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Are Colourpop Eyeshadows Pigmented? A List of Great Palettes & More

The days when all Colourpop sold were their spongy, sparkly Super Shock Shadows are long gone. Modern-day Colourpop pumps out product after product, including single shadows and palettes, to much hype.

Maybe you’re thinking it might be time to finally see what all the fuss is about.

But first, you want to know what you’re getting yourself into, as far as pigmentation. After all, Colourpop is so affordable—especially their palettes. Can the shadows really be all that good?

Today, I’ll answer the question “Are Colourpop eyeshadows pigmented” and much more, including which shadows to avoid if you’re looking for bold pigmentation. I’ll even let you in on a few things that people like and don’t like about Colourpop palettes.

Some of Colourpop more pigmented eyeshadow palettes: That's taupe, Blue Moon, and Ooh La La
A few Colourpop palettes I’d recommend.

Are Colourpop Eyeshadows Pigmented? Yes—Almost Universally

There are exceptions (which we’ll get into), but, yes, Colourpop shadows are pigmented.

In fact, overwhelmingly, they give high end shadows a run for their money, as far as pigmentation.

Colourpop shadows are more pigmented than those from brands like Viseart and Too Faced. Personally, when other brands fail me in pigmentation, I often lean on a Colourpop shadow to get the job done instead.

We’re talking both mattes and shimmers here, but their mattes are especially impressive.

Overall, Colourpop shadows are a fantastic deal, especially if you buy by the palette and not by the single.

(P.S. As an aside, Colourpop’s palettes are pressed pigment palettes rather than eyeshadow palettes, and if you want to learn more about what that means, check out this post. Nonetheless, for simplicity’s sake, we’ll call them eyeshadows in this post.)

First: Palettes to Buy and Palettes to Avoid

We’ll get into more general rules later in the post, but here are some specifics to help you avoid making mistakes when buying Colourpop palettes.

If you opt for their monochromatic palettes (the link is to just a few of these), you’ll have a guaranteed ringer on pigmentation—those never disappoint, and they’re incredibly consistent. You can also rely on classics and fan-favorite palettes like the Yes Please, Sweet Talk, and The Child

As for palettes you want to be careful with, think brand collabs (say, Frozen-themed palettes or Hello-Kitty-themed palettes) and non-monochromatic nine pans like the Cloud Dyes. The new long five-pan palettes (like, say, the Lyric palette) also haven’t been coming in with great reviews.

It isn’t a sure thing that these will lack pigmentation, but they’re not blue chips the way the monochromatic palettes are.

Pigmented Palettes

Here are some palettes that, either through personal experience or from reviews, I feel safe in recommending for their pigmentation:

The Sweet Talk palette from Colourpop, full of pigmented eyeshadows in peache and coral tones
A good option from Colourpop: The Sweet Talk palette. Source.

If something isn’t on the list, it’s likely still a great palette. But check the list below before you buy.

Palettes to Avoid

These are palettes that have gotten bad reviews:

Picture of a long, pink hued pallet called SWAK
Cute as they are, these five pan palettes are coming back with mediocre reviews. Source.

More Detail

Here’s some detail on what shadows are pigmented and what shadows aren’t (and why).

What Are Some of the Most Pigmented Colourpop Shadows? Swatch Time!

I have plenty of Colourpop in my own makeup drawer to lean on for examples. Here are a few.

These swatches are all just from one finger dip in the pan. I sometimes ran my finger over a few swatches once or twice to smooth out the pigment, but I never worked to build up pigment on my arm.

As you’re checking these out, one thing to look for in these (and all swatches) is the drag. If the pigment continues to be pigmented as the finger drags across the arm and the swatch gets skinnier, you’re working with a pigmented shadow.

Non-pigmented shadows will fade quickly as you drag the finger across the arm. You’ll see that none of these do that.

Here are some swatches from the Ooh La La palette.

Several pigmented swatches of pink eyeshadow from the Colourpop Ooh la la palette
Here’s Sandbar, Opulent, and Big Sugar from the Ooh La La! palette. Sandbar is an especially impressive shade.

And here are some from the Blue Moon palette.

Some pigmented Colourpop shadows in blue from the Blue Moon palette
And here’s Fine China, Tide Pool, and Billie Jean from the Blue Moon palette. The first time I used Fine China, I gasped.

And finally, here are some swatches from the That’s Taupe palette.

More pigmented eyeshadow swatches. These are taupe ones from the That's Taupe palette.
Here’s Rock Steady (my favorite), Bedrock, and the creamy dreamy shimmer Snake Eyes from the That’s Taupe palette.

What Shadows Aren’t Pigmented?

If you’re looking for pigmentation, there are a few shadows and palettes you should avoid.

Some Older Releases Before They Nailed Their Formula

I have one of the early Colourpop palettes—namely the Fem Rosa She palette, which Colourpop created in 2017. The color story is a lovely rosy one, but the shadows are dry and provide only a wash of color you apply them. (That being said, their breakout hit the Yes, Please! palette has powerful pigmentation right from the get-go, so this isn’t a hard fast rule.)

But on the whole, stay off of eBay and don’t buy those discontinued palettes from years gone by, no matter how covetable the color story. The quality is more hit and miss than Colourpop palettes of today.

Releases Not Intended to Be Pigmented

There are some shades where pigmentation isn’t what they’re going for. We’re talking pressed glitters and topper shades here. These are meant to be layered.

