Lazy makeup lovers, pay attention, because single eyeshadows might be the secret to the easiest yet most put-together makeup looks possible. If you usually go all-out, consider this article your chance to pare down.
You can speed up your makeup routine significantly, all with the help of an eyeshadow single that works all over the eye. The best single eyeshadows can make it look as though you spent ages perfecting your makeup, when in reality it only took a couple of minutes at most.
We’ll help you choose the best single eyeshadow color on the market for your skin tone and eye color! We’ve also included a breakdown of the different types of single eyeshadow formulas to choose.
In this article:
Our Picks for the Best Single Eyeshadows
I’m starting this article off with the 17 best eyeshadow singles you can get right now, in a variety of unique shades to suit every style, occasion, and complexion.
1. Anastasia Beverly Hills Eye Shadow Single in Noir
We’re starting with a bang, and what’s more banging than a true smoky eye, using the blackest of blacks? This is one of the best eyeshadow singles in deep black, for that intense single eyeshadow look that we gotta admit is not as low-maintenance as what’s to follow. This particular eyeshadow single is well-pigmented and long-wearing. In addition to rocking it in a smoky eye, you can also apply it as an eyeliner with the help of a damp angle brush. Buy it from Sephora!
2. Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Lounge
It’s difficult to pick the best eyeshadow singles from UD, because there are so many gorgeous options with perfect blendability and exquisite finishes. We settled on Lounge because of its unique duo-chrome effect, which guarantees a fascinating makeup look with a quick swipe of the brush. Depending on how you look at the shadow, it is either a deep brown-red with a green shift or a shimmery green with a brown-red shift. It is available at Sephora.
3. MAC Cosmetics Eyeshadow in Shroom
For that fresh, bright-eyed look, Shroom is probably one of the best single eyeshadows. It works beautifully as a subtle, multi-purpose highlight in the inner corner and under the brow, but it’s also not so bright to look awkward all over the lid. It has the kind of opacity and pigmentation that dreams are made of. Find it at Nordstrom!
4. Make Up For Ever Artist Color Eye Shadow in M748 Coral
Living Coral is the Pantone Color of the Year for 2019, so an eyeshadow single that matches this gorgeous shade is a must-have. This matte shade gives that perfect pop of color for the lid, and can also be used in the inner corner for a pop-art look. It’s heavily pigmented and soft, and while it is quite warm it has enough pink in it to work for those with cool undertones to their skin. Pick it up from Sephora!
5. Stila Shimmer & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow in Jezebel
Chances are no makeup product is as easy to apply as these liquid shadows from Stila, which manage to stay on all day without creasing. While every single one of these hyper-shimmery shades could be used on its own, Jezebel is our favorite for its delightful rose gold hue, which suits both light and dark skin, and gives a flattering shimmer that is just dark enough to work even in the crease. You can buy it from Sephora.
6. Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick in Golden Bronze
Eyeshadow sticks are another creamy eyeshadow single option that is perfect for busy folks who like to do their makeup on the go. The Golden Bronze shade from Bobbi Brown is an excellent choice for a one-shadow look, as it is versatile and rich.
Those with lighter skin can blend it out sheerly for a shimmery and sophisticated look that is dark enough for the crease, while on darker skin it is a perfect golden shade that looks extremely glamorous. It is easy to apply and blend, and it sets quickly and stays put for a while. Order it from Nordstrom!
7. Kat Von D Metal Crush Eyeshadow in Thrasher
A smoky, metallic gold is a perfect shade for a sultry makeup look using single eyeshadows for all eye colors but especially those with gold-flecked brown eyes. This particular shadow from KVD is pigmented yet super-blendable, and can be used on its own to create quite a few different looks. Find it at Sephora!
8. NARS Hardwired Single Eyeshadow in Stud
The best single eyeshadows for those with cool skin tones usually lean towards cool as well, but that doesn’t mean blue or purple. Stud is a cool pewter tone with an intense metallic finish – it’d look extra intense if you apply it damp.
On lighter skin, it has a slightly smoky effect, on medium skin, it is a perfect balanced shade, and on darker skin, it is almost a highlight. The shadow is as creamy and soft as powder shadows can get, with incredible pigmentation. Pick it up from Sephora!
9. Christian Louboutin Beauty Matte Nude Eye Color in Mariza
Talk about drama! These liquid single eyeshadows come in the most astounding container, made to resemble a Louboutin heel. We felt that with a container like this, it’s best to keep things sophisticated, so we’re recommending Mariza – a taupey-rose nude eyeshadow that could work all over the lid or just in the crease. For darker skin tones, it will work beautifully as a medium shade, and it is also perfect to bring out green eyes. Order it online from Net-a-Porter!
10. Giorgio Armani Beauty Eye Tint Liquid Eyeshadow in Cold Copper
The metallic formula of the Armani Eye Tints is luxurious and creamy, but once it sets it does not budge. The shades themselves are opaque but they can get blended down to a sheerer finish. Cold Copper is our favorite for single eyeshadow looks, since it is warm but not overly so and reflective without being too bright. Apply it sheerly to your lid and slightly thicker in the crease, and feel glamorous no matter your eye color or skin tone. Find it at Sephora!
