Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sephora's January/February 2014 Eyeshadow Palettes by Price Per Ounce

If you poke around this blog a bit, you've probably heard me say that I view mid-range eyeshadow palettes to be a pretty good deal if they cost less than $100 per ounce. This wasn't based on any math or statistics; it was just my personal feeling about what is and what is not a good deal.

To investigate a little further, I decided to catalog the current Sephora eyeshadow palette offerings by price per ounce. 

I made a couple of decisions that are worth explicitly stating in order to be really clear about my methods. Firstly, I made the decision to ignore small bonuses like mascara samples or mini-eyeliners. For the purposes of this analysis, they have no value. If you want to assign value to them, you can figure out a methodology that seems fair to you. I am only looking at eyeshadow for the time being. On that same note, in order to focus exclusively on the eyeshadow, I completely left out any palettes that contain blush, bronzer, concealer, or products in the palette itself. Additionally, I did not distinguish between cream eyeshadows and powdered eyeshadows for the sake of simplicity. Finally, I distinguished between entries based on whether Sephora has a separate page for the palettes. For example, the Shiseido Luminizing Satin Eye Color Trio has one page on Sephora for 15 color variations. It appears on my list once. On the other hand, Urban Decay's Naked 1, Naked 2, and Naked 3 all appear separately because they each have their own page on the Sephora website.

Without further ado, here is my list of current Sephora eyeshadow palette offerings, from least expensive per ounce, to most expensive per ounce:

1. Make Up For Ever Flash Palette: $99 for 2.46oz, $40.24 per ounce

2. Too Faced Joy to the Girls Eyeshadow Palette: $46 for 0.9oz, $51.11 per ounce

3. Sephora Collection Event Entry Palette: $11 for 0.2oz, $55 per ounce

4. theBalm Shady Lady Volume 3: $39.50 for 0.51oz, $77.45 per ounce

5. Benefit Cosmetics World Famous Neutrals Palette Easiest Nudes Ever: $30 for 0.38oz, $78.95 per ounce

6. Benefit Cosmetics World Famous Neutrals Palette Most Glamorous Nudes Ever: $30 for 0.38oz, $78.95 per ounce

7. Benefit Cosmetics World Famous Neutrals Palette Sexiest Nudes Ever: $30 for 0.38oz, $78.95 per ounce

8. Too Faced the Chocolate Bar Palette: $49 for 0.62oz, $79.03 per ounce

9. Stila In The Know Palette: $39 for 0.49 oz, $79.59 per ounce

10. Stila In The Garden Palette: $39 for 0.49 oz, $79.59 per ounce

11. Stila In The Light Palette: $39 for 0.49 oz, $79.59 per ounce

12. Stila In The Moment Palette: $39 for 0.49 oz, $79.59 per ounce

13.Sephora Collection IT Palette Color Spectrum: $32 for 0.396oz, $80.80 per ounce

