Battle of the (eyeshadow) Brands

Today I wanted to play with my eyeshadow collection as I am sick in bed. I decided to make it more productive by comparing the brands and sharing the info. I used to buy Cover Girl and Almay, but they would totally be nonexistent on my eyelids once lunchtime hit. When my 10 year high school reunion came up, I wanted to look fab. That was my first adventure into Sephora for some name brand eyeshadows. I lucked out and bought Stila, which amazed me with the color payoff and lasting quality. Unfortunately, they have changed their formula, and I don’t love the new shadows as much.

Keep in mind that I have dry, porous skin. This means that eyeshadows do not easily show up on my skin as other people’s skin. That’s why the store brands didn’t generally make me happy. (If you have more moisture in your skin naturally, you will have a different experience. I would venture to say that your experience will just be better than mine. The eyeshadows will be more intense with less use.)

And that is how I became an eyeshadow snob. I quickly noticed how the nice brands showed up and lasted so much longer. I’m going to compare the shadows in my collection to each other, and I’ll look at things like pigmentation, texture, blendability, staying power, and water power.

Know that I have a collection. I have accumulated this over the past 3-4 years. I for sure have too much eyeshadow, because I want to try every brand! If I had only run into a post like this, I may have been able to temper my purchases. Alas, this plethora of makeup lets me do others makeup and practice on them. Best thing ever!


First up?


This is probably the number one selling brand in prestige makeup. It took me a couple of years to try it. When I asked others why they like it, they would just smile dreamily and say, “it’s the best. The colors are pigmented and they last.” People tend to like the naked 2 palette the best. I bought naked 3 and it ended up not complimenting my skin very well. The rose tones are better for darker skin or lighter eyes. These swatches are from my other two UD palettes, naked smoky and ammo – a limited edition palette from the last year or two. 



The texture for UD is smooth and powdery. They aren’t as creamy as some other brands. With shadow, you have to have a balance there for blendabity concerns. I prefer my eyeshadow to be creamier with the understanding that it’ll take more effort to blend. These are very pigmented. Their sparkly shades are more pigmented than their matte shades. I use more than one swipe of shadow when using their matte shades. You should take small amounts of it and blend a bit at a time so it looks more professional. They blend very well and easily. As for staying power, when I swipe the shadows with my hand, they spread like chalk. This is a function of their blendability. However, if I wipe my arm with a wet washcloth, they don’t just wipe away. You need pressure or some sort of solvent to clean it completely. Overall, I am underwhelmed by the whole brand, but I love some of the colors. Smog (a coppery brown) is gorgeous, sin is a great neutral, and I like a lot of the shimmery shades in their smoky palette. The matte colors are not my favorite. 



Honestly, I have these eyeshadows because I got them from bonus time. I like their skincare, and some of their lipsticks, but not the shadows. They are powdery, pretty sparkly, and just not very pigmented. They don’t show on my skin. I would put them closer to drugstore brands, and that might be all you need if your skin is less porous than mine!




Okay, this brand is the least expensive brand in the whole store. And I am excited about it. This is my first time trying their shadows. I bought their ombré obsession palette when it went on sale, and it still is. Get it! 

 The texture is creamy powder. It is not as pigmented as urban decay, but it builds beautifully. The matte colors are just as pigmented as the shimmery shades. I like the matte colors better than UD. Since they are more creamy, it takes more effort to blend. But since they are more creamy, they do not smudge as easily as UD. They also stay on. It took considerable effort to wash off with water. Though you get less initial pigmentation, and they take more effort to blend, I think they are superior to UD! At about half the price. 

initial application
smudge test


Oh. My. Goodness. Talk about gorgeous. I’ve had this palette for a couple years now and it is still spot on. I did add two stray colors from buxom and Mac to touch on first. 

