The best liquid eyeshadows you can buy (2022)

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By Erin Mayer

Updated

May 2, 2019

  • Liquid eyeshadow is the ideal one-and-done product — high impact, minimal effort.
  • Stila Shimmer & Glow Liquid Eyeshadow comes in a wide array of colors and finishes that stay put even when you're dancing the night away (or falling asleep on your morning commute).
  • Other favorites include the Revlon PhotoReady Eye Art, Glossier Lidstar, Milk Makeup Eye Pigment, and Smith & Cult Glitterbaby Metallic-Shift Eyeshadow.

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(Video) Which Liquid Eyeshadow Is BEST? | Battle Of The Liquid Eyeshadows Swatches and Review

Liquid eyeshadow is intimidating. Powder and cream formulas are more intuitive — apply them with brushes, fingers, or some combination of the two — and bam, you have an eyeshadow look. But most liquid eyeshadows have a doe-foot applicator or brush already attached, and while that might be appealing, it's also a little scary. Eyeshadow is all about control, isn't it?

In reality, a good liquid eyeshadow is that Holy Grail beauty product that gives you a complete eye-look in two-seconds flat. Swipe it over your lids, tap out the edges with a fingertip, and, viola, instant glamour and definition.

I reach for liquid eyeshadows on two occasions: when I want a subtle eye-look with little to no effort or when I want something high-impact with little to no effort. If a liquid eyeshadow requires a ton of finagling, it's because either the formula or the applicator isn't quite right for your needs. I've sourced five top picks in a variety of finishes to help you build your collection — researched and tested.

Here are the best liquid eyeshadows you can buy:

  • Best glittery liquid eyeshadow:
  • Best drugstore liquid eyeshadow: Revlon PhotoReady Eye Art
  • Best sheer liquid eyeshadow: Glossier Lidstar
  • Best hybrid cream/liquid eyeshadow: Milk Makeup Eye Pigment
  • Best smoky liquid eyeshadow: Smith & Cult Glitterbaby Metallic-Shift Eyeshadow

The best glittery liquid eyeshadow

Stila

gives you a disco-worthy glitter eye (minus the fallout) in one swipe. Really, just one.

is New Year's Eve in a tube (well, more like a rectangle). I swear, this eyeshadow brings the party.

Stila's take on a liquid shadow is special because it's just solid, opaque, budge-proof glitter. Finally, a way to wear glitter without half of it ending up on your cheeks by the end of the night. I wore Stila throughout the holiday season and receivedmany compliments on my makeup.

Plus, you won't find flecks of this stuff on your clothing for years to come after wearing them just once. And trust me, you'll want to wear this a lot more than just once. It is gorgeous and single-handedly turned me into a "glitter person."

Available in 17 shades, you have a ton of options. Keep in mind that all of them are high-glam. These are not your subtle, everyday shadows unless you're the type to wear glitter to the office; in that case, please keep doing you.

These stunning shadows have garnered rave reviews at Glamour andAllure, not to mention countless beauty gurus on YouTube.

Pros: Flake-free glitter, long-lasting, easy to apply

(Video) The BEST Liquid Eyeshadows!

Cons: Can be tough to thoroughly wash off

$24.00 from Sephora

The best drugstore liquid eyeshadow

Walmart

Easy on the budget, Revlon PhotoReady Eye Art is the combo liquid eyeshadow and glitter of your dreams. Layer the liquid glitter on top of the metallic cream shadow for a highly pigmented look.

Stock up on some Revlon PhotoReady Eye Artto get a healthy dose of glitter in your life without the painful price tag. For less than $10 you get two shadows — a pigmented metallic cream on one side and a glitter on the other.

Reviewers love the color payoff and the amount of shimmer you get for the price tag, though some note that the product takes a while to dry on the lids, so you'll have to be careful not to smudge it before it locks into place. If you're not a regular glitter user, this is a great option to pick up for those rare occasions when you want to go all out.

The customization aspect is also cool; the glitter is designed to layer on top of the metallic liquid shadow, so you can use it as a liner for sparkly dimension or lay it all over the lid for a super shimmery look. These shadows come highly recommended by Teen Vogue, Allure, and 74% of customers on Ulta's website.

Pros: Double-sided glitter and liquid shadow, affordable, easy to use

Cons: Takes a while to dry, some reviewers experienced glitter peeling

$8.07 from Walmart

The best sheer liquid eyeshadow

Glossier

Glossier Lidstar gives you a sheer yet buildable wash of shimmery color that will have you glowing like the '90s pop star you truly are inside.

