Qualities To Look For When Buying An Eyeshadow Stick

Mastering the art of eyeshadow takes time and patience. If you don't have enough of either, you may want to consider adding a magic wand to your makeup bag: the eyeshadow stick. Using the same concept as lipstick, the eyeshadow is tucked inside a pencil- or crayon-shaped applicator and twists up to reveal the color. With its rounded or pointed tip and creamy texture, you simply glide the product directly onto your eyelid, exactly where you want it. As makeup artist Mary Irwin told Ipsy, "They're so easy to use. Super easy. Cheat-on-the-test easy." 

They're also available in waterproof formulas, and you can choose from various finishes, including glitter, metallic, shimmer, and matte. As a bonus, eyeshadow sticks are great for on-the-go touch-ups, aka no more broken eyeshadow palettes at the bottom of your purse. As if you need even more reasons to add a few sticks to your beauty arsenal, there's the versatility factor, too. As makeup artist Amrita Mehta gushed to Allure: "I love to use them for all-over color or to add a bit of sparkle to any eye look — I also use them as an eye shadow base and they work really well as a smudged liner, too." 

If you've never tried an eyeshadow stick before, there are some factors you'll want to take into consideration before buying your first. You'll want to pay attention to the color, consistency, and the quality of the application. Once you've tried one, you'll want to keep adding to your collection.

Consider the color

Bobbi Brown has over 20 different colors of Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick. NYX Professional Makeup's Jumbo Eye Pencil comes in 16 shades. The Sephora Colorful Eyeshadow and Eyeliner Multi-Stick is available in 25 hues. And that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to your eyeshadow color options in stick form. 

In order to help you decide which eyeshadow stick to add to your makeup bag, consider what your shadow goals are. If you're looking for a bold color look, you'll want a stick with more pigment. If a no-makeup look is on your beauty agenda, something more transparent is a better option. You might also be able to find a formula that will help you create both looks. "Most formulas offer a way to provide a sheer initial application with the ability to build upon itself for an opaque look," makeup artist Gabrielle Alvarez explained to InStyle.

Before buying an eyeshadow stick, try a color swatch on the inside of your wrist. Start by gliding on just one stroke of color to see what an initial application will look like. Then, layer on a second and maybe even a third stroke to see how the color transforms. If you're not happy with the way things look, try another color or another brand — there are plenty to choose from.

Check the glide factor

One of the biggest advantages of choosing an eyeshadow stick over the usual powder palette is how easy it is to apply. "Usually, eyeshadow sticks are cream-based, making it practical for those who struggle with powder eyeshadow," Bobbi Brown Cosmetics global artist in residence Mali Thomas confirmed with Vogue. But not all shadow sticks are created equal.

In order to make sure the application will be as smooth as possible, do a test on the inside of your wrist before purchasing the stick. If it glides across your skin, leaving a trail of perfect color in its wake, you're good to go. However, if the stick stutters and jumps across your skin, creating a jagged line along the way, put it back and move on. It also shouldn't leave clumps and clots of shadow behind. Try a couple of swipes to be sure you like the way the shadow flows.

You should also test what kind of lines you can make with the eyeshadow stick. If you're looking to use it as an alternative to eyeliner, you'll want to see if you can make thinner strokes; if you want all-over color, confirm you won't have to draw a million tiny lines to fill your lid with color. The eyeshadow stick should make your primp life easier, not more difficult.