Monday, November 12th, 2012

Rant & Rave

This Week’s Topic: Sheer Eyeshadow!

Your Mission: Tell us what you love, hate, or are otherwise indifferent to about sheer eyeshadow. What drives you bananas? What makes them necessary?

my answer: They’re not my cup of tea… ever, really. Pigmented eyeshadow can always be blended or sheered out. It’s rare to find an eyeshadow that’s sheer but actually buildable – that doesn’t wind up looking caked on or powdery. So for me, sheer eyeshadow just doesn’t have a major place in my heart, but I know that for some, they’re much loved!

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49 thoughts on “Rant & Rave: Sheer Eyeshadow

  1. I like sheer eyeshadows, only under certain criteria:
    * they’re “SFX” kind of deals: they’re oilslick-iridescents, or multichrome-colorchangers, or they act like a color-prism for the underlying color.
    * I know in advavnce that it’s a sheer or semisheer eyeshadow, so that I can choose to buy or avoid
    * ideally, I’d like to pay very slightly less for sheer eyeshadows – maybe 75%-80% of the price of a ‘standard’ fully pigmented eyeshadow. I don’t know that this is always possible; but I can’t imagine a situation where I’d pay more money for a sheer eyeshadow. (Not even if it changes between all the colors of the rainbow.)

    • Zainab

      Please tell me what brands make the ‘SFX’ shadows you’re talking about, because I want some!

      • BE made some for a while – “Eye Quickies” that could be built up, or applied over a dark base, or applied over existing eyeshadows. They’re mostly unavailable now, but there were: Mystery, Masquerade, Venus, Neptune, Ice Queen, and Sun Goddess.

        TKB Trading sells several micas that approximate these effects. Their Interplanetary Traveller micas are astounding – they actually shift between two and three colors! Applied wet these Interplanetary Traveller micas are fairly pigmented – they appear to have a white base and an almost metallic-iridescent shifting finish. Applied dry, they’re definitely “SFX”-y.

      • Nicoco Chanel

        Fyrinnae’s ghost series!

    • I agree that it definitely has to be clear that it is sheer or semi-sheer!

      • I love Zoya and Silk Naturals for assigning each of their colors a number on an opacity scale. Zoya’s goes from 1-5, Silk Naturals’ goes from 1-6, so the two don’t correspond with each other; but I know up-front that the color I want to buy is semisheer, fully opaque, or really best used just for layering.

  2. I think the only sheer eyeshadows I like are the ones with metallic flakes in a sheer-ish base. Those are good for patting on top of something else in the center of the lids, but other than that not really.

  3. xamyx

    I actually quite like them. Just as more pigmented shadows can be “sheered out”, you can always build up a sheerer shadow, or use a base or primer. They can also be used to layer over more pigmented shades to alter the color. Sometimes when “sheering” out more pigmented shadows, you lose the finish, they can wind up a bit splotchy, or they wind up too sheer, and more shadow has to be reapplied. I find it’s easier to just use a primer or base if I want more pigmentation.

    I’ve learned what to expect from certain brands, though. If I want more pigmented shadows, I’ll avoid brands such as Estee Lauder, tarte, or Lancome, as I find the formulas inherently sheer, although not a reflection of quality.

  4. JGR

    I don’t care much for sheer eyeshadows because I find them a waste of money and difficult to use. If I want sheer color, like if I’m layering one shadow one top of another (which I tend not to do), then I can always use a more pigmented shade and just tap off my brush. But a sheer color stays sheer no matter how much you layer it.

  5. Kim

    Easy to apply for beginners or when you’re in a big rush, as mistakes/lack of blending isn’t as noticeable.

  6. Dominique

    Talking of sheer eyshadow, well Nars Marie-Galante of course ! Amazingly beautiful but yes very sheer so it’s not so easy to apply. But I love it, it gives a mysterious look I think.

  7. Kris (kmk05)

    Definitely agree with Christine there: sheer eyeshadows are just frustrating to me. The only time I like them is if they are creams and can be used as bases (the only ones that come to mind are the Laura Mercier metallic creme eye color, which I am wearing right now!) because they can make for a quick base/eyelid colour that I then deepen. I find that I would personally doubt that a sheer eyeshadow would last as long as a pigmented one, especially on my oily eyelids.

  8. Zainab

    Hate them! I think it is just a way to dupe consumers into buying dud products- as Christine says, regular shadows can be blended out if you want it to look sheer, so you’re specifically buying a more limiting product. I also dislike how sheer/sheered out shadow looks on me, it either disappears or it just looks faded and like makeup I’ve slept in.

  9. Not my cup of tea either. I like my eyeshadow strongly pigmented :-)

  10. Carrie

    I just don’t see the point of them either. As Christine said, you can always sheer out a pigmented color. Efforts to build sheer colors usually fail spectacularly. I just skip them if possible.