11. Tarte Chrome Paint Shadow Pot in Steel the Show
For wild nights-out, this cool metallic gray is perfect. It’ll give the eye a smoldering look, especially when applied in a smoky style, but its reflective finish gives a festive brightness. The formula itself sits somewhere between a cream and a powder, and applies to full opacity with ease. It can be purchased from Sephora.
12. NYX Prismatic Eyeshadow in Fireball
If you’d like your single eyeshadows to warm you up a bit, Fireball from NYX is a phenomenal choice. This super-shimmery shade is oh-so-fun to use, with a gorgeous orange-copper tone that works for everyone but makes blue eyes simply pop. You can use it to mimic that Katy Perry copper eyeshadow look! Pop into Ulta to pick it up!
13. Laura Mercier Matte Eye Color in Fresco
Neutral browns are must-have in any makeup lover’s arsenal. For those with darker skin, an eyeshadow single like Fresco will work to brighten up the eyelid, and it gives a very modern matte effect. Those with fair skin can use it to deepen the crease, and it can even double as a brow color or contour shade! This shade is pigmented, but not overly so, so it is easy to blend, and the texture is soft and luxurious. Buy it from Neiman Marcus!
14. Marc Jacobs Beauty O!mega Gel Powder Eyeshadow in O!Yeah
This warm plummy shade might seem dark in the pan, but on the eyes, it glitters and shines with an insanely pigmented metallic finish. On darker skin, it looks bright and silvery, while on lighter skin, it smolders. This eyeshadow single is the perfect complement to green and brown eyes, and since it is so wearable the added bonus is that it comes in an extra-large pan. You can get it at Sephora.
15. Hourglass Scattered Light Glitter Eye Shadow in Foil
Gold eyeshadow has a warm place in our heart. It’s bright and fun in daytime while for the evening it is ultra-glam. It can double as highlighter for those with warm undertones, and it really does seem to suit everyone. It is available at Sephora.
16. Lancôme Monochromatic Eyeshadow in Haute Couture
Sometimes you don’t want a blast of heavy pigmentation, just something subtle and quick for all over. That’s what makes these monochromatic shadows the best eyeshadow singles for some folks. They have a cream to powder formula that works beautifully on eyes, lips, and cheeks to give a monochromatic makeup look that can be created in seconds.
Our favorite shade for an all-over look is Haute Couture, a warm yet muted red jewel tone that would look astounding on anyone with medium to dark skin or green eyes. We also love Eclat as a double for highlighter, and French Affair for peach lovers. It can be purchased at Nordstrom.
17. Givenchy Ombre Couture Cream Eyeshadow in Rose Illusion
A soft rose pink can give that perfect soft touch, especially on those days when you feel particularly feminine and airy, so you simply do not want to overdo your makeup. This eyeshadow single is a neutral pink shade that leans towards slightly cool, which is a perfect all-over shade for those with fair skin who find peaches and rose golds run too warm on them.
For those with darker skin, this shade is a lovely choice for brightening up the lid. The formula itself is creamy with buildable coverage, and it doesn’t crease. Find it at Sephora!
Choosing Single Eyeshadow Formulas
Single eyeshadows come in all kinds of formula, and it is important that you choose the one that is right for you based on your makeup techniques and daily requirements.
Powder Single Eyeshadows
The first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of an eyeshadow single is a little bit of powder pressed into a compact. These shadows are the most common, and for a good reason. Their formulas are fairly simple and they are easy to create and blend. They are best applied with a makeup brush.
The only downside to powder single eyeshadows is that they do require something below them, like an eye primer, concealer, or cream eyeshadow. If they’re not applied over something that they can hold on to, they end up harder to blend, appear less pigmented and crease more quickly.
Cream Single Eyeshadows
This is referring to eyeshadow formulas that have a cream texture. They are thicker than a liquid eyeshadow, feeling a little bit waxy. They come pressed into jars or compacts, or in the form of a stick, which is the most convenient option for most.
Cream single eyeshadows are best applied with a finger or a synthetic brush. While the cream single eyeshadows on our list don’t tend to crease or budge, this is not true for all cream shadow formulas, which do tend to be a little more difficult to keep in place.
Using a cream eyeshadow for your one-shadow look is by far the quickest and easiest route, as it means you won’t need a primer, since the cream eyeshadow already sticks to the eye – if you choose one of the best eyeshadow singles, it’ll do so at full opacity and without fading or creasing.
Liquid Single Eyeshadows
Liquid eyeshadows are runnier than creams, but they actually tend to have a much more intense formula. Because they are so runny, they mattify quickly, which is good for quick single-eyeshadow looks that don’t require much blending, but can be an issue if you like to work slowly and take your time blending.
These formulas are super-easy for some, while others find them too fussy – it really depends on your application style. Like a lip stain, they tend to wear well for a long long time without creasing. They usually come in a tube with a built-in applicator, and you can use a finger or a brush to blend out the edges.
Photos via @thesaraengel, Instagram, Sephora