Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Top 5 Low-End Eyeshadow Singles

While higher end or luxury brands like Urban Decay and Burberry are known for producing buttery, highly pigmented eyeshadows, the lower end of the market, or 'drugstore' offerings can leave much to be desired. More affordable brands can often produce eyeshadow duds, with unspectacular colour payoff, a dry, hard, powdery or chalky texture, weak lasting power, and often unimaginative, generic shades that lack complexity and interest. Here are my top five mono/single budget-friendly neutral eyeshadows that I count among the best in their field for everyday, all-over lid options. I would've also included L'Oréal Infallible eyeshadows but to be honest, there's not one shade of the many I have that I'm completely in love with (though Bronzed Taupe and Tender Caramel are the closest contenders).




l-r: Maybelline Iced Fudge, Essence Party All Night, Rimmel Smokey Quartz, Revlon Polished Bronze, Max Factor Burnt Bark

Maybelline EyeStudio Mono in Iced Fudge (720)
For the longest time, I stubbornly insisted on calling this eyeshadow Iced Fudged because that's the way it's labelled on the packaging. I should accept that's clearly just a typo, since it seems this eyeshadow has experienced something of a resurgence in recent weeks with quite a few mentions on blogs and no one has ever called it Iced Fudged. Moving along, Iced Fudge is the most copper of the bunch, with a red base and frost finish. I even detect a tinge of plumminess coming through. It's very shimmery and nicely pigmented, though sometimes I wish the silver sparkle factor could be toned down just a notch.

Essence Metallic Effect Mono Eyeshadow in Party All Night (35)
Already reviewed in detail here, Party All Night is the cheapest pick, coming in at a mere $2.85. It's a more dirty yellow colour with a slight ashy bent and silver and gold shimmer. It's not as pigmented as Iced Fudge, and the shimmer is more subdued and not as distinctly frosty. Still, I think it's a sophisticated, relatively understated shade (at least for my skin tone) and well worth checking out given its unbeatable value.

Rimmel Glam'Eyes Mono Eyeshadow in Smokey Quartz (030)
I took a chance on Smokey Quartz having been curious about it for a long time but always putting off purchasing it given the obscene number of similar neutral shades I own, and the gamble paid off in spades. Featured in my November 2013 Favourites, Smokey Quartz is like a cross in colour between Iced Fudge and Party All Night, but a bit more traditionally bronze-leaning. Applied to the lids, it has an almost light taupe base with a warmer, somewhat peachy shimmer on top. Unexpectedly complex and beautiful. The texture is soft and easily to blend, one of those eyeshadows you can apply to your lids with your fingers.

Revlon Luxurious Color Satin Eyeshadow in Polished Bronze (010) 
Raved about all the way back in July 2012, Polished Bronze is probably my favourite of the lot, which is surprising given Revlon are very hit and miss with their eyeshadows and overall decidedly average. Polished Bronze is more warm brown and golden in tone than Party All Night. It isn't as frosty/shimmery compared with the other shades, with more of a low-key satin finish and buildable pigmentation. Texture is similar to Smokey Quartz, soft and blendable, only very slightly powdery (if we're nitpicking). The lasting power isn't anything outstanding, but it's a solid all-rounder and the colour is perfect for a failproof neutral wash over the lids.

Max Factor Earth Spirits Eyeshadow in Burnt Bark (107)
Admittedly, I was sucked into buying this eyeshadow after hearing it was a decent substitute for MAC Satin Taupe. It's a darker taupe shade, a purplish brown-grey threaded with silver. This one is a bit harder and drier in texture, but still fine to work with and decently pigmented. It's quite cool-toned and hazy, more suited for a daytime smoky eye or when you want a bit more definition.

34 comments:

  1. I finally picked up Iced Fudge-d ;) but why haven't I gotten Smokey Quartz and Polished Bronze yet?!?!
    I need these colours! X

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  2. These are all beautiful shades, for me Essence Party All Night stands out the most. I never see that brand over here in the UK, I'll have to do a bit of a google search I think. Lovely comparisons as always.
    Amy x | A Little Boat Sailing

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  3. Just the post I've been waiting for! I'm on the hunt for eyeshadows in the lower-end of the price spectrum recently. I love the look of Rimmel and Maxfactor's shadows. We don't have access to Rimmel here, but I will hop on over to Maxfactor as soon as I get the chance. I don't care for hard and dry textures, as long as they are pigmented and don't have crazy fallout (which I've noticed is the trend with cheaper eyeshadows).

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  4. the essence e/s looks beautiful. Have to check it out next time I'm heading to a drugstore.

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  5. Iced Fudge is so beautiful! I can't believe I had never noticed it before. x

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  6. I'm most drawn to Polished Bronze and Burnt Bark but I must admit I hardly ever buy single eyeshadows. Even the MAC ones I love, I put them in a quad.