  11. Mariella

    I want eye shadows that are pigmented…why bother wearing colour (even neutral colour) otherwise. I do like a shadow that is versatile enough that you can SHEER IT OUT if you want to, by blending, but I like that to be an option rather than the only game in town. Building up a sheer colour often results in either fallout or a sort of dry, crepe-y texture and neither of those is a great look.

  12. monica

    I don’t know if the Burberry Sheer E/S counts, but I love those for a natural look that makes you think, “There’s something different that I can’t quite put my finger on about her.”

    As I have gotten older, from teenager to mid-twenties, I feel that I gravitate more towards bold lips and neutral eyes whereas when I was younger, I loved super pigmented bold e/s.

  13. Te only ones I love are the “aura” shade that are white but shift to another colour and work well over any other shadow to give a duochrome effect (Naked Cosmetics Ivory stack).

    Sheerness otherwise is a sign of a miss formulated eyeshadow or lack of pigmentation to me.

  14. Jax

    I once fell in love with a sheer eyeshadow from the Body Shop. It was called an Eye Tint and was part of a small range of sheer neutrals. (this was over 20years ago when neutrals weren’t as trendy)

    It was a fantastic colour and great for a quick easy day look and was almost impossible to go wrong with. Whilst I do like high pigment eye shadows, if the quality is bad they don’t always sheer out or blend very well and I generally can’t deal with the faff of using them at that point.

    I have no problem with sheer as long as it is deliberate. To me it is like sheer vs opaque lipsticks or lip glosses, quality is more important and both have their uses and place depending on personal preferences.

  15. Yellowlantern

    Sometimes I like dark colors better when they’re sheer (assuming they apply uniformly sheer and not patchy) as they’re easier to wear. For the most part though I generally prefer pigmented shadows so that I can choose to apply opaquely or sheer.

  16. This is a good question. I think they’re useful when you need to have a super natural look. I like them for actors’ headshots, when I need to enhance the person’s features slightly, without making them look too “done”.

  17. Marian

    Rave! I love sheer eyeshadows for a wash of color. I love opaques too…and mattes and shimmers. They all have their place for different looks.

  18. 18thCenturyFox

    I completely concur! Sheer shadow serves absolutely no function in my universe, it generally just signals poor quality. Then again I don’t wear sheer lipstick, blush or eyeliner either. Application can always lessen the boldness of a product, I don’t need it to be made that way.

  19. anna

    I don’t understand sheer eyeshadows. I think a wash of color is easy enough to get through a lightly applied eyeshadow.

  20. I prefer shades that are opaque, but I have come across a couple of sheer ones that I quite like. I did really like Marie-Galante, since on me the colour stayed true all day and applied evenly. It’s a different sort of look, but I like it. There are also shades from Rouge Bunny Rouge that start off soft but build well. I find that they don’t look sheer so much as light when applied- again, evenness of application is the key.

  21. Caroline

    That really depends on what the “sheer” definition is here. I would consider Cle de Peau Beaute’s eyeshadows sheer, and then still pay a bunch for it, also loads of Japanese brand eyeshadows win my heart with their unique shimmer which no western brands can compete.

    As a matter of fact, I’d rather avoid really opaque eyeshadows as you can sheer them out of course, still that is a lot to deal with.

    • Lark

      The current style sweetie. The Japanese love fashion, so of course their brands are current with sheer shadows! This discussion is four or five seasons late; Look at TV from 2009 and you’ll see that eye. Or practically no shadow. The heavily painted eye will return, eventually, but for now we’ve been in a cycle of water colors, diaphanous colors, look around.

      • 18thCenturyFox

        Yes, again, your comment that this discussion is ” four or five seasons late” seems to suggest we ALL take our cosmetic cues from television and the runway exclusively? Eye make up trends may cycle predictably (like everything else in fashion) but I consider myself mostly free from TV, and its advertisers, dictates. I don’t like the majority of make up I see on TV, unless its a period drama like Boardwalk Empire- but I didn’t get the sense that that was what you were referring to.

        • I agree that most people don’t take their beauty cues from what’s currently trendy. We like what we like, regardless of trend, and many things in the beauty industry are timeless. At least some of use will be able to look at our old photos 10 years from now and we won’t say “what were we thinking?!”

      • xamyx

        @ Lark

        Then how would you explain the immense popularity of brands like UD, NARS, MUFE, and even MAC?

        While there are some brands that are inherently on the sheer side (Lancome, Estee Lauder), many aren’t. I believe the beauty industry has been conscious of the individual desires of the consumer, and has embraced individuality. There’s a reason why two (or more) companies that share ownership offer completely different options, or they would just merge, become a “super” brand, and suit whatever is the latest “trend”.

        There was a time all women wore blue eyeshadow & red lipstick, but now we have options.

        By the way, I was at a Shiseido counter recently, and the shadows weren’t sheer…

  22. Safyre

    The only time I see this working is either a)highlight shades, where you don’t want it to be an in-your-face highlight – which could then be used for face or eyes, or as a subtle shadow
    or b) to layer over something else so as to add dimension.
    But they should definitely be labeled as such.

