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Looking For Long-Lasting Makeup That Won’t Crease Or Fade? There’s A Liquid Eyeshadow For That

Photo by Yakobchuk Olena/Adobe Stock Images

Tired of eyeshadow fallout? You aren’t alone. While you might rely on your favorite eyeshadow palette to create your go-to, everyday look, if you’re sick of seeing your makeup fade away throughout the day it might be time to try something new. That’s where liquid eyeshadow comes in—and trust us, it’ll be love at first swipe. “Many liquid formulas are water resistant, long wearing and smudge proof,” says Robert Sesnek, celebrity makeup artist for CATRICE Cosmetics.

We get it: When you add the word liquid in front of anything (especially in your makeup case), it can seem intimidating, but the reality is that switching to liquid shadow will cut down major time in your daily routine. With easy-to-apply applicators, all you have to do is swipe and blend with your finger and you’re done. “[It’s] really easy to use and most lock into place after a few moments,” Sesnek says. Add some mascara and you’re out the door.

Want to create eyeshadow looks that last? Not only is liquid eyeshadow practically fool-proof to apply, but these innovative formulas deliver deeper pigment that won’t crease, flake, or fade throughout the day, (especially when sparkle, shimmer, glitter, and metallic hues are part of the mix). Unlike traditional powder eyeshadows which can break down over time and get absorbed by your skin’s natural oils, liquid eyeshadow has serious staying power that won’t seep into your skin. No need to set time aside for a touchup halfway through your day.

While liquid eyeshadows work great on their own, they also work well with powders as a topper to add depth and drama to your look. “I love to layer them underneath a powder eyeshadow for extra intensity,” says Sesnik.

Whether it’s because we’re all spending more time on Zoom or because we’re wearing masks that conceal the bottom half of our faces, eye makeup is having a major moment right now. That’s why it’s the perfect time to put down your palette and pick up a trending liquid formula. Ready to upgrade your look? Check out the best liquid eyeshadows for every situation below.

About the Expert:

Robert Sesnek is the celebrity makeup artist for CATRICE Cosmetics. His famous roster of clients includes Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, and Lucy Hale.

CATRICE Cosmetics Liquid Shadow Waterproof in Balanced Soul
Courtesy of CATRICE Cosmetics

1. Most natural-looking:

CATRICE Cosmetics Liquid Shadow Waterproof in Balanced Soul

Think liquid eyeshadow is only relevant when you’re serving up sparkle? Think again. Believe it or not, you can use a liquid formula to achieve an effortlessly natural look that will last all day—simply reach for this pretty matte shadow. “It’s [Balanced Soul] the most natural shade I’ve found and is more flat in texture so it’s easy to blend,” says Sesnek. The vegan formula comes in 10 colors that won’t crease or cause fall-out, leaving you with a flawless, waterproof finish. Fans rave over the pigment and call the color selection beautiful. “Easy to use. Quality and pigmentation are awesome. Great for those days where you are in a rush,” says one review.

MAYBELLINE Color Tattoo Eye Chrome™ Liquid Shadow
Courtesy of MAYBELLINE

2. Best drugstore option:

MAYBELLINE Color Tattoo Eye Chrome™ Liquid Shadow

In the market for a major look that won’t break the bank? Reach for this statement-making liquid shadow that delivers lasting, high-impact results with an easy-to-apply applicator. This game-changing color glides on the eyes and provides coverage for up to 24 hours to deliver vivid metallic shades that won’t crease, fade, or smudge.

ILIA Liquid Powder Chromatic Eye Tint
Courtesy of ILIA

3. Best clean version:

ILIA Liquid Powder Chromatic Eye Tint

Made with 99% natural ingredients, this potent formula is vegan, gluten-free, fragrance-free, and soy-free, making it a safe choice for sensitive skin and anyone who wears contact lenses. The highly-pigmented liquid eyeshadow glides on like a cream and dries like a powder, leaving you with crease-free color that won’t fade throughout the day or settle into fine lines. It also contains a skin-smoothing combination of antioxidants to treat the delicate area around the eyes. “I have super sensitive skin around my eyes and this product doesn’t irritate my eyes at all,” says one review. “They go on super easily, dry beautifully and don’t crease (and I have oily hooded eyes),” says another.

Courtesy of GLOSSIER

4. Best matte option:


While metallics and sparkle really shine in liquid eyeshadows, you can get the same results in a matte finish thanks to this top-rated shadow. This long-wearing, smudge-resistant formula delivers rich matte shades that are easy to apply and build upon thanks to the silky formula that glides on with the doe foot applicator tip, leaving you with rich color in a powder finish that lasts. It’s also fragrance-free, gluten-free, and ophthalmologist-tested to ensure it’s suitable for sensitive skin. Fans love that it’s “easy to apply” and the pigmented shades. “Love the liquid matte formula - deposits buildable color in great colors,” says one review. “The finishing touch to my WFH look,” says another.

HUDA BEAUTY Matte & Metal Melted Shadows
Courtesy of HUDA BEAUTY

5. Best for creating depth:

HUDA BEAUTY Matte & Metal Melted Shadows 

Two words: beauty twofer. This multitasking liquid eyeshadow pen delivers a stunning wash of color that lasts for up to 12 hours and features a shimmering metallic shadow on one end and a matte hue on the other, which allows you to blend them together to create a variety of makeup looks, (whether you layer them together or wear them on their own). Bonus: it can also be used as an eyeliner and even lip gloss. “I also used the metallic part on my lips for some shine and it looked gorgeous,” says one review. “So easy to get that elevated look, without putting a lot of work/time into it,” says another.

