Eye Shadow Sticks Are the Unsung Hero of Effortless Makeup—These 14 Are the Best


(Image credit: Who What Wear)

Confession: I'm wildly intimidated by eye shadow. I've been wearing makeup for close to two decades and can navigate foundation, blush, and highlighter with the best of them, but when it comes to eye shadow, I'm way less confident. A single wash of color is no problem, and I've even got mad liquid-eyeliner skills, but the second I'm trying to execute a smoky eye or anything more advanced that requires traditional powder eye shadows, I start to feel out of my depth.

As an avid lover of makeup, I just need to be able to follow the creative whims that crop up in my head on a daily basis. To this end, I've been unwinding at the end of my workday by applying a full face of makeup, simply for the sake of practice. (And looking snatched just to go to walk my dog is the most hilarious flex.) In a recent EOD makeup session, I found myself playing with an old favorite product, the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eyeshadows ($29). I was stunned at the pretty eye shadow look I was able to create using them and have since been using them for everything from shimmery sheer lids to smudgy, smoked-out looks. They're soft, super-pigmented, and so dang easy to use. My fingers are the only tools I really need to spread and blend the hues, but going in with a couple of brushes to smooth the colors together and really carve out my crease has worked like a charm every single time.

Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eyeshadow


(Image credit: @court_higgs)

I know this isn't a new revelation—celebrity makeup artists are constantly singing the praises of liquid and cream makeup products for the most stunning looks—but eye shadow sticks are game changers. Just peep the glowy, shimmery eye makeup look above that I executed using them exclusively. Whether you're a makeup pro looking to mix it up or a beauty novice in search of an impossibly easy way to add a pop of color or shimmer onto your lids, eye shadow sticks are the answer. I ride hard for the Laura Mercier ones, but there are so many other conveniently housed cream shadows out there, too. Keep scrolling for the best eye shadow sticks money can buy.

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Eyeshadow Stick

Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleon Eye Shadow Pencil

Nyx Jumbo Eyeliner Pencil

Nudestix Nude Metallics for Eyes

Surratt Beauty Smoky Eye Baton

Chanel Stylo Ombre et Contour

About-Face Shadowstick


(Image credit: @court_higgs)

Shiseido Kajal Ink Artist Shadow Liner

Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint

Pixi Endless Shade Stick

E.l.f. Cosmetics No Budge Eyeshadow Stick

Alleyoop 11th Hour Cream Eyeshadow Stick

Tarte Quick Stick Waterproof Shadow & Liner

Associate Beauty Editor

Courtney Higgs is a Cancer sun, Libra rising beauty enthusiast with about six years of experience in the editorial space. She was previously Who What Wear's associate beauty editor after spending many years working on the West Coast edit team at InStyle Magazine. She graduated from California State University, Northridge, with a BA in communication studies and pivoted to editorial after spending her college years working in the legal field. Her beauty philosophy is simple: She believes there are no wrong answers and that discovering our favorite beauty products and rituals is a journey, not a sprint. When she's not geeking out over products, she can be found adventuring around L.A. with her fiancé; watching reality TV with their French bulldog, Bernie Mac; or relating way too hard to astrology memes.