Makeup Products » Best Eyeshadows

13 Best Eyeshadows

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Eyeshadow is such an essential part of makeup. While not everyone wears it every day, it’s a great way to make your eyes pop and showcase your creativity. What we love is that everyshadow is versatile and comes in a variety of formulations. 

While pressed powder shadows tend to be the predominant option, we’re also partial to liquids and creams. Whether you prefer eyeshadow singles or like to pick up a palette that gives you more flexibility, there’s a solution out there that’s richly pigmented with minimal fallout — perfect for your next makeup look. 

Best eyeshadows overview:

How we chose the best eyeshadows

To compile this list, we researched manufacturer specifications, including the total number of available shades, the finish, the formula, and more, to create a short list of the top eyeshadows. Then, we combed through detailed product descriptions, ratings, and reviews to find the best eyeshadow for each category.

Our picks for the best eyeshadows

1
Best overall
Urban Decay Naked3 Eyeshadow Palette
$59.00

What we love

  • Can create a complete eye look
  • Rich pigmentation
  • Universally flattering shades

What we don’t love

  • Expensive

If you’re even passively interested in eyeshadow, you’re probably familiar with the Naked palettes from Urban Decay. There are various options within the Naked vignette, but we’re focusing on the Naked3 Eyeshadow Palette. These cult-favorite palettes are popular because they feature a variety of universally flattering shades allowing anyone to create a gorgeous eye. 

More importantly, the palettes include a blend of 12 matte and shimmery hues, so your look can have depth and dimension. While these palettes aren’t cheap, the pigmentation is strong, there’s minimal fallout from the powder, and it comes with a built-in mirror and dual-ended brush, so you can easily take this on the road with you. 

Shades: 12 | Finish: Shimmer, matte | Formula: Powder

2
Best budget
Essence Cosmetics My ROSE Will Go On Eyeshadow Palette
$3.99

What we love

  • Incredibly affordable
  • Mix of shimmer and matte shades
  • Choice of 8 different color-themed palettes

What we don’t love

  • Not always widely available in drugstores
  • No applicator included

Eyeshadow can get pricey, we know. So it’s always nice when you can find an option that won’t break the bank but still works for your needs. Say hello to Essence Cosmetics’ My ROSE Will Go On Eyeshadow Palette. This is just one of the brand’s six-pan palettes designed to let you make a gorgeous eye without the sticker shock. 

Along with a modest price that should encourage anyone to stock up, we like that you get a mix of shimmer and matte finishes as well as a compact size and built-in mirror. Plus, you can feel good about this purchase, as it’s vegan and cruelty free. The only drawback is that Essence is still something of a sleeper brand — so you might not find them in every major drugstore chain.

Shades: 6 pans, 8 palette options | Finish: Shimmer, matte | Formula: Powder

3
Best singles
MAC Cosmetics Eye Shadow
$23.00

What we love

  • 8-hour longwear formula
  • Non-creasing
  • Astounding 82 shades available

What we don’t love

  • A bit pricey for a single powder

You can’t talk about eyeshadow and not include MAC Cosmetics. Although the brand faces much more competition than when it first dominated the makeup world, it’s still a tried-and-true option. The MAC Cosmetics Eye Shadow is a great choice if you already have a pretty full palette collection and are just looking to add the occasional color here and there. 

We like that these stand-alone eyeshadow singles come with complete packaging to protect the powder. The massive shade range is the biggest selling point of MAC’s product offering. The brand also promises up to eight hours of wear with a crease-free finish. Along with being safe for contact lens wearers, this shadow won’t encourage acne. You can even play with mediums, turning this from a dry to a wet shadow to create unique looks.

Shades: 82 | Finish: Shimmer, matte | Formula: Powder

4
Best liquid
Stila Cosmetics Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow
$25.00

What we love

  • Beginner-friendly application
  • Non-transfer formula
  • Easy way to wear glitter

What we don’t love

  • Glitter in your eyes can hurt

Whether you find traditional eyeshadows intimidating or looking for something a little different, you’ll like this offering from Stila Cosmetics. The fan-favorite Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow is a definite game changer. 

This product goes on wet but locks into place, ensuring that you won’t have to fight with product transfer. We also think that being a liquid formula — along with the doe foot applicator — makes this a somewhat beginner-friendly option. You can skip other brushes and simply use the applicator or your fingers to apply the shadow where you want it. 