An example is Slated in the That’s Taupe palette. This is a sparkly topper shade that, rather than giving one-swipe opacity, gives a layer of glimmer to any matte shade.

A swatch of a shimmery, glittery taupe topper shade
Here’s Slated from the That’s Taupe palette, swatched (top) and sheered out (bottom) on the arm.

So, how to tell if you’re dealing with one of these shades?

It’s hard, honestly. One way is this: if you’re perusing the Colourpop single shadow list and you see “pressed glitter” as the shadow description, you’re certainly dealing with a shadow that’s not full-on pigmentation. It’s not meant to be—it doesn’t have a base color, just glitter.

But other than that hint, you may find it difficult to tell what shades are meant to be toppers and which are one-swipe pigmented.

How can you know if a release is not pigmented, for reasons intentional or not?

My advice is to always google swatches before buying.

Look for organic-looking swatches, meaning ones that appear to just be a finger smear on the arm. If a swatch is a perfect rectangular stripe or other shapes, that often means the pigment was packed on over a stencil. You can make any swatch look pigmented that way.


Look, I hate to give the famous, beloved single shadow “Glass Bull” a bad name. But some shades with the claim “super pigmented” just don’t live up to their description.

Swatch of glass bull
Swatch of Glass Bull. The shade is beautiful, but it isn’t winning any pigmentation awards, despite the description. You can see right through it.

There are also whole palettes that beauty gurus have roasted for their lack of pigmentation.

The main example that comes to mind is the palette that was a homage to Candy Land, called the Candy Castle palette. This was universally agreed to be a big, fat, pastel disappointment.

To sum up, Colourpop is pretty consistent as far as quality, but duds have happened. You’ll want to use YouTube reviews as your guiding light. Check out what people have to say about the palette or shadow before you buy, just in case.

If you do wind up with a dud, there are some things you can do to make the best of it, but better to avoid these palettes.

Other Considerations

If you’re new to Colourpop, there are a few things to consider besides pigmentation that you wouldn’t know to ask about. Here are a few of those things.

Sequin (Or Matte Sparkle) Shadows

Colourpop’s sequin shadows, also called matte sparkle on the Colourpop site, are mattes with microglitters embedded in them.

This is fairly unique to Colourpop—brands like Tarte and Too Faced have done them in the past, but Colourpop is the brand that’s really pumping this glitter-matte hybrid formula out like a machine.

While these shadows are usually pigmented, they’re not well loved by the beauty community. Most people wonder why these glimmer particles were added to a perfectly fine matte shadow.

I don’t mind the sequin shadows. I love glitter in anything, and besides, most of the glitter brushes away to leave an overall matte finish. And I also think that a bit of shimmer in anything makes the shadow more blendable.

But know that these are almost universally hated by everyone else, and their existence may steer you away from Colourpop shadows—even if they are pigmented!

product description with "matte sparkle"
Scroll down to the the details on the product page to know when you’re dealing with one of these shadows. Source.

Pressed Glitters

Another generally hated formula present in the Colourpop shadow lineup are their pressed glitters.

You can find one of these in most Colourpop palettes, and while they look great in the pan, there’s some issues with their inclusion.

First off, they have no base color, so they aren’t pigmented the way a typical shadow is. But there’s more.

The most important thing to consider is the health of your eyes. Anyone who’s used glitter knows that it strays beyond where you place it, and the chances that a glitter particle will make its way into your eye are pretty good. Particles of glitter have been known to scratch corneas (yikes), and it will certainly cause irritation at the least.

Another factor to consider is the environment. Most glitter is made of plastic, and Colourpop’s glitters are no exception—they aren’t biodegradable. I’ve heard of many folks that have stopped using cosmetic products with glitter for this reason, and if your ethics align, you may want to stay away from many of Colourpop’s palettes, no matter the pigmentation of the rest of the shadows.

The 143 palette from colourpop
Sad to say that striking shadow in the middle of the palette is probably going to wind up in your eye and then in the ocean. Source.

A final thing reason you may find yourself disliking the pressed glitter shadows is that they’re just fussy. They require a glitter glue, they wind up all over your face, they’re difficult to pick up with a brush, it’s hard to get an even application…the list goes on.

So, as you’re scrolling through Colourpop’s collection, how do you know when you’ve got a pressed glitter on your hands?

For single shadows, it will say so in the description. For palettes, it’ll tell you somewhere in the description what the finish is.

This is the info on the 143 pressed pigment palette. Source.


So, let’s sum it up!

Are Colourpop eyeshadows pigmented? Yes, mostly, and their formula is fairly consistent.

You’ll want to look out for toppers, intentionally muted shadows, and duds to avoid disappointment.

A few great ways to prevent this disappointment is to

  1. Watch reviews on YouTube
  2. Check out images of finger swatches that haven’t been built up (so no stencils). A good example of what these swatches look like are those shown in today’s post.

Also, you might want to be on the lookout for sequin shadows and pressed glitters if you want to be happy overall with your Colourpop purchase.

Final Thoughts

For what it’s worth, I adore my Colourpop palettes and shadows. When I want a strong shadow, Colourpop is often who I turn to.

Over and over, I’m impressed with the quality they can produce at such a low cost to consumers. And it’s made me feel like some higher end brands have no excuse to be so weak in comparison.

Hope this was helpful to you! Happy shopping.