The 17 Best Drugstore Eyeshadow Palettes for Budget-Friendly Glam

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If you ask us, it's always worth scoping out all your options when buying makeup. Drugstore products have always held an important place in the cosmetics industry, and for good reason. For instance, eyeshadow palettes can cost a pretty penny at luxury retailers. But believe it or not, there are tons of show-stopping kits from fallback drugstore brands like NYX, e.l.f., L'Oreal, Maybelline, and Revlon, plus a few up-and-comers.

"Nowadays, you don't have to splurge with a high-end price point," says pro makeup artist Maria Gianno. "Drugstore makeup is competitively priced, has excellent formulation, and comes in a wide variety of products. I find many high-end dupes at the drugstore, which I reach for just as often as my more expensive makeup." 

The best part is, you don't have to set foot in an actual pharmacy to score top-notch products. To make things even easier on you, we rounded up the crème de la crème of affordable eyeshadow palettes you can buy online, including a few makeup artists' recs.

Here, the best drugstore eyeshadow palettes.

Our Top Picks
It's got 16 different colors, including warm and cool tones in matte and shimmer.
Wallet-friendly, this $3 palette is a steal, containing four colors each.
A budget-friendly dupe of Urban Decay's Naked Palette.
Nine earth-inspired hues that come in matte, all shimmery, or a little of both.
This palette has shades of nude, earthy colors, champagne, and a smoky almost-black.
This has 18 pans of strikingly vibrant powders in matte, shimmery, and glittery finishes.
This palette has 10 impressively pigmented and versatile colors with all-day staying power.
Easily transition from your day to evening look with these pigmented shadows.
A 12-pan kit with deep, cool-toned colors, including satins, mattes, and shimmers.
It has six seriously shimmery eye-enhancing colors, ranging from dark to light.

Best Overall: NYX Professional Makeup Ultimate Shadow Palette

NYX Cosmetics Warm Neutrals Ultimate Shadow Palette

Number of Shades: 16 | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

This eyeshadow kit by NYX pulls out all the stops. It's got a whopping 16 different colors, including warm and cool tones with both matte and shimmery finishes. The velvety powder is impressively pigmented and goes on silky smooth without creasing.

The Ultimate Shadow Palette comes in four color families. Warm Neutrals is the most versatile, Ash is ideal for creating a smoky evening look, and the brighter kits are all about playing around with pops of color.

Best Budget: e.l.f. Cosmetics Bite Size Eyeshadow Palette

 e.l.f. Cosmetics Bite Size Eyeshadow Palette

Number of Shades: 4 | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

"e.l.f.'s Bite-Size Eyeshadow Palette collection is another fantastic find. The palettes are only $3, and you get four beautiful eyeshadow shades," Gianno tells Byrdie.

Best Nude: Maybelline The Nudes Eyeshadow Palette

Maybelline New York The Nudes Eyeshadow Palette

Number of Shades: 12 | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Many view The Nudes as a budget-friendly dupe of Urban Decay's Naked Palette—and if you ask us, Maybelline is giving the latter a run for its money. This eyeshadow kit has 12 complexion-complementing colors. The natural shades reflect a broad array of skin tones, ranging from espresso to golden-brown to beige.

Best Earth Tones: Jason Wu Beauty Flora 9 Eyeshadow Palette

Jason Wu Beauty Flora 9 Eyeshadow Palette

Number of Shades: 9 | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

"I've discovered Jason Wu Beauty eyeshadow palettes this year, and I can't get enough," says Gianno. "The quality, pigment, and shade range of his palettes are absolutely amazing!" The Flora 9 kit has nine earth-inspired hues and comes in the option of all matte, all shimmery, or a little of both.

Best Neutral: e.l.f. Cosmetics The New Classics Eyeshadow Palette

e.l.f. Cosmetics The New Classics Eyeshadow Palette

Number of Shades: 18 | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

With 18 pans of ultra-pigmented satin, matte, and shimmery shadows, The New Classics has a hue for every occasion. We're talking shades of nude, earthy colors, browns, grays, golds, subtle greens, blush pink, champagne, and a smoky almost-black.

Best Pigment: Makeup Revolution Forever Flawless Eyeshadow Palette

Makeup Revolution Forever Flawless Eyeshadow Palette

Number of Shades: 18 | Cruelty-Free: Yes

"My favorite drugstore eyeshadow palettes are Makeup Revolution for the pigment," says Arizona-based makeup artist Felicia Gonzalez. With 18 pans of strikingly vibrant powders in matte, shimmery, and glittery finishes, the Forever Flawless kit is all you need to achieve a wow factor.

Best for Everyday Wear: L'Oréal Paris Colour Riche La Palette Nude

L'Oréal Paris Colour Riche La Palette Nude

Number of Shades: 10

When you want to add some shading and definition to your everyday look, you'll be glad to have this stunning range of eyeshadows. La Palette Nude has 10 impressively pigmented and versatile colors with all-day staying power. Plus, it has a built-in mirror and comes with a dual-ended applicator, making it ideal for on-the-go makeup.

Best for Glam: J.Cat Beauty Dia & Noche Tri-Element 15 Eyeshadow Palette

J.Cat Beauty Dia & Noche Tri-Element 15 Eyeshadow Palette

Number of Shades: 15 | Cruelty-Free: Yes

For going-out glam, reach for J.Cat's Dia & Noche (Spanish for "day and night") palette. The Noche kit is chock full of soft mattes, statement shimmers, and brilliantly foiled glitter eyeshadows. They're all beautifully pigmented, easy to blend, and just the thing for nailing an evening look.