14. Sephora Collection IT Palette Glitter: $32 for 0.396oz, $80.80 per ounce 

15. Sephora Collection IT Palette Nude: $32 for 0.396oz, $80.80 per ounce

16. Sephora Collection IT Palette Smoky: $32 for 0.396oz, $80.80 per ounce

17. Urban Decay Naked 1: $52 for 0.6oz, $86.67 per ounce

18. Urban Decay Naked 2: $52 for 0.6oz, $86.67 per ounce

19. Urban Decay Naked 3: $52 for 0.6oz, $86.67 per ounce

20. Clinique All About Shadow Eight-Pan Palette: $36 for 0.41oz, $87.80 per ounce

21. Kat Von D Ladybird Eyeshadow Palette: $36 for 0.4oz, $90 per ounce

22. Kat Von D True Romance Eyeshadow Palette in Beethoven: $36 for 0.4oz, $90 per ounce

23. Kat Von D True Romance Eyeshadow Palette in Poetica: $36 for 0.4oz, $90 per ounce

24. Kat Von D True Romance Eyeshadow Palette in Saint: $36 for 0.4oz, $90 per ounce

25. Kat Von D True Romance Eyeshadow Palette in Sinner: $36 for 0.4oz, $90 per ounce

26. Urban Decay Naked Basics: $27 for 0.30oz, $90 per ounce

27. Too Faced Pretty Rebel Palette: $46 for 0.5oz, $92 per ounce

28. Josie Maran Argan Beautiful Eyes: $36 for 0.39oz, $92.31 per ounce

29. Too Faced Boudoir Eyes Soft and Sexy Palette: $36 for 0.39oz, $92.31 per ounce

30. Too Faced Matte Eyeshadow Palette: $36 for 0.39oz, $92.31 per ounce

31. Too Faced Natural At Night Palette: $36 for 0.39oz, $92.31 per ounce

32. Too Faced Natural Eye Palette: $36 for 0.39oz, $92.31 per ounce

33. Too Faced Smokey Eye Palette: $36 for 0.39oz, $92.31 per ounce

34. Too Faced The Return of Sexy Palette: $49 for 0.525oz, $93.33 per ounce

35. Kat Von D True Romance Eyeshadow Trio: $24 for 0.25oz, $96 per ounce

36. Smashbox Full Exposure Palette: $49 for 0.49oz, $100 per ounce

37. Sephora Collection Colorful Eyeshadow Portfolio: $599 for 5.6oz, $106.96 per ounce

38. Sephora Collection Sand Illusions Baked Eyeshadow Palette: $15 for 0.138oz, $108.70 per ounce

39. Tarte Beauty and the Box Amazonian Clay Eyeshadow Quad: $22 for 0.2oz, $110 per ounce

40. Urban Decay Ammo Palette: $34 for 0.3oz, $113.33 per ounce

41. Anastasia Beverly Hills Illumin8 With Youthful Synergy Complex Eyeshadow Palette: $30 for 0.252oz, $119.05 per ounce

42. Kat Von D Esperanza Eyeshadow Palette: $36 for 0.28oz, $128 per ounce

43. Anastasia  Beverly Hills She Wears It Well Eyeshadow Palette: $34 for 0.263oz, $129.28 per ounce

44. Buxom Color Choreography Eyeshadow Palette: $36 for 0.26oz, $138.46 per ounce

45. Bobbi Brown Old Hollywood Eye Palette: $75 for 0.519, $144.51 per ounce

46. Bare Minerals READY Eyeshadow 8.0: $40 for 0.28oz, $142.86 per ounce

47. BECCA  Ultimate Eye Color Quad: $40 for 0.28oz, $142.86 per ounce

48. Sephora Collection Moonshadow Baked Palette in In The Dark: $27 for 0.17oz, $158.82 per ounce

49. Sephora Collection Moonshadow Baked Palette in In The Nude: $27 for 0.17oz, $158.82 per ounce

50. Sephora Collection Moonshadow Baked Palette in In The Tropics: $27 for 0.17oz, $158.82 per ounce

51. Illamasqua Complement Palette: $46.50 for 0.29oz, $160.34 per ounce

52. Urban Decay Smoked Eyeshadow Palette: $49 for 0.3oz, $163.33 per ounce

53. Illamasqua 4-Colour Liquid Metal Palette: $46.50 for 0.28oz, $166.07 per ounce

54. Illamasqua Paranormal Palette: $46.50 for 0.28oz, $166.07 per ounce

55. Clinique All About Shadow Quad: $28 for 0.16oz, $175 per ounce

56. NARS NARSissist Eyeshadow Palette: $79 for 0.45oz, $175.56 per ounce

57. Bare Minerals READY Eyeshadow 4.0: $30 for 0.17oz, $176.47 per ounce

58. Yves Saint Laurent Ombres 5 Lumieres 5 Colour Harmony for Eyes: $59 for 0.29oz, $200 per ounce

59. Make Up For Ever Black Tango Palette: $45 for 0.2oz, $225 per ounce

60. Bobbi Brown Nude Eye Palette: $50 for 0.22oz, $227.27 per ounce

61. Illamasqua Fundamental Palette: $46.50 for 0.2oz, $232.50 per ounce

62. Illamasqua Neutral Palette: $46.50 for 0.2oz, $232.50 per ounce

63. Illamasqua Reflection Palette: $46.50 for 0.2oz, $232.50 per ounce

64. Smashbox Photo Op Eye-Enhancing Palette - Blue Eyes:$40 for 0.16oz, $243.75 per ounce

65. Smashbox Photo Op Eye-Enhancing Palette - Brown Eyes:$40 for 0.16oz, $243.75 per ounce

66. Smashbox Photo Op Eye-Enhancing Palette - Hazel Eyes:$40 for 0.16oz, $243.75 per ounce

67. Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con No.7 Plush Shadow Palette: $59 for 0.24oz, $245.83 per ounce

