Updated 9 March 2022
We have tested eye shadows and name Linda Hallberg Cosmetics Infinity Palette as best eye shadow of 2021. Let’s say it caught our eye! This eye shadow is easy to apply and has a good colour, all while lasting a long time. The colours can even be combined to suit any occasion. Our best budget choice is the Max Factor Masterpiece Nude Palette Cappuccino Nudes. The matching and shimmering colours of this product give a good result and can be used for formal and everyday occasions. It’s a great buy for anyone looking for a cheap eye shadow in 2021.
Our tests are independently conducted and reflect the test editor's honest and objective opinions. Selection of products and test results are in no way influenced by manufacturers, retailers or other internal or external parties.
We carried out our tests ourselves and tested all the eye shadows as they are intended to be used as stated by the manufacturers. We tested eye shadows over several weeks and in different types of situations. To get a good understanding of how the eye shadows perform in different climates, they have been tested outdoors in cold weather, indoors during everyday activities, and during exercise to evaluate how they cope with sweat. We have taken the following parameters into account when assessing the products:
Colour: What is the colour result like on the eyelid compared with what it looks like on the packaging? Are the colours in the palette easy to combine and do they go together?
Durability: How does the eye shadow behave during the day and during different activities? Do the colours become less intense, do they get smeared or do they last well?
Use: Is the eye shadow easy to apply? Do you get fallout and end up with shadow under the eye? Is it easy to blend and get a soft even result? Does it include accessories such as an applicator and mirror? Is the packaging easy to use and appealing?
All eye shadows were tested as everyday and evening makeup. Our assessment of the product is based on an overall experience, which includes the price to enable us to point out a good but cheap eye shadow. If you’re keeping our eye out for a good eye shadow that won't cost the Earth, we have options for you!
Multifunctional palette with highly pigmented, vegan eye shadows that last well
Number of colours in palette: 8 Type: Matte and shimmering Quantity: 3.5 g Accessories: Mirror Price class: Medium
This is a palette that's actually so much more than just eye shadow. Linda Hallberg have been careful to create products that are multifunctional, regardless of whether they’re shadows or pens, so this palette works just as well on your cheeks as it does on your eyelids. And of course that makes it very usable.
The Infinity Palette contains eight colours – four matte and four shimmery. All of them are highly pigmented and easy to work with despite sometimes feeling a little dry. They stay put throughout the day and the colours work just as well in the office as for a night out. The palette also definitely lives up to its promise of being multifunctional – for example, the Virgio shade is just as good on your eyelids as it is as a highlighter. You can create a smoky eye with Fornax before using it on your eyebrows – and why not finish off your look by blending it with translucent lipgloss for beautifully black and glossy lips? Only your imagination sets the limits and, just as the name indicates, the possibilities are almost endless.
With a palette like this, you never need to feel that you’re missing something, because it really does provide a great basic make-up wardrobe. This is a collection of shadows that gives you a lot for your money in terms of quality, durability and how you can use it. The fact that the palette is also easy to take with you, contains a large mirror and is easy to hold while you do your make-up means that it stands out from the crowd and is something you’ll constantly come back to when it's time for a bit of a boost.
A durable cream eye shadow that’s ideal for those who want an easy-to-use product
Type: Cream shadow in matte and shimmery colours Quantity: 5 g Accessories: No
NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil is a product that’s been around for quite a long time. And thanks to social media (TikTok, in particular), this crayon format eye shadow has become really popular. It’s actually the Milk colour that most commonly seen on social networks. But we tested a number of other colours, primarily the Frosting shade.
One reason why Nyx Jumbo Eye Pencils have become so popular again is that they make for a fantastic highlighter. They also make for quite a grand base. If you apply a layer of this cream shadow on your eyelid first, any powder shadow you apply on top won’t be going anywhere. The colour Milk, which has become something of a celebrity, is white and makes all the colours really pop. But it’s a shadow that works well even on its own.
With just a couple of strokes on your eyelids, you get great results. You can achieve a more attractive finish by blending the edges with a brush. And then your eye make-up is pretty much done. The lighter colours are perfect for everyday looks. The darker colours are an easy way to sooty eyes. Apply, blend – done.