URBAN DECAY Heavy Metal Glitter Gel
Courtesy of URBAN DECAY

6. Best multitasker:

URBAN DECAY Heavy Metal Glitter Gel

Inspired by the brand’s OG formula from the ‘00s, the glitter gel of today packs in major shine in a long-lasting formula that can be used as an eyeshadow or highlighter on your eyelids, cheeks, body, and even your hair—basically wherever you want an ample dose of sparkle. The glitter comes in six shades and easily glides on, thanks to the non-sticky, water-based formula that stays put for up to nine hours. “These Heavy Metal glitters are awesome and very versatile,” says one review. “I wore it during a very hot and humid day and it did not move,” says another.

M·A·C Dazzleshadow Liquid
Courtesy of M·A·C

7. Best glitter option:

M·A·C Dazzleshadow Liquid

If you’re looking for glitz and glam, look no further than this highly-pigmented collection of glitter colors that range from subtle shine to full-on chrome hues to deliver a shimmery statement eye. Wear them alone for an eye-catching look or layer them over powder shadow for some sparkling finishing touches. Not only are they so easy to apply, but they leave a cool, second-skin texture to the touch that will stay put for up to 8 hours. “It's smooth and easy to apply, and the shimmer is subtle but so glam. I have those "shiny" eyelids and sometimes have issues with certain eyeshadows flaking or creasing, but not this,” says one review. “This goes on wet and then dries so it doesn't end up everywhere like other glitter eyeshadows,” says another.

KOSAS 10-Second Eyeshadow
Courtesy of KOSAS

8. Best for beginners:

KOSAS 10-Second Eyeshadow

While liquid eyeshadow is generally easy to use, this formula just might be the most foolproof on our list and offers buildable coverage in a clean, water-based formula that’s infused with jojoba oil to soothe and balance your skin, all while delivering major color payoff that won’t crease or flake throughout the day. Reviews rave about the clean formula and how the easy applicator lives up to its name. “So beautiful and easy to apply. And can confirm that it can be seen on Zoom,” says one user. “I have always struggled with eyeshadow and this makes it SO easy! In just a few seconds, I can swipe on beautiful color and blend with my fingertip. No brushes needed,” says another.

CHANEL Ombre Première Laque
Courtesy of CHANEL

9. Best for mature skin:

CHANEL Ombre Première Laque

As we age, certain eye shadows seem to highlight fine lines and settle into creases and wrinkles, but this flattering, longwear formula delivers beautiful, buildable color that’s so easy to apply and lasts throughout the day. “I love how flattering [it is] especially for older skin,” says one review. “It lasts well, doesn't crease and fades away in a beautiful way after long hours wear even after rubbing my eyes occasionally. I wear contacts and the product doesn't fog them or irritate eyes.”

DANESSA MYRICKS Colorfix 24-Hour Cream Color

10. Best shade range:

DANESSA MYRICKS Colorfix 24-Hour Cream Color

With over 30 shades under the sun, (and in both matte and metallic formulas), these long-wearing colors deliver vibrant color payoff that won’t budge thanks to the waterproof, smudge-proof formula that can withstand high temperature and humidity. “Brilliant,” says one review. Bonus: you can also apply this versatile formula on your lips or face.

STILA COSMETICS Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadow

11. Best for oily skin:

STILA COSMETICS Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadow

If your eyeshadow seems to slide off your face or disappear halfway through the day, reach for this highly pigmented, long-wearing formula that won’t budge or crease, even on oily skin. “Stays on until you take it out. I do tend to have issues with eyeshadows due to oily lids, no problem at all with this shadow,” says one review. The sparkly shadow combines a mix of pearl and glitter to deliver long-lasting shine. “I've even slept with it on and it doesn't come off on my pillow,” says another.

SMITH & CULT Glitterbaby Metallic Shift Eyeshadow
Courtesy of SMITH & CULT

12. Best for a smoky eye:

SMITH & CULT Glitterbaby Metallic Shift Eyeshadow 

While liquid eyeshadows deliver pigmented color in a specific shade, if you prefer a smoky eye, you might not see the benefit of incorporating a liquid formula into your routine—that is, until you reach for these chameleon colors which deliver glitter shadow that turns black and smoky when smudged, thanks to encapsulated black pigment which delivers depth and intensity to your look. “I love how the colors become "smoky" when you smudge the shadow,” says one review.

GIORGIO ARMANI Eye Tint Liquid Eyeshadow

13. Most lightweight formula:

GIORGIO ARMANI Eye Tint Liquid Eyeshadow 

If you’re looking for a creamy, lightweight formula look no further than this long-lasting liquid shadow that stays put for up to 16 hours to deliver a gorgeous array of color that won’t crease or fade. In fact, fans of the product rave about its staying power, saying that it does not crease at all on my mature eyelids. From shimmering hues to velvety mattes, it also comes in a slew of shades, which makes it a breeze to achieve a variety of looks. “Great color and texture for fast and neutral makeup,” says one review. “Travel friendly, easy to apply, easy to blend, buildable, long lasting and perfect for my sensitive eyes,” says another.

If you're looking for a lasting, statement-making finish that will cut down time in front of the mirror you don't have to completely overhaul your makeup products; simply reach for a liquid eyeshadow instead. Not only do they bring shimmer shades to life, but you can also achieve a natural matte look that won’t budge, (regardless of the weather), when you switch to liquid shadow.

If you want to cut down time with a relying eyeshadow that won’t budge throughout the day, it may be time to try a liquid formula. Not only do they bring shimmer shades to life, but you can also achieve a natural matte look that won’t budge, (regardless of the weather), when you switch to liquid shadow.

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About the author
Katrina Mitzeliotis Lanza
Katrina is a freelance writer and on-air correspondent with over a decade of experience covering beauty, fashion, and entertainment. When she isn't freelancing, you can catch her on QVC or chasing after her two-year-old son.
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Article Last Updated January 27, 2021 12:00 AM