I bought a Mac shade to try because I wanted a matte transition shade to go with naked smoky. The employee was super nice, the shadow isn’t. I waited too long to take it back. It’s a matte shade similar to UD in pigmentation on my skin. Basically, it doesn’t show up too well, but maybe that’s the point? I wouldn’t know why. The buxom was a free sample. It is a brand made by bare minerals. I would call it light, natural and pretty. A lot of people look for that in an eyeshadow. It would be a good everyday color, but it doesn’t make me go WOW like the other ones on my arm… 


I mean, holy crap. Texture of Too Faced is creamy but not overly. Pigmentation is INSANE. They blend great. They are a little sparkly, but the matte shades go on well, too. Unfortunately, this particular palette is not on sale anywhere, but the other Too faced eyeshadows are sure to be just as awesome. On the smudge test, they stayed put pretty well, and they really needed scrubbed off!



I never had a desire to try this brand. Then, YouTube happened, a blogger did some swatches, and I was in love. This is a great, forgiving brand with every shade you could imagine. They have a creamy texture and every color you could imagine. They are expensive, so I would recommend a palette to get more bang for your buck. 

I think they blend beautifully. They are a great brand  for people who don’t know how to blend very well (I’m still there). Keep in mind that they are creamier, so use a flat brush to apply. Don’t over apply, and lightly blend. As for the smudge test, they wiped around a bit and washed off easier than too faced. However, I think it is a good balance because it makes them more blendable. A primer makes them perfect.



I promise, this is the last of it. And the best. I had a grudge against her for a while, because I’m a Sandy Bullock fan to the end. But I’ve made peace with it, and I think Sandy is better off without Jesse James. Ick. If she needs a man, she’ll have her pick. Meanwhile, KVD puts her creativity into makeup, rather than put up with JJ and his crap. Yes, I’m crazy!. But the makeup – it’s amazing. I don’t care for neutrals, but then I read the reviews, and got it on a great deal. I now use this more than any palette I own. They are all matte shades, and they work SO WELL. 

First surprise? They are not overly creamy in texture. And they still spread on like butter. I honestly don’t know how you get that. But as a result, they blend incredibly easily, have almost nonexistent fallout, and look gorgeous. And they are Browns. With no sparkle. How can a flat brown eyeshadow be so gorgeous, and my favorite? I don’t know! She is some mystical wizard. With the smudge test, they did not really disappear, and they are still on my arm after scrubbing with water.  




Now for a conclusion? My favorite brand is Kat Von D. The only thing is, I wish she offered more colors, but I have plenty of other brands to use instead. Makeup Forever is second, followed by Too Faced. I think Sephora is a great prestige brand for the price. I do think that some of the shades might be a different texture, but overall, the brand is pretty consistent. 5th place? Urban decay! Now, I still think they are good eyeshadows, but for the hype, they don’t measure up. I know a big part of that is because of my skin type. Finally, Clinique gets last place on eyeshadows. They are too expensive for the payoff.

If you know me, now that you’ve seen my eyeshadow stash (embarrassing), you might feel more comfortable letting me do your makeup! I also want to try some less expensive brands to see how they test. The problem is, I cannot usually swatch them at a store. If you have any brands to recommend, let me know. I’ve heard Nyx is good, and maybe Revlon? 

Thanks for reading!


4 thoughts on “Battle of the (eyeshadow) Brands

  1. This was very helpful, thank you! I also have dry skin, so your recommendations are applicable to me. I have the Lorac Pro palette, the same UD Ammo palette you have, and then the three Makeup Revolution palettes that try to mimic the three UD Naked palettes. My favorite is the Lorac, but probably because it was my first and I’ve had it the longest. I think I’ll go for the KVD one next!


    1. Thanks, Kristina! It’s always so fun to know I’ve got readers. 🙂 Let me know how you end up liking KVD! I’ve never tried Lorac, but the Ulta associate was raving about them, that they’re really creamy? I bet it’s comparable to makeup forever. Have a great day!


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