These shadows are really good value for money and you can create a collection of your favourites without bothering your bank account too much. You can sharpen the crayons with a pencil sharpener for thicker make-up pencils. But before you sharpen it, pop the crayon in the freezer for a while – that way it’s not so messy.
It’s hard not to like this eye shadow because it’s easy to use and works as a really good base. If you aren’t used to cream shadows, you may need to get used to it. But that doesn’t take long, and then you’re hooked.
A unique glitter eye shadow that will make you yearn for a festive occasion to shine
Even if you don’t want to sparkle like a disco ball every day, it’s nice to shine really brightly when you have the right occasion.
When you open it, Pixi’s Glitter-y Eye Quad looks like pretty much any other glitter eye shadow, so our expectations weren’t particularly high.
Especially as glitter eye shadow is renowned for ending up more under your eyes than on your eyelids. But as soon as you put your finger in one of these shadows, you realise that you’ve never encountered anything like this before.
These glitter shadows are most like gel-based cream shadows. In other words, they’re soft to apply and glide easily onto the eyelid. Of course you can also use a brush, but it turned out that our testers actually preferred to use their fingers.
You do drop a certain amount of glitter on your face during application, so be careful. But the miracle happens when the glitter lands on your eyelids – because it then stays put even through the sweatiest 90s themed Christmas party.
And not only does the glitter stay in place, you can also pack it on to the eyelids. The results are striking. While testing this glitter eye shadow, our testers reported being stopped by complete strangers who wanted to take a closer look and ask what product they were using.
The only challenge is actually removing these eye shadows! Because even if the glitter doesn’t migrate to your face while you’re wearing it, you can count on finding glitter in the most unexpected places after you’ve removed it. But it’s actually worth the inconvenience, because there’s no other eye shadow that makes you glitter like this.
Easy to apply with good colour reproduction and fantastic durability. Suitable for all occasions without fallout!
Number of colours in palette: 4 Effect: Shimmery, glittery Quantity: 5 g Accessories: Applicator, mirror Price class: Premium
These eye shadows are quite simply fantastic. You get almost no fallout during application and the result is very similar to how the colours look in the palette. That's just what you need for an intensive result. Despite there only being four shades, you can combine them in different ways to suit your everyday and party makeup. However, all of the colours produce a shimmering result, which easily gives a relatively "made up" appearance. Apart from shimmer, these bareMinerals shadows consist of neutral and natural brown tones, which makes it possible to create a natural look with a bit of zing.
The shadows stay in place almost all day and it's only by the evening that they may have produced a little fallout under the eye. So, for an evening out with a lot of dancing they're perfect as the durability is so good. The packaging is matte and feels exclusive. Its durability and the range of colour results that are great for parties and everyday needs mean that this palette climbs up to top position in our eye shadow review test.
Easy to work eye shadow that lasts incredibly well and has a great range of colours
Type: Cream shadow Quantity: 5 g Price class: Premium
In the pot this is a cream shadow, and while you're working with it it’s a cream shadow – but as soon as it’s dried on your eyelids it quickly ceases to be creamy and becomes a powder. And a powder that stays exactly where it should too.
This is an eye shadow you can rely on, regardless of whether it’s wet or dry out – because being long lasting is its primary strength. But despite that it stays put so well once it’s dried, it’s amazingly easy to use before it’s set. Of course, you can’t take too long to apply it because it dries quickly, and once it’s on it really doesn’t budge.
If you often feel like your eye shadow gets eaten up over the day by heat, oil or saggy eyelids, this is an eye shadow that you’ll absolutely love. It simply doesn’t leave your eyes before you decide it’s time.
Matching colours that give a good result and suits both party and everyday makeup
Number of colours in palette: 8 Effect: Shimmery, glittery Quantity: 6.5 g Accessories: Narrow and wide applicator Price class: Budget
With its enormous range, Max Factor has something for all occasions. This palette contains shimmering and glittery eye shadows in matching shades from pink to brown. Even though they are all shimmery, the lightest colours are relatively moderate and can be used every day. The light brown, shimmering shade is perfect to apply to the crease for an intensive result. In combination with the darker tones, it looks great for parties. The shimmering shades give just enough colour and can easily be applied to the eyelid without fallout. However, the glittery colours provide very little colour, and compared with how they look in the pallet, the impression is rather pale. Nor do the glitter grains bind very well to the rest of the powder, so you get glitter and colour underneath your eye. The dark colours that just shimmer produce a certain amount of fallout too - but give an attractive and intensive result.
