I need an answer!

Want High Pigment Eyeshadow? Here’s What to Try in 2021

Everyone loves one-swipe pigmentation, and some brands are really killing it in the pigmentation department these days.

If you want eyeshadow that goes on effortlessly pigmented, give the following brands a try.

1. Natasha Denona

Natasha Denona is famous for her eyeshadow formula (and—gulp—her prices). If you have the cash to spend, it’s worth trying one of her palettes just to experience that next-level pigmentation. Give the Gold palette ($129) a shot. Or try one of her midi palettes like the Bronze or the Glam palette, both a more palatable $65.

a mostly gold palette with a few turquoises
The Natasha Denona Gold palette. Source.

2. Sydney Grace

Sydney Grace is one of the better known indie brands, and their claim to fame is their creamy, highly pigmented formula. Give the dreamy neutral Enduring Love palette ($52) a try, or for a punch of springy color, check out their Tiny Marvels palette ($52) created in collaboration with Mel Thompson.

A bright palette with greens tans and pinks
Sydney Grace’s Tiny Marvels. Source.

3. Colourpop

Colourpop’s popularity is largely due to its having pigmented shadows at affordable prices. They have countless palettes to scroll through. You can check out my post on their best palettes for a full list of which ones you should get, but a good place to start is with their nine-pan monochromatic palettes ($14).

A series of six monochromatic palettes, including an orange, a green, a purple, and more
Some of Colourpop’s monochromatic palettes. Source.

4. Glamlite

It’s tempting to think of Glamlite as the gimmicky brand that brought you the Pizza and the Burger palette (ew?). But this brand’s formula is not a gimmick. The Ice Cream Dream ($45) and the Cake palette ($40) are revered among beauty YouTubers for their high pigment eyeshadow.

A palette with lots of color and pastels
The Ice Cream Dream Palette. Source.

5. Anastasia Beverly Hills

Due to few questionable marketing and production choices, ABH has fallen off in popularity since its groundbreaking Modern Renaissance palette. But you can still lean on those old workhorses that made them so beloved: Soft Glam, Norvina, and of course, Modern Renaissance (all $45). This brand is known for their high pigment mattes—so high pigment that beginners might want to get their sea legs elsewhere before dipping into a hard-to-control ABH shadow. But if you love powders with a punch, Anastasia Beverly Hills—at least their original 14-pan palettes—is the one for you.

A neutral palette with browns and pinks
Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Soft Glam Palette. Source.

6. (New) BH Cosmetics

BH Cosmetics has gone from a hit-and-miss brand to a powerhouse of pigment. Check out their new drops like the Blueberry Muffin palette, the Sweet Shoppe series, or the Remix Dance collection, and keep your eye out on their future releases.

A palette of blues, taupes, and golds
BH Cosmetics’ Blueberry Muffin Palette. Source.

And Now…Brands That Made My Weak Pigmentation List

Googling around to see what the rest of the world thinks is high pigment caused some serious eyebrow raising in this house. Your mileage may vary, of course, but here are some brands that I think are weak in the pigmentation department.

1. Urban Decay

Once the king of the beauty store and the known source of the best pigmentation, Urban Decay has failed to innovate. Their shadows are often weak, especially in palettes like the Naked Ultraviolet. Indeed, if you’re looking for creamy one swipe pigment, most of their Naked palettes are going to disappoint.

2. Smashbox

Who in the beauty world is talking about Smashbox shadows? No one, that’s who—unless they’re telling you not to buy them.

3. Viseart

I’m going to make some enemies here, but hear me out—Viseart boasts a buildable, blendable formula. It just isn’t highly pigmented right off the bat. That’s not where they shine.

4. Too Faced

Ugh. Want some powdery, weak shadows that disappear the moment you touch your brush to your eye? Want shimmers that don’t show up even when you load on layer after layer of foiled brush application? Too Faced is your huckleberry.

5. A Lot of Big Name Drugstore Brands

Many of the drugstore stalwarts like Maybelline, Revlon, and Cover Girl just aren’t producing high pigment eyeshadows—and they never have. Even Wet ‘n’ Wild, which excels in many other product departments (and at an incredible price!), doesn’t cut the mustard when it comes to eyeshadow pigmentation. These brands are better left to beginners who want washes of color instead of full on pigment right off the bat.

Happy Shopping!

Now that you’ve got the lowdown on high pigment eyeshadow (and not so high pigment eyeshadow), you’re free to shop with confidence. After all, none of us need any weak shadows in our collection!