The Best High-End Eyeshadows & Eyeliners for Your Holiday Wish List

With the season of Friends & Family sales upon us, holiday wish list-building, gift card giving (and receiving), I’ve created my top recommendations and picks from brands’ permanent ranges from three categories: eyes, lips, and cheeks. I’ll also have a budget-friendly list coming soon. This post features some of my absolute favorite, high-performing eye products. Are any of these formulas/shades on your list? Which ones would you suggest to someone looking to indulge?

For more recommendations, I suggest browsing my past reviews by rating or seeing what products I’ve given the Temptalia Recommends designation. For a list of all my favorites, see the Editor’s Choice Awards.

Ardency Inn MODSTER Manuka Honey Enriched Pigments

This is an impressive eyeshadow formula, particularly if you love your shimmery finishes! The shimmer finishes have an extraordinarily creamy, buttery, smooth texture with amazing color payoff. The satin/matte finishes are soft, finely-milled, but less creamy and a bit powdery. Full Review

Where to Buy

$21.00 at Sephora

Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow

This is a new formula for 2014, but it made quite the impression on me with its long-wear, highly-pigmented, easy-to-blend formula. There are over 200 shades to choose from, and I can tell you that it’ll be difficult to narrow it down. Some noteworthy shades of more interesting coloring (and high quality): S836 Pink Ash, S632 Hazelnut, S556 Taupe Gray, S228 Petrol Blue, ME930 Black Purple, ME828, ME624 Black Gold, ME302 Peacock, ME338 Acidic Green, M660 Speculous, M646 Latte, M630 Sweet Chestnut, M548 Pink Gray, M546 Dark Purple Taupe, I824 Ocher Pink, I628 Reptile, I550 Olive Gray, I544 Pink Granite, I542 Pinky Clay, I328 Bronze, I324 Bronze Khaki, I238 Blue Cedar, D830 Black Rose, D716 Crystalline Papaya, D562 Taupe Platinum, D320 Golden Khaki, D236 Lagoon Blue, D104 Black Diamond. Full Review

Where to Buy

$21.00 at Sephora

Chanel Les 4 Ombres Multi-Effect Quadra Eyeshadow

Chanel put out a new eyeshadow formula that really impressed this year. They’re nicely pigmented, silky-smooth, and long-wearing with several combinations to choose from. Favorites include: Tisse Rivoli, Tisse Venitien. Full Review

Where to Buy

$61.00 at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus

NARS Kauai Eyeshadow Duo

Both shades were very, very pigmented with an incredibly soft, almost creamy, texture. The consistency was dense, buttery, and over-the-top metallic. Full Review

Where to Buy

$35.00 at Sephora,

Urban Decay Naked Palettes

If you haven’t given any of the Naked iterations a look-see, they are well worth considering. They remain some of the best neutral palettes on the market and give you a lot of product for your money. Full Review

Where to Buy

$54.00 at Sephora,

NARS Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base

This continues to be my go-to primer for enhancing application and color payoff as well as for extending wear. I love that it has a colorless base, so it doesn’t change the eyeshadows I put on top of it. Full Review

Where to Buy

$25.00 at Sephora,

NARS Eye Paint

I love that these are a double-duty product–both a cream eyeshadow as well as a gel eyeliner–that works beautifully both ways. Favorite shades include: Iskandar, Snake Eyes, Tatar. Full Review

Where to Buy

$25.00 at Sephora,, Nordstrom

Make Up For Ever Artist Palette

A permanent palette featuring the brand’s Artist Shadow formula with eight shades ranging from beige to deep plum. Compact and perfect for travel with an excellent, high quality formula. Full Review

Where to Buy

$42.00 at Sephora

Dior Diorshow Fusion Mono Eyeshadow

If you favor cream eyeshadows for quick washes of color or like simpler looks with one or two products, I really love the way these shimmer and blend out on the skin. Favorites include: Aventure, Meteore, Millenium. Full Review

Where to Buy

$31.00 at Sephora, Nordstrom

Chikuhodo GSN-09 Eyeshadow Brush

The narrower width allows it to apply color more precisely, which is helpful if you’re using more than two or three colors on the lid. It packs on, sweeps, and diffuses eyeshadow beautifully. The edge also fits into the crease area well and can apply color there, too, if you don’t have a go-to crease brush (or sometimes get lazy, in my case). Full Review

Where to Buy

$25.00 at Beautylish

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You DO need it and it STILL is available. When it first arrived at Sephora, the SA told me that the Nars rep hinted to her that it would be made permanent….and it now has been! It’s gorgeous – you really should treat yourself because it is THAT good.

ooh the brush looks delish! Can’t wait till the holiday shopping is over and I get to put some $ aside for a few new brushes. Do you have any recommendations for me to check out, I always like to add a new shadow & crease brush since I can always use a few extra. I know every1 love the mac 217 but I actually prefer the 239 and I don’t own any haku or chikuhodo but would love to try them. *and thank you Christine for putting out these holiday list so fast for every1, your really busting them out & working hard. <3 🙂

I’m definitely going to look into the MUFE shadows. I’ve never tried them, but that’s going to change soon; they look beautiful! Christine, do you like Tom Ford or Guerlain eyeshadows? I need to add a neutral eyeshadow palette to my collection and I’ve found a couple from both brands that I like.

I like Tom Ford and Guerlain eyeshadows, but I don’t LOVE them. I LOVE Tom Ford’s more buttery formula (Nude Dip, Enchanted, etc.), but the permanent formula is hit or miss for me, which is how Guerlain’s can be. They both have a thinner, silky but a little powdery, formula on the whole.

Such pretty things. I have 2 of the new Chanel quads and will probably cave and buy a 3rd but, to be totally honest, I think the quads from Guerlain have Chanel’s beat hands down. I’ve found the one I have to be far more pigmented and apply with more “presence”. I think you also get a lot more product for the price. The only downside for me is that there isn’t a true highlighter/brow shade in the quad for me but still, I think if I wanted to spoil someone (or wanted someone to spoil me), I’d choose Guerlain over Chanel. I love Nars Baalbek and Snake Eyes Eye Paints and also that Kauai duo – I was so excited when it finally appeared here at Sephora. I just wish that they’d get Jardin Perdu one of these days!!!!

Another excellent post!
I stood eyeing the MUFE shadows again, today. I am a bit disappointed that we don’t have all of them readily available here, but still quite a lot to chose from. I finally managed to pick just one, and it was out of stock, so no MUFE today.

Just FYI, the makeup forever artist shadows are not eligible for the discount if you buy more than one. Normally, if you buy 3 with the case it is $44 but when you buy it with the VIB discount, only the 20% off coupon applies to the full price making 3 with the case $51.20. I spoke with a rep of sephora today and she said only one discount applies so there is no incentive to buy during the sale and if you do be sure to place it as a separate order so that the original discount applies and not add anything else to your cart.

great post and very timely! can you tell me whether you prefer MUFE artist shadows or ardency inn manuka shadows and why?

I love both formulas – it’s hard to really say one is better than the other, as they’re both great. It would come down to color/finish preference, I think.

I kept putting off getting Naked 3, trying to find “better quality” shadows in a similar vein. After trying a few Burberry shadows and a TF quad (that I returned, only liked 1 shade), I finally caved and I love it! The glitter shades do have fall out but it’s still a lovely and very versatile palette.

I couldn’t get into Naked 2, I only used Tease and the highlight. I like Nooner from Naked 3 better but I’m glad they felt confident in pushing for a purple crease color.

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