The eye shadows can cope with cold temperatures and calmer activities without problems and look good all day. However, a sweaty evening out provides more of a challenge; you will have to top up your makeup during the evening as it smears and ends up under your eyes. Because the glitter doesn't stick very well to the eyelids, it's easy to get it in your eyes, which can cause irritation. Max Factor's pleasant colours are easy to make natural and soft as they can be blended with a normal brush and give you the look you want for daytime.
A well-pigmented eye shadow palette!
Number of colours in palette: 12 Type: Matte and shimmering Quantity: 1.3 g
Urban Decay’s Naked palettes seem to be a never-ending success story. Since the first palette was launched 10 years ago, several different variants have been released. We tested Naked 3, which contains 12 colours all with a pink undertone. From the matte, neutral “Strange” to the dramatic black “Blackheart” with a red shimmer, this palette can take you from Monday morning make up to Friday festivities.
Urban Decay are really good at eye shadow. These are soft to work with, well-pigmented and last a long time. Their biggest challenge has always been the shadows that contain glitter, because the glitter particles tend to wander away from the eyelid. And unfortunately, this is the case with the Naked 3 palette. You need to make sure you give the eyelid a base of good eye shadow primer before starting to apply the glittery shadows. It’s also a good idea to be apply it sparingly to avoid a rain of glitter on your cheekbones. Glitter’s fun, but not in the wrong place or on the wrong occasions.
The other shadows are easily worked and perfect to combine as the colours are nice together. The palette itself feels substantial, luxurious and contains a useful brush. Often the brushes that come with palettes are really poor, but this one’s even worth saving after the shadow has run out.
If you're looking for a great colour matched palette with inventive but neutral colours, Urban Decay’s Naked 3 palette is a fantastic choice. But if you think glittery shadows are hard to work with, you won’t be wanting to apply these eye shadows any time soon.
Attractive and shimmery eye shadow that’s easy to use and lasts a long time
Type: Shimmery cream shadow Quantity: 4.5 g Price class: Premium
This well-pigmented cream eye shadow with an angled applicator comes in what looks like a lipstick tube. The lighter colours in this series are really easy to use; you don't need to do much more than apply them directly with the applicator and then blur the edges a touch with a finger. If you choose one of the darker colours, just like with the majority of darker shadows you need to put in a little more work. Ideally this would be done using an eye shadow brush. However, the dark colours offer a really simple way to create a sooty eye, which many people find a challenge with powder shadows. The results are attractive, shimmery and long lasting. They aren’t glitter bombs exactly. But there are glitter particles in these shadows; the quantity varies depending on the shade. But the glitter there is stays in place, and it’s lovely not to have to brush away stray grains of glitter from your cheeks during the day.
Yves Saint Laurent Full Metal Shadow works well without primer, and you can even use it as a good base for other shadows. But best of all? These shadows don’t collect in your eyelid crease.
Popular eye shadows that suffer from the same problem year after year
The Naked palettes by Urban Decay are modern classics. New colour scales are released on a regular basis, but they generally tend towards natural, earthy shades. As the name implies, Urban Decay Naked Honey draws inspiration from honeyed tones. And if you're an eye shadow lover, this one will go on your wish list straight away.
This palette contains 12 natural, golden tones, which you might think would make it boring, but Urban Decay still manages to make the shades feel new before each new palette is released. The shades can be varied endlessly, and it's easy to go from a smoky rock goddess to a glittering disco queen.
As usual, Urban Decay shadows have both advantages and disadvantages. On the positive side are attractive colours, a soft format and a generally good range of colours. However, Urban Decay still suffer from the same Achilles’ heel as always – their glitter shadows. Because the glitter in these shadows falls like snow around your eyes, with most of it ending up far from where you'd intended it. And not even the application of primer can fix the problem.
This is a palette that's worth the money. But don't buy it for the glitter shadows, as you’ll be bitterly disappointed.
