Euphoria's Makeup Artist on the Most Pigmented Eye Shadows for High-Impact Looks

There's nothing worse than when you open a new eye shadow expecting high-impact, saturated color, and it ends up falling flat. Unfortunately, it's a common problem—for highly pigmented color payoff, many eye shadow brands aren't up to the challenge. What makes this even more challenging is that a product may look incredibly vivid at first glance, but then when you apply it, it sheers out, looks patchy, or worst of all, leaves you with more color on your cheeks than your lids thanks to fallout. 

For the best tips on how to choose and apply highly pigmented eye color, I reached out to Donni Davy, Euphoria's makeup artist and co-founder of playful makeup brand Half-Magic Beauty. Who better to give advice on pigmented eye shadow than the woman behind Maddy, Kat, Cassie, and Jules' intense makeup looks?


(Image credit: donni.davy)

What should someone look for when choosing a highly pigmented eye shadow?

For a burst of brilliant color, Davy recommends opting for a long-wear liquid or cream formula. "I'm looking for vivid color upon the first swipe of the product on my eyelid, and I'm also looking for something that I can blend and diffuse over my entire eyelid before it sets," Davy explains. "When wearing vivid color on the eyes it's important to use a formula that's long-wear because if the color starts to fade or look patchy, it's a little less forgiving than a neutral color that might be closer to your skin tone."

What’s the best way to apply highly pigmented eye shadow?

Davy says that if you're using a liquid or cream long-wear eye shadow, you really don't need to do much to make it last. In fact, she says that with a good long-wear formula, you shouldn't even need a primer or a setting spray to make it stick. "If you're using powder eye shadow, most definitely use an eye primer and keep applying layers of color until you're happy with the color intensity," Davy says. "Finish with a setting spray to give extra staying power and keep the look vibrant all day."

If you're using a powder eye shadow and it isn't as pigmented as you'd like it to be, don't worry—there's an easy fix. "Use a long-wear liquid eye shadow in white as a base," Davy says. "Pack this on along your lashline and then diffuse it outwards by blending up to your brow bone. By the time you're blending on your brow bone, the white should be super sheer." Just make sure the white fully dries down before you put any color on top, or you'll end up with a pastel version of the color you're putting on top.

Keep reading for the best highly pigmented eye shadows out there, including picks straight from the Euphoria makeup trailer.��

Used in the Euphoria makeup trailer:

1. Colourpop

Colourpop eye shadows have intense pigmentation and tons of interesting colors. The best thing is that they're super affordable—most of its eye shadows clock in at under $10.

2. Danessa Myricks

Danessa Myricks is known for her pigments that pack a punch. These products are multiuse, so you can put them all over your face, but they're particularly intense on the eyes. 

3. Huda Beauty

These colorful eye shadows go on super easily and don't leave you with messy fallout. Plus, for $29, you can get nine super pigmented colors, which is well worth it, in our books. 

4. MAC Cosmetics

MAC has long been a makeup artist favorite, and for good reason. These eye shadows come in many different shades, formulations, and finishes. 

5. Half Magic Beauty

"My collection of eye paints and eye shadows is outrageous, and I am constantly adding to it," says Davy. "My favorite eye paints are the ones I created for my makeup brand, Half Magic."

Other highly pigmented eye shadows we love:

6. Violette_FR

These intense eye paints are blendable and buildable, and the unique brush tip means they can also be used as an eyeliner. The best part is that once they dry down, they stay for hours—no creasing or flaking in sight.

7. Juvia's Place

Juvia's Place eye shadows are insanely pigmented—the colors truly gorgeous. With tons of different shades in its affordable palettes, you can't go wrong.

8. Haus Labs by Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga's recently relaunched brand has some truly dreamy shades to choose from. These creams also contain squalane and hyaluronic acid to nourish skin while adding a burst of color.

9. Urban Decay

If you were wearing makeup in the early 2010s, you remember how much of a hold Urban Decay palettes had on everyone. That's because they're intensely pigmented, don't have any fallout, and are incredibly long-wearing. 

10. Make Up for Ever

Makeup artists far and wide love Make Up for Ever products. They're straightforward, no-nonsense products that deliver high-quality results. Its eye shadows and pigments are intense and last all day. 

Next: People Say My Blue Eyes Are My Best Feature—10 Eye Shadows That Make Them Pop

Associate Beauty Editor

Katie Berohn is the associate beauty editor at Who What Wear. Previously, she worked as the beauty assistant for Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and Prevention magazines, all part of the Hearst Lifestyle Group. She graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder, with a major in journalism and minor in technology, arts, and media, and earned her master's degree at NYU's graduate program for magazine journalism. In addition, Katie has held editorial internships at Denver Life magazine, Yoga Journal, and Cosmopolitan; a digital editorial internship at New York magazine's The Cut; a social good fellowship at Mashable; and a freelance role at HelloGiggles. When she's not obsessing over the latest skincare launch or continuing her journey to smell every perfume on the planet, Katie can be found taking a hot yoga class, trying everything on the menu at New York's newest restaurant, or hanging out at a trendy wine bar with her friends.