Eyeshadow is my thing. So much so that more often than I care to admit, I spend so much time perfecting my shadow situation that I forget to put mascara on - which is a bit like making a cake and forgetting to ice it; do not recommend.
In the same way that some people love a bold lip, I’m all about the bold eye. It’s something I’m forever experimenting with. For me, a poppin’ eye is the finishing touch to any outfit, a way to express myself, add a bit of extra dazzle or detract from a less than great skin day.
I think my passion for eyeshadow comes from my obsession with colour, and learning that eyeshadow is the easiest and ultimate lesson in colour theory. With just a swipe of a brush, I can make my eyes brighter, bluer, greyer or greener depending on what tones I put on my lids.
Recently, I’ve been forgoing the very appealing world of palettes (more colours!) for a few carefully selected individual shadows. It feels to me, like a very grown-up decision to admit you’re probably not going to use 10/12ths of that pretty palette you saw at Mecca, and instead commit to a single colour.
Today I’m reviewing three very different products, tested over a week that turned out to be just as varied - starting with a night of cocktails and ending with being in lockdown (again).
If you want high-pigment shadows, then you’d be a fool not to turn to M.A.C - they just know what they’re doing. The Powder Kiss range is marketed as “pillow-soft, matte, pressed-powder eye shadow with an ultra-creamy texture that delivers a beautifully diffused, blurring effect on lids”. Which I’d say is a pretty fair and accurate description. These are super matte shadows; not a speck of glitter, and the colour is intense and easy to build.
I personally preferred these to regular M.A.C. shadows, in terms of how easily and neatly they blended out. I had four colours to try (they’re currently a very limited range, with just 10 colours in the Powder Kiss formulation) and of course I put them all on at once before heading out for dinner and cocktails with a friend. It was a late one, and there were tears (happy ones!), but when I got home I was still happy with my eye makeup and sad to take it off.
If I had to choose a favourite colour it would be “Werk, Werk, Werk” - a proper red that went on strong and stayed. Unlike other brands, M.A.C.’s packaging is always frustratingly functional and stays true to their professional roots, so it never feels quite as luxey as it should to me. But the proof is the pudding, or the Powder Kiss, in this case.
As they are a powder (and while smooth to blend, I’m not sure I’d use “creamy” to describe the consistency) and using very bold shades, there is a LOT of fall out when applying. So if you’re going to be wearing a base, you’ve got to finish your eyes before putting on any foundation or concealer or you’re going to make a mess. After application though, and using a primer, I found the fall out over the course of the night was minimal and staying power strong. I really hope they extend the colour range for these.
This was the product I was most excited to try. I’m a big fan of cream eyeshadows and alternative forms they might take. I’d also been fully suckered in by the graphic packaging of the Kosas brand and the promise of a 10-second eye shadow. This product is also the only vegan one of the three.
First impressions: cute packaging, nice frosted glass tube with applicator, great logo. The product itself separates quickly within the bottle and until shaken looks a lot like orange juice (not so much something I would willingly put near my eyes).
After a rigorous shake, it becomes very glittery. The consistency is more fluid than any eye makeup I’ve ever used - a watery liquid rather than a creamier formulation (like the Stila Shimmer & Glow similarly packaged eyeshadows), which honestly I found a bit weird to use and difficult to get an even coverage.
In a true road test, I’d popped this in my bag to use sitting in my car after getting a facial; deciding to use it, as the packet says, with a 10-second application and ready to go. Unfortunately I found the formulation to be slightly irritating on the skin, and before it had dried it had found its way into my eyes so they stung a bit too (I’m nothing if not incredibly glamorous). When dabbed on it was a great metallic golden orange, but when blended with my finger tip it quickly disappeared into almost nothing on my eyelids while depositing a thin film of glitter over the rest of me.
For the sake of a fair test, I decided to give it another go the next day using a primer and a brush. But even with the primer, it just didn’t last even 30 minutes on my lids and at best, despite loading it on, it was really just a film of glitter and very patchy. This is a product that in my opinion looks a lot more exciting in the package than to wear.
By far the most expensive of the three products I tried, the Bobbi Brown Luxe Eye Shadow is dressed for the price tag in a blingy little compact complete with mirror which I appreciated. “Heat Ray” has been a shade that I’ve had my eye on for a while: a really warm metallic copper with chrome finish.
It’s a nice creamy powder, that you can easily get a smooth foil finish with just two passes; it also blends out nicely for a subtler look evenly distributing pigment and glitter across the whole lid. Like with most glitter or foil based products, it had the most impact when patted on with my finger, but had good pick up on the brush too.
I was quite excited to plan my makeup around this shade for an evening out on Friday, however with surprise lockdown 2.0 thrown at us on Wednesday my plans changed somewhat. But who’s to say that my wonderful local dairy owner wouldn’t appreciate seeing a blinging $74 eyeshadow look over the top of a DIY mask? Admittedly he didn’t mention it, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t great.
I found this surprisingly wearable for everyday (and I mean a lockdown day so it doesn’t get much more casual than that) by blending it out, and the tones to be super flattering. It has that polychromatic thing happening which gives great definition and added dimension to your eyes even when applied very basically, as well as being sparkly. The versatility to pack it on for a glam look or blur it for a more subtle one surprised me as it is very sparkly. But who doesn’t need more sparkly eyes right now?
The majority of product in our beauty reviews is gifted to our reviewers with the requirement it be trialled over a period of time. Editorial opinions are the writer's own. Is there a product you’d like to see reviewed? Let us know.