Palettes are the capsule wardrobe of the cosmetics world. Admittedly, at any other time of year, that might not be much of a recommendation, but holiday season, and the packing that involves, usually forces a reassessment of what you own.

Suddenly, women's magazine features that detail the complex algorithms underpinning a working wardrobe of eight items which magically produce infinite outfit combinations become strangely appealing. Likewise, sprawling make-up collections demand to be rationalised into neat, portable kits.

You have to moderate your expectations slightly when it comes to palettes – as a rule, you can guarantee there'll be one shade you don't love. And another you get through twice as quickly as the rest. But for travel, they're perfect – not just because they're so functional, but because, for the duration of your holiday, you can pretend to be the kind of person who lives in such a sensible way all the time.

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