Of all the products in your makeup bag, the one that allows you to show the most creativity is your eyeshadow. The colored powders in those little pans highlight the most expressive part of your face. The looks you dream up can be anything from subtle to glam, and eyeshadows come in every color to match any mood or outfit. However, palettes can get pretty pricey. That’s where drugstores come in.
Affordable brands like Maybelline, L’Oréal Paris, NYX, and more make shadows that stack up to the quality of high-end brands—and sometimes even out-perform them. Although drugstore eyeshadows used to be entry-level products beauty lovers first experimented with in middle school, they’re now staples in the makeup kits of professional artists and beauty influencers alike.
- Maybelline Total Temptation Eyeshadow + Highlight Palette
Patrick Ta, go-to makeup artist of Gigi Hadid, Adriana Lima, and Shay Mitchell, thinks that this palette is “the perfect drugstore eyeshadow option.” He loves the blendability of the shades and says you can create both natural and smokey eye looks with it. Plus, the metallic shades double as face highlighters so you can glow all over.
- Revlon ColorStay Looks Book Eyeshadow Palette
Celebrity makeup artist Tobi Henney noted that she uses the Enigma palette on Ashley Graham because the plum tones in it are perfect for people with brown eyes. She also regularly travels with it because it’s so compact.
- ColourPop Give It To Me Straight Palette
For a bronze smokey eye, Henney says that there is no palette better than this one. She loves that the metallic tones work to give the center of the eye a pop. She also regularly brings it when she is doing makeup for swimwear campaigns because it creates when she calls a “beach babe eye.”
- Wet n Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow 10-Pan Palette
You can’t really go wrong with a $5 eyeshadow palette, especially when the quality is as good as this one is. It comes in four different shade ranges so you can select the one that best fits your mood, or collect them all—for less than the price of one high-end palette. Makeup artist and YouTuber @RawBeautyKristi says that these palettes are a go-to of hers when she needs something both affordable and quality, and emphasizes that Wet N Wild is an “underrated drugstore brand.”
- L’Oréal Infallible 24 HR Eye Shadow
Glamsquad Artistic Director Kelli J. Bartlett is a huge fan of these single shadows because of the variety in textures. They come in metallic, pearl, and matte finishes that “are color-true and offer minimum fallout.”
- Karity Nudes and Rudes
Bartlett also reaches for this palette when she needs to create a neutral look. She loves that each of the shadows are highly pigmented and blendable, and it comes with 21 total hues in the palette. It’s versatile enough to create both natural and dramatic looks.
- Maybelline The Burgundy Bar Eyeshadow Palette Makeup
Celebrity makeup artist and #DewyDumpling Instagram phenomenon Nam Vo, who works with everyone from Rosie Huntington-Whiteley to Kylie Jenner, uses this palette to create what she describes a “warm dumpling eye,” because the entire set is subtly metallic and warm-toned.
- NYX Professional Makeup Prismatic Eyeshadow
Vo is also partial to this metallic baby pink shadow single. She gently taps it into the center of the lid to give a glossy shock of glitter to any eye look, especially when she wants to give off a sweet, “innocent” vibe.
- E.l.f. Mad for Matte Eyeshadow Palette
Beauty YouTuber and founder of Dominique Cosmetics, Christen Dominique, loves how the shadows in this palette are buildable in coverage and are universally flattering on a variety of skin tones. It also comes in sleek black packaging that will look great both in a makeup flatlay and sitting on your vanity countertop.
- Milani Bold Obsessions Eyeshadow Palette
Beauty influencer Foinika Kay—also known as @ExteriorGlam—says this palette is one of the best ones that she owns. Though it falls on the pricier side of drugstore palettes, she loves how pigmented it is, and that the shades are so different that you can create a plethora of fun looks.
- BH Cosmetics Opalescent 24 Color Shadow Palette
Kay also really loves this BH palette for its long-lasting power. It has a ton of neutral shades ranging from golds to pinks, and it even has a few purples thrown in, so you can go for a more neutral, soft-glam look.
- NYX Swear By It Shadow Palette
Beauty influencer and musician Bri Hall swears by this palette, pun intended. The color diversity, as well as the mix of textures and finishes, makes it an easy go-to for the makeup lover on-the-go. She loves that it has a combination of warm and cool tones, and regularly reaches for this palette whenever she’s in a pinch.