An expensive, top quality palette with fantastic, highly-pigmented eye shadows
It’s said that you get what you pay for. For this palette you have to pay an awful lot, but you also get 15 eye shadows inspired by the colours of the sunrise.
This is a really well composed palette, but one that also contains a lot of colours that many people are afraid of. Orange, red and yellow aren’t colours that tend to fly off the shelves, and in this palette too they are the colours that are least used. But of course the colours you use are a matter of taste, and if you like this colour scale it’s definitely a palette worth investigating.
The eye shadows are fantastic. Soft without crumbling and incredibly highly pigmented. It’s a sheer joy to make up your eyes with this pallet and colour range, even though it may feel a bit strange to begin with, because it turns out to offer many attractive eye make-up possibilities.
Because this palette doesn’t merely offer many different colours – it also has several different finishes. From matte to glittering shimmer and metallic shine.
But it’s not cheap. We can’t pretend that everybody wants or can afford to buy make-up in this price class. Even though it's great value for money given the number of shadows and the quality, it really is a lot of money.
If you’re after exactly this colour scale and you can afford it, you’ll be very happy with the quality these shadows offer. But if you’ll only use a couple of colours, which is often the case with palettes, it’s better to look for a more cost-effective option.
A great value for money palette with a nicely matched colour scale, accompanied by a brush!
Number of colours in palette: 12 Effect: Matte, shimmery, glittery Quantity: 9 g Accessories: Applicator sponge and brush Price class: Budget
The first thing you notice about this palette is the beautiful and well-matched colour scale. It goes from the lightest pink, almost white, to the darkest brown which is nearly black. Here you will find matte, shimmering and glittery colours – everything to make the palette work both for a party evening and a normal 9-5 working day. The eye shadows give a relatively intensive result without fallout. The colours agree relatively well with what the shadow looks like in the palette, even though it's not quite as intensive on the eyelid. Durability is really good for the price class. The eye shadows wear off during the day and you'll have to top them up, but the result is still pretty good.
The applicator that comes with the palette is different in that one end has an applicator sponge and the other a brush. The applicator sponge is slightly too hard, but the brush works very well for blending together colours and creating soft edges. The palette is probably intended to be carried in your handbag. Both because it's small and neat and because of the tools that come with it. However, there's no mirror, which makes it difficult to stop and top up your makeup on the go.
Incredibly easy to apply, shimmery eye shadow with a great range of colours
Function: Shimmery cream shadow Quantity: 1.64 g Price class: Premium
A creamy eye shadow in a practical tube that promises to last but doesn’t deliver.
One of the major advantages of Ombre Black Star from By Terry is that it’s a really easy eye shadow to apply. You simply sweep it over your eyelid, blend it a little with a finger or brush to soften the edges a tad, and you're done. If only the result had lasted this would have definitely been a winner.
But not only does the shadow slide into the eyelid crease, during the day your cheeks get covered with the glitter particles present in these really shimmery shades. If you're lucky they end up on your cheeks. But if not, they get in your eyelashes or even in your eyes. And that’s a shame, because this line has some really lovely shades, but regardless of whether or not you use primer, the shadow just doesn’t stay put.
Easily worked powder eye shadow with practical colours that produce an intense result with a drop of water
Number of colours in palette: 8 Effect: Powder shadow Quantity: 4.3 g Accessories: Two applicators and mirror Price class: Premium
Lancôme is always a safe choice when it comes to eye makeup, and their Hypnôse Drama Eyes Palette is no exception.
These palettes have five colours, and the one we tested (Nuit Mordorée) contains four neutral shadows plus an eye-catching blue. This is an easily worked powder eye shadow that’s soft enough to offer good colour distribution and is easy to use. But it’s also hard enough not to crumble when you touch it.
As usual when you use a powder eye shadow, you get the very best result if you use a primer first because the colours become intense and lasts longer. The shadows work fine as they are, but they come into their own if you use a damp brush – then they go from being OK to being real head-turners. With a moistened brush, the eye shadows become creamy, shiny and intense - and even easier to work.
The palette includes two applicators and because the box is magnetic, the brushes stay in place well and it also shuts properly, which protects the eye shadows even if you’re in a rush and don't shut the lid carefully enough.
These eye shadows are good for everyday makeup in their dry form, but when applied with a moist brush they’re perfect for painting the town red.
