The Best Eye Shadow Sticks

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Buying Guide for Eye Shadow Sticks

Young woman applying eyeshadow.

Why buy an eye shadow stick?

Often eye shadow sticks are easier for makeup newbies to apply than traditional pressed powder eye shadow. Because the stick incorporates an easy application and product, you don’t always need a separate set of brushes to apply it to your lids. And in some cases, eye shadow sticks can pull double duty and be used for other applications such as blush or highlighter, depending on the color.

What should you look for in an eye shadow stick?

  • Color: Your first step will be considering what color you prefer. As with pressed or cream shadows, shadow sticks are available in various colors. You can opt for neutrals, bold jewel tones, and even neon brights.
  • Finish: Along with color, also think about the finish. This can include matte, metallic, gloss, or even glitter.
  • Staying Power: There’s nothing worse than makeup that fades shortly after applying it. Eye shadow sticks tend to be creamier in texture, translating to a product that shifts or fades faster than a traditional pressed shadow. Look for options that promote long-wear support. But as a precaution, consider prepping your lids with a good eye shadow primer before applying.

How do you use an eye shadow stick?

Eye shadow sticks are incredibly user-friendly and can almost be viewed as goof-proof entry-level makeup products. Using them is similar to applying traditional lipstick in that all you have to do is remove the cap, twist the tube until enough of the product is present, and then apply it to your lids. While you can use a brush to blend or buff out color, you can also use your fingers or a makeup sponge. If you’re looking for more precision, be sure to use a sharpener to create a finer point to apply color exactly where you want it.

Our Picks for the Best Eye Shadow Sticks

Pros: The NYX Cosmetics Jumbo Eye Pencil is a smart choice for people who like makeup products that can multitask. While it’s promoted as an all-inclusive eye product, it can also work as a highlighter, blush, and even a lip color, depending on the shade you select. All 29 colors offer full coverage, and many include a slight shimmer finish—which is why they can pull double duty.

Cons: Sharpening this product is difficult. Additionally, unlike traditional eye shadow sticks and crayons, you can’t twist up the product to reveal more eye shadow, which may reduce the value proposition of this product.

Bottom Line: 29 colors plus the ability to multitask with this eye shadow crayon makes this a fun option.


Pros: While eye shadow sticks are incredibly popular, they’re not an easy product for everyone to use. This is especially true if you have oily skin, as you’re more likely to find that the eye shadow might shift with wear once applied. Thankfully, this Julep eye shadow stick is waterproof, meaning that you’ll be able to get more wear out of it. Plus, it comes with a built-in smudge, so you won’t need additional brushes to apply it.

Cons: The Julep eye shadow stick doesn’t offer opaque color and may take several applications to build up to the level of coverage you desire.

Bottom Line: If oily skin has kept you from eye shadow sticks, you might do well with the Julep version, which boasts 30 colors.


Pros: If you’re just getting started in the makeup world, you may hear about neutrals. A good set of neutrals will help you create a transitional day-to-night look, so the Luxaza set of eye shadow sticks is a smart investment. You’ll get plenty of looks to create everything from smoky eyes for date night to a wash of subtle color for a daytime look.

Cons: The colors lack staying power, and beyond not lasting a few hours, the bigger issue was that even during application or when trying to buff out the product, the eye shadow shifted or rubbed off too easily.

Bottom Line: If you’re shopping for neutrals to add to your makeup kit, this six-piece set is a great start.


Pros: Those looking to stock up their makeup kits with versatile products will appreciate the EyeSeek shadow sticks. These 12 sticks include matte and shimmer finish hues and promise to be waterproof and long-lasting. Better still, they’re designed to swivel, so you’ll get a substantial amount of product.

Cons: The sticks do not glide, which makes application difficult. Additionally, the pigmentation isn’t as strong as expected.

Bottom Line: Anyone who’s ever been annoyed by an eye shadow stick that doesn’t twist up to reveal more product will appreciate this pick. Additionally, with 12 pieces, you have more options to create gorgeous eye looks.


Pros: Large makeup sets are always a fan favorite, and with the SHANY set of eye shadow sticks, you’ll get 30 chunky sticks infused with vitamin E and aloe. Because of their larger size, they can work as multipurpose makeup products that can be used on the eyes, lips, and face. They also promote to be sweat- and water-resistant.

Cons: The consistency may be dry. More importantly, these are not twist-up sticks.

Bottom Line: The large color selection makes this an excellent option for anyone seeking an all-in-one eye shadow solution.

Final Thoughts

There are so many makeup products on the market it’s not even a little bit surprising that deciding what you should buy may feel a bit overwhelming. But, on the whole, eye shadow sticks are a smart multitasking product that can easily streamline your grooming routine and even pull double duty depending on the color you select. If you’re ready to simplify your makeup kit, eye shadow sticks may be just what you need.

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