Single Eyeshadows Are The Best Eyeshadows


A fun new work activity of mine is to periodically take a break and peruse the desks of my fellow ITG members. A good old-fashioned desk snoop provides a glance, if you will, into my deskmates inner psyches...juicy! It also allows me to peripherally enjoy the found objects that they will hoard for the unforseeable future. When I wandered over to Emily Ferber’s desk the other day, I saw an array of sulfur skincare products (peak Emily), and a collection of Santa Maria Novella squeeze tube masks, just unwrapped and satisfyingly embossed. Another time, I swooped over Ashley Weatherford’s desk and saw that she was guarding some antioxidant-rich serums and a fermented essence (Ingredients of intrigue! Peak Ashley.)

In a recent desk move, I turned the mirror onto myself and my own desk drawer. Well, at least I tried to...the drawer was stuck. At least five single eyeshadow pots were jamming it up. It was then I realized...I love single eyeshadows! A message as subliminal as it gets, but upon further examination, makes complete sense. Single shade eyeshadows were made to be easy: it’s all the buttery, highly-pigmented, finely milled goodness that you get in an eyeshadow palette, made portable and palm-of-hand friendly. Ideal for a simple wash of color, but also nice as a thoughtful gift for an old friend, or an impromptu gift for a stranger turned-friend-that you met in the bathroom last weekend (I’ve tried it!). I don’t ever want to be without single eyeshadows and I don’t think you should either! So, without further ado, these are the ones I’ve been liking lately:

A brown one

Brown eyeshadow is still very ‘in,’ and as long as makeup wearers need a reliable backbone to their makeup routine, it will remain as such. My favorites can be broken down into a few pillars: one that’s a little darker than your own eyelid (mine is Nars Single Eyeshadow in Sophia), one that sheers out to an almost-bronze (MAC Longwear Paint Pot in Indianwood), and a charcoal-brown one, to bring some depth to my crease and attention to the curve of my eyes (Maybelline Color Tattoo in Chocolate Suede).

A bright one

I’m still chasing after the powdery yellow Palermo, of the limited edition Maryam Nassir Zadeh x Make Beauty palette, even though it was discontinued months ago. Velvety and muted, it gave me everything I never knew I needed in a pastel eye. Thankfully, NYX carries the torch with its Nude Matte Shadow in Cougar, and so does ColourPop’s Super Shock Shadow in I Like You.

A glossy one

For a dew you can see from the moon. Surratt Lid Lacquer has an amazing way of deepening whatever color you’ve got on underneath the gloss, while providing a wearable shine. Kevyn Aucoin’s Diamond Eye Gloss is even more subtle, and works on top of cheekbones, too.

A jewel-toned one

There’s something about jewel-toned eyeshadow that makes me feel instantly polished. Their richness of color, their obvious glamour makes me feel like I am a precious gem. Or at least like I have somewhere important to go. Laura Mercier’s Caviar Stick in Peacock, Tom Ford’s Shadow Extreme in Garnet, and Pat McGrath Eyedols in Purple Reign are perfect for uncovering that spirit of sophistication, or for days when you want to do a little more.

A metallic one

Love a molten, iridescent moment. Isn’t it magical that a shade that looks one way in one particular ray of light, can look totally different if you turn your head ever so slightly? Metallics are never not fun, or otherworldly. That’s probably why Chantecaille’s Luminescent Eye Shade in Sole has lived in my desk for the last five months. Pat it on top of Lidstar in Cub to anchor its rosy, coppery color story. Also worth mentioning, Bodygraphy’s Later Skater if for some reason you’re craving a one-step gold-flecked smokey eye or kohl-smudged waterline. A rare item, but worth the discovery.

—Utibe Mbagwu

Photo via ITG