist Zena Shteysel, the palette has a clear lid which makes for easy identification and come in five different sizes in differing shapes, patterns and colours (including a domed one for baked products). The magnetised base is strong and each palette come with a number of round metal stickers which can be applied to the base of non-stick pans.

Dimensions – depth/length/height: various

Prices start at £8.95 from Cocktail Cosmetics     –


My most recent palette purchase was a couple more of these little acrylic beauties. The Vueset collection consists of six transparent, stackable sectioned palettes, each with a differing combination of square and rectangular wells (my pick is the pictured above 12 well Viking Jack). Ideal for cream products such as lipsticks and concealers, the Vueset palettes have one feature that originally sold them to me; they are microwaveable*! For aesthetic reasons I prefer to have the products melted but the palettes work just as well with an organic finish.

Dimensions – depth/length/height: 4.5 x 4.0 x 1.25 / 9.0 x 4.0 x 1.25

Prices start at £9.50 from Love Make-up     –

Magnetised Metal Palette from Make-up Forever

Super sleek and ultra thin, this large but utilitarian palette is perfect for Make-up Artists as it holds a large number of pans of a variety of sizes (as a guide it fits 24 MU4E shadows); It’s sheer scale means that it is probably not one for the individual. The magnetised base is strong so the contents does not slip around within the palette although you can purchase a foam cushion to protect the products.

Dimensions – depth/length/height: 9.5 x 5.5 x 0.4 (fits easily into a large Zuca Pouch)

£19.50 from Guru Make-up Emporium     –

35 Well Pro Lipstick Palette from  Japonesque 

I love these palettes; my own one gave up the ghost a year or so ago but it had been used and abused for years! The double sided palette has 35 deep wells; 14 large and 21 medium and to prevent product contact a handy divider (which can double as a mixing palette if necessary). Designed to hold lipsticks, cream foundations and concealer I used to use the larger compartments for mixing and blending colours rather than storing but this is a personal thing.

Dimensions – depth/length/height: 6.4 x 4 x 1

£28.95 from Guru Make-up Emporium     –
I will eventually get myself organised enough to do a few posts on the contents of my kit so at some point you can see a few images of these palettes in action! 

* I do say this microwavable slightly tentatively because although advertised as such,they do contain metal hinges so please exercise caution; a very low heat is all you need to melt a lipstick so take care.

Body Images: Z Palette, Japonesque, Unii Cosmetics, Vueset, Make-up Forever

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