Best Eyeshadows (2019) | Editor’s Top Picks

If you’ve ever felt like single eyeshadows don’t get enough love, our guide to the Best Eyeshadows — 2019 Edition is made for you.  This guide features permanently available single ranges that have released consistently  high-quality shades.  You’ll find powder eyeshadows to start, followed by more loose-pressed-powder formulas, and then two of my favorite cream-based eyeshadows at the end of the list.

Psst… If you’re wondering why Natasha Denona eyeshadows are absent, it’s because the brand doesn’t offer their formula as singles any  more, only within pre-made palettes!

Every product recommended below has been tested and reviewed by me, and I test thousands of products every year–so they’ve earned their way onto this list. To read more about a specific shade or view swatches, make sure to use the drop downs and buttons below, as we’ve tried to make this guide comprehensive and easy to use!

The way I approach my guides is by focusing permanent formulas that have stood the test of time–they are high quality, consistent, and all formulas that I personally enjoy. You’ll find a formula overview and top-rated shades (that are permanent) for each highlighted range. As always, I’d love to hear about your own personal favorite formulas–don’t forget to tell me why!

If you’re curious about the best limited edition holiday products and sets, check out our Best of Holiday 2019 Palettes & Gifts, which automatically updates the rankings as new reviews go live.

More product guides: Best Blushes, Best Highlighters, Best Eyeshadow Palettes, Best Lipsticks, Best Lipglosses.

Pat McGrath EYEdols Eyeshadow

Read Reviews View Swatches

The mattes are velvety, blendable, and dense without being thick or too heavy, and they have semi-opaque to opaque pigmentation where a little can go a long way with some of the deeper and richer hues. The satin and pearl finishes are smooth, lightly creamy, and firmer but not dense or thick with good pigmentation, blendability, and easy application.

The more metallic finishes tend to be softer, creamy, and smooth with a bit more denseness and no powderiness. The sparkly/glittery shades are often designed to be applied wet for richer coverage or intensity, which has largely been my experience.

Top Rated Shades

Sydney Grace Matte Shadow

Read Reviews View Swatches

The matte eyeshadows tend to be pigmented (typically semi-opaque or opaque, often buildable if they aren’t opaque) with a soft, more velvety texture that has slight slip but isn’t so thick that it gets difficult to use, applies unevenly, or has a lot of fallout.

Top Rated Shades

Availability
Sydney Grace
Availability
Sydney Grace

Sydney Grace Pressed Pigment Shadow

Read Reviews View Swatches

The shimmer eyeshadows are more consistent in pigmentation with the majority of shades having opaque color coverage. The more metallic/sparkly the shade is, the creamier and more emollient the eyeshadow felt in the pan, which often yielded really smooth application and good adherence to the lid, though a few worked better with a fingertip or a dampened brush for true-to-pan color or to get a truer finish/sheen.

Top Rated Shades

Availability
Sydney Grace
Availability
Sydney Grace

Coloured Raine Eyeshadow

Read Reviews View Swatches

The formula is supposed to be "highly pigmented, long-lasting, and blendable" and come in a variety of finishes. Most their eyeshadows are semi-opaque to opaque with a smooth, blendable textures that are easy to use and apply well to bare skin. The shimmers are slightly dense and creamier to the touch compared to the mattes, which aren't thin but don't have the same amount of slip. They tend to wear between eight and nine hours on me.

Top Rated Shades


Colour Pop Pressed Powder Shadow

Read Reviews View Swatches

The new Pressed Powder Shadow formula is supposed to be “highly pigmented” with an “ultra-velvety and silky” texture that is “long-wearing” and “adheres easily to the eyes.” Most of the shades have semi-opaque to opaque pigmentation that applies well to bare skin, blends out without issue, and lasts for seven to eight hours. Read more...

Top Rated Shades

Availability
UltaColourPop
Availability
UltaColourPop

Anastasia Eyeshadow

Read Reviews View Swatches

Anastasia Eyeshadow is supposed to be a “finely-milled, highly-pigmented” powder eyeshadow. There are several different finishes, and the performance can be better or worse depending on the finish, though it also ranges from shade to shade. On average, the formula is semi-opaque to opaque, lightly dusty to buttery, wears seven to nine hours, and is fairly blendable. The Metallic and Titanium finishes seem to be the best-performing to me, but there are some really standout mattes and shimmers as well. I have not tried the sparkle, satin, or velvet finishes as extensively as the other finishes, personally.

Top Rated Shades


Urban Decay Eyeshadow

Read Reviews View Swatches

The formula is typically described as "high-pigment" that "stays on your lids" and goes on "seamlessly." Their permanent range has a lot of fantastic shades in it, and many of them are pigmented, blendable, and long-wearing. 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. They wear between seven and nine hours on me, depending on the shade and finish.

Top Rated Shades


Viseart Eyeshadow

Read Reviews View Swatches

The eyeshadow formula is supposed to be "pigment[ed]" with "smooth and even application" that is "long-lasting." The matte shades are typically semi-opaque to opaque but buildable with soft, velvety textures that can sometimes be a little powdery or slightly firm, depending on the shade. I find that the mattes are often best suited to someone who likes control over pigmentation and may prefer to build up color; they regularly perform better in practice than just swatched on the arm as well. Read more...

Top Rated Shades


Marc Jacobs Beauty See-quins Glam Glitter Eyeshadow

Read Reviews View Swatches

If you love high-shine, sparkly eyeshadows, the See-quins pack a massive punch of color, sparkle, and payoff with minimal fallout and great adherence (without having to wet your brush or use your fingertips).