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  7. Very beautiful shades, they all look so pigmented especially Burnt Bark & Iced Fudge :) Party All Night is a pretty shade, I don't like essence products too much though

    Ana xo anacelinelabod.com

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  8. They all look so nice :3
    I have to admit that I never spent too much time researching Essence eyeshadows...but I might look after that one!
    Take care, have a nice day!*

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  9. These all look great, I'm surprised! I have a few brights from the drugstore that I got for a special occasions since I didn't want to spend a fortune for something that I use once. But the fall out was terrible and the color payoff weak, so I stayed away from the lower end eyeshadows. Iced Fudge will go on my shopping list though :) Thanks! xx

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  10. Need to get my hands on some Essence shadows now! Looks lovely! x

    morerebe.com

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  11. The maybelline shadow is gorgeous I need to try it :)

    Kayla
    Sheer Beauty Blog

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  12. Tiny baby pan on that Revlon! I agree, they can be totally hit or miss. I rarely buy solo shadows because keeping all of them from tottering around and cluttering is a huge hassle, but once in a while, a shade will call out. :)

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  13. The maybelline and max factor shades are my favorite! I really really enjoy a good taupe but rarely wear it by itself anymore! I must get back to more neutrals! I usually will end up deepening the crease with a dark matte brown for depth!

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  14. Ice Fudge and Party All night look so pretty!!
    We will never get enough bronzy - taupe eye shadow :p
    I haven't got my hands on the essence mono eye shadows, since I always more drawn to its sister ; Catrice. But I'll give it a go soon :-)

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  15. Love Iced Fudge (: haven't come across Burnt Bark before but I really like the look of it, will have to give it a try! x

    www.madeleineslittleblog.blogspot.co.uk

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  16. I love that shade of brown! And yay for essence.

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  17. I haven't bought a single eye shadow in ages because I'm trying to use my palettes. Love the shades here though, I should really pick up some singles of more neutral shades.

    Emma x

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  18. I just have to say that your blog is one of my favorites to read. Your posts are so thought out and well written with great pictures!

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    1. Thank you so much Christina! So nice of you to say :)

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  19. I love those Maybelline single shadows! I have a few of the matte ones, I haven't seen this shade before. They did just relaunch the whole line, so I'm not sure if I'll be able to find it. I need that Essence Party All Night!

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  20. I can honestly say I do not own any drugstore eyeshadows because of this same reason, the hit and miss situation makes it really hard for me to venture into trying new products. Even Wet n' Wild is missing on a lot of notes lately!

    I just found your blog today, it is quite lovely :) Thanks to Hollie^ for pointing it out.

    Linda

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  21. I have yet to try more from Essence and their eyeshadows that I always here about! Normally, I never gravitate towards getting a single eyeshadow from anywhere or even from the drugstore; not only for the reasons you state of the hit and miss factor but also because I realized I never pull out single eyeshadows. Being the lazy girl I am, I like to get palettes so that I have other shades to compliment the all over lid colour if needed. But do have to admit that these single eyeshadows that you have posted about are awfully tempting to check out hahaha :P

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  22. I often find the quality of lower end eye shadows lacking, but when you find a gem amongst the fall out it's certainly satisfying :) I find the essence singles that I've tried to be great (bar a certain matte one that promptly found itself in the trash) but I haven't tried any of the others you've mentioned! I will keep my eyes peeled next time I'm in Priceline.

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  23. All taupes! I love taupe on the eyes, it is by far my favorite and most flattering. I actually do not even bother with drugstore eye shadows. I already have an obscene amount of options for eye shadow that fits my tastes and never get swayed by drugstore offerings. I think the only drugstore eye shadows I own are a neutral wet n wild palette which I use for traveling and a couple singles that I rarely reach for. It seems you get a good use out of your drugstore picks at least :)

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  24. Rimmel's Smokey Quartz is hands-down, one of my all-time favourite shades; I find myself opting for it over Urban Decay and MAC alternatives all the time, and it wears so well - no smudges or creasing, which is pretty surprising for the low price point.
    Seriously jealous of your neutral collection! xx

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  25. All of these are lovely colored eye shadows!

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  26. Of course, the Max Factor Burnt Bark is calling me, the unavailable thing in the u.s. Ugh. The color is very unique and attractive to me. ;o

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  27. Awwww that Iced Fudged thing made me chuckle, I love it when companies make typos! :P But back to the actual eyeshadows... I'm pretty sure I am needing that Essence and Rimmel one!

    x
    Phoebe
    Eat. Live. Love. Repeat.

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  28. Party All Night is one of my faves. Looks like I also need to get my hands on Polished Bronze!

    Chloe x
    Resolution6

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  29. They look gorgeous, i love shimmery eyeshadows xx Kristie from Kristie Blogs Beauty

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  30. Oh loving this post so much, I just reorganised my stash so most of my single shadows are neat and all sitting together and now I want to add Iced Fudge to the stash!

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