Best Drugstore Eyeshadow

a makeup artist using an eyeshadow palette

You may or may not agree, but we're of the humble opinion that eyeshadow is one of the most underappreciated makeup products of recent years. Sure, major cosmetic companies are constantly releasing new eyeshadow palettes, and shows like Euphoria are full of trendy looks.


But how many people really take the time to hunt down the best drugstore eyeshadow for their own collection?Eyeshadow may have taken the backseat to lip products and highlighter in the 2010s, but we think the tides are about to shift once again.

After all, what better way to add some color to your life than with your makeup? And the best drugstore eyeshadow is accessible to everyone, even those on a budget.

Comparison Table

Beauty at a Discount: Worth It?

With the cosmetic industry's recent economic boom, especially in the prestige market, it's no surprise that companies across the board are stepping up their games. Even budget drugstore brands, like Maybelline and e.l.f., have kicked it up a notch with their newest releases.


Many of these developments have trickled down from prestige brands sold in retailers like Sephora and Nordstrom. While these companies invest the initial time and money into market research and product development, drugstore brands are then able to follow suit with their own versions of high-end cosmetics.

Sometimes, these products are of a significantly lesser quality than their more expensive counterparts. Other times, though, the difference pretty much comes down to the packaging and nothing else.

The hard part, unfortunately, is differentiating between the true "dupes" — makeup enthusiast lingo for two products that are essentially identical in color and formula — and the lackluster knock-offs.

How We Chose the Best Drugstore Eyeshadow Palettes

When it comes to any type of makeup, personal preference plays a large role. That's especially true when it comes to narrowing down the best drugstore eyeshadow palettes.


Many of these developments have trickled down from prestige brands sold in retailers like Sephora and Nordstrom. While these companies invest the initial time and money into market research and product development, drugstore brands are then able to follow suit with their own versions of high-end cosmetics.

Of course, that wasn't enough to truly pick the best of the best from all that the cosmetic market has to offer.

We also considered the type of customer reception each product has received, either from retailer product reviews or from makeup communities around the internet, like those found on Reddit or through Instagram or YouTube.

10 Best Drugstore Eyeshadow Palettes Your Collection Is Missing

So, where should you start if your makeup collection is severely lacking in what you need to replicate the upcoming trends of 2020 and beyond?


Obviously, you need a strong base. But after that, it's going to be all about daring shapes and standout color palettes. And that's where eyeshadow comes into the picture.True, you could spend half your paycheck on a few luxury palettes. Or, you could maximize your collection with some of the best drugstore eyeshadow palettes on the market.

By the way, the following list isn't in any particular order. We've numbered them because, well, it looks nice. But these products are the best-of-the-best, so you can't go wrong whether you pick number 1 or number 10!


1. Milani Everyday Eyes Eyeshadow Palette

Milani Everyday Eyes Eyeshadow Palette - Earthy Elements (0.21 Ounce)...
  • HIGH-PIGMENT EYESHADOW PALETTE: Contour, color and create endless, long-lasting looks with a first-of-its-kind eye...
  • AVAILABLE IN 10 SHADES: Choose from 10 different color palettes with 6 expertly coordinated matte & metallic shades on...
  • CRUELTY-FREE BEAUTY: Each Everyday Eyes Powder Eyeshadow Collection comes with six richly pigmented shades and a...

Milani certainly doesn't sound like a brand you'd find in your favorite grocery store, and the packaging doesn't look the part, either. However, the Milani Everyday Eyes Eyeshadow Palette is a top contender for the best drugstore eyeshadow palette currently in stores.


This palette comes in 10 different color combos, from nude Basic Mattes to colorful Vital Brights. Each palette includes six different eyeshadow formulas.While some palettes are entirely matte or shimmer, others blend the two formulas for maximum versatility.

Unlike most eyeshadow palettes found in your local drugstore, though, the included applicator isn't one of those sponges that used to litter your grandma's medicine cabinet. Instead, it actually sports a miniature, dual-ended makeup brush with synthetic bristles.

Milani is a cruelty-free brand, certified through PETA, and is based in Los Angeles.


