Don't get me wrong—makeup-related compliments from anyone at any time are wonderful, but there's something about receiving a compliment from, um, an actual makeup artist that just kind of transcends all others. Makeup artistry is their profession, after all.
Now, I don't score this particular kind of coveted remark often, but I have noticed an interesting pattern. Any time a makeup artist has openly admired my makeup, it's always been on my shimmery shadow MO. And since I pretty much abhor powder and cream formulas, their compliment always befalls whichever liquid eye shadow I happen to be wearing on that blessed day. (Spoiler: I have lots of liquid eye shadows I collect and adore equally.)
As someone who is rather inept when it comes to eye makeup (for years, I strictly wore mascara and maybe a quick flick of liquid liner), my obsession with liquid eye shadow makes sense. While it may sound counterintuitive (liquid equals mess, right?), these types of formulas usually involve way less mess and fallout, they're easier for me to blend, they're faster to apply, and they don't move once they dry. For someone who adores the look of ethereally glimmering eyelids (Hi! Me!), there couldn't be a better medium. Therefore, I pretty much exclusively wear liquid eye shadows in lieu of the powder options most makeup artists seem to prefer.
Because all of the best liquid eye shadows have scored me loads of compliments over the years and because summer is approaching and 'tis the season for a fuss-free liquid formula to shine, I'm sharing nine of my all-time-favorite liquid eye shadows below. Plus, some game-changing makeup products to pair them with because why would you stop at your lids when compliments are on the table? Keep scrolling.
Kosas 10-Second Eye Shadow
Although this is one of the more relatively new liquid eye shadows on the scene, it's quickly made its mark as one of my all-time favorites. The clever name doesn't lie—this is a no-fuss formula that yields a pretty wash of saturated color with a subtle, eye-catching glint of shimmer. It's clean, water-based, buildable, and totally resistant to creasing unlike so many cream and powder formulas.
Pair it with: The Sun Show Bronzer
You're going to notice a theme within this article—almost every single one of my favorite liquid eye shadows has at least some shimmer. (I just find the effect so dang pretty and photo-worthy.) That said, props to Glossier for launching the one and only matte-finish eye shadow I regularly keep on standby. (It's a very cool, very vibey liquid-to-powder situation.) In fact, Team Who What Wear unanimously agrees this sheer matte formula is one of the brand's best launches yet. (See us wear and review every single shade here.)
Pair it with: Lash Slick
Stila Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow
You wouldn't think a liquid eye shadow that's basically pure glitter could manage to be understated, and yet this iconic cult favorite from Stila manages just that. Not only is each and every shade gorgeous and glimmering, but there's also zero mess, zero fallout, and you can really customize your look—a tiny touch near the inner corners of your eyes for something subtle or lacquered layers for something more statement-making.
Pair it with: Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner
Armani Beauty Eye Tint Liquid Eyeshadow
Armani simply doesn't make a makeup product I don't immediately fall head over heels for, but this best-of-the-best liquid eye shadow would have to be at the top of my list. And for what it's worth, this is one liquid eye shadow celebrity makeup artists regularly apply on their A-list clientele pre–red carpet. As for the finish, the brand has four different options available: glitter, metallic, shimmer, or matte. So all you have to do is pick your poison. (Or, you know, throw in the towel and try all four.)
Pair it with: A-Line Liquid Highlighter
Crop Natural Bio Metal Liquid Eyeshadow
I bet you haven't heard of organic and naturally derived beauty brand Crop Natural, but I'm about to introduce you. It just so happens to be one of my all-time-favorite clean makeup brands, and this liquid eye shadow, in particular, is one of the very best in my collection (further proving natural makeup can be just as good as non-natural). Aside from the fact that it's made using organic farming (which I love), it's all incredibly long-lasting, ultra-saturated (a little goes a long way), blendable upon application (don't wait too long), and totally budge-proof once it does indeed dry down. The brand used to have quite a few more colors, but I managed to find a few of my favorites on Urban Outfitters' website. (You're welcome.)
Pair it with: Mascara
Laura Mercier Caviar Chrome Veil Liquid Eye Shadow
There are so many mesmerizing shades of this liquid eye shadow it's almost overwhelming. (Don't worry—you'll recover quickly.) This pick is the perfect compromise between sheer-to-medium coverage and is lustrous enough to rack in all the compliments. If you want more dimension or definition, I recommend grabbing a few of the brand's stick eye shadows I'm linking before.
Pair it with: Caviar Stick Eye Shadow
Marc Jacobs Beauty See-quins Glam Glitter Liquid Eyeshadow
Okay, these liquid eye shadows from Marc Jacobs are not for the faint of heart, but if it's gleam, glitter, and pigment you're after, this easy-to-apply option would be my top recommendation. (It's the most-asked-about product in my DMs.) Oh, and if you layer the Glam Glitter Eye Shadow below on top? Game over.
Pair it with: See-quins Glam Glitter Eye Shadow
Bodyography Liquid Eye Shadow
Makeup artists and beauty editors everywhere certifiably flip over Bodyography's Glitter Pigments (see below), so when the brand debuted an equally beguiling liquid eye shadow counterpart, there was (probably literally) panic at the disco. Essentially, it's a long-lasting liquid chrome situation that can (if tested) last up to 24 hours without sacrificing one iota of the pure color pigments and crystal chrome pearls that comprise its anatomy.
Pair it with: Glitter Pigments
Haus Laboratories by Lady Gaga Glam Attack Liquid Eye Shadow
The world may or may not have quaked when it was announced Lady Gaga would be launching her very own makeup brand, Haus Laboratories. My fellow beauty editor Courtney Higgs and I tried all of the formulas soon after the buzzy launch, and without a doubt, Gaga's appropriately named Glam Attack shadows were the standout product for me. Each and every opaque metallic shade is perfection, and I'm obsessed with how budge-proof the formula is after it sets.
Pair it with: Eye Armor Kit