When it comes to makeup products, I normally don't give eye shadows that much thought. Sure, I use them, but I'm not too picky about which brands I use. My makeup priorities revolve around foundation, concealer, and mascara, and I can be pretty choosy when it comes to those products.
But of course, not all eye shadows are created equal. In addition to the shade choices, there are other factors to think about, such as pigment, finish, and staying power. You want a formula that won't crease or cake. And your choice also depends on the type of eye makeup look you're going for. Some people might want something natural and subtle, while others might want something highly saturated.
Whatever the case, I asked my colleagues and a few makeup artists to point me in the direction of their favorite eye shadow brands. I wanted to know about their tried-and-true favorites for the next time I was in the market for a new shadow or palette. Below, you'll find their effusive reviews.
"I use Charlotte Tilbury's palettes almost every day. No matter which you choose, all four shades are actually wearable, and they each include a fun, sparkly color to take your eyes from day to night. Exagger-Eyes is my go-to, but Pillow Talk is pretty when you want a natural look. I also love Rebel's greenish-gold shades so much." — Allyson Payer, senior editor
"I love the gold eye shadow palettes. They are the perfect size and have a mirror for easy use. The Pillow Talk palette is such a stunning everyday palette." — Tobi Henney, makeup artist
"Charlotte created a pop in each quad that makes everything more fun. Her pigment is next-level, as well as the grid on each quad that explains placement." — Mia Jones, makeup artist
"Charlotte Tilbury's eye shadows are super pigmented and easy to blend. Perfect for a romantic/girlie look. The compact is small, light, and doesn't take up too much space in my kit. I love the peachy tones that Charlotte does; they work beautifully on super-light skin tones." — Valeria Ferreira, makeup artist
"It's safe to say that I'm the last person to order a huge eye shadow palette, but when I heard about a new eye shadow product from Kosas, a clean beauty brand that I already love and trust, I was curious to test it out. Dubbed '10-Second Eyeshadow,' it's a shimmery liquid formula that's as quick and simple to apply as the name suggests. You just slide the applicator all over your lid then dab it in using your finger, and depending on how subtle or bold you want to go, you can layer on more pigment. So yes, it's like it was made specifically for uncoordinated people like me." — Anna LaPlaca, associate editor
"I've never been a huge eye shadow girl, but in the past few years, I've started incorporating shimmery, neutral-tone shadows into my routine. And if I could only use one brand for the rest of my life, it would be Kaja. First of all, I'm obsessed with the packaging. I'm not a fan of palettes (I only ever end up using one or two colors, anyway!), and the stackable design of each trio is just too cute and handy. All three colors are complementary to each other, so you have everything you need to create your entire look. I have at least five of these, and I use them all regularly. That said, the ones with shimmer are my favorite—Rosewater, Orange Blossom, Toasted Caramel, and Chocolate Dahlia." — Erin Jahns, senior beauty editor
"Nars Pyrenees is a tried-and-true favorite. Another product that does double duty as both an allover shadow (dramatic) and an everyday liner (subtler), this slightly metallic gray enhances my blue eyes and looks great with a thick coat of mascara. Since I love this shade so much, I buy it as a single shadow instead of as part of a palette. Highly recommend." — Drew Elovitz, director of content strategy and senior managing editor
"They are always coming out with new and exciting palettes each season. Afterglow Eyeshadow Palette has the most fun shades that can create endless looks." — Henney
"I swear by MAC's eye shadow palettes. I have blue eyes and blonde hair, so I favor browns and neutrals for an everyday look, with some metallics for the evening and special events. This palette came everywhere with me during wedding season. The colors are all buildable and complementary, which makes it super versatile." — Elovitz
"The packaging is super chic, and the shadow shades are curated beautifully into quads. They blend so well!" — Henney
"Tom Ford's formulas and color selection are so beautiful. Each compact feels and applies like luxury. I love the ease of a quad." — Jones
"Tom Ford does the most exquisite eye shadow quads. I love the texture and how easy they are to blend. The palette combinations are heavenly and super original." — Ferreira
Pat McGrath Labs
