Rant & Rave: Matte Eyeshadow

Tell us what you love and hate about...

Matte Eyeshadow

The softer and more blendable a formula is, the more powdery and less pigmented it is, so there are a lot more trade-offs to get the right coverage level while still ensuring it’s easy to work with!

— Christine


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Kitty Avatar

It’s so flatttttt.. Perfect for transition and some of crease, of course, and is more toned down for under arches and on upper part of lid. But I can’t use an entire matte-eye look, unless I want to look like I’m about 20 years older and wrinkly.

Anne Avatar

I like mattes that I can build and blend. If I can’t, it’s a deal breaker. I’m probably too picky, but I don’t think many lines make quality mattes. That’s probably the biggest reason I buy singles. I cannot stand a dry, streaky matte or an intensely pigmented but crumbly matte. Poorly performing and/or unflattering matte shades ruin the whole purpose of a palette for me, especially the transition shades.

Jess Avatar

I feel exactly the same way!!! I’m still on the hunt for perfect matte singles. The dark colors for outer v and close to the lash line seem to be especially impossible to find. I don’t really buy palettes; I prefer singles I can keep in own palette. Any suggestions of hidden gems – send ‘em my way, lol.

Anne Avatar

Depends on the shades you like, but for the most part, MUFE, L Mercier, Chantecaille, Paula Dorf and Burberry all make darn good mattes in singles. Chantecaille Celesite is a big winner for me. It’s a very neutral, deep warm plum. LM has a cooler deep black plum. Again, it depends on your color preferences, but I do love the Chantecaille matte formula and I know it has a deep dark brown.

Jessica Avatar

Thank you so much, Anne. As a matter of fact, dark browns and warm plums are my favorite deep matte shades and I’ve been looking for good ones for such a long time. I really appreciate these suggestions!!

Nancy T Avatar

Rave: They are an absolute necessity for my very hooded eyelids. I prefer a softer, more buildable formula for my transition shades, and will even use a satin that looks matte to achieve that purpose. I do prefer something denser in pigmentation for my crease and outer V, as I can get that to go on much more quickly and easily.

Rant: I abhor mattes that apply patchy! Or have serious fallout. Oddly, even though I have one palette (ABH Subculture) that is a bit fallout prone if I’m not careful, I get some absolutely fantastic looks from it, provided I take my time and don’t allow myself to be rushed. That’s the exception to my rule. Otherwise I can’t be bothered with finicky formulas!

Rachel R. Avatar

Rants: Matte is my least-favorite finish. I just don’t usually find them interesting or particularly flattering on me. So many are chalky, patchy, and/or hard to blend.

Raves: I’m learning to appreciate mattes more, now that there are better formulas. When used with other finishes in an eye look, they can make it more interesting, or let a really sparkly shadow or intense duo-chrome take center stage. A matte finish can also let a really bright or beautiful color be the star of a look, without the distraction of shimmer or sparkle (Coloured Raine Vivid Pigments, for example).

Ana Maria Avatar

I simply love matte eyeshadows (and matte finishes in general). I’ll sometimes use satins, I’ll rarely use shimmers, I would never use glitters (I only like them on others).
I love when I find an matte eyeshadow that can be easily build, so I can get different color payoffs depending on application technique and brush. Blendability is a must, but I’m willing to put in some effort in blending for a beautiful color.

I just `hate` that a good matte is difficult to find. Not only that, there is a lot of inconsistencies between colors/shades within the same brand and formula; I never found a bulletproof matte formula, one in which I could potentially buy any shade and get great results. No… with mattes you can have 3 amazing shades in a formula, then buy a forth shade that’s patchy and un-blendable; sometimes even the same shade bought 2-3 years after as replacement varies in quality.
I `hate` mattes with fallout; I can work with more powdery finishes, put once I kick the brush I want no fallout!

Genevieve Avatar

A well made matte eyeshadow is tricky to find and they can be useful for all kinds of eye looks.
Personally, I rarely use matte eyeshadows, perhaps in the crease to offset some metallic or shimmery eyeshadow.
Matte shadows tend to look far to flat on me to use them by themselves.

Brenda C Avatar

The facts of life are, crumbly, powdery or streaky mattes are a challenge for sure. But with my hooded eyes, I find them something that I use often. I know how to work with them, so if you have to be diligent in your application, so be it.

bibi Avatar

Rave: Since my eyes are a bit close-set and I tend to wear Arabian style looks – I love a rich, deep matte shadow to contour the eye, deepen the crease, and extend my outer V dramatically.

Rant:: All too often matte shadows can be finicky, streaky, unblendable, patchy messes. Matte shadows seem to be one thing you must pay more for to get a quality product that performs well.

Mariella Avatar

What Rachel said pretty much goes for me too. Mattes are my least favourite shade. I’m in my 60’s now (gosh, that sounds alarming!) so mattes should be my go to shadows but I find they can be so dry and dull and also aging looking, so in spite of being told by “they” (as in “they say”), I don’t rely heavily on matte shadows. I find that on my lids, something with a bit of shimmer or sheen (Stila Starlight or Wheat; ABH Gleam or Vermeer) makes my eyes look brighter and “younger” (I may well be deluding myself but at the end of the day, I’m the only one who matters in terms of my reactions to my makeup). I do use mattes for my crease and sometimes outer lids and I love those like MAC’s old Matte2 formula – ones that apply smoothly and don’t emphasize texture.

Eileen Avatar

Mattes tend to make eyelids look dry, flat, and old. Since I’m In my seventies, that’s definitely not something I want! ? As we age, a good quality demi-matte can serve as a base for other, more luminous products, but all matte is unflattering and aging.

Carol Avatar

I find myself using Matte more now that I’m over 50. That said, it took me some time to find a formula that wasn’t patchy, chalky, or had massive fallout. I much prefer formulas that are easy to blend and I’ll deal with anything else.

Sarah Avatar

I love mattes, they’re my favorite finish

I feel like they work well with my overall style — shimmer/metallic shades sometimes seem too glamorous compared to the rest of my casual style lol.

Also they’re more user-friendly for my deep-set eyes. It’s easier for me to get carried away with shimmer shadows and get that black-eye look.

My rant is that it’s hard to find good mostly-matte palettes, so I have to do some singles hunting.

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