  23. Veronica

    I fall into the rave category. I find they’re good for a subtle wash, and for layering without disturbing the color(s) underneath. But it depends on the eyeshadow. Not all sheers are created equal, and what I find frustrating when shopping is that “sheer” isn’t really quantified well. Everyone knows what an opaque color should look like, but I definitely have to go by word of mouth to find a nice sheer shadow.

  24. I get confused by the term ‘sheer’ because I absolutely love Burberry eyeshadows and they are labelled ‘Sheer Eye Shadow Eye Enhancers’. I love these shadows as they are well pigmented, they seem to apply effortlessly and lightly; they never look packed on.. and they diffuse without effort. I personally would not call them sheer though so yes, based on the use of the term here, I would have to say I like sheer eyeshadows.

  25. Joni

    I don’t like opaque anything really. That being said, I don’t know if I own any e/s that’s specifically made to be sheer. I would definitely prefer that because it’s always a hassle trying to work with opaque shadows and I end up removing my eye makeup half the time because it ends up looking like too much.

  26. Vincent

    I think they are great sometimes for days I want it to look like I have nothing on my eyes, but don’t want my lids to turn that yellowish oily color they do throughout the day when I don’t wear shadow.

  27. Megan

    I don’t really know of any sheer eye shadows, unless you mean sheer kind of brow bone type shadows. I use mostly opaque eye shadow.

  28. Alexandra

    I hate them and I don’t really understand the point of them either. Eyeshadow is meant to be seen… and if you don’t like how intense a color is just pick one in a different shade. Eyeshadow that barely shows up just seems like a bizarre waste of money.

  29. Quinctia

    Not into sheer.

    I’d rather get a neutral that hit the shade I’d get by sheering out a shadow–in a well-pigmented shadow. If that makes any sense!

  30. katie

    I learned something new today. I had no idea people liked sheer eyeshadows! I thought it was just a sign of poor quality?!

    • haha, I thought so too! It was only after following My Women Stuff blog for many years that I eased into wearing sheer eyeshadows and found a use for it!

      Dior’s 5 coleur palettes are actually on the sheer side for me (considering I love Urban Decay and MUFE). But hey, Dior’s shadows are really good (not every limited edition, but most).

      If you visit Japan and Korea or get into Asian makeup, you’ll find that sheer eyeshadows can be stunning too! Sheer shadows are really great for getting the Japanese kawaii (cute) or Korean innocent look. And who else makes higher quality sheer e/s than Japan and Korea themselves! I bet you that the quality is every single bit as good as Urban Decay. Sheer is not necessarily a sign of poor quality.

  31. yajuwen

    I am not a fan of most sheer eyeshadow, especially the mid-to-dark ones. If they are intentionally made not to appear that dark on the skin, why bother creating them?
    However, I do find that some sheer light colors with metallic to pearl finish are really beautiful. It adds some more “glow” without depositing too much, intensive color.

  32. I have never found a use for a sheer eyeshadow. If I’m going to take the time to put on eyeshadow, I want it to look like there’s something has been done. The only thing I do like that kind of comes close is that sometimes I use Benefit’s High Beam all over my lid and then just go with a liner and mascara. That’s when I want a really basic look, but I don’t apply it lightly, so I don’t even really consider it that sheer.

  33. Lark

    I like them! Fashion is an ever evolving entity and anybody who watches TV has seen plenty of sheer eyeshadow that looks amazing. Four or five bright colors is fun to do if one has an hour for make up, but I find myself grabbing sheer neutrals, two colors, and doing a sculpted eye rather than a mask to hide behind. That rainbow eye is over for now, even if is is five colors from a Nakeds pallet. Great for blogging, but way too might clubby on the street.

    • 18thCenturyFox

      It sounds like you are very attached to trends. Not all of us are. And doing heavier eye makeup does not equal a mask to me. I will do heavy eye make up during the day and lighter at night sometimes, I’m really stubborn about observing make up rules I consider arbitrary.

    • xamyx

      @ Lark

      This is assuming one actually follows Japanese fashion. I don’t, but I’ll take your word for it. Even if I were a sheep that followed trends, this would still be completely irrelevent, as I don’t live in Japan, nor do I live in a region where Japanese fashion is prevalent, and I’m not sure many readers on this blog do. I’m not saying Japanese fashion isn’t a legitimate style, it’s just that it isn’t a dominant one.

      As for an entire hour to apply makeup, what a luxury!

  34. I think there is use for sheer eyeshadows as in Japanese style. However, I am not a big fan of them. I just own them because there are indeed times when I want a certain look that will go with certain outfit I have for the day.

    It’s just great to give that sparkling eye look without going full on colour. Think cute-innocent.

    That said, I love Urban Decay and MUFE, and BareMinerals, and Wet n Wild, and all those crazy opaque and pigmented eyeshadows.