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Which eye shadow stick is best?

Creating a bold, interesting eye makeup look with powder eye shadow can be a hassle. It usually takes lugging out different eye shadow palettes and using many eye shadow brushes. But with an eye shadow stick, you can easily create a dashing eye look. 

If you’re looking for a creamy, pigmented and easily applicable eye shadow stick, then Charlotte Tilbury’s Colour Chameleon Eyeshadow Pencil is the top choice. 

What to know before you buy an eye shadow stick

Eye shadow sticks differ from your typical powder eye shadow and there are a few considerations to make before purchasing one.   


Eye shadow sticks come in a variety of thicknesses. The size of an eye shadow stick determines how much product it comes with and how you will apply it to your eyelid.  

Eyeliner or eye shadow? 

Since it comes in stick form, some eye shadow sticks can double as eyeliner. Due to their thickness, when using an eye shadow stick to line the eyes, you will generally get a smoky or smudged eyeliner look. 


Eye shadow sticks come in a variety of colors and often, they come in neutral colors because they work great as a base eye shadow color. Eye shadow sticks also come in bright, pigmented, and sometimes shiny colors as well. 


Since eye shadow sticks come in stick form, it allows for a more precise eye shadow application and eliminates the need for precarious amounts of makeup brushes for an expert-looking application. 

What to look for in a quality eye shadow stick


Buildability refers to how well an eye shadow can build on top of other shadows or itself. It’s all about layers. Usually, more application layers equal a more prominent, pigmented look. 


The magic of eye shadow looks is to blend shades together masterfully to create a cohesive look. A quality eye shadow will have the ability to blend with other shades seamlessly. 


An eye shadow’s pigmentation refers to how prominent its color is when applied to the skin. A quality eye shadow stick will match the product’s color when applied to the eyelid, and the color will be lush and vibrant.  


When applying makeup to your eyes, it’s important to know that the ingredients in a product are safe for such sensitive areas. Avoid products that include carbon black powder, ethanolamine compounds and benzalkonium chloride. Such ingredients can be toxic for the eyes. Instead, opt for eye shadows that don’t include toxic chemicals. 

How much can you expect to spend on an eye shadow stick? 

A quality eye shadow stick costs $5-$30. 

Eye shadow stick FAQ 

Do eye shadow sticks come with a sharpener? 

A. It depends on the product. Check the product description to determine if it comes with a pencil sharpener. 

Do you need a makeup brush to apply an eye shadow stick?

A. No. If you want to smudge out your eye shadow after applying with an eye shadow stick, you can use a makeup brush, though it is not necessary. You can use your fingers for buffing the product as well. 

How to use an eye shadow stick as eye shadow

  • Apply concealer or eye shadow to your eyelid. This will help the eye shadow stay in place throughout the day. 
  • Uncap your eye shadow stick. Grip the eye shadow stick near the tip, so you have good control. Swipe the product on the eyelid. 
  • If you want a bold look, apply several layers of eye shadow. 
  • Smudge out the eye shadow with an eye shadow brush or your clean fingers to create a cohesive, smooth look. 
  • If you have makeup setting spray, shake the bottle and hold the bottle 6 to 8 inches away from your face and spray. 

How to use an eye shadow stick as eyeliner 

  • Decide whether you want a dramatic, sharp look or a more smudged-out eyeliner look. If you want a more precise eyeliner, make sure the tip of your eye shadow stick is sharp. 
  • Next, get a good grip on the eye shadow stick and gently apply the product close to your lash line. Try to apply the product in a relatively thin line. 
  • If you prefer a wispy, smudged look, buff out the eyeliner with a clean finger or an eye shadow brush toward the direction of your temples. 
  • To ensure the look stays put all day, apply makeup setting spray.  

What’s the best eye shadow stick to buy? 

Top choice 

Charlotte Tilbury’s Colour Chameleon Eyeshadow Pencil

Charlotte Tilbury’s Colour Chameleon Eyeshadow Pencil

What you need to know: The eye shadow stick comes in eight neutral shades and is easy to use.    

What you’ll love: The formula stays put for up to 10 hours, it’s waterproof and is a hybrid product that you can use as eye shadow or eyeliner. 

What you should consider: The waterproof formula means that it needs to be blended quickly when applied. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Sephora 

Top eye shadow stick for the money 

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil 

What you need to know: The combo eye shadow and eyeliner pencil feature an easily blendable, creamy, long-wearing formula.   

What you’ll love: The cruelty-free product is easy to apply, and it won’t pull or tug on the skin.  

What you should consider: The eye pencil can be sharpened for continual use over time, but the product does not come with a large eye pencil sharpener. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Ulta Beauty 

Worth checking out

ColourPop Holiday Colour Stix

ColourPop Holiday Colour Stix 

What you need to know: The ultra-pigmented stick comes in six colors, has a water-resistant formula and has a high impact after just one swipe.   

What you’ll love: The cruelty-free product also comes with a built-in sharpener, so you can always have a precise tip for application.  

What you should consider: Compared to other eye shadow sticks, ColourPop sticks are thinner.

Where to buy: Sold by Ulta Beauty  


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Audrey Nakagawa writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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