When it comes to eyeshadows, we’ve been burned enough to know that not all are made equal: Products promise you the moon and then deliver lackluster color payoff, a formula that creases within fifteen minutes of wear, or a finish that’s more shockingly disco-ball than office appropriate. Not cool.
It’s high time to ditch the trial and error game, because we’ve got you covered—we’ve rounded up the best eyeshadows that you need to try now. (Like, yesterday.) Each of these formulas passes the tests for blendability and color payoff with flying colors, and they also come in a vast range of colors, so you’ll never be left wanting for something more. No matter what you’re looking for in an eyeshadow (or, perhaps more importantly, what your budget is), you’re sure to find something you love in these cream of the crop picks.
Even if the quality of MAC Eye Shadow was just so-so, we'd still have to hand it to them for their staggering number of shades (129, at press time). Fortunately, that caveat isn't an issue, as these powder shadows glide on like a dream, and are just as vivid and true on lids as they are in their pots.
Best Cream Formula
For a lightweight, incredibly blendable shadow that leaves lids with a radiant, almost glowing finish, we swear by Shiseido Shimmering Cream Eye Color. In numerous shades from icy pearl to the perfect inky cobalt blue, this hydrating, long-lasting formula cannot be beat. It also lasts way longer than most other cream shadows, with a 16-hour guarantee to its name.
There's a clear winner in this category, and it's MAKE UP FOR EVER Artist Shadow. We can personally vouch for the impeccable quality of most of the shades (come on, there are just too many!) but the metallics are especially good in this massive collection of gel-to-powder shadows. It's new, it's amazing, and we dare you to attempt to try them all.
Ah, there's nothing like the ease of a chunky swipe-and-go pencil, whether you're a novice at eyeshadow application or just in a time crunch, and Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint for Eyes is a cult classic for a reason—it's beyond quick and easy to apply, and with the swivel packaging, you'll never need a sharpener to keep it ready for use. It lasts forever, the formula is like butter, and it's perfect for travel. What more could one ask for?
A matte finish is our default for nearly everything these days, including (but certainly not limited to!) our eyeshadow. We just can't get enough, and the velvety, pigment-rich colors and non-chalky finish of the matte shades in the 86-color collection of Urban Decay Eyeshadow is our holy grail.
Best Budget Buy
We love a good bargain, but we know full well that we don't have to sacrifice our sense of high style to get it. With shades designed by renowned makeup artist Pat McGrath, CoverGirl Eye Enhancers 1-Kit Eye Shadow gives you a runway-ready look that works perfectly with your real-life budget.
The reality of shadow palettes is that all too frequently, you get colors that look like the perfect pair in the package but don't work together at all once on your eyes. That's not the case with NARS Duo Eyeshadow—each and every color combination, even the more unexpected ones, look just as good together on your face as they do in the pan.