Makeup trends have been all about simplifying your routine lately, and one big way I’ve streamlined my own is swapping out my eyeshadow palettes for eyeshadow sticks.
Cream eyeshadow sticks are so easy to swipe on and go– either wear one shade blended all over the lid, or go really crazy and use two to create dimension. 🤪 It’s a far cry from the days I was using upwards of five shades to create an eye look, but I’ve come to love it.
There are three drugstore cream eyeshadow sticks that stand out to me as the best— with #1 being holy grails of mine. Keep reading to discover your new favorite!
#3 – ColourPop Shadow Stix ($8)
These are a new release from the brand, though they may look familiar. They replaced the Colour Stix, which had mixed reviews from fans. (I personally found them very hit or miss!) The new Shadow Stix, however, are very redeeming.
With a much more creamy consistency and ultra smooth application, the ColourPop Shadow Stix ($8) are easy to apply and blend with your fingers. The mattes are rich and silky, and the metallics are bold with high-impact shine.
The range is mostly neutral right now, with only 12 shades kicking the collection off. I did pick up a couple of the more bold options— Friday Feels, a duo chrome pink and gold shift, and the golden green Flex. Bare With Me, on the other hand, is a gorgeous matte pink beige that I’ve loved the softness of.
With the Shadow Stix, I’d recommend using a primer. They tend to fade in the creases of my lid— though they don’t actually crease. A primer is just a sure way you can enjoy their color intensity all day. On their own, they’re pretty smudge-proof, though the shimmer can be tugged out of place if you rub at your eye.
#2 – Milani Gilded Eyeshadow Sticks ($10.99)
Another new drugstore makeup release, the Milani Gilded Eyeshadow Sticks ($10.99) impressed me on first swipe. They’re intense, lightweight, and super blendable. You can easily diffuse these for a soft edge with your fingers or a brush!
Out of these three picks in this post, the Gilded Eyeshadow Sticks are the only ones that claim to be waterproof, and also boast up to 12 hour wear. I can attest to their long lasting power, as they look just as great on me at the end of the day even if I’m not wearing primer. They seriously stay put, and can hold up to an eye rub or even a cry sesh.
There are no mattes in the collection— all eight shades are metallic, though some lean a bit more glittery. Sterling, Sand and Terra have more noticeable glitter particles, the other have a more fine, shimmery effect. They all apply evenly with solid color payoff, though they are also easy to sheer out. While the color is totally budge-proof, the shimmer in these may stray just like the ColourPop ones, but only with direct contact.
Unfortunately, these do not have a built-in sharpener like the other two shadow sticks on this list. Some people like to double shadow sticks as eyeliners, and if you wanted to do that with these you’ll have to use a brush. Either way, I’ve loved wearing 1-2 of these on my eyes for all day summer eye looks.
#1 – e.l.f. No Budge Shadow Sticks ($5)
These have been favorites in my collection for well over a couple years now, and remain at the top spot. They simply blow every competitor out of the water— and cheaper! The e.l.f. No Budge Shadow Sticks are only $5, and outperform even high end shadow sticks I’ve tried.
They’re available in both matte and metallics, though I’ll admit I’ve only tried the metallic versions. Even though they don’t make hard and fast claims beyond “long lasting,” I’ve found them to stay in place with no creasing for upwards of 12 hours without primer. They’re go-tos of mine when I’m traveling because I can skip packing primer and eyeshadow brushes.
Even though they’re so budge-proof, you have time to work with them and blend them out, and they diffuse beautifully. They’re very creamy and forgiving so you have time to craft your look. Once they dry down and set, you can forget about them! No touchups needed.
Compared to the Milani shadow sticks, there is a bit more shimmer in these shades but it stays put and can’t be rubbed out of place.
At the price point and with this type of performance, I’m just not sure any other drugstore eyeshadow stick will ever come close to these unless they had a very expansive color range. There are only 9 options in the metallics, and I truly hope they continue to add more!