Rant & Rave: Matte Eyeshadow

Tell us what you love and hate about...

Matte Eyeshadow

I NEED them to be blendabable and have enough binder in them to adhere without getting sheer or uneven! When they’re good, they’re great, but when they’re lower quality, I find they’re one of the harder products to “make work.”

— Christine


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brittanyn (BrittanyNicoleBeauty) Avatar

I find matte shadows to be a bit too powdery with fallout during application.
On the other hand matte shadows are more universally flattering and they bring out they eye more,

LC Avatar

Still searching for my “holy grail” eyeshadow palette. I own a Stila palette in Spirit, and I recently realized that a lot of it is unblendable and unpigmented. I was enamored with it at first..

Rachel R. Avatar

Rant: Mostly, I just find it a really boring finish. This is a formula issue, but I find a lot of them patchy and/or hard to blend, especially in the kind of colors I tend to like. It’s hard to find good, bright mattes.

Rave: They’re a necessary tool for shading and highlighting. They reflect less light, and they’re needed for many looks. They’re great for balancing with sparkly or bright lips and/or cheeks. I love matte neutrals for quick n easy looks, professional looks, and (my favorite) pin-up looks.

Ashleigh Avatar

Love: I think they go well with hooded eyes. Gives us a little more definition and doesn’t show as much skin texture. I can hardly do eye looks anymore without mattes in the crease!
Hate: Alongside you and some other commenters, I find lower quality mattes can show patchiness a lot easier than other finishes. Also I find that I have a harder time estimating how matte shadows are going to look on the eye than shimmer or satin for some reason, color-wise. I guess matte pans are just more deceptive to me.

Sun Avatar

I do have matte palettes that I use all the time and like (Viseart Neutral Matte and TheBalm Meet Matt(e) Nude), but I wish that mattes were available in a wider variety of shades like satins or shimmers. I’d even purchase a palette comprised entirely of low-level shimmery satins. For me, mattes form the foundation of any eye look as the transition shade, and outer V, and often times, the brow highlight (especially on mature gals) should be matte; whereas shimmery shadows acts as the accent on lids and inner corner (sometimes lower lashline).

Celia Avatar

I love that mattes can add in so much extra dimension and really polish up a look to its fullest. And I adore how versatile matte shadows are since they can often be easily used to fill in brows, contour, blush, add to a lip look, etc. Hate how many mattes sheer out too quickly (which muddies the color) and don’t blend. Mattes can be the hardest to work with and get the best payout from, but they’re indispensable and full of uses. It’s tricky to figure out which primers work well with both mattes and shimmers to get the best experience. We need some more matte-friendly primers.

Katherine T. Avatar

*Matte shadows tend to be drier, chalkier, less binders, so my oily lids tend to eat them up. High quality mattes can be hard to find, especially if you’re looking for matte blues, greens, purples. With matte shadows, I usually have to use a primer and cream base, then press the shadow on with a brush/ foam applicator to make it stick. I will definitely be checking out Clarin’s new matte shadows, since they have a hybrid cream/powder formula.
*I don’t like all matte eye looks –think they make my eyes look flatter and smaller than they already are. I prefer a mix of matte and shimmers
*I usually use a darker matte on outer corners, to give the eyes lift, add more drama, and help anchor more shimmery shadows.

Susan Avatar

I love matte eye shadow because at age 50+, shimmer and glitter emphasizes every crease and wrinkle. Nothing to hate about mattes! My favorite palette is the discontinued one from Too Faced, not the Natural Matte, but the one with browns, grays, and purples.

Jenn Avatar

Matte shadows are my workhorse. They may not attract the attention a nice shimmer shadow would, but they are a necessity in any eye look. On the downside though, I’ve found that I really had to invest some money in order to find a good range of shades that worked

Anne Avatar

I’m pretty much the same. If it’s a good formula they are my favorite kind of eyeshadow. If not, they’re a b*tch to work with and go straight back to the store or in the bin. I like how they work well for pretty much any occasion from work to everyday to a more formal event. I also like how you can go from day to night quite easily by making sure everything is pretty much still doing okay and just popping a bit of more shimmery eyeshadow on the center of the lid, and maybe throwing on a bit more liner and/or mascara and you’re good to go. I also find matte eyeshadows to be good for when I’m having a bad self-esteem, “I’m too old for shiny things” moment as I can still look fab but feel less self-conscious.

krachael00 Avatar

I love the versatility of matte shadows; they’re great for creating depth and dimension, and also definition at the lashline. Matte formulations can definitely be tricky, though—formulations change soooo much from brand to brand; and even within the same brand, from shade to shade! It baffles me. It’d be interesting to learn the process of making matte eyeshadow, so that at least we could understand WHY a great matte is so difficult to come by. I definitely prefer more “modern mattes” with a weensy bit of shimmer or pearl or something to improve the blendability.

Sarah Avatar

I hate how easy it is to screw up matte eyeshadows. On me, the Maybelline Nudes matte shades are super chalky and unblendable. However, my Paula’s Choice Nude Mattes is my absolute holy grail palette. Most pigmented and buttery black I’ve ever touched and the other shades, though slightly less buttery, they’re blendable as crap and so pigmented. Tarte also has some decent matte shades that sit beautifully on the skin–a few of their shades in the “buttercup” yellow/ivory range are staples for setting my face on heavier coverage days!

Valerie Avatar

Enter into my love hate relationship with matte eyeshadows. If they blend well and are decent pigmentation then I absolutely love them. If they are hard to work with, I will throw them in the back of the drawer and never look at them again.

Don’t even get me started on my eternal quest for a matte cool toned eggplant or fig colored shadow that doesn’t look black when applied.

Quinctia Avatar

I don’t like wearing them by themselves, I always want to blend them with another finish or top them with something else. Just about any other finish of shadow, I can work with just that finish alone. I only like to use mattes for contrast. Or if I’m going nuts on eyeliner!

Nancy T Avatar

Some are fantastic, and I definitely need them to be, because I use them as transition shades and browbone highlight. Even though I know that “technically” MAC Orb is a satin, it has a dead-on matte finish, and I seriously cannot live without a pan of it! Lorac, MAC Matte2, and some of their regular mattes are great, along with what I’ve seen of the Viseart mattes too. But I HATE with a passion a fussy, patchy matte! Or when they blend away to nothingness because they’re too powdery and lack something to hold it together!

Bibi Avatar

Wayne Goss says shimmery brow bones are like sooo ’80’s, OVER, & unhip.
Your Aunty Bibi’s eye makeup is stuck in Bollywood 1955, even though she wasn’t even born until the mid ’60’s nor anywhere near India.
And nothing says 1955 Bollywood like a pale matte shadow flatly applied from lash to brow topped with a dramatic feline flick (or maybe even 2 flicks in different colors!) & a pair of strip eyelashes.
So bone or beige are my matte shadow shades of choice, and they better not be chalky, or make my lids look crepe-y, or disappear in 3 hours.
Out of all the bone & beige shadows I’ve tried L’oreal Infallible 24 hr in Endless Pearl is the BEST. It is a matte bone color that has absolutely no pearl at all. It’s buildable, it blends easily, it goes on smoothly never patchy, stays on with no primer for at least 12 hrs, it’s cheap as chips, AND one pot will last you years provided you replace the little gray plug under the lid between uses. Hallelujah!

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