‘One and Done’ Eyeshadows! Your New Favorite Way To Look Polished With Ease

Some of us put on a full face of makeup every single day, while others go bare-faced. But there is definitely something to be said for a middle of the road approach. Enter the concept of the “one and done” eyeshadow. No need to master blending, eyeshadow placement, or multiple colors. The beauty of this approach is that there are eyeshadows that can be swept across the lid – and that’s it. You will look polished. Like your best you, with minimal effort.

Plenty To Choose From

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We’ve broken them down to budget, luxury, eyeshadow pencils and which are best for, ahem, older lids, and have suggestions based on personal experience, as well as recommendations from makeup artists and influencers.

You Skin Tone Is Unique 

eye with makeup.
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Many one-and done shadows are “neutrals” and often referred to as “nudes” by makeup companies. The fact is that skin colors vary hugely and what is a “nude” to some won’t be for others. We have included an array of options, that will work for a variety of skin colors. Your experimentation will tell you what is best!

Mature Lids

Older woman applying eye makeup.
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As we get older, our lids change texture; we have looser skin and wrinkles. We find that anything with chunky glitter often does not work well. Some shimmer can add brightness to your complexion, but too much, is too much.

What we have learned from makeup artists is that there is no one answer. For instance, my skin seems to find glitter and pull it to the surface; an eyeshadow on me that looks like a glittery mess looks just fine on another woman of similar age. You will have some trial and error.

Start with choices that have a slight shimmer, but not obvious chunky glitter or ones that are overly metallic. The MAC powder eyeshadows below are a great choice, as are many of the Armani Eye Tints.

Budget Choices

drugstore makeup.
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There are plenty of choices that can be found at drugstores, Target, and Walmart. Some of these start at $5 or thereabouts.

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  • Rimmel Wonder Cloud Liquid Eyeshadow in Spiced Petal & Truffle Haze: Doe foot applicator; sheer and foolproof. Matte, easy to blend. Australian beauty blogger Karima McKimmie calls the Spiced Petal, “pinkened clay” and it is a perfect description. The Truffle Haze is a soft, cool, minky taupe.
  • Maybelline Color Tattoo Cream Eyeshadow: This eyeshadow is beloved by everyone from professional makeup artists to people like you and me. The only problem with them is that they discontinue colors from time to time. Currently, the colors to look for are Barely Branded, VIP, Socialite, Urbanite, and High Roller. These wear all day long. Easy to apply with fingers
  • Revlon ColorStay Cream Eyeshadow is similar to the Maybelline Color Tattoo, although some say the Revlon are lighter weight and a bit more gel-like in texture. Each has its fans; you will have to try both! Suggested colors: Caramel (highly recommended by makeup artist Nikki La Rose), Cognac, Caramel, Crème Brulee, Praline.
  • Soft Colourpop Super Shock Shadow: If you don’t mind sparkle, look no further than this brand’s Super Shock Shadow. With more than 70 colors, you will find one that speaks to you. Great one-swipe choices are I Heart This (a pale yellow gold), Ritz (described as sheer nude with silver glitter) and Rooftop Cocktails (Warm rusty terracotta undertone with bright blue green duo chrome finish).
  • Wet ‘n Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Single: Online reviews have mentioned finding this for under 2 bucks! Nutty is a soft brown color, with great color payoff. Staying power, and easy to blend.

Worth The Splurge

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Should you spend $40+ on eyeshadow? That’s between you and your budget. One thing we do want to point out is that these eyeshadows can last for years and years and still retain their quality. When it comes to pricey, high-end brands, these are the ones that are mentioned again and again for their simplicity of a one and done approach.

  • Giorgio Armani Eye Tint Long-Lasting Liquid Eyeshadow: We received a mini version as a Sephora gift and were instantly hooked. Matte, shimmers and metallics. Colors to try: Shell (pale, pinkish shimmer), Bronze, Cashew, Rose, Blush. Easy to blend and no fallout, even with shimmery shades. The number of videos devoted to this product is legion. Here is a great review by Lexi Jong.
  • Charlotte Tilbury Eyes To Mesmerise Cream Eyeshadow: These can be a bit too shimmery for some, but do give them a try. Apply with brush or finger. Take a look at Oyster Pearl, Jean, and Chocolate Bronze.
  • Lisa Eldridge Liquid Lurex Eyeshadow: This is a sparkly, creamy liquid eyeshadow applied with a doe foot applicator, but you can use fingers and buff out with a brush. The color Emily is nuanced, complex and just gorgeous on a range of skin tones. Described as, “A neutral, minky taupe shade with a sparkling chandelier of gold, silver, rose pink and magenta glittery pearls.” Angelica is a pink taupe, and Bianca is a “heather pink”.

MAC Classics

MAC store.
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Hopefully you know the MAC brand (stands for makeup artist cosmetics). They have one of the largest arrays of powder eyeshadow, with several reaching iconic status, found in professional makeup kits all over the world.

These powders can be used dry or wet, have long staying power, and are dermatologist-and ophthalmologist-tested. Safe for contact lens users. Check out:

  • Satin Taupe (taupe with silver shimmer)
  • Woodwinked (warm antique gold)
  • Jest (soft peach with icy shimmer)
  • Grain (golden beige with icy shimmer)

Newer Additions

woman with eyes closed.
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Makeup companies are coming out with new options all the time. Here are a few newer products that have developed a following:

  • RMS Eyelights in Strobe (described as champagne mink)
  • Victoria Beckham Eye Wear in Shroom (a shimmery storm grey)
  • Beauty Pie Collaboration with Sam Chapman. Look at the color Verona (a silvery cool taupe), and Omni (a coppery warm tone). This is a metallic cream formula.

Eyeshadow Pencils

eyeshadow sticks.
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Eyeshadows in stick form are quite popular, and there are choices from budget to high end. Here are the ones that are consistently highly reviewed by both makeup artists and make up fans like you and me. Slashed Beauty has a great comparison video on drugstore brands (her fave are the e.l.f. and they cost about $5). EatSleepMascara has a comparison video on Bobbi Brown and Laura Mercier.

  • Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Shadow in Moonlight is my new fav. It’s a gorgeous taupey metallic pewter.  Strapless is a “soft nude shimmer”; Amethyst is a soft mauve with hidden pearl. 
  • Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Eyeshadow Stick is a belove product. Check out Truffle (sophisticated brown), Smokey Topaz (pewter with purple undertone), Mica (metallic champagne beige), Cashew (A medium-red tone beige), Peach Mimosa (golden peach), Golden Pink (shimmering pink peach), Moonstone (pale neutral with a silvery gold sparkle).
  • Kiko Milano Long Lasting Eyeshadow Sticks in Rose, Golden Beige, Bronze, Shell, and Golden Taupe. BTW if you are a taupe fan, they have three variations.
  • e.l.f. No Budge Shadow Stick. Take a look at Magnetic Pull (rich greige taupe), Champagne Crystal (pale beige taupe), Copper Chic.
  • Milani Gilded Eyeshadow Sticks offer Blossom (pink lavender taupe), Terra (red chocolate), Canyon (reddish brown), and Lily (darker lavender taupe).

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  • Dede Wilson

    Dédé Wilson is a journalist with over 17 cookbooks to her name and is the co-founder and managing partner of the digital media partnership Shift Works Partners LLC, currently publishing through two online media brands, FODMAP Everyday® and The Queen Zone.

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Last update on 2024-07-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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