Sometimes, you really just need to channel that moment in "Ever After." You know, when Drew Barrymore rolls up to the ball looking like a model in the prom-night spread from a Delia's catalog?

(Video) I Tried ALL 13 NEW Liquid Eyeshadows from NYX Cosmetics! 🤩 13 DIFFERENT LOOKS!

Glossier Lidstar is the answer to all of my "missed out on the fun parts of the '90s because I was younger than 10-years-old" prayers. It's a sheer wash of color (an "eye glow," if you will) that distributes subtle shimmer with the wave of the applicator. I use the doe-foot to sweep the color liberally across my eyelid, then blend with my fingertips.

All six of the shades are very sheer, but you can build them up as long as you give the formula a few seconds to dry between coats. Otherwise, you risk erasing some of the color you've already laid down. Choosing just one favorite is impossible — like choosing a favorite child, I'd imagine — but I'm partial to Fawn (smoky taupe) and Lily (sheer lilac).

Another reason I love these so much? They pair together beautifully. As Allure points out, you can use just one Lidstar for a really simple look, or combine two or three. They dry down and stay put, so make sure you blend quickly so you don't get clumps of shadow stuck where you don't want them.

Pros: Sheer, buildable, easy to combine

Cons: Darker shades can be a little patchy

The best hybrid cream/liquid eyeshadow

Milk Makeup

The Milk Makeup Eye Pigment is a liquid-meets-cream, high-impact shadow that comes in a squeeze tube and doesn't move until you're ready to wash it off.

I love the Milk Makeup Eye Pigment for the exact opposite reason that I love the Glossier Lidstar — because of just how not subtle it is. This is more like a thick cream in a tube than a true liquid, but it's more slippery than cream shadows in jar or pencil form tend to be. The tiniest dot of the product creates a solid wall of metallic color across your entire eyelid in about half-a-second. Once it dries, it's not moving until you attack it with makeup remover.

The color selection is stunning (I'm partial to lavender Jam Room and bronze Gig). Because you only have a few seconds to play before the eyeshadow locks into place, I recommend squeezing a tiny bit onto the back of your hand and applying to the eyelids with fingertips or a flat brush for maximum control over where the product ends up.

There's no built-in applicator so these can be a little unwieldy to apply to targeted areas of your eye. Keep a few cotton swabs soaked with makeup remover on hand to clean up any mistakes, for more precise application. But for staying power and pigmentation (without chunks of glitter) you can't beat the Milk Makeup Eye Pigments. Editors at Byrdie and Glamour agree.

Pros: Long-lasting, metallic, beautiful colors

Cons: Dries down super fast and can be hard to work with

Best smoky liquid eyeshadow

The best liquid eyeshadows you can buy (5)

Smith & Cult

Smith & Cult Glitterbaby Metallic-Shift Eyeshadow takes the guesswork out of creating a complex, multidimensional smoky eye.

I try a lot of makeup, and it's pretty rare that something brand-new becomes an instant fave. But that's exactly what happened when I got my hands on the newly-launched Smith & Cult Glitterbaby Metallic-Shift Eyeshadow.

This is one of the most truly innovative eyeshadows I've tried in a while. Straight out of the tube they look like typical metallic glitters, but as you blend they become smoky and multidimensional. Each color contains black micronized pigments that activate when you rub the product in, creating a look that appears complex but is actually super simple to achieve.

(Video) Top Ten Liquid Eyeshadows Lisa Eldridge, Natasha Denona, Huda, Chanel & More!

Currently available in 12 unique shades, Glitterbaby boasts a "crease-proof finish." The paddle-shaped applicator comes to a gentle point, enabling a more precise application. "[T]here's absolutely no creasing, no transferring, and no sad fading throughout the day," Cosmopolitan editor Brooke Shunatona wrote.

I actually did notice a tiny bit of creasing after a few hours, but it was minimal and actually added an appealing grunginess to my eye look.

Pros: Easy to use, creates a smoky eye with one shadow, long-lasting

Cons: May crease a bit

Erin Mayer

Freelance Writer

Erin Mayer is a freelance writer who covers beauty, culture, lifestyle, and her feelings for a variety of publications. In her spare time, you can find her watching true crime documentaries and having an existential crisis while doing a face mask. Learn more about how our team of experts tests and reviews products at Insider here.

