I Tried $184 Worth Of Liquid Eyeshadows — & This Is My Honest Opinion

Photo: Courtesy of Glossier.
It's easy to fall in love with the idea of liquid eyeshadow. A fluid formula promises longevity, intense pigment, and shimmer that won't end up halfway down your face by midday. A tempting alternative to your usual powder shadows, indeed.
But unlike concealer or mascara, there aren't thousands of options to sift through. So, with slim pickings, how do you know which is best for you? Will the formula be as good on the lid as it looks in the tube? Will it melt off immediately or linger for hours? Are there enough colors to choose from?
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These are the questions I set out to answer, in hopes of test-driving the most popular liquid shadows on the market to decide which are worth your money and which are... not. Ahead, the liquid eyeshadows I loved, the liquid eyeshadows I liked, and the ones I could probably, definitely live without.
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The Liquid Eyeshadow: Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Shadow Paint in Liquid Peach

The Claim: A slightly sheer, gel-like formula with buildable coverage.
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The Verdict: This liquid shadow's best feature is, hands down, the applicator. The doe-foot is flat but fluffy, so sweeping across your lid to deposit an even layer of color is easy. Since the formula is slightly drier than most, it seemed to really grip to my skin and stay in place all day long. You don't even need to blend if you don't want to — the brush does all the work.
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The Liquid Eyeshadow: Touch In Sol Metallist Liquid Foil & Glitter Shadow Duo in #20 Grace

The Claim: A dual-ended liquid shadow — with complementary glitter on the other side — that applies and sets in just one swipe.
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The Verdict: People love this liquid and glitter duo; scroll through Sephora reviews and you'll see what I'm talking about. Sadly, it was far too difficult to pat the glitter onto my lid — and so messy — for me be as smitten as everyone else. And when I tried to use the liquid eyeshadow on its own, it went on too sheer to even see on camera. The concept is smart, but for everyday application, I'll have to pass.
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The Liquid Eyeshadow: Urban Decay Liquid Moondust Cream Eyeshadow in Magnetic

The Claim: A liquid version of the original Urban Decay Moondust eyeshadows, packed with flecks of iridescent glitter and metallic foil.
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The Verdict: Before using these, I never thought a slim, precise, paintbrush-like applicator could deliver so much pigment to my eyes. Now, I'm convinced we've gotten it all wrong by using doe-foots for everything. The beauty of this formula is that it's thin enough to layer over and over again without the pigment shifting all over your lid. It's just a bonus that the tapered brush makes it even easier to use these colors as a glitter eyeliner or an allover color.
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The Liquid Eyeshadow: Wander Beauty Exquisite Liquid Shadow in Champagne

The Claim: This silky liquid-to-powder formula delivers high-impact color in just one swipe.
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The Verdict: This is one of the only liquid formulas that came with a smudge-proof promise, and I'm pleased to report the claim is legit. For such a thin, lightweight formula, I was actually surprised by how long this metallic color stayed on my lids without a single crease from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. — and I'd call that a win. The only drawback: The colors are all basically the same kind of bronzed gold or pink. If the brand ever adds more shades, I'll bump this four-star rating to a five.
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The Liquid Eyeshadow: Giorgio Armani Beauty Eye Tint Liquid Eyeshadow in 35 Jade Reflection

The Claim: A liquid formula that offers 16 hours of crease-proof, smudge-proof wear.
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The Verdict: I've been a fan of these eye tints for years, so when the brand launched a shade expansion, I was excited to try the celestial colors. I hate to say that I ended this trial disappointed. On the bright side, the metallic finishes dried instantly; on the downside, each one dried so fast I couldn't pat on any more pigment without it pilling off. Still, that won't stop me from trying to make these work. Why? This periwinkle shadow is a '90s-makeup dream.
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The Liquid Eyeshadow: Cover FX Shimmer Veil in Soleil

The Claim: A multi-dimensional shimmer that leaves behind a veil of color.
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The Verdict: From the name alone, I knew this would be nearly weightless yet loaded with glitter. Sweeping these over my lid almost convinced me to toss any mono powder shadows I still owned — it was that easy. The short bristles on the doe-foot brush ensured a ton of product went on all at once for an even wash of color. What's more, the multi-dimensional shades looked flattering and perfectly wearable for everyday use, and blended easily with both my finger and a flat brush. But like the Wander Beauty options, these colors are so similar to one another, it's difficult to tell most of them apart.
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The Liquid Eyeshadow: Glossier Lid Star in Cub

The Claim: A buttery pigment that leaves a soft wash of color over the lid without creasing.
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The Verdict: Once I heard — by way of Beyoncé's makeup at the Grammys — Glossier was set to launch eyeshadows, I was excited to find something simple but impactful. What came instead was a sheer set of liquid shadows that coat the eye with a fluffy, doe-foot brush. Here's the thing: I was left wanting more. The shades in the tubes are so alluring that I wish the product packed a bigger punch.
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