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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The New Nude Palette by HUDA BEAUTY is versatile and wearable in equal measure. Delivering infinite possibilities, this unexpected palette encourages you to experiment, empower, and express yourself however you please. The online brand Focallure wastes no time in creating alterntives to HUDA’s palettes, and Sunrise is their answer to New Nude.
The all-in-one eyeshadow palette consists of 18 highly-pigmented shades, ranging from flattering mattes to shimmer-drenched hues, and has everything you need to transform your lids. The carefully-curated lineup is studded with easy-to-use combinations—from soft berry to dusty copper, and rosy pink to golden taupe tones. The New Nude Palette boasts a variety of game-changing textures and colors, balancing cool and warm tones to complement the best of both worlds.
The formula of the two palettes is borderline identical. HUDA’s shadows are highly pigmented, very easy to blend, and last all day long (with the right eyeshadow primer). Exactly the same can be said about Focallure’s palette – it even mimics the cream concealer at the bottom left corner and pressed glitter shades.
ColourPop’s 9-pan palettes have taken the makeup world by storm; from monochromatic color stories to complementing colors that make great looks – they’ve got it all. At this point it’s safe to say there are over 20 of this style of palette made by ColourPop, with new releases every week!
Each collection has a cute pun-ny name and usually comes with blushes, highlighters, lip glosses, lipsticks, and even some of their FourthRayBeauty or SOLBody products.
The formula is incredible, and not just for the price. The shadows are pigmented, easily bendable, and last all day long on the eyes with the right eyeshadow primer. More than half of the palettes in this shape come with at least one pressed glitter, which may turn some makeup lovers away from the product.
When Too Faced released their (yet another) version of a nude eyeshadow palette called Natural Nudes in January 2020, so did Maybelline with a drugstore dupe that released in the same month. Since makeup products take at least 6-8 months to create, formulate, and begin production, it’s highly suspicious that such similar palettes released in the same month. Who knows who was snooping on who!
Interesting to note, both brands describe their palette as “made for universal shades and complexions“. Both have 16 shades with a good range of mattes and shimmers.
The Too Faced palette is said to be infused with coconut water, alpine rose & hualuronic acid, which gives it a slight sweet scent and softer blendability. Whereas the Maybelline palette is a tad drier, with key ingridients being Talc, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride & Zinc Stearate.
Well, I tested them both out for myself and I can say that they’re VERY similar in pigmentation and wearability. Of course, use a good eyeshadow primer to prolong the wear of any eyeshadow. Shimmer shades can be amplified by spraying the brush with the product with a setting spray (MAC’s Fix Plus is the best for this step) before applying onto the eye.
Rimmel London Power Palette in #BossBabe – I like the simple design and the lightweight packaging. The eyeshadows are pigmented, blendable, and crease-proof all day; the lip & cheek gloss doesn’t disrupt the makeup underneath; the highlighter is subtle yet gives a natural glow and complements the eyeshadow tones very well.
Rimmel London Wonder’Ink Eyeliner – the formula of this felt-tip liner is extremely black, dries very quickly preventing smudging and is easy to work with.
Definitely recommend to check out this collection when it hits the shelves!
For more eyeshadow palette shades in this line, visit their website. For the eyeliner, visit their website.
With Urban Decay expanding their Naked eyeshadow palette line at an increasingly high speed, the collectors mentality comes to a halt for many beauty lovers. With the release of Naked Cherry and Naked Heat, drugstore brands Makeup Revolution and Rimmel London lost no time in making affordable quality dupes for those palettes. I’m still waiting for them to dupe the Naked Honey!
Formula comparison: Makeup Revolution eyeshadows are slightly more pigmented and blendable, but do have quite a bit of fallout so tap off the excess from the brush before applying and do your eye makeup first. The Rimmel London eyeshadow formula is less pigmented, but allows for color buildup with less fallout.
Have you tried these palettes? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!
I adore the formula of these NYX palettes! They’re great for travel and offer a wide variety of shades. Even within the Warm Neutrals color family there’s a definite distinction between the shades, none are completely similar. The Ultimate Brights does require a little bit of work, otherwise they show up pastel, still love it though. Great palettes for a great price!