Sure, Urban Decay, MAC and Lancôme all make some great eyeshadows, but sometimes the asking price is just a tad out of your monthly makeup budget.
On our list below, we’ll present you with some excellent (and affordable) alternatives by highlighting the best drugstore eyeshadow brands and products.
Accentuating your eyes doesn’t have to be so expensive, so allow us to show you which ones are worth the purchase!
How to Choose
Here are a few things to take into consideration so that you can narrow down your choices to a more specific selection:
- Matte or Shimmer. Not everyone wants a shimmer eyeshadow, so before you buy, make sure you know what type of look they’ll help you achieve, especially if you choose a palette.
If you typically prefer matte, look for palettes that offer matte/satin finishes with maybe just a few shimmery options. If you prefer all shimmer, then get a palette that also has some metallic colors mixed in.
- Palette or Individual. Palettes are great if you want to mix and match the colors to create certain looks. The more colors there are, the more looks you can create.
Avoid purchasing a palette for only one color, however, as this is a huge waste of money and product! Purchase the most frequently used colors in singles and only get palettes if you know you’ll use the majority of the colors.
- Season/Occasion. When it comes to choosing colors, always take the season and occasion into consideration. Dark and sultry for an evening look? Light and fresh for a spring look?
- Cream or Dry. Creams are nice if you want a slightly shimmery look. Typically, you don’t need to apply any eye primer, but the color selection isn’t as wide as it is with dry eyeshadows.
Dry shadows are easier to blend and you have more options/finishes, but they won’t last very long if you don’t use a primer.
Top 10 Drugstore Eyeshadows Comparison Table
|1. Best Pro Eyeshadow by Lamora||Matte, Metallic, Satin & Shimmer||$$$$||4.7|
|2. L'oréal® Paris Infallible by Illuminations||Shimmer||$||4.4|
|3. L'Oreal Paris Cosmetics Colour Riche La Palette||Mix (Satin, Matte, Shimmer)||$$$$||4.4|
|4. e.l.f. Prism Eyeshadow||Shimmer||$$||4.4|
|5. Neutrogena Nourishing Smoky Steel||Matte & Shimmer||$$$||4.4|
|6. REVLON Colorstay||Matte||$$||4.3|
|7. Wet n Wild Color Icon||Shimmer||$$||4.3|
|8. Physicians Formula Matte Collection||Matte||$$$||4.3|
|9. Maybelline Tenacious Teal||Cream||$||4.2|
|10. Maybelline New York The Nudes||Mix (Satin, Shimmer, Matte)||$$$||4.2|
Make Sure You Have the Right Tools
- Primer. Primer before powder!
In order to prevent creasing and to make sure that your eyeshadow doesn’t slide right off your lids an hour after you apply it, a quality primer is key.
Our favorite drugstore find is NYX Eyeshadow Base.
- Brushes. Your brushes make a huge difference in terms of quality application and how much product they are able to pick up without much waste.
Your kit should at least include a base application brush, a shading or blending brush and some sort of precision blending brush that has a smaller tip.
Here are a few of our favorite eyeshadow brushes that won’t break the bank:
- Shading. Real Techniques Shading Brush.
- Base Application. EcoTools Full Eye Shadow Brush.
- Precision Blending Brush. e.l.f. Studio Eyeshadow “C” Brush.
Top 5 Best Drugstore Eyeshadow Reviews
Lamora is definitely the best drugstore eyeshadow palette on our list.
You get 16 different colors to choose from, different finishes (matte, metallic, satin and shimmer) in hues of soft rose gold and dark browns.
The packaging is nice. It has a magnetic lid closure, making it travel-friendly, and the range of colors seems to offer something for everyone. If you use a great primer, then this definitely lasts once you apply!
Depending on your skin tone, some colors may stand out more than others since some of the shades have more pigment and others don’t. You may need to layer it in order for some of the colors to show up. You can also use it wet or dry, which makes it easier to achieve different looks.
Overall, this is an excellent alternative to some of the more expensive brands with similar color ranges. We say go for it if you’re looking for a new palette to add to your makeup kit!
Anyone looking for single eyeshadows should check out L’Oréal’s Infallible Shadows.
If you’re looking for high pigmentation, they give it to you with this shadow! The texture is on the creamy side (even though it’s a powder) and it lasts all…day…long. It really does! It’s also waterproof, so if you’re tearing up the dancefloor in a hot club or you’re at a wedding with a 90+ heatwave passing over, this stuff stays put.
The color range is fabulous, so if you don’t like the Burst into Bloom above, then there are plenty of other colors for you to choose from. Check them out!
L’Oréal has yet another product we love, one that will work perfectly for those of you who are looking for a primarily matte palette.
While it does come in two different palette color selections, the Nude Intense palette has some lovely shades of purple that work well on olive, brown and chocolate skin tones. They also have a handy application guide on the back of the packaging that shows you how to create certain looks with the colors included on the palette, which is nice so you don’t have to hunt them down on the L’Oréal website.
We find these eyeshadows to have wonderful pigmentation and they last if you use a quality eye primer underneath.
This is a versatile palette that you can use for everyday looks (going to work) or for special occasions (when you want to achieve darker, smokier eye, you have everything you need in one palette). Best of all, it’s affordable!
Here are their application suggestions:
e.l.f. is a classic brand in the drugstore section, and we love the three different palettes that they offer: Sunset (featured in our table), Naked and Smoke.
In terms of pigment, they’re OK. They seem to show up better once you’ve been using the product for a while, and the color ranges are fab.
If you use these, then we’d recommend a setting spray to help the color stay in place. While we do like this palette, it just doesn’t last nearly as long as some of the other palettes we’ve discussed.
Here are the other two colors if you’re interested:Naked
Neutrogena’s colors are basic: palettes with four colors allow you to create a simple, straightforward look, which is especially great for those of you who don’t spend a lot of time in front of the mirror working on your eyes.
This is a long-lasting eyeshadow that also has a built-in primer, although we wouldn’t skip a layer of our own primer in order to make sure. If you have oily lids, then you definitely need a primer. Their 12-hour wear claim is also true. This stuff really does last! They’re very velvety in texture and they don’t seem to have much fallout.
One thing that we find a little disappointing is that they don’t offer much variety between one palette and another.
The Smoky Steel (featured above) and Cool Plum are probably the most diverse, but if you look at the other four, they are very similar. We would have liked some blues, greens and purples in there, but in terms of product quality, it’s still pretty good for the price.
Here are the other colors for comparison:
From Left to Right: Cool Plum, Soft Taupe, Cocoa Muave, Minky Brown, Classic Nude.