Top Rated Shades

Tarte Chrome Paint Shadow Pot

Read Reviews View Swatches

The formula is a more loosely-pressed powder format that has a denser, creamier consistency, which translates into intense pigmentation that adheres well to bare skin and doesn’t have to be used wet to get high-impact results. They work well dry brushes but can also be used with a dampened brush or fingertips for even more sparkle and shine.

Top Rated Shades

Hourglass Scattered Light Glitter Eyeshadow

Read Reviews View Swatches

If you love twinkling sparkle paired with creamier textures (but still feel more like a powder), the Scattered Light formula is compelling. It’s particular good for someone who likes one-and-done shades or wants to be able to play around with the pigmentation as these are often pigmented but can be sheered out more readily than formula alternatives.

Top Rated Shades

L'Oreal Infallible 24-Hour Eyeshadow

Read Reviews View Swatches

The formula is supposed to have “24 hour” wear with “intense, maximized color” and a “powder-cream texture.” They are absolutely long-wearing, but testing for 24 hours is more than I’m happy to do more than very, very occasionally, though most showed some sign of wear between 12 and 14 hours of wear, so I used that to help determine an approximate wear time. Read more...

Top Rated Shades

Colour Pop Super Shock Shadow

Read Reviews View Swatches

ColourPop Super Shock Shadow is a cream-based formula that comes in a multitude of shades and finishes. The more metallic shades have the most slip to them (they have a “wetter” feel), while the more matte ones have a firmer, more clay-like consistency. Almost every shade I’ve tried from ColourPop has been exceptionally long-wearing (10+ hours of wear, usually there until I remove, even 14 hours later).

Top Rated Shades

Availability
UltaColourPop
Availability
UltaColourPop

Sydney Grace Cream Shadow

Read Reviews View Swatches

It is a very pigmented formula where the merest dab of product–like as little as one can physically squeeze out of the tube–is enough for most of the mobile lid. The texture was smooth, like a liquid-cream hybrid as it wasn’t runny but it was more spreadable than a cream eyeshadow you’d find in a jar. The majority of shades applied evenly to bare skin with little effort, and the edges remained blendable enough (even as it was mostly dried down) to soften and fuse with other shades.

Top Rated Shades

Availability
Sydney Grace
Availability
Sydney Grace

We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

Compare Any Two Swatches

Curious how two shades compare to each other? Type in the shades below to get instant side-by-side swatches!

We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

11 Comments

Comments that do not adhere to our comment policy may be removed. Discussion and debate are highly encouraged but we expect community members to participate respectfully. Please keep discussion on-topic, and if you have general feedback, a product review request, an off-topic question, or need technical support, please contact us!

Please help us streamline the comments' section and be more efficient: double-check the post above for more basic information like pricing, availability, and so on to make sure your question wasn't answered already. Comments alerting us to typos or small errors in the post are appreciated (!) but will typically be removed after errors are fixed (unless a response is needed).

We appreciate enthusiasm for new releases but ask readers to please hold questions regarding if/when a review will be posted as we can't commit to or guarantee product reviews. We don't want to set expectations and then disappoint readers as even products that are swatched don't always end up being reviewed due to time constraints and changes in priorities! Thank you for understanding!

Leave a Reply

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

Wow…this is an amazing post! I am so excited to peruse it more later. I love that you include how each shadow works and how well they stay. Super shocks and Viseart are pretty amazing!

I am curious if anyone knows…what works to keep the PM special shadows from creasing? I used a primer and glitter glue and still had creasing by mid-day with the Nocturnal Nirvana palette. Humid Houston contributes, I know.

I really like the Marc Jacobs Omega single shadows – I just wish there were more colours to choose from. Ditto the Tarte singles; I have 3 of them and would love to have access to the darker green/olive one they have (or maybe “had”) but it’s not carried at Sephora. I wish they also had a wider range of shades.

Some of them are really nice, and I appreciate that there are several shades in the line-up that are less seen – but there have been a few duds, and the line is still a bit small, so it didn’t make my list… yet!

MAC has some great eyeshadows in the line, but their formula has been inconsistent for many, many years, and they have also discontinued dozens in the last few years, so the range is weak.

Many of the shadows they have discontinued were among their very best, which makes so little sense. They made some of the Extra Dimension shadows permanent and then set about slashing and burning those shades as well.

All of my favorites are here and I have many of the shades shown. I love the formula for all of these products and really wonder why I ever buy anything else! Another big thank you, Christine, for doing these types of posts. I know how incredibly labor intensive this must be.

There are so many fantastic brands selling top notch singles for reasonable prices these days that we are so lucky to have such choices at every price point.
Some of them – like the L’Oreal Infalliable shades are oldies but goodies. The brand has also recently (well in the past year) a set of metallic infalliables – in Chrome, Bronze, Rose Gold etc and these are pretty good too.
I am eyeing off the Sydney Grace shadows for my upcoming birthday in late Novemeber…..

I also meant to say that I wish and wish that Colour Pop would return that glorious Snakebite shade…..I really dislike it when brands delete their best products….it’s probably the same for MAC lovers as well.

I’ve been so impressed with the Sydney Grace shadows. Coloured Raine’s have been very nice, also. I don’t typically buy a lot of singles, but both brands got quite a bit of money from me this year.

We try to approve comments within 24 hours (and reply to them within 72 hours) but can sometimes get behind and appreciate your patience! 🙂 If you have general feedback, product review requests, off-topic questions, or need technical support, please contact us directly. Thank you for your patience!