Women (and some men) generally love to receive cosmetics as gifts. But purchasing them for another person can be rather intimidating. Cosmetic Palettes can provide an answer. Since any given palette will hold multiple shades, a good palette will usually have something for everyone. When in doubt, aim for the more neutral shades, which will look good on most skin tones. Or sneek a look at the recipient's makeup and look for a palettes with similar types of shades.
Also, don't worry too much when giving palettes. People who love makeup tend to love to experiment. So while a person might not buy any given palette for themselves, they will happily sample the shades in one that comes as a gift! Below are some of the types of palettes available for varying people and circumstances:
For the cosmetic newbie or experimenter: For a person who loves to change things up, or for one who is just getting started with makeup and still learning what she likes, Sephora and Ulta both make some supersized palettes. Both produce OK cosmetics-- they are not top of the line or the best pigmented, but they are serviceable and provide a lot of bang for the buck. These are particularly good for teens who might not yet appreciate the more expensive cosmetics, but who will love the huge selection.
For the Natural look/Neutral Makeup Lover: If the recipient tends to go for a minimal makeup look or wears a lot of neutral muted tones, she might appreciate a palette of beautiful light neutral shades:
For the person who loves color: If you know your recipient loves brightly colored makeup or loves to try out new things, but you don't want to go overboard on outrageous shades, take a look at the Urban Decay Ammo Shadow Box Palette (below). This one is just muted enough to please many, but also has enough pigment and a few colors with extra oomph to also please the person who likes a lot of color.
For the connoisseur: For that person with expensive tastes who has it all, go with Chanel or Dior. The Dior Detective Chic Eye Palette comes in an attractive Dior case that many would buy for that alone. I love Dior shodow and love the specialty cases even more!