The above collection is testament to the fact that there are few things I love more in the world of makeup than a good eyeshadow pencil/crayon/stick [call it what you will, some might prefer 'wondrous wand of magic']. Practical and compact, they're purse/travel friendly and can be applied without a brush; I have one floating around inside every handbag I own [alongside the obligatory lip balm, hand cream, and Biro].
This is eyeshadow made easy; in its pencil form it can take you from a cool wash of colour for the day to a chic and sultry smokey-eye, perfect for evening, with a dexterity that enables you to sport anything from a wash of metallic pigment, to a dark and complex smokey eye, soft blurred out shapes, or the lightest dusting of creamy glimmer..
Eyeshadow pencils were my gateway drug to the world of eyeshadow, and they continue to pioneer my further exploration. I used to be very much a nude/neutral/metallics kind of girl, opting for variations on bronze, gold, and taupe; but in recent months I've started to branch out and experiment with both colour and texture, which the medium of the eyeshadow pencil allows for. They're more or less foolproof, and allow for personal preference and creativity to hold sway over the application process. If you're new to eyeshadow they're a great place to start and to learn the basics of blending, shaping, and layering.
These are suspiciously cheap, but the price tag only serves to reinforce the impressiveness of the products. Ultralight and profoundly long-lasting, they add an instant pop of colour and almost wet-look finish that is perfectly blendable - eventually setting to a pigmented sheen that promises [and surpasses] an 8-hour lifespan. Soft, creamy, and shimmery, blend out with the fingers [the texture is such that doesn't warrant a brush necessary] for a subtle diffused look or build up for something inherently more dramatic and sultry. Either way, it's not moving all night. Golden Brown is a one-for-all bronze, perfect for recreating the Olsen's smoky-metallic look and is also the first stick that I've used down to the nub. Rosy Brown [a rose-tinted taupe] is a widely heralded dupe for the covetable By Terry Ombre Blackstar in Misty Rock. Both colours are flattering to basically every person on the planet.
Upgrade your eyeshadow stick obsession as you would your lipstick collection, at the Chanel counter. Chanel's limited edition eyeshadow pencils are always guaranteed to be the highlight of every seasonal makeup launch, and the latest launch presents five holiday-perfect hues with a dramatic high-shine effect. The purely cream formula glides on effortlessly with a lovely cooling sensation and the tapered crayon makes application a dream. The texture and finish are truly amazing [and well worth a swatch at the counter even if you don't intend to buy]. Laurier Rose is, in true Chanel style a sophisticated take on a summer bright, and proof that it is possible to wear a good pink eye. It appears a fiery coral in its pencil form, but upon application blending mutes it to an elegant copper; almost like a molten rose gold, it has a depth and dewy sheen that most powder formulas fail to achieve.
I love Nars for their party-proof space-age cosmetics, and whilst their base range is perhaps the brand's crowning glory, I am a complete advocate of every single eyeshadow formula they produce. Here, a smooth powder formula allows for impeccable blending, and in the form of Iraklion [a pale and muted rose-gold] results in a barely-there silky lid - colour outside the lines for a pearly beige rendition on the smoky eye or pair with a dramatic cat-eye for something a little extra. Subtle and chic, with a long-lasting refined sheen [think glow as opposed to glitter], its only downside is that it requires sharpening.
My entry point into the wonderful land of eyeshadow pencils; creamy, pigmented, and with a glitter lustre that imparts a near perfect sophisticated sheen. Compared to their more expensive alternatives I find that these pencils do drag a little upon application, the texture is quite dry, so would best be suited to those with oily eyelids. Despite this, they blend well [albeit with a good brush and vigour] and I regularly employ Glistening Ray as a highlighting shade in the inner corner of my eye. They're high on the shimmer count and the pigment transfers easily [let that serve as a word of warning to fellow contact lens wearers] but if you're after an affordable option, they're amongst the best I've used and readily available.
This applies exquisitely; gliding on sheer but buildable, and depositing just the right amount of shimmer to impart an inherently elegant sheen. The shade [formulated to complement green eyes] is truly gorgeous [a deep warm copper]. And yet this gem is inherently flawed, for no matter how I apply it [thick and fast, sheer and blended, over primer, set with powder] it doesn't last more than a few hours; loosing first the shimmer, then the sheen, and finally the colour. I rarely include disappointing or condemnable products in my content and this very nearly didn't make the cut, but I couldn't help but include it because, for the few hours it lasts, it is truly wonderful.
NARS Velvet Shadow Stick in Reykjavik*/Glénan*
If you like to keep things bold [and matte] then here is the range for you. Intense and highly pigmented, the kohl-like texture more than lives up to its 'velvet' accolade [expect something between cream and powder]. The formula is more or less smudge proof however, so don't expect to perform any extensive blending action here - go bold or go home. These excel when smudgy smokey eyes and high-definition smoulder are on the agenda. Whilst admittedly there are few things scarier than blue eyeshadow [case in point], darker shades present a more sophisticated and wearable take on the hue. Glénan is just that; a deep grey-blue which lends itself well to both a liner-like effect and a smoky-eye. Likewise Reykjavik, a dark gunmetal grey, performs excellently as both and presents a softer and more wearable alternative to black [its chalky texture and almost-black pigment is perfect for creating a lived in smoky effect on the lower lashline, best paired with lashings of purposefully clumpy mascara].
A stay-put formula is a welcome attribute when the elements bare their worst and Laura Mercier's offering is by far the most durable formula I've used. Flake-, water-, and sweat-proof, as well as the most crease-resistant formula of the lot. It lasts throughout day and/or night without loosing a hint of shimmer or colour, looking as if you've just applied it even when the time comes for removal. The luxurious buttery texture glides evenly over the eyelid resulting in a lovely smooth finish that's easy to blend and perfectly opaque [one swipe is always enough]. The result feels [and looks] like you're applying gold leaf to your eyelids, and is especially pretty when concentrated along the lower half of the eyelid and blended out to the brow.
These versatile and travel-friendly dual-ended crayons have soft matte creamy eyeliner on one side and a foam blender packed with glitter shadow on the other. Together the pigment and shimmer combine to create a soft dimension, which shapes the eye and captures the light beautifully. Moody and modern, I trace the lash line with the liner end before blending the colour out with the other for a soft diffused effect. As an eyeliner, precision isn't the aim of the game, but it does deliver a [foolproof] bold, soft line, perfect for a subtle yet smouldering smoky eye. Shiny Black is a classic dark pigment with gold shimmer, and Brown presents a softer alternative with a cool chocolate shade and copper finish.
Despite a grounding in skincare, Sisley particularly excel when it comes to eye makeup [I've long been a lover of the Phyto-Ombre Glow Eyeshadow], and their newly launched Photo-Eye Twists see the beloved formula replicated in pencil form. A perfect silky texture and unbelievable colour pay-off with a luxury factor and waterproof formula that ensures both last and allure; the robust pigment and a super-soft texture make these perfect for creating a smudged 'morning after' look on the lower lash line. What's more is the formula is enriched with green tea, white lily, and camellia to soothe and protect the delicate eyelids. Khaki presents the perfect colour to rework a modern interpretation on the classic smoky eye and Havana is a deliciously warm chocolate brown with a subtle sheen of red pigment, the ideal complement to green eyes.
What are your favourite eyeshadow sticks?