Choose from 12 richly pigmented glitter shimmer shades. They can double as toppers to place on the center of your lid to create visual depth for your eye look. Plus, the lip tube packaging makes this a travel-friendly choice. Just remember this is a true glitter, so there’s always the risk of getting it in your eyes and causing irritation.

Shades: 12 | Finish: Glitter | Formula: Liquid

5
Best pigmentation
Juvia’s Place The Zulu Eyeshadow Palette
$20.00

What we love

  • True pigmentation across skin tones
  • Reasonably priced
  • Bold color palette

What we don’t love

  • No built-in mirror

We love a good indie brand — especially when it’s inclusive and offers vivid pigmentation. If that’s checking all the boxes for you, consider Juvia’s Place for your next eyeshadow purchase. While the brand has a wide array of eyeshadow palettes, we’re focusing on The Zulu Eyeshadow Palette because of the bold colors that are true across skin tones. 

This nine-pan palette offers an array of matte and shimmer shades that live up to the brand’s promise to be rainbow-inspired. While you might need to find your base colors elsewhere, we think this is a worthy choice. Just note that the palette doesn’t feature a built-in mirror.

Shades: 9 | Finish: Shimmer, matte | Formula: Powder

6
Best clean
ILIA Liquid Powder Eye Tint
$28.00

What we love

  • Clean beauty
  • Goes on liquid, dries to lock in place
  • Choice of chromatic or matte shades

What we don’t love

  • Sheer color payoff

Is ILIA the only clean beauty brand out there? No. But we do like this brand for its mix of clean and good-for-you beauty products. If you like the idea of a liquid eyeshadow but want the added peace of mind that the ingredients aren’t questionable, then ILIA’s Liquid Powder Eye Tint is a solid choice. 

As with many liquid shadows, this pick is intended to go on wet and dry down to a powdery finish that locks into place. Initially released in the more traditional chromatic finish, the brand now offers eight matte shades to complement the original nine chromatics for a total of 17 shades. 

With this pick, you’ll get a buildable budge-proof finish, meaning you can opt for a wash of color or something bolder. Just keep in mind that the sheer nature means that if you prefer a bolder look, you might need to apply quite a few layers to reach your desired opacity. Likewise, you can layer the chromatic and matte shades to create a unique look. Use your fingers, the applicator, or a brush to apply this liquid eyeshadow.

Shades: 17 | Finish: Chromatic, matte | Formula: Liquid

7
Best pencil
Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleon
$29.00

What we love

  • Easy glide formula
  • Designed to complement eye colors
  • Up to 10 hours of wear

What we don’t love

  • Can’t be used as an eyeliner

Charlotte Tilbury is another pro-backed makeup brand with a solid fan base that includes newbies, makeup enthusiasts, and professional makeup artists (MUAs). This UK-based brand is known for rich pigmentation, glamorous marketing campaigns, and products that just work. 

Whether you’re a beginner or an old pro, the Colour Chameleon eyeshadow pencils are a must-have. They’re ideal if you crave easy applications that can get you out the door — or on the runway — in no time. With nine colors available, these shimmery pencils feature a creamy texture that won’t drag against your skin. 

These colors are specifically formulated to complement different eye colors and offer up to 10 hours of long-lasting pigmentation. Just keep in mind that it isn’t a multitasking pencil. Don’t try to use it as a liner, as the brand explicitly states not to do so.

Shades: 9 | Finish: Shimmer | Formula: Pencil

8
Best splurge
Pat McGrath Labs Mothership V: Bronze Seduction
$128.00

What we love

  • Bold pigmentation
  • Full-finish range
  • Finely milled, minimal fallout

What we don’t love

  • Expensive

There’s nothing wrong with splurging — especially if your budget is flexible enough to accommodate the occasional treat. If you’re ready to have that holy grail product on your vanity that’s not just pretty but functional, head over to Pat McGrath Labs. 

As with pretty much every product from this brand, it comes at the cost of a pretty penny. But the bold pigmentation you achieve from these finely milled powders that result in minimal to no fallout makes that momentary grimace you feel when you use your credit card worth it. 

The Mothership V: Bronze Seduction is just one of the many palettes this brand has released over the years. This one is a 10-pan blend of shimmer, metallic, glitter, chromatic, and matte hues, again, allowing you to create a full eye look with just one palette. These shadows can be applied wet or dry, and you’ll appreciate the built-in mirror in the palette.

