Few of us girls can resist the lure of a little box full of pretty squares of colourful cosmetics, especially because they’re priced so well. But when faced with the dazzling array of multi-hued makeup kits in stores today, how do you choose? Here are five key tips:

Buy for love

If among the glittering sea of choices one calls to you loudly, you have your palette answer. Whether it’s because the kit is too darned cute, like Tsumori Chisato for Shu Uemura’s Planet Cat Palette; killer in its colour range, like CARGO’s Hands of Hope; or made by your go-to brand; snap up your favourite and don’t look back.

Consider what you need
If you have a mascara you swear by, or already have great makeup brushes, you don’t need a kit that includes them. If you’re all about eyes or lips, targeted palettes such as Pupa’s Diamond Palette or YSL’s glam Your Lovely Palette Duo Lip Colour are all about you. If you’re a traveller, look for a compact choice that has everything you need for a fresh face, such as Benefit’s Celebutante makeup kit, or mark.’s Super Flip Color Kit of shadows, lipstick and gloss.

Colour yourself happy
Are you a neutrals girl or mad about colour? Do you want to keep things simple by focussing on eye colour, or choose your own makeup playground? Choices abound from Almay, Physicians Formula and CoverGirl when it comes to amping up your eye hue, and Mary Kay Cosmetics offers the chance to create a personal choice with a Compact Pro palette.

Try something new
One of the best things about makeup kits this time of year is the chance to try a new brand at a fraction of what it would cost to buy all those shadow/blush/gloss shades separately. Look to beauty meccas such as Sephora and Murale for tons of options from a range of companies, large and small.

Surprise your budget
Palette size doesn’t always equal budget size! Look to Quo Cosmetics for covetable kits to suit a range of wallets, and Zellers now carries E.L.F., a super-affordable line that includes Beauty Encyclopedia kits of eye shadow or lip colour.

You can make your budget feel good with a gives-back purchase, too — anything from the Smashbox Wish collection sends $1 to the Children’s Miracle Network, and the M.A.C. Viva Glam Lip Kit donates every bit of the retail price to the M.A.C AIDS Fund.

Of course these tips apply when it comes to giving palettes as gifts. They work as hints, too, if you’re hoping to receive one.

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