10 Shades of Cool-Toned Neutral Eyeshadows

After I’ve reviewed a lot of palettes, one of the questions I get asked every so often is to provide recommendations for more of a do-it-yourself option. This post are some of my top picks for a cool-toned, neutral-themed “palette,” so-to-speak, though to balance, there should be a few more your-skin-but-better kind of shades (will depend on your skin tone) for highlighting, all-over, and transitioning. I chose shades that are permanently available individually that were under $20 each. I also skewed towards medium/dark shades, as the right shade of lighter/light-medium or all-over lid color will depend on skin tone. For some additional shades of browns (which I don’t have full reviews for/good photos, so they’re hard to include visually), also consider MAC Concrete, Mystery, and Copperplate.

  1. MAC Typographic — a soft, blendable dark gray with a matte finish
  2. Urban Decay Mushroom — a shimmery, cool-toned taupe
  3. Make Up For Ever #79 — a deep, purpled plum
  4. Inglot #326 — a deepened, cool-toned brown with reddish tones and a matte finish
  5. Maybelline Tough as Taupe — a creamy, cool-toned taupe with a mauve tint–I know, you can’t stick it into a palette, but it’s such a great budget-friendly cool-toned shade
  6. Inglot #434 — a shimmering, purplish taupe
  7. Makeup Geek Galaxy — a cool-toned, shimmery gray
  8. Inglot #350 — a cool-toned, light-medium beige with a matte finish
  9. Inglot #324 — a light gray with a matte finish
  10. Urban Decay Blackout — deep, dark matte black

What cool-toned neutral eyeshadows would you recommend?

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I just love Mushroom! If I had to choose one eyeshadow to wear for the rest of my life, it would definately be Mushroom. So lovely. I think everybody should try it 🙂

Thank you for the heads up! I switched it to something else. Unfortunately, Shadowy Lady is horrible on me 🙁 I like the color in the pan, but it’s so dry!

Great ideas but this needs a medium to light shimmery colour IMO – I would choose burberry pale barley or UD Busted (not sure if permanent).

There are more picks in general that would be nice in a cool-toned palette, but you would need to adjust light and light-medium shades to your skin tone – since what is light for fair skin isn’t always good for medium or dark skin, so my goal was to recommend more applicable shades in general. I think I mentioned that above, but I’ll make sure to edit if I didn’t!

Thank you so much for doing this! ^_^

Those Inglot ones are so lovely – I’ve never tried that brand, but that grey and the purple are gorgeous!

I fell in love Urban Decay Pistol when I saw it in the Naked 2 palette. I didn’t really need any of the other colors in that palette, so I bought it separately.

What would be a dupe of Graphology since it is discontinued? I have one that I have used a lot, and now use sparingly so it wont run out!!

I honestly don’t know – when I went to replace it with something permanent, I couldn’t find anything quite like it that was also permanent!

Typographic is gorgeous and so blendable! I use mine almost daily.

Another color that was LE, but oh, so perfect, was MAC Smoke and Diamonds, I got three backups and i’m working on the second right now, with lots of pan showing already… Only one left. *cries*

Hope that some day MAC repromotes this one!

Oooh – Smoke&Diamonds. I love the Starflash shadows generally and don’t know why MAC didn’t keep ’em around. Two good dupes for S&D are Stila Diamond Lil and Inglot Pearl 444. Actually, the Inglot shadow has an even nicer texture than Smoke&Diamonds.

I love UD Bust. It’s a gorgeous medium taupe with gray and lavender undertones, and unlike super shiny Mushroom, is an actual satin- really just enough so to blend nicely. It’s one of my favorite daytime crease shades, and my everyday eyebrow shade. For a highlight/lid color, UD Verve is also lovely.

I have mushroom, love it on other people, but on me it doesn’t look great. It’s too cool toned for me. I look much better in warm tones.

I wanted to put MAC Scene, but the swatch I have of it is a horrible Scene, and I can’t remember if the permanent version is better or not, lol!

My skin is warm toned, yet I have 6 items out of the 10 that’s listed (also, Copperplate). I’m sure at one point in the past I was also considering getting Inglot 350…

I never seem to have an issue finding cool-toned neutral singles or duos, but anything with more shadows inevitably has a warmer shade randomly tossed in. Why can’t brands fully commit to cool-toned palettes, especially when the market is saturated with warm-toned palettes?

I love my Naked 2, but the first 4 shades seem like they’d fit bettter with Naked. I adore Pistol & Verve together, or Busted & Suspect.

MUFE 139 & NARS Yamal also hold places in my heart, and are extremely versatile, as well as great performers. NARS D. Gorgeous is the workhorse in my collection.

Mushroom is beautiful! It’s my favorite shade to use for a smokey eye, actually. I also really love UD’s Stray Dog and Secret Service. Even though I much prefer most warmer shades, I love many cool toned shadows, too…I really wish someone would release an all cool toned palette, and you know, actually commit to making it cool toned!

The whole Bareminerals The Afterparty 4.0 quad is just stunning. I used to wear it all the time when I was fairer. I was MAC NC15, though I lean neutral – cool toned colours look really nice on me when I’m fair! I’m too warm now to pull off all my cool-toned shades (Pink Pigeon!!). Never fear, I’m making friends with my warm shades!!

Neutrals are my total weakness. I also love Typographic (so much better than Carbon) and UD Mushroom. I’d also add to this list: MAC’s Keep Your Cool and Brun, Nars Cordura (the dark side) and Lhasa, Too Faced’s Velvet Revolver and Garter Belt as well as Stila Grace, Cloud and Puppy. Oh, and I can’t not include Inglot 349. I also agree about the other MAC neutrals – Concrete, Copperplate but also Coquette, which many people overlook but which is absolutely wonderful.

Thank you for the list, Christine! I make my own neutral palettes, and I always appreciate suggestions. 🙂

I have a pretty hefty quantity of neutral eyeshadows, and while not all of them are truly cool, most are neutral enough that they pull cool on my skin tone (NW10/15). Some of my favorites include:

MAC Shale (I use this as a powder contouring shade, as well)
Wet ‘n’ Wild Silent Treatment (mauve-y taupe shade)
Japonesque eyeshadow in 05 (light, shimmery taupe)
Chanel Illusion d’Ombre in Mirifique (stunning glittery black eyeshadow, cream base, can be used as a liner or smoked out for an intense look)
Maybelline Tastefully Taupe eyeshadow (neutral taupe – will likely pull browner on warmer types)
L’Oreal Infallible eyeshadow in Sultry Smoke (very beautiful, cool-toned matte grey with very subtle blue tone)
NYX Sensual (satin, neutral dark violet/plum – I imagine this will pull warmer on NC skintones)
NYX Haywire (cool, rich matte brown – I love this for outer corner/crease)
Matt Horowitz from theBalm’s Meet Matt(e) palette (muted, matte navy blue)
Bare Escentuals loose eyeshadow in Pacific Heights (grey-toned lavender with a matte finish)

Thank you for sharing so many of your favorites, Veronica! Especially the NYX ones – I know they must have some great picks in their range, but I’m not familiar with their range (it’s so vast!).

Thanks for this. I’m warm, but I actually prefer the cool colors. I loved BB Shimmer in Sterling, a nice fun blue that showed up nicely on my olive skin, but alas….it is gone. 🙁 I like Clinique Faded Denim, a greyed blue and Sea Blue, another cool blue. You can easily wear them in the work place; both are matte. I have BB Hot Stone and use that quite a bit too. Will definitely check out Inglot.

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