68. Guerlain Ecrin 4 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette: $60 for 0.24oz, $250 per ounce

69. Dior 3 Couleurs Smoky Read-to-Wear Eye Palette: $48 for 0.19oz, $252.63 per ounce

70. Edward Bess Prismette Eyeshadow Quad: $68 for 0.25oz, $272 per ounce

71. Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con No.3 Plush Shadow: $42 for 0.14oz, $300 per ounce

72. Yves Saint Laurent Pure Chromatics 4 Wet and Dry Eyeshadows: $55 for 0.18oz, $305.56 per ounce

73. Shiseido Luminizing Satin Eye Color Trio: $33 for 0.1oz, $330 per ounce

74. Guerlain Ecrin 6 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette: $86 for 0.25oz, $344 per ounce

75. Bobbi Brown Sequin Shimmer Brick For Eyes: $48.50 for 0.14oz, $346.43 per ounce

76. Lancome Color Design 5 Shadow and Liner Palette: $50 for 0.141oz, $354.61 per ounce

77. Dior 5 Couleurs Couture Colour Eyeshadow Palette: $61 for 0.17oz, $358.82 per ounce

78. Dolce and Gabbana The Eyeshadow Smooth Eye Colour Quad: $59 for 0.16oz, $368.75 per ounce

79. Givenchy Le Prisme Eyeshadow Quartet: $57 for 0.14oz, $407.14 per ounce

80. Givenchy Le Prisme Yeux Colour and Shine for Metallic Eyes: $57 for 0.14oz, $414.29 per ounce

81. Givenchy Ecrin Prive: $73 for 0.072oz, $1013.89 per ounce

Mean: $169.10 per ounce
Median: $119.05 per ounce

Visually represented the data looks something like this:

Graph of Sephora Eyeshadow Palette Price per Ounce. Note that I smooshed the end together so the graph goes straight from 420 to 1000.

Looking at this graph, it is clear that the data is positively skewed (Skewness=3.4). Mid-range brands seem to be primarily normally distributed, with a peak around $80-$100 per ounce. Combined with an overall median of $119.05 per ounce, this data seems to support the idea that your eyeshadow palette is a decent deal if it is $100 per ounce or less.

Normally, when we talk about makeup, we talk about "drugstore brands", "mid-range brands", and "high-end brands". This data, though, seems to show a slightly different story. In between the "mid-range brands", like Too Faced, theBalm, Benefit, Stila, and Kat Von D, which seem to cost less than $180 per ounce, and the "high-end brands", like Marc Jacobs, Dior, and Givenchy, which seem to start around $300 per ounce, is a whole separate category between $200 and $280 per ounce that straddle the line. Brands like Illamasqua, Bobbi Brown, and Smashbox seem to be in their own intermediate range. (This kind of surprised me, since I usually think of these brands as being on the pricey-er side of mid-range.) I intend on seeing if this same sort of pattern arises for other products like lipstick, blush, and eyeshadow singles in future blog posts.


  1. I know Sephora doesn't carry LORAC anymore, but where would that LORAC Pro fit on this scale?

    1. As per her post about the LORAC palette, she has it at $107.50, so not too far from the bottom.

    2. Since I assigned value to the primer in my review, and this analysis did not assign value to "bonuses", it would come in at $131.25 per ounce!

  2. I think not distinguishing between cream and powder has made Benefit come out better than they really deserve here.

    1. That's totally fair! I considered excluding all cream products but ended up deciding against it since they are, technically, eyeshadow palettes.

  3. I would like to point out a mathematical error in #81. If it is .72oz, then the price would be less than 110$/oz.

    1. i think it's a typo - that givenchy quad is actually 4 x .018oz, so it's .072oz.

    2. Sorry, it was a typo! Now fixed.

  4. Do you know why Sephora stopped carrying LORAC?

    1. I have no idea! It was an unfortunate change.

  5. Is there a "how many uses in an eyeshadow pan" page so far? Some searching doesn't show up anything, but it'd be really interesting to see how many uses you can get out of one eyeshadow (and then multiply it by a bajillion for however many shadows you have for a collection...). Maybe one judgement for pressed and one for loose shadows? Please? :D I love your "how many uses" posts, they give a number to how much a use costs for a full face.

    1. In March 2013, the "what is my face worth" post it appears she used .003g of powder eye shadow? but I agree, it would be a good post topic!

