Drug Store Baked Eyeshadows


What is baked eyeshadow?

Baked eyeshadow are traditionally mineral eyeshadows, though many contain plenty of non-mineral ingredients.  Baked eyeshadows are made in a wet mixture, shaped into domes, and as the name suggests, baked.  They can be applied dry for a sheer glittery shadow or wet for a more metallic sheen.

e.l.f. Studio Baked Eyeshadow

INGREDIENTS INCLUDE*: mica, talc, dimethicone, jojoba oil, other plant based oils, other non-mineral ingredients.

Mica is the classic mineral eyeshadow base, and talc a common filler in cheap mineral eyeshadows.  Jojoba oil and other plant based oils, while not minerals, are commonly found in mineral makeup.  Dimethicone (a silicone emulsifier common in cream products and pore-filling face primers) is not a mineral ingredient.  Overall the ingredients list is closer to a true mineral eyeshadow than I would have thought, though not completely without non-mineral ingredients.

PROS: These are very pretty and definitely best applied wet.  I find these easy to apply and blend.  At $3 for 3.5g, they are a good deal.

CONS: These are a little patchy to apply but if you layer them it’s easier to get the color even.  Sometimes when I wear these in the corner of my eye it can be slightly irritating.  My hypothesis is that e.l.f.’s mica has a large particle size and that I am sensitive to large particle micas.

Toasted is a light taupey brown with a golden shimmer.  It’s really pretty as a standalone color for everyday wear and it also blends well with others.

Enchanted is a light yellowy golden shimmer, I really like it for the inner corner of my eye and browbone.

Milani Metallic Baked Eyeshadow

INGREDIENTS INCLUDE*: talc, dimethicone, silica, jojoba oil, other non-mineral ingredients.

Interestingly, Milani’s eyeshadows contain no mica!  I was rather surprised to see silica as silica is usually used as a mattifying ingredient.  Some of the ingredients are the same as e.l.f.’s (talc, dimethicone, jojoba oil), but overall this ingredients list contains far more non-mineral ingredients and is much less true to mineral eyeshadows.

PROS: These are so beautiful and pigmented.  They are really vibrant when applied wet and I’m very glad I picked the two colors I did.  I have not found these to be irritating like the e.l.f. ones, but since there is no mica in these, I’m not surprised.

CONS: If I use too much water they become very runny and difficult to use.  I list this as a con, but I think it’s fair to say it’s user error.  While the compact and included brush are nice, $7 for 1.5g is a little pricey for drugstore makeup.

I Heart You is a beautiful shimmery orange red.  Applied wet it reminds me of a glittery Christmas ornament.  Dry it is much peachier, which surprised me.

Rich Java appears very dark in the pan, but is lighter when applied to skin.  To me, it seems like a coffee-toned bronze.

Applied dry


Applied wet


How do you use baked eyeshadow wet?

While you can apply baked eyeshadow dry, using a wet brush creates a beautiful, nearly foiled, effect.  I always use my baked eyeshadows with a wet brush because I just love the way they turn out.  I put together this little set of pictures to show how I go about it, it reads left to right, top to bottom.


Here I’m using the crease brush from Real Techniques Starter Set and the Milani Metallic Baked Eyeshadow in I Heart You. I dip my brush in the water very shallowly.  Mostly I want to longer bristles to just pick up a few drops of water so I can drip them on the shadow, not soak the brush.  I make sure to keep the bristles of my brush lower than the handle until the bristles have dried: I don’t want any water creeping into the handle and loosening the adhesive keeping the brush together! A little goes a long way when you’re wetting these shadows; you just want to get a small section damp. Too much water will make the shadow too runny to use and ends up a huge mess!  Gently swirling the brush in the pan gets quite a bit of pigment up.


Product list:

For this look I used all four of my baked eyeshadows.  I started by using e.l.f. Studio Baked Eyeshadow in Toasted all over my lid as the base color using a flat shadow brush.  Then I used Milani’s Baked Eyeshadow in I Heart You across my crease with the crease brush shown above.  Next, I used a small liner brush to add Milani’s Baked Eyeshadow in Rich Java in my crease, and returned to my crease brush to blend it.  I finished it with e.l.f. Studio Baked Eyeshadow in Enchanted in the inner corner of my eye and on my browbone.

On the rest of my face, I wanted to keep my cheeks fairly warm, so I used a warmer toned bronzer to contour.  When I use a warmer brown, a dramatic contour doesn’t work well, so I kept this fairly natural.  Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso is possibly my all time favorite warm toned shimmery blush — it’s just the most beautiful coral shade with a gold shimmer.  The Baked Blushes can also be applied wet, but I haven’t tried this yet.  They are very pigmented and blendable dry, I think wet they would be too opaque for me.  I originally planned to wear my Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in #420 Blushed (a rosey color with a golden shimmer) but I decided it was too much shimmer and decided instead on my matte nude Revlon lipstick.  I’m pleased with the way it turned out: dramatic eyes and washed out lips are one of my favorite trends.

* For the full list of ingredients, see the product listings on e.l.f.’s and Milani’s sites.


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