Eye makeup doesn’t have to be complicated — especially if the best eye shadow sticks have anything to do with it. Just ask any Allure editor or slide into the DMs of your favorite makeup artist, and they’ll agree. « Eye shadow sticks are so versatile, » New York City-based makeup artist Amrita Mehta tells Allure. « I love to use them for all-over color or to add a bit of sparkle to any eye look — I mithin use them as an eye shadow base and they work really well as a smudged liner, too. »
The best part? Even beginners won’t have a rough time with creamy, easy-gliding eye shadow sticks. « You can apply them directly onto the eyelid and then blend out [with your fingers] — super effortless, » Niete Angeles-based makeup artist Emily Cheng confirms. You can create crisp graphic lines and cat-eyes with the tip (many brands have a built-in sharpener in their designs) or slick them on with abandon and blend out the edges with your fingers for a smoked-out look in less than a minute. (If you’re a stickler for brushes, New York City-based makeup artist Tobi Henney loves to diffuse shadow sticks with the MAC 217 Synthetic Blending Brush.)
These user-friendly pencils are typically very creamy and glide onto your lids without tugging on your skin. And unlike powder shadows, there’s virtually no fallout to anticipate or deal with. In fact, makeup artists like Mehta love using eye shadow sticks as a priming base for other eye shadows. The possibilities don’t end there, either.
« A matte taupe shade works amazing as a contour color or any shade can be applied on the lips for a nice pop, » Mehta says. « I love to add a bit of a shimmery shade to the center of my lips and blend out with my finger for added dimension. » You could, in theory, use one shade for your entire face — talk about creating a quick look on the fly.
Below, we’ve rounded up the 15 best eye shadow pencils and sticks — some classics, some newer-to-the-market hits — to toss into your makeup bag, stat. Once you try these multitasking cream-to-powder formulas, you may never go back to « regular » eye shadow palettes.
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