What are your deal-breakers when it comes to powder eyeshadow?

For more matte finishes: anything really powdery that has a lot of fallout, tendency sheer out, and thinner textures–I just find that weaker performers tend to have these kind of traits. For more shimmery shades: drier, more powdery bases where they can go on unevenly or require fingertip application. I don’t mind using a dampened brush to take a shimmer from shimmery to metallic, but I shouldn’t have to use my fingertip to get decent application and coverage.

— Christine
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26 Comments

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1) Ingredients, including fragrance, that irritates my sensitive eyes.
2) Poor pigmentation
3) Creases or transfers, even over primer
4) Heavy staining
5) Patchy application
6) Too hard to blend
7) Too dusty and/or too much fallout
8) Chalky
9) Big chunks of glitter. Microglitter is fine, as long as it doesn’t travel or fall out during wear.
10) For singles, I usually avoid black (I have more than enough in palettes, plus I’m allergic to many), matte gray (unless it’s got a hint of purple, blue, or other more flattering color), and white-based pastels. Also, I avoid anything too dark. Super dark shades tend not to work with my pale skin.

Rachel, how did I forget about creasing?
🤦‍♀️
It’s the bane of my existence when eyeshadow creases even though I always wear a heavy duty primer!

Wow, Pat McGrath shimmers are… greasy? I actually don’t own any and do the majority of my shopping online. All of the shimmers, just the “regular” shimmers or just the “special shades”? I can’t believe that for the price.

I have to +1 Anastasia. She’s correct; most shimmers are greasy due to liquid binders eg. silicones and oils, usually combined with “treated” pigments that are coated to provide extra slip.

Anastasia, that’s probably true. I could only get the Dominique Cosmetics’ silicone heavy shadows to work over Too Faced Shadow Insurance for me. I couldn’t get them to work over UD Primer Potion, NYX, Milani, or e.l.f. eye primers. So weird.

M, I wouldn’t call PML’s eyeshadows “greasy”, but her metallics and a few shimmers I own are fairly silicone/binder heavy and do sometimes crease on my eyelids even with an excellent e/s primer! Coloured Raine is far worse in that regard, though.

Fallout…I hate when powder shadows make a mess in the palette as well as on my face. While I love a good shimmer, I don’t like it when there are sparkly pieces in it, especially when those sparkles wind up on other parts of my face. And I really do not like mattes with sparkles. I don’t like powder shadows that don’t blend smoothly. Another dealbreaker are eyeshadows that just won’t pick up on the brush.

Something that was once a dealbreaker but not anymore are powder shadows that require eyeshadow primer. I find they ALL need to go on top of primer or they crease and/or fade on me over the course of the day. So although this was a dealbreaker a few years ago, I now have primers that I automatically use every time I wear powder shadow and I’m happy with this.

Allergen ingredient, glass or glitter ingredient, uneven or difficult application, hard to blend, fallout, bad color on me, requires adding water or fix-it-whatever.

Pink, red and orange shadows, for starters – no matter how good they are or how “on trend” they might be, they are simply nolle prosequi for me! After that, patchy application (especially with matte shadows) and uncontrollable fallout (UD’s Midnight Cowboy Rides Again and Maui Wowie are perfect examples) are issues that will stop me buying an eyeshadow.

How did I forget about pinks, red, oranges and yellows? 😆
I tried multiple tones, but no matter what, they make my eyes look so tired and me look almost sick. The last years have been so full of palettes with this type of colors, it makes me so frustrated even if I have zero interest in buying them.

I know what you mean and we’re not alone – there are a few others here (Genevieve is one) who can’t wear those colours or just don’t like the look of them so choose not to. I was hoping the trend was finally finished but, alas, it’s still going strong (which is good for those who love those shades but not so good for the rest of us, except if we really don’t need MORE eyeshadow, so in that sense, it’s good!)

1.) Scented/flavored with sodium saccharine.
2.) PET glitter as an ingredient.
3.) Weak pigmentation, and not in a buildible way.
4.) Flaky, chunky or overly powdery consistencies that produce excess fallout.
5.) Certain shimmers and metallics that emphasize lid texture to an unsightly degree due to having either too thick or too thin of a texture.
6.) Applies patchy no matter what method or brush I use.

In general:
– Pigmentation fails to match description. If your official statement says sheer and I get full pigmentation, I am disappointed in you. The opposite is also true (“full pigmentation” but get a sheer wash).
– Using colors not recommended for the eye area but it’s on the palette anyway. Why?
– Creasing. Yes my oily lids and eye shape may have a part to play in this but the payoff should still hold for more than 4 hours.
– Glitter. Why?

Powder Formulas:
– Fallout. While manageable there are some colors where clean up is The Worst.

Cream Formulas:
– Tackiness. It shouldn’t feel like Elmer’s glue is on my lids when I blink.

For mattes, I don’t like anything that is powdery, sheer, or so hard pressed that I have to scrape at it to get it out of the pan. I don’t like shimmers that have to be applied wet or with a fingertip, or are too softly pressed in the pan. It seems like shimmers that are too soft have to be applied with a finger or/wet brush. The most major dealbreaker is pressed glitter and scented eyeshadows.

All eyeshadows:
– Fallout: I always do my face make-up first, so fallout can easily become a problem. I do like my powder eye shadows to have some kick-back (not a fan of very stiff formulas) and to be easy to pick-up on most brushes, but fallout is a big deal breaker.

Matte finishes:
– Eye shadows that are patchy and/or don’t blend well

Shimmery / glittery / metallic finishes:
– Everything 😆 While I do use some shimmers on the eyes from time to time (but more satin formulas mostly), anything shimmery or sparkling isn’t my cup of tea. I know that for some is unimaginable, but I don’t like highlighters on myself wither.
– But even for satins, a big deal breaker for me (except fallout) is a non-buildable formula; since I want to keep my make-up collection small, I need to be able to apply my satins either sheer, either pack them (but be able to do it with eye primer only, no fancy additional paint pots or crease cutting with concealer).

Fallout after application, creasing even when using primer and too powdery in the pan are my major deal breakers. I can work with most other problems. I would likely not buy a product that had too much glitter, little pigmentation or difficult to blend. Some heavier formula’s are too heavy and as soon as they touch the skin they cling and resist blending. I always use primer and I can always use Fix Plus to foil my shadows so those are not big issues for me. A lighter pigmentation is not ideal but I don’t mind if it will build. There are actually times when I just want a light wash of colour and shadows that are less pigmented work well for that. Having said all that, if I know the problems, whether I can work with them or not, I likely won’t purchase the shadow.

I prefer to do my face makeup first, so any eyeshadow that is prone to fall out I’m not a fan of. Especially if it’s a dark matte that wants to set up shop on my face for the rest of the day. I like for my eyeshadow to last all day, is that asking too much? Creasing? No thank you! I don’t mind using a glitter glue or a fingertip application, but make it worth it. I have used glitter in palettes before, but it’s not an everyday thing for me. I’m 43, where am I going with disco balls on my eyes? JK, I’ll go to the grocery store like that, I don’t care.

Fallout
Creasing even when used over a primer
Weak pigmentation
Patchiness
Hard to blend out
But most of all, plastic glitter

Making my eyelids heavy (this is an allergic reaction from talc)
Creasing within 3 hours of application
Ingredients that end up being itchy on my eye
Hard to blend
Poor pigmentation

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