Shades: 10 | Finish: Shimmer, matte, chromatic, glitter | Formula: Powder

9
Best multitasker
Danessa Myricks Beauty Colorfix
$27.00

What we love

  • Massive shade range
  • Sweat- and waterproof
  • Multitasking capabilities

What we don’t love

  • May be intimidating for beginners

Danessa Myricks is another MUA turned beauty boss with an eponymous brand known for multifunctional products. The hero pick from Danessa Myricks Beauty is Colorfix, a cream pigment that can be placed anywhere you want to add color on your face. 

We know this might be intimidating for makeup newbies. But the versatility it can provide makes it a must-have. With 50 colors to choose from, there’s something here for everyone. Choose between matte, glaze, foil, nude, and metallic colors. 

You can use your hands, a sponge, or a brush to apply these pigments. Better still, they dry down quickly but are buildable and can hold up against heat and humidity. The brand promises you’ll get smudge- and waterproof wear on your eyes, lips, or face.

Shades: 50 | Finish: Matte, glaze, foil, nude, metallic | Formula: Cream

10
Best collab
HipDot Hello Kitty My Melody
$12.00

What we love

  • Adorable collaboration with Hello Kitty/Sanrio
  • Richly pigmented cream shadow
  • Affordable

What we don’t love

  • Not the most user-friendly application

Collaborations between makeup brands, pop culture products, and icons aren’t new. But we’ve been fans of HipDot’s innovative foray into this niche for a while. From a collab with popular hot sauce brand Tapatio to current tie-ins with Hello Kitty, SpongeBob Squarepants, and the Care Bears, HipDot is coming for our collective nostalgia and taste buds. 

More importantly, the brand creates quality cosmetics that are richly pigmented, easy to apply, and have staying power. The Hello Kitty collection features a cream-baked eyeshadow that’s molded to look like various members of the Sanrio friends. We’re highlighting the My Melody version, but you can, of course, get Hello Kitty or another Sanrio friend, Kuromi. 

We can’t lie, though. As cute as this collection is (and the other licensed cartoon shadows), it’s not the most practical option in terms of application. The character is the actual shadow — which can make getting it on your eyes a bit tricky, even for seasoned makeup wearers.

Shades: 1 (6 character/shade options total) | Finish: Shimmer | Formula: Cream

11
Best pro value
Morphe 350 Supernatural Glow Artistry Palette
$28.00

What we love

  • Large 35-pan palette
  • Wide array of universally flattering colors
  • Rich pigmentation, minimal fallout

What we don’t love

  • No built-in mirror
  • Basic palette packaging

Whether for personal or professional use, palettes are the way to go if you’re trying to build a makeup collection quickly. Normally, you’d spend a lot of money on just a few pans but Morphe is a beauty brand that bridges the gap between novice, prosumer, and pro-MUA beauty shoppers with affordable and massive palettes. 

Although we’re only highlighting the 350 Supernatural Glow Artistry Palette, the brand has a broader selection of these oversized 35-pan palettes. This particular pick is ideal because it’s focused on neutral shades that tend to be universally flattering. 

You’ll also get a mix of matte and shimmer shades that are easy to blend, richly pigmented, and offer true color across skin tones. Additionally, the pans are generous — not those bait-and-switch tiny circles or squares that some online retailers pass off as a deal. The only drawback of these classic Morphe palettes is that they don’t feature a mirror, and the packaging is a no-frills plastic case.

Shades: 35 | Finish: Matte, shimmer | Formula: Powder

12
Best set
ColourPop Mega Much Shadow Palette Set
$98.00

What we love

  • Combines 4 bestsellers in a single set
  • Mix of shimmer and matte shades
  • True pigmentation, minimal fallout

What we don’t love

  • Basic palette packaging
  • Palettes lack mirrors

If you’ve been hanging on Instagram since the late 2010s, then ColourPop’s eyeshadow palettes are probably a fixture in your mind. While the brand does have a massive eyeshadow palette collection, we’re focusing on a fun set that combines four fan favorites for one economical price. 

The Mega Much Shadow Palette Set combines four mega palettes — You’re Golden, Stone Cold Fox, Play it Jewel, and It’s a Mood. Each of them offers 30 pans with a combination of matte and shimmer shades. As with many other quick-to-market brands, these pigments are richly colored and appear true across skin tones. 

You’ll also get minimal fallout from the pressed powders. You can easily create a wide array of looks, thanks to the color variety they offer. The only thing we’re not crazy about is the somewhat basic packaging and lack of a mirror.

