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Best Affordable Makeup Series: Best Drugstore Eye Shadow

The Best Drugstore Eye Shadow

As part of my continuing series on the best drugstore makeup, today I  look at the best drugstore eye shadow. Plus, I will tell you a few that I don’t really like.  Last time I covered the Best Drugstore Blush.

The best drugstore eye shadow is well pigmented for brilliant color and finely milled for good building, blending, and to avoid creasing. Cream shadows should be smooth and bendable and not crease with wear. From my experience, eye shadow is the item where department store and luxury brands often stand out the most above the drugstore items in quality, usually because they put in more pigment and better mill the product, but quality affordable eye shadow options can be found.

Below are the best drugstore eye shadows that have good pigment and wear well. Although I have provided some affiliate links to the products, you should also be able to find them in drugstores or big box stores.

Best Powder Drugstore Eye Shadow

Milani eyeshadow loreal hip eyeshadow 2120039

A couple of items stand out far above the rest when it comes to quality and affordability in drugstore eye shadow. Those are Milani and L’Oreal HIP. Bringing in honorable mentions are Revlon’s eyeshadow quads and CoverGirl eye enhancers.

Milani Runway Wet and Dry Eye Shadow has lots of pigment and great shimmer. Milani eye shadows don’t crease and they last all day. Use them wet for an even more brilliant look that is also great as an eyeliner. For bright bold colors, Milani is also another good choice. I’m not the only one raving about these. One of Beauty and Fashion Tech’s guest posters also loved them. You can read her review here:  Milani Runway Eyes

L’Oreal HIP Bright Duos Shadow are as pigmented as they come. L’Oreal’s HIP line rivals MAC for quality and brilliant shades at an affordable price, all while being available at your local drugstore. If you love MAC Parrot eye shadow, look at L’Oreal HIP in the duo Showy (pictured and linked to). The lighter shade of the duo is a good duplicate of MAC Parrot.  People tend to rave about this eye shadow.

Revlon 12 Hour Eyeshadow Quads have good pigment and decent wearability. I didn’t get 12 hours from them, but did get a full workday with no creasing, which is pretty good for a drugstore eye shadow. The quads come in a variety of shades, including many nice neutrals.

CoverGirl Eye Enhancers come is a variety of shades. Generally, I find the more neutral shades to be rather average in how they wear, although they have some lovely shades. However, the bright and flashy shades tend to be be a bit better pigmented than similar shades in other brands and often come packaged in trios and quads for creating some fun looks.  You can read more and see a tropical eye look in my previous review: CoverGirl Eye Shadow

Best Cream Drugstore Eye Shadow


My favorite cream eye shadows tend to be premium brands. I love MAC paint pots (link is to previous review), which actually are rather affordable, and urban decay. However, L’Oreal Hip   makes a decent tube cream shadow: L’Oreal HIP Cream Shadow Paint. It has great pigment and wears fairly well, but is not entirely crease proof—don’t put it on too thick.  Beyond that, I haven’t found one worth raving about. Maybelline used to make a Dream Mousse Eye Shadow that was wonderful but, sadly, it appears to have been discontinued.

A Few Duds

Just as there are some good drugstore makeup bargains, some drugstore eye shadows really don’t cut it. One that I particularly have not been happy with is Almay. Their shadows look lovely in their containers,  but have very little pigment. Another that has failed to impress me is the Sonia Kashuk eye shadows at Target. There are some Sonia Kashuk items that I love (their lip crayons rock), but every Sonia Kashuk eye shadow I tried either lacked pigment, creased up on me later, or both.  Also, as much as I like Revlon for their powder eye shadows, their cream shadows just don’t quite have enough pigment to make me happy, although they do wear quite well.

Note: This article is based in part on products provided to me by a representative of the company (Milani and CoverGirl). For more, please see my disclosure page.

ulta eye shadow
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