Photo: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
Shade shown: Copper
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
Shade shown: Dusty Mauve
Bobbi Brown makeup is all about artistry from start to finish, and these cream eye shadow sticks are no different. You can expect intense color payoff and a budge-proof finish that can stay put for up to eight hours.
Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleon Eye Shadow Pencil
Shade shown: Golden Quartz
This chubby stick makes application that much simpler, whether you're looking for allover lid coverage or a metallic line along your lashes. Even better, the shades are perfectly mixed with specific eye colors in mind so you can easily identify your perfect match.
Nyx Jumbo Eyeliner Pencil
Shade shown: Rust
This blendable eye shadow crayon comes in such fun colors. The shade comes out so saturated, even when applied to the lower waterline.
Nudestix Nude Metallics for Eyes
Shade shown: Nude Metallics
This set of Magnetic Luminous Eye Color pencils is perfect for mixing, matching, and blending out the perfect combination of metallic nudes. The kit comes complete with a sharpener to keep the sticks edged and ready for action.
Surratt Beauty Smoky Eye Baton
Shade shown: Vapeur Mauve
Everything by Surratt Beauty is so luxe. This elevated and functional stick is double-sided, featuring a creamy liner on one end and a matching satin eye shadow pouf on the other, making it the perfect one-step tool for dramatic eye makeup looks.
Chanel Stylo Ombre et Contour
Shade shown: Rouge Noir
The pointed tip of this creamy, long-wear pencil can be used to line the eyes, while the flat edge can cover more surface area in a single swipe.
Shade shown: Acidic
If you're looking for a selection of fun colors in both matte and metallic finishes, look no further than singer Halsey's makeup brand, About-Face. I'm obsessed. (See below for proof.)
Shiseido Kajal Ink Artist Shadow Liner
Shade shown: Kabuki White
Here's another eye shadow stick with the genius addition of a built-in blending sponge and detachable sharpener. Both graphic, sharp lines and more diffused washes of color are possible.
Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint
Shade shown: Curvaveous Coal
This stick offers sheer yet buildable washes of color for that no-makeup makeup look.
Pixi Endless Shade Stick
Shade shown: Matte Cocoa
It's the pigment for me.
E.l.f. Cosmetics No Budge Eyeshadow Stick
Shade shown: Rose Gold
This metallic eye shadow is creamy and blendable, but once it dries into place, it really stays put. And you can't beat that price tag.
Alleyoop 11th Hour Cream Eyeshadow Stick
Shade shown: Charcolit
This stick of easy-to-spread pigment is meant to be smoothed onto the lids with your fingers, and it couldn't be easier to do it. For a precision hit of eyeliner, keep the tip sharp with the built-in sharpener.
Tarte Quick Stick Waterproof Shadow & Liner
Shade shown: Mauve Luster & Black Liner
Talk about a two-in-one. On one end, you get a lustrous, shimmery lid pigment while the other end houses an actual eyeliner so you can make it all happen in just a few seconds.