It’s that time of the year again: holiday gift guides aplenty! This year, I’ve broken out my gift guides into best of selections for blush, eyeshadow, highlighter, lipstick, lipgloss, palettes, and brushes. These guides feature permanent formulas so that they can be useful anytime during the holiday season or even into next year. For limited edition holiday products, you can check out our list of the top 50 highest-rated holiday products, which updates as I post more reviews for holiday products. I hope you find this list of top performing eyeshadow formulas useful 🙂
Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow
Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow ($21.00 for 0.08 oz.) still remains my very favorite powder eyeshadow formula. I’m particularly fond of their more shimmery and satin finishes, though their mattes are nice (but they aren’t as dense, and I love a denser, creamier eyeshadow). Their are over 200 shades to choose from, so you can imagine it is hard to pick favorites, but here are swatches of some of my must-haves!
Tarte Metallics Shadow
Tarte Metallics Shadow ($14.00 for 0.07 oz.) is a new formula that debuted this year, and I was able to confirm with Tarte that they anticipate these being part of the permanent range, at least for the next year…. so here’s hoping they will make a stronger commitment to the formula by adding more shades next year! The formula on the Metallics range is soft, smooth, blendable, and almost cream-like as they have a denser, richer feel to them. They are pigmented, long-wearing, and easy to use. Some of my favorite shades are Sinful, Pokerface, and Dame.
City Color Shimmer Shadow
City Color Shimmer Shadow ($6.99 for 0.13 oz.) is perfect for someone who likes their eyeshadows intensely pigmented with a very smooth, cream-like feel. They are dense (almost too dense–be sure to use flatter, firmer brushes with these), adhere well to bare skin, and wear for nearly eight hours (without primer). Some of my favorite shades are: Black Widow, All Eyes On Me, Evergreen, and Yas!.
Kat Von D Metal Crush Eyeshadow
Kat Von D Metal Crush Eyeshadow ($21.00 for 0.10 oz.) is a brilliant powder eyeshadow for those who like rich, shimmery formulas with intense pigmentation and long wear. I really like how well they adhere to bare lids while still being blendable and easy to work with. Some of my favorite shades are: Thrasher, Thunderstruck, Iggy, and Synergy.
Anastasia Eyeshadow ($12.00 for oz.) are available as pans only, which can be put into any freestyle palette system or if you purchase four (or eight), you’ll get a palette from Anastasia (and I love their quad–very sturdy and travel-friendly). Their Titanium finish is my favorite, because it’s a denser, almost cream-like formula with rich pigmentation and good adherence to the lid. I also like a lot of their newer mattes, which are soft, smooth, and blendable while still being pigmented. Check out our list of the top 25 best Anastasia eyeshadows!
Ardency Inn Modster Manuka Honey Enriched Pigments
Ardency Inn Modster Manuka Honey Enriched Pigments ($21.00 for 0.06 oz.) is a powder eyeshadow formula with a fairly edited range of shades, and it’s sad to come back a year later and not see any epansion to their offerings, because it’s such a good formula. The textures are soft, smooth, and finely-milled, while the pigmentation is incredibly rich and opaque. Some of my favorite shades are: Rose Gold, Heaven, and Peacock.
Giorgio Armani Eye Tint
Giorgio Armani Eye Tint ($39.00 for 0.22 oz.) is a liquid eyeshadow, so it is most like a cream eyeshadow but still dries down to a more powder-like finish as it doesn’t stay wet or emollient. While there are a couple of misses in the range, the majority of the core range (which has some shimmer) are pigmented, long-wearing, and easily spread across the lid while maintaining coverage. Some of my favorite shades are: Rose Ashes, Shadow, Green Iron, and Emeraude.
ColourPop Super Shock Shadow
ColourPop Super Shock Shadow ($5.00 for 0.07 oz.) is a cream-based eyeshadow, which isn’t like traditional cream eyeshadows, as it has a more sponge-like texture and less of a wet, emollient feel. I use flat, synthetic brushes when applying these, and with that technique, I find them easy to use as they have good pigmentation, long wear, and are blendable on the lid. They have a massive range of shades, so I’ve pulled swatches of some of my favorites here.
Urban Decay Eyeshadow
Urban Decay Eyeshadow ($19.00 for 0.05 oz.) is a long-time favorite, particularly their permanent range of eyeshadows (which I find stronger in terms of quality and more consistent). Some of their matte are real workhorse kind of shades with soft, smooth, silky, and blendable textures, while their shimmers and pearly shades are very rich in payoff and apply beautifully to the lid. With such an extensive range of shades to choose from, it’s hard to pick just a few favorites to call out, but we do have a list of the top 35 best Urban Decay eyeshadows, which can be quite handy.
L’Oreal Infallible 24-Hour Eyeshadow
L’Oreal Infallible 24-Hour Eyeshadow ($3.99 for 0.12 oz.) is a line of loosely packed powder eyeshadows. I consider them more of a pressed than loose formula, but it’s soft and loosely pressed in the jar that you can loosen the product off the surface with enough pressure or a fluffier, denser brush. They are very pigmented, blendable, and adhere well to bare skin while wearing well throughout the day. Some of my favorite shades are: Golden Emerald, Amber Rush, Liquid Diamond, and Smoldering Plum.
Viseart Eyeshadow is one of the more consistent, high-performing powder eyeshadows on the market. The only downside is that they are only available in an assortment of palettes, with the smallest being six-pans (Theory palettes). I hope that, one day, we’ll see Viseart release a build-your-own-palette system, because that would be so amazing!