Let’s Talk About Swatching: Eyeshadow Edition


Can a girl ever have enough eyeshadows? (The answer to that question is a resounding “NOPE!”)

The problem is that there are just sooooo many options for eyeshadows and so many different shades and finishes that it can honestly get pretty confusing.

Our eyelids aren’t the easiest body part to decorate either. Eyelids are thin, creased, pigmented, oily, and close to tear ducts so your eyeshadow doesn’t only have to be a pretty colour; it has to be able to withstand a very unhospitable make up environment! You need/deserve an eyeshadow that stays true to its’ colour and delivers on logevity.

So  the question is how do you test that in the store?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that my steps for picking a good quality eyeshadow are the SAME if you’re trying cream, loose, or the more popular pressed powder formulas. You should swatch eyeshadows on the inside of your wrist (or pulse point) because the skin there is delicate, thin, and you can easily test crease-ability with a flick of your wrist.  It also boasts discoloration from veins so you can really test the shadow’s coverage.

OK let’s swatch!

1) Choose your eyeshadow. Feel its’ texture between your thumb and forefinger. If it’s smooth and powdery (not sticky, grainy, or plasticy) then continue to step 2.

2) Put your chosen colour on the inside of your wrist. Does it show up? Don’t be duped by a pretty pan/packaging only to have a colour that will not transfer to skin (kinda like dried out water colours … pretty to look at but useless to make art with). If the colour transfers then continue to step 3.

3) Now it’s time to put that swatch through its paces! Bend your wrist up and down to create ‘creases’ at your pulse point. I like to do this exercise about 5 times – now has the shadow gathered into your wrist crease? If so put it back! If not continue to step 4.

4) Smudge the shadow with your finger. If it’s good quality it should smear but keep its initial pigment. Remember you’re looking for something blendable but will not fade. If it smears instead of fading when rubbed go to step 5.

5) The final test! Take some water or saliva and using your finger dab at the shadow. If it immediately blends with the water to become an eyeshadow puddle put it back! However, if the liquid sits on the shadow (meaning the shadow is slightly water resistant) then BUY!


Alright, I’ll admit that I’m a girl with kinda expensive tastes. My top favourite eyeshadows, in order, are by Urban Decay, Stila, and Smashbox. But one amazing thing that these 3 brands have in common is that they produce AMAZING palettes. If you’re just starting to build your eyeshadow collection I highly recommend picking up a Naked palette (1,2, or 3) for everyday to nightime neutrals. I have Naked 2 and Naked 3 and I can’t really remember life without them (I imagine it was somehow more terrible, dull, and chilly).

Urban Decay 'Naked 2' (bonus double ended brush!)
Urban Decay ‘Naked 2’ (bonus double ended brush!)

For whimsical colours I recommend a Stila palette. Stila is able to take offbeat colours and make them super wearable (purple is the trend for 2015 FYI)

Stila 'In The Moment' (bonus coordinating liner!)
Stila ‘In The Moment’ (bonus coordinating liner!)

And for every other colour in between I highly recommend buying a Smashbox super palette to play with and help you learn what colours work for you.

Smashbox 'On the Rocks'
Smashbox ‘On the Rocks’

Hope this helps! Happy Shopping!





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