Eyeshadows are essential to a full makeup application. Most women state that their eyes are their best feature, and playing up your best feature makes perfect sense! In order to earn a spot on the Best Products list, an eyeshadow must:
- Have a smooth texture that applies easily
- Blend well and offer a good color payoff
- Not flake, easily smudge, or quickly fade
- Come in a range of classic and neutral shades
- Not contain shine particles that flake
In much the same way loose and pressed powders continue to improve for the better, so do eyeshadows. Those we rate as the best have enviable, silky textures, apply seamlessly, blend and build well, and have staying power.
You can shop the cosmetics counters in both the drugstores and the department stores and find wonderful textures and colors, although when it comes to variety of matte shades, the scales remain tipped in favor of the department stores (primarily in the makeup artist–driven lines such as M.A.C., Stila, and Bobbi Brown).
Those of you who love eyeshadow with some shine will find the options almost limitless, regardless of where you shop. The good news is that today’s best shiny eyeshadows add more glow than glitter to your eyes, and the shine clings much better than in the past (though there are still plenty of shiny eyeshadows that flake, none of which are on this list).
Eyeshadows on this list include singles, duos, trios, and quads. Please keep in mind that purchasing multiple eyeshadows as part of a set only makes sense if you’ll really use the color combinations provided (and in many cases, you won’t want to, at least not if you want to create a classic, understated eye design).
Note: Without question, brushes are a must for smooth, flawless application of eyeshadows. Do NOT use the tiny, sponge-tip applicators included with many shadows. They tend to make the results choppy and are not adept at blending multiple shades for a subtle gradation of color.