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The quickest way to actually make your peepers pop? A luxe eye shadow, of course! But how do you know if you’re buying a quality product? Hint: It isn’t the price point. There’s no reason to break the bank for this daily staple.
TODAY Style reached out to 14 beauty mavens (with enviable celeb client lists) to find out which of their personal favorite eye shadows are available at the local drugstore.
The best drugstore eye shadows to buy now
1. Maybelline 24 Hour Eye Shadow, Bad to the Bronze, $9, Walmart
“I feel like a cream eye shadow applied with a soft blending brush looks so natural and more flattering than a powder shadow,” said Amber Dreadon, whose clients include Lorde, Haim and Jaime King. “My go-to shadow is a creamy beige called Bad to the Bronze. You can wear this shade alone with mascara or as a base for other eye shadows to add major staying power!”
2. Maybelline New York The Rock Nudes Palette, $7, Amazon
“(This palette) is super versatile and works really well for day-to-day smoky, yet natural looks,” said Michael Anthony, whose clients include Allison Williams, Tinashe and Rita Ora.
3. Neutrogena Nourishing Long Wear Eye Shadow + Built-In Primer in Classic Nude, $10, Amazon
“This kit is a great way to frame and build the base for subtle eye makeup no matter which look you are going for,” said Matin, whose clients include Claire Danes, Uma Thurman and Cynthia Nixon.
4. Metallic Liquid Eyeshadow in Cool Steel, $4, e.l.f. Cosmetics
“This company has really pretty metallic shades that go on with full pigment and won’t crease,” said Melissa Murdick, who works with Selena Gomez. “They work great on their own or layered under powder shadows. My favorite shade is Cool Steel, which is a beautiful, silvery purple. It’s a really fun shade to pair with a deep plum lip or to wear to holiday parties.”
5. Milani Bella Eyes Bella Caffe Gel Powder Eyeshadow, $6, Amazon
“I love Milani Eyeshadow — especially the shades Bella Caffe and Espresso,” said Rebecca Restrepo, whose clients include Ruth Negga, Emily Blunt and Lucy Liu. “It does exactly what it says: When dry, it goes on light and when damp, you get deeper, more vibrant coverage.”
6. Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips All-in-1 Custom Nude Palette in Warm Nude, $10 (usually $14), Amazon
“One of the greatest eye shadows is Physician Formula Shimmer Strips Nudes,” said Azra Red, who works with Rachel Zoe, Rosario Dawson and Nicole Scherzinger. “It’s great to use for daytime looks when dry and to bring out the pigments when you wet your brush. I love this particular shade as it works on all skin tones and lasts all day without flaking.”
7. Nyx Full Throttle Shadow Stick in Night Walker, $8, Amazon
“I really like these cream eye shadows in a fat pencil format. They are easy to use and require relatively no maintenance (there is no pencil sharpener or brush required),” said Min Min Ma, whose clients include Meghan Markle, Laura Benanti and Zosia Mamet. “To use, simply glide the pencil onto your eyelids, blend with fingertip or a cotton swab, and finish off with mascara. Night Walker and Double Trouble are my two favorite shades.”
8. Wet n Wild Idol Eyes Cream Shadow in Graphite, $10, Amazon
“These are intense when used as an eyeliner, but they also look great when smudged out all over the lid. Blend with your finger for a more subtle, shadow effect or use as a highlighter in the inner corner of your eye and. My favorite shades are Pixie for day and Graphite for night,” said Aidan Keogh, whose clients include Kendall Jenner and Victoria’s Secret model Josephine Skriver.
9. Milani Bella Eyes Bella Copper Gel Powder Eyeshadow, $16, Amazon
“This formula is finely milled and wears like a second skin,” said Lucky Smyler, whose clients include Viola Davis, Tia Mowry and Sunny Anderson. “It almost mimics the caliber of a Bobbi Brown or Laura Mercier texture. The color is universal for every skin tone for that J.Lo or Beyonce glow. Applying it dry gives a wash of color, while using a damp brush gives a powerful (and versatile) color statement.”
10. L'Oreal Paris Infallible 24HR Shadow inContinuous Coco, $4 (usually $8), Amazon
“When the look calls for a smoky, smouldering eye, this is my go-to,” said Oslyn Holder, whose clients include Regina King, Bette Midler and Vanessa Williams. “The color payoff can not be denied! High impact without breaking the bank.”
11. Maybelline New York Expert Wear Eye Shadow in Golden Halo, $6, Amazon
“I love this warm shade of metallic gold,” said Carola Gonzalez, whose clients include Kerry Washington, Leona Lewis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Uzo Aduba and Oprah Winfrey. “It’s highly pigmented, goes on smoothly for easy application and is a great color for the holiday season. Plus, it complements most skin tones.”
12. L'Oreal Paris Colour Riche Eye Pocket Palette Eye Shadow in Boudoir Charme, $8, Amazon
“This has easy color combos for even the most novice of eye shadow blenders,” said Tasha Reiko Brown, whose clients include Aja Naomi King and Yara Shahidi. “The colors complement each other and — even if used alone — provide a nice, shimmery backdrop to make lashes pop. Not too sparkly or glittery, they just have a lovely sheen that blends beautifully and packs a pigmented punch.”
Originally published in Nov. 2016 on Today.com.
For more beauty favorites, check out:
- Celebrity makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic shares his beauty and skin care favorites
- The 7 best beauty products under $20 from the People and TODAY beauty awards
- The 8 new beauty products you should try this year, according to Allure
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