We spent 23 hours researching the best eye shadow sets and comparing them. After combing through recommendations and user reviews, we selected the Coastal Scents Eye Shadow Palette as our best overall pick. It comes with over 250 eye shadows ranging in colors and finishes.
There are several types of eye shadows including powders, creams, sticks, and crayons. In this review, we are going to cover eye shadow powders, specifically pressed powders. These often come in palettes with multiple colors based on the look you are trying to achieve.
Table of Contents
Eye Shadow History
Eye shadow dates back to 10,000 BC where people dyes to color their skin. Kohl was used to darken the eyes of people in early Egypt. It was made from crushing multiple ingredients into a powder form like burnt almonds, lead and oxidized copper to name a few. Based on hieroglyphics eye shadow and makeup during those early Egyptian times were not limited to just women.
Factors that Determine Eye Shadow
There are some important factors to consider before selecting an eye shadow. What is the shape of your eyes? What is the look you are trying to achieve? These are questions you should be asking yourself before selecting an eye shadow palette. Let’s start with the shape of your eyes. If you don’t already know the general shape of your eyes, take a look at the following “What’s Your Eye Shape” guide from BeautyLish.com. They list eight different eye shapes and how to apply eye shadow based on your eye shape. BeautyLish mentions in their guide that deep set eyes have a look where the brow bone is more prominent. They also recommend adding a lighter beige color on the eye lid and highlighting the arch of the eye.
Eye color also plays animportant role on what eye shadow colors will work best for you. Take a look at our chart below to see what colors you should go with.
Blue Eyes – Neutral and light tones are best for blue eyes. Golden tones work really well and if you want to go warmer then stick with brown tones. When you apply your eye shadow use softer shades like coral as they will complement your iris. You want to stay away from daker colors and that smokey eye look.
Hazel Eyes–There are several colors that go with Hazel eyes do to the different colors of the iris. Earth tones work really well including browns and golds.
Green Eyes –Muted purple tones are a nice complement to green eyes and make your eyes stand out. Shades like plum and violet will work well when creating shadows.
How to Apply Eye Shadow
The most important aspect of applying eye shadow is to go from the lightest color to the darkest color. The lightest color will serve as your base, and you will apply it from beneath your brow to the upper lash of your eye. Your next color will be applied to your eye lid which is slightly darker than the base color. This color goes from the crease of your eye lid to the upper lash. Next is your contour color that will be applied to the crease of the eye lid to achieve that contour effect. This adds definition to the eye. Finally, the darkest color is reserved for the liner that is applied to your upper lash.
Types of Brushes
After determining the shape of your eyes and the look you want, the next step is to understand what each brush does so you can apply the eye shadow properly.
There are many types of brushes you can use to apply eye shadow but here are some of the more popular ones.
Crease Brush – A crease brush comes with a tapered tip and is mainly used for blending or highlightings. You can use it to brush across the crease of your eye, so it adds dimension to your look.
Blending Brush – A blending brush does exactly what the name states, blends the different colors of eye shadows together for a perfectly blended look.
Contour Brushes – There are a few types of contour brushes that have different applications. A standard contour brush’s bristles are shorter which allows you to add more depth to the eye by applying concentrated color. There are also angled contour brushes that are great for applying a base color especially in the crease of the eye.
What Features are Important
There are three main features of selecting an eye shadow palette that you should consider. The first one is choosing a set the provides a good range of options.
Color and Finish Options
Finding a set that offers the range of colors that compliment your skin tone or desired look is important. There are some sets that come with dozens of color choices and some with 16 or less. You also want to make sure that the finishes are what you desire. Eye shadows range in finishes from matte to ultra-shimmer.
All eye shadows are pigmented as they are designed to color your eyes however the degree or intensity of that color is what is important. A highly pigmented eye shadow is going to stand out and show a vivid color. Eye shadows that have a high degree of pigmentation often will have the same color on the skin as they do in the pan.
How We Selected
We looked at several leading beauty sites including HapersBazaar, InStyle, and BeautyLish to see what products they recommend. We also researched on Reddit to find what consumers are recommending to each other. We specifically spent some time in the subreddit for what is the best stand alone eye shadow: /r/muacjdiscussion/. There was a lot of positive feedback on the Lorac Pro 1 and Lorac Pro 2. We then looked on Amazon and searched through dozens of eye shadow palettes but quickly narrowed the field by only selecting 4+ star reviews. After narrowing the field, we took a closer look at the most popular palette that people were buying and started processing the review data. We quickly concluded that there are 5 palettes that we needed to investigate further.
How We Tested
Number of Colors
The first thing we looked at is the number of colors in each palette. Keep in mind that most of these palettes come in a range of finishes from matte to high shimmers.
|Coastal Scents 252 Color Palette||252|
|Morphe Pro 35 Palettes||35|
|Lamora Beauty Palette||16|
|Lorac Pro Palette||16|
|Shany Natural Palette||88|
The next item on our list was to see where the eye shadow palettes are manufactured.
|Coastal Scents 252 Color Palette||China|
|Morphe Pro 35 Palettes||China|
|Lamora Beauty Palette||China|
|Lorac Pro Palette||China|
|Shany Natural Palette||USA|
Being socially responsible is important and that’s why we have this category on our eye shadow review. We wanted to take a look at each company and look at their manufacturing processes.
|Coastal Scents 252 Color Palette||Yes|
|Morphe Pro 35 Palettes||Yes|
|Lamora Beauty Palette||Unknown|
|Lorac Pro Palette||Yes|
|Shany Natural Palette||Yes|
What We Liked
- After looking at all of the eye shadow palettes, we really liked the Coastal Scents because it provides such a wide range of colors and finishes to choose from. This is really the best all in one eye shadow kit that we could find.
- We liked the Lamora Pro eye shadow palette because it is compact and offers a nice variety of tones in multiple finishes. It’s a great palette to have on the go or to travel with.
- We liked that the Coastal Scents and the Morphe 35 palettes were highly pigmented. All of the eye shadow palette products claim that they are highly However, these two brands had the user data to back up their claims.
What We Didn’t Like
- Some people like to have a portable palette, and for this reason, we can’t recommend the Coastal Scents. Even though it is everything you need, you will have a hard time fitting the 252 color palette in your purse.
- We didn’t like the fact that some of the palettes received mixed reviews on just how pigmented they are. The Lorac Pro had the most mixed reviews out of our top five eye shadows and Shany also had a few mixed reviews.
- We also found that mixed reviews where the eye shadows colors were hard to blend. This mostly came from the Lorac Pro.
- We found several instances of where users were complaining that they received eye shadow that was cracked. We found these type of reviews mixed in with all of the products so we can’t hold this against any single company.
Finding the right eye shadow comes down to knowing your eye type and the look you are after. Even though everyone is different the more options, you have, the better. This is especially true when you are first starting to experiment with eye shadow. This is why we highly recommend the Coast Scents eye shadow because you have so many options as far as color and finishes.