    2. I haven't done one yet, but I totally will!

  6. I like the way your brain works. I'll have to calculate my new Tarte Be Mattenificent palette minus the blush and see where it stands as far as cost per ounce of eyeshadow.

    1. I find it really hard to make decisions about value on mixed palettes!

  7. These posts make the part of me that secretly loves playing with MS Excel (or maybe SigmaPlot) feel all warm and fuzzy.

    What does not make me feel warm and fuzzy, is that there is a brand where eyeshadow is >$1000 per ounce. Holy mindflayers, that is some expensive eyeshadow! 0_o

    Seriously, the current price of GOLD is about $1200 USD per ounce. GOLD, people!

    1. Bahahahaha. That is a hilarious point to note.

    2. I noticed that for the Givenchy Écrin Privé, the case is precious silver zamak -- the first of its kind for the house and it's being marketed as a "couture accessory" on the Sephora website. I'm wondering if, in this situation, it's not the actual eyeshadow that is the star of this set, it's the case it's carried in!

  8. I live for these posts! So interesting. A brand that fascinates me when it comes to cost per oz is Tom Ford (not at Sephora, obviously). The quads are only about $222 per oz, but because they contain so darn much product, the out of pocket cost is $78 for one quad.

    1. Huh! I had never looked at the size. Tom Ford eyeshadows are so pricey that I can't justify them, but I guess they are also pretty massive!

  9. There's all sorts of interesting nuggets of information here. MUFE opens the list? I would not have seen that one coming. The under $100 list isn't shabby at all either.

    1. Keep in mind that it's all Sephora, so most of the brands on there are pretty decent!

  10. Funny that you posted this as I was actually trying to see how much the NARS Narcissist palette would be per oz. But I discovered on the Sephora website it says that each shadow is .003 oz of product.... which would make the total product .045 oz. Is this an error on the website? I tried looking for it on the Nars website but it isn't there. If the Sephora website is correct, I believe the per oz dollar amount would be $1755.56......... which is insane.

    1. Sephora is wrong. I would strongly recommend double checking sizes outside of the Sephora website because they have so many typos that they are just not a reliable source of information. I do this a fair bit and I often see sizes on Sephora that are obviously incorrect (e.g. saying that lipglosses are an ounce of product or something.) I got that size off of Temptalia, who I trust to give accurate sizing info.

  11. I love these posts! I end up calculating a lot of the same things myself, but it's so much easier to look it up on your blog instead of recalculating every time I'm comparing products.

    I got really excited about a MUFE palette that's secretly a deal, but then I looked at its Sephora page ( In the section for "how to use", it says three of the colors should not be used near your eyes. That, uh, doesn't sound like eyeshadow.

    1. I looked at that one too, and some of the reviews mention that it's not actually an eyeshadow palette, but professional grease paint. Which might explain why it's a bit of an outlier here?

    2. The Flash Palette is another product I debated including. It is greasepaint, but you can use it for eyeshadow, lipstick, blush, eyeliner, mix it to make foundation... and so on. Anything but mascara. I almost included a separate note that I decided to include the Flash palette, haha. Maybe I should have done so. I included it because I own it and I use it as eyeshadow on a regular basis.

  12. I've got a question about price comparisons- not really related to the eyeshadow palettes analysis. Which type of cosmetics are the costliest per ounce? My quick guess is mascara. There doesn't seem to be much in a tube.

    1. I looked at mascara and eyeliner of two brands and, y'all, eyeliner is the like the fucking uranium of makeup.

      e.l.f Essentials eyeliner pencil is $1 and weighs 0.04 oz, or $25 per oz.
      e.l.f Essential lengthening mascara is $1 and weighs .08 oz, or $12.5 per oz.
      The eyeliner costs twice as much, There is twice as much mascara, b half the cost.

      Urban Decay:
      24/7 glide on eyeliner pencil is $20 and weighs 0.04 oz, or $500 per oz.
      Big fatty mascara is $20 for a .052 oz., or $39.21 per oz.
      Eyeliner costs 1175% more, but Mascara contains 30% more product.

      Now, I often fly too close to the sun when I don't know what I'm doing--sciencing, for example, so please excuse and correct me where I'm wrong.

      PS to Ms Robyn: you do some brainy shit with the best topic in the perfect tone. I'm enjoying your work, and learning a lot!

  13. Wow! I love numbers. I've only recently found your blog & it's too cool that you fulfill this love. I'm an eyeshadow palette person because I think I'm getting a better price. Thanks for breaking these down for me.


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