I'm Obsessed With Colorful Eyeshadow—Here Are the 15 That Earn Me the Most Compliments

Updated 08/12/19
Product Disclosure

 Amanda Montell

I think most of us can agree that summer 2019 has been aesthetically pretty whimsical. '90s hair clips? Adorable. The Jonas Brothers being unironically popular again? Precious. Spiked sparkling water? So playful! I mean, "I'm baby" is literally one of the most popular slang terms of the season. If that's not whimsy, then I don’t know what is. 

This season’s makeup trends are leaning the way of offbeat and fanciful, as well—and I am personally living for it. Long gone are the days when it was customary to wear a matte liquid lipstick and cumbersome smoky eye on an average weekday, and in is a glorious new era when wearing clear lip gloss and a single bright eye color that looks as if a 7-year-old picked it out is considered cool.

 As a fan of quaint, quirky makeup colors, I have embraced the living daylights out of the simple, yet colorful eyeshadow trend (which, #humblebrag, one of our editors long ago predicted would be huge in 2019). As I’ve been experimenting with whimsical eye looks over the last six months or so, I’ve accumulated quite a few products and application techniques, which are ludicrously easy to use and yet earn me scores of compliments. Read on to see 15 products (and tips) for mastering the "I’m baby" eye makeup looks I’m loving this summer.

Kosas 10-Second Eyeshadow in 333 $28

It really does only take about 10 seconds to apply Kosas’s new non-toxic, water-based liquid shadows, which come with a handy doe-foot applicator, dry down fast to be totally crease-free, and are available in eight fetching shades (like cool lavender and coppery rose gold), which you can wear super sheer or build up for more impact. 

Huda Beauty
Huda Beauty Matte & Metal Melted Double Ended Eyeshadows in Limelight $25

There are so many fun ways to wear Huda Beauty’s dual-ended liquid shadows, which come with an ultra-pigmented matte shade on one end and an iridescent metallic on the other. My new favorite thing is to line my upper lash line with the matte side of Limelight and create a subtle wing at the end, then use the sparkly gold on the other side to brighten my inner corners. 

Make Matte Finish Eyeshadow in Poppy $25

I hardly ever hear anyone gush about the eye products formulated by minimalist makeup brand Make, but they totally deserve to be praised. Their little pans of matte powder shadow are hella pigmented, blendable, and come in 29 fire shades. Poppy, an electric orange; Purple Moor, an interesting graying lavender; and Siberian Blue, a vibrant Carolina blue are my favorites. 

Rituel de Fille Celestial Sphere Eye Soot in Ara
Rituel de Fille Celestial Sphere Eye Soot in Ara $38

Okay, so the price tag on this one is a little scary, but… definitely put it on your wishlist because this indie brand’s ethereal, multidimensional Celestial Sphere shadows (which have a sort of half-powder, half-cream consistency) are as beautiful as they are costly. I’m personally smitten with Ara, a frosty reddish shade that you can wear sheer or build up to make a little more of a statement. If I got a dollar every time someone said they liked my eye shadow while wearing this, I’d make my money back pretty quickly.

Nudestix Magnetic Nude Glimmer Highlighter in 24k Goddess $28

So this is technically a highlighter, but I’ve been wearing it on my lids and loving it. Whenever I want a subtle wash of yellow-gold metallic glow on my eyes (which is usually), I use the easy stick applicator to swipe a coat of the lightweight, yet long-wearing gel across my lids. Tap-tap to blend, and voila. 

Fenty Beauty Killawatt Foil Freestyle Highlighter in Mimosa Sunrise/Sangria Sunset
Fenty Beauty Killawatt Foil Freestyle Highlighter in Mimosa Sunrise/Sangria Sunset $36

This is another product that’s marketed as a highlighter but doubles as an eyeshadow. Neon is definitely trending this summer, and wearing Fenty’s hot pink and tangerine cream-to-powder shades (either separately or layered together) is my current favorite way to have a neon makeup moment.