Best for Smoky Eye: Rimmel London Magnif'Eyes Eye Palette, Smoke Edition

Rimmel London Magnif'Eyes Eye Palette, Smoke Edition

Number of Shades: 12

If you love a smoky eye as much as we do, you'll appreciate the Magnif'Eyes Smoke Edition palette. This award-winning 12-pan kit has a range of deep, cool-toned colors, including satins, mattes, and shimmers. Since the powder works as a shadow, liner, and highlighter, it's all you need to create a sophisticated smoldering effect.

Best Shimmery: Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Eye Enhancing Shadow

Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Eye Enhancing Shadow

Number of Shades: 6 | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

When it comes to glittery eyeshadow, Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Palette doesn't hold back. This palette has six seriously shimmery eye-enhancing colors, ranging from dark to light. It's ideal for going out, dressing up, celebrating, or any time you want to step up your glam.

Best Matte: Maybelline The City Mini Palette Matte About Town

Maybelline New York The City Mini Palette Matte About Town

Number of Shades: 6

If you're not into the shimmery, sparkly look, Maybelline's Matte About Town eyeshadow kit is for you. With six pans in neutral colors ranging from deep mocha brown to banana, it looks almost like a contour palette. The creamy powders are perfectly flat, but when you blend them onto your lids, you'll have plenty of dimension.

Best Jewel Tones: Milani Bold Obsessions Eyeshadow Palette

Milani Bold Obsessions Eyeshadow Palette

Number of Shades: 12 | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Milani Bold Obsessions is another one of Gonzalez's go-to drugstore eyeshadow palettes. You'll get 12 velvety-soft shadows in strikingly rich jewel tones, including colors reminiscent of ruby, emerald, citrine, garnet, amber, and onyx.

Best Warm Tones: BLK/OPL Iconic High Impact Eyeshadows

BLK/OPL Iconic High Impact Eyeshadows

Number of Shades: 6 | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Red-toned eyeshadow can be totally fierce. With this in mind, the statement-making BLK/OPL Iconic palette has six warm colors, including shades of chestnut, copper, rust, and brick.

Best Cool Tones: L.A. Girl Smoky Beauty Brick Eyeshadow Palette

L.A. Girl Smoky Beauty Brick Eyeshadow Palette

Number of Shades: 12 | Cruelty-Free: Yes

The L.A. Girl Smoky Beauty Brick has 12 supremely pigmented cool-toned colors. We're talking charcoal, navy, deep plum, chocolate brown, shimmery mauve, dove gray, taupe, and your everyday blue.

Best K-Beauty: Etude House Play Color Eyes

Etude House Play Color Eyes

Number of Shades: 10 | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Korean beauty brand Etude House had some fun curating the shadows for its Play Color Eyes kits. Whether you go with Peach Farm, Caffeine Holic, Juice Bar, Lavender Land, or any of the other playfully named palettes, you can count on a soft, silky texture that lasts all day.

Best Cream: Revlon Illuminance Crème Eye Shadow

Revlon Illuminance Creme Shadow

Number of Shades: 4

For those who prefer cream eyeshadow, we recommend Revlon's Illuminance palette. The four ultra-smooth, crease-resistant colors glide on effortlessly, blend easily, and leave behind an eye-enhancing finish.

Best Mini: Juvia's Place The Nubian Mini Eyeshadow Palette

Juvia's Place The Nubian Mini Eyeshadow Palette

Number of Shades: 6 | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Juvia's Place Mini is the perfect purse-sized palette for creating an eye-catching look no matter where you are or where you're headed. It has six best-loved colors from the brand's full-sized eyeshadow kit, including a dark brown matte, a satin clay hue, and a shimmery rose.

Final Verdict

With so many excellent drugstore options out there, it's hard to narrow down our favorites. That said, the NYX Professional Makeup Ultimate Shadow Palette (view at Amazon) is the best option overall, thanks to its 16 pans of warm, cool, shimmery, and matte eyeshadows and silky smooth, crease-resistant formula. And if you're only looking to spend a few bucks, the e.l.f. Cosmetics Bite Size Eyeshadow Palette (view at Amazon) is your best bet.

What to Look for in a Drugstore Eyeshadow Palette

Shades

While some kits have more colors than others, there are a few key shades you'll want to look for. First, you'll need a medium transition shade. "A lot of the time, this is a neutral shade blended between the crease," says Gianno. "Also, always look for one deeper neutral color; this can be a dark brown or dark gray to create depth on the eyes." Lastly, you'll want a lighter hue, which you can use to highlight the area above the crease and blend your eyeshadow up toward your brows.


Matte vs. Shimmery

Some kits come with exclusively matte colors, others have only shimmery shadows, and many have both. Choosing between matte and shimmery eyeshadows is mostly a matter of preference. However, shimmer and glitter shadows tend to work better for highlighting, whereas flat shades are often used as a base.

Gianno recommends having a matte option, as it'll come in handy for blending and building color. "When looking to buy an eyeshadow palette, I find that having at least one light matte shade is essential," she tells Byrdie.


Versatility

When you're on the go and have limited space in your makeup bag, you'll be glad to have a neutral kit with a multi-use formula. "Eyeshadows are often formulated to be versatile so that you can use them throughout your face or body. I love taking some of my pink shadow shades and using them as blush and some glitter shades and placing them on the cheeks' high points as a highlighter," says Gianno. Deeper shadows can also be used to contour.

Why Trust Byrdie?

Byrdie contributor Theresa Holland is well-versed in the world of cosmetics. She has substantial experience writing about makeup and has tried out a handful of products on this list. She's particularly fond of NYX, e.l.f., and BLK/OPL eyeshadow palettes. You can find more of Theresa's work on The Spruce and MyDomaine.

According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find enough drugstore eyeshadow palettes from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business to meet this percentage. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at contact@byrdie.com and we will evaluate the product ASAP.

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