Shades: 120 | Finish: Matte, shimmer | Formula: Powder

13
Best travel
Kaja Beauty Bento
$26.00

What we love

  • Compact size
  • 11 sets available
  • Mix of shimmer, matte, and combination

What we don’t love

  • May require sourcing base colors elsewhere

Whether you’re hitting the friendly skies or want an eyeshadow kit that you can keep with you at work, you might not want to take a large makeup palette with you. In this instance, you need something compact but still effective. 

Kaja’s Beauty Bento trio sets are a great solution. With 11 sets to choose from, this is a great way to bring your makeup where you need it without the risk of a mess or breaking a larger palette. 

We like that these bentos are designed with either shimmer, matte, or a mix of matte and shimmers. As is fairly standard these days, you’ll get rich pigmentation, and across the 11 available sets, there’s a rather extensive shade range to choose from.

Shades: 3 per set (11 sets) | Finish: Matte, shimmer | Formula: Powder

Eyeshadow is the backbone of your eye look

Eyeshadow can serve many purposes. Even if you’re not someone who wants to rock a more dramatic eye look, good eyeshadow can also double as a liner or, in some cases, blush. So, it’s always good to have a few quality options on hand. If you want to opt for the ultimate go-to, then Urban Decay’s Naked3 Eyeshadow Palette is a must-have. Thanks to the neutral-focused shades that are complementary to so many skin tones, it’s a solid option. 

How to pick the right eyeshadow for you

Eyeshadow, as with any other makeup product, is personal. When shopping, you need to think about your skill level, the type of finish you want to achieve, the formula, and of course, colors and pigmentation. 

Finish

Finish refers to the texture that a makeup product creates. For eyeshadows, this tends to fall into matte, shimmer, metallic, glitter, and chromatic categories. Matte simply means that the color is flat and won’t reflect light.

While they’re not the same, shimmer, metallic, and glitter can have a similar effect. All three denote the shadow’s ability to reflect light. But the difference between them is in the size of the particles added to the pigments to achieve this effect. Shimmer will feature the smallest light-reflecting particles for a smoother or more seamless look. Metallic can be a bit chunkier, and glitter tends to be the largest — with visible light-reflecting particles. 

Chromatic is slightly different from the previous three, as it refers to light reflection but with very smooth particles and a high shine. 

Formula

For shadows, your formulas will usually be powder (both loose or pressed), liquid, cream, and even gel. Powder is the most conventional option — even when loose. However, loose powder can be intimidating for beginners. You can apply pressed and loose powders with your fingers or a brush. 

Liquids usually come with built-in applicators because they’re typically packaged in a tube similar to lip gloss. When shopping for a liquid eyeshadow, look for options that dry down and are transfer-proof to avoid smudging. Note that you can still apply these with a brush or your finger. 

You can also apply gels and creams with your fingers or a brush. But gels can sometimes be applied with sponges, depending on the effect you’re trying to create. Of all the options, gels and creams can be tricky for people with oily or acne-prone skin since the increased oil production can encourage the product to slide. As with liquids, look for products that promise a budge-proof experience. 

Pigmentation

Once upon a time, conversations around pigmentation for eyeshadow weren’t a thing. But as the beauty world continues to become more inclusive and realizes that people with darker skin tones also like to wear makeup, this is a serious concern. Pigmentation is a characteristic that refers to how accurately a color appears across skin tones. 

To be fair, your skin tone (along with undertones) will also influence how a color appears, no matter how richly pigmented. But if you have a richer skin tone, the last thing you want is an eyeshadow that’s barely visible because the manufacturer only added enough pigment to ensure it worked correctly on fair tones. This is why you’ll find that most brands now show swatches on fair, medium, and deep skin tones. 

FAQ

What makeup brand has the best eyeshadow? 

Makeup is personal. Your skin tone, skin type, and even preferences influence your idea of the “best eyeshadow.” But a good starting place is with our best overall recommendation — the Urban Decay Naked3 Eyeshadow Palette. 

Which type of eyeshadow is the best?

The “best eyeshadow” depends on your skin type, preferences, and makeup application skill level. Most beginners start with pressed powders, as they’re the least intimidating and most widely available. However, liquids, creams, and gels are also great options if you want to be more adventurous. 

What eyeshadow color makes you look younger?

No single color makes everybody look younger. Instead, the question is: What application method makes you look younger? Generally speaking, blending out harsh lines, cleaning up fallout with concealer as needed, and adjusting your application routine for the setting are the best ways to achieve a flawless eye look that complements you no matter your age.