"I know I said I'm not a huge fan of palettes, but I make an exception for Pat McGrath Labs. The colors and pigment payoff are insanely good, and unlike so many other brands, I find myself using every single shade in each pan. It's hard to play favorites, but if you're going to make the investment, I highly recommend the Divine Rose Luxe Eyeshadow Quad in Eternal Eden, Divine Rose II Collection, and the Blitz Astral Quad in Iconic Illumination." — Jahns
"What can I say? I love a little shimmer. Chantecaille's eye shadows come in a beautiful array of colors, and I like that they can be used all over the lid or as an eyeliner with just a dab of water on a brush. This formula is also great because it doesn't crease in my eyelids—something I usually struggle with. Also, the brand's angled eyeliner brush is an absolute must." — Elovitz
"I was never really an eye shadow girl, until I saw this hypnotic, very subtle sheen on my colleague's lids. Naturally, I copied her, and it's the only eye shadow I'll wear regularly. It has a creamy texture, brightens up your whole face, and as Detox Market says, gives a 'glowing, light-reflective finish not seen in traditional eye shadows.' Plus, it's from a clean brand, which is a bonus in my book." — Kat Collings, editor in chief
"[They're] the most beautifully produced eye shadows for makeup artists and anyone who takes their makeup seriously. They cover every single shade possible." — Henney
"Huda Beauty has such an incredible range of color and pigment. There are so many colors in each palette, and you can't beat the price." — Jones
"I love the small Obsession shadow palettes. They are so great to travel with. I take the Topaz Obsessions palette everywhere with me and love the mix of matte and metallic shades." — Henney
"My favorite luxe eye shadow brand is Armani Beauty. The textures of these shadows go on smoothly for an even application and are beautifully pigmented for longer wear." — Mai Quynh, makeup artist
"These palettes are super fun and modern. The 75 Warm eye shadow palette has the most stunning shades for summer!" — Henney
"When it comes to eye shadow palettes, I really like to keep it minimal and have an easy-to-carry neutral palette that I can apply when I'm feeling a bit extra. I love Sigma's Spicy palette because it has every tone you'd need to create a brown smoky eye or just add a little shimmer to your lids without the fuss." — Jasmine Fox-Suliaman, audience engagement editor
"Natasha Denona makes incredible powder shadows. The formula is dense and rich but blendable and lasts all day long. All the palettes are incredible, but the Biba palette is beautiful for creating wearable everyday and classic looks." — Beau Nelson, makeup artist
Victoria Beckham Beauty
"These palettes are super light and have such a beautiful texture, which makes blending beyond easy. The Smoky Eye Palette in Silk is such a beautiful selection of gold and bronze tones that I love to use in the day and night." — Henney
"I love the Backstage palettes. They come with eye primer, which is so great to use under the powder shadows. The Amber Neutrals Palette is one of my go-to palettes for day and night looks on any eye color. The colors are so warm and beautiful." — Henney
Jason Wu Beauty
"Trust me—liquid and cream eye shadows are way less intimidating than you might initially think. In fact, I think they can actually be easier to apply and work with than powders! I have lots of favorites, but lately, I've been hooked on Jason Wu's new Celestial Lust Glitter Cream Shadows. I'm a sucker for glitter and shimmer, and these pack a serious punch without looking tacky or overdone. The shade Jane Doe is my fave, but I also love Lace & Grace." — Jahns
Anastasia Beverly Hills
"Anastasia Beverly Hills has a line of palettes called Norvina (her daughter's name). They have every color you could possibly imagine. Pigments are super strong and long-lasting. If I'm looking for an unusual tone or a pop of color, that's where I go to find it!" — Ferreira
"I love all the bright colors they have, and the shadows are super blendable, too." — Quynh
"I worked on the launch of this range and saw it being born. The quality of the shadows is superb, and if you are looking for muted and understated colors, look no further. Perfect nudes and wash of colors." — Ferreira
Sarah is lifestyle writer and editor with over 10 years of experience covering health and wellness, interior design, food, beauty, and tech. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she attended New York University and lived in New York for 12 years before returning to L.A. in 2019.
In addition to her work on THE/THIRTY and Who What Wear, she held editor roles at Apartment Therapy, Real Simple, House Beautiful, Elle Decor, and The Bump (sister site of The Knot).
She has a passion for health and wellness, but she especially loves writing about mental health. Her self-care routine consists of five things: a good workout, “me” time on the regular, an intriguing book/podcast/playlist to unwind after a long day, naps, and decorating her home.