The Best Liquid Eye Shadows, According To Makeup Artists

Liquid eye shadows are among the trendiest makeup formulas right now, with new versions dropping from a variety of brands seemingly every week. Devotees favor them for their ease of use, blendability and intense color payoff. But there are a few key tricks to finding the right formula and applying it like a pro. 

“When it comes to these formulas, a little goes a long way,” says makeup artist Beau Nelson. “The best way is to use a synthetic brush, apply thin layers and use the brush to buff edges for a clean transition.” Makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes agrees, nothing that fingers are fine in a pinch, but “the oils in your fingers can often break up the oils in the product.” One major benefit of using a liquid shadow is that it doesn’t require the use of a primer: They “basically act as primers with color. They work well amazingly on their own, or even as a base for powder shadows,” explains Hughes. 

Liquid eye shadows are also the unsung heroes of the makeup bag because of their versatility. Both makeup artists we consulted agree that the multi-tasking capabilities of these formulas are particularly impressive. “Metallic, pale and medium shades can look best as highlights. They can also act as blush — just mix a tiny bit of foundation to extend the product’s dry-down time,” says Nelson.

Now that you know how to apply them like a pro, here are the best expert-recommended liquid eye shadows to add to your collection. Read on to see (and shop) them all.

Danessa Myricks Beauty 24-Hour Cream ColorFix

Channel your inner artist with Danessa Myricks Beauty ColorFix 24-Hour Cream Color Matte. This ultra-long-wearing cream color can be safely used on lips, eyes, face, and body. ColorFix’s unique silicone-polymer base can be mixed to create custom colors and finishes.

Buy on Beautylish $25

Glossier Skywash

Powder-finish formula (that doesn’t feel powdery) smooths on with a doe foot applicator. Silky, blendable color melts into skin, creating a pretty, diffused effect that lasts. A little bit adds some depth to the eye area; add more for a refined, modern wash of color. Comes in seven shades inspired by dreamy Southwest landscapes.

Buy on their website $22

Stila Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadows

Illuminate your eyes with Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow by Stila Cosmetics. This lightweight and water-infused formula provides long-lasting coverage, without ever flaking. Boosted with mica, this highly-pigmented formula reflects the light around you, revealing a glowing appearance. 

Buy at Dermstore $24

MILK Makeup Eye Pigment

Swipe ‘em all over your lids for a bold shadow look, or use an angled brush to create a long-wear liner.

Buy on their website $24

Covergirl Exhibitionist Liquid Glitter Shadow

These super sparkly liquid eyeshadows are the best way to amplify your eyes. With its smooth, lightweight feel and quick dry-down, you’ll achieve shimmery color in a flash.

Buy on their website

Chanel Ombre Premiere Laque

One swipe delivers lustrous, buildable colour that can be smudged out easily with fingertips for a soft-focus effect.

Buy on their website $36

Glossier Lidstar

Creates a sheer veil of color that locks onto lids without creasing (so no need for primer). Ultrafine pigments are enveloped in a buttery base for a silky, blendable formula that swipes on easily. Comes in six shimmery, long-wearing shades.

Buy on their website $22

ELF Liquid Glitter Shadow

This gel-based formula is long-lasting, quick-drying and 100% eye-catching! Formulated for comfortable wear and minimal fall out, this opaque liquid eyeshadow delivers high-impact, multi-dimensional glitters and pearls in a quick-drying gel base.

Buy at ULTA $5

KOSAS 10-Second Liquid Eyeshadow

A clean liquid eyeshadow that goes on like watercolor — soothes skin, won’t crease, dries in seconds.

Buy on their website $37

Armani Beauty Eye Tint Liquid Eyeshadow

A long-lasting, crease-proof liquid eyeshadow in multiple finishes with up to 16 hours of buildable color with a lightweight feel.

Buy at Saks Fifth Avenue $40

Wander Beauty Exquisite Eye Liquid Shadow

A highly pigmented liquid eyeshadow that transforms from liquid to powder to deliver vibrant color payoff that lasts all day.

Buy at Look Fantastic $22

Smith & Cult Glitterbaby Metallic-Shift Eye Shadow

Next level liquid glitter eyeshadow. Smith & Cult’s Glitterbaby Metallic-Shift Eyeshadow features black micronized pigments that transform to a deeper metallic as you blend. Build color intensity and depth. Wear as a sparkling metallic or smudge for a smoky look.

Buy at ULTA $24

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The $5 Eyeshadow That Totally Upgrades Your Work-From-Home Face

If you love glitter and sleeping in (who doesn’t), you’ve come to the right place. This liquid eyeshadow is the one-swipe stop for brightening your “rolled from bed to desk” eyes. 

As someone who constantly experiments with makeup, I was excited to try E.l.f. Liquid Glitter Eyeshadow to add sparkle to my face — little did I know it would soon become a staple of my quarantine morning routine. Despite the uptick in tie-dying and hair dying trends, quarantine hadn’t felt like the time to try out pink eyeliner or teal mascara. However, spending most of the day looking at my reflection on Zoom calls made me appreciate even the smallest effort. In an attempt to mix things up beyond changing which room I used as my office, I started using a swipe of this glitter shadow in silver and a light layer of mascara to freshen up my face, and I immediately became hooked. 

Vegan and cruelty-free, this accessible shadow comes in metallic neutrals and playful colors to liven up your WFH regimen. The tube has a lip-gloss style applicator that easily swipes the product onto your lids in one fell swoop. Best practice is to swipe from the inner corner outwards then let it dry. If you try to touch up before it dries, you may inadvertently remove some of the glitter as it’s still wet and malleable. The glitter stays on for a day’s work and comes right off with one swipe of your makeup remover when its job is done. 

This shadow hasn’t gone unnoticed by Amazon shoppers, landing itself in the top 50 best-sellers for eyeshadow. If your daily routine is in need of an affordable upgrade, then keep scrolling to shop this quarantine-brightening product

INSTYLE article