2. NYX Ultimate Shadow Palette

NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Ultimate Shadow Palette, Eyeshadow Palette,...
  • EYESHADOW PALETTE: This professional level makeup palette features 16 highly-pigmented shadows that glide onto lids &...
  • ULTIMATE EYE SHADOW: Each high quality eyeshadow palette features a highly pigmented mix of finishes from matte & satin...
  • BOLD & BEAUTIFUL: Eyes pop with NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP eye shadow collection. Choose from eyeshadow primer, matte...

If a small handful of colors just doesn't offer the creative freedom you're looking for, then the NYX Ultimate Shadow Palette might be the best drugstore eyeshadow palette for you.

Each of these palettes includes 16 different colors. Although the actual amount of color you get for each is fairly small, how many eyeshadows have you actually finished in your life in the first place?


The NYX Ultimate Shadow Palette currently comes in six color combos, and we think the variety they've chosen really does hit almost every skin tone and style. You can choose from two different neutral palettes, one designed for warm skin tones and one designed for cool. Then, you also have two bright, colorful palettes and two smokey-themed ones.

However, each palette features a combination of matte and shimmer formulas, so die-hard fans of one or the other will be disappointed. Although NYX itself uses cruelty-free ingredients and testing practices, its parent company, L'Oréal, is not.


3. COVERGIRL TruNaked Eye Shadow Palette

COVERGIRL truNAKED Eyeshadow Palette, Nudes 805, 0.23 ounce (Packaging...
  • COVERGIRL truNAKED Eyeshadow Palette, Nudes 805 (Packaging May Vary)
  • Express your unique style with COVERGIRL eyeshadow palettes. From subtle daytime looks to dramatic, smoky evening...
  • Whether you are going for a classic look that's the foundation of your style, trying an advanced technique, looking for...

In their website copy, COVERGIRL straight-up claims that their TruNaked Eye Shadow Palette rivals competitors priced at $50. While we can't substantiate those claims, and they obviously don't list the palette they're comparing to, it's certainly a promising claim!


There are currently seven different versions of the COVERGIRL TruNaked Eye Shadow Palette, each holding eight different eyeshadow colors.The first thing we noticed about this palette is that all but one of these color combos is rather homogeneous. That is, the colors are all very, very similar.

The exception to this observation, and our personal favorite version of this palette is the Dazed TruNaked Eye Shadow Palette. If you're on the hunt for the best drugstore eyeshadow palette for daring, rainbow-inspired looks, you've found it.

Oh, and the best part? Cruelty Free International certifies COVERGIRL's products.


4. Colourpop Chasing Rainbows Shadow Palette

So, we'll admit. We're technically stretching the definition of the best drugstore eyeshadow palette with this one. But the Colourpop Chasing Rainbows Shadow Palette is too good not to include here.


While you won't find Colourpop in your standard drugstore, you can find it with the drugstore-priced cosmetics at your local Ulta. And, of course, it's always available online. This gorgeous palette includes a wide variety of 15 different colors, all extremely buildable and vibrant.

If you're a matte-lover, though, you'll be disappointed. While Colourpop claims you'll find a range of matte, shimmer, and metallic shadows in this palette, every swatch looks pretty shimmery to us.

Still, the brand is pretty much as cruelty-free as you can get. Even their parent company is entirely cruelty-free.


5. Maybelline The Burgundy Bar

Maybelline Eyeshadow Palette, The Burgundy Bar
  • BURGUNDY BAR EYE SHADOW PALETTE: Create 13 eyeshadow looks with deep burgundies & glimmering golds, soft browns & bold...
  • DEFINE YOUR EYE: Maybelline eyeshadow palettes give you high pigment formula with superior blendability. Available in a...
  • MAYBELLINE IS THE EYE EXPERT: Whatever your signature eye look, natural or dramatic, Maybelline helps create looks that...

Remember how we said many of the best drugstore eyeshadow palettes are actually mimics of more expensive products that came before them? Well, Maybelline's The Burgundy Bar is the perfect example.

When Anastasia Beverly Hill's nude-burgundy Modern Renaissance palette released a few years ago, makeup enthusiasts fell in love. In fact, it was so hard to find at one point that major beauty and fashion publishers were writing articles about it being perpetually out of stock.