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Adopting a solid shadow look inevitably means two things—you have a signature, making your morning or evening makeup routine simple and set, and you’re going to go through portions of a compact, or the entire thing, really fast. Since not all makeup compacts are interchangeable (many companies are allowing you to curate your own palettes with colors of your choosing) and most larger eyeshadow sets are an investment, purchasing one of those gigantic palettes you can find at beauty supply stores for just a few colors isn’t exactly worth it.
Whether you need a stock of golden-bronze shades, just love this product so much that you feel the need to experiment with finishes or shades, or even if you’re learning to blend and navigate this process (trust us, it takes times), you’ll want to pick up an affordable item that’s still completely gorgeous but won’t inhibit you from picking up all your other beauty necessities, like eyeliner and mascara. Because if you don’t end up liking that shadow, do you really want to have to skip out on that matte lipstick? Didn’t think so.
We rounded up a few cheap options—none of which are over $15—in color ranges perfect for the girl who loves a smoky eye, a wild pop of purple, and more.
Sonia Kashuk’s Island Dreams palette gives you everything you need to create one mermaid-like, multi-tonal look of greens and blues (you can double that navy blue or chocolate color as an eyeliner when applied with an angled brush) or four completely separate eye looks. When layered over top of one another, you’ll get a super saturated look that can be further boosted with a pop of lip color or toned down with your favorite nude gloss. At about $14, it’s worth it to experiment.
(Where to Buy: Sonia Kashuk Eyeshadow Quads in Island Dreams, $14, target.com)
You can’t go wrong with a chocolate brown quad accented with a ballerina slipper pink shadow—perhaps for the lady who’s still getting warmed up to the idea of eyeshadow but likes a little shimmer. The brown hues seem pretty dark, but they apply slightly sheer, which means you won’t have to worry about applying TOO much, thus wasting your product, from the get-go.
(Where to Buy: FlOWER Beauty Eye Shadow Quad in Foxy Browns, $10, walmart.com)
If you just want to set out this palette for people to adore, we get it. This compact, which is set up in an ombred pattern of neutrals, features baked shades with metallic finishes that can create a multitude of looks. Possibly the best section is that creamy, iridescent white hue, which can be lightly tapped in the inner corners of your eyes for a bit of extra glow.
(Where to Buy: e.l.f Studio Prism Eyeshadow, $10, elfcosmetics.com)
Sometimes you want to apply shadow but don’t want it to be the element of the look that overshadows the rest. That’s when you go for a neutral, cream-based product. Those that wear a ton of red or brightly colored lipstick might go through this palette pretty fast. The light hue all the way on the left can also be doubled as an eye primer for deeper more exciting colors.
(Where to Buy: Revlon Illuminance Cream Shadow in Not Just Nudes, $5, drugstore.com)
With matte and metallic jewel-toned colors, this palette from So Susan Cosmetics is the best of both worlds, not to mention that a simple swipe of that teal over a lid coated in an emerald green or navy blue will change your look in less than two minutes—i.e. your compact for fast day-to-night beauty. Falling somewhere in-between that liquid and powder realm, it’s an ideal finish if you have yet to master your blending skills.
(Where to Buy: Liquid Powder Shadow Palette, $15, sosusan.com)
The girl who lives in a smoky eye doesn’t want 12 half-used compacts taking up precious space on her bathroom counter or vanity. This teeny, tiny duo includes an ombred grey shadow section and another entire half dedicated to housing a midnight black hue. It’s a find that’s small enough to fit into a clutch, but powerful enough to create a sultry stare. This specific compact is made especially for ladies with green eyes, but the hues can be embraced no matter what your eye color.
(Where to Buy: L’Oreal Paris Studio Secrets Pro, $8, drugstore.com)