Lots of shades that give an intensive colour result and don't produce much fallout
Number of colours in palette: 16 Effect: Matte, shimmery, glittery Accessories: None Price class: Medium
What an Incredibly intensive result! When applied to your eyelids, the colours from NYX are almost exactly what they look like on the palette. The palette fulfils expectations and given the low price, this eye shadow is a nice surprise. The palette contains matte, shimmering and glittery eye shadows in different shades which makes it perfect for both everyday and party makeup. However, because the colours are strong, you have to be a little bit careful when you apply them for a normal day at work because the results can easily come across a bit heavy. But the lighter shades are perfect to use to achieve a brighter appearance.
Applying the powder is a pleasant experience because it's easy to get the right amount on the brush so that you don't get much fallout under the eyes. Even though the result is intensive, it's easy to blend the edges with a fluffy brush to get a soft look. Unfortunately, it doesn't last all day and by the afternoon you get a bit of dark around the eyes. The palette is best for cold days and copes less well with an exercise session straight after work. However, it's easy to wipe off and top up.
NYX Professional Makeup Ultimate Eye Shadow Palette, Pressed Pigments, 16 Shades, Matte, Satin, Metallic, Shade: Cool Neutrals
Nyx Professional Makeup Ultimate Shadow Palette - Cool Neutrals
NYX Professional Makeup Ultimate Shadow Palette Cool neutrals
No fallout during application with lots of shades that makes the palette suitable for most occasions
Number of colours in palette: 32 Effect: Matte, shimmery, glittery Accessories: Mirror Price class: Budget
The relatively new brand Makeup Revolution wants to produce make up that suits everyone for a reasonable price. This value-for-money palette contains a full 32 shades and there's definitely something for everyone. It contains everything from natural brown shades to brighter colours like strong pink or blue. This means it is an eye shadow for grey eyes, for hazel eyes or any other colour eyes. The palette is constructed of matte, shimmering and glittery shadows, which makes it just as good for a friend's party as a normal day at the office. The result isn't as intensive as in the palette, which means it can be difficult to see the difference between shades that are close to each other in the colour scale when they are applied on the eyelid. However, with a little work you can build up a more intensive result.
During application, there is practically no fallout from the powder. Considering the low price, the eye shadows last well in cold environments. At warmer temperatures and if you sweat, it's unfortunately more difficult to get the powder to stay in place. Given the large number of colours, it's natural that the palette is a slightly larger model. This is one that you can't put in your handbag and take with you during the day. But there is a large mirror in the lid. Even if you can't use it on the go, it's still nice to have that extra mirror.
Eye shadows with a strong scent that require a good primer
There’s no point trying to avoid the biggest reservation our testers had with Physicians Formula Butter Eyeshadow Palette Tropical Days – the smell. Even before you open the lid, you get the intense scent of tropical cocktails on a warm beach. Perhaps it’s the murumuru butter that gives these eye shadows their characteristic smell. Regardless, it’s both surprising and irritating, because the smell is so intense that it’s almost overwhelming. It also stings sensitive eyes, particularly during the pollen season.
The quality of the shadows in this palette varies. If you use a primer first, the shadows are nice and bright. But without the primer, several of the shadows barely show up on the eyelids. And the shimmery shadows just don’t want to stick at all.
The palette is well composed and the shadows are soft and nice to work with (as long as you have primer underneath, of course), but you can’t avoid the fact that you can find better eye shadows that are also unperfumed – as eye shadow should be.
Durable with really good colour reproduction and no fallout!
Number of colours in palette: 9 Effect: Matte, slightly shimmering Quantity: 25.5 g Accessories: Mirror Price class: Premium
This theBalm palette has attractive retro packaging. TheBalm creates characters with its makeup, and here we meet Matt – a stylish gentleman who decorates the outside of the eye shadow palette. And matte is really the right name to describe this powder shadow. Almost no shimmer at all even though in the two darkest shades you can make out a few shimmering grains. This makes the palette slightly difficult to use as a party makeup. Most partygoers will want something more glamorous.