Ulta Eyeshadow Single in Sunday Funday ($9)
Ulta Beauty Eyeshadow Single in Sunday Funday $9

From shade selection (there are 40!) to pigmentation, Ulta’s sleeper hit eyeshadow singles rival those three times the price. I like to wet my eyeshadow brush (Sigma’s new set of small blending brushes are lit, by the way) before applying Sunday Funday so the purple-blue color really pops.

Dior Diorshow On Stage Liquid Eyeliner in Matte Yellow
Dior Diorshow On Stage Liquid Eyeliner in Matte Yellow $31

Yellow eyeshadow has kind of become my signature look this summer (it doesn’t sound wearable, but trust me, it is), and nothing gives me the egg yolk aesthetic of my dreams like Dior’s liquid liner in Matte Yellow. Even though it’s a liner, not a shadow, the flexible tip is so effortless to use and the formula so absurdly pigmented that you can easily cover your whole lid and it’ll look both perfectly even and blindingly bright. (Dior also makes other *whimsical* shades like Pearly Turquoise, Matte Pink, and Matte Pop Green.)

Glitter Pigments in Stellar and Sparkler
Bodyography Glitter Pigments in Stellar and Sparkler $23

The shimmery, almost wet-looking finish of Bodyography’s glitter pigments is absolutely hypnotizing and very unique. You’ve got to layer it up if you want the effect to be nice and bright, but once you do, the compliments are going to be nonstop. 

Giorgio Armani Eye Tint Renovation in Fusion
Giorgio Armani Eye Tint Renovation in Fusion $28

One of the more wearable products in the mix, Armani’s revamped liquid eyeshadow is long-lasting, smudge-proof, and comes in an array of becoming, shimmery shades, like Midnight Cruise, a deep teal; Sunset, a rosy Mauve; and Fusion, a fiery copper. 

Sisley Phyto Eye Twist in Amethyst $50

After half a dozen makeup artists recommended this product to me, I ghosted my accountant and dropped the 50 bucks. Pricey as it may be, this truly is the best eyeshadow crayon on the market in my opinion, as it’s wildly blendable, extremely pigmented, and does not smudge. The shade selection ranges from jewel tones like emerald green and amethyst purple (my go-to, as a green-eyed lady) to everyday hues like copper, bronze, and steel.

Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk
NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk $5

Not keen on dedicating the cost of three Postmates deliveries to an eye pencil? Fair enough! NYX’s $5 eye crayon, especially in Purple Velvet and Cobalt, is a fantastic alternative. The product also comes in a pigmented off-white, Milk, which is fun for creating trendy white eyeliner looks—a vibe I’m also loving. 

Eye Pigment in Mermaid Parade
Milk Makeup Eye Pigment in Mermaid Parade $24

You will be hard-pressed to find an eyeshadow that stays put longer than Milk’s. It honestly works like a pretty, shimmery cement: Use your finger to apply and blend the product (which comes in swoon-worthy shades from light pink After Party to jade green Mermaid Parade), but act fast, because after it dries, it won’t budge. Perfect for a night out when you want to look like an angel but also know you’ll be sweating (or crying. Or both). 

Nars Single Eyeshadow in Baby Jane $19

Nars’ eyeshadow singles are iconic for a reason. The 43-shade selection and intense color payoff are simply unmatched. Baby Jane is a new light blue I’m loving, but I’m also super into their vibrant matte yellow shade, Duoro (obvi).

Stila Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow in Kitten Karma ($24)
Stila Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow in Kitten Karma $24

Glitter eyeshadow can be such a messy pain in the ass to deal with, but Stila’s sparkly liquid shadows, which come with a convenient wand applicator, couldn’t possibly make it easier. The product comes in so many heart-stoppingly pretty shades, it’s hard to choose a favorite (they’ve also added metallic colors, which are really fun). If I need to put together a night-out makeup look really quickly, this product is 100% my go-to. 

Next up: The ultimate guide to eyeshadow for beginners

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