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FAQs

Which eyeshadow brand is best? ›

Many eyeshadow aficionados say that Natasha Denona has some of the best eyeshadow palettes you can buy, and we agree. Both the mattes and metallics are incredibly pigmented, creamy, and blendable, and the brand even includes some gorgeous duo-chrome shades in some of their offerings—including this one.

Is liquid eyeshadow better? ›

“In comparison to powder eyeshadows, liquid formulas have easier application and less fallout and are typically more pigmented,” he says. Liquids are also the way to go if you're after a super shimmery or metallic finish, although these days you can even find matte options out there.

How do you make liquid eyeshadow look good? ›

Again the more you blend it the more sheer it'll be. And i have a bit of concealer on my lids.

What does liquid eyeshadow do? ›

Liquid eyeshadow is a form of eye makeup that comes in a tube with an applicator. The liquid formula is easy to blend and creates long-lasting color for your eyelids.

How do you know if eyeshadow is good quality? ›

Good eyeshadows apply evenly and consistently. “Bad” eyeshadows are very patchy, and cling to one spot of your eye, making parts look darker than others. If you have a good eyeshadow, it could appear patchy if you are using the wrong base on your eye, so be careful!

What do makeup artists use for eyeshadow? ›

And kind of making your eye shadow look a bit messy foundation concealer eye shadow primers anything

Where do you apply liquid eyeshadow? ›

I always apply it on the crease. And then when i don't have a lot of the product on the brush i'm

Can you apply liquid eyeshadow with a brush? ›

Most liquid eyeshadows come with doe-foot applicators for easy application, and can be blended with your fingers or with a brush. Blending with your fingers is ideal for quick and easy makeup looks, and the heat from your fingers can actually warm up the product for super smooth application.

Do you use primer with liquid eyeshadow? ›

Liquid eyeshadow helps highlight your eyelids with a burst of color. With countless color options available, there are endless ways to add this product into your daily look! First, prep your eyes with eyelid primer, then dab on a soft, matte shade of powdered eyeshadow to serve as a backdrop for your liquid shade.

What do you put on before eyeshadow? ›

Apply your concealer, foundation, blush or bronzer, and brow liner before making your way to your eyeshadow. Apply a shadow primer to help your eyeshadow last all day. If you don't, the natural oils your skin creates will seep through the shadow and cause it to gather along your crease several hours into wearing it.

How do you apply liquid eyeshadow with your fingers? ›

Line as you saw i prefer to apply the eyeshadow with my pinky. And i like to blend it out with my

Can you put liquid eyeshadow on your lips? ›

Mineral Makeup Eye Shadows that contain FDA approved colorants (strictly regulated by the way) may not be safe to use on lips. Many vibrant eyeshadow shades are achieved by the use of very safe iron oxides, yet may also contain Ultramarines, Ferric Ferrocyanide and Chromium Oxides.

What eyeshadow palettes do makeup artists use? ›

The Best Eyeshadow Palettes For Makeup Enthusiasts And Pros
  • Best Eyeshadow Palette Overall: Uoma Beauty Black Magic Poise Color Palette.
  • Best Neutral Eyeshadow Palette: Dior Backstage Eye Palette In Warm Neutrals.
  • Best Nude Eyeshadow Palette: Urban Decay Naked3 Eyeshadow Palette.
17 Jun 2022

How do I choose a good eyeshadow palette? ›

Make sure you have a combo of a light, medium, and darker shade. Pair colors that are in the same color family or that are similar. If you're wearing a colorful look, always pair a neutral eyeshadow shade to balance out the look. Mix finishes if you're going to wear shimmer, include a matte in your crease.

Which is best cream or powder eyeshadow? ›

Products Work Differently on Different Skin Types

On dryer or dehydrated skin, cream-like textures blend in better without getting stuck on dry patches. For more mature skin, cream eyeshadows are preferred since they give off a youthful glow and sheen, whereas powders can highlight fine lines and look a little dull.

What is the best eye shadow color for brown eyes? ›

Most brown eyes have flecks of golden or yellow pigments, especially when they hit the sunlight. Brown eyes also tend to have a natural sparkle, so gold eyeshadows, such as copper, bronze, rose gold, and shimmery yellow, enhance their golden tones. Use gold eyeshadow for a casual lunch date or sultry evening look.

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