The colours are strong and also produce a vivid colour when applied to the eyelid. The tricky thing with this palette is that it doesn't just contain brown shades, which makes it more difficult for a beginner to use. A plan is required to use these eye shadows in an attractive manner. Disappointingly, they're not very forgiving either, and like many matte colours are difficult to blend together. However, there is almost no fallout on application or later during the day. By evening, some of the colour had disappeared, but it doesn't end up under your eyes, which is something.
Soft tones that give a natural look with good tools included
Number of colours in palette: 5 Effect: Matte Quantity: 7.5 g Accessories: Applicator sponge, brush and mirror Price class: Budget
IsaDora is one of the most established brands on the market and has a range of different products. This particular eye shadow palette is best as a neutral everyday makeup. The matte aesthetic and soft tones create a natural look that's a little brighter and fresher. The palette is small and easy to carry in your bag. The fact that it contains a mirror, applicator sponge and brush to blend with makes it easy to use on the go, i.e. to top up your makeup during the day. This is needed as it wears off during the day with relatively limited activities.
When the colours are applied to the eyelid, they are lighter than what you see on the palette and even the darker shades can be used for every day. And it's for everyday make up that the palette is most suitable. As the eye shadows neither shimmer nor glitter, and they aren't particularly strong colours, it gives a relatively bland impression at a party. If you want a party eye shadow, it's best to look elsewhere on our guide.
Glittery, shimmering and matte - eye shadow is available in a range of colours and forms. Eye shadow is perhaps primarily associated with evening makeup, but it can be just as suitable for everyday use without foundation, as there are many natural and lighter shades to choose from. Many people use eye shadow to create a more intensive look, increase the size of the eyes or emphasise eye colour. Eye shadow is generally used together with other makeup products intended for the eyes, such as mascara and eyeliner, and for it to be matched (or contrasted!) with an attractive lipstick.
Eye shadow is a product for anyone, whether you want makeup for blue eyes or eye shadow for green eyes, there is a pallet out there to fulfil your needs and give you the look you want.
Eye shadow comes available as a cream, pencil or powder. A cream or pencil often creates an intensive colour and the shadow lasts all day. It's very easy to apply with a pencil or pen, which is useful if you're in a hurry. One problem with this type of eye shadow is that it easily works into the crease of the eyelid during the day. Matte shades are less common, which makes it more difficult to find something suitable for everyday wear. Powder eye shadows are available in two variants – pressed and loose. The brands that have mineral makeup often offer loose powder mineral eye shadows. Loose powder eye shadows are good for creating a sooty appearance or for soft transitions between different colours. However, it can be tricky to get the right amount of powder in the right places on your eyelid. Pressed powder is the most common type of eye shadow. It's easier to apply than loose powder and it's simple to draw in small details or apply as a soft sooty effect.
Eye shadows can be bought in shops or online, both as individual colours or in palettes with several shades. An eye shadow palette usually contains tones that match and variants with warm and cold colours are often available.
When applying eye shadow, you can use a variety of brushes, an applicator or your fingers. This is a matter of taste and doesn't really make much difference in terms of result. However, it can be useful to have a large fluffy eye shadow brush to blend together different shadows as a final step when doing your makeup. Remember that shimmering shadows are often easier to blend together than matte ones.
Start by applying a primer for eye shadow so that it stays in place all day. When the shadow is applied, it's common for it to fall onto the cheekbone. To avoid this, use just a little eye shadow at a time and shake off the excess before applying to the eyelid. You can also hold a paper towel underneath your eye to collect any shadow, or apply a thick layer of loose powder. The pigment will then stick to the powder and can be easily brushed off afterwards with a large makeup brush.
To get an even effect on both eyes, it's a good idea not to finish one eye at a time, but instead to do both in parallel. Use your eyebrow as a reference when applying and keep the eye shadow at the same distance from the brow to achieve an even result. Another reference point is the lid line; these two together make it easier to get the shadow in the right place.
Eye shadow is applied on the eyelid and up towards the eyebrow. Sometimes shadow is applied under the eye. Lighter shadows are usually used in the inner corner of the eye and darker ones at the outer corner. Start with the lightest shadows and gradually work with darker shades.
Our final good tip is to look for eye shadow tutorials on YouTube and check out different videos with instructions on how you can easily apply eye shadow step by step for a show-stopping result. You can uncover a tutorial for every desired look online!