What are deal-breakers when you're trying a new eyeshadow formula?

I need my eyeshadow to apply evenly and be blendable; if it’s not really pigmented, it should be buildable at the very least, but I tend to prefer fairly pigmented eyeshadow overall. If it’s really dusty/powdery, I don’t tend to reach for it.

— Christine

39 Comments

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Casey Avatar

Too much shimmer or glitter. A little is okay, but I don’t want my eyelids looking like a disco ball, especially as I get older. And if one of the first ingredients is mineral oil…nope, not for my oily lids.

Nancy T Avatar

If it creases before, say, 7-8 hours. And I do mean with primer! My oily, hooded eyes require primer in order for me to even be able to wear any eyeshadow. Usually it still is perfectly fine until I take it off. Another pet peeve I have is that it MUST be bendable, yet not blend into oblivious nothingness either! And like what I said about blush not being splotchy, same goes for eyeshadows, too.

Rachel R. Avatar

1) Anything irritating to my sensitive eyes, such as fragrance, some botanical oils, too much mineral oil.
2) Creasing, even over primer. For me, this is mostly a problem with creams.
3) Weak pigmentation, even over primer.
4) Bad texture, whether stiff and hard to blend, super patchy, or really dusty with tons of fallout.

Mariella Avatar

I think the biggest is fallout…more than anything else, GLITTER fallout – the kind that is almost impossible to get off your face and that continues throughout the day – is a deal breaker for me. I have TWO pans of UD Maui Wowie – one in BOSIII and the other in the “new formula” that was supposed to be better. Both are dreadful in this sense, as it Midnight Cowboy Rides Again. Even if I use a “shield” of some sort (a real pain but almost worth it for Maui Wowie because it is SO gorgeous), glitter continues to rain down throughout the day. There was a shade in the original Too Faced Natural Eye palette that was the same, though it was so dupe-able that it didn’t matter, but UD Maui Wowie, MCRA and also Sidecar are 3 shades I love but simply do not use because of the fallout.

Marta Avatar

– too sheer or dusty, not pigmented
– if a swatch completely disappears from my hand before I get to pay for the product
– creases or disappears before 5pm (on eyeshadow base counting from about 7am)

Not a total deal breaker, but if the application takes too much time I won’t reach for the product too often:
– packaging like the L’Oreal Infallible singles
– hard to blend
– needs a damp brush
– or needs to clean brush after every use.

xamyx Avatar

I don’t mind the packaging, in fact, I love the fact I can knock them around with minimal damage, LOL! The only real issue I have with them is pretty much the same as I have with *all* eyeshadow singles-I just find it easier/quicker to grab a palette or two. I just don’t have the space to to keep singles readily available, and I often just reach for a neutral palette… I am in the process of working out a better system, though, because I really do love them!

Sarah Avatar

Pigmentation and longevity. If it’s not pigmented, I usually cross it off my list without a second thought. I’ll only save it if it’s a fantastic color and can be worked with. If it wears off in ~4 hours or less, that’s also a big nope. I don’t want to take time to wipe away creasing after working on my makeup in the morning. I can deal with powdery eyeshadow because I use an excess of cream bases (eyeliners and shadow sticks) so that’s not a massive concern.

Hildegard Avatar

A texture that’s either too stiff or too powdery, difficulties with blending, but above all things poor pigmentation is the true dealbreaker. Any eyeshadow can look gorgeous on the pan, but I won’t buy it if the colour looks weak on my eyelids.

Pteetsa Avatar

Glitter or too powdery – anything that can fall into my eyes and irritate my contacts is a definite no-go.
Cream eyeshadows that make my eyelids stick, also a big nope.
Poor pigmentation where by the time I’ve built up enough product to see any color, it’s just a big sheet of powder about to fall into my eyes, like slate rock.

Eileen Avatar

When it comes to makeup, I believe the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and, although I use many products on their own, I really love to blend and layer to create looks that are uniquely my own. Ombré effects, gradients of color, edges flawlessly blended out, are the types of looks I favor. If an eyeshadow cannot be blended smoothly and evenly and if it can’t be mixed with other colors or layered, then I’m probably not going to be very interested in it.

Many other things like excessive fallout, creasing, color fading, etc. are pretty standard deal breakers.

xamyx Avatar

Color; it doesn’t matter how “fabulous” a product is, if the color is just wrong. On the other hand, if the color is worthy, I don’t mind fussing with it. I have several tried & true hacks up my sleeve to get just about any product to work, so that really isn’t an issue.

I started wearing makeup as a tween in the mid-80s, and we just didn’t have the products we have now. Add having a very specific, alternative aesthetic, options were extremely limited, and finding the right hues meant using mainly cheap DS brands. Mixing products/colors & repurposing just became second-nature, and even in my 40s, I still use some of the same hacks, without thinking about it.

Stephanie Avatar

1. Excessive/quick creasing, even with primer.
2. Poor pigmentation, especially if primer won’t help. I have some palettes with one or two problem shades, but I will not buy palettes where a good percentage of shades have poor color payoff, or individual shadows that have this problem.
3. Sheer formulas. I don’t go for the “sheer wash of color” look.
4. Not blendable. I use several shades even for the simplest of looks, and they need to blend together nicely.
5. Anything that has to be applied wet to show up on my eyes.
6. Excessively chunky glitter. Microglitter is 100% fine by me, but if the glitter looks/feels like it would be more at home in an elementary school Christmas craft project than on your eyes, we have a problem.

I also hate fallout, especially of the glittery variety (I love you, UD, but I’m looking at you…). However, it’s so rare to find a glittery shade without this problem that I can’t call it a deal breaker (and there are some workarounds that minimize the problem).

Debbie Avatar

Blendability, crease resistance, pigmentation, the ability to be buildable, and little to no fallout are what I look for in a new shadow line. Range of colors and textures are also important. Good value for the price is also a plus.

Kylie5 Avatar

When I Take Off a shimmery shade and the colour gets Off but the glitter particles stay everywhere. This often happens with cheap eyeshadows in my experience.
Too much fallout because making my eye makeup is the Last step in my Routine

kellly Avatar

1. Carmine
2. Icky color (that means a color I don’t like and won’t wear!)
3. MATTE!!
4. Poor performance reviews
5. Cost

Codi Avatar

How the eye shadow applies as well as pigmentation and blendability. I don’t want an eyeshadow that’s patchy, I have to build up the color, or basically have to work a lot with.

RMW (Rose) Avatar

I’ve been easy going when it comes to eye shadows, actually. I’ve seen some loose eye shadows and those are the ones I really stay away from. Metallic, glittery colors I also stay away from, because I know that they don’t look good on me. I haven’t had any issues with eye shadows. Whether Wet N Wild, L.A. Looks or Ulta or Sephora… I have a great primer and it stays on well. 🙂

Melissa Avatar

I won’t use anything with parabens or mineral oil, so that narrows down the field. Beyond that I want a good color payoff and for it to stay all day (over primer) without creasing. If I pack on a shadow and still can’t see the color, it’s going bye-bye. I also really hate when a color looks a certain way in the pan and applies totally differently! This seems to happen a lot with darker purples and blues – they look beautiful in the pan but end up looking gray/black on the eye.

Anne Avatar

Deal breakers for me: poor pigmentation, durability and/or blendability. Also, flimsy packaging, like the plastic ‘sleeve’ type, so I have to buy a case also.

Kathleen Avatar

Lise Watier makes an excellent base formature lids, lasts for hours and smooths skin, highly recommend. Antiwrinkle eyelid primer, makes any shadow work it seems

Alecto Avatar

Anything patchy and difficult to apply. I really only like eyeshadows that take minimal effort to pick up and transfer to my lid, and if it’s a pressed shadow that’s stiff in the pan or low in pigmentation so as to need multiple attempts … I’ll probably not reach for it, even if I love the color. That’s part of the reason that I’m such a fan of loose shadows — they’re almost always better than mainstream pressed shadows in that respect (though I have had some duds; the indie companies that I buy shadow from are generally known for good texture and pigmentation).

Cat Avatar

If a shadow completely lacks pigmentation, is splotchy, disappears when blended out, or has too much glitter/shimmer, it’s a deal-breaker. The exception being the glitter/shimmer — because I do enjoy going a little over the top around the holidays. If it’s a cream shadow, then creasing can be a deal-breaker — but I don’t often use a cream shadow.

Bonnie Avatar

No splotching. Not too much pigment, not too little. Not too dry, not to greasy. I guess I’m a Goldilocks that way. I like matte, glitter, and everything in between, creams, crayons, and powders (pressed or loose) if they satisfy the above requirements, and I will try almost any color, although I favor the yellow and orange tones.

Laura Avatar

If it distributes on the skin evenly, blends evenly, good pigmentation, doesn’t crease and lasts a long time when worn, I’m happy. That might seem like a lot of needs but eyeshadows have really improved and gotten affordable recently. My favourite brands right